The World Chess Championship – Carlsen vs Karjakin

When I was eight years old my father taught me how to play chess. It was one of those moments that could have defined a lifetime and in a way did. I was enchanted by the game’s complexity, started playing almost every day and joined a club. It didn’t take long before I beat my father, then a mid-level club player. I started entering national tournaments for my age and managed to win my first Swedish chess championship for my age when I was ten years old.

Chess is a fascinating game and it swept me away for many years of my childhood. First I travelled the country and then a large part of Europe taking part in international tournaments. At 19 I won the Swedish junior championships and a little later I became a FIDE master. In 2003 I played an international tournament in Stockholm where a certain youngster named Magnus Carlsen took part. He was an international master then, closing in on the grand master title. I played the white pieces but had to fight for six hours before I managed to get a draw. A few years after that I moved to Malta to start a new career and era in my life. For some reason I exchanged chess for my other favourite childhood sport – tennis – and I lost touch with the game I loved as a kid. It’s how life goes sometimes.

Magnus Carlsen on the other hand, he beat all the tough expectations placed on him so early on in his life and became World Chess Champion ten years later (2013). Now he’s defending his title in New York against Sergey Karjakin from Russia and chess is in the main news again.

A world championship match in chess is a special event. It’s a true test for both players, both mentally and physically. Playing 12 (or in the past up to 24!) games against the same player (with the whole world watching) for the title of the world’s best chess player can play havoc on your nerves. It truly can be a spectacle to watch even if you don’t have a strong understanding of chess. Sometimes you can almost taste the tension in the air.

To understand the preparation and importance of a world championship match, just read this article about Carlsen’s worry about Russian hackers getting access to his preparatory work ahead of the match.


This championship match between Carlsen and Karjakin is not even half as political as the famous cold war style Fischer vs Spassky duel in 1972, but both players have early made it clear about their political differences (unintentionally perhaps) with Carlsen mentioning that he doesn’t like Donald Trump and Karjakin earlier being open with his support for Vladimir Putin.

In my mind, chess is more sport than politics and I think the two are best apart, but sometimes it does make for an increase in drama. But that this chess world championship draws interest without political hot air is evident by some of the celebrities frequenting the event in New York: Woody Harrelson, Adrian Grenier, Ken Rogoff and miscellaneous high-flyers in business and politics.

The first two games in the match has turned into quite predictable draws. The third game starts tonight at 20:00 CET. I will for sure keep my eyes on it and hope for some fireworks.

Kudos to the organizers for giving the spectators a great chance to follow the match online through live streaming and commentary. The official website is not half-bad either.

My prediction in this match? Well, I might be a bit biased but I think Carlsen will prevail by two games.

Trump wins and contextual advertising

The population of the United States of America shocked us all today when they voted reality star and business mogul Donald Trump to be the next president. It was joke in “The Simpsons” 16 years ago, but today a guy that has been making fun of women, Mexicans, gays and people with mental disabilities, is now trying to make America great again. If that is without all those people, remains to be seen.

Although his winning speech was quite composed and toned down, it will be interesting to see if all the various threats Trumps has talked about, like tossing away trade agreements, incarcerating Hillary Clinton, stopping Muslims for entering the country and building a wall to Mexico, was all talk on the campaign trail.

When I logged into New York Times today, I found piece of contextual advertising that I’m not sure was intentional or not, but still put a wry smile on my face. Above the headline “Trump triumphs” was a banner for a game called World of Warships.

I sure hope that this was just a weird coincidence and that these two messages won’t go together in the future. The only thing we can know for now is that we’re entering a uncertain times.

But no matter what, stay positive, be good, believe in good people and remember that the world is what we make of it.

Ryan Air Puns the Election

This is a nice example of using big time news stories in your marketing from Ryan Air. I really like the subject line: “Even Hillary wouldn’t delete this e-mail…” and how it’s followed up by flight prices that nobody can “Trump”. The copywriter must have had some fun working on this campaign.

Daring to be different can sometimes do the trick and since Ryan Air isn’t seen as the most reputable or serious brand, they can easily be more playful in their communication. Let’s see if they will try this kind of communication more often from now. I think it would suit them.


Louis CK’s newsletters


If you like comedian Louis CK you really should subscribe to his newsletters. They’re not only funny to read, but they actually have some great learnings for marketeers.

  1. Be personal.
  2. Let your personality shine through.
  3. Transparency is your best friend.
  4. Humor can soften the most aggressive sales pitch.

Just read these two newsletters around his new series “Horace and Pete“.

Newsletter 1

Hello friend guy lady or other,

Some of you are aware that, last Saturday, I launched a new series on my site called “Horace and Pete”. I’m writing now to tell you some stuff about it….

Horace and Pete is a new show that I am producing, directing, writing, distributing and financing on my own.  I have an amazing cast: Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Aidy Bryant, Steven Wright, Kurt Metzger and other guest stars.  Also Paul Simon wrote and performed the theme song which is beautiful.

The response to episode one has been great so far and there are more coming.  We are making them now and having a lot of fun doing it.

Part of the idea behind launching it on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself.  As a writer, there’s always a weird feeing that as you unfold the story and reveal the characters and the tone, you always know that the audience will never get the benefit of seeing it the way you wrote it because they always know so much before they watch it.  And as a TV watcher I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion. So making this show and just posting it out of the blue gave me the rare opportunity to give you that experience of discovery.

Also because we are shooting this show in a multi-camera format with an emphasis on a live feeling, we are able to post it very soon after each episode is shot.  So I’m making this show as you’re watching it.  

Okay so let’s talk for a minute about the five dollars of it all.  If you’re on this email list then you’re probably aware that I always make an effort to make the work I do on my own as cheap as possible and as painless as possible to get.  That’s why my specials are five dollars and that’s why I sold tickets to my last big tour here on the site, with our own ticketing service at a flat price with no ticket charges and we have worked hard to keep my tickets out of the hands of scalpers.  

So why the dirty fuckballs did I charge you five dollars for Horace and Pete, where most TV shows you buy online are 3 dollars or less?  Well, the dirty unmovable fact is that this show is fucking expensive. 

The standup specials are much more containable.  It’s one guy on a stage in a theater and in most cases, the cost of the tickets that the live audience paid, was enough to finance the filming.  

But Horace and Pete is a full on TV production with four broadcast cameras, two beautiful sets and a state of the art control room and a very talented and skilled crew and a hall-of-fame cast.  Every second the cameras are rolling, money is shooting out of my asshole like your mother’s worst diarrhea.  (Yes there are less upsetting metaphors I could be using but I just think that one is the sharpest and most concise).  Basically this is a hand-made, one guy paid for it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation.

Now, I’m not complaining about this at all.  I’m just telling you the facts.  I charged five dollars because I need to recoup some of the cost in order for us to stay in production.  

Also, it’s interesting.  The value of any set amount of money is mercurial (I’m showing off because i just learned that word.  It means it changes and shifts a lot).  Some people say “Five dollars is a cup of coffee”.  Some people say “Hey! Five dollars??  What the fuck!” Some people say “What are you guys talking about?”  Some people say “Nothing. don’t enter a conversation in the middle”.

Anyway, I’m leaving the first episode at 5 dollars.  I’m lowering the next episode to 2 dollars and the rest will be 3 dollars after that.  I hope you feel that’s fair.  If you don’t, please tell everyone in the world.  

Meanwhile, we’re going to keep making Horace and Pete.  We’re going to keep telling you the story.  

I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.  I’ll write you again later and tell you more about it.  It’s fun to talk about.  But for now I want to shut up and not ruin the experience of you just watching the show. 

Here’s the link for the website.  Enjoy episode 2 of Horace and Pete.  We’re shooting it now.  You’ll get it on Saturday morning. 

This person, 

Louis C.K.

Newsletter 2

Hi there people and dogs who watch tv.

Horace and Pete episode 2 is available for download.

This episode is $2.

Warning: this show is not a “comedy”. I dunno what it is. It can be funny. And also not. Both. I believe that “funny” works best in its natural habitat. Right in the jungle along with “awful”, “sad”, “confusing” and “nothing”.¨

I just think it’s fair this one time to warn you since you have every right to expect a comedy from a comedian. I will not warn you again. Anyway it’s 2 dollars this week. Take a shot.

Go here to buy Horace and Pete.

Go here to read all about it.
Go here to read a New York Times review.

Go to your mothers house if you want to see a smile. No matter who you are, you don’t go see her enough.

Have a great weekend.

Louis CK.

Coca Cola wants you to “taste the feeling”

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.08.21

Coca Cola has changed their concept from “Open happiness” to “Taste the feeling” and today I was met by above ad on the biggest news site in Sweden. So what”s different you might ask? Well, this article from Adweek goes into detail but in general Coke wants to put more the focus on the product but still keep the strong emotional appeal that was started with Open Happiness. Personally, I think they do a really good job with it, but Adam Padilla from Brandfire says it best:

“Open Happiness” was successful in making consumers “feel something,” Padilla said. “But it got away from the actual product in the can, in the bottle. When you start to float too far away from your product offering, it gets too philosophical. … ‘Open Happiness’ could be said about a lot of things, when you open anything. But when you talk about ‘Taste the Feeling,’ you have very strong connectivity with a feeling with Coke, and you also have the literal aspect of tasting it—the taste of happiness.”

There is one more interesting point to be made though in a time where organic, juicing, health and exercise is all the rage. Geoff Cook from Base Design points it out:

“Coca-Cola is in one of the more unique positions that I’ve ever seen: The brand is revered, and the product is increasingly reviled,” said Cook. “Brand strategies or tactics can deflect from larger issues, but fundamentally, … there’s been a shift toward more healthful living. And until they actively change the product [to be healthier] and change the public’s perception of the product, the new branding initiatives will ring hollow.”

What do you think about Coca Cola’s new concept? And do you think it makes a difference in Coca Cola’s brand position and ultimately, sales?

Here you have 25 nicely done Coca Cola ads

Alternative book covers


I sure hope you’ve read my books. They might not be perfect but hopefully enough for a little amusement. I’m currently at work on my third novel and try to squeeze in some night-time writing. Passion fuels energy etc…

These are two “covers” I whipped up in a few minutes featuring two of the locations in The Wake-Up Call (New York) and Hollywood Assistant (Los Angeles). My third novel is set in another place close to my heart, Washington D.C.

It will be out in 2016.

More than one purpose


Really love this thinking from James Altucher. Another inspirational writer, Jeff Goins, calls it the “portfolio lifestyle”. What they mean is: don’t stress. You don’t need to settle for just one career. Keep growing and stay creative and things will happen.

Amen to that.

Everyone thinks they need to focus on one thing. To be good at “their purpose” and that’s it. This is a myth perpetrated by the beginning of the industrial age when factory owners wanted workers to just do one thing all day long, 12 hours a day. Hitting the same hammer against the same nail.

There is no one purpose. The average successful person has 14 different careers in their lifetime. If you stick with one thing, you never get a chance to have “idea sex” – to become the master of the intersection of two totally different areas.

This is how change is made; this is how innovation happens.