Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bring The Funny

UPDATE: Martin actually was funny. If only he would stick to sketch comedy, music or stand-up and leave the Jerry Lewis-styled movies alone. Bad plastic surgery forgiven, Steve.

Also of note: MacGruber/Pepsi. Pure genius advertising for the SNL-watching culture. Completelty self-aware and self-mocking, Pepsi and SNL teamed-up for the most shameless and hilarious commercials ever. When I can find the clip, I'll post it. Starring Will Forte in his usual role as the MacGyver knockoff. Extra touch of brilliance: also starring the real MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson.

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Band Names from Google News

Time to revive that old series (it's been over two months since the last installment) wherein I invent seven names for your fledgling musical group based on today's headlines from Google News.

  • Serena Slams Safina
  • Issues of the Middle Class
  • The War Children
  • Logic Bomb
  • Heatwave Chaos
  • Eight Times The Ethical Questions
  • Super Bowl Jesus

Here are 179 more.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama Will Get You Better Insurance

In no danger of losing their crown as the Kings of the Stupidest Banner Ads in the History of Earth, (who can forget dancing gay cowboys?) is now on the Obama bandwagon.OK, but what does Barack Obama have to do with my auto insurance rates, and why is he wandering around the country with his arms folded and a scowl on his face?

And why does the White House float around the country, eluding Obama? Is it a political statement on the part of lowermybills? Is it a game? Are you supposed to help Obama find his house? WTF is going on here?

NOTHING is going on. It's just lowermybills doing what they do best: getting your attention in the dumbest ways possible. Lowermybills is the kid in the lunchroom who only makes people laugh because he purposely snorts milk up his nose.

But as dumb as all the lowermybills campaigns are, I'm told they are among the most effective banners ever.

So keep this formula in mind when creating banners:

Stupid/Senseless10 + Heavy Rotation = Success.

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Still You Need Some Graphic Seance

Thanks, "Andy". You make blogging fun. Let me guess: you are in Affiliate Marketing?

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Stuffed Shirt

I Don't Understand World Trade

This shirt has an MSRP of $40. I got it for $7. While I feel good about finding a durable all-cotton shirt at that price, I can't help but feel someone is getting screwed in the deal. Is it the 90% female labor force in Bangladesh that made it and then carefully packaged it with all this fancy trash? It can't be the shipper who got it here on a slow boat with a skeleton crew. Is it Izod, a company with enough money to secure naming rights on an arena in New Jersey? Is it the retailer, marking this down to make room for more? Someone is losing money here and I need a course in business economics.

Whatever. What do I care? Bangladesh's #1 crop is cotton, their #1 export is garments and the US is their #1 customer. Everybody's happy.

And the merchants of the earth will weep
when no one’s buying their cargo anymore

Cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls
Fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth
and everything down at the Dollar Store


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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Retro Thursday Random Throwback

Because we have YouTube now, and because I wanted to hear it.
You won't mind.

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Seven (Future) Things About Me

During the last round of "Seven Things About Me," the blogger meme where you tell....yes... seven (likely unknown) things about yourself...I opted out when a few of my virtual friends asked me to play along, citing my previous involvement in the game.

I've rethought it and decided to play, but with a twist.

I will reveal seven things about my future self, and then call out a few bloggers to do the same.

  1. After the publication of my epic saga and the subsequent sale of the movie rights to Spike Lee (who was in a bitter bidding war with Ron Howard), I was able to move to Adelaide, SA and became a citizen of Australia. I think it was the appointment of Sean Hannity as Secretary of Patriotism by President Limbaugh that finally tipped the scales.
  2. I finally learned to surf, but finding surf in SA without great white sharks isn’t easy.
  3. We have a vineyard and farm in the Barossa Valley. We make some wine, but we always end up drinking it all or giving it away as gifts. The farm is mostly an excuse for our dog to practice sheep herding, which he sucks at.
  4. Whenever we visit the States (maybe once a year, lately) we like to mess with people by acting like we can’t understand them through their thick accents.
  5. Our daily 30-minute show (Monday-Friday, live online) Radio Free Babylon, was banned in Saudi Arabia. Again. After that, Pepsi stopped sponsoring us, leaving the door open for Coke. The contract says we have to drink it on-camera, but I usually spike mine.
  6. During the Canadian-American War, I started stockpiling weapons, water and food. Don’t come looking for them.
  7. I can finally speak Spanish fluently, which is useless down here.
And now, your turn:


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One Man's Social Medium is Another Man's Disease

Saw this on some dude's Twitter page. How is this even possible? Seriously. You can't follow that many people. Just as you don't really have 500 "friends" on Facebook, you aren't really "following" those people. And if you are, you need to get a life.

The larger number on the left indicates this guy is all about hoping that those he follows will follow him in return. I suppose that's how I got on his followers list. No more.

I am going to unfollow you now because you are disturbing me to the point of insanity. There, I am insane now.*

* From an old SNL skit, when Mike Myers was funny.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wow. Some Kind of Award for This Thing Right Now

(Or as mtlb astutely notes on Twitter: Watch it before it becomes ruined for a JC Penney ad.)

It's the simple things.

Via Captain Andrew "Sully" Sullivan.

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Simple Weight Loss in the New Economy

About 8 years ago, I invented a very simple and effective diet/health regimen. I called it "Poverty" and I lost all kinds of weight. It was AWESOME. I'll give you the basics here and you can try it. If it works for you, send me some cash.

  • Eat only when you're really, really hungry
  • Turn a normal sandwich into two meals by cutting it in half
  • Ride a bicycle everywhere you go, regardless of the weather
That's about it. Lemme know how it goes!

I was inspired to reveal my weight loss secrets by seeing this fat lady turned not-so-fat lady banner ad. She looks pretty healthy now. (Thanks to the Photoshop "make me skinny" filter, notes a commenter.) There's nothing like a visual testimonial.

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You'd Make More at McDonald's

The value of the art of video production has seriously declined in recent years. Case in point: someone posting on Craigslist, Orlando has their head wedged way up their ass. They want a videographer/editor to shoot up to 10 hours of footage over four days, provide the camera and talent, and then deliver them a finished product in two days. And they'll pay you $350.

Looking for a videographer to shoot between 4-10 hours of footage to be edited down to a 3-5 minute highlight DVD. Shooting must take place this Thursday, Friday and the following Monday and Tuesday. Product must be finished by Saturday February 7 - hard deadline.

Provide own camera and editing capabilities and talent. Must have a portfolio or sample videos. Call 407-xxx-xxxx

Location: Orlando
Compensation: $350 negotiable for entire project

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Our American Cousin

Sic Semper Tyrannis, anyone?

Steve Hall, one of the premiere ad bloggers, pictured here, is being sued by Virgin America, part of the Virgin Group, of which SIR RICHARD Branson, also pictured here, is the Chairman. As far as I know, SIR RICHARD has done nothing like ride a black horse into the thick of battle to defend the Throne and is therefore undeserving of the title SIR. (Then again, all Elton John did was write stupid ballads and they call him SIR over there, too.)

Virgin is angry because Steve's blog posted a fake ad they received promoting Virgin America. The offending ad showed US Air's flight 1529 in the Hudson. The ad was clearly fake, and the original post said as much, but SIR RICHARD is not a man to make light of (diverted and avoided) tragedy. He will defend his HONOUR, as he is a SIR. (Full story here.)

This is clearly a case of spoiled Brit Babies taking out their frustrations on carefree and fun-loving Americans. Steve Hall is from Boston. Coincidence? I think not. Time for some sort of Revived Boston Tea Party, where we dump a bunch of Virgin Mobile phones in the HARBOUR.

Lighten up, Richard. Or can I call you Dick?

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Get Rich Telling People How to Get Rich

I'm not familiar with this happy-looking rich dad, but he's apparently some sort of Tony Robbins and he's going to teach you how to be rich, like him.

Well, he won't, but one of his lieutenants will.

Note the sad fine print: "Robert Kiyosaki will not be in attendance."

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Monday, January 26, 2009

MapQuest: Too Little, Too Late

It's a shame what happened to MapQuest. At one time, way long ago in the days when we didn't have Google Street Views and Google Look at My Backyard Views and Google Stare Into My Bedroom Window Views, MapQuest was the go-to source for driving directions. They had it so good, even their name became a verb: We'd say "MapQuest it," and "Yeah, we MapQuested it."

Now where are they? Sucking the fumes of Google Maps. And what do they do about it? A few months back they got rid of their hideous '90s beveled logo. Now they've added a shiny Web 2.0 reflection to their Jetsons Font about two years too late.

Here's the old, old one:Here's the new old one:And here's the newest one:
Yeah, that should fix things, MapQuest. Now you're relevant again. We will forget that visiting your cumbersome site is an exercise in frustration and an example of retro-usability.

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Drinking The Kool-Aid

While I know Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre gave birth to the phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" to refer to people blindly following someone or something, this old spot I just happened upon while I was supposed to be working (how does that happen?) is pretty scary. The jingle is kept simple and repetitive, the better to brainwash these well-mannered youth of yesteryear.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Ken Fox - Strategist! (No. 5)

What are you getting for that "social media optimization" service you pay your new media guru for? Seen any money from it? Can you trace a revenue stream to your Facebook? Have you considered that maybe your teenage daughter knows more about social media than your well-paid "consultant"?

I agree, it's good to be out there, in as many places as you can find, but you really don't need to pay someone to tell you how to set up a Twitter account and what to say in your tweets. Pretty soon, you'll have a review committee and three rounds of edits before you authorize a tweet. Just get out there and do it. Kick the Ken Foxes to the curb.

Previously in Ken Fox - Strategist!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yes We Can Again

If it Ain't Broke...

When a slogan works, there's no sense in changing it. I don't see President Obama deviating much from his winning formula when he runs for re-election in 2012 against whomever the Republicans put up. Romney, Palin, Jindal, Huckabee or some as-yet-unknown will be up against a juggernaut of a brand that got its start with this ad.

Here's a younger, not-as-gray Obama in 2004, running for Senate on the slogan, "Yes We Can." A David Axelrod production, pre cool logo.

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When Your Spokesman is Good for a Laugh

And little more, as far as I'm concerned.

I've never used Priceline. I'm never using Priceline. But I like the spots and I have the t-shirt. Some recent additions to the long-running Shatner campaign.

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The Depression is ON!

Disney has historically reported large profits even when everyone around them is failing. So you know times are bad when Disney is offering buyouts to 600 of its executives.

"The parks and resorts division is in the process of implementing a number of initiatives to contain costs and maximize efficiency," Disney parks and resort spokeswoman Leslie Goodman said. "Given the continued uncertainty of the economic environment, we must manage our business even more productively."

That's Disneyspeak for "We aren't going to make as many billions this quarter as we thought we might."

So now I finally understand that mysterious Nostradamus quatrain:

Two days from the Big Hope
three-score hundred leaders shall leave forever the Kingdom
and move back to the Midwest
where their buyout packages will buy nicer homes

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This Week in Dangerously Cool Packaging

Lately, I've been trying to drink water and good stuff and avoid the drugs like Pepsi, Coke or those crack-infused energy drinks. So in the store the other day I spotted some little juice boxes from Dole and grabbed a six-pack for work. They feature the coolest little Ninja Telescopic Dagger Straws that are so strong they'd make great prison shivs. This isn't the old frustrating "try to poke a hole in the package and watch the straw bend" design. This is the "confiscate from the kids in the lunchroom because they've been killing each other" design.

You can conceal it in your palm until the time is right and then "Click - Stab!" that punk Nathan from Mrs. Green's class is no longer your rival for the affections of Jaimie, who Lindsey said sorta likes you.

I foresee lawsuits and a product recall, but until then, I drink my orange-pineapple-banana juice with the confidence that comes from knowing I could murder anyone who dared take it from my Ninja fist.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration as Seen from Iran

A Potential Leader of a Revolution?
Showing wisdom beyond her years, Barack Obama's youngest daughter, Sasha, gives her father the traditional "Up yours!" gesture following his inaugural address on the steps of the Imperial Dome of Sorrow, while negligent mother Michelle Obama looks on.

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Does Not Compute

Why, it's a beautiful young model in a low top and tight jeans, sprawled on a wood floor, advertising...something.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Clever Twist to a Tired Template

Old school luxury apartment-home advertising is done one of three ways: an impressive rendering of the building exterior, a picture of the floor-plan, or a rendering of the fine interior with an optional young family (two children maximum limit) posing around a meal. A combination of two of those three options is also acceptable. The new school, best exemplified by Fontainebleau in collaboration with Victoria's Secret, is in a class by itself and deserves another post.

This is the right side of a two-page spread for a building at 535 West End Ave in the Riverside Park neighborhood of Manhattan's UWS. (Did I get that right, New Yorkers?) The left side employed the interior rendering style. This is nothing groundbreaking, but they included a nice addition. The illuminated windows indicate sold residences, so you only need to imagine yourself living behind the darkened windows. (From $8.5 to $25 million.)

I'll take the fifth floor from the top.

There is a decent companion website, designed by dbox.

And this is apparently the actual corner where this fine structure will eventually stand, as it appears on Google Street Views. I added the surreal blue sky for that "artist's rendering" touch.

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All Aboard The (Very Expensive) Hope Train

Macy's, Grey Goose, Darby Scott and others are "honoring" Barack Obama with advertising this morning in the The New York Times Magazine. Most of them just mention him in some way: a toast; a "we stand with" type tribute.

Steuben Glass, on the other hand, has upped the ante in the kitsch category with this $7,500 plate.

Own a piece of history with our exquisite 16” diameter commemorative plate created by the Steuben Design Team to mark the inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama. On the hand-polished convex surface of the plate Obama’s minutely detailed portrait is captured in brilliant crystal. The inscription beneath it pays tribute to the importance of the occasion. Mounted for display on an elegant brushed stainless steel base, this splendid keepsake is offered in an exclusive edition limited to a symbolic 44 examples. A collector’s prize, it will make an heirloom gift to be treasured for generations to come.

Limited edition of 44. Hurry, while supplies last.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pet Peeve

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Who Says Traditional Media is Dying?

My local paper, owned by the Tribune company, is doing its best to stay competitive, even in the face of bankruptcy and dwindling circulation numbers. They report on the things we are concerned about. Read the whole riveting tale here.

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In the Future: Black Presidents and Magic Boner Pills

Major Mike Adams travels back in time for another revealing chat with the spiffy lads in their pre-IKEA office of yesteryear.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Not a Fan

At the risk of angering most of the world, it seems, I am unable to appreciate this guy, who now occupies a spot on my list of "World's Most Overrated Musicians." (Which is technically incorrect, since I'm pretty sure this guy only sang.)

If you own a pizza place, you are required to play five Frank Sinatra songs per hour. In Miami recently, I endured three of "Old Blue Eyes'" tunes in a single lunch. My local Italian restaurant has giant pictures of him (along with the rest of the "Rat Pack") on the walls.

I just don't get it. His music to me is boring. He's supposed to be "cool" but I'm not hearing it. I suppose my Italian half should be loyal to him, but to me his popularity (like Tony Bennett's) is some long-lasting fad, where people are required to cite him as one of the greats.

And in the above picture, he's wearing a pinkie ring. To quote the Most Interesting Man in the World, "No."

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No. Wrong. Do Over.

You are not supposed to think of sun when you think of milk. It makes you think of warm, almost spoiled milk. Here in America, we like our milk cold, just like our beer. And your logo, Sunny Florida? Seriously? I can't count the levels of wrong this thing is. But you've been around since 1911, so what the hell do I know?

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Business Headlines From Bad Novels

Probably a graphic novel. My RSS reader brought me this headline, which to me sounds like a super villain taking charge of some evil and greedy multinational group with intentions of world domination. Raydon? Classically bad name for a company.

I envision Vollmar gazing pensively over the city from his austere penthouse office, a black cat on his lap. A sinister smile appears on his thin lips as he sips his afternoon tea.

"Raydon is now ours, Lucifer," he whispers to the cat.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hell's Half-Acre on God's Green Earth

The Global Warming Cultists have figured it out. You can't have some hipster dick giving us the spiel about conservation and alternative sources of energy. The hipster dicks are already WAY on board. As are their hipster girlfriends who voted for Obama and are toying with the notion of veganism. And those types of spokespeople only piss off the naysayers. Last thing they want to see is some half-man who just discovered he can almost grow a beard, pleading for the planet in a plaintive, nearly-crying voice.

The people not sold on the Earth is Dying Tomorrow Doctrine need to hear from an old dude in an old truck, mixing his metaphors, confusing God and Satan and who owns that patch of ugly land he drives his plug-in green Ford F-150 around.

He talks tough and throws in a dig at the dirty Iranians, so you know he's "one of us." He mentions he's from Arizona, so you know how he cast his vote. Only thing missing is a McCain bumper sticker.

I think this is from Al Gore's group.

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Stock Photography Mystery

Is she really going out with him?
This picture, found on the Bahamas Tourism Site, features an unlikely couple. Here we have a woman of model-quality beauty riding piggy-back on what looks like a balding and sunburned soccer hooligan. Her left middle finger stimulates his right nipple.

Shallow bastard that I am, this messes with my head. It simply cannot be. I would not have paired these two models on a photo shoot and I'm not believing the photographer's/art director's suggestion that they are together. I must find an alternate explanation. I propose the following possibilities:

A) He is her eunuch and she said, "Fetch me from the water"
B) He is the photographer's brother
C) He's enduring a vacation in the "friend zone"
D) He's really, really rich
E) She's drunk and he's a lifeguard
F) They are brother and sister behaving inappropriately for their ages
G) She's a prostitute and he's the client

Your suggestions welcome in the comments, as long as you don't give me some bullshit about "love is blind." Also, women suggesting "he's a catch" will be considered soccer hooligan groupies.

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For Teeth So White You'll Swear They're Fake

Facebook, the place to place ads for laser hair removal and teeth whiteners. (And firmer abs gimmicks.) These teeth, however, are scaring me.

They remind me of these teeth.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just Say No to Texting at Lunch

Your lack of social graces is embarrassing.
Put it in your pocket or purse, please.

Handstands in Germany. Dave and KatieEveryone I know has some form of smart phone. I'm still stuck in 2005 with my little Motorola phone that...wait for it...makes and receives phone calls. (And also takes pictures and sends and receives texts. I can even update to Twitter and Facebook on it, but that's not good enough!)

Verizon and AT&T and Sprint and who knows who else are all bent on convincing me that I need their EXCLUSIVE Blackberry. (They all have an EXCLUSIVE Blackberry.) Forget about the iPhone. Apple is bent on convincing me that the future has come and gone and I've been left on the communications tarmac, like the last man on earth who missed the last flight to the moon as the coming apocalypse is about to blow my technologically-retarded ass away. But I'm not sure I want to go the smart phone route. Most people I know who own these things can't stop sending emails at meetings and meals or holding the device while they're driving, going, "Look, that little circle on the map is us! And it shows where we are! Is that cool, or what?" They didn't nickname it Crackberry for nothing.

OK, truth is I'm jealous. I could probably get a lot more done with a cool phone. And when I get one, I'm almost convinced that it will be an EXCLUSIVE Blackberry deal from AT&T.

All that to introduce this: a pretty funny commercial, well-written, well-produced from some carrier offering an EXCLUSIVE Blackberry deal.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Favicon Fail

Google's new one.

And here's an endless, boring discussion on it by people with nothing better to care about.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Later, Sooners

People hate gloating winners, so be warned.

In their defense, the deck was stacked. From the location of the game (Florida) to the biased media clearly in the tank for Tim Tebow, (God's second-favorite Son) the Oklahoma Sooners were up against a wall. How do you rewrite a history written before the earth was formed?

As the game was ending and the coach being doused with Gatorade (invented at the University of Florida, by the way) I carried on a tradition instituted by my brother-in-law, currently serving in Iraq. If the Gators win, you must jump in the pool, regardless of weather conditions. It was cold, but if Urban Meyer has to endure a Gatorade bath, taking a cold midnight dip is the least I can do. And... I support the troops.

One of my guilty pleasures is visiting the hometown newspaper sites of teams the Gators beat up on. I like to read the rants of angry fans calling for the coach's resignation, or arm-chair speculating on how they would've handled that 4th and goal situation, if only they were a college football coach and not a fat loser fan of the beaten team who may or may not have discontinued beating his wife. And they always dump on Tebow, because they are bitter Satanists. But we still pray for them; that they may someday see the Light.

From The Oklahoman comes this picture of pre-game Sooners fans, still happy and hopeful as they stand before the bowl game's logo, blissfully ignorant of what Providence had already decreed before they were even born. They are also oblivious to the fact that even the game's logo was Gator orange and blue. It was Destiny.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Disney Trippin'

The year: 1971
The drug: I'm guessing 'shrooms

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Support Your Local [Fill in the Blank]

Florida has a total of 111 specialty license plates. You pay extra for them, but any of them beat the stupid standard plate, which prominently features the most retarded URL in all of state government, "MYFLORIDA.COM". As I've ranted before, anytime you have "MY" in front of your URL, it tells the world you were late to the game and failed to get a better URL.

The state just released its list of best selling license plates, and coming in first once again is the University of Florida plate, pictured here.

Not a fan? Not to worry, there are plenty more. You can save the whales, the manatees, the sea turtles, the panthers, the Everglades, the dolphins. You can support the Buccaneers, the Magic, the Heat, the Jaguars, the Rays and the Dolphins. You can be a friend of the police, the firefighters, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Here are a few of my favorites.

"Trees are cool."

NASCAR! Can I say it again? NASCAR!

"Imagine"— A tribute to John Lennon.

"Kids Deserve Justice"
Hey, kids. Quit swinging on the scales! You mock justice with your game!
You deserve to be spanked.

Have a look at the rest. Insane variety. Something for everyone.

Oh, I almost forgot. Go Gators!

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We Buy & Sell

I've been carrying this old sign around with me since I found it behind a second-hand furniture store on the square in Ozark, Missouri around 1999. (It was right about where the black SUV sits in the picture below. My loft's balcony is just above that. Thank you, Google Street Views.)

It's a reminder to me that that's what we do, and that sometimes, it's not art.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How to Use Social Media: Another Blogger Weighs In

Much has already been written on better blogs (and spoken about at numerous conventions) on the subject of social media and the marketer's place within them. My turn. Nothing said here will be anything that brighter minds haven't already thought about; I'm just giving my take as a marketer.
Let's start with: What the Hell is Twitter?

I was skeptical even to adopt it as a user. I've always fed my latest blog posts to it, but to actually "tweet" seemed silly. I used it as a one-way news feed: "Go here and read my blog." But as more people started to follow me, I started to follow more people. I've quickly un-followed the people who are using Twitter as a blatant marketing tool. The people I follow tweet the oddest things. Some are hilarious, some mundane, some informative and others as random as possible. It eventually occurred to me that this group of people, from Dave Matthews to Bad Banana to Daryl Ohrt, were on Twitter to be friends, to have contact, to share information and to just basically hang out. It's not unlike early Internet chatrooms. Daryl also uses it to communicate with colleagues and to occasionally plug his brand, Plaid. In the case of someone like Matthews, Twitter is a tool for maintaining contact with his customer/fan base; the Dave Matthews freaks who trade bootlegs of live shows or love hearing about snow in the Virginia mountains at Christmas via Dave's tweets.

The few I follow, (some 40-odd) will on occasion mention a product or a company. It might be a good mention and it might be bad, and it can even be neutral. "I just used Acme Instant Hole and it sucks," or "Anyone looking for a good instant hole, Acme is awesome," or "I'm looking for a good instant hole. Anyone know one?"

Here's the only place, as far as I can tell, where a marketer has any business being on Twitter. If you subscribe to any sort of Twitter alert, you can easily find out when Acme Instant Hole is being tweeted. And you can jump in when it is mentioned. But will anyone ever actually follow Acme Instant Hole? Very unlikely.

And here's where marketers fail: They don't see the revenue stream. And here's what they don't want to hear: There is no revenue stream. Corporate blogs failed for the same reason. No one wants to write a company blog (and even fewer want to read it) that amounts to nothing more than spider food, especially when you have the comments feature disabled. This is about customer service, brand management and the "taking care of the little things" that no one wants to do. You want revenue? You want sales? Good customer service breeds sales. It's foundational. Everyone knows that. Treat me right and I'm likely to be loyal to you.

In preparing this post (which is a painstaking process involving sitting out on the back porch with a glass of wine and thinking about this post) I was trying to think of a product or service to which I'm loyal. The first one that came to mind was Formula One Firestone. It's a garage just down the road where we take the cars if they need help beyond the routine oil change. They have never been unable to fix a problem, their walls are lined with certifications and they are straight with me. I'm sure I can find cheaper car service somewhere, but this crew has proven itself. Craig, Al and Pete lead the show down there. I'm not good with names, but I know their names, and I see them maybe once every five months on average between our two aging cars.

I saw a couple of tweets from Bill Green, a social media advocate if ever there was one, where he scathingly and humorously rips United Airlines three or four new ones for screwing up his flight plans and failing to help him resolve them. All within the allotted 140 characters. Now if I'm United, my TweetBeep goes off and I go find this guy. I reply: "Hey, Sorry to hear about your experience. Hit me back by DM and I'll give you my email addy. See if we can't fix this.(Yeah, I work for UA)" That was 140 characters exactly. Bill invited that discussion by dissing my brand and I responded. You can call that "engaging the consumer" at your next conference speaking engagement.

If you're Bill in the above scenario, you're freaking out that a giant, uncaring corporation just found you badmouthing them and is now trying to fix your problem. On Twitter no less. You are definitely DMing me and getting my email addy. Chances are better now that Bill might fly United again, even if I can't fix his problem to his utmost satisfaction. I was there. I showed him I'm listening. What does that cost United? Hell, I'll do it for you, United, as your highly-paid social media consultant. But the money I save you in salvaged customers might well offset the salary and perks (free flights for life, first-class) that you pay me. Will Bill now follow United on Twitter? Who cares? Numbers of followers is not the point, unless you're tweeting stuff like, "First five people to reply get free round trip tickets to anywhere in the continental US."

Twitter is the latest social media application that marketers will fast ruin. Look back a year or two. What happened to MySpace? It got overrun with tools and shills, getting in your face or spamming you. Where did everyone go? Facebook. And they'll be leaving that soon, too. Anyone use AIM anymore? Yeah, I didn't think so. All those "buddies" you kept getting who were really companies? Skype? Had its day. We run from the marketers - because they're always marketing; always looking for a way to slap us in the face with a banner or yell at us with some unsolicited blurb. Or worse, they pretend to be our "friends."

They'll find a way to find you. (We always do.) But until the marketer stops using social media to sneak up and pounce on the target, the target will continue to find new places to hang out, running from them.

You want to use social media? Look at them this way: social media are places where you can strengthen the ties you have, repair the ones that are severing and maybe in the process (but only by luck) build a few new ones.

And Twitter, you don't really have much hope of becoming a money-making operation in the traditional sense of selling ads. Most Twitter users don't even see the site; they're using mobile devices or second-party widgets embedded in their iGoogle homepages. You're going to have to "think outside the box" since you already blew your shot at making serious money when you turned down Facebook's $500 million offer. Whatever you do as you explore how to make money from this fast-growing application du jour, take a lesson from those who've blown it in front of you: Stay out of the users' faces.

Even as marketers, what do we always think of the marketer who is trying to force his way in? We think, "Get out of my face!" Here's an opportunity for us to do just that.

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Fast Food Chain Trying To Psyche Me Out

Someone's always trying to get in your head these days. From the waitresses who touch your arm and call you "hon" in an attempt to get bigger tips, to the grocery store baggers suggesting, "Is plastic OK?" when they used to ask, "Paper or plastic?"

In a fit of craving something to eat (often referred to as "hunger"), I just ate a pound of sodium at the Whataburger location around the corner from here. (For those not familiar, it's a Texas-based chain with tentacles throughout the South.) The style is: order at the counter, take a table-top number and someone will bring you your food when it's ready. So the guy brings me my Salt-Burger and Salt-Rings and says, "Thanks a lot. We'll see you tomorrow."

See me tomorrow? Genius. It's not like I'm a regular, but management has decided the seed should be planted. See you tomorrow.

No, you won't, but nice effort; an excellent attempt at creating loyalty. Unfortunately, I can only take one of those SaltSlabsTM every so often.

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Another Supremely Overrated Musician

It's Sacrilege Time, baby!

At least the overrated Springsteen writes his own stuff.

Once upon a time in America, there was this country-boy singer who looked like John Elway, and he loved his mama. And he gyrated his hips in such a fashion as to cause hysteria among the young womenfolk. He stole his moves and his style from the black singers, but the black singers were never going to get an audience in white America in the mid-1950s.

Before America knew it, everything this boy did turned to gold. Even his Cadillac was gold. His suits were gold. And he made gold records. And horrible movies. And he never wrote a single song. When he was 24, he fell in love with a 14-year-old girl who to this day continues to capitalize on his name. And he did lots of drugs. And he got fat. And died on the toilet.

The End.

From 1987, the best Elvis homage of all time, San Diego's (by way of Chapel Hill) own Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper performing the psychobilly number "Elvis is Everywhere!"

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When Life Gives You Community College...

College commercials are usually done on a standard template: multiracial students in lab coats looking in microscopes, sitting on lawns in pairs, laughing under a sunny sky, walking past a friendly professor, playing some intramural sport, reading in a library, engaged in a lively debate in a common room. They end with a generic message straight from the school's mission statement; something like "Challenging minds. Changing the world." (If you watched any bowl games over the holidays, they always show one per team, and they almost always suck.)

Here's a twisted college commercial. Granted, it's for a community college offering two-year degrees, but I have to give this local institution some credit (zing!) for breaking the mold. It's Bruno meets Dieter in a trying-real-hard-to-be-funny campaign that's been running for about a year. Orlando is full of aspiring (and disappointed actors), many of whom find employment at Disney, or they end up dressed as knights, serving patrons at some sad horse-themed dinner show. While I can't believe this guy got paid very much for his efforts, I'm sure it was more fun than saying, "Wouldst thou like more sweet tea, mi lady?"

After some quick research, the actor playing the fashion dude can be found here. I wonder if Germans and Austrians take offense at this common, comic depiction.

And they did a nice job of tying the website to the commercials. If this was all done in-house, all the better.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

The Super Bowl Promos Have Begun

And at the risk of angering a bunch of readers, (and in particular the New Jersey readers) the promos feature one of the world's most overrated musicians—Mr. America, Mr. Blue-Collar, Mr. Common Man of the People, Mr. National Treasure, The Boss—this dude.

The Super Bowl halftime show, sure to be blogged about my millions, blessed by the Pope and reviewed live via satellite by President Obama, will feature a bunch of BS.

Not a fan of BS, myself, and that should be OK. I should be allowed to say, "I don't like BS." But BS fans are zealots. You mustn't doubt the power of the BS. Do not knock the BS. It usually goes like this,"Man, you just need to listen to [insert favorite BS album title here] and then you'll understand that he's a poet. An artist. He's a fuckin' genius, Man."

And one of these days I'll piss off some more people with my list of the most overrated musical acts in the history of the world. (Hint: one of the acts is a long-defunct quartet from Liverpool, and the two surviving members were easily the shittiest of the four.)

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

River Otter Romantic Comedy

I'm no Steve Irwin, but from what I could tell, these river otters in the backyard were having an argument about how their relationship should proceed.

This was one of the many skirmishes where the female (voiced by Jennifer Aniston in the upcoming film) seemed to be saying to the male (voiced by Vince Vaughn), "I don't like you like that. You're like a brother to me."

Loudly protesting, Jennifer objects to the less-than-gentlemanly behavior of the frat boy Vince.

Rejected once again, Vince skulks down the opposite bank, probably off to rent porn and drink beer with his buddies. (Voiced by Luke and Owen Wilson, with a cameo by Will Ferrell.)

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Today's Cool is Tomorrow's Retro

HighJive pointed out in the last edition of this comic what I couldn't figure out about my hack Photoshop work; that Major Mike Adams looked as though he was standing in a trench. So now he's seated to deliver another lesson to the always attentive Credenza Brothers.

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