The Beauty (or Ugliness?) of Headlines

Headlines are everything, as evidenced by two recent(ish) Mashable stories.

The first story, “How to pull off the ugliest fall nail colors,” could benefit from switching just one word in the headline. Yes I know ugly is a strong, hot-button word, but nail polish is a beauty product. Why would someone want to wear an ugly color? Additionally, depending on the reader’s taste, not all of the colors featured are unattractive. To bring more readers in, and better convey the truly helpful information contained in the story, I might have changed “ugly” to “trickiest.”

The second story, “5 delicious nail art designs inspired by desserts,” does a better job of getting the point across. The reader knows exactly what she’s getting into, down to the number of designs. It also strikes an emotional chord, although this one is a positive one associated with enjoying sweets.

Crafting the perfect headline is an art. And, like nail polish colors, the appeal is sometimes completely subjective.

Fast-Food Marketing Stunts

I think most marketing/creative/ad-agency types (myself included) occasionally get ate up with our own cleverness. Case in point, Adweek’s story covering marketing stunts pulled by various QSRs.

Did these efforts give the restaurants a momentary PR and/or sales boost? Probably. Did they build the brand long-term or address the underlying issue facing most fast-food companies (i.e., more and more people don’t want to eat the unhealthy food they pedal)? Doubtful.

Beauty Across Time & Cultures

If you regularly check out Mashable or BuzzFeed, you’ve most likely seen one or more of Cut Video’s 100 Years of Beauty videos. Thus far, the channel’s explored Filipina, Mexican, Korean, Persian, African American and Caucasian American styles over the past 100 years. Here’s the Filipina one:

Beyond the superficial fun of checking out all the different hair and makeup looks, it’s fascinating to see how standards vary (or don’t vary in some cases) across decades and countries. It’s also a nice reminder of the ephemeral nature of beauty trends.

Above all, the models each video are confident. It may be hard to master, that’s the number-one trick to being beautiful, regardless of time or place.


During my aimless Web surfing this morning, I found a post and video really resonated with me. (Yes, it’s sponsored by American Greetings, but it’s relevant nonetheless.)

Everyone has challenges in life, and it’s certainly easy to go grumbling through each day. But I’m sure everyone also has things and, more importantly people, in life for whom she is grateful. Someone who makes him laugh, someone who lends a hand, someone who adds a spark to her life.

My advice for today: Do something to show gratitude to that someone (or someones). I’m talking more about slapping a picture on Instagram with #blessed.

I’m gonna stop now before I descend into glurge territory. But know this: If you’re reading this post, I’m grateful for you!

A Woman on the U.S. $20 Bill?

A group of women recently started a campaign to put a woman’s face on the U.S. $20 bill. While purists may argue that this would break centuries of monetary tradition, I say the change is long overdue.

U.S. paper currency
Image courtesy WikiMedia

The US has only attempted to put a woman’s face on currency twice: We put Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea on the dollar coin at various points in time. Neither effort really took off. We’ve redesigned our bills in other ways before; let’s step up our game and put a woman’s face on a widely-circulated bill. (Of the candidates suggested thus far, I like Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks.)

I’m not dinging Messers. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant or Franklin. They made tremendous contributions to the U.S. Women have played just a big a role in making our country great. While many have been lauded for their accomplishments, it might just be time to, well, put our money where our mouths are.

3-Year-Old Recites Taekwondo Student Pledge

Video of a three-year-old reciting her taekwondo student pledge has racked up over nine-million views on YouTube. Aside from being absurdly cute, I think it carries a good message about youth sports.

Sports are primarily about competition, I get that. But I think it’s gotten to the point, especially in kids’ sports, where the competition is emphasized to the exclusion of everything else, including teamwork, self-discipline and even *gasp* fun.

What this little lady is learning at a very early age is that taekwondo will teach her positive thinking and respect for others, along with some really sweet martial arts moves.

I hope she manages to maintain both her fierceness and healthy outlook as she grows up!

Follow-up: Coca-Cola Does Milk?

Image courtesy Fairlife

I last wrote about Fairlife, the new brand of “better-for-you-milk” from Coca-Cola. Yesterday, I found some at my local Kroger, decided to (almost literally) put my money where my mouth is and bought a bottle of the two-percent…

My initial impression is positive. The taste is practically identical to real milk, and the texture is just a bit thicker (though not unpleasantly so). I’d say it’s comparable to most organic milks I’ve tried. In terms of health benefits, I’m mildly lactose intolerant, and Fairlife didn’t bother me. Since I’ve only had one glass, I can’t speak to the long-term benefits of the additional calcium and less sugar.

My two-person market research also yielded  interesting results. I showed the bottle to my mom, and she said it “looked like milk of magnesia.” When I told the checkout lady Fairlife was made by Coke, she just shook her head. I trust Coca-Cola did much more in-depth work than this, so I yield to their expertise.

Bottom line: Since it costs twice as much as regular milk, I personally would only repurchase it as a occasional treat (especially the chocolate version). If you’re lactose intolerant and don’t care for soy or almond milk, definitely consider Fairlife. Otherwise, there are lots of other options out there to try.