Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA Relents, Revises "Enhanced Pat-Down"

TSA Announces Changes to Pat-Down Procedures for Children

WASHINGTON – November 22, 2010 – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced changes to its “Enhanced Pat-down” security procedures at U.S. airports affecting children and teens flying over the busy holiday travel season. These changes are designed to reduce the trauma and apprehension some airline passengers – particularly those between the ages of 12 and 16 – as well as their parents may have about submitting to the full-body scans and enhanced pat-downs initiated earlier this year.

Many passengers, as well as organized groups of frequent fliers, have protested the invasive frisking to which passengers have been subjected since new screening guidelines were announced earlier this year. According to TSA officials, these changes are not in response to a planned Opt-Out Protest planned for the traditionally busy Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

“Our first priority, of course, is the security of our passengers,” Said John S. Pistole, administrator of the agency. “We understand that these are the air travelers of tomorrow and it’s important to make sure their experience is as pleasurable and rewarding as possible.”

According to the new guidelines, published on the TSA website, special youth screeners will be identified at each of 73 of the busiest American airports and trained specifically to perform the enhanced pat-downs on children between 10 and 16 years of age.

These specialists will be dressed in new uniforms, specially designed to identify them as “kid-friendly.”

“Obviously it can be troubling when somebody perceived as a stranger searches your private areas,” said Pistole. “We think these friendly and familiar faces will make the experience for everyone, parents included, much more pleasant.”

Any children still troubled by the experience will be given a chocolate bar or, alternately, tickets to a local sporting event.

Image Cred

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Social Media Revolution?

After the transformational election of 2008, many so-called social media “experts” declared the old model of running a political campaign to be dead.

The mantra was that and hundreds of independently launched sites and Facebook pages proved that power had indeed gone to the people. All we needed to do was engage these audiences, motivate them to incremental action and, well WIN!

But a funny thing happened while all those SocMed consultants (myself included) were building slides and eating rubber chicken lunches and collecting those coffee-mug honoraria.

Everybody forgot.

One of the things everybody agrees is wrong with the current political system is that raising money and preparing for the next campaign is a constant and repetitive struggle.

But that’s the key.

Social media simply is not compatible with a campaign mentality. It’s just not an event: It’s a process.

Election 2010 was by all accounts the most expensive in history, at least for a mid-term. I heard one estimate of $3 Billion once all the receipts come in. But where did candidates and parties and special interests newly liberated from any reporting structure choose to spend their money? Overwhelmingly it went to traditional print, outdoor and broadcast media. Heavy on the TV.

Lessons for Marketers

With so many close races, what if just some of them set aside just SOME of that marketing budget? What if instead of spending big wads of money in the last three weeks they had invested part as they raised it over the last two years?

What if they had stayed engaged?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Live-Tweeting or Live-Blogging: A Lesson in Convergence

A story, with a lesson:

Live blogging any event that people outside would like to attend is a great way to gain followers, position your social media voice, and establish clearly how you’re using the channel. We know that.

But ignore the connections between NEW(!) media and traditional powerhouses at your own peril.

My boss at the agency was part of a panel discussion where leaders of prominent Cincinnati organizations shared their lessons and challenges on managing through the current economic … er … situation.

When I live-tweeted that Cincinnati Business Courier event last week, my purpose was to share the best tips and strategies those CEOs offered. I knew it would go farther than that, but had no idea it would become actual news.

Business Owner Insights, featured CEOs from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Bank of Kentucky, PayCor and, of course, Powers Agency. Courier Publisher Doug Bolton led the discussion on general management, finances, HR, you name it. It was very well planned and organized, and my fellow attendees told me afterward that they gained quite a bit from the discussion.

Me too, though probably not as much as some others.

You see, I live-tweeted the entire thing.


When you’re planning a social media-friendly event, consider live-blogging. But also consider who should be doing the blogging or tweeting.

Are you documenting the event or experiencing it?

You can the whole thread here.

Or just follow me here.

If you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Revolution Indeed Will Be Tweeted

At least at first.

[In which he offends the literary gods by confronting Malcolm Gladwell]

Okay, if you haven’t read Gladwell’s article, go read it now. We’ll still be here. I promise.

As I wander around the Midwest talking to companies and professional groups about social media, one of my favorite opening slides is a simple one:

Social Media Doesn’t Matter.

That’s right; the people who have generously forked over a chicken breast lunch and a coffee mug full of key chains stare in horror as I tell them that their chosen topic for this month’s luncheon is a bucket of BS.

I still keep the mug.

If you’re still checking this frequently neglected outpost, you know what I mean by that: What matters is what happens in the real world, IRL, meatspace, whatever.

In the October 4 edition of the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell posits that social media are (yes!) doomed to failure if users expect massive change to result from their efforts. He begins with a description of the Civil Rights movement and, in particular, the risks and sacrifices made by the Greensboro Woolworth’s sit-in participants. He goes on to address the level of commitment needed by the freedom riders and calls on the blessed names of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman.

Politics, social change … even sales requires soliciting commitment. Clicking a “like” button is a minimum level of commitment. Making a $1 PayPal contribution or joining a conversation is relatively low-risk on the cost/benefit scale.

Point Mr. Gladwell.

But like the social media evangelists he decries, he misses the point. It’s not just about what happens on the Twitter machine.

But it’s a start.

Like those dormroom conversations at North Carolina A&T, social media conversations are a means, not an end. What matters is not what happens on Twitter or what some 20-year-old says over cheap wine in a dorm.

Action counts.

My practice is focused on business results, not on social change. But I still advise my clients that the number of followers, friends, retweets or whatever comes next is less important than the effect you see in sales or cost-savings.

But it has to start somewhere. And it starts with a conversation.

Whether that conversation starts in a blog post comment stream, a Twitter feed, a Facebook post or …

A Munich BierStube in the 1930s

Or a tavern in Philadelphia or Boston in the 1750s …

Yeah, social conversations can change the world.

Just not all at once.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It’s Not Them, It’s You: Selling Social Media to the C-Suite

A couple of weeks ago, my colleague, Andy Sullivan, and I were in my office talking about – what else? – social media. At one point, after seeing a third or fourth college intern walk by outside I interrupted: “You know, to those guys, hearing us talk about social media is like us overhearing Dan Pinger and Charlie Powers talk about the phone.”

See? I can dial a specific number and communicate one-to-one with almost anybody anywhere in the world!

With early adopters and edgier brands it’s easier to convince senior management to take the plunge and invest in a social media program. At least one that goes beyond slapping corporate videos and product releases on Facebook. But at other companies, getting the go ahead to do what in your heart you know is right can take a little convincing.

We’ve heard the cries (is whine too strong?) from friends and colleagues: Management just doesn’t get it.

Not every CEO is cautious by nature. Many of them, in fact, see themselves more or less as mavericks. So why are some so reluctant to move past broadcasting and into actual engagement?

Sorry, it’s not them. It’s you.

When you’re telling them all the things this wonderful technology called “social media” can do for them, you’re not speaking their language. You may be selling features instead of benefits.

She doesn’t live in your world. That why she’s the CEO and you, well, you’re you. That’s not a value judgment, just a fact. There are lots of things the folks in the C-suite count on you to know for them. If you’re in the marketing department … or PR, CorpComm, ER, HR, Customer Service … new technology ain’t one of them.

Here are manymany things the guy or gal in the big chair knows that you do not. There even more that he or she knows whether you agree with it or not.

If you want to sell a new technology, have at. But if you want to introduce a new channel for achieving business objectives: things like making money, saving money, doing things faster … open with that and you’re likely to have a much more receptive audience.

Image Cred

Tuesday, May 4, 2010, Privacy and the Triumph of Facts Over Truth

You better look at this,” she said.

This turned out to be the shiny new Spokeo site, the latest social media aggregator/data-mining webby that in all likelihood will move the needle on more blood pressure gauges than anything else.

Privacy advocates (disclosure: of which I am one) will see this as a threat to all that is sacred in the long twilight struggle against our entire lives being digitized and posted on the intertoobs. Meanwhile, many marketing analysts are no doubt licking their chops at the segmentation possibilities: “How fast can you make it searchable?!”

To the privacy advocates, it’s important to note that Spokeo does have an opt-out utility. It’s as clunky as the car I drove in college, but it’s a start. That, in addition to the mantra I repeat to anybody who will listen:

When you’re on a social media platform, you’re in … wait for it … public.

Don’t be surprised if somebody overhears what you say.

Meanwhile, to the data miners: Don’t get too greedy just yet. The algorithm (whatever it is) that Spokeo uses to collect bits from social media sites and public records collects content. But the content it collects is completely devoid of context.

Try an experiment.

Plug in your own name. Then those of your friends, neighbors, relatives.

I, for one, learned that a guy I’ve known for 20 years as a hard-driving entrepreneur and a headbanger, actually enjoys easy listening music and spends his spare time quilting.


A hard-wired data miner can tell you that it doesn’t matter what my friend enjoys; really, only what he buys. But if he buys a quilting pattern for Grandma once for Mother’s Day, how likely a customer is he for your thread and needles?

Is Spokeo evil? No. It is what it is.

Is it a useful targeting tool for communicators?

Not yet.

A threat to your privacy?

Too early to tell.

Image Cred and these guys look cool

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Context Rules Marketing, Too

Direct marketing is a three-legged stool: Audience, Offer, and Content. But context still matters, maybe more than any of the other three.

In a previous post, I mentioned an old gig I had at Cornerstone Brands, a direct marketing company/retailer. Their flagship brand is Frontgate, which offers high-quality functional items for affluent homeowners. The tagline for Frontgate is Outfitting America’s Finest Homes.

During my six-year tenure there, we used several tactics for customer acquisition outside of the bread-and-butter list exchanges. One example provides an illustration of the power of context over content.

Occasionally we would find a remnant advertising opportunity. Remnant advertising essentially means that somebody had backed out of a contract or a publication had more editorial for a specific edition than they had sold ad space to support. You could buy this space at extreme discounts if you were able to provide art (and a check) on short notice.

We used this tactic off and on throughout my tour of duty there and one rule was never broken: PR outperformed advertising on an ROI basis every single time.


Public Relations professionals might say that the third-party credibility of an editorial mention always out performs an ad. That’s valid, but we’re not talking multipliers, here. I’m talking orders of magnitude.

We’d run an ad for, say … a pool float. We’d get a sweet, sweet deal on some remnant space in, for example, the A section of the Wall Street Journal. We’re on a high-traffic, right-hand-read spread.


Meanwhile, on the same day we get a mediocre review of the same product in the D section: WSJ Weekend. Suddenly, inventory planners hated me because we couldn’t keep pool floats in stock.



Same audience. Same offer. Less compelling and even slightly negative content.

More sales.

Sure, good ol’ third-party cred plays a role. But the bigger factor is context.

1. No matter how qualified somebody is as a consumer, when they’re reading the A section of the Wall Street Journal, they’re thinking about their money.

2. No matter what kind of a week they’ve had in the market, when they’re reading the Weekend section of the Wall Street Journal, they’re thinking about their home. Or their second home. Or their third home.

They’re In Context.

Image Cred

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tyson Foods Proves Value of Focus in Cause Branding

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what *you* have to find out.

-- Source


Ed Nicholson draws a bright line between cause marketing and what he calls cause branding. As director of community and public relations at Tyson Foods, responsibility for the company’s social media efforts fell to Nicholson. His presentation at lasts week’s #BlogWell Cincinnati was a case study in the evolution of a brand, a company and of a public relations career.

Two Big Lessons:

1. Brands that focus – not only in the creative brief but in their community involvement – define themselves more clearly and make it easier for their audiences to understand and relate to essential brand traits.

His formal presentation detailed how Tyson uses its social media presence – on both public and proprietary platforms – to build a community around the issue of hunger. This focus not only mobilizes the energy and action of customers, partners and 107,000 US employees, it creates a unified identity for the Tyson brand. By focusing on a single issue, he and his team are able to set the context – establish the Dominant Narrative – for Tyson in way that is both true and beneficial to company goals.

This is, of course, easier said than done. Marketers at organizations large and small wrestle with narrowing the playing field as they’re trained to look for opportunities everywhere. I asked Ed if he got any resistance from general management to sticking so closely to a single issue. Surprisingly, he reports very little push-back, perhaps in part due to the results of his efforts. He even credits the ambient awareness cooked up by Tyson’s SocMed engagement to increases in traditional media coverage of the brand and of its philanthropic efforts.

An early mentor of mine explained the importance of focus using a fairly morbid analogy I have since updated periodically:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 440,000 deaths in the United States each year related to smoking. And yet, there is a surprisingly small organized movement to outlaw smoking except as it impacts the health and comfort of non-smokers. Because these deaths are dispersed and happen gradually, they register in the public consciousness as, well, a shame … but not a call to arms.

If, on the other hand, you picked up your morning newspaper (remember those?) to learn that overnight the use of tobacco products had claimed the lives of every man, woman and child in Omaha, Neb. Things might play out differently.

Focus, likewise, is a key to branding. Read the creative brief. What does your brand stand for? All the follows or friends in the world don’t advance the cause if your efforts aren’t consistent with the strategy.

That’s why some big companies become houses of brands instead of branded houses. We all know (at least in this business) that General Mills makes Go Lean. We also know they make Trix. But our relationship is not with General Mills, it’s with the individual brands.

Of course there are exceptions to the whole focus thing. It a rule, not a law n’ stuff. Jeez.

But if your strategy is to take credit for doing some good in the world … focus. Do you think you’d get more attention for sending one kid in each state to college or for sending the entire graduating class of Millard Fillmore High in Maysville?

2. Stay on Message

On the surface, hunger sounds like a pretty non-controversial issue. But Tyson’s mileage has at times varied. Nicholson’s advice: Don’t engage the haters. You waste your time and resources debating people who aren’t interested in having a relationship. You also just rile them and attract more to their cause. Face it: some people just will not be persuaded.

Tyson has some natural allies and some natural opponents. By engaging both, Ed manages to keep the conversation lively without getting into flame wars. Meanwhile, Nicholson reports some wins in this area such as Tweets from former opponents saying things like [paraphrasing]: “I’m a vegan and I don’t use your product but I appreciate what you’re doing.”

That’s full of win.

More here and here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Content May Be King but Context Rules

Easter is the highest of holy days in Christendom. Nobody does Easter like the Catholics (we Catholics actually, in the interest of disclosure). Easter is so important that the Feast itself actually lasts eight days and the season 50 days. And no Mass is more important than the Easter Vigil, which happens between darkness and sunrise on Holy Saturday. It’s the full-on bells-and-smells, bonfires and candles, baptism of converts, two- to three-hour infomercial with testimonials for the Lord.

It’s a ritual beautiful beyond description and an exhausting experience.

But it’s also the Church’s greatest annual opportunity to demonstrate what the whole Catholic and (in Canon) Christian brand is about.

So imagine you’re the brand manager for the Roman Catholic Church and you see this headline:

This humble off-ramp on the Information Superhighway got its name from an example I used in a lunchroom conversation in 2002. My companion that day, a fellow marketer from another company, seemed to like it so I put it into the repertoire. Later, when I heard it from another colleague who thought her source had invented it, I decided to claim at least some credit in the form of a free URL.


My point even going back to that (exquisite in those days, if you must know) lunch at Cornerstone Brands, was that what your audience believes they know about your brand or your client shapes their perception of every single piece of new information. You can try all your life to tell them what they think – what they know – isn’t true, but unless and until you replace that Dominant Narrative with a new truth, you’re screwed.

And right now, if B16 – an 82 year-old man, btw – saved a baby from a burning bus, the headline in the mainstream press likely would be Holy Father Saves Baby Amid Lingering Abuse Questions.

Live with it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We’re All Smug B@stards Now

There’s an unwritten rule among people who write jokes. If I tell you an original joke, you are free to retell it. The first three times, it’s only polite to mention where you got it. But after that, drive it like you stole it.

Over at Marketing with Meaning, Bob Gilbreath is giving us the rundown on the sights, sounds and lessons of SXSWi10. As I didn’t get to make the trip this year, I’m grateful for the vicarious education.

In his most recent installment (at least as I write this) Bob shares some thoughts from Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody.

The central thesis of the lesson is this:

… all sharing is not created equal. While all forms of sharing can bring positive feelings, different types come at different costs.

Just go read it. I’ll wait.

It’s all true: We’re programmed to share. In addition to the cost of sharing there are the personal benefits of sharing that play an important role. Mostly those benefits are, well … social. There’s status in being the first to discover a new band, new restaurant, latest joke. Sharing is how we get credit for the discovery.

What’s new with SocMed technology is the ability to document your firstness (or at least early discovery) and track the conversation. That social status of being the bearer of useful (or at least interesting) information is not new.

Ever watch two guys give somebody directions at the same time?

Ever notice the expression on a friend’s face when he realizes you’ve heard the joke before?

Shareable information – a joke, an image, a new link – makes us feel connected. The same is true for having the beta version of the latest game or the scoop on a new product launch.

It makes us feel plugged in. Give your audience something they not only can share but gain status from sharing and you’ve made a friend. Make enough friends and you’ve got an army. Raise a large enough army and … well, y’know.

So the challenge is this: What do you have that the audience of your audience wants?

Image Cred

Sunday, March 14, 2010

BlogWell Cincinnati April 7th 2010

One of the best professional development series in social media is coming to town with BlogWell Cincinnati April 7th at the Duke Energy Center. It’s an impressive line-up of professionals using social media to advance the business objectives of their respective organizations. The line-up is heavy with practical experience and you can expect lessons that will apply beyond the digital realm and into any community-building, marketing, public relations or communication discipline.

So why am I posting their brochure in this space?

Cincinnati Social Media is proud to be a partner in presenting the half-day event. You can find more details here, and if you’re a member of the CincySM group over at LinkedIn, we can swing you a discount on attending. The registration code is here.

For those of you scoring along at home:

Lisa Hoffman on how Duke Energy manages real-time response during weather emergencies and leverages down time to build awareness.

Blair Kleinof of AT&T covers how one of the world's largest communications companies uses social media.

Ed Nicholson, the PR guy at Tyson Foods, describes building a community around the issue of hunger.

David Witt, another public relations pro, will talk about what General Mills does to create conversations with influencers.

Virginia Suliman of Hilton Worldwide will outline Hilton’s global social media strategy for 3,400 hotels under nine different banners.

Lionel Menchaca, chief blogger at Dell, will talk about how they’re leveraging communities to drive e-commerce.

A little hometown presence as Anitra Marsh, global ER manager at Procter and Gamble shares some lessons from several P&G Beauty case studies.

And another PR case study from Kelly Voelker, brand manager for PR and social media describes her experience using social media to inform customers during a product recall.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Language Doesn’t Just Frame the Argument. Sometimes it Decides It.

What are you for? What are you against?

The words used to ask the question can go a long way to framing your perception of the question, and the position to which you commit.

Last month, evil genius public relations consultant & researcher Frank Luntz circulated a memo to his clients on how to frame – and ultimately derail – financial reform legislation in the United States Congress.

No matter how you feel about Lutz’s political position (or that of his clients), you have to appreciate the methodology.

You can praise or curse the effectiveness at your leisure.

Essentially what Luntz and his company Word Doctors are doing is identifying the Dominant Narrative and plugging their clients’ preferred narrative into them.

It’s like dipping your toe into the stream and then deciding which way you’d like to paddle.

And it just might work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

NFL Corrects a Bad Call

The Squire beat me to the punch, but I see from this story that the NFL has relented (at least a little)in its constant pursuit of people who love them too much. [What’s even more interesting is that the league may have been trying to protect the fleur-de-lis, in which case France would have a lot of explaining to do.]

People who bill themselves as social media “experts” like to tell you this is all new (NEW!), but the only thing that’s really new is the share of voice. The customer always owned the brand.


What’s new? Now you can see it in real time.

A number of news stories about ownership of “Who Dat?” mention its similarity to the “Who Dey?” chant employed (as Jack said, to less effect in recent years) by fans of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Few of these stories mention that a similar legal hullabaloo erupted way back in 1981, the year of the Bengals’ first Super Bowl run. At the time the Brown family, controlling owners of the Bengals, sought with considerable success to get a piece of anybody’s action if they were trying to profit from the Who-Dey? chant.

But here’s the thing: It wasn’t even about the Bengals.

Who-Dey is a bastardization of Hu-day, a westside Cincinnati colloquialism for Hudy, a nickname for Hudepohl Beer (an acquired taste to be sure). I heard at least three versions of the Who-Dey chant before the Bengals won their first playoff game. But that didn’t stop the Brown family from staking their claim.

No matter. This was legal principle: Who owns the brand?

And like the recording industry would learn a couple of decades later, suing your biggest fans is a pretty expensive way to make a point.

At least the league saw that one coming.

For once.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So, No. We Won't Be Paying For Your Content.

Newspaper publishers seem to have a near limitless capacity for misunderstanding their own business model. The latest scheme by the Gray Lady to monetize online news on the backs of its audience will doubtless bear that out, though probably not without unfortunate results.

What made the New York Times and other publishers successful were their audiences. They built those audiences by do committing journalism better than their competitors and attracting more and more of the readers who were desirable advertisers.

One of the most important questions marketers have to ask themselves is this: What business am I in? It’s amazing how many don’t really know.

Are you in the business of selling gourmet food at retail? Or are you selling a romantic evening out?

Are you selling outdoor grills? Or are you selling bragging rights to the shiniest hunk of stainless in the neighborhood?

Are you selling information? Or do market a large audience of qualified consumers to a universe of marketers willing to pay for access to that audience?

Choose carefully.

We’ve discussed previously how the newspaper publishing business was never about journalism. Events of the day and commentary – what we call news – were used to attract an audience for first printed paper, and later for advertiser. In its modern history, the advertising model is what brings you the morning traffic report, the Ten O’Clock News, The Huffington Post, and … yes … your daily New York Times.

Within all living memory news has been free. Basically. Sure, there’s been a charge of a quarter or a buck or whatever for the actual newspaper itself. This made it a prosecutable offense to take all the papers in the stack. It also allowed a little something for the guy who sells the paper outside the train station or the kid who throws it into your rose bushes.

It never came close to covering the expense of gathering, researching, reporting or editing the news. Barely dented printing. The price consumers were willing to pay for the news merely subsidized distribution.

New content is free to the consumer. That’s a dominant narrative with deep roots.

And now the Times, and some others, want that back. What’s missing form the model this time, however, is the actual cost of distribution. The reason digital has produced so much new competition is because what publishers invested in distribution channels, capital equipment and the like – what economists call barriers to entry don’t matter anymore.

And rather than pressing their existing advantages in actual news, the plan is to charge readers for an incremental transaction that’s approaching Free.

Good luck with that.

Image Cred

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Making a Federal Case of the David vs. Goliath Narrative

Long-time friend of Cincinnati Social Media’s old friend Jack Greiner has been all over the saga of the South Butt. If you haven’t been following along, this titanic legal battle pits The North Face, a division of VF Corporation, (NYSE: VFC) a $7 billion maker and importer of branded apparel, and Jimmy Winkelmann, a teenager from Missouri with a Web site.

Goliath v. Winkelmann

I am not making that name up. If you were writing this story you’d kick yourself if you forgot to name the kid Jimmy Winkelmann.

What it boils down to that Jimmy fired up this Web site where he sells hoodies and hats and such with a logo that is an obvious parody of the North Face’s familiar trademark. While I don’t have the benefit of a J.D. (from an accredited institution) I have been around the block enough times to know that trademarks are not like copyrights, that is the owner MUST enforce it or risk losing it. Special permissions need not apply.

So maybe it’s less about the gigantic maker of Wranglers and Lee Jeans and JanSport backpacks wanting to step on a teenager’s entrepreneurial spirit than it’s about preventing an avalanche of parodies of those brands as well.

Maybe the company had no choice but to take some sort of action.


But is a lawsuit all they had in the quiver?


Parody is, in many senses, praise. North Face has managed to sell technical gear to people who never get any closer to Denali than the bunny hill at a state park. North Face knows that. The people who buy the stuff know that. Jimmy Winkelmann obviously knows it, too.

He just figured out how to make it fun.

Granted, many patent and trademark suits end in some sort of settlement anyway, and this one may very well go that route as well. But the geometry of this conflict makes it seem there could have been some interim step before the first public knowledge of the conflict was the VERY-BIG-CORPORATION-OF-AMERICA making, well, a Federal case out of it.

And before the Dominant Narrative in play became David and Goliath.