Author Archives: John Weeden

About John Weeden

John Weeden is an accomplished marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience helping businesses large and small improve their branding, enhance communications, engage customers and—most notably—increase revenues. As a strategist, thought partner and consummate student of consumer behavior, John excels in providing comprehensive marketing solutions that exceed expectations. John is a social media junkie and a viral strategist. This blog titled, Brainworms and The Buzz™, features a variety of topics ranging from the good, the bad and the memorable.

Gain Some Tax Advantages While Embracing Your Passion

It’s Tax Day, 2011.

Today is the day when millions of Americans are required to submit their tax returns to the IRS. While many have to work 5 to 6 months into the year in order to break even on their tax liability, many more don’t even realize just how much they’re paying in taxes. For those who are working in the 9-to-5 corporate world with very little tax relief, there is a better way.

Have you considered taking your passion and turning it into a business? With a legitimate business playing to your strengths, you can increase your income, reduce your tax burden while gaining tax advantages and — most importantly – work in a field that you are absolutely crazy about.

So what are you crazy about? What’s business ideas have you been harboring for many, many years? Are you interested in providing a service, creating a product or embracing a long-term passion?

Here’s what I recommend. First, write a list of the things that you are good at doing or creating. Second, write a list of the things that you would do for free. (After all if you would do it for free, you certainly do it for money.) Third, read the following books, “48 Days to the Work You Love,” by Dan Miller and “Crush It! How to Cash In on Your Passion,” by Gary Vaynerchuk. These books will help you identify your passions and how to monetize them.

Of course, as you begin a legitimate business that produces income, you can reduce your tax burden by writing off legitimate expenses. For more information regarding taxes, please consult a competent tax professional or research the many resources online.

Today is Tax Day. You can use this day to declare the American Dream for yourself and finally launch that new business or capitalize on that “big idea” you’ve stowed away. Not only can you gain some tax advantages, you can embrace a new opportunity that will help you capitalize on your strengths and passions, make extra (or replacement) income and live your life to the fullest degree.

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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Business


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Rebecca Black’s Dark Horse “Friday” Song Keeps Getting Bigger

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any bigger, it did. Just when you thought that it was just 15 minutes of fame, it took a left turn and grew into a national phenomenon. Just when you thought that the term “Thank God It’s Friday,” or “T.G.I.F.,” had sole reign on the best day of the week, think again.

Enter Rebecca Black and her dark horse party tune, “Friday:”

Official Rebecca Black "Friday" video on YouTube

Only three weeks ago, Rebecca Black was an unknown 13-year old girl with a dream of musical fame. Little did she know that a scathing review of her song would raise her from obscurity and turn her into a household name. The unrelenting criticism of her trite lyrics and the jarring Auto Tune vocal effects added fuel to the fire.

And what a fire it was. As the flame grew hotter, it turned into a wildfire… a viral phenomenon… a Brainworm™.

A Brainworm™ is a viral parasite that’s virtual in nature. It can begin as an innocent ditty that propagates into a song that you cannot get out of your head. Like it or not, “Friday” and its cheesy hook snagged us all.

Even the late night talk show hosts weren’t excluded from Black’s allure. She was featured on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” where she describes her rapid rise to fame–first tears and now joy:

Rebecca Black appears on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on March 22, 2011

Furthering the proof that the Brainworm™ was propagating, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert sang a hiliarious rendition of “Friday” to raise money for Although the heralded event took place on April 1st, it was no joke. They raised more than twice their goal and reproduced the song in a huge production filled with balloons, confetti, a beekeeper and a Yeti. Even Taylor Hicks chimed in with true soul:

Stephen Colbert sings "Friday" with The Roots on Late Night with "Jimmy Fallon"

According to Wikipedia, Black says that she will be working on her debut album and is being courted by songwriters and record companies. With better songs, Rebecca Black can sell records. She now has the name recognition which is 99.99% of the battle to mainstream success.

It began virally with a “bad” song. Virally it has reached immortality. Congratulations Rebecca Black to your new found success!


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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Brainworm™, entertainment, music, TV


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A Bath Towel Caped Crusader

He always had the greatest toys: an awesome car, a boat, a motorcycle and even a plane. He had the hottest bachelor pad complete with every amenity imaginable. To top it off, he had a super-secret ultimate Man Cave filled to the brim with the latest tech gadgets.

He even had a butler and a sidekick—and a few billion dollars to boot.

He’s Batman.

Over the decades, we’ve seen Batman portrayed by several actors. In the ‘60’s we had Adam West. In the ‘70’s, Batman was a Saturday morning cartoon. In the 80’s Michael Keaton shaped the character for a new generation. In the 90’s, a failed mash-up of Val Kilmer and George Clooney still commanded the big screen. During the first decade of the “two thousands,” Christian Bale reinvented the Dark Knight in a brilliant, blockbuster fashion.

Considering that I am now in my early 40’s, Adam West was my first influential Batman. (No, I actually watched him in reruns in the ‘70’s, because Batman was off of the air before I was even born!) Quirky, yet intelligent, the Adam West Batman was a victorious crime fighter with his purple leotards, shiny cape and pointy-eared cowl. His bright yellow utility belt stowed a seemingly endless cache of tools to handle any scenario. In the 70’s cartoon form, his grandeur remained true, further fueling my imagination.


While a budding youngling, many an afternoon was spent emulating my super hero role model. My lucid imagination would bring to life many crime fighting scenarios. Just like Batman, I was always victorious in the end. I always had my sidekick with me. My younger brother, a neighbor friend or a cousin typically portrayed Robin in remarkable fashion—the Dynamic Duo, as it were.

Like for any 7- or 8-year old boy during the mid-70’s, an ordinary bath towel made a formidable superhero cape. Held fast with a clothespin, the towel would flap in the breeze as I sped my Batbike at top speeds down the boulevard. With two feet on the pedals, my bicycle could double as Batman’s motorcycle or even the Batmobile, ready to face mortal danger.

It’s amazing how a young boy can be invincible against the foe. Armed with just a bath towel, this caped crusader was ready to take on the world.

Fast forward about 30 years or so. Is the boy, now a man, still invincible? Does the boy, now a man, have the intelligence to outwit the most devious of archenemies? Does the boy, now a man, still have access to the vast array of tools donned in the ultimate utility belt?

As an adult, many a man—or even a woman who grew up idolizing Wonder Woman—found himself fully immersed in life. Consumed by the obligations of career, business and “busyness,” it is easy to quell the excitement, energy and optimism found in the days of our youth. Daily distractions take us further and further away from the central tenets that fuel our creativity. Just because we have to “grow up,” doesn’t mean that we have to give up our imagination.

Batman’s tools—not super speed, super strength or a genetic mutation—made him a force. They turned a mortal man into a super hero. It’s all in the gadgets, the vehicles and the unrelenting spirit utilizing them.

So what’s in your utility belt? What creative ideas are you harboring? Do you have an idea that you want to take to market? Are you an artist, a singer or an author seeking for a way to celebrate your spark? In all actuality, it only takes a towel, a clothespin and creativity to bring these things to life.


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Hey Charlie Sheen, Who’s Winning Now?

Charlie Sheen: "I'm a winner"

It was reported on Monday that actor Charlie Sheen was fired from “Two and a Half Men.” As seen from his rants over the weekend, Charlie has provided plenty of fodder for late night comedians, Saturday Night Live, posts on Twitter and Facebook and also covered extensively by the mainstream media.

Charlie has positioned himself as a “winner” in a recent ABC News interview. Considering the recent events of his firing, is he really a winner? I don’t think so.

So who wins in this Charlie Sheen debacle? Is it CBS? No. Is it Charlie Sheen? No. What about the production crew, writers and staff members that work every week on the production of “Two and a Half Men?” No, everybody loses.

Well, let me take that back. The only group that wins are late night comedians talk shows and other entertainment specialist covering this Charlie Sheen debacle.

This blog post was dictated using the free Dragon Dictation on iPhone app.


Posted by on March 8, 2011 in entertainment, TV


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Ben & Jerry’s Unveil New ‘Late Night Snack’ Flavor During Jimmy Fallon Show

Ben & Jerry’s has done it again.

Ben & Jerry's Late Night Snack

During last night’s episode of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, ice cream moguls Ben & Jerry unveiled their newest flavor Late Night Snack.

Consisting of a base of trade-safe vanilla ice cream, the decadence is truly immersed in the form of fudge covered potato chips—perfect for those who can’t decide between sweet or salty while watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

The unveiling of the ice cream flavor was a particular significance as it marked the second anniversary of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

I’ve always been a fan of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Some of my favorite flavors are Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey. In all honesty, I’m really looking forward to trying out Late Night Snack.

Bravo Ben & Jerry! Well done!

This blog post was dictated using Dragon Dictation on iPhone.

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in entertainment, Food


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Krystal Restaurants takes a Page from Weird Al Yankovich

It’s not often that a TV commercial is compelling enough to make me stop the DVR, back it up and watch it over again. It has to be funny, memorable, shocking or just plain ingenious. Today after watching a new ad by Krystal Restaurants, I think that I will add “Really?” to the list.

“Really?” as in “oh, no you didn’t,” or “what’s up with that?” One could insert “WTF,” but I typically try to avoid hints of vulgarity. After all, there are plenty of clever adjectives that deserve their place in the sun, if implemented properly.

So what was the offending ad? (Not that I was actually offended.)

The Krystal Burger

The ad begins with two men eating Krystal Burgers—you know those small square burgers with a beef patty as thin as a nickel. They appear to be eating while outdoors, looking a little sweaty, a little shiny. They also appear to be wearing shirts that resemble a Holstein print. The one man says to the other man, “Do you feel guilty?” The second man answers in the negative. Then they stand up and say, “Let’s go back to work.”

And then the punch line is delivered in its visual satire.

Here is the recent Krystal television commercial:

As you can see in the video, they are wearing Holstein cow costumes, spoofing the famously successful Chick-fil-A cow billboards. Here’s a photo of the decade-old Chick-fil-A billboard:

The Original Chick-fil-A Billboard

With no disrespect to Weird Al Yankovich, it’s a spoof about food. But is it a Brainworm?™ No, I don’t think so.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in advertising, Brainworm™, Food, TV


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The Latte Factor and 9 Other Signs the Economy is on Upswing


Baristas and marketers alike, rejoice!

As people start feeling better about the economy, they start purchasing lattes again. Even as I have been known to shun a $4 mocha for a dollar coffee at Mickey D’s, I find this to be encouraging as a Marketeer.

This means that people will buy. This means that businesses will flourish. This means that jobs will be created.

All can be good again… at a cautionary pace.

Even in the best of times, businesses need good marketing strategy to engage loyal customers.

Got Latte?

Got Good Marketing?

Let’s put 2011 into high gear.

Click here to read the article posted on Yahoo! Finance>>

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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Food


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