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One Too Many

Posted By: Randy GageJune 1, 2015

Johnny Carson was one of the most brilliant comedians of my childhood.  And the funniest part of his monologue was often when a joke bombed.  Often it was what he called the “one too many” rule, when he was doing a series of jokes on a particular topic and went too far.  It’s an easy rabbit hole to fall down.

If one is good, two is better.  If two works, maybe we can get away with three.  And if we get away with three…

Take a look at the photo in the post.  That’s the actual newspaper that was delivered to my door.  (Yes, I actually still subscribe to a paper newspaper.  And pay a premium for it, just to read Dilbert, Dear Abby and the news on my baseball team.)

Everything in a newspaper is available online, a day before it gets printed.  But ridiculous people like me are still willing to pay to wake up to a physical copy.  Of course publishers are facing declining subscriber bases and trying to find new ways to generate revenue.  I get that.  But this???

What is the most important positioning of a newspaper?  I suggest it is their bold logo, centered at the top of the paper above the headline.  Logos like the Chicago Tribune, The Times of London, and Washington Post are literally icons.  And what’s the most powerful element of a print newspaper?  The compelling headline, which tells us the breaking news of the day. (Which if we're being honest, was yesterday's.)  But look what happens to the logo and the headline when the paper whores out every possible revenue source and starts to resemble a NASCAR drivers suit.

So how do you know if you are going one too many?  If you have to ask the question, you probably are.

-RG

18 comments on “One Too Many”

  1. RG.. this also applies to movie, TV and book franchises where the sequel rarely if ever lives up to the original.. X-Men is the most recent example of this relying too heavily on computer generated images (CGI) rather than story. In the world of novels though there have been many story extensions that have achieved greatness but the fact remains that it's just a travesty that what you state here isn't being paid attention to so we all get hit over the head with the repetitive crap. 
    As to you getting an actual paper delivered you must be something of an anomaly in San Diego since us CA people are all about saving trees, organic living, eliminating plastic and all sorts of other social issues, LOL though I can only speak for Bay area people 🙂

  2. Playing it safe is happening way too often Randy and it is destroying the world and the people who live in it. 
    Hollywood continues to make mostly remakes and adaptions of properties which were successful in the past in another medium.
    The music industry keep releasing songs which don't challenge the listener and more  focused on appearance the musicianship or singing ability.
    The video game industry keeps making sequels and after sequel and quick cash-in freemium games at the expense of innovation and quality. 
    Products are focus tested, generic and safe.
    Startups are not solving problems or giving something people they had no idea they would want, they're focused on being "socially conscious" and pleasing people. 
    Parents are micromanaging every aspect of their child or teen's lives and wondering why they don't do well in school and have mental health issues as adults. 
    Religious institutions continue to view women, gays, and children as second class because it's tradition.
    Government agencies and politicians aren't working towards letting people be free to make their choices, but instead regulate businesses and individuals into the powerhouse while taking money from productive people or businesses to give to people or businesses who aren't productive. 
    People are not attending University to enrich themselves, but to pad out their resumes or fulfill someone else's desires. 
    This list could be nearly infinite, but there is an epidemic of fear, existing only to please and seek comfort.
    This is and can only lead to mediocrity. Since the world has changed so rapidly, what used to guarantee people a middle class llfestyle 50 years ago- playing it safe and working for a big company mostly, is making a lot of people poor, and discouraging people who are successful from taking bold risks. 
    This mentality of risk aversion at the cultural level cannot continue without disastrous results. 
    Luckily, no matter what you do or your interests never has their been a greater or easier time to get what is important to you built and into the hands of other people. 
    It likely won't be easy, but it will be worth it to live instead of just exist.

  3. Debbie Falconer No, it's not, because I've seen periodicals, websites, and magazines FULL of ads. 
    The said part is these companies could really be innovative or hire people who are if they lack it. Instead, they'd rather do stuff like this, and some of them lobby to stop people who can be innovative and ask for government assistance and possibly bailouts.

  4. Well said Thomas. For a second there I thought your post would stay in be negative but you turned it around and finished beautifully. Thanks for your thought provoking words. Tony.

  5. tonyscarcia Thank you. You can't tune out unpleasantness and negativity entirely. It exists all around us. You have to deal with it constructively.
    Reality is not always pleasant, but if you are observant and introspective you stand a better chance of dealing with it constructively.  
    Risky is the New Safe. It is clear that the results of fear and uncertainty determining everything are what I mentioned above. 
    Ignoring it because it's negative or unpleasant is setting yourself up to fail, let alone consider how to deal with things in the first place. 
    Opportunity exists despite all of this and can be created. While people continue to go through the motions or be paralyzed or retread what worked in the past, the person who is bold has a chance they may not have had in previous decades unless they were already wealthy or highly educated.

  6. Hey Randy, I agree with your comment regarding  the Front page of the Chicago Tribune.  It looks really "cheesy". More like a grocery store flyer than a credible News Paper
    I live in  Canada, Up to this point our Media and New Papers have not sold their branded souls to the retailers.  Our papers still look professional.  I get up 6 days a week at 6:30 am and walk out to the mail box to retrieve my copy of The National Post.  I read it from front to back with  coffee in hand.  There is something to be said about the tactile experience of turning the pages of a good paper.

  7. Colonel Tom Parker managed Elvis's career by always holding back and not going too far....."Elvis has left the building"...

  8. Wow, I thought you had a section of the paper - but that's the front page?!!  I would be shocked picking that up as well.  Maybe they can get sponsors for their respectful banner up top...with a little blurb....in red, below....today's paper brought to you by....small ad.  The paper in the photo has lost its soul.

  9. 'The Times', you know the one printed in the U.K., as a broadsheet devoted the front page to advertisements for many years. The news was inside, but then the advertisements were more discreet. It was a class thing, and of course The Times sold fewer copies back then, but the reporting was more accurate, and columnists were more politically influential.
    I don't know what that newspaper is in the photograph, but I suspect it has declining influence both commercially and politically.

  10. Randy_Gage Debbie Falconer Wow. I came from a company that spent a lot of money, even locally, on traditional media, print and radio particularly. Once when I asked how we could measure what that brought us, the marketing person said, "you can't, you just have to do it." Fly against the window. 🙂

  11. How it happens to me is that I do one, and get some results but far short of what I expected; so I do another, and it makes a just noticeable difference...after several more tries, when it seems like each is making only a tiny impact, I get frustrated and let loose with a big one. That big one is what ends up being not one too many, but an order of magnitude over the top. That's how the soup ends up with so much salt in it (among many other things :-))

  12. Debbie Falconer Randy_Gage Yeah, but that's not true is it Debbie? You can measure responses using coupon codes, or simply say that people can get a x% discount is they mention they heard of a product on a specific radio program, or T.V. spot.

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  • 18 comments on “One Too Many”

    1. RG.. this also applies to movie, TV and book franchises where the sequel rarely if ever lives up to the original.. X-Men is the most recent example of this relying too heavily on computer generated images (CGI) rather than story. In the world of novels though there have been many story extensions that have achieved greatness but the fact remains that it's just a travesty that what you state here isn't being paid attention to so we all get hit over the head with the repetitive crap. 
      As to you getting an actual paper delivered you must be something of an anomaly in San Diego since us CA people are all about saving trees, organic living, eliminating plastic and all sorts of other social issues, LOL though I can only speak for Bay area people 🙂

    2. Playing it safe is happening way too often Randy and it is destroying the world and the people who live in it. 
      Hollywood continues to make mostly remakes and adaptions of properties which were successful in the past in another medium.
      The music industry keep releasing songs which don't challenge the listener and more  focused on appearance the musicianship or singing ability.
      The video game industry keeps making sequels and after sequel and quick cash-in freemium games at the expense of innovation and quality. 
      Products are focus tested, generic and safe.
      Startups are not solving problems or giving something people they had no idea they would want, they're focused on being "socially conscious" and pleasing people. 
      Parents are micromanaging every aspect of their child or teen's lives and wondering why they don't do well in school and have mental health issues as adults. 
      Religious institutions continue to view women, gays, and children as second class because it's tradition.
      Government agencies and politicians aren't working towards letting people be free to make their choices, but instead regulate businesses and individuals into the powerhouse while taking money from productive people or businesses to give to people or businesses who aren't productive. 
      People are not attending University to enrich themselves, but to pad out their resumes or fulfill someone else's desires. 
      This list could be nearly infinite, but there is an epidemic of fear, existing only to please and seek comfort.
      This is and can only lead to mediocrity. Since the world has changed so rapidly, what used to guarantee people a middle class llfestyle 50 years ago- playing it safe and working for a big company mostly, is making a lot of people poor, and discouraging people who are successful from taking bold risks. 
      This mentality of risk aversion at the cultural level cannot continue without disastrous results. 
      Luckily, no matter what you do or your interests never has their been a greater or easier time to get what is important to you built and into the hands of other people. 
      It likely won't be easy, but it will be worth it to live instead of just exist.

    3. Debbie Falconer No, it's not, because I've seen periodicals, websites, and magazines FULL of ads. 
      The said part is these companies could really be innovative or hire people who are if they lack it. Instead, they'd rather do stuff like this, and some of them lobby to stop people who can be innovative and ask for government assistance and possibly bailouts.

    4. Well said Thomas. For a second there I thought your post would stay in be negative but you turned it around and finished beautifully. Thanks for your thought provoking words. Tony.

    5. tonyscarcia Thank you. You can't tune out unpleasantness and negativity entirely. It exists all around us. You have to deal with it constructively.
      Reality is not always pleasant, but if you are observant and introspective you stand a better chance of dealing with it constructively.  
      Risky is the New Safe. It is clear that the results of fear and uncertainty determining everything are what I mentioned above. 
      Ignoring it because it's negative or unpleasant is setting yourself up to fail, let alone consider how to deal with things in the first place. 
      Opportunity exists despite all of this and can be created. While people continue to go through the motions or be paralyzed or retread what worked in the past, the person who is bold has a chance they may not have had in previous decades unless they were already wealthy or highly educated.

    6. Hey Randy, I agree with your comment regarding  the Front page of the Chicago Tribune.  It looks really "cheesy". More like a grocery store flyer than a credible News Paper
      I live in  Canada, Up to this point our Media and New Papers have not sold their branded souls to the retailers.  Our papers still look professional.  I get up 6 days a week at 6:30 am and walk out to the mail box to retrieve my copy of The National Post.  I read it from front to back with  coffee in hand.  There is something to be said about the tactile experience of turning the pages of a good paper.

    7. Colonel Tom Parker managed Elvis's career by always holding back and not going too far....."Elvis has left the building"...

    8. Wow, I thought you had a section of the paper - but that's the front page?!!  I would be shocked picking that up as well.  Maybe they can get sponsors for their respectful banner up top...with a little blurb....in red, below....today's paper brought to you by....small ad.  The paper in the photo has lost its soul.

    9. 'The Times', you know the one printed in the U.K., as a broadsheet devoted the front page to advertisements for many years. The news was inside, but then the advertisements were more discreet. It was a class thing, and of course The Times sold fewer copies back then, but the reporting was more accurate, and columnists were more politically influential.
      I don't know what that newspaper is in the photograph, but I suspect it has declining influence both commercially and politically.

    10. Randy_Gage Debbie Falconer Wow. I came from a company that spent a lot of money, even locally, on traditional media, print and radio particularly. Once when I asked how we could measure what that brought us, the marketing person said, "you can't, you just have to do it." Fly against the window. 🙂

    11. How it happens to me is that I do one, and get some results but far short of what I expected; so I do another, and it makes a just noticeable difference...after several more tries, when it seems like each is making only a tiny impact, I get frustrated and let loose with a big one. That big one is what ends up being not one too many, but an order of magnitude over the top. That's how the soup ends up with so much salt in it (among many other things :-))

    12. Debbie Falconer Randy_Gage Yeah, but that's not true is it Debbie? You can measure responses using coupon codes, or simply say that people can get a x% discount is they mention they heard of a product on a specific radio program, or T.V. spot.

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