Chuck Norris once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants today are known as giraffes

Chuck Norris High Kick

Did I get your attention? Never underestimate the power of Chuck Norris to get people’s attention. Or any other celebrity for that matter. The power of celebrity branding or endorsement cannot be understated these days. We see a movie star wear something, we want to buy it to be like them. We see an athlete drink Gatorade, we absolutely must buy a case of it! Chuck Norris also has done a run of celebrity endorsements. Anyone remember The Total Gym? My personal favorite are the Action Jeans, just in case you too need to high kick someone in the chin.


Of course, Chuck Norris isn’t the only celebrity to endorse a product. How many stars are now endorsing shoe companies like Adidas or Puma? What about athletes? How many people have just had to have a pair of Jordans or KDs by Nike? Everyone wants to emulate their favorite star or athlete, and buying what they are selling is a big part of that. If we can’t look like them, we can at least dress like them. Same with cars, or in this case trucks. I wonder how many Volvo trucks Jean-Claude Van Damme’s commercial sold?

But is celebrity endorsement just being seen wearing a particular brand? With most celebrities having several hundred followers on their Twitter account alone, celebrities also have the ability to reach a broad audience base, much more than you or I could on any of our social media platforms. Because of that, celebrities get an insane amount of money just to tweet a brand. A simple celebrity search gives us a few numbers from 2013  to put this into perspective. Actor Frankie Muniz gets paid $252 per tweet. Doesn’t seem like much, but that’s just one time. If he tweets a product 20 times, that’s $5040 for a couple minutes’ worth of work and he’s just reached 175,000+ potential customers. What about a Kardashian? Khloe earns $13,000 per tweet. That’s a whole lot of money, but well-earned because her tweets will reach over 8 million people. Companies that are willing to pay her that kind of money fully understand that if they reach just a percentage of her followers, they will easily recoup their cost.

So what does this all mean? If you can afford Chuck Norris (or another celebrity) to endorse your product publicly, it will likely cost you significantly, but the upfront cost will likely be recouped by additional customers that your own marketing might not meet. And not to be outdone by Jean-Claude Van Damme, I leave you with this video:


Chuck Norris approves this post! (Not really, but imagine how many followers I would have if he did!)

Chuck Norris thumbs up


If you like this post, check out these others:

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10 Craft Beers Actually Owned by Budweiser


Even as Budweiser changed their name to “America” this summer, and ran a Superbowl ad teasing and taunting craft breweries, Bud’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, has been buying up small craft brewers and taking them national. AB-Inbev is making a push to expand their brand names and capitalize on the rising tide of craft beer in America,

1) Elysian Brewery (Seattle, WA) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2015


2) 10 Barrel Brewing (Bend, OR) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2014



3) Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles, CA) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2015 golden-road-logo

4) Four Peaks Brewing (Pheonix, AZ) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2015 fourpeaks

5) Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge, CO) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2016download (2)

6) Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, IL) – Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2010header-logo

7) Blue Point Brewery (Patchogue, NY) –  Acquired by AB-Inbev in 2013Blue_Point_Brewing_Company_logo

8) Shock Top (St. Louis, MO) – In house AB-Inbev Branddownload (3)

9) Redhook Brewing (Seattle, WA) – Owned by Brewers Alliance, AB-Inbev has a 35% ownership stake logo_gate

10) Kona Brewing (Kona, HI) – Owned by Brewers Alliance, AB-Inbev has a 35% ownership stake kona

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10 Back Flexibility Stretches for Dancers

The stretches that took me from “I can’t do a wheel pose without help” … to… “Yeah, I can put my head between my feet.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 4.25.24 PMAs a dancer, back flexibility is always a topic of discussion. Unsurprisingly, when you type into Google “back flexibility” the first question that autofills is “back flexibility stretches for dancers.”

This has been an area of focus and success for me – with achieving the illusive “head-to-feet” in January of 2016.

back flexibility

10 Stretches: How I Got My Head-to-Feet

  • Disclaimer: I am not an expert on flexibility. However, these are all stretches I learned from certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, and contortionists.
  • Warm Up: Spend 10-15 minutes warming up. You can do chest circles, shoulder rolls, cat/cow poses.
  • Be mindful: Your spine is important, take special care and rest days.
  • Questions? I’ve hyperlinked to video tutorials from professionals for most poses.

1. Cat/Cow Pose (Howcast, 2012)

Inhale into Cat Pose, exhale as you round your back for Cow Pose. Rotate between both poses 3 times.

Cat Cow Pose

2. Downward Dog (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)

Press into the ground with your hands and draw your hips back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.03.44 PM

3. Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Inhale as you press up. Focus on lengthening your spine. Gently twist side to side to warm up your low back.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.05.55 PM

4. Cobra Kicks

Once in cobra, I like to bend each leg. Bend each leg two times and hold for 3-5 breaths. Then, press your hips back for Puppy Dog.


5. Puppy Dog Pose (Ekhart Yoga, 2010)

Keep your hips over your knee as you drop your chest down. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Puppy Dog Pose

6. Camel Pose Rotations

Using a gentle rotation to grab both ankles, lead with the arm in the direction you plan to go. Sweep out the opposite direction. Repeat 3 times in each direction.


7. Camel Pose (BeFiT, 2013)

Gently reach back for your ankles or feet. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat 3 times.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.26.00 PM

8. Wheel Pose (, 2013)

Press up into wheel pose. Hold for 3-5 breaths. See video tutorial for proper form.

Wheel Pose

9. Plow Pose

Keep arms and palms down to your sides, pike both legs to roll overhead. See video for leg variations. As you unroll, pike legs together and unroll one vertebrae at a time.


10. Feet to Head: Lower Down from Camel Pose

Work on lowering down with your back muscles. If this feels too challenging, practice with walking your hands down a wall. Feeling bendy?  Reach overhead for the ground and walk hands in towards your feet.


How often to stretch?

I do the stretches listed above for 20-40 minutes three days a week. 

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker

P.S., This is the 3rd post in my series on flexibility, for more see  5 Secrets to Flexibility Training and 15 Stretches for Splits.

Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice | 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following | Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon



Howcast. “How to Do a Cat Cow Pose for Energy | Yoga.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 23 June 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Downward Dog – Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.

Yoga with Adriene. “Cobra Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 January 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Ekhart Yoga. “Yoga, the Puppy Dog Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 1 March 2010. Web. 14 July 2016.

BeFiT. “Jillian Michaels: Yoga Camel Pose” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 March 2013. Web. 14 July 2016. “How To Do Wheel Pose – Yoga Pros on Yoga Poses.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 June 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.

Books on a Screen?

I’ve always loved books. As a child, I read a dozen books each week. I read outside, inside, in the car, in the dim light of evening and well into the night. I was an English major in college, which exposed me to a whole different world of literature. I love memoirs and post modernist fiction, cookbooks and newspaper comic collections, and have favorites from every genre. I talk about reading a lot, so naturally, I am frequently posed with the question “how do you feel about ebooks?”

I am not a voice in the chorus of “save our hardcovers!”  I also, however, love having a shelf full of tangible books that I can gloat over, lend out, and dust. Just kidding, I never dust. I recognize the visceral experience that a paper book gives. I have many a fond memory that revolves around thumbing the pages and slamming the cover shut at the end of a gripping tale. It has been interesting, as an adult in this era, to watch the transformation of the printed word. There is something to be said for defending our precious, strained eyes from yet another screen. A book will never run out of battery. If you leave it in a train station, you don’t have to remotely delete your personal data. You cannot press flowers between your favorite stories on your e-reader.

However, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I love my Kindle.

The grown up child-me, whose carry-on luggage was just a backpack full of books, loves the ability to carry hundreds of volumes at any given time in my purse. I like the instantaneousness of my electronic books. The joy of acquisition is amplified by the idea that I’ll be able to read that book whenever and wherever the fancy strikes me. While I don’t get to go fight the lines in the excited crowd for a midnight release, which was a great part of the excitement for new Harry Potter books in my youth, I am still very excited that I will have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child delivered to my e-reader immediately on July 31st.

The dawn of the e-book brought about a wave of fear from bibliophiles everywhere. However, the data seems to say we have nothing to fear. While there has been backlash of the digital age (RIP Borders and B. Dalton), it seems that we are in a happy middle point. Phillip Jones of The Guardian said it beautifully in his post on the relationship between e-books and printed books “[readers] have proved to more promiscuous and more flexible in what and how they read than anyone predicted.”

What are you reading?

If you want to read more Ruckus MBA blog posts, you can find them here!

How to Find Your Greatness

Why do you push your limit? Sometime’s it seems stupid, or you might not even be trying to purposefully do it. But often it is planned and a significant amount of thought and preparation go into the moment you decide to push your limit. But you will face many challenges as you navigate the process. So how can you set yourself up for success? I am a climber that has set a specific goal of climbing 5.13 this year which I have never done. I entered the year able to climb multiple 5.12a’s but knew that I what I was going to be at this level was not going to work, here is the journey I went on.


Step 1: Choose your goal, subgoals, and a timeline


In January every year my wife and I sit down at a table and set goals. To be clear, these aren’t New Year’s resolutions. I choose one over all goal and then make sub goals that will have a direct impact on the main goal. My main goal was to climb 5.13 this year.


To get to this point I knew I needed to fix a few things, my diet was the first, I had slipped off of the main plan my wife and I used so it was back to it. Subgoal #1: Eat paleo 80% of the time. Something to note here, I am not trying to sell paleo, I will however preach to pick a dietary plan and stick with it 80% of the time if it does limit what you are used to eating. As part of this goal I have also elected to only allot two alcoholic drinks per week. There was also the issue of dessert. So I have limited myself to only eating a small dessert if I have worked out that same day.


The second point I knew I needed to fix sas how often I was working out and how I was working out. Up to this point I was climbing, doing a bit of campus boarding and a bit of lifting that specifically complimented climbing. This was not going to do. Subgoal #2: Work out with a trainer with the specific goal of 5.13 at least four times per week(This includes climbing and . I have my degree in Exercise and Sport Science and have been a personal trainer for years but there is a point at which I need to own up to the fact that I don’t have the knowledge, at least initially, to get myself to that point. This is also keeping me accountable for working out and also gives an outside perspective on the progression that I will have. (Choosing the correct program to follow is also important but this is very subjective and needs to be personalized so I have chosen not to cover this. I will say that if you have a specific fitness goal you should be spending 80% of your time working on specific strengthening for that activity and 20% on generalized fitness)


The third point was to cross train specifically cardio since that is not highly focused on in climbing. Subgoal #3: Run four 10k’s and complete two mud/fun runs. These aren’t long enough distances that I will start to build specificity in running but it will make a difference in cardio needed while climbing and will allow for time with friends.


The last bit is setting a timeline. The subgoals should start as soon as possible. But the main goal is not obtainable yet. So setting the proper timeline takes into account many issues climbing season’s, short term goals, and proper times for rest and relaxation. I chose to be in shape and ready to work the 5.13 in Late September, early October which is the primary season for climbing in Central Oregon. Since I have set specific goals for working out I also want to set specific goals for climbing. I have added that by the 12th of August I want to climb all of the 5.12’s at French’s Dome (7). I also want to climb 2 5.12’s at Smith Rock prior to August 12th.


Step 2: Start, Change, Keep Going


Start your journey towards obtaining your goals. Start as soon as possible and build in a foundation that allows for change. You will need to take breaks, change your regimen, and at times just plain goof off. I started my main training in February of 2016. However it wasn’t until March that I really got in the groove. I started working a 5.12c at Smith Rock called Tsunami. It wasn’t until June I have finally built the needed strength and endurance needed to climb the route. This success set in motion the drive to keep pushing. It is now toward the end of July and I have climbed all but 2 of the 5.12’s at French’s and have gotten two twelves at Smith Rock. I choose subgoals that were highly applicable to my success. The routes at Smith Rock are specific to the style of climbing that I will be climbing. The style of climbing at French’s requires a high amount of endurance and strength, though they are short routes.


About every month my trainer and I add or change the type of training though we do keep a few consistent factors. We are always working grip, core and shoulder strength and stability. We will change how we work these over time making them harder or changing how we stress the muscle/muscle group. This should be something that you talk about with a trainer.


Keep going! You will face differing demons along this journey. You will give up hope, find it is not worth it, and many other demons that will tell you to give up. I had a coach when I was younger that wouldn’t lie to us, he often stated that you will doubt, give up, and try to move on. But if it really matters to you, you will fight. The other mantra I use is “It’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get up.” Find what you need to get through your journey. This is one of many that you will fight through. But if it is worth it, keep fighting!


Step 3: Realize your true potential


What you will find is that you are stronger than you think you are. You will find that if you keep going you will find that you will overcome much more than expected. But know, no matter how much you overcome, the truth is that you will have much more to go. It doesn’t stop and you will face new demons that will come from unexpected places. One of the biggest issues you will find is that you are going through this for yourself and no one else. It is hard to bring  others along on the full journey. They will see bits and pieces, but they will not know everything that has gone through you mind, the work you have put in everyday, or what you have given up to reach your goal. This will be the toughest part of the the whole journey, it feels very lonely. The the truth is that you wouldn’t be here without all those people around you. And ultimately you are successful because of your effort and the effort of those around you. Be thankful and appreciate those that have helped you.

Though it sounds kind of childish a good idea is to keep a journal to track your journey. You can look back to see what challenged you and what was easy, was worked and what didn’t, what changes you made and what changes you should have made. This isn’t a one time gig, you can take the information you learn from one goal and apply it to the rest. I have used this structure for climbing, finding a new job (a trainer in this instance becomes a mentor), and life goals. So I ask you now how will you find your greatness?

The 7 Deadly Sins of Content Marketing Strategy

In a world where the importance of content marketing is rapidly growing, marketers must beware of the 7 deadly sins…



  1. You only need to be on social media if your customers are on social media. FALSE!

You don’t have to be on every social network, but you should be on the ones that will help grow your business.  Your current customers may not be on social media, but chances are your future customers will be if you have a strong inbound marketing strategy.

  1. Want more exposure on Twitter? Use as many hashtags as you can fit. FALSE!

Less is more.  Tweets with only one or two hashtags receive 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more hashtags.

  1. You don’t need to be on Pinterest unless you’re a B2C brand that sells food or clothing.  FALSE!

B2B brands can utilize Pinterest to share company photos, favorite infographics, user generated pins, and even lead-generating content.

  1. The best way to quickly increase email performance is to buy lists.  FALSE!

Get your email lists organically. They make take longer to generate, but they’ll be significantly more engaged.

  1. Marketing automation will solve all of your email problems.  FALSE!

Automation can help solve email nurturing problems, but not all of them.  If your new leads aren’t becoming customers, take a look at the bigger picture.

  1. The more personalization, the better! FALSE!

Don’t creep out your customers.  Personalization is a good thing, but not when it’s overdone.

  1. If you write it, they will come. FALSE!

There’s tons of content just like yours on the internet.  You need to develop a strategy to push the content in order to attract readers.

Ginny Soskey is the Manager of Content Marketing Strategy for HubSpot’s marketing blog.  Check out more of her helpful marketing tips on her blog or on Twitter.

Can you put a price on your value? Your new employer will try.

Salary negotiation

If  we are being 100% honest here, no one really wants to look for a new job. It’s a lot of tedious work to update your resume, (which if you are anything like me you haven’t done in a few years), writing cover letters, and completing a lengthy online application profile (which is different every single place you apply). Then, after you get all of your materials submitted you still have to endure the gauntlet of interviews that are in front of you. However, when you finally make it past the trap doors and fire breathing dragons and receive that glorious phone call from a recruiter saying, “congratulations! We want you!”, it is often quickly soured when the salary offer comes in about 20K a year less than you were hoping. In today’s world everything is about value creation, ROI, and how your skill set will enhance your new employer. So before you say “YES I WOULD LOVE THE JOB!”, take a step back, sleep on it and see if this is truly going to be a good fit.

Getting to the final stages of a job offer can be one of the most exciting things in life, like buying a house or the new car you always wanted. However, this is also the time that you get to ask all of the questions that you didn’t get to during the interview. When the offer is on the table your potential new employer is wanting to impress you just as much as you are wanting to impress them. Now is the time to ask about the benefits package. What does it really entail and how much out of pocket is the insurance actually going to cost you? Other questions to get right before you talk about the money is how much paid leave do you accrue, are flexible schedules possible or can you telecommute, are there corporate sponsored events and how much professional development is associated with this position?

All of these areas should affect the salary you will be requiring to get started for example, if your new position starts at 70K a year, but you are shelling out $500 – $600 a month to cover your family for insurance, that can significantly impact your salary requirements if your previous employer covered 100% of the insurance premiums. Once you have a stronger insight into the benefits offered by your new employer, now is the time to talk salary. When you really start to talk about hard numbers, THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY to negotiating a fair salary, is to know your value. You can’t expect a new employer to understand what your value is if you first haven’t taken the time to measure your value. Research what your dollar amount is in comparison to this position in like industries and competitors.

... pay raise at your current company, negotiating salary is never easy

How do you find out what the competition is paying? Check out websites like Glassdoor and Their sole purpose of existence is to provide objective 3rd party reviews and salary comparisons. With this information, you will be equipped with the knowledge of your going rate. It is important to note that not all of the items in the benefits package will be negotiable, nor should you negotiate on all potential items. If the salary is not going to be where you need it to be, make sure that you look at increasing vacation accrual or a flexible working schedule. However, also know that you should pick your top 2-3 items going into the salary negotiations. When you try to negotiate every available option, your employer may get cold feet and jump. Keep in mind nothing is finalized until you have a written confirmation from your new employer.

If you are seeking more information about job hopping tips, how to leave your employer on a positive note, or looking for more tips on negotiating salaries, check out and U.S. News as they always have great articles being posted regarding these subject matter areas.

Do your research, ace the interview, get the job, and feel good about your salary when you start! Happy hunting!

Tips for negotiating a higher salary | Agile Vietnam


How to answer difficult interview questions


Remember that moment?  Face to face with an established professional who is carefully scrutinizing your dress, your language, your facial expressions, and all of a sudden, you’re asked one of “those” questions:  what would you do during a zombie apocalypse? Or, how about this:  how long are you willing to stick out a job before you quit?  You start to shake and sweat starts to bead on your forehead; you tap the depths of your brain for the right thing to say.. assuming, of course, you want that job…with that type of thinking.

horrible-job-interview-questions-0-CopyThis dialogue connects you with resources to answer these and other types of wacky, weird, strange, bizarre and other out-of-the-box questions otherwise designed to assess your “quick on the feet,” critical-thinking skills. To accomplish this goal, we’ve listed some questions and links to the answers given by notable (okay, we really have no idea) respondents.

Here are our favorite questions with a recommended response:

  • What do you think you will hate about this job?

Really?  How do you answer this type of question?  You can’t be a Pollyanna in front of your potential employer or else they may think you don’t have a realistic grip on the real-world.   So, what does work?  While we job-interview_blog-300x149can’t predict what you aren’t going to like about any job, use this question to respond based on what you know about yourself and what you know about the job.  For example, it can be assumed that if you are applying for a job at The Gap, and you plan to be in sales, you probably shouldn’t answer this question that you hate people.  Unless you really hate working with people, in which case you should not be applying for this job.  Another example: you are applying for a job that requires a lot of travel and you say that you hate to drive or fly.

A better way to answer this question is to be honest: state that you are sure there will be things that you like more than other (use positive emotional attractors).  Restate what you know about the position that attracted you to apply. This question gives you an opportunity to show that you’ve done your homework and understand the expectations of this position.

  • If you could be any type of animal, what would you be?

This is a potential employers attempt to not use the Myers-Briggs personality assessment when they really want to. So, what do you do? This is another opportunity to promote your strengths and to downplay your weaknesses (see additional questions below) in alignment with what you know about the job.  For example, if you are applying for an engineering job, saying that you are a peacock likely isn’t going to mesh as peacocks are noted for their showy, bright and self-centered personalities whereas engineers more interview 2closely resemble an intelligent owl: quiet, reserved, speaks up when necessary only.

  • What are your greatest weaknesses?

The big pitfall here is that a zillion sites will tell you to take a strength and sell it as a weakness.  This really doesn’t pass the sniff test as most interviewers are not fooled by this strategy.  Gut check: if you don’t believe the answer you are about to give to an interviewer, they won’t either.  To move this into a realistic direction, have a short answer that doesn’t lead to more details.  Be truthful, explain how you are trying to improve and be willing to answer questions about your greatest weaknesses.  Oh yeah – by the way, we all have more than one.  Do your research about the job and the company and wrap your response to this question about something relevant to the job or organization.  Don’t eliminate yourself from the candidate pool right off the bat by offering a weakness that doesn’t jive with the needs of the organization.  For example, if your greatest weakness is that you don’t have high attention to detail, you probably aren’t suited to apply for a quality inspector position.

confused young business woman posing with a clipboardNow you try:  here are some of our favorite questions that we really couldn’t answer:

  • What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
  • Why is a man-hole cover round?

There really is no single “right” or “best” answer as all of these types of questions are intended to evaluate your critical thinking skills, most often in direct correlation to the nature of the job you are trying to land.  For example, a question about the zombie apocalypse could equally evaluate your creativity as well as your ability to respond to chaos.  This may be important if, for example, you are applying for a job where chaos reigns or you are expected to dress mannequins for Hallowe’en.

For other weird and bizarre questions, here are some additional resources:

Weird and wacky interview questions

More from Glassdoor

Tough Nickel answers





Do’s and Don’ts of Conference Behavior

We’ve all been there – work conferences.  Sure, you get to spend a few days away from home in a hotel.  And sure, your company foots the bill for overly indulgent meals.  But let’s face it – the conference itself can be long, tedious, and filled with potential professional pitfalls.  Do you sit in front or in back?  How long do you stay at the social hour?  Do you where a suit on the last day or go casual?  For the conference “newbie” these can be agonizing decisions.  But have no fear – these few tips will have you handling the next conference like a pro.


DO sit towards the back of the room at the end of the row


But didn’t the most eager students sit in front of the classroom?  Perhaps, but this isn’t school.  Think about those six cups of coffee you had during breakfast as you awkwardly stood around someone else’s conversation trying to blend in.  Do you really want to stand up in the front of the room, potentially blocking all your colleague’s views as you make towards the restroom for the third time?  Sitting in the middle of the room and at the end of the row allows you to maintain a good view of the speaker and/or any presentation being given, while still providing an easy and convenient path to exit the room for any necessary breaks.


DON’T forget to turn off your cell phone


Imagine this, they keynote speaker of the conference is standing in the front of the room.  As they ask the most poignant question about the most relevant topic (as everyone else sits on the edge of their seat), YOUR cell phone rings, playing the most recent track from Missy Elliot.  Everyone turns and stares at you – including your supervisor.  That phone call was not worth the reputation you just earned.  Take a hint from the movies – please silence all cellular devices.


DO go to the social hour…but be careful


Everyone has been the “new” employee.  It’s like being the new kid at school – you stand awkwardly in the lunchroom, nervously looking around, while trying to find a table to join.  Attending your first conference is a lot like your first day of school, but social hours are a great way to meet some of your professional colleagues without the pressure of discussing business (at least not all the time).  Don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself, just be careful not to interrupt a conversation.  However, be careful to watch your alcohol intake.  While having a few beers or glasses of wine is a great way to “loosen” up a bit, it can also “loosen” your lips and affect your choice conversation topics.  My advice: have a drink in your hand, but match your pace with those around you.  And after you finish your drink, make your next one a glass of water before going back for a second round.


DON’T watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones


 Or any other form of media on your computer!  If your eyes are starting to wander and glaze over, so are others.  Playing a game of solitaire on your computer, streaming a basketball game online, or playing candy crush might keep you awake, but chances are, you AND your computer screen are being watched by others.  This isn’t to say the occasional Internet surf for headlines or email check isn’t appropriate.  After all, if you’re doing it, no doubt others aren’t as well.  Just be aware of the content you’re looking at (i.e., no NSFW viewing).


DON’T under dress


Why wear a suit when you’re not at the office?  Remember the saying “dress to impress”? It’s not just something your mom told you before your first interview.  It’s always better to overdress then show up in jeans and flips flops while everyone else is in business attire.  Your attire demonstrates your attitude towards the event – are you taking it seriously? Or are you treating it as a day off from the office?  Believe me, professional colleagues (and potential future employers) will remember the one person who showed up in a Grateful Dead t-shirt.  The best way to avoid this clothing faux pas is to ask your office co-workers what the appropriate attire is.  If they’re unable to shed light on the expected dress code, play it safe and dress like you would for any day at the office.


Finally… DO enjoy yourself


Conferences are a great way to network and meet colleagues within your profession.  Sure, it might be intimidating walking into a room of a thousand people, but remember – you’re all there because you’re interested in the topics being discussed (or, at least most of the topics).  Don’t get so overwhelmed with the social aspect that you completely ignore the reason you’re there in the first place – to learn!  You’ll have a great time AND meet new professional contacts if you remember to be yourself, try to relax, and keep in mind the few lessons mentioned here.

How Can Consumers Resist the Siren Call of Direct Marketing of Pharmaceuticals?

How Can Consumers Resist the Siren Call of Direct Marketing of Pharmaceuticals?

Background Information

In 1997, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance that made it easier for pharmaceutical companies to market direct to consumers. Following this guidance, annual spending on direct to consumer marketing exploded, reaching a peak of $5.6 billion dollars in 2006. With a few minutes of contemplation, many of us can identify three or four pharmaceutical marketing campaigns from recent memory.

New Zealand and the United States are the only countries in the world that allow direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to consumers. Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have expressed concerns about direct to consumer marketing.

How Much Is Spent, and What Is Advertised?

Direct to consumer marketing efforts account for approximately 10% of the total dollars spent on advertising and marketing of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. After peaking at $5.6 billion in 2006, pharmaceutical companies $3.4 billion marketing to consumers in 2012. That number increased to $4.53 billion in 2014 and $5.17 billion in 2015. Direct to consumer marketing is a fraction of the total annual spending by pharmaceutical companies.

2012 Pharmaceutical Marketing

While much of the advertising that is purchased is to promote newly-released drugs, some of the advertising is focused on advertising existing drugs that may have expiring patents. All categories of drugs, including new treatments for rare conditions, newer medications for diabetes and hepatitis, allergy medicines, and even “lifestyle enhancement” drugs are advertised.

What Are The Concerns?

In November 2015, the AMA issued a press release calling for a ban on direct to consumer advertising. The AMA cited physician concerns that advertising is driving demand for higher-priced medications despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives.

6 years earlier, in 2009, the WHO reached a similar conclusion in its call to limit direct to consumer advertising. An additional concern voiced by WHO: “off-label” marketing, where a medication is advertised for treatment of a condition for which the medication was not approved.

Some websites are more critical of direct to consumer advertising. DrugWatch ( expressed concerns about dishonest advertising, citing a Pfizer advertisement for Lipitor from 2008 that raised concerns from both the U.S. Congress and WHO for misleading information.

What Can Consumers Do?

Direct to consumer advertising of prescriptions will not be going away, and it is important for consumers to be informed. There are several things that consumers can do to learn more.

First, if you have a medical condition that requires medication for treatment, become informed about your condition and the available treatment options. Online research is the most popular approach, although information from the latest articles and studies may take several months to propagate from paid sources to free sources.

Second, understand the side effects of any medications that you learn about. Also pay attention to drug interactions, since some prescription medications may interact with over-the-counter vitamins and herbal supplements.

Finally, communicate with your doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner. If your care provider is prescribing a new drug – particularly a name-brand – ask why your provider is prescribing this drug. For many health conditions, there are usually lower-cost generic medications that are effective.

John Oliver had this to say about pharmaceuticals marketing: