Idea vs. Execution

By Mary Tindall

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“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman


Starbucks ended its short-lived “Race Together” campaign this week after inciting global controversy over what many called a half-baked strategy.

Bringing race to the forefront of our collective consciousness is a noble, vital goal. And Starbucks grasps the importance of grassroots action when it comes to sparking change. But when a corporate behemoth tries to pull off a grassroots campaign, no matter how well-intentioned, it can register as inauthentic – and that’s what happened here.

“Race Together” is a fascinating PR case study on ideas vs. execution. The best ideas change the world for the better. And plenty of legendary ad campaigns center on one simple, elegant idea (like Apple’s “Think different.” campaign in the late 1990s).

But a great idea isn’t enough. It has to marry with solid strategy and execution. Without those two ingredients, an idea is a fantasy, at best – and at worst, it’s a disaster.

Starbucks plans to run special sections in USA Today, hold forums on race and hire more employees from diverse backgrounds – all of which seem like more appropriate venues for the type of conversation they hoped to inspire.

Meanwhile, the next time I hit the drive-through on my way to work, I won’t be wondering whether my iced caramel macchiato will come with an awkward conversation starter on the side.

Mary Tindall is a senior account executive at Costa Communications Group.

Texting is the End of the English Language – JK


By Kelsey Albina

There are two sides to every argument. And TBH, I had my mind made up about which side I fell on before I started to write this. (Oh, TBH means “to be honest,” BTW.)

Texting. Social media. Instant messaging. Is it ruining the English language? Is it affecting my comma or punctuation usage? I would’ve vehemently said “yes” just yesterday. Then I did some research on language and its evolution. I also read some studies on how technology is impacting how we learn and process the English language. And my thoughts have changed – even if I still refuse to drop a word’s vowels on purpose when pecking away at my cell phone.

Reading in acronyms is annoying. And I don’t appreciate when the English language is butchered to make words incorrect. I cringe when my phone autocorrects “were” to “we’re” when I fully intended to exclude the apostrophe. I correct my friends when they use the wrong “their/there/they’re” in a text message. But there’s something cool about language changing as society changes. That is, after all, how our language was created.

John McWhorter writes in his 2013 Time essay, “Texting properly isn’t writing at all – it’s actually more akin to spoken language. The argument that texting is ‘poor writing’ is analogous, then, to one that the Rolling Stones is ‘bad music’ because it doesn’t use violas.”

Just as the meanings of words morph over time, language changes, too. We don’t get upset when others say “that’s awful” to describe “terrible” rather than “inspiring awe.”

Does it mean that the shortened language we use while texting or posting to social media is killing grammar and the structure of the English language? Not necessarily. Maybe it’s a chance for us to adapt, as well, and to really hone in on the differences between written, spoken and texted communication.