Feeling ‘Pixel’ated?, I have.

From the tweets and private messages that have been sent my way throughout the week, I’ve been wracked by 8-bit nostalgia and trying to make one of life’s important choices: Do I really want to purchase an Atari Flashback 5 or ColecoVision Flashback? Or, do I just try and find another power adapter for my old Atari 2600 and try to resurrect that portion of my 8-bit youth for a little bit of retro fun?


Of course, naturally, this is also the week that Pixels comes to theatres and I’ve been dazzled by constant reminders of my 8-bit childhood heroes.  Based on a PIXELS: a short film by Patrick Jean, this is a film trying to capitalize on that same Gen-X feeling of nostalgia I remember when I escaped the watchful eye of my parents and snuck away to the arcade hiding in the back hallway at the mall we would buy groceries at.

Picture and caption from Dorkly. Original caption by Stephanie Merry, Washington Post.

Picture and caption from Dorkly. Original caption by Stephanie Merry, Washington Post.

That’s the power of using these iconic properties in such a visual experience.  As a short trailer, it captivates you with the fun memories of your youth, selling that nostalgia to buy your tickets early and take your kids out for some retro feels.

Then the longer trailers hit the internet and you start to be overwhelmed by the posters and traditional media commercials and ads.  You’re okay until Adam Sandler opens his mouth and his dialogue hits your ears.  Suddenly you realize why Q*bert seems to constantly pee himself in fear during every single scene he appears in the film.

The critics had even harsher words.

But that does not mean the movie will go Kaboom! at the box office.  There is enough of an audience out there that didn’t grow up with these characters to fill theatre seats.  It will make around $28-million in its opening weekend and will probably cover its production costs when the foreign markets pick it up and the comedy gets lost in translation; leaving only the visuals behind.

So, as a nostalgic property, where does this movie go wrong?

The obvious answer is that they ignore and break what I see as one of the essential rules for using a nostalgic property:

 You must have love and respect for the nostalgic source material you are using.

It is like writing for children – You have to have no malice in your heart when you do it because even the slightest traces of it will show through in the final product.  By changing the nostalgic source material to become the butt end of an Adam Sandler joke, or so your movie can access the Chinese market, it takes away from the final product and subconsciously your inner nostalgic child knows something is horribly wrong.

Now, am I just being judgemental on this?

Well yes and no.  While I’ll admit to having a slight bias against Adam Sandler, mostly for making nothing but terrible movies and calling in his schtick performances post-Punch-Drunk Love, I blame the studio and Chris Columbus for putting him in that position of power to impact the film to the degree that he does.

So let’s counter this with an example from the other side of the digital coin.  Let’s look at a film that uses these same 8-bit nostalgic properties successfully: Walt Disney’s 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph.

They embraced the nature of Q*Bert, as a person (okay, 8-bit orange creature).  It wasn’t just his character that shone through.  This example of using the heart and soul of the nostalgic character shines through in that film in the Bad-Anon meeting scene where Ralph goes to talk about being a bad guy.  Each character in that scene is a nostalgic reminder for the multi-generational audience watching the film, bringing them further into the film and seeing Ralph as part of that same nostalgic universe.  Their personalities are used to create that atmosphere of belonging.  And it’s funny, enjoyable and works.

In Pixels, they come off as constructs more than characters.  While you will feel for Q*Bert and the dancing Smurf they seem to kill for no reason, you will quickly realize that he’s only there for comic relief, bowel releasing and to fix glaring plot holes in the script.  So you end up feeling sorry that he’s a part of the film.  Just like you do when you spot a favourite 80’s icon forced to do Viagra commercials, open a local electronics store or sell insurance.

That, in my opinion, is the largest flaw in this movie and why it doesn’t work as a good example of proper nostalgia marketing.  While it looks good on ads, posters and merchandise.  In the film they seem to want to focus more on Adam Sandler’s angry character, and ego, and not enough in humanizing the villainous 8-bit creations.

At the centre, there’s no heart, only broken pixels.

Instead, drag out your old Atari, blow the dust off that old cartridge and enjoy some classic 8-bit games with heart.  Or, you can try out this flash-based Q*Bert game instead.

If you’ve seen the movie, chime in below and tell me how it made you feel; or what you would have changed to make it better.   Or, give me your advice on whether I should get the Atari Flashback 5 or dredge out my old 2600?

Until next time, Stay Retro.


Google’s Answer to Game of Thrones

The leaves have fallen from the trees and winter is on the way and here I sit at my computer with chills running down my spine.  Not from the cold but from the possibilities that one of Google’s latest announcements could have on the field of marketing and public relations.

Endgame: The Calling is a series of sci-fi novels being written by author James Frey and a project that he has challenged Google’s off-shoot company, Niantic Labs to help turn into a marketing juggernaut.  Their goal is to turn this story about 12 teenagers that compete from around the globe in a high-stakes competition; into the starting point for something amazing.  John Hanke, the head of Niantic Labs, goes on to explain:

Frey’s vision was to do this as a book and game and a movie all together, and to use social media as a way to extend the universe and make it a place where people could really live within the game universe.  He had this whole thing conceived of as a never-before-done experience across all these media.

4-PortalKey-225x400Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 6.22.49 PMTo understand how they could accomplish this we have to look back a few years to Niantic Labs last project, Ingress.  Ingress was created as a real world battle between factions to control portals in cities across the globe.  People chose their faction, met their new community and worked together to go out into the real world to participate in a giant global game unlike any other before it.

So imagine this global game structure used for other marketing campaigns.  Suddenly, CNN could have a real-life political map where voters showed their political pride in real-time during election campaigns; or if this were indeed Game of Thrones, each viewer could participate and claim global territory in the name of the Starks, the Lannisters or even in the name of Hodor himself.

Now we up the ante and take that to the next level.  This is where Endgame comes in, incorporating a physical product (the series of novels or their Lost-inspired website) into the mix.  Suddenly, your participation in the real world event takes on a whole new meaning.  You could influence the future of the stories themselves.  A few flash mobs of support and through community participation an army rises up to support someone the author never intended to be popular and change the lore of the brands universe and story.

Popularity wins and now Hodor takes his place on the Iron Throne in a live performance streamed across the game in real-time; only to have another faction assemble en-masse to try to ruin the event with a  spur of the moment community planned and funded Red Wedding event.  Reality and fiction finally blend together with paid and organic promotional marketing.

And behind the scenes the marketing team watches it all in real time.  They can visually see the communities within their brand, how those communities have formed over time and where they’ll be in the near future.  They can tailor the brands message, create new products that cater to the popular communities and their victories while adjusting future campaigns and plans in real-time.

This is what Endgame and Google hope to accomplish; with movies, novellas and the trilogy of books all working together to give its players competitions for cash prizes of real gold.  A game that could connect billions of potential players with their high-tech devices, allowing them to shape the global game.

So can you see the possibilities that it can be used for in the field of marketing?  I can.  Who needs to wait for Khaleesi’s dragons when you have the strength of Hodor’s community that can band together and take the Iron Throne before she crosses the ocean.  Let your voice be heard and comment below on how you’d use this technology!




Trick or Treat? Pinterest Knocks on YouTube’s Door Searching for a New Audience

Have you ever used Pinterest to find your ideal Halloween costume?  If not, Pinterest is hoping that this year you’ll change your mind.

With over 176 million Halloween-related pins they have packed up their pins and embarked on a massive Halloween campaign to show the users of YouTube the treasure trove that lurks at Pinterest.   Partnering with Funny or Die, Cracked, eHow to YouTube’s Michelle Phan, Pinterest’s Head of Brand, David Rubin, believes that YouTube is a healthy platform to recruit a bigger audience.

What we’re finding is not only that the content [media companies] create is helpful to us, but Pinterest has grown into being a place where we’re driving lots of traffic and interest back to them.

What makes this interesting is that Pinterest isn’t relying on an outside agency for this campaign.  With minimal spending on paid ads they’re relying on a grassroots-style campaign and the word of mouth garnered by their online partners to spread the word for this campaign.  Now, I love Halloween – it truly is my favourite day of the year.  That is why this campaign piques my interest.  It might be a chance to head back online and add some spookiness to my barren boards.  Plus it has a series of new features that I’d love to check out.

So with Pinterest now standing as the second largest driver of traffic on the internet, will this campaign earn them tricks or will they find the audience to push past Facebook and become #1?  At the very least, you’ll be able to find a great costume to win this years inner-office costume party.  So follow me on Pinterest and share some of your spookiest Halloween pins.


Did Reddit Investors Just Make History by Placing Its Community First?

Reddit made the news this week with the announcement that Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto were part of the group that invested $50 million into the coffers of Reddit.  But did the medias love of celebrity news blind them, and the public, to the important facts behind this story?  Is Reddit about to make history and only the Reddit community will know it?

Snoop Dogg’s investment is not much of a surprise to anyone in the Reddit community since he is an active member and moderator on the site.  The real surprises are the other important names that never made it into the official headlines with investors like Everbrite‘s CEO’s Kevin and Julia Hartz, and Minted CEO Miriam Naficy.  This influx of cash is going to have a great impact on Reddit, laying out the groundwork for some serious upgrades to the Reddit brand:

  • Hiring third-party companies to expand our mobile offerings (like their new AMA app)
  • To improve their self-serve ad product
  • Helping build up the redditgifts marketplace
  • Pay for their growing technical infrastructure
  • To create a cryptocurrency to give 10% of the investors shares beck to the Reddit community.

These improvements could have a great impact on other social media apps and sites, with AMA Reddit events possibly being part of Eventbrite or other affiliated marketing opportunities.  However, the biggest item on that list was ignored by the mainstream media; that Snoop and the other investors promised to give 10% of their shares back to the Reddit community in the form of a cryptocurrency.  In the sites comments section, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong went into greater detail about how this would work.

We are thinking about creating a cryptocurrency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community. The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms. Nothing like this has ever been done before.”

The concept of creating a cryptocurrency to reward it’s own community is a great idea that should be heralded by the media, instead of ignored.  Companies often ignore their communities and the fact that Reddit, and it’s investors, see the value of setting aside millions to reward its consumer base instead of its shareholders.  So do you think made history today by deciding to try and put the community first?  Or is the media right? Is it all about Snoop Dogg and /r/trees?

Yinshan Wong - photo from http://i.imgur.com/wFVhIX2.jpg

“An investment like this doesn’t mean we’re rich or successful. Money can become worthless very quickly, value is something that is built over time through hard work.

Papilliographics: If you could taste the internet, would this post taste like irony?

It seems that technology is advancing to try and capitalize on all five of our senses.  In this article by Lauren O”Neil they talk about a new technological breakthrough that would allow you to taste flavours generated by the device.  While they talk about using this technology to benefit diabetics, by allowing them to taste sugar products, or for people undergoing chemotherapy, to make food taste better, it could have a much further reach into our lives.   By combining this technological advance with our online behaviour, social media experiences and love of brands and consumer goods it opens the door to a myriad of possibilities.

Would this create a new style of programming?  Would blog posts have the ability to add textures and taste to their subject line?  It would bring a whole new meaning to flavour text.  Now while that’s a pretty bad pun, it is also technically true since it would also create a whole new area of public relations study.  I like to call it papilliographics, a study of determining your target audience by their taste breakdowns (sweetness,sourness,saltiness,bitterness and umami).  It could theoretically be a database where computers would calculate the percentages of those five categories modified by the average number of taste bud receptors in a target demographics mouth.  While I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of papilliographics (although feel free to contact me), it’s just a taste of what would happen next.


Suddenly internet sites would be trying to lure people in by the added flavour factors.  Who wouldn’t make it part of their day to visit Cinnabon for that daily taste sensation, especially if you were on a diet.  Imagine the cornucopia of flavours your Twitter feed would become.  How would that change your following habits?  Would the new social mavens be revered for their taste palette as well as their unique style?

Of course the coin has two sides.  Imagine stumbling across new sites on the internet for that random flavour factor – a button clicking game of Russian roulette.  Or when hackers could change an unprotected sites flavour or when you accidentally step into a forum full of trolls and you get that sewer taste of hate and disrespect in your mouth.  How many synthesized coffees would that take to get out?

It would also be a challenge to match companies to the flavours that make them unique.  Especially with a limited palette, like all new technologies have.  Would internet search engines have to be vanilla or would they get daring and go outside the basics?  After all could you imagine the taste of Google Chrome?

It would also be great for companies looking for a cheaper source of brand market research.  Starbucks could field test new flavours and gauge their reaction without having to brew one single cup.  You could taste the menu of your favourite restaurant without leaving your home.  There’d be a whole new type of taste media devoted to this.  Tasteogram anyone?

Then again how long would it take to burn us out completely from wanting to taste things in the internet and in real life?  Make us reluctant to try the unknown, make a dinner that could be burnt or have soggy vegetables, without trying them on our computer first.  


Perhaps one day when they figure out texture and make it an exact science that might happen.  Companies could stop making real world products to save production costs and focus solely on the online experience.  They could also bring back items that haven’t existed in the marketplace for over fifty years.  Who wouldn’t want to taste that Malted Milk chocolate bar from their childhood.

It’s an interesting concept to think that one day we may be able to “taste” the internet.  It would be the next game changer for the marketing, public relations and advertising industries.  But like all new technology and how its perceived and accepted – until it happens it all comes down to word of mouth.  And with that bad pun I think i’ll end this on a sour note.  


Wish in Progress: How San Francisco made @Batkid Triumphant and Made a Nation and World Proud

The basic truth is this:  the Make-A-Wish Foundation has outdone itself once again.  Not just the scope of the event – which as you can see below was groundbreaking.  It is just the simple fact that through the power social media, they managed to create an inspiring campaign that gathered 10,000 volunteers to help make Miles dream come true, while also being watched by the entire world as it happened live.  After all, when the President of the United States takes time out of his day to send Miles a congratulatory video just to add to the glory he felt being Batkid, you know it is a job well done by everyone in San Francisco and at the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


The entire event single-handedly raised the spirits of countless countries, wiping away some of the negativity in both U.S. Politics and up here in Canada.   But to talk about that Toronto topic takes away from the adventures of Miles, the caped kindergartener, so let’s continue on.

With Twitter feeds from the major villains leading up to and during the event, their jibes and banter with the world audience, and with Batkid, fleshed out a personality to equally match their comic book personas.  The world got villains they could despise and that added layer made it more realistic for all involved.

The crowds lined up to show their support while Batkid, escorted by Batman, rescued a damsel in distress.  Without fear he disarmed a Riddler trap to free her from certain doom, before racing away to capture the Riddler at the scene of the real crime.  Then in the afternoon chasing down The Penguin in the Batmobile to rescue Lou Seal, the San Francisco Giants mascot.  Topping it all off was a flash mob singing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing (sorry wish I had a video of the flash mob to attach) while Miles, ahem sorry, Batkid, ate lunch between caped crusades.


The resilience of this five-year old to accept the mantle of the bat and strive to live up to the ideals of his hero amazes me.

Just as it amazes me the turnout from the world to give one child the best memory of his life.  But in return that child returned the favour tenfold and gave the world an everlasting memory of its own.  That is the true magic of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the magic inside young Miles himself.

Which is why in the end he isn’t just the hero we need, he’s the hero we deserve.  If only more of us showed the stoic courage, spirit and determination to help others as Miles showed the world yesterday.

He deserves this and a lot more.


Should Social Media Have a Speed Limit?


In my recent discussions with a variety of PR professionals we have talked about the rise of social media and how it has revolutionized how public relations, media and global communications as a whole.  The speed from which a story can be witnessed, recorded, published online and watched by someone across the globe is spectacular.  Long gone is the 24-hour news cycle.

Just today I got a tweet on my feed from @NASA talking about a live spacewalk that was taking place 354 km above me.  So with a click of a button I was watching an astronaut, well technically a cosmonaut, perform repairs up in space live on my computer screen.  I could hear him communicating with mission control while a NASA announcer guided those listening to the feed through what was going on.  It was captivating that technology has jumped this far in such a short span of time to be able to see, and feel a part of, something like that.


But has it become too fast?  

With no controls the reputation of a person or business can be destroyed with false information, intentional or not, and a simple click of a button.  Within an hour that video, or mis-tweet,  can go viral and cause emotional, physical or financial damage before the truth can catch up.  

Using events that happened in the news today, I saw online debate on two separate companies who were fending off potential PR disasters due to bad tweets.  

After all, anything that you send out into the internet can never truly be erased.  Delete them all you want but somewhere, somehow, someone has a screenshot or backup of your professional or personal screw-up.  

That in my opinion is the reason why we need to accept a speed limit on social media.  An acceptable right lane where people can coast along in safety while those who dare race ahead and risk crashing in their own personal or corporate blaze of glory.  We, as a global society, need to make sure that speed isn’t of the essence, that patience will persevere and people will take that extra time to make sure accuracy overwhelms being first.

One can dream.

However, while social media is a great tool that can help those whose voices wouldn’t normally be heard, and whose causes need support, it will also attract those who seek to destroy things.  That is the double edged sword of human nature.  Again I have digressed a little from my original subject – it’s late so it tends to happen.

One of my biggest concerns of social media’s growing speed is the simple fact that it makes society more gullible and willing to accept what they read.  This goes hand-in-hand with the damage social media can cause to people and businesses.  We’re so used to breezing through fifty things flying at us through out phones that we latch onto the things that interest us and don’t give a second thought to whether they are true or not.  We’ve been trained to believe in the basic trust that what we’re being told is the truth.  Truth in what we learn in school.  Truth in what we’re told by our parents.  So naturally we see truth in what we read on the internet.

Now you can argue with me on this, that’s your right, but look at the simple fact that there are news organizations whom every day who reprint the faux stories posted on The Onion as real news solely because they see the words and trust them to be correct.  The fact they want to be first in reposting it to their audience overshadows the time they should be taking to make sure what they are printing is correct.  These are professionals who are forced to keep pace with and because of that they end up that driver in the SUV that just blitzed by you going 150 kph on your right side and almost taking off your mirror when they cut you off.

So should social media have a speed limit?  Slide into autopilot and chime into the debate.  After all it truly is an important issue that should be addressed before technology advances to the point where it’s beyond our control.

When the communication of the heart goes from a two-way street to a two car pileup in only two words flat.

We’ve all been here before.  One minute you’re having a casual conversation with someone you like and suddenly one innocuous word or sentence is taken the wrong way.  Without warning your two-way conversation starts to veer into oncoming traffic.  From her reaction you’ve said something horribly wrong, but for the life of you really can’t place what exactly that something is.  All you know is the horns of oncoming traffic are honking and your gut instinct is screaming “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”.

So you do what you think is best: you immediately slam on the brakes and yank the conversation back onto your side of the road.  Metal screeches as the impact dings your fender and the guardrail, sparks flying, scrapes some paint off of your burgeoning relationship.  Unbeknownst to you that was a big mistake even before you thought to fix things.

Congratulations Einstein she now thinks you meant what you said.  Innocuous words no more.

Oblivious to your errors you are now reacting on pure instinct and have entered full blown damage control mode; so you ignore her glare as you step out to assess the damage.  Your foot hits the pavement of life and suddenly all you can hear is a solitary click underneath.  Was it a twig or a landline arming?  You don’t know but now you’re officially worried.  So you ask for some help but as she steps out you can see the look on her face.  You know that look and my friend you are in deep trouble.  So your worry now escalates into full-blown fear because you know in your heart that she is willing to push you over even if it means everything blows up in both your faces.

She has now got your full attention.

Now that itself is a rarity for us guys since normally we’re distracted by well pretty much everything; especially if it’s wearing a little black dress.  However in this moment the conversation becomes crisp and clear as you start to replay it in over and over in your mind.  Amazingly, it’s flashing in front of your eyes like it’s your last few seconds alive – which may well be true since that light at the end of the tunnel is obviously the six o’clock express to Lonesome Town.  So you shut up and look back at the words that caused this mess, searching for some Scooby Doo clue that could yank the mask off this mystery.  That is when you realize that all of this happened because she mistook two innocent words, in a conversation about some t-shift place, as a casual insult to her intelligence.  Part of you now hates that t-shirt company as internally you damn it for all eternity, but because she loves it you’ll always have to force a smile and sing its praises – just because you care about her.

So you exhale, drop your shoulders in defeat, and accept all the blame even though you were actually right this time.  You’ll hop on that grenade in hopes that there still might be a way to pound the dents out of that fender.  And no that’s not innuendo, so get your mind out of the gutter and back to the situation at hand.  So you plead your case like you were Perry Mason, Denny Crane and Matlock all rolled into one magnificent beast.  You tell her the truth, that you value her intelligence, that you’d play fortunes fool for all eternity just for her forgiveness.  And at the end you still can’t meet her gaze to gauge her reaction out of fear that you’ve blown it.  A few seconds pass in silence before you can hear the sounds of her laughter.  Out of the corner of your eye you think you catch a smile on her face, so with renewed faith you decide to give in and lift your foot ready for final explosion to knock you off your feet.

Nothing.  It was just a twig.

With a sigh of relief you realize that you might be safe, until you hear that car door slam and can only watch as the car roars away down that highway of life, leaving you behind in the darkness being pelted by rocks and dirt.

Guess you’re walking home.

Misinterpretation and Human Nature

As the old adage supposedly goes, “Music soothes the savage beast”.   Everyone knows it because everyone misquotes it.  And NO, for the fifty-seventh time, it wasn’t written by William Shakespeare.  Even Bugs Bunny, that wascally wabbit himself, misquoted the actual misquote when he looked at our childhood selves through the magic of television and proclaimed that “Music calms the savage beast”.

Originally penned by William Congreve in 1697 for his play “The Mourning Bride” the real quote goes “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast”.  So why is it that throughout time not only have we misquoted the original saying but even misattributed the person who wrote or was saying it?  Is it human laziness that leaves us unwilling to try and discover the truth behind what we hear and see as being correct?  Was it censorship of a North American culture that couldn’t handle the word breast in a quotable saying?  Or is it our trust that the quote was always written that way and we just accept it as the truth?

In my opinion I feel that part of it is our own desire to own the words that we say.  We adapt something to suit our current emotional or physical needs at any given moment, be it to impress someone we are attracted to, to intimidate someone or to make us sound like we’re smarter than we really are.   An example of this is the game “Telephone” (or “Chinese Whispers” as it once was known) that begins with one person whispering a message to the person standing next to them.  As the game progresses the message is whispered from person to person around the circle until it gets back to the original whisperer.   There is no winner to the game except to see how distorted the message is by the time it circles the entire group.  We want to own the words we speak and make them ours; so we try to embellish what we say or censor a word we are too prudish to repeat.  Sometimes we just aren’t paying attention to the words that are being spoken and instead are paying attention to another part of the whisperer’s anatomy.  Like the curvy bits.  We all like the curvy bits.  This brings us into the next reason we tend to misinterpret the things we hear or read: distortion and distraction.

Imagine this.  We are standing in a crowded room.  All around us music is playing and the background noise is roaring all around us.  That’s when somewhere nearby we hear a snippet of a conversation that we suddenly find interesting.  It strikes a chord with us.  Maybe it had something to do with those curvy bits we’ve been hearing about.  Only we didn’t catch the entire phrase because something had distracted us.  Either we were half-drunk, busy dancing or even ignoring that person until after an hour of them droning on they finally said that one lone thing that caught our attention.  So what happens next?  Easy, our minds fill in the blanks to the best of our ability.  We’ve all seen those Facebook posts sent to us from the best friend of your sister’s roommate’s cousin that show us how we miraculously put together sentences with missing words in our heads.  You know this because you scored a 9 out of 10 on it last week and are secretly proud of that achievement.  Congratulations “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast” has just become “Music soothes the savage beast!” and we’ve come full circle.

To put that into a context we can easily identify with we’ll look at how the lyrics to our favourite songs tend to be the first casualties of misquotation, especially when we’re not paying attention.  Listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song Bad Moon Rising.  Hear it playing in the background and practice some impromptu juggling while it plays.  Odds are that by the time you’ve finally gotten to the chorus you’ve had to restart your juggling attempt at least twice and somehow managed to knock over your nearby coffee mug.  So while you are mopping liquid off the floor chances are that in the background the chorus will start to sing to you that “There’s a bathroom on the right!” and you will believe them.  That is a prime example of our minds trying to fill in the blanks in what we think we hear when the message gets distorted.

This example applies to everything we see or hear in life and is the main reason that we should take the extra time to make sure that our messages are clear and concise.  Not just in music or literature but in everything you say.  Fights have been started in crowded bars for less and we all know that the most general miscommunication in the office occurs when you use the wrong enunciation or emotional emphasis on a word or sentence.  That “breast” might become “beast” and then chances are you’re going to get hit for it (or charged).  Although to be honest, chances are you were going to get hit, sued or charged anyway for saying it.  It is after all, human nature and could be the difference between solicitation and bestiality.  So just practice what you preach and if you are worried that what you say might be misinterpreted you can always  grab some friends and Telephone it around the circle for safety.