Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Almost Famous

I saw this little thing on Rm 116 and it reminded me of a story:

Jeff spoke at Adweek's creative conference a few years ago and talked about making yourself Al qaeda famous - do one big thing that people will remember forever. He used the bombing of the World Trade Center as an example of that kind of fame. And he used a picture of Bin Laden as an example of an effective brand.

It was controversial, especially in a crowd of creatives, many of whom were probably no strangers to the tragedy. But what else would you expect from Jeff Goodby? Pie graphs?

It was a good illustration of being consistent, going big, and making an impact. But further, it's an illustration of the fact that advertising is a seige. It's a seige on consumers who used to take it for granted that they could poop in a restroom without being bombarded with a message. People used to take it for granted that they could get on a plane with toothpaste in their carry-on. And they took it for granted that advertising happened on billboards and TVs, but never ever happened at their kid's school.

The rules have changed. Just as we've gotten used to taking our shoes off as a necessary evil of flying from Dallas to St. Louis, not just from Dallas to Afghanistan, we have also gotten used to Spam filters and Tivo and registering with phony emails. Who doesn't have a phony email address so they can register for all the crap they have to register to see and do online? Mine gets 50 messages a day from things I subscribe to for the content, but refuse to read the junk. In fact, I lie on all that shit too - because I'm paranoid.

So yeah - it's hard to be famous in advertising anymore because there are 6000 channels on TV and no one wants to watch the commercials (Jeff Goodby, unfortunately, didn't do ALL of them. The crap that airs during your typical syndicated "Everybody Loves Raymond" is about eye-gouge good - except for those Geico spots. Funny.) It's also hard to be famous when fame immediately means people put up a new barrier. The shocking gets less and less shocking. The moral lines get trampled as marketers look for ever diaappearing new means to reach people.

A lot of new communication tactics aren't terrorist-famous-big because they are trying to engage specific consumers. They sound like your uncle Larry, not like Johnny Carson. They may appeal to me but not to my coworkers, my boss, my wife, or my mom.

I love a brief that tells me I'm talking to 18-21 year olds. Or 56 year old golfers. And I love being marketed to like I'm the only guy on the planet. That's okay with me. I like feeling like an individual sometimes. Especially if it comes across as genuine, like really good customer service, not like a handwritten font and a machine-licked stamp.

I'm a big fan of permission marketing. You get people to ask you for it. You give it to them. And you DON'T put their email on a fucking database and then spam them for three years and sell your lists. Shut up. Everybody does it. Everybody knows it. Everybody has learned to protect themselves from it. And now we have to come up with a new way to talk to those people who have been burned before.

So yeah - maybe that's You Tube. I'm damn sure more likely to open a video sent to me by Marco than from Snapple. And I'm damn sure more likely to take a car from Dallas to St. Louis if it means I don't have to submit to a cavity search and a barium enema before getting on an airplane.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

blogger BS

Fuck - I got dragged into the Beta version of Google/blogger beta and now I can't drop witty comments on all my friends who haven't upgraded. All with a pithy "Oh yeah, sorry. You can't do that until further notice."

What the FUCK! I've been routed to a commentless island where I can't razz my friends or besmirch my enemies. Or vice versa. Fuck Blogger. And Google. Assholes.

If they weren't so free, I'd switch.

Blogging the blogosphere, PT 3

I was reading through my favorite new blog, Couric & Co, and I was loving all the bile going back and forth between CBS and Bill Maher. This is the kind of crap I like to watch unfold in its unadorned petty lamest. Journalists blogging back and forth at one another.

Blogging is so entrenched in politics, journalism and economics now, that people actually take this stuff seriously. And by seriously, I mean I've noticed an uptick in folks from Washington D.C. checking out this blog. Yonder Ponder is on the radar. Awesome. All this snarky bitching has actually gotten the attention of some basement-dweller in the Capitol.

I welcome someone else who knows what the hell they're talking about to correct me if this is not, in fact, the case.

Anyway, you'll know what happened if the posts stop.

Monday, September 18, 2006


My much more literate friend over at NonBillable
has a bunch of relevant observations - and relevant links, as is her style - on the whole Couric Fiasco (FIASCO: a word I've come to reappreciate since recently seeing "Elizabethtown" for the first time.)

I'm none too savvy on intelligent journalism, preferring to glean my world view from alternating snippets of NPR's marketplace and 1310's "The Hard Line". But I will say this - Texas is not friendly to the five o'clock news. None of us are home yet. Katie may as well have started broadcasting on Mars.

I can BARELY eek in "The Amazing Race" on the Central TimeZone - and that's on Sundays.

My prime TV watching happens at 11pm. And my choices are "Friends" reruns or Leno. Talk about a World View. I started jamming the phrase "I am SO ....(fill in a phrase that makes you sound like an idiot here)." It's not hard for me to sound like an idiot, but it's compounded by deriving my entertainment/cultural conditioning from the CW (another day, another day) and 5 shitty cable channels for the ripe ol' price of $8 per month - actually I don't know exactly how much, it's all rolled into one hellish media account that gives me freedom with all my methods of communicating and entertaining - so long as they don't involve a sport that has happened outside of the metroplex, a movie that was released since 1997, or anything with the word "FUCK" left intact. Ever watch the syndicated Sex & the City? It puts me to sleep every night.

The good news is, I can reap the benefits of the Couric hour without having to skip the last hour of work or commit 8 acts of reckless endangerment to get my ass in front of the nightly Boob Tube.

God bless the innernet - and, by default, Al Gore.