Marketing Spending on the Rise

The Wall Street Journal reports that “marketing budgets have risen to 9.5% of the total company revenue in 2022,” and this is a dramatic increase from 2021. The question is why the dip and now the increase. What are the fundamental factors driving the market? With rising inflation, the Fed attempting to avoid recession by raising interest rates on loans, a war raging in Ukraine, and the lingering and sputtering pandemic, this is a time of organizational regrouping and intellectual rethinking. 

One way of explaining the increase in spending is to attribute it to the opening of business after a long time of being forced to remain inactive. We spent two years without concerts, without public gatherings, and that took an incredible toll on many economic sectors. It is only natural that there is a strong desire to return to an active business climate. Marketing, as the public facing side of a business, is naturally how many brands will reveal their new direction.

What is more curious is that marketing dropped so much in 2021. It is common for businesses to reduce their marketing budget during a decrease in economic activity, due to how it is perceived as non-essential. Operations almost always take priority over advertising in a tough economy, but is that a best practice or is it merely a default reflex? 

In retrospect, the period of the shutdown was a marketing opportunity that was missed by many. People paid more attention to online communications than ever before in history. Additionally, marketing was one of the essential services that was allowed to continue even when so many other sectors were not.

If marketing is an essential service, and the mind share that leads to market share is often won through marketing, then it only makes sense to maximize your marketing opportunities whenever you can. There is no going back in business, only forward, but as we enter this new phase of our economic recovery marketing is going to become increasingly important.

The Shop in Monterey: PODCAST HEAVEN

I heart Social Media

I am eternally grateful to the Internet, and especially to social media. I know that some people dislike the digital realm, and I understand that. I’m an artist. I’m used to people misunderstanding me at first. However, I continue to tell my story again and again through different media and for different audiences and the Internet helps me to find the people with whom I share passions. Therefore I love that fucking web and the world it connects. Because it connects me to them. It connects me to you. Without it, we would never be.

I heart The Shop

Erin H. Lyman introduced me to The Shop in Monterey because she knew that I was interested in podcasting. The Shop is an artist’s collective located at 1271 10th st. and it has a fully functioning podcast studio. Check out THE SHOPCAST 831 to see more about the studio and the great podcast hosted by Arsenio Baca there. It was podcast studio love at first sight for me when the mighty Chris Powers gave me a tour of the space. Chris runs a screen printing studio in the same building as the podcast studio.

I heart artists

I’ve always believed in getting in where you fit in and for me one place I always feel comfortable is around other artists in studio spaces surrounded by recent work and the smell of wet paint. If you have that in your blood, it’s a soothing and beautiful thing. As we toured the rest of the artists’ collective, we came across Sea Sevilla, working on a painting for her upcoming show October 8-10 at the Shop.

I heart podcasts

Tonight, we recorded our first episode of E&J Branding at the Shop. It was easy, fun, and enriching. I met our outstanding engineer, Joey Martinez. He is a photographer and artist who runs the boards like a conductor getting the most out of an orchestra. I am 100% stoked on this project, and I hope you will check it out. We will release our first episode, soon!

The Experience of Art, Public Space, and Digital Culture

Portraiture and the Experience of Art

One of the most surefire ways to experience art is to participate in making it. Even if you live somewhere far away from a good museum or a gallery scene, you can always count on the process of making art to be as good as it gets. This is especially true for me with portraiture. People are ineffable riddles and using a camera and words to attempt to portray them is an aesthetic adventure, a playing with form and technique and dialogue in order to produce visually interesting photos that say something about the human condition.

The Process of Portraiture

Making photos with someone is an interesting way to get to know them. For this shoot, I met a friend Oona at the Museum of Art and History downtown Santa Cruz to do some portraits. For me, photographing someone is a way of both listening and presenting ideas. You are trying to understand someone and to present an image of them to the world that has meaning and individuality. Through this dialogic back and forth a visual conversation develops.

Portraiture as Performance

So much creative work is being done for the internet these days, but the live experience of creating a photograph still has more interest for me than I could ever imagine deriving from a phone. Doing the work of creativity in public adds another interesting element. With the buzzing energy of a public space the act of making a portrait takes on more of a performative nature. This makes it more challenging, but also very interesting.

Two Pre-Rolls with Sativa D

For the Love of Sativa

Last week, I had the honor of meeting and working with the great Sativa D! We are both big fans of Sativa and we took a couple of pre rolls somewhere cool and gave them a try.

Preroll #1

High Totem Preroll: Lemon Sour Diesel

First, we sampled a Lemon Sour Diesel Preroll by High Totem. They are a vibey farmer-owned brand and their offering was legit. Lemon and Gas is a great combination. Enjoyable smoke, euphoric high. Official score: 8.0

Sativa Preroll #2

Pacific Reserve Preroll: Banana Jack

Next, we tried a .7g Banana Jack preroll by Pacific Reserve. A Banana OG x Jack Herer cross, this little J hits hard and is a nice bright uplifting high. Smooth smoke, buzzing high. Official score: 7.9

Have Us Review Your Sativa!

Want to have your Sativa reviewed? Contact us at to start the ball rolling.

Gazpacho Two Ways

Chilled Summer Soup

Gazpacho is a soup served cold, perfect for the end of Summer. Last week, Taking Pure Joy blended up two different versions of Gazpacho in preparation for an upcoming event where she will be serving this dish. Teddy says that one of the things that she loves about Gazpacho is that it is a form that you can create variations of adding more or less of one ingredient or another, so you can take full advantage of produce that is at its peak or it gives you a way to be flexible and have fun with chilled soup.

Pasta by Hand, Pesto from Scratch

Simple, Magical, and Fun

I linked up last week with the talented and beautiful Teddy Danielson of Taking Pure Joy to create some cooking content together. Teddy is a private chef and has a business in the Santa Cruz area making delicious food that she has delivered to people’s homes.

Excite Your Taste Buds, Excite Your Soul

For Teddy, food is more than just fuel. It is an exciting art form to share with people. Seeing her take control of the kitchen as she prepares for some serious cheffing, you know something great is about to happen.

Magic Achieved

I hope you enjoyed that photo narrative of Teddy turning basic ingredients into something truly special. We also made a Horchata Pie for Big Pete’s Treats! You can find that recipe, HERE: HORCHATA PIE with INSANE CHURRO COOKIE CRUST.

Check out Teddy’s website, Taking Pure Joy, and follow her on Instagram: Taking Pure Joy.

The Disappearing Frame

Shakespeare’s first play, The Taming of the Shrew, begins with a prank. A group of Lords play a practical joke on a man who had passed out drunk. This man, Christopher Sly, awakens in a new life being told that he has broken an amnesiac spell that lasted for fifteen years. Immediately, Sly decides to make the most of his new situation by having sex with his wife, but she delays him and convinces him to wait for a couple days. In the meantime, they agree to watch a play. This play is the story of Kate.

Hunt for the Stoniest Sativa: Caring Kind’s Laughing Buddha

I’m on a hunt for the world’s best Sativa Dominant hybrid. I want world class cannabis that I can smoke during the day and that will fuel my creativity without making me too relaxed. I enjoy a heavy hitter from time to time at night when it’s time to sleep, but during the day I want flowers that make me think. This Laughing Buddha bud from Caring Kind is my top of the top. I would give this bud a 9.8. It would almost be impossible for me to love this bud more.