Paul Steven Stone’s Greatest Hits, #10 in a series and The Grand Finale

It’s fitting that the last of my greatest hits series should focus on what I consider to be my most important work—my periodic, sometimes quixotic, attempts to help make the world a better place.

Advertisements that Matter

Self-Aggrandizement Time: It’s always been a principal of mine that advertising should be used for public good as well as commercial enterprise. Through the years, I’ve endeavored to use my creative talents as constructively as possible, adopting the physician’s admonition “Do No Harm!” through my advertising as well as the concomitant responsibility, as a decent human being, to “Do Some Good!”

To that end I found myself taking on challenges, usually through pro bono relationships, that would further the public well-being, as I saw it. My first major effort involved Road To Responsibility (RTR), an organization serving developmentally disabled adults. As I normally do, the first focus of my efforts was to create a brand for RTR; in this case, one that was built on a simple positive expression of the organization’s—and its clients’!—overriding reality. “We’re Not Perfect, We’re Just Great!” was the resulting tagline/theme that arose, pictured as you can see on a button.

Our first effort, after developing the theme "We're Not Perfect, We're Just Great!" was to develop a capabilities brochure that RTR could use to search out employment opportunities for its clients.

Our first effort, after developing the theme “We’re Not Perfect, We’re Just Great!” was to develop a capabilities brochure that RTR could use to search out employment opportunities for its clients.

The Ad Campaign That Prevented The Malling of Cape Cod: They called their mall Canalside Commons and it was a huge one—mega-sized—proposed for the off-Cape side of Bourne, Massachusetts.

At the time, I was involved in pro bono projects for the Conservation Law Foundation, including a campaign meant to force Vermont to start cleaning up Lake Champlain’s toxic runoff pollution (see elsewhere in this post). When I was called in to develop an advertising campaign to help prevent Canalside Commons’s final approval, it was not yet understood by the public what was really at stake; that the mall would turn a bad traffic situation on the lower Cape into permanent gridlock.




If you can believe it, the mall’s designers had planned to redirect all Cape-bound traffic through the mall before it passed over the Bourne Bridge. Even more incredible was the fact the mall had already received all approvals it would need from every state agency and Bourne’s municipal boards.



The only required approval not yet acquired was from the Cape Cod Regional Commission. By the time the last ad ran in the Cape Cod Times (see below “Don’t Let Cape Cod Get Malled…”) we had awoken the local citizenry and caused enough of them to protest the mall at the Commission’s hearing to prevent Canalside Commons from getting its last critical approval.



3 questionsThe first ads in the series were designed to elevate public awareness of the severity of what was coming down the road, so to speak, should the mall get approved and eventually built. You’ll notice each ad uses humor in its own way to blunt the harshness and bleakness of the campaign’s dismal prophetic message.

The last ad, seen on the right, get malledwas designed to get out the troops and marshall whatever forces we had to show up at the quarterly hearing of the Cape Cod Regional Commission. I was told there was an angry and vocal crowd (picture angry townspeople encircling Frankenstein’s castle)  waiting to tell the commissioners exactly what they thought about the proposed mall.



While In Our Back Pocket…A Campaign To Laugh Them Off The Cape

CLF Milli VanilliOne of the reasons why Canalside Commons had been granted all their approvals was the questionable and highly disputable report their experts released examining the project’s environmental impacts. Or lack of impacts, more accurately, as I explained in a campaign that never saw the light of day.

Still, its use of humor makes it one advertising campaign I particularly enjoy. Here then, for your enjoyment, is that second campaign.


its just like













The Campaign To Save Lake Champlain: Here again a lack of public awareness was contributing to a growing environmental disaster: the pollution of Lake Champlain, one of Vermont’s most valued resources. Long thought to be lake_ad_1_r1_c1pristine and beautiful, by the early 1990’s Lake Champlain had developed a pollution problem caused by runoff from malls, parking lots and construction sites that was creating a toxic tide in the lake that, at its worst, had killed a couple of dogs, and would periodically necessitate banning all swimming or human activity in lake waters. glass_adThese two ads, as well as one or two others, quickly galvanized public attention and legislative response to the problem, eventually resulting in the appointment of a Lakekeeper.




Fighting Against the United States Government’s Use of Torture: Hard to believe now, but our country had taken a turn toward the dark side after 9/11 and had consciously determined we would use torture against our enemies. STOP adFirst, of course, we changed the definition of torture to suit our purposes, and even though we had executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding U.S. soldiers, the powers that be in the George W. Bush administration changed the definition of torture to exclude any extreme interrogation methods used by U.S. interrogators after 9/11, including waterboarding. To say the least, it was a low water mark for an administration that exhibited a shocking propensity for lawless action and deceitful behavior.

I was working at the time as Interim Communications Director for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a human rights organization that had originated back in the 1940’s to rescue European children from the Nazi holocaust.

The ad above appeared in the New York Times to announce the formation of UUSC’s S.T.O.P. Program (Stop Torture Permanently). torture adThe ad to the right never ran, but I had written it with the express idea of running it weekly in the Washington Post to accomplish two goals: 1.) to weaken or undermine torture at its primary level, in the mind of the torturer himself; and 2.) to help combat the Big Lie being repeatedly told by our government (including our president) with the blind acquiescence of the media itself. By running the ad weekly we would be speaking truth in the face of the administration’s steady torrent of lies. I had also planned to run weekly ads speaking “To You Who Authorize Acts of Torture,” with the idea that self-revulsion and a crisis of conscience for the use of torture had to be running pretty high-up in the Bush administration. Unfortunately, I was unable to convince my UUSC supervisors of the advisability of such a campaign.

And Four For The Road:

Four more, just for the fun of it.

waterOne, a poster celebrating The Human Right To Water; the second my bumper sticker response to the Republicans in congress continuously, aggravatingly, puerilely attempting to starve the government rather than see it perform any of its socially responsible duties for those Americans needing assistance or living below or close to the poverty line. (please excuse the inclusion of my RTR branding button; I’m not skilled enough to cut it out from the pdf.)



And next: if you have the interest, check out the Facebook page for ORANGE SHIELD, my anti-bullying program, targeted to middle and high school student populations. OPPORTUNITY ALERT: ORANGE SHIELD is in search of a national distribution partner or sponsor. Note: banner below, filled with student signatures, was from the ORANGE SHIELD pilot program at Randolph High School.

O.S.signed banner

And lastly, one of a series of 30 posters meant to combat indifference to, or outright denial of, Global Warming. (Click here to see the entire series) All of the posters, as well as much of the work shown above, was done in collaboration with Bill Dahlgren, a fabulous art director as well as a good friend of long standing. Again, a sense of humor prevented this campaign from becoming a bitter pill to swallow.


To see the entire “Tales From An Overheated Planet” series, click here. (Well worth your while, I assure you!) To view my #1 Greatest Hits advertisement, click here. To view #2 in the series, click here. To view #3 (which required reposting, for some strange reason),click here. To view #4, click here. To view #5, click here. To view #6, featuring my favorite billboards, click here. To view #7, click here.  To view #8, featuring my favorite campaign that never ran, click here. To view #9, featuring some of my favorite W.B. Mason TV commercials, click here. To read my essay about creating the “Who But W.B. Mason!,” brand click here.  Or, if you’re interested in seeing other examples of my mind at work, visit my web site. To speak with me about building or creating your company’s brand, contact me at 857-389-2158 or at



Paul Steven Stone’s Greatest Hits, #9 in a series

W.B. Mason Rides The Airwaves Once Again!

In December 1996, the W.B. Mason company assembled all of its trucks and most of its employees— plus its hopes and vision for the future—on the campus of Stonehill College in Easton, MA. We were there with a film crew to take my branding effort for W.B. Mason to its next logical phase—the airing of television commercials! This was a milestone I had long envisioned but, more to the point, had long and deeply feared.  For how was I to take a brand I had fashioned for letterhead, trucks, newspapers and magazines and convey that same sense of circus-like fun and entertainment in a 30 second TV commercial? The most obvious answer when looking at the colorful illustrations we had used in our advertising was to create animated TV commercials. But the cost of animation immediately ruled out that solution. So what could we do…?

#1: “The Boston Invasion” (where it all began)

The background on this, our first real TV commercial, is quite interesting; it shows how one’s journey is never as straight as it appears in hindsight. I had previously created a low-cost cable TV spot for W.B. Mason in which we advertised the opening of our Hyannis furniture showroom. When initially discussing the cost of creating the Hyannis commercial I had promised my client we would amortize its cost by re-using it when we were ready to promote our showroom opening in Boston.  So, when Boston was about to open, I met with the Mason partners, intent on keeping my promise, and found, to my surprise they were not as agreeable to my ideas as they usually were. Clearly, the four partners had little love for the TV spot we ran on the Cape, or for the idea of reusing it in Boston. One of the partners argued with my music choice while another criticized my script. Up until that meeting, my clients had never questioned my lead on anything.

Back then, of course, I held such power with the Mason partners that I eventually got them to agree to most of what I had planned. But that night I awoke at 3 AM with the startling realization that I was wrong and my clients were right. Being honest with myself, I had to admit our TV commercial was bland, nothing that complemented or added to our already successful brand identity. As I later told the partners, this was the first time they had taken the lead, instead of me, in building and protecting their brand. Once I came to that realization, I began to envision the exact kind of TV concept I knew would serve as a companion and enhancement to the Mason’s brand. It was titled  “The Boston Invasion” and its driving spirit was equal parts, parody, farce and comic earnestness. Going forward I would use this blend of broad, almost cornball humor to present the Mason brand on TV. For our first outing, we parodied a major military operation, something akin to “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” only instead of B-52’s on a mission to bomb Tokyo, we would send our trucks in convoy to rescue Boston. With tongue firmly in cheek, that was the beginning of a series of black and white TV commercials, some with W.B. Mason and some without, that established our brand presence across TV market after TV market.

It’s interesting to note the Mason partners liked the Boston Invasion so much we ended up introducing it on the Super Bowl that year.

Mason was always one to back up its passions with money.

Here are five other TV spots that followed and built upon the resolute archness voiced by our Cronkite-like announcer and displayed by our heroes. In those ads featuring W.B. Mason, Adam Twiss played the role of W.B. to perfection; his archness and melodramatic urgency giving W.B. a depth and vibrancy I could never have imagined when writing the scripts. It’s only fair to mention, all of my W.B. Mason TV commercials were written by me and directed by Bob Noll of Boston Productions, now BPI.

#2:” The Amazing Delivery” (Highlighting our amazing commitment to service)

#3: “LPAD Cold Call” (From The Files of W.B. Mason’s Low Price Assurance Detectives)

The LPAD concept came about after Leo Meehan, CEO and President of Mason, called me on his way back from a New York City business trip where he accompanied Mason sales people on cold calls. “Something very interesting happens each time people in New York see two people enter an office wearing dark business suits,” he told me over the phone. “There’s a moment when they’re trying to figure out whether we’re from the FBI or the Immigration Service; and in that moment we have their undivided attention. I don’t know what you can do with that, but there must be something.” Out of that phone call came the Low Price Assurance Detectives who archly enter an office and declare “We’re here to save you money!” In case you’re curious, I’m proud to say I still have my LPAD badge!

#4: “A Farewell To Arms” (Helping to Introduce Same-Day Delivery Service)

#5: “The Couch Detective” (Thereby proving my crying need for therapy)

#6: “The Lineup”

One of a series of “BuyRight” themed TV Commercials focused on W.B. Mason’s BuyRight program, which features the quality name brands our customers prefer rather than the proprietary (and inferior) branded products often sold by our competitors.

I recently revisited these and others of my early W.B. Mason TV commercials. To date, I’ve created between 80 and 90 spots for Mason, not all of them parodies or black and white. But all, I believe, with a distinct sense of my comic spirit which deftly permeates not only the commercials, but the entire “Who But!” brand I first crafted back in 1986.

#7: Oh, what the hell, here’s one more, just for laughs!

These commercials were always meant for people like you to enjoy. So, please, make me happy, go ahead and enjoy!

To view my #1 Greatest Hits advertisement, click here. To view #2 in the series, click here. To view #3 (which required reposting, for some strange reason),click here. To view #4, click here. To view #5, click here.To view #6, featuring my favorite billboards, click here. To view #7, click here.  To read my essay about creating the “Who But W.B. Mason!,” brand click here.  Or, if you’re interested in seeing other examples of my mind at work, visit my web site. To speak with me about building or creating your company’s brand, contact me at 857-389-2158 or at


(Sung to the Tune “Give Peace A Chance)

The Unity Slate, which has banded together to put a headlock on the makeup of the Cambridge city council.

The Unity Slate, which has banded together to put a headlock on the makeup of the Cambridge city council

(F-BOMB ALERT: The following satirical lyrics contain a thinly-disguised F-Bomb. Read at your own discretion!)

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

F.A.R.’S, lots of cars, noisy bars, packed subway cars

Me-ism, my-ism,


All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

City towers, commutes for hours, fewer flowers,


All our worst fears

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

Greedy petitions, gentrified visions,


Selling their convictions

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

Zoning giveaways, gridlocked roadways

Poor folks…

Being chased away!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

Maher and Toomey looking gloomy,

Nobody wants

Their f*@kin’ tsunami

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout

UNITY SLATES, Developer Breaks,


Middle class decimation

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


CResA 5 cancidates(To be read during our CLEAN SWEEP OVERTURE…) VOTE THE FAB FIVE, endorsed by the Cambridge Residents Alliance, all of whom have agreed to reject donations from major developers and to create more affordable housing without destroying the character and diversity of our city: (listed alphabetically – vote your order of preference) DENNIS CARLONE, MIKE CONNOLLY, JAN DEVEREUX, NADEEM MAZEN and ROMAINE WAITE.

Ev’rybody’s votin’ for

The Fabulous Five,

No more shucking, no more jive

Honest planning’s still alive!

All we are saying—give new blood a chance!

All we are saying—give new blood a chance!


(Keep singing until the old guard leaves the chamber)

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!

All we are saying—give Cambridge a chance!


To read my call for the resignations of six of the seven Unity Slate candidates, click here.

Where is the Woodworth Report?

Many of us have been questioning whether the fast-tracking and approval of Mass & Main would destroy more affordable housing than it would create in the surrounding community through its gentrifying impacts. Now, we learn there is a report, The Woodworth Report, that the city refuses to release which might shine some light on just that issue.

This is all so terribly sad—and infuriating. Especially if the report that the Community Development Department insists on keeping from the council and public turns out to validate what everyone has been shouting for years, that THE BUILDING OF LARGE MARKET-RATE HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS IN PURSUIT OF INCLUSIONARY HOUSING IS ESSENTIALLY A TOOL FOR THE ECONOMIC CLEANSING OF OUR CITY.

Why our city council would even vote on, much less approve, a single up-zoning petition without knowing the answer to this critical question takes us right back to the destructive impact of big money on councilors’ deliberations—like the almost $21,000 received to date by six of the seven councilors who voted to approve up-zoning for Mass & Main. Some time ago, Steve Kaiser, traffic advisor to the Cambridge Residents Alliance, asked one of the CDD leaders why they hadn’t studied certain traffic bottlenecks (I think) and was told that if they did there would be no new development allowed. My memory of the interaction is sketchy but the point stands out clearly in my memory. One way to force the Woodworth report out of CDD, whose DNA and civic mission is to facilitate new development, would be for the city council to threaten to hold back any approval for zoning changes until they see the report. Something highly impossible with the current city council, given the Unity Slate’s relationship with developers.

How many families will be forced out of Cambridge because of the direct impact of Mass & Main? It’s time we started questioning why certain city councilors would approve a development that, aside from the questionable value of its inclusionary units, is clearly too massive and out of keeping with the human-sized scale and rhythms of Central Square. It’s time we voted in city councilors who will fight to protect our residents instead of sacrificing their welfare to the forces of greed and mindless calls for increased density.

It’s time the Community Development Department started thinking more about preserving what we have rather than chasing after what we don’t need.

And it’s also time they released the Woodworth Report!


The Unity Slate, six members of which are being asked to resign.

WHEREAS there has been undue financial influence brought to bear on the City Council’s deliberations concerning Mass & Main, a  residential development proposed by Normandy/Twining, hereafter called The Developer, and

WHEREAS said financial influence, amounting to $12,000 prior to the council’s vote, and an additional $8,950 paid out by The Developer in the months after the vote, was directed at the political campaigns of six of the seven city councilors who voted to approve Mass & Main, and

WHEREAS none of the six councilors—Councilors Benzan, Cheung, Simmons, Toomey, McGovern or Maher—had the integrity to acknowledge their obvious conflict of interest and thus recuse themselves from voting on zoning changes requested by The Developer, and

WHEREAS said councilors were aware of concerns raised within the Cambridge community about the impacts of Mass & Main as a driver of gentrification, and appeared to seek no review or guidance about those potential impacts before voting on the project, thus possibly endangering the wellbeing of the very constituents they have sworn to protect and serve, and

WHEREAS the six councilors continue to deny even the appearance of wrongdoing, and in so doing continue to bring shame and discredit to the city council and the high office they have sworn to serve, and

WHEREAS a review of campaign finance records shows a concerted effort on the part of The Developer, through his Attorney, to subvert the transparency of the petition process and to circumvent the spirit, if not the letter, of Massachusetts campaign finance laws…

IT IS PROPOSED that all six councilors tender their letters of resignations immediately, and

IT IS PROPOSED that The City of Cambridge renounce zoning changes made and approved in the course of the city council’s deliberations of The Developer’s petition, and

IT IS PROPOSED that The Developer be asked to resubmit their petition if they wish to proceed with their development, and

IT IS PROPOSED that an impartial third party be brought in to investigate the entire Normandy/Twining petition process with an eye towards the pursuit of any lawbreakers.

As a voice for the city and its residents, I affix my signature

Paul Steven Stone