Media & Technology: Redlight Greenlight 123

Friday, July 29, 2005

Dove Does A Real Body Good

It's the latest buzz campaign for real women with real curves and all of the so-called larger women of the world are applauding Dove's public declaration that not everyone is a size 2, nor do they want to be. The campaign not only boosts these buxom beauties, but it also promotes their latest product, Dove Firming.

I delight in how the website incorporates various outlets for women, especially young ladies, to share their experiences and opinions about real beauty. Many of our girls have self-esteem issues partly due to advertising not representing the full spectrum of global glamor.

Now, if advertisers really step up their game and feature new mothers with birth belly's without having to promote a mommy product, I'll be the first to break the story!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

You Have :59 To Kick A Freestyle

That's VH1's latest online promotion. You have :59 to prove you can spit fire better than Puff (the magic dragon, that is).

www.freestyle59.vh1.com

If you truly believe competition is none when it comes to your lyrical content, enter this Hip Hop contest and you may win $10,000, inclusion in some promotional material, be in New York City for their 2nd Annual Hip Hop Honors awards show, AND hook up with a record label executive. They should make it obvious on the "how to participate" page that you can also mail in your video as well as uploading it, which is key since this is a national contest and there are levels of technology resourcefulness.

I used to try and rhyme way back when. I won't divulge my identity, but if you're out there Females Finesse (Tanjy, Stacia, Renee), give MC Smurfy a shout out. I know, the name is embarrassing. A boy I used to like said I was cute like Smurfette. Go figure that I went for it AND was proud.

"We are Females Finesse. We are not like the rest. We'll make you want to dance. And put you in a trance." Whew, it amazes me what the brain can store and sometimes flashbacking isn't such a good thing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ever Have A Technological Brain Fart?

You're sitting at work doing your work and the phone rings or you get an email or someone IM's you or you're away from your desk/office and your cell phone rings or someone emails your Blackberry. Or, you're on your way somewhere while listening to your MP3 player, which of course has only your favorite gabillion songs on it, so you're jammin' either in your head or dancing in the streets. You hang up from the call, reply to the email or IM, get back from your meeting, turn off or tune out your MP3 player only to find out you don't know what in the world you were doing or where in the hell you were going before this distraction from technology. BRAIN FART!

Not to say that other things don't sidetrack us, but wasn't technology made to make our lives easier? Now it seems that it just gives us more ways to communicate or entertain ourselves to the point of adding on to the distraction of our once simpler lives?

Man! And to think I don't know what I'd do if I didn't write down my "to do" list in my notebook. Yet, I know some people who can't function without a gadget. How do you keep track of what you need to do?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

From Urinals To Taxi Cabs


My point exactly. No space is safe. From urinals to taxi cabs, advertisers will find a way to get their message out there. These two locations are definitely places where they have the consumer's undivided attention.

Appropriately named, Wizmark created "the world's first and only interactive urinal communicator," according to its website (pictured above). It can talk, sing, flash lights...you name it. Men, it's not like you can comfortably have a wandering eye when taking care of business, so the only place to look is down. Talk about targeted advertising. Hitting your mark.

Interactive Taxi makes wireless, interactive touch screens for the back of taxi cabs. It's free for passengers to use and they can get diverse information from the latest news to the latest movie releases. What better way to distract passengers from getting nauseas from those lead foot scourges of the road.

Friday, July 22, 2005

In Games Shouldn't Dictate Game Plan

Everyone writes blogs. Everyone shouldn't. Every company wants to use new technology. Every company shouldn't. Getting in to games has become in vogue. The problem is that if the brand is not in accordance with the game, the brand can suffer ten times worse than an inappropriately placed TV ad or radio spot. So, does advertising in some games make the game feel more realistic? Sometimes, at least where branding is expected. Football arenas have banner ads, Nascar cars don sponsors, so those kind of game settings make sense. But, to just be in the game for the sake of brand placement and because it's a cool, new technology could be brand equity suicide.

Magical Game Space

Katie Salen is an acting director at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she teaches Design and Technology on the graduate level. She is the co-author of Rules of Play, the first critically acclaimed book written by a woman that dissects games and game design. More importantly, it delves into what makes the gaming experience more gratifying for the gamer. "Games allow people to create a magic space," declared Katie during a New Technologies in Advertising and Public Relations class presentation at New York University, and I agree. When gamers are in their game space, their only limitations are within the space of the game. Games are dynamic systems that allow for an infinite amount of variables, including the players themselves.

Think about it (and this is where I show my age), remember going to the local store or mall and playing Ms. Pac Man, Millipede, or Donkey Kong against your friends? Well, I was and still am a big competitor (and sometimes a sore loser) and if we were playing, THOSE kids were no longer my friends...they were mortal enemies trying to prevent me from turning over the machine (not literally - that's what we called it when we scored so many points that the counter started back at zero). Anywho, THAT was our game space. Local store (mine was the Funhouse, I think), my crew, huge video games with a joystick, maybe two buttons, and lots of smack talking. Many a mama were insulted. I have to say this, here's one...yo mama is so stupid she thought a quarterback was a refund. HA!

I can understand the perpetual possibilites of playing online, but there's nothing like laughing, screaming, talking trash, and whooping it up with players in person. Intense playing and bonding. Now THAT's a magic space.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Every Space Is Ad Real Estate



Just ask Sidetrack Technologies, Inc.. They have created a way to advertise in subway tunnels by using motion picture billboards (photo above is advertising installment for Royal Carribbean). If you're like me, I try to always have something to read or listen to during my commute, just so I don't have to pretend I'm not looking at someone (like when someone catches you looking at them and they think you've been staring the entire time) or I get caught (because sometimes it just seems like you're not supposed to do it) reading the subway car ads.

This is a pretty cool concept and the spot length is a minimum of 15 minutes. I think riders would look forward to seeing the commerical between stops rather than think about not having enough money to buy something to eat and hoping someone has a business lunch so they can cop a free meal. You'd think that New York would be one of their launch sites since we try our best to avoid eye contact and it's the media capital, but it's only availabe in a hand full of cities, including San Francisco and Boston here in the states.

Where will we advertise next? How about our tongues (although, that's just word-of-mouth).

Photo Credit: Sidetrack

Truly The City That Never Sleeps


How much would you want to get paid to live on the side of a building as part of NYC's first ever live-billboard? Maybe as I'm walking down Times Square between today and tomorrow I can ask one of the 40 models who work through shifts for a couple of days as Calvin Klein creates the illusion of a 48hr party in a perfume bottle to help promote his CK One fragrance. This begs the question because I don't get the connection between the sachet and the soiree.

Well marketers...now, the bar has been raised. I guess the next step is to set up a house underground and put a plastic, see-through panel on top so passers-by can watch a family's daily routine to help promote the new reality show, "My Life As A Mole."

Monday, July 18, 2005

Relating To The Public

What the public thinks does in fact matter. How to get them to think what you want them to think is the conundrum. Tom Cruise practices Scientology. Some people think that's great. He's found a religion or pseudo-religion. Others think it's a publicity stunt that synchronized around the time of his latest movie release. PR can be used to generate visability and focus attention on a specified topic. Still others may think he just needs a hug and Jesus. Nevertheless, I'm sure the point was to not create such a wide mix of opinions (hmm...unless it's to continue a calculated cycle of conversations).

In my opinion, you can beat someone over the head with what you think they should think and they are still going to draw their own conclusion. My company's press department sends out mass mailings to media outlets that typically include a press release and a rough cut of an upcoming program. No matter what that press release says, the viewer will still form their own assessment based on a number of individual factors. For instance, if our show is about the gay community and a particular PR person has a son who is homosexual, that will affect his/her judgment of the program. If the PR person is a disgruntled ex-employee of my company, that would influence it as well. Either way, PR can build or break relationships with the public.

Here are some PR sites that may be of interest:
Women Executives in Public Relations
The Museum of Public Relations
Public Relations Society of America
US Dept. of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics (regarding Advertising and PR)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review - Cowon iAudio X5


My friend just bought a Cowon iAudio X5, which is a digital audio and video player. It's pretty cool from the 5 minutes I spent with it. It's about the size of the Apple iPod, has a nice, clean design, FM radio, and voice recorder. His had a 20GB HD. The screen was very bright for looking at pictures and videos. It felt very delicate, so if you're a clutz don't buy it. There's a play button on the front and all the other controls were on the side, so that made it awkward to function. There's also a slot at the bottom for hooking up an adapter for USB and other plug-ins, which meant that if you lost it, you're screwed and have to buy another one. Maybe if I had one, I could go into a deeper review (hint).
-MM
Picture credit: Cowon America

AD ON THAT NOTE - July 17, 2005

The point of DVRs is to skip commercials. Why write an article about it unless it gives some insight?
http://sg.news.yahoo.com/050712/3/3tfi3.html

Who would have thought that poker would become a sport? Let alone a marketers dreamland. What MJ did for basketball and all the businesses he endorsed, players are doing for the world series of poker and their sponsors. According to this article, players have become billboards for advertisers, but that's nothing new. What's next? Professional nail painting? I mean really, nail technicians are very skilled with a brush, especially my Julie. I can visualize a Victoria Secrets or a Chanel logo on a nail.
http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/3757030

Apple hears Sony knockin', but they can't come in, at least not in the states...yet!
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=businessNews&storyid=2005-07-14T105521Z_01_T203981_RTRIDST_0_BUSINESS-TECH-SONY-DC.XML

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Deos Tnlecoghoy Acefft Sellpnig?

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Scuh a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia

:)-Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

Technology does affect written communication. Text messaging. Emails. Instant messaging. We're all guilty of using one or all of these forms. It's all woven into the fabric of our daily declarations that we proudly wear like a caped crusader's utility belt...using it at will as the situation dictates. It's all a style of shorthand that criples our writing abilities making us lackadaisical leaning on spell check like a crutch. Which technology do you use the most?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

And They Say I Can't Take It With Me


Nowadays, every company wants consumers to have it "their way," whatever that way is. BK's motto is just that, "Have It Your Way." When users log on to their customizable sites, whether they are banking, shopping, or listening, they have the option to format their page to look a certain way and it's all "their" information. My way. My time. When I want it. Where I want it.

Well, here's the latest in "my, my, my," Slingbox. You can't set up your TV at work (literally, bringing YOUR TV to work), but you can watch your TV from any Internet connected computer. For a mere $250.00 (I say this facetiously), you can have your very own personal slingbox that enables you to watch your television's programming through your home network. You can change channels as if you were sitting at home and watch your Tivo'd episodes of The Surreal Life or Girlfriends (I Love Girlfriends). But, I think this device is more apropos for daytime shows that are a don't miss (like when the ladies at my job alert everyone that Oprah is airing her "give away expensive donated products to the audience in exchange for brand/company exposure and make viewers drool realizing that in their lifetime they can never afford anything remotely close to that" show). There are some cons, like not being able to work with high-definition video, but it does support other video sources, like DVRs and VCRs. You also can't use any other software besides theirs to configure your computers . Wait a minute! I thought everything was about me?

HELP Me To Understand - July 10, 2005

OK. So, every so often I run into something that I just don't quite get. Yanno? Like,

Why do some sites not allow you to leave their site by pressing the back button? You start clicking it like a mad person to escape and before you know it, you're back to your homepage. So many more sites are doing this that I've developed a clicking cramp. I know they don't want us to leave and sometimes parting is such sweet sorrow, but they won't get return visitors by holding them hostage. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

AD ON THAT NOTE - July 10, 2005

Yes. More and more computer users are worried about spyware, adware, and pop-ups infiltrating their personal online space and experience, because that's exactly what it is - a personal experience. And after adding all this protection to stop the invasion, if I have to experience any more pop-ups that open in another window, I'm going www dot postal dot com (not a real site people...yet).
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,68120,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_8

I am one of the most impatient people on the planet, I think. I can't walk behind crowds of people, I have to bob and weave. I can't wait in traffic, I have to bob and weave. And if you're like me, you have limited time as well. Work. School. Family. Shopping. Cleaning. Listening to your loved one gripe about his/her day (that can take up half of your day). So, if advertisers want my attention and the attention of those trying to make and hour out of fifteen minutes, they better get my attention right away and give me a payoff for the wait.
http://www.clickz.com/experts/ad/rich_media/article.php/3517791

I really wish I would have known about this exhibition while it was in town. It regards why people share certain information. What makes it rich in content to feel compelled to spread the word. Something marketers and advertisers question with every campaign.
http://showdown.contagiousmedia.org/exhibition.php

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I had to BITE this one...

from the popgadget site, which is technology for women (yes, women are interested in those scary, wary techy thingies - teehehe). Just when you thought Apple couldn't create anything cooler then the IPODs currently available, check this out and you'll get my intended pun about biting.

Space Suit (it's not what you think)

It's called wearable computing or technology and considered to be an extension of ourselves. Much like a bat is an extension of a player's arms or nails an extension of fingers.

The design of this space suit needs some work, but the concept is genius, especially since the creators were thinking of me - a New Yorker who yearns for her space not being invaded everytime she walks out of her already crowded apartment. It's a dress that the wearer can inflate whenever she feels like someone is stepping into her personal space. Ut oh, you're too close buddy...go-go gadget inflato dress and POOF! My space is now my own again. And I am VERY much into MY space not being compromised. For instance (and any New Yorker will understand when I say this), when I'm in a relatively empty train car and someone sits RIGHT NEXT TO ME! WHY?!?!? All this space and you want to be up under me? Depending on my mood, I'll either move, ask the person why they sat next to me, or start coughing violently. That'll get'em.

Here's another concept I can appreciate. BYOB. No, I'm not a functioning alcoholic. This acronym is Build Your Own Bag. According to personaldebris.com, "the BYOB creators see the project as 'a flexible, computational-enhanced modular textile system.' That's geek talk for taking movable squares and shaping them into desired fashions. The pattern on this prototype is cute, too, but they should have used a more obvious female hand model because you really can't tell from the picture.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8 and Media

This deserved it's own post and between watching it online and on VH1, I'm covered. Great concerts and even GREATER cause. Let your voice be heard!

Check the Live 8 site here...
http://www.live8live.com/

You can choose which concert you want to watch on AOL...
http://music.aol.com/live_8_concert/live_now

Or check out these televised broadcasts on VH1 and MTV...
http://www.vh1.com/news/live_8/
http://www.mtv.com/thinkmtv/features/global/live_8/

Check out this article regarding Live 8 and advertisers...
http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=45439

The Online Eye

So, now thanks to our guest speaker, John Heartfield, author of Make Your Small Business Website Work: Easy Answers to Content, Navigation and Design, I have the online eye and on website watch.

I am ripping up (redlight) and bigging up (greenlight) websites left and right. The point of a user-friendly design is to focus on the target user, not centering on the mechanics and engineering and incorporating technologies just because you can. So what you're an astronomy site and can code HTML to have a comet follow my mouse's every move. That's distracting. Don't do it. Leave it in the sky.

My time is precious people, so the minute I have to figure out how to get around or use a website, I'm outta there. I should leave a site quickly not because I'm frustrated trying to locate what I want, but because I found what I wanted quickly, making me want to return to the site thanks to the ease of navigating. As our professor and John pointed out, I should only have to spend time with discovery or research sites, where I'm expected to spend time.

AD ON THAT NOTE - July 2, 2005

I was wondering when someone was going to come up with insuring electronics. I know a few people who are notorious for losing their go-go gadgets. No, not me. http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000243049119/

Well, who doesn't know about Live 8...
http://www.live8live.com/
http://www.vh1.com/news/live_8/
http://www.mtv.com/thinkmtv/features/global/live_8/

Just when you thought it was safe to ask people to click your site's ads with no intent to buy...
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5769677.html

Branded By Association

Venus Williams won her third Wimbeldon title just moments ago. Davenport and Williams really made it a great watch.

What KILLED me was the blatant, in my mind, association with Davenport and a high-end brand. Once in awhile before breaking to a commercial or I'm assuming just to please this sponsor, the camera would pan in on the Rolex banner and what do you know, right underneath it was a sign that read "Davenport" on the first line, "VS" on the next, and then "Williams" on the last. This gave an opportunitistic opportunity to have Rolex and Davenport in the same shot. Remember those advertisements for the fake designer labels targeted at consumers who couldn't afford the real thing...if you like this real designer, you'll love this fake one... so, now, what brand do they want us to associate with Williams...Folex? Tisk, tisk, tisk.

You Know It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp

Now that I have your attention, the title above is the first line of the chorus for a song in the latest soon-to-be blockbuster, yes blockbuster, Hustle & Flow, coming to a theatre near you on July 22. I was fortunate enough to attend an intimate press screening hosted by Ed Gordon and NPR. I know I thoroughly enjoyed a movie if I'm physically tired afterwards because it took me through the gamut of emotions - happy, grief-stricken, exasperated, grateful - and then some.

I believe anyone can relate to the storyline about a Memphis pimp who is having a mid-life crisis and attempts to become a successful Hip Hop artist with a little help from past and present friends. Disregard that he's a pimp and from Memphis, because it really doesn't matter in this context, and it's like anyone else's life who is trying to get their hustle on while locating their flow. Trying to find there way out of seemingly no way. Trying to awaken a once lost dream and understanding that you may not be who you could be, but at least you're not who you could be (think about it - no, you don't own your own company, but you're also not unemployed). Following your dream because it's never too late.

Everyone has a hustle. Pimps (or chauffeurs as one of the characters called them) use their charm (which in my opinion is not a compliment) and gift for gab to get women to make the money for them. Hustle. I go to school to earn my degree to command more money so I can stop trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Hustle. Some parents work two jobs because they want to feed their family or save for a dream house. Hustle. Companies spend advertising and marketing dollars pushing their product hoping consumers will buy it. Hustle.

So yeah, it's hard out here for a pimp, student, parent, and company...so here's to finding YOUR flow!