If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is, “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is, “Probably because of something you did.”

That faux self-helpy advice, makes me laugh, often out loud. It starts with an earnest, believable lead-in and then surprises with a thrown-off punchline. That is the style of Jack Handey. A bit Steven Wright and Farside comic mixed with Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I was first exposed to Handey’s Deep Thoughts on Saturday Night Live many moons…


When Covid-19 is behind us and we gather again, when habits and traditions return. When we look around our homes, well then, something impressive will happen. Something historic. Recent events make it difficult to predict with any confidence, yet I am convinced this phenomenon will take place. It will be unmatched, never to be equaled.

Post the pandemic, prepare yourself to experience the most astounding wave of garage sales ever to be seen.

Think about it. We are well into a year of accumulation without the routine jettisoning. This is an extended period of purchases, we would not otherwise have…


It takes a certain vintage, I am speaking of human age, not a red wine or long-packaged Twinkie, to recall the magazine called, Spy. It was, to use an expression oft-used, fucking awesome. It ran from 1986 to 1998. Those were formative years for me. Actually, every year has been formative for me. I expect future ones to be equally or even more formative.

The publication was founded by Kurt Andersen and E. Graydon Carter, who served as its first editors. Their pedigrees are well-pedigreed. Andersen graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he edited the Harvard Lampoon. He…


Why, oh why, should I write about this, you ask? Well, because, they all hung in my family’s summer cottage. So, let’s find out how they came to be and the legacy they leave.

Remember the Tennis Girl Poster? A very cheeky one, indeed. What throws many off is it is British. Most assume American origins. It shows an attractive woman from behind (hint, hint) walking towards a tennis court net. In her right hand is a (wooden) racquet. Her left hand reaches behind for some unknown reason lifting a short, white tennis dress. …


Having ghostwritten books and put out my own on marketing’s rich history, I have a grasp of what books do well. Self-help, leadership, romance, and wellness are hot categories. So, too, is true crime, and not only in the form of books. Podcasts, streaming content, traditional television, and long-read articles abound, sharing the depravity and cruelness of the human condition to huge audiences.

True crime is not my genre though I must admit, while cutting the lawn, I will listen to the podcast version of NBC’s Dateline. …


I grew up preppy. A Canadian kind of preppy. Often Ralph Lauren polos were out of reach both due to cost and supply. This was the 1980’s. When an outlet store of Ralph’s opened in my neighborhood of Tuxedo in Winnipeg, I was a frequent browser. More affordable were Roots and Beaver Canoe brands (you have to be Canadian to fully understand). My friends and I lived in either brand’s sweatpants which were considered preppy. I wore out Ellesse knock-off polos that my father came back with from a trip to Asia.

One very influential brand while growing up was…


I have spent a great amount of time in Manhattan. In the ’90’s, I was in the city for 5 months “reengineering” Price Waterhouse’s marketing in the five boroughs. Later, I commuted there twice a month from Canada for over eleven years, working for Interbrand and DDB Worldwide over that time. And there were many other visits too. In fact, I have probably “lived” in Manhattan for four or five years.

Times Square was gentrifying when I started taking in its sights, yet still plenty gritty. I often triple-checked that my wallet was still on my person but it was…


Many Software as a Service companies struggle with marketing. Awareness, conversion and retention are challenges. In the past two weeks, I have been exposed to over a dozen SaaS companies through talks delivered for an incubator. I know why they are struggling.

SaaS marketing is highly templated, and everyone is using the same templates. What’s more, there is startling little differentiation regardless of the nature of the software. Finance SaaS solutions are marketed the same as Design SaaS or Procurement SaaS. There are tons of different flavors, but at the end of the day, it is the same ice cream…


If you follow Stephen King in the press and social media, you will see he has passion for many topics. The author is politically vocal and not a fan of the 45th President. He is highly supportive of other writers, especially those starting out. He shares tips on the craft of writing and is delightfully self-deprecating, “I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.”

King is amazingly well-known, having sold over 350 million copies of his 61 novels. It is fair to say, his name is synonymous with the term, “bestselling”. …


Restaurant menus provide me with great entertainment. First, there are the overly florid descriptions, “Isle of Gigha halibut plucked today from Neptune’s briny depths and glazed with hints of Aegean seaweed while paired with citrus-infused Atlantic King crab balanced delicately by herbal-honeyed cauliflower couscous, index finger lime, and accented by a buttery and woody ras el hanout infused broth.”

All joking aside, given I penned that pretentious menu item, it does pay to have dishes sound more enticing. Guests, on average, spend about 109 seconds with a menu. Item descriptions trigger 45% of buying decisions for a specific dish and…

Jeff Swystun

Business, Brand & Writing Strategies. Former CMO at Interbrand, Chief Communications Officer at DDB Worldwide, Principal Consultant at Price Waterhouse.

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