Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Blog Has Moved

Our blog has moved to a new location you can find it at

Check out the new Tafuro Communications website.

See you there!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Catch Up, Up Date

I have not blogged or sent an email update since before I left for Tallahassee and cannot believe it has been over two full months. Thank you to those of you who let me know my writing has been missed. It has been a whirlwind of a year so far.

On to the updates:

This week’s big event!

The biggest event in Tampa Bay this week, at least in my humble opinion is Ad 2 Tampa Bay's 29th Annual Merchandise & Media Auction which this year has been moved to eBay and is online only. This has opened it up to many new bidders and made for an exciting online war for the donated media.

The auction closes tomorrow (Friday 5/23) around 2 p.m. so go check it out and spend some money on some great advertising deals!

Click here:

My Voice and the Infinite Power of One

If you click the link here and listen to the PSA you should notice that the lead voice/line “What if you could be more powerful” is none other than yours truly.

I was asked by my long time friend Kate Whatley, Art Director at Peak Biety and Incoming Ad 2 Tampa Bay President to do some voice trials for a PSA. They liked my voice enough to use it twice in this spot and also in the 15 and 30 second versions.

The work was pro bono of course but only took about 15 minutes one afternoon. The campaign is national so it will be heard all over the country.

I want to thank Kate and also Glen Peak for the awesome opportunity.

Harping on an issue, voter apathy

I read this Tampa Tribune article in April and it really illustrated the utterly depressing turn out numbers in Pasco County’s various municipal elections.

When I have more time I want to go into more details on this but as noted above I like to harp on this issue.

When will not voting become political incorrect?

American Advertising Federation & National Ad 2

I am off to Atlanta June 7th through 10th for the AAF National Conference, advertising expo and of course the National ADDY Award Show.

We will be holding the National Ad 2 Public Service Competition on Monday June 9th from 2 to 6 p.m. during the conference. We will have nine Ad 2 chapters competing.

Click here for a list of clubs and the charities they helped this year.

Tampa Bay Advertising Federation

I have signed on to be the local TBAF legislative chair again this coming year and will be looking forward to working with those of you in our industry and market on various legislative issues affecting our business.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Raising Citizens' Income

If you watch enough city, county and state meetings you start to hear a term used over and over. The term is revenue and it is used by elected and oppointed officials alike as well as numerous government employees.

The problem I have with that is unlike a private sector business, it is not "revenue" in the sence some of our business minded officals would like to think.

The that term should be removed from government completely. It is “citizens’ income” and should be stated that way each time it is used so people our government learns to respect where the money comes from.

The proper way to say it would then be, "we need to raise/aquire more 'citizens’ income' to help offset shortfalls through addional user fees".

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Rally in Tally & Public Service Ad Campaigns

American Advertising Federation – Fourth District Legislative Rally

This week Tampa Bay Advertising Federation and Ad 2 Tampa Bay members (myself included) will head to Tallahassee to join with the other 20+ AAF chapters around the state to visit our local state legislators for the Rally in Tally.

Each year we make this visit on behalf of the advertising industry to talk with our elected officials about the various pro-bono public service advertising initiatives we take on each year.

Each year countless hours and immeasurable creativity is donated to the promotion of non profits around the state by individuals and advertising agencies.

These pro bono campaigns allow non profits to reach more people and assist in raising more private dollars for support.Ad 2 Tampa Bay this year is working with Wheels of Success and the TBAF is working with Hillsborough County’s Cyber Safe initiative.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pirates... of Silicon Valley

Found the Pirates of Silicon Valley on Google Video and wanted to share it. Its the whole movie in one shot if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Microsoft and Crispin... this ought to be fun

As this headline, In an Effort to Get 'Cool,' Microsoft Finally Calls in Crispin, came across my screen I had to saw "wow" as the Window's Vista campaign had previously exclaimed. Now that the Sprint & Goodby saga has ended, this might be a good relationship to watch.

Don't get me wrong unlike Burger King, Miller Lite and Sprint, I actually really like Microsoft and the software that they have produced. Bill Gates, love him of hate him is a master mind to be respected.

That said... Apple is so much cooler, right? Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates? You can watch a head to head panel discussion here on YouTube and decide for youself.
Seriously though, I really want to see what comes of this relationship. I think if Microsoft continues to work on innovating and allows Crispin to be creative that something really cool and valuable just might be delivered.

Monday, March 03, 2008

AdCast in Febuary with Media Talk

Co-hosting AdCast this month with Media Talk I was able to see myself on the big screen of the Tampa Theatre during the kick of of the Gasparilla Film Festival. If you have not seen Ad 2 Tampa Bay's monthly web cast you can always check out the archives online at YouTube.

I have had the opportunity to play co-host the last two months with Ad 2 Tampa Bay board member Cris Vatalaro and Tampa Bay Film Commission Manager Lindsey Norris.

It was a great opportunity and I look forward to working with them on future projects.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Update: Hillsborough County CAC - February 29, 2008

Our first speakers were the county’s Community Liaisons; Tony Morejon (Hispanic Liaison), Joyce Russell (African American Liaison), Kimi Springsteen (Asian American Liaison), Sandra Sroka (ADA Liaison). Each of them provided very informative updates on what they do to help the citizens of Hillsborough County.

Our second speaker was Tammy Peralta, Station Manager for Hillsborough Television who spoke about the Value Initiative PSA’s that the county is rolling utilizing the $150 thousand advertising credit provided from Bright House Networks after moving HTV to channel 622.

Eric Johnson, Manager, Office of Management and Budget then provided a budget update.
Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory CommitteeAppointed by Commissioner Brian Blair

Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory Committee
Appointed by Commissioner Brian Blair

Monday, February 25, 2008

Involvement increases income options

The following entry is a quote of my comment on a recent Creative Tampa Bay column, The Sunshine Factor...

As the Chairman of National Ad 2 with 25+ young professional chapters around the country I can tell from first hand experience that it is not simply sunshine that depresses local salaries.

More importantly it is the lack of involvement by individuals in community and industry groups and associations. By being active one learns more about the market they live in and are able to better capitalize by choosing better employment and business opportunities.

When the Forbes article Cloudy Skies For Tampa’s Young Professionals screamed through town last year I was amazed by the names I saw on a list of email forwards. At least half the people forwarding the email in agreement were people I have spoken with who claim to be too busy to get involved with local organizations.

We cannot blame outside forces like the weather for our income levels. Where would Miami be if it counted the sunshine factor?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Secrets Of Smart E-Mail Marketing

After a meeting this week with a client about creating an email newsletter I was doing some reading and found this article on the topic.

The article gives good tips and arguments for using an email management program as I do such as Constant Contact.

The section on "From" and "Subject" lines is probably the quickest high value piece of the article. I will have to try something new in my March "email newsletter".
The "From" line is important, but the subject line is where you set the trap. The key is attracting attention with imagery and specificity. Example: A subject line that reads "Five Plants Deer Won't Eat" is more compelling than "Monthly Newsletter."

Maybe, something like "Bashing failed Ybor businesses and drinking for the dogs" will be a good catch...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fuzzy math of government visioning

I'd like to note the irony in the 50 year planning currently being discussed; that will prepare us for the population that will be here in 2050.

Are we not actually working on a plan closer to 2060 then?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ybor City restaurants fail to market

The Citytimes article Ybor's fresh approach yesterday stirred some previous thoughts I've discussed individually with people but have never fully vetted in a written forum.

The above article announces the opening of Raw Sushi and Sake Lounge in Ybor City; in the same location as the two previous failed sushi restaurants, Sushi on 7th and Sushi Xtreme.
Raw Sushi co-owner Bob Volini talks positively about bringing an adult crowd to the district and says "I think it's time to come back."

The same article notes that Big City Tavern in Centro Ybor has now closed, whose owner, Brian Cornacchia, stated “my clientele just doesn't want to come to Ybor.”

How is that for a contrast in attitude?

Having not personally met him, where does Volini get the optimism when so many business owners have failed?

Based on what I have seen over the last seven years it is blind optimism or a sign of true entrepreneurship.

Unfortunately for most of the failed Ybor City restaurateurs it seems to be the former.

Taverna Opa

Taverna Opa opened in mid summer 2006 with a mayoral ribbon cutting and news coverage well before it opened. A year of renovation and construction went into the opening, yet less then a year later they closed.

I ate twice at Taverna Opa when it first opened, once by invitation for the grand opening and again to stop in for drinks and appetizers. The food and service were great and the environment was awesome.

While I love the Acropolis Greek Taverna a block away I think there was room for both in Ybor. The roominess and open air dining room of Opa lent itself to larger groups; there was even a section of the menu specifically to encourage that.

So what took out this mini chain from South Florida?

Outside of some mentions of staffing issues which comes with the territory and is amplified when business is slow, marketing is probably the biggest reason.

After the initial visits I was never once reminded they were there, directly (they had my mailing address) or indirectly (through advertising).
With the quality of food, service and group seating there is no way that they should have struggled through the travel, holiday and parade seasons in Ybor City.

Sushi Xtreme

Sushi Xtreme opened in early 2006 with owner Khue Dinh determined to make a name for himself and his unique take on Sushi dining.

Creative Loafing’s profile of Sushi Xtreme notes that Dinh’s house was on the line to make this venture work yet the inexperienced restaurateur proudly explained that he did absolutely no advertising for the restaurant.

Sometime in mid to late 2006 Dinh closed the restaurant due to lack of business.

I had been there on a few occasions, invited by a friend of Dinh’s and even booked a dinner party there for our Ad 2 Tampa Bay board leadership retreat. The service and food were at most passable which might have accelerated the closure.

Romeo's Studio 1515

Longtime supporters of Ybor City, Walter and Sara Romeo opened Studio 1515 in late 2003 with the hopes of drawing artists and an older, more affluent crowd to Ybor City for coffee, conversation, art and music.

Not a year later a St Pete Times article noted Sara Romeo positively urging fellow Ybor City merchants to wait for the results of a visioning study (to make further changes in the district) when the city was discussing changes to weekend street closings.

As owners of the building the Romeo’s lasted longer then others when they finally decided to close the doors in late 2005.

According to the St Pete Times article on the closing, Walter Romeo sited “a lack of daytime business in Ybor City” as the reason.

While I acknowledge Romeo’s upbeat attitude and claim that “if things start looking like there will be a need for a business there, we definitely would want to come back,” I have to disagree that lack of foot traffic was the problem.

I regularly meet with clients, associates and friends in Ybor City during the day and typically choose to frequent local independent businesses. I met with people a few times at Studio 1515 and unfortunately never once had a great experience.

Simply going to the counter to order coffee gave me the feeling I was interrupting the staff rather then giving them an opportunity to make me feel welcome and want to come back.

If the standoffish atmosphere coupled with a lack of encouragement to come back was typical to daytime visitors, the lack of foot traffic cannot be blamed.

Three Different Businesses

Susan Thurston’s column, Requiem for an arty hub about the closing of Romeo’s ironically notes the opening of Sushi Xtreme and Taverna Opa.

The three businesses vary greatly; from a successful and experienced restaurateur offering great food, service and atmosphere to a passionate sushi chef with dreams of changing the way we eat sushi to a couple looking to bring more culture to the district.

You don’t have to look further then the corner of 7th Avenue and 17th Street to see where all of the above businesses went wrong by not marketing.

Bernini of Ybor

Since 1996 Bernini of Ybor has “seen foot traffic gradually increase during the day” said owner Jason Fernandez in 2004 who also noted that the garages solved the parking problem and beefed up police presence helped as well.

If you’ve been to Bernini you know the place encompasses all the things the above failed businesses had in part or tried to attain.

The restaurant regularly hosts private parties and events, attracts affluent diners, provides a unique Ybor experience and breaks the mold from typical cuisine.

Why the stark difference in results?
He's doing well thanks to aggressive marketing at area hotels and businesses.
Rather than scale back operations like many have done, he expanded, creating a
private dining room for group parties and offering gift certificates and
Aggressive Marketing

The only common difference between numerous failed Ybor restaurants and Bernini’s success is Jason’s focus on continually reminding people of his business through marketing.

Provided Raw Sushi has the quality and service diners want, Bernini is a great example of how Bob Volini can be successful in Ybor City.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008 ADDY Awards and After Party

The annual ADDY Awards Gala was held Saturday, February 9, 2008 at the Cuban Club in Ybor City under a crescent moon, a perfect venue for announcing the best advertising produced in 2007.

Entries in the local competition, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Advertising Federation, have grown nearly every year since 2002, and this year more than 100 companies submitted 850 pieces of work, from interactive games to outdoor boards.

At the end of the awards show Deanne Roberts was honored with the TBAF Silver Medal award.

The celebration continued at Bernini of Ybor with the Ad 2 Tampa Bay, ADDY After Party. Pedicab transportation was provided by Retro Star Pedicabs.

Ad 2 Tampa Bay board members Carl Vervisch, Kate Whatley, Mai Noel Tran, Vinny Tafuro, Cris Vatalaro and Jeff Morrow pause for a photo at the well attended exclusive after party. More photos available here.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Victoria's Secret Gamble

The most watched ad during the Super Bowl was the Victoria’s Secret commercial, which was seen by 103.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Aired in the fourth quarter during a commecial pod at 9:44 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

I would have to estimate that running an ad in the fourth quarter is a gamble for an advertiser considering the number of times a Super Bowl win is lopsided and people start tunning out the game by then.

With an extremely close game right up to the Giant's great win over the Patriots it ended up being a great win for Victoria's Secret as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Business & Community Update - February 2008

I will be providing regular updates in an effort to give valuable community and industry information to assist keeping clients, associates, friends and family informed on topics of timely interest.

Here's the link to February 2008's Email Newsletter.

Email managment and archiving is handled by Constant Contact.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hooperpalooza 2008

I attended Hooperpalooza 2008 last night, the 44th birthday party of the wildly popular St Pete Times columnist Ernest Hooper. I met Ernest through a friend about a month ago and gave him a website for his birthday,

The party was at Four Green Fields in South Tampa and had a mix of Tampa socialites, personalities and elected officials.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sprint... No Longer with Nextel?

According to, this Washington Post article, Sprint Nextel may be writing of up to $31 billion related to the 2005 merger with Nextel Communications.
If taken in full, the write-off would eradicate all of the "goodwill," or the premium Sprint paid for assets related to the deal.

Wow, that has to hurt!

"Most people agree that the Nextel acquisition has been a disaster for Sprint, and I think that taking the charge just reinforces that perception," Watts said. "They had a much harder time integrating the Nextel network than they anticipated."

No matter how they attempt to distance themselves from the Nextel name I don't think there is much goodwill left in the Sprint name after this.

Many times when those of us with AT&T or Verizon Wireless drop a call with someone we assume they are a Sprint subscriber. Reviving the Sprint name could be as challenging as doing the same for the Pinto.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spam Update 2008

I regularly have clients contact me in regards to controling spam and unfortunatly the answers I find never seems to get any better.

Unfortunately as business users of email with our email addresses posted on our websites it almost always seems to be a losing battle. The biggest challenge is the tighter you try to make the spam filter the more risk you run of missing an important business email that was mistakenly trapped as spam.

Barracuda Networks Releases Annual Spam Report
At Nearly 95 Percent of Email, Spam Now Rated Worst Form of Junk Advertising

Study: 95 percent of all e-mail sent in 2007 was spam
CNet commentary on the above press release that might be an easier read.

The following Forbes article from last year is a pretty easy read and highlights the profitability that keeps spams going. This one focuses on the specific stock market schemes that I am sure you have seen yourself in the past.

Why The SEC Can't Stop Spam

Monday, January 28, 2008

Update: Hillsborough County CAC - January 25, 2008

We re-elected Anthony Arena and Jim Mills as chair and vice chair for the coming year and approved with one modification all 12 Budget Review Subcommittee recommendations to be presented to the BOCC.

Our speaker this month was Paula Harvey, Division Director of Planning and Zoning Services who discussed with us the County's Comprehensive Plan Amendatory Process.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sprint Prediction: Correct

A full six months, a holiday shopping season and a new year have come and gone since predicting that "Dreams" and subsequent ads created by two time Adweek U.S. Agency of the Year, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, would do little to improve Sprint's business situation.

According to this Reuters article that prediction was correct.
Sprint Nextel Corp reported deeper than expected subscriber losses on Friday and said it would cut about 4,000 jobs, raising fears of a slowdown in the U.S. wireless industry, and its stock dropped nearly 25 percent.

I think the reference to a slowdown in the industry is overly dramatic considering the 683,000 subscribers lost by the company did not give up cell phones; they mostly went to AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

I do have to add that I have enjoyed the campaign and think creatively, Goodby did everything they could do.

Last April I wondered if a creative campaign could help a company that customers love to hate. Unlike HP where the campaign reinforced good feelings this campaign had way too much of an uphill climb.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I'll take my digital box a bit early

According to the this St Pete Times editorial and details in this Times article, Hillsborough County has sold out to Bright House Networks by striking a deal instead of suing them for moving the access channels to a higher tier.

The cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa are spending tax payer dollars to fight a change that will be federally mandated to change on February 17, 2009.

How do you rationalize that as responsible spending?

Furthermore the change has actually increased access to government by also providing The Florida Channel on 623 which previously was not available.

While I don't agree with the County using the $150,000 to promote county government, we are getting something in a situation we don't have to be given anything and not wasting money on a legal battle that would be lost anyway.

I think the free advertising would be better utilized if granted to local non profits. The non profit community would be able to use that exposure to help generate more private support instead of depending so heavily on government subsidy.