Peter Weedfald Meets HWH PR–The Fun Begins

Peter Weedfald 

It’s always very threatening when a client hires a new vice president of marketing. The new executive can easily justify appointing a different PR agency for supposedly a fresh start. It’s always a possibility. 

This time it was a whopper. We went from a timid and laid back marketing boss at Samsung, to the most energetic and highly- animated personality you could ever meet. His name was Peter Weedfald. He joined Samsung from Viewsonic. Peter was eager to show the business world his creative talents in his new job. He wanted a PR agency that could match his ambition.

He wasn’t sure HWH PR was up for the task, even though we were Samsung’s PR agency for many years. He more or less told me that. It was one of those times that you could only pray to your higher power to keep you employed. You just didn’t know if anyone else would come to your rescue. 

Peter called the entire HWH Samsung team into headquarters. I think there was six or seven of us at the time. Peter grilled us about our capabilities. We all felt that if he did any investigation beforehand, he would have known we were doing an outstanding job. 

Just when I thought we might lose the battle, the door to the room we were in opened. In walked IS Hur and JH Ahn, the Samsung executives in charge of Quality Control. They heard we were in the building.

Right in front of Peter, both executives handed HWH PR a bonus for the remarkable job we did generating record-breaking product reviews, plus garnering a few Editor’s Choice Awards. 
Getting the bonus money was terrific, but watching Peter Weedfald’s reaction to what he just witnessed, was so much better. He sat there in astonishment. He became gleeful. I could see that he loved experiencing triumph. Perhaps we were the agency he could trust after all.

The story doesn’t end there. Peter wanted to be sure we had the editorial connections we needed to get future high profile stories placed. He actually conducted an oral test with Jose Cardona, one of the Samsung account executives at HWH at the time. Peter would name one of the publications he was interested in, and Jose would rattle off everyone on the staff that mattered. 

They went back and forth about 10 times. It was just fabulous to watch. Jose didn’t miss a beat. He knew the name of everyone. Peter loved it. We loved it. And we went on to create some of the most exciting days at Samsung. 

Samsung Never Should Have Abandoned HWH PR’s 12-Step QC plan

One of the major reasons why HWH PR remained the PR agency of record for Samsung for 17 years was because we established a 12-step quality control check for every new major product introduction. You can laugh all you want, but it worked. Even if Korea had already introduced the “so-called Innovation” to the marketplace in Asia, HWH put it through its 12-step check list in the United States.

 I will even go so far as to say that one of our check list points would have revealed a faulty battery or whatever else ails the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 long before it came to market. You can ask Steve Panosian who is still at Samsung after all these years. He may not remember all that I am saying here, but he was very involved in helping HWH achieve Editors’ Choice Awards for each new flat panel TV being introduced in the marketplace.

 We weren’t geniuses; we just used common sense. It was just made very clear to us that in order to be in good standing with Samsung Korea, HWH had to do everything in our power to get two things accomplished – a record breaking number of reviews year after year, and the highest marks possible for each new innovative product.

 HWH actually had a 12-step plan that we created and religiously followed. One of the steps involved our close posse of advisors who got to test each new product before it was released to the public. The testers were editors at tech magazines, tech buffs, and tech hobbyists. They were all anxious to be the first to try these new innovations so they agreed to carefully check out each feature, even if it meant ripping the product apart.

 Time after time, one of these advisors would find something wrong and I was the one who had to go back and tell Samsung their new baby wasn’t as pretty as they thought. My name was on the door of the agency, so I was elected to deliver the news. It was never a pretty sight. I would watch a committee of five or six Samsung Korean executives stare at me with such venom that I would want to bolt from the room. The defiance in me would never allow me to do that. I was there for a bigger reason and I was going to see it though.

 It always worked out. Each time I tried to picture it as a game. They would get pissed at me, questioned my sanity, ask me 20 trick questions, talk to each other in Korean so I was left out of the conversation, and then finally smile. They figured out what went wrong, respectfully asked HWH to make sure the problem never leaked out to the public, fixed and fine-tuned the unit, and then officially sent the product out for a public review.

 That was one of the 12-steps HWH insisted on. The entire course of action worked so well, Samsung officially established a Quality Control department in the United States, headed by IS Hur and his direct report JH Ahn. We worked so closely together that we regarded ourselves as the dream team. Their mission was to tweak the product to excellence. Our responsibility was to make sure Samsung got those damn awards.

 Next installment — Peter Weedfald arrives to shake things up.

Samsung Wanted To Fire Me When I Insisted On The Proper QC 

Let’s get one thing straight. I am not gloating about the trouble Samsung is having with the Galaxy Note 7. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank John Grundy for coming to our rescue when Samsung wanted to fire us for suggesting that they stop sending their TV sets out for editorial review until they were absolutely sure that their quality was ready for prime time.

It was the early 90s. HWH PR was the PR agency for all consumer electronics and computer products. We remained their agency for 17 years, largely due to the genius work of Russ Rowland. Thank you Harry Fox for introducing us to Samsung, and for helping us securing the account.

I remember being in Samsung’s conference room in Ridgefield Park, NJ, when I had the miserable task of telling the executives (that I reported to) that the TV set they sent out for a review to a major consumer publication was getting a failing grade. I was friendly with the editors at that magazine and they offered to ship the unit back without consequence. The truth was the Samsung TV was in such bad shape, the publication didn’t even want to bother giving it a bench test.

The Samsung team was incensed. They wanted to crucify me for allowing this to happen. I was just the messenger but they didn’t see it that way. The Samsung folks in New Jersey were assigned to secure as many editorial reviews as possible because the brand was barely known then. No one in Korea, or America, ever bothered to concern themselves with what the reviews might say. That was my worry.

It feels like it was yesterday. The daggers were coming at me. The Samsung team told me I was crazy for withdrawing the TV set. “What was I thinking?”  “Was I a friend or foe?” The air was thick and all of the Americans who worked for the company sank into their conference room chairs while this encounter was happening. 

Just when the ax was going to fall on my head, one of the Americans stood up and spoke out. His name was John Grundy. I barely knew him. He was one of the product managers. “Excuse me,” he said. “Are you not hearing what this woman is telling you? She is saving our brand. She is not allowing us to be embarrassed. We should thank her. Not scold her.”

Okay, I may not remember John’s exact words but that was the gist of it. Everyone went silent in the room. There was a long pause, until one of the Korean officials put a big smile on his face, and decided Samsung would actually start a quality control department. That was the good news. The challenging news was that HWH was now in charge of working with the Samsung technicians to make sure we not only secured good reviews, but “the Editor’s Choice” Awards as well.

More about how we managed to get a record -breaking number of product reviews for Samsung in a relatively short period of time, plus our challenging first encounter with Peter Weedfald, Samsung’s new marketing manager.  
Installment 2 , tomorrow.   

A memo to John Grundy. We don’t forget, thank you. 💋💋💋💋💋

Shoe Lights For Running At Night 

It’s amazing that the Night Runner 270 wasn’t invented years ago. It just seems like some inventor/entrepreneur would have thought about putting lights on shoes for better vision at night long before current times.

I guess that’s why all of the Sharks on a recent episode of Shark Tank wanted to invest in the $59.95 product. It’s a natural. The Night Runner 270 is currently available on Amazon but the company needs more money for expansion. The two athletes, who created the product, selected Shark Tank investor, Robert Herjavec. He is a runner and probably understands their needs better than most investors.

The company’s website describes the “Night Runner” as a hands-free light that illuminates the path directly in front of you. The patent-pending bi-lateral ‘wing’ design guarantees 270-degrees of visibility up to 30 meters.”

It only weighs 1.5 ounces. The lights are in a water-resistant casing to protect them from pouring rain. 

Each Night Runner “fastens securely to shoelaces via a stable, multi-position adjustable bracket.” Other features include:

Two ultra-light LED light units

Back-facing red lights

4-8 hour battery life

Li-ion rechargeable battery

75+ lumens per unit (x2)

30+ meters in beam distance

Bi-lateral ‘wing’ design

Water-resistant unit

Secure, stable, multi-position shoelace clips

The patent pending bi-lateral ‘wing’ design  red shoe lights 

Please watch the video to see a very clever idea. 

My Friend Doug, The Skydiver 

Doug Garr has seen a slice of life most of us will never know.

Doug Garr is an author, speechwriter (Mario Cuomo), editor, husband, father and skydiver. I know him from the early days of home video where he edited a prominent buff magazine. I have always been fascinated that I knew someone who jumps out of airplanes.

I thought he would make a great subject for DigiDame because he is in his ’60s and has no intention of stopping his dare-devil hobby. Not being the most enthusiastic flyer, I find his skydiving a bit strange. I interviewed Doug for over an hour a few months ago and then read his book, “Between Heaven and Earth, An Adventure in Free Fall” (Greenpoint Press, 2009). It was exhilarating. I was a bit nervous when I read that his parachute didn’t open, or other mishaps that took place, but he is still here.

Here is an excerpt from his book: 

There is something quasi-religious or spiritual about skydiving. I suppose, perhaps because you practice this sport in that great void where eagles dare. I think only those who’ve jumped can appreciate the tranquility of skydiving, which I admit is an odd word to use to describe some of the feeling you get. (Freefall, when the wind is whizzing by your ears, is pretty noisy). I recall an old greeting card I received one Christmas, though from whom I cannot remember. It featured a photo of seven or eight skydivers in free fall, linked together. It was made late in the day, and the formation was passing alongside a group of cumulus clouds, with the sun blinking though them spraying I-beam-shadows. The picture was so captivating, so magnetic. If you are a skydiver, you’re thinking, that’s a nice place to be. The caption read, “Peace Is Where You Find It.”   

Even though I took a lot of notes during my interview with Doug, I also find his words in the “Afterword” for the new edition  of his book (that he is working on right now) extremely profound.

I know that I will continue to skydive until I’m either physically incapable, or dead, whichever comes first. Today, it is not uncommon for skydivers to remain active in their seventies and eighties. I received two traditional awards from the United States Parachute Association, the gold wings for a thousand free falls, and another for achieving half a day in free fall (the 12-hour badge). I managed to view the earth under a parachute at drop zones in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Florida, and Texas. 

“What has been more satisfying has been my group jumps with my peer group – the Skydivers Over Sixty (or, “SOSers,” as we call ourselves) – where we get together every so often to share the air as well as jump stories. Each April we assemble in California to try for a world record age group formation. It is currently 60, and I have been in one that was larger (but not a record because it was not completed), and these have been among my most memorable skydives. The 60-way has stood since 2012. On the East Coast, a group of elders are always getting together on weekends when the weather cooperates, and some of us even still air it out during the winter when it is not too chilly. In the warmer months we schedule state record free fall formation jumps – usually in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – where we’ve had as many as 34 linked in a web-like design. These are modest achievements among us gray hairs, and we do it as much for the bonding as for the bragging.

“One of the great mysteries of life is that – for most of us, anyway — we have no real clue how it is going to end. For some it is early and sudden; for others it is after many years and quite peaceful. Skydiving reminds me of this. Each of us in some way must live on the brink, to live life in full. If I’ve done an inadequate job of trying to explain why we do it, then it is because I am still tussling with the language, still batting thoughts around as my time on earth diminishes.

“I know that soon I will have to plan my own ash dive. I want my remains to flutter through the cool skies on a clear day, the sun drifting toward the horizon on perhaps the last lift that we call the sunset load. It would be nice if there were many people on the manifest that I’ve known or jumped with. But everyone will be welcome because those who have had the unique experience of free fall will in some way always be part of my family.

“My life’s philosophy: Live every day like you may die tomorrow. Because one day you’ll be right.”

Doug’s skydiving places: “Free Fall Adventures” — Williamstown, N.J. “Sky’s The Limit” — East Stroudsburg, Pa. and “Skydive The Ranch” — Gardiner, N.Y. These are the three places I normally jump at. There are others, “Connecticut Parachutists, Inc.” — Ellington, CT. and “Jumptown” — Orange, MA.


Pressure Cooker

You must read an important comment from a doctor friend of mine at the end of this post. He is 100 per cent correct. All I meant to say is that many high BP’s are a result of tension and nervousness. I still take my meds every day. 

I have had elevated blood pressure for almost 40 years. I have been on medication for it since it was first discovered. I worried about it non-stop for decades.

Then one day, I forgot to worry. Then the day after that, I forgot again . One thing led to another, and weeks passed by. I finally took my pressure. 107/78. Totally normal. What’s the moral of the story? Relax. What goes up, must come down.

For $99.00 you can own one of the most compact blood pressure machines. I have used a lot of BP machines. This is really small and it works with a companion app so you can transfer your readings to your doctor, or caregivers.  The Qardio is perfect for seniors who like to monitor their BP several times a-day. Easy on, easy off.
Dear Lois 

“I have to tell you that I disagree with your post today. 

“What comes up must come down, may not have anything to do with blood pressure, unless you are talking about the pressure in the blood vessels after death from a heart attack or stroke. Just because your pressure came down when you relaxed does not mean that another persons pressure will respond the same way. I really hope that no one goes off their meds because of your post trying to see if relaxing is all they need to treat their blood pressure. 
I understand that your post is read by many elderly men and woman. You might want to let them know that they should not adjust anything about their blood pressure without speaking to their doctor first.”


Smart Nails 

I know plenty of women, 50-plus, who pay big bucks for nail art. They love the way flowers, hearts, rainbows and abstract art look on their fingernails. Many of them feel it makes their older hands, look younger. 

I’m not in love with nail art. I have been wearing the same color nail polish for over 35 years. I like red and I’m sticking to it.

However, those ladies who like to be trendy, but don’t want to spend a fortune, may want to consider Nailbot. It’s a smartphone nail art printer and app for Android or iPhone. It actually prints custom, instant nail art, directly on your fingernails. 

All you have to do is paint your nails with a light colored Nailbot base coat. Then you use the Nailbot mobile app to help you select your nail art which can consist of emojis, pictures of your friends, or even something you create. 

Here comes the magical part. You tap the screen to select the art, and within five seconds the art goes from the printer to your nail. Please watch the video for a complete explanation.

The Nailbot kit will be available next month for approximately $20. Let me know if you like your new homemade nail art.



Sit With Us 

I hate bullies. Anything that eliminates a bully makes me very happy. Of course, I’m not talking physical harm. Just a simple nudge to remind them that they will not be tolerated is good enough for me.

Natalie Hampton, an 11th grade student from Sherman Oaks, CA, took it upon herself to come up with a solution to stop bullying in high school cafeterias across America during lunch time. I first heard about this app from NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. I taped it for you. 

Natalie created a new app called “Sit With Us.” In an NPR interview Natalie said, “At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day. 

“When you walk into the lunch room and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops. 

“And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit. So there’s so many awful feelings that come along with it.”

“Sit With Us” is a free lunch-planning app where students can easily find friendly classmates who want to dine with them. It’s an open invitation that acts like an Evite. Each school has volunteer ambassadors who make sure everyone is being treated fairly.

Natalie is one special teenager. We need more like her. Tell your kids and grandkids about “Sit With Us.” 

A Possible Solution For Hot Flashes  

I found this innovative product on Indiegogo, the crowd-funding site. I made special note of it because I thought this was a great idea. Americans noticed it too because it was fully-funded. The Zero Breeze,  the world’s first personal, portable, smart, multifunctional air conditioner, will be available early next year at approximately $350.00. 

The Zero Breeze is also a bluetooth speaker, a night light, and a smartphone charging station. You have to love this product.

I am constantly with women, ages 50 to 80, who are getting over-heated. They are so uncomfortable, that I start to not  feel well too. If we are at a party, in a meeting, or even at the beach, it would be wonderful to watch those who sweat easily, cool off.

The Zero Breeze is capable of cooling a 50 square feet room down to 44 ℉. Using a rotary compressor, the unit can be plugged-in, or used by the battery pack. If the Zero Breeze does three-quarters of what it claims, bravo!