Media & Technology: Redlight Greenlight 123

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bloglines Plumber

Hi, I'm the Bloglines Plumber. Bloglines is having a little database problem. We'll now be back at 9 Pm Pacific Time. Bloglines will be all better when I'm done with it. Thanks, The Bloglines Plumber.

I went to update my bloglines account and came across this notice and image. This is way more personal than the typical "check back later, our site is down" line and illustrates that there are people behind technology, even though most technology terminates the personal touch.

Being Bobby BS

Public relations at its finest. And whadaya know. Just in time for the premiere of his reality series on Bravo, Being Bobby Brown.

Tonight Dateline NBC featured a "candid" interview with the famous/infamous (you decide), R&B crooner, bad boy Bobby Brown, amongst other stories. Dateline, in their genius and likely a demand of the BB camp, aired the segment during the last 15 minutes of the program (well, less than that without commercial interruption) because they knew it would quench the insatiable tabloid thirst of viewers. The point of this pointless interview was to plug the show and for Mr. Telephone Man to basically remind the audience, once again, not to judge him or his family, meaning Whitney Houston. Yet, he now has a "reality" show where people will do just that. Reality shows are already suspect, so why put himself out there? What exactly is real and what is scripted anyway? Will viewers see the "real" Brown family, raw and uncut or will they see who people think they are, leaving what's "real" on the cutting room floor? Whatever the reality, it's his "prerogative, he can do what he wants to do." Big hug Bobby. Do you!

Friday, June 24, 2005


Sometime ago someone took my credit and debit cards out of my wallet and put the wallet back. The only reason I found out as soon as I did was because my bank called to question my transactions. It wasn't my usual pattern of spending, nor was it any of my usual places to spend. They asked me to make sure I had them, and much to my surprise, nevermind that I was totally pissed, there, in the wallet, they were not. Thank God they checked in with me. I had to go through the whole rigamarole of filing a report at the police precinct and at my job. None of the stores where the purchases were made had cameras at the cash register. I mean come one, Bloomingdales didn't have one? I had my suspicions who it might have been, which meant that he had to have a woman accomplice. I'm ridiculously pissed that someone else not only invaded my privacy and stole my identity, but was able to use MY CARDS! WHY don't stores check for identification? I asked a cashier and she said it's not worth my life if the card and the carrier don't match. OK. Good looking out. So now I have ASK FOR ID on the back of all of my cards HOPING they ask.

I say all of this because of the "contactless smart card" that resembles a credit card, but has a microchip instead of a magnetic strip. I'm sure you've seen one. Mastercard launched their "PayPass" card last year. Just wave it near (remember I said this) a wireless electronic sensor and it reads your information. Not only can it be used as a credit or debit card, but it can give ID background checks. Another "next wave" of convienient, speedy, flexible technology, this gadget begs at least two questions, "what prevents someone else from using it," and "if I'm just walking near the sensor, will it charge me/read me anyway?" If someone uses it, I'm screwed. If I lose it, I'm screwed because someone will use it.

I know it won't be long before the government approves human microchips, unless that explains the ringing in my ears since I was five.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

AD ON THAT NOTE - June 23, 2005

Talk about unethical. According to Businessweek Online, Toyota blatantly asked a few magazines to place their product in editorial pages. WTH? Aren't editorials supposed to be unbiased? And I'm frowning with my head tilted to side because Businessweek placed a Honda ad smack dab in the article, let alone the page. I wonder if Toyota noticed? Even if it's added value, I wouldn't be a happy camper.

I agree. "Viral marketing is today's electronic equivalent of old-fashioned word of mouth," according to USA Today's Theresa Howard. For example, not that I don't already love Dave Chappelle, but when my friends email me a clip from his show, it's like they are saying to me "hey Mavin, you know I only send you the hot stuff and we like the same things, so check this out." Because it's sent to me by people I trust won't send me crap and they are co-signing it, I don't feel "completely" advertised to, although that's exactly what it is.

Now there's a novel idea. This isn't brain surgery people. It's called a marketing mix. Spread out your advertising dollars. Sure, include your :60 radio spots, :30 TV promos, but get out there where the people are. Everyone isn't just sitting in front of their TV's or listening to the radio. Their online, on the phone, even on the toilet. Get'em!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

When Is Mute Moot?

When my dad watches sports on TV, especially basketball, he normally mutes it because to him the commentators don't know diddly and they very obviously favor a team or player. He'd rather sit in silence then listen to their dribble (get He'll also keep the volume off because the commercials are annoying. Have you ever noticed that your volume goes up when the commercials come on? Advertisers know that commercials warrant kitchen or bathroom breaks. He doesn't read many magazines because they are laden with advertising. He takes great stakes to install pop-up blockers and to scan his system for adware software because he hates to be advertised to and to be tracked. He rarely watches broadcast news, or for that matter TV shows in general, because there's about three top media conglomerates that own all the networks, which means that one brain spits out the same information. They air what they want us to watch or know.

My dad basically tries to mute most of the advertising around him, but when is mute moot? When we no longer have control, or for that matter choices, of what we encounter. But think about it though. Where is there no advertising?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

AD ON THAT NOTE - June 18, 2005

Found these articles online regarding advertising and technology. Whenever I find some interesting reads as it relates to our discussions, I'll post them under "Ad on that note."

Here's a really quick article on how print newspaper readers are slowly switching to getting their news online. Seems like the competition is from within the companies now and how does that affect advertisers? Buy a print ad, but here's some added value online? I'm one of those people who has switched about 70% of my news updates online. Besides The NY Times and those fairly new "free" newspapers I read in the morning, I really look for the latest online or MSNBC on TV)...

In-game advertising. Tracking impressions. Leave my game alone. Does actual advertising in more life like games, such as those when you're in a city, make the gamers feel like they are playing in the real world or do they not like having their game space invaded by intrusive ads?

More and more radio stations are becoming confused. With the advent of MP3 players, XM, Sirius, and consumers listening to what they want when they want, in a frantic attempt to attract listeners, and a bad move in my opinion, many Hot AC stations are flipping their formats to a more diverse playlist and calling their new format the Bens and Jacks of the world (among other names - what about the Tanyas or the Jessicas). Anyway, Clear Channel, the biggest radio station owner, wants their listeners tracked more effectively (probably because these brain surgeons are also the biggest booboo heads who decided to make the flips and they're probably losing their audience). Also, these stations now have less ad inventory. Hmm...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sometimes I long for...

simpler times.

Remember when no one could reach us all day and we were ok? Remember when we did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all (except the huge ones in the corner of the penny candy stores)? We didn't have a gazillion cable channels, just 2 to 13. Some of our favorite songs were commerical's jingles (I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company, that's the song I sing). Remember when in order to hear a mix of songs more than once we had to listen to the radio, fingers hovering over the huge boom box buttons, just waiting for the DJ to stop talking or the commerical to finish playing so we could hit the pause button and tape the master mix on our cassette decks and then brag to our friends that we had the latest mix? I can recall when we had to use correcting tape when we made a mistake on a typewriter. If we didn't have a dustpan, we'd use an album cover. We had no video taped movies, no Plasma screen TVs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or instant messaging. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on (or mama would come out and get you...whew, flashback). We had friends and we went outside and found them - by foot, on our bikes, skateboards, real rollerskates - by any means necessary (Peace Malcolm).

When you don't have much, you become very resourceful and also more connected to people because people is all you have. Technology is a wondrous thing, but it makes us phyiscally and emotionally distant. Not only distant from our friends and family, but distant between economic conditions. The digital divide still exists and there are plenty of homes that don't have computers and many schools that have limited access to today's technology. Some folks cannot afford the latest this or the latest that...this new adapter that only works with this go-go-gadget. We see some executives (or maybe not) walk around with a personal cell phone, a business Nextel phone, a blackberry, and a PDA. Dayum! I mean really, you're that important or cannot not be reached? I can really only understand that if a person doesn't work out of an office.

THAT is not simple. Simpler times nowadays means that you can have all of these handy-dandy gadgets all-in-one. You're talking on your handheld device while scrolling through your email, Googling (notice I didn't use the generic term surfing or searching for) something on the Internet, listening to your MP3 music, watching an MPEG movie trailer (but first, a word from our advertising sponsors), and then just for kicks and because it's possible, playing spades with people in Sweden, Australia, and Africa.

Seems like advertisers have a real problem getting our attention. Especially mine since I'm on my way out the door. I have two more hours before the street lights come on. Ut oh, I may have just given them another place to advertise to those who have a later curfew than me. :)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ready, AIM, Text

I don't think I ever truly appreciated mobile technology until this past weekend.

Somehow I lost my voice and I really needed to do a lot of talking at an exposition in Atlanta. I'm known for my outgoing, party people pleaser character at work (I'm really shy) and I was all set to MC, but I couldn't speak. Someone else had to fill in for me, which made me pretty perturbed that I couldn't fully participate.

But, besides speaking at the expo, thanks to text messaging through AOL Instant Messenger, Blackberry, email, and other forms of written communication, including whispering in my translaters ear, I was still able to express myself, albeit in small, really quiet circles.

Vibe Music Quest

Quest (n) - the act or an instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.

This was precisely what the highly anticipated first annual Vibe Music Fest folks did - searched for people to attend their exposition and previously pursued sponsors to spend money setting up booths to attract these people. This past weekend was nice, but from some perceptions, it was, as some folks say to describe something less than attractive, a "hot mess."

Yes, I was there and I have a double-sided opinion on this one because I was both consumer and sponsor. I won't get too deep, but let's just say the people spoke and the power of the consumer continues.

The sponsors, oh the sponsors. I'm sure Vibe promised a certain amount of traffic to the exposition, which was held at the Georgia World Congress Center. The expo promised a plethora of opportunities to attract possible patrons, such as auditioning to perform at Saturday night's concert, meeting and greeting "A" list celebs, hearing hot new talent, and a myriad of celebrity panelists discussing everything from politics to ethics to the ins and outs of the "biz." A perfect set-up for anyone looking to be discovered. This expo, I'm told, was projected to have in upwards of 60,000 attendees over two days, so of course, all of the sponsors created these expensive interactive booths, or lounges as some were called, where visitors would "experience" the brand in all it's glory. Two booths stood out the most to me - Burger King, which was the main sponsor, and VH1 Soul. BK was prominently located mid-floor (naturally) and as you would exit their lounge you would run right into (maybe by design) VH1 Soul's lounge.

So here we are ("we" being all the sponsors) waiting for the "ready, set, go" and the stampede of 60K folks, when all of a sudden I heard a pin drop. OK, not a pin, because all of the booths that pumped up the jams were competing for air space, but from what I understand the actual attendance over two days was more like 15K, if that. There was more traffic on one of the many Peachtree streets in Atlanta. Yes, it was their first annual event. Yes, it may take at least 5 years before 99% of the kinks are out. But come on. How are you going to sell separate tickets for the expo and the concerts knowing most people can't pay for both? Let's see where the opportunity cost was here, shall we? Go to an expo where I may or may not meet someone who can skyrocket my music career and have sponsors, AKA advertisers, get me to buy what they're selling (because that is their ultimate goal) OR go to an "A" list concert featuring the likes of Mary J. Blige (who BTW didn't come for whatever reason), Atlanta's own Ludacris and Big Boi from Outkast, John Legend, the foine (yes, foine) Common and his lyrical skills, Faith Evans, Amerie (they both are gorgeous women in person), and everyone's wannabe favorite Lauryn Hill (she was not at her best - BIG HUG LAURYN)? Hmm...wuh, duh!

It got to the point when the workers in the booths visited other booths. If you've ever heard the expression "less is more," it did in fact apply here. It's as if the emptiness was crowded. It's like when there's no noise, but the silence is deafening. Disappointing to say the least. Well, at least my quest was somewhat fulfilled. I did meet a few celebs (112, you have a new fan), got bags full of free Dark & Lovely products, and a massage that was, quite frankly, orgasmic. Ut oh!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Enticing Advertising? Uh, no.

Wanted to share this article from Mediapost with everyone regarding consumer-controlled media, Invertising: The Future of Advertising When Consumers Control the Media. He also briefly discussed our beloved subservient chicken. Also, check out the latest in viral marketing from BK and SW - SithSense. It's the magic 8-ball of the Internet (or at least that's what BK wants us to believe). Just have a few minutes to kill to answer some questions. It didn't take a Jedi to know that the force was with me to want to shut the thing down after answering the first few questions and listening to those corny a$$ remarks, but hey, don't let me use the Jedi mind trick on you. I wasn't impressed and it didn't entice me to hurry to BK.

It's ironic, too, that the article touches on what makes the Internet the Internet, just as we discussed during our last session.

BTW - Do you think "invertising" is as cute a word as "adverticing?"

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Two P's In A Podcasting

Now that I've finally got blogs (web logs) pretty much figured out, here comes a new term and its technology to figure out...podcasting. Not even knowing what it was, I presumed from the name that it had something to do with broadcasting to and/or from Apple's IPOD. It's the same premise as blogging, except that it's heard and not read (although I believe you can upload audio files to a blog). Anyone with a voice (which doesn't necessarily mean they have something worth saying), microphone, computer and Internet connection can produce and publish an audio show for the entire world to hear (which doesn't necessarily mean someone is listening). Also, there doesn't appear to be any palpable parameters into making one (again, anyone with a voice). From what I've been reading, the initial podcasts were planned to be used with IPODs, but now it's possible through most digital audio players. Just another sign of the times because there seems to be a wave of technological advancements that allow the public to possess the power of when and what content is received.

I'm also presuming that most podcasts are original content, like opinions expressed about a topic, or music from indie and unsigned artists looking for another means of shopping their demos. Anything else that is owned by someone would require a right and a clearance to use it because then it's a copyright issue.

OK. I counted more than two "P"'s, 17 actually, but you get my point (18).

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Riddle Me This

Brands are successfully built, publicly relatable and well advertised (even if by word-of-mouth) when they can be substituted for the product, like in everyday conversation. Think about it. Little Jimmy bruises his knee while playing tag. Mommy doesn't reach for an adhesive strip. She reaches for a Band-Aid. For Mommy, the Band-Aid is a healer. Tanya's lips are cracked from the cold. She doesn't pull out the petroleum jelly from her cosmetic kit. She pulls out the Vaseline. For Tanya, Vaseline is a soother. The same is true for Google, the Internet's most used search engine, although for many, it's so much more. For some, it's a means of getting their mothers flowers on Mother's Day. For others, it's a way of finding a local spot to hang out at in an unfamiliar town. If anyone wants to know anything about anything in the free world, they don't do a search, they Google it. How powerful is a brand when people are conditioned to equating it for its product? As powerful as it gets.