Article

‘LENOXOLOGY’ — THE VOMIT COMET OF MARKETING SLOGANS HAS LACQUERED LENOX IN A CIVIL WAR

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 2012) — “Lenoxology.”

Have we put you off your toast? Sorry, then, but it can’t be helped. This word is the vomit comet of slogans. It makes men want to leave and heave. Women want to give it chicken soup … laced with arsenic. It reduces boys and girls to — the horror! — video games.

It is a word to induce skin-eating bacteria. It has been known to put zombies back in the grave, for good.

It’s hard to imagine heaping additional scorn on a moth-eaten marketing concept as derelict as this one. People high and low, near and far, sinner and saint, poo-bah and commoner, have dumped all over this monstrosity — except, of course, the Lenox town officials who pissed their pants while pissing away $56,000 for the word.

We shall, nonetheless, attempt to chaffe “Lenoxology” a bit more — like dipping the two stumps into a vat of salt  after a man has had his legs run over by a freight train. We speak literally, of course.

First, Though, a Little Politics

Lenox has five candidates vying for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. Two into five won’t go, unless three lose, and three will. There’s a simple way to decide this election: Anyone who defends “Lenoxology” automatically loses. If all five hate the term and the concept, it’s a tie. In that case, the winners shall be the first two to superglue the locks of every public official who approved of the linguistic, rhetorical, and verbal atrocity.

Also at issue is the performance of town manager Greg Federspiel, who came under fire in a Scanlon & Associates audit released about three weeks ago. The audit  found “certain … significant deficiencies” in Lenox’s finances, a domain under the control of Federspielology. Interestingly, the contracts for both Federspiel and the PR geniuses who soaked taxpayers for $56K to come up with “Lenoxology” expire in June.

Candidates include Carolyn Barry, Dave Berkel, Ed Lane, Jedd Hall, and Channing Gibson. Barry, who works for Kimball Farms,  said she would fire Federspiel. She’s the only woman in the race and the one who has made the most sense thus far.

Hall, who once worked as a prosecutor in the DA’s office, gave Federspiel the dreaded vote of confidence. Check out his comment to Jim Russell in this week’s Berkshire Record: ”I think Greg is a tremendous asset to the town of Lenox. I have seen him at his office at 7 a.m. He works his tail off. [TRANSLATION: The guy spins his tires a lot but gets nowhere].

The other candidates also spoke about Federspiel:

GIBSON: “I think Greg cares a lot about the job [He isn't sure, though]. I don’t have a reason right now to give him my support [Here's one: "Lenoxology" ... we heard Federspeil supports the term and the marketing concept]. It is clear there are problems in town. Based on what I see right now, I can’t put my finger on what is the root cause.” [Uh, isn't that what voters are looking for in a candidate, or are we being naive again?]

BERKEL: “I can’t comment on whether or not I would reappoint him as I have not been involved in his evaluation” [I'm too wishy-washy-woo to take a stand].

LANE: “I have a lot of confidence in Greg. He has a great mind and is very well qualified for the job” [I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. He's not the sharpest knife in the set, and he would be better off keeping bees].

‘Lenoxology’ = Proctology Performed on the Millionaires’ Sphincter Muscle

Lenox, the town whose teams are nicknamed the Millionaires, saw town officials blow $56,000 to a NYC PR firm to come up with the Lost Chord now derided everywhere. Perhaps its karma visiting the stuffy town that mistook being classy for snootiness. Is there any worse combination that what you find in Lenox:  snobbery trying to update itself into chic. If Stockbridge is a blue blazer, white shirt, and chinos, Lenox has become sharkskin slacks, a fringe jacket, and a banded collar.

Think of “Lenoxology” as proctology performed on the Millionaire sphincter muscles. Lenox is so poorly led at the moment that is apparently can’t flatly throw “Lenoxology” back in the face of Bodden Hamilton, the PR agency, and demand a full refund. The town has had endless meetings among the select board, the marketing and events committee, the town manager, and other consultants, everyone apparently afraid of saying what people know: “Lenoxology” stinks like a steaming pile left by Fido in a sub-zero snow pile.

At one meeting, Federspeil defended the contract with the PR flacks, resorting to BureaucratSpeak, saying the pact is “based on deliverables.” Deliverables. You won’t find that word wrapped in an orange Dreikorn’s wrapper anytime soon.

“Lenoxology” has “deliverables.” That certainly explains the matter.

Bodder Hamilton created the “Lenoxology” website using taxpayer money. The Lenox Chamber of Commerce  promptly declared war on the site, saying it was “redundant” to the Chamber’s efforts. The Lenox Civil War pits brother against brother, an apt fate, one would think, for a town that has Sold Out big time.

Ah for the Love of Lenox

Great Barrington (recently voted the top small town in America by Smithsonian Magazine) and Stockbridge love Lenox for the job of siphoning off a good deal of the undesirably wealthy. Lenox now takes the bulk of the tourist-trap restaurants, rice-paper condos, overpriced hotel rooms, and veneered venues, this being the inevitable result of have lacquered over its heritage and putting shag carpets over the hardwood floors.

Come to think of it, that’s probably the true meaning of “Lenoxology” = the process and practice of attracting the most repugnant of tourists requiring the least amount of authenticity for the most amount of money. Ask yourself: What kind of person would, on the basis of “Lenoxology,” want to visit?

I can see you get our drift.

“Lenoxology,” we love you!

—————————————————————

AND IF SOME TOURISTS COME FROM AFAR // SALLIED TO LENOX’S LACQUERED PORT // FOR SOME DIVERSION, WOULD THE COURT // NOT WANT TO TURN ON THE LORD, INVOKING THE MARS OF WAR.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

32 Responses to “‘LENOXOLOGY’ — THE VOMIT COMET OF MARKETING SLOGANS HAS LACQUERED LENOX IN A CIVIL WAR”

  1. Eric Vincelette
    April 25, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    C’mon Dan, tell us what you REALLY think. Stop being so coy and beating around the bush. Keep in mind that in Lenox we have a Annual Town Meeting and that “last year”the Townspeople approved $89k for Marketing and Events….

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      ERIC
      Yes, I, too, thought the writing laid it too much in between the lines. Forgive my subtlety, then. To make it clear, then, I do not like the term “Lenoxology” or the marketing campaign that uses the term as its anchor.

      • levitan
        April 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

        DV: The phrase lenoxology is the least of problems compared to the utter lack of apparent marketing that has followed from the contract.

        Otherwise, the good news is that Lenox residents will now be known as Lenoxologists. Humor to make the long winters bearable.

        • danvalenti
          April 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

          LEV
          Yes, we have heard about the astounding underperformance of the Big NYC ad agency. I agree with another poster, who said the business should have been done local. Better yet, why the huge hurry, always, for government to farm this stuff out. You mean to say there isn’t in house talent to come up with a slogan and a marketing plan?

          • Eric Vincelette
            April 26, 2012 at 10:41 am #

            There are at least 2 very well known and capable local firms that could have been given the work, but the previous Selectboard voted otherwise. Kevin Sprague of Studio 2, who recently did work for the City of Pittsfield I think and Wynstanely Associates of Spaulding basketball fame were both considered but in the end rejected.

  2. Blind Justice
    April 25, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    4 of 5 support the Town Mis-Manager, Lenox is screwed unless we can get significant write in votes for alternative candidates to keep all of those 4 out.

    I’d take Moe Larry or Curley over anyone who supports proven, tried, and truly an incompetent.

    BTW, who did Federspiels evaluation and what does it contain? Maybe at least I could feel good voting for Berkel?

    • danvalenti
      April 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      For someone who is apparently as unpopular as Federspiel is among the populace, he sure seems to have a lot of backing by the candidates, all except one, that is. Blind, you ask a great question: What’s in the evaluation. That should be made public. Many of us are sick and tired of “We can’t show you. It’s a personnel matter, so pay his salary and keep your mouth shut.”

  3. levitan
    April 25, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    The failure associated with ‘lenoxology’ reveals a shortchanging of marketing practice by the parties responsible for floating it.

    A professional marketing company would not produce a marketing plan and reliant products without first testing it, and the logical place to start such a test is on the local market.

    Did the town of Lenox not pay the bill to earn this package?

  4. Scott
    April 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I think their money would have been better spent at Greylock Marketing. They would have gotten more bang for their buck and kept the money local. Bob Maxwell and Joanne Billow really helped me with my business and marketing campaigns that generated real financial results that far surpassed the investment. They designed my logo, my company phrase (“quality comes first in our name and our service” ) – Tell me that doesn’t put “Lenoxology” to shame! I also in that package did a huge mailing list for all under two g’s. What’s it gonna take for people to realize gov’t spending is out of control? Also I stopped in Lee hardware and you would think the town would at least award the materials needed to paint the town hall and fire department to them a local tax paying business but after speaking with the owner (he works the paint counter.) it appears they got the shaft on that deal too!

  5. spectator
    April 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    $56k gets you pretty much nothing in the media world.

    I sell quadruple that in measurable, actionable advertising every WEEK, and it’s barely a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of media.

    They could have just as easily just floated the money down the Housy and called it a day.

    • Scott
      April 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      If you’re smart with your money you can do a lot with even 20k.

  6. dusty
    April 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    How would you feel about “Lenoxtopia”? I will give you that one for $500 and a couple of Tanglewood tickets.

    • Scott
      April 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

      Tanglewood says it all why try and fix it if it’s not broken?

  7. Ron Kitterman
    April 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    me first choice is Pignatelliville, but can settle on Lenoxtopia as a second choice.Got to keep the Millionaire nickname though for sure

  8. Fan Dan Go
    April 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    LENOXYMORON. DV should appreciate that!

  9. Edward
    April 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    What a load of crap, obviously from someone who knows NOTHING about marketing, especially destination marketing, nor about the process that the town went through before deciding on the Lenoxology campaign. How dare you? What gives you the right to so vehemently diss serious professional work. You do not have to like it, nor do you have a stake in it. Reminds me of the anti Semitic rantings in some of your previous “writings”.

    Yes, there are some problems with the Lenoxology campaign, but not from the the target audience – which does not live in Lenox or even Stockbridge. The problems arise from the decision making process when public money is used – and in this case, took much longer than anyone anticipated, in an open, serious manner. As not many towns have undertaken to market themselves independently, Lenox had to invent the process. The board of selectmen that begun the process took a courageous decision and should be admired for their commitment.

    In case you wonder, I am not one of them, but have been involved in the process from its outset, so write from knowledge, not guessing.

    As for Federspiel, rarely can you find a public servant as
    professional, ethical and totally devoted as he is, and Lenox is lucky to have him.

    The civil war you talk about derives only from the fact that a certain local talent was not chosen for the task.

    Frankly Valenti, it is your blog that is a vomit comet. made me want to vomit when I read it. But I guess that’s what you wanted.

    • danvalenti
      April 26, 2012 at 7:39 am #

      EDWARD
      Thank you for your unambiguous post. Allow me to address certain points:
      1.) I know nothing about marketing: Well, I did own a thriving PR and press relations agency for many years, and we worked closely with many ad agencies — even “Big New York Ones” (I love the way when people like you justify your decisions to go to NYC, you do so reverently).
      2.) Anti-semetic writings? We don’t recall any. Please be more specific. Oh, you can’t, because there aren’t any. I am a truth teller. That’s all. No more, no less.
      3.) The board of selectmen acted on “Lenoxology,” but to call them “courageous” is ludicrous. Courageous is when you’re a soldier departing from a Higgins boat on June 7, 1944, in Normandy, France.
      4.) Would you care to be more specific about your ties to the project? You are not on the board of selectmen, you say. Are you, then, a staffer at the NYC agency? Only by knowing that can we assess your expertise.
      5.) You are not alone in your unqualified praise for Federspiel. There are others who share that praise, though not many are what you call “ordinary” taxpaying members of the public. Almost all of the ones we know of are members of Vested Interest Inc.
      6.) “Certain local talent” — If you mean Winstanley and Associates, the town fathers blew it by not selecting Nate’s great bunch. I know something about Nate Winstanley. I gave him his start, back in the ’82-84 range.
      7.) I did not want to induce vomiting, Edward, but, yes, I did want to stimulate discussion, deliberation, and debate. As George W. Bush would say, “Mission Accomplished.
      Again, THE PLANET thanks you for your side of the story.

    • Beacon Hill Mob
      April 26, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      Edward, you must be part of the vociferous tourista lobby. They are the only ones all Gaa Gaa over the overpaid , underperforming and incompetent Town Mis-Manager.

      And I say this as a resident who has lived in Town over half a century, when Lenox was a nice Town TO LIVE IN not JUST VISIT.

      Who remembers when Town Government cared about it’s Citizens, and when the Town got along far better without an overpaid BUFFOON who has proclaimed himself the CEO of the Town and struts around like a little Hitler

      • danvalenti
        April 26, 2012 at 9:07 am #

        Well played, BHM!

  10. GMHeller
    April 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    In order to clear the air, here is the email sent to me which in newsstory form I then reposted to PlanetValenti more than a week ago.
    SEE: http://tinyurl.com/7lseofp

    I took the email writer at his word because this person has emailed me in the past with interesting information and always seemed to be acting in good faith in those earlier instances.
    Here is his email as written sans his last name and email address:

    From: Carl
    To: editor@berkshirerecord.com
    Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 8:36 PM
    Subject: It’s me again

    Hi, Glenn.

    Do you remember me? I sent you some stuff in the past. I still read the Topix forum, but rarely ever post now since it’s turned into such a cesspool.

    I wanted to tell you about something that happened today. I was in the Greylock branch on Merrill Road (Pittsfield) and people were getting very annoyed. It was busy and there were two tellers. Meanwhile, three employees with obviously little to do were fooling around putting up posters and generally clowning around.

    There were two women and a guy. The guy says to the two women, “What do we do now?” One of the women customers in line said, “How about going behind the counter and waiting on people?”

    Well, I was in a rather rambunctious mood. Not mad about waiting or anything like that. I didn’t mind. But I was feeling rather peppy and I said, “As long as it’s question and answer time, can any of you tell me when Greylock Federal Credit Union is going to come clean on Angelo Stracuzzi’s golden parachute? After all, we are all shareholders and deserve to know how our money was spent.” (By now the place was deathly quiet.) I continued, “Oh, and one more question. When did the rest of the board of directors first learn of Mr. Stracuzzi’s legal problems? It seems to me that if they were blindsided and only found out about it at the same time as the rest of us, they would have fired Mr. Stracuzzi and his accomplice Mr. Nilan rather than let them resign with compensation.”

    Glenn, the place stayed as quiet as a church for a moment as the three scurried away like rats without answering. Then something unexpected happened. Half or more of the people there burst into applause. It was a real rush!

    Someone (not one of the three in the lobby) sat down and opened up a window and we all moved through. As I left, two people took me aside and thanked me.

    WOW! People have NOT forgotten!

    Carl
    ————-
    END-OF-EMAIL

    Mr. Valenti, in light of recent postings on PlanetValenti, I tried making contact with ‘Carl’ a number of times since receiving that original email. I’ve sought verification of certain aspects of his story, but so far he has declined to respond.

    • danvalenti
      April 26, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      GMH
      Thank you for this posting. It adds clarification.I know well the relationship with sources. I have many sources that have become trusted for their years of information and not one bum steer. ALso, we should add that in our communications with sources of this story, including Greylock officers, no one has told us flat out that it didn’t happen. We have learned that the information posted here by the phony using the name of the Greylock branch manager turned out to be fake, and we got bit by it. We issued a correction the next day after having called the branch manager and, man to man, apologized to him for any inconvenience. The real Mark Mancari was gracious and classy about it. As for the faker who caused this trouble, we shall be giving info about him on Thursday’s post.

  11. tito
    April 26, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    Lenochs?

  12. Dawn
    April 26, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I thought you’d take the contrarian side just for sport, Dan.

    • danvalenti
      April 26, 2012 at 9:06 am #

      DAWN
      We often do, you know!

  13. Flyonthewall
    April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    From my perch high above the muck of DanValentiville, my day is complete as I read the comments posted by the Berkshire’s own “Rush Limbaugh wannabee” as he goes about bashing anything that is even remotely bash-able. I was hugely disappointed when DV apparently was booted off the airways of WBRK (my guess only since no one offered to sponsor his retirement party) and affectively ended his mudslinging (the mud musta dried up) efforts against every elected, appointed or volunteer person in Pittsfield. The DanValenti show was likely the biggest deterrent to the combined efforts of everyone trying to bring business, visitors or economic advancement to Pittsfield and the Berkshires. Luckily Lenox, having a tough skin AND the good sense to ignore DV’s diarrhea of negativity, took a positive step in a forward direction working to the economic future of the town and the Berkshires.
    Will the word or concept of “Lenoxology” bring a million visitors to Lenox or the Berkshires — probably not. A Million Dollars? I wouldn’t write that off just yet. But I would suggest that the goal of that marketing term was to get people talking about Lenoxology, Lenox and the Berkshires — AND you know what, even the distinguished “wannabee RushLimbaugh of the Berkshires” fell within that web — SO keep writing this blog — GO onto the airways and talk about it, slam it, kick it & don’t forget to beat up those that conceived it — wouldn’t it be a kick if the slogan “Lenoxology” became a huge success because of DV??????. Thank you Danny Boy!!!
    Oh, one last thing — I read that the Berkshire Cycling 81 mile International Classic coming to Lenox and the Berkshires on May 6th is their ONLY stop in the USA – the other 11 events are in Europe, Asia and the finale is in South Africa — It appears that Bodden Hamilton earned their keep with this one.

    • danvalenti
      April 26, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      FLY
      I thought Vincent Price crushed you under the vice in the 1958 film.
      That aside, you had better improve your insect vision, because you have most of this wrong.
      I left The Dan Valenti Show after 14 years and countless thousands of shows in December 2006. “Been there, done that.” The show was over-sponsored and making us a lot of $$. Today, I have much more fun guesting on various radio and TV shows. I am flattered for all the power you wish to attribute to me. Imagine, The Dan Valenti Show being responsible for holding back the economic advancement of the Berkshires. That reality has nothing to do with the inept officials and the poison politics that you obviously favor, being the “Insider” that you are. Love the way you also use your real name!
      I am also heartened by my win-win position on “Lenoxymorn.” If it succeeds, I can obviously claim the credit! If it flops, I can say, “See?”
      Sorry I had to rile you so by pointing out the truth of a hood-winking, but such is my lot in life.
      You might like to know, though, that we do not allow flytraps in THE PLANET. We love all life, even insects such as yourself.

    • levitan
      April 26, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      fly,

      You are correct; lenoxology is interesting and provocative. But, I’m just a little concerned it is interesting after the fashion of surgical remains.

  14. tito
    April 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Flies attract, what?

  15. Eric Vincelette
    April 27, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    I gotta say guys, the dispute over “Lenoxology” is old news. They essentially have just started the marketing end of the campaign. I’m not a marketing specialist, and I would have liked to see the work have gone to a local firm, but you gotta run with the horse you got boys and I will support the campaign and withhold judgement until the end result is in. Tourist dollars are are essential to Lenox avoiding an override and I am happy that We are being proactive as a Town. You can’t go back in time and run your town like it was 20 years ago. Times have changed. It seems like your weighing in on an issue FAR after the fact. As far as the Town Manager evaluation is concerned, my understanding is that is has yet to happen. All I can say about Greg is that he is an extremely hard worker, completely ethical and very knowledgable and an asset for the Town of Lenox. Now whether or not he has either worn out his welcome or the Town needs a change of a Face at the Top is another matter. Sometimes a change is needed because one is no longer effective. But I must diagree with TT about him being a mis-manager, that simply is not true. And I am certainly not part of the Vested Interests in Town.

    • levitan
      April 27, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      Your point is reasonable, but thus far the results of BH is questionable. How could a marketing firm produce a platform that depends on local buy in without first researching how it would be received? Professionals test, amateurs do not.

      Meanwhile, if they expect to produce tourist results for Lenox in 2012, they may have missed the boat. I believe deadlines for advertising are passing rapidly each day, and tourists are already booking their summers.

      Also, why overlook local marketing. Can any town here be a national magnet if it cannot draw locally?

  16. Edward
    May 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Gosh you are VILE. Kinda reminds me of when someone called my non existent sister a whore. No I do not work for BH, nor do I own stock, screw the owners daughter or care much about their welfare.
    But I do know how they and why they were chosen. They gave a better presentation to the town committee than any other company, including Winstanly and Sprague. One of the members of that committee sent the rfp (written by Sprague, who was sure he would get the job, but was so arrogant at the presentation that he did not make it to the top three) to them and several other out of the area companies. This member, btw, did not participate in the vote.
    BH recognized that they would lose money from working on this, but figured that if successful – and luckily success in this case is easily measurable by room tax revenue – they could, and have, win accounts from other towns trying to survive the recession thru creative marketing.

    Could the money be invested in fixing potholes, yes. Will that bring the town more revenue? No. Never mind that the money spent came from an increase in room tax, ie the town decided not to increase the tax from residents, instead taxing visitors. So the concept is simple: the more you invest in marketing, the more people will come and the more you will make in taxes. Win win.

    BH suggested 5, let me spell it, FIVE concepts to the town. This after in depth study of the towns wants and needs in four sessions open to the public. You were not there. I was. In all the forums – from the marketing committee to the BOS to the residents open meetings, an overwhelming majority preferred Lenoxology as a concept and campaign, recognizing that it was unique in its ability to create a buzz.

    In the whole process Federspiel was the perfect professional, guiding the committe in proper decision making procedure without taking a stand.

    I share your admiration of Eric V. I think your endorsement of him probably hurt him more than any other factor in his failed attempt to get elected to the BOS. Poor candidate Berry will suffer from the same consequence. After all who in their right mind would vote for her if they knew you would, that is if you were able to vote in Lenox which you are not, as you do not live here. You see anyone that boasts about their negativity based career in pr and radio as if that is a good thing, just doesn’t get it.
    most people I have asked their opinion of you agree that your rantings are disgusting, ludicrous and revolting. Thus the puke effect you have on your followers. Me, I’m just bored, can’t sleep and don’t think you should get away with it.

    • danvalenti
      May 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

      EDWARD
      Thank you for your information and views.
      You’re right: THE PLANET is responsible for Eric’s loss, just as we are responsible, as you previously pointed out, for all that is not right in Berkshire County, especially by way of economic development.