March 26, 2013

Letters to the editor: Alzheimer's story raises urgent issues

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Sally Tartre of Kennebunk, whose late mother had Alzheimer’s disease, spoke March 14 at a State House news conference on Maine’s first strategic plan to address dementia-related issues. The subject “really hits home for my family,” says a reader whose 86-year-old father died of Alzheimer’s/dementia March 3.

2013 File Photo by Kelley Bouchard/Staff Writer

At the same time, the state is using thousands of scarce state dollars to kill weeds on a rail line that has no definite plan for ever being used again! If it were to be used in the future, extensive reparation would be required, such that a few weeds should provide no great impediment.

I urge the public to join me in taking a stand to stop the state's unsafe and wasteful use of pesticides by supporting L.D. 920, "An Act to Prohibit Herbicide Spraying on Abandoned Railroad Lines."

To voice your support, call state Sen. Ed Mazurek, Senate chairman of the Transportation Committee, at 594-5647, or state Rep. Ken Theriault, House chairman of the Transportation Committee, at 728-4526.

Linda Webb


Penny-pinching approach bad pick by lottery officials

As the architect of one of the greatest double-entendre brand names in history, I was appalled reading Bill Nemitz's column about the Kwikie lottery game (" 'Kwikie' becomes late scratch," March 20).

The head of the bureau that oversees branding for the state's lottery was quoted as saying they knew they were going to do something provocative. In other words, excite the senses of "Kwikie" patrons.

At the same time, lottery officials were going to gamble that their double-entendres related to promoting "Kwikies" would not be offensive. Yes, this is, in fact, high-stakes marketing.

Here is where the state leaders failed miserably. When you incorporate a double-entendre strategy into your branding plan, you must always work up from the lowest common denominator -- in other words, the least sophisticated level of taste. Lottery heads worked from the excitement of the 'Kwikie" name down.

The bureau leading the charge said it did not want to spend $100,000 to $200,000 on professional marketers to do what they felt they could do in-house.

Because of that decision, the lottery now has no overarching brand, has a world full of bad publicity and has lost the past six months of branding efforts -- to say nothing about questionable resource allocation.

There is a reason why successful branding experts carry the rates we do. I hope that going forward, lottery officials will consider professional branding consultants.

Double-entendre branding is much more of a science than an art. Lesson here: When you roll the dice on a provocative brand, make it a calculated risk.

While the "Kwikie" brand seemed like a kwik fix, the truth is that it was not well reasoned. Successful branding can lead to long-lasting brands. The "Kwikie" brand should go away as kwik as it came.

Kaile Warren

founder, Rent-A-Husband



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