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FX to Develop Esquire Column Into Reality Show

Everybody's doing it so let's do it too. That has always been the mentality of television programmers and it is no different with FX. They have struck a deal with Esquire magazine to produce a reality series based the magazine's "What It Feels Like" column. The column covers first hand accounts of topics such as Tourette's syndrome and shark bites. As this moves from Esquire to FX, there is no doubt in my mind that this will turn into "What It Feels Like to Find Out My Wife is Transvestite". The glory of lowest common denominator reality television. Oh sure, ratings will be great. Another indicator of the unfortunate mentality of most people in this country.

Ad Age: WHAT'S IT FEEL LIKE TO BE BITTEN BY A SHARK?
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by Steve Hall    Dec-19-02    




Gawker is Live Today

Gawker is a new ad-supported weblog that focuses on New York Society. This new addition to the thin-media world of the blogosphere will no doubt be a healthy hit for Spiers/Denton/Kottke, Inc. And, another early indicator of potential business models for weblogs.

Gawker

Gawker is a Manhattan weblog magazine edited by Elizabeth Spiers, designed by Jason Kottke and published by Nick Denton. It is a live review of city news, and by news we mean, among other things, urban dating rituals, no-ropes social climbing, Cond� Nastiness, downwardly-mobile i-bankers, real estate porn -- the serious stuff.


Rick Bruner, a MarketingFix partner, has the scoop and more details.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-18-02    




Uh Oh...Too Many Teens See Alchohol Ads on TV

Alcohol Ads on TV Find a Young Audience

Although brewers and distillers say their television pitches are aimed at those age 21 and older, teenagers are receiving a disproportionate share of those messages, said the report from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University. Of the 208,909 alcohol commercials on television in 2001 studied by the researchers, they found that nearly a quarter were more likely to be seen by teenagers than by adults, despite the voluntary guidelines minimizing the number of ads viewed by minors.


Problem is, try finding a TV show that only has a viewership of 21 plus. The fact that most kids today are couch potatoes who watch hours of television every day unsupervised by a parent doesn't help either.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-18-02    




TV Guide Trys to Refresh With New Publisher

TV Guide Mission: Rejuvenation

�The brand is certainly tired and certainly needs an infusion of freshness,� says Horizon Media VP/director of planning Eric Blankfein, whose agency buys print for clients such as NBC, A&E, History Channel, Game Show Network, and Fine Living. What has Blankfein most concerned is the magazine�s recent declines in circulation. Since 2000, TV Guide has cut its rate base twice. While it presently sits at 9 million, it is a far decline from the 20 million subscriptions it counted in the mid-1970�s. �We�re buying people, and we have seen less and less people there, so we are questioning if we want to use it as a vehicle,� he says.


J. Scott Crystal will fill the publisher position which has been empty for a year.

�Our mission will be to reinvigorate this flagship magazine brand,� says Crystal, who joins TV Guide from Gruner & Jahr, where he served as president/CEO of its Business Innovator Group, which included Inc. Magazine and Fast Company. Prior to that, he was the publishing director of the consumer magazine group at Ziff Davis Media. He is also the former publishing director at National Geographic.

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by Steve Hall    Dec-18-02    




Staples: The Advertisement is a Joke Stupid

Where have people's sense of humor gone? Seems these days, you can't say even the remotely humorous thing in an ad without some whiney, overly-reactive group complaining and stating that you are insensitive this particular groups blah, blah. We've heard it all before. Have a backbone. Laugh at yourself. See the humor in life.

Apparently the latest television commercial from Staples has made some people mad. Over what? Knitting, Yes, that's right. A rouge band of knitters in Massachusetts has complained to Staples that it portrays knitting in a bad light. The ad itself is harmless. It just pokes fun at those crazy knitted sweaters, hats, and scarves we have all received when what we really wanted was some cool electronic toy. I mean come on. The ad doesn't say knitters are idiots or that they have some inherent psychological problem.

This is like PETA complaining about the California Milk Advisory Board's Happy Cows campaign.

Repeat after me, people: R E L A X....yes RELAX. It's called humor. It's called a joke. It's suppose to be funny. We are all so over the top PC these days that we can't even understand a good joke when we see one. Do we have nothing better to do then to complain about innocuous, harmless and ever so unimportant things such as television commercials? It's a TV commercial. It isn't the President's new defensive missile plan! At least that is worthy of discussion. But a TV commercial? Please. Nothing could be less important in the greater scheme of things.

Here is an opinion on the commercial straight from a Knitter: The Knitting Curmudgeon


Staples Commercial
"Who gives a rat's ass? Honest to God. Sincerely stupid idiots who worry about commercials, that's who. I know what my "image" as a knitter is. Bite me."

Now, there's a healthy outlook. Someone who knows that commercials do not define who you are. You do! So, quit complaining and go live your life.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-18-02    




Internet Usage Up Significantly

Geographics: The Web Continues to Spread

Internet usage has shifted from routine to essential, according to findings from Ipsos-Reid that demonstrate an increasing reliance on the medium worldwide. Interviews with more than 6,600 adults in 12 countries indicate that the United States has the highest incidence of Internet usage with 72 percent of the population going online once within the previous 30 days.


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by Steve Hall    Dec-17-02    




Britney is Out. Beyonce is in

Beyonce Knowles Bounces Britney

PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola Co. has tapped Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles to be the new face of Pepsi-Cola, replacing another pop star, Britney Spears.

Ms. Knowles will appear in TV, radio, online and point-of-purchase ads, and the company may also sponsor Ms. Knowles' solo tour in 2003 should she do one, Pepsi said.


It just gets worse and worse for poor Britney. What will the girl do?

More on why this is a bad strategic move for Pepsi.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-17-02    




Dig-It Magazine Launches

The new Wired?

Magazine Aims to be Everyday Guide to High-Tech Life

In defiance of the shakeout, (Fred) Davis and a band of unemployed industry veterans - including PC World founding editor David Bunnell - have created DigiT (as in "Can you dig it?") on a shoestring budget and an experimental business model. They think their magazine, on shelves in bookstores and newsstands nationwide this week, will become the first in a new wave of publications that help everyday readers, not just the digerati, better understand how high-tech gadgets can change their lives.

"Wired's become ultra-boring," said Stewart Alsop, a venture capitalist with New Enterprise Associates who sits on DigiT's advisory board. "Everyone else is going out of business or playing it safe, so there's probably room in the tech publishing industry."


You have to be appreciative of anyone launching a magazine in today's economic climate. They are certainly doing it on a shoestring budget which can't hurt. The focus on technology as an everyday aspect of life is an intruiging one and there are those out there that will eat this sort of thing up. 100,000 copies arrive on newstands this week. Check it out.
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by Steve Hall    Dec-16-02    




Subaru's Unsafe Advertisement

A reader questions the latest Subaru ad.

Can a Television Commercial be a Threat?

Q. I saw the new television commercial for the Subaru WRX, and I wonder if it will hurt or kill. Don't you think it is an impressively irresponsible ad?

A. I've seen that commercial, and I think it ought to be pulled. It's one thing to let potential customers know you offer a zippy performance car. I get whacked occasionally by readers for being over-enthusiastic about certain hot cars. But it is flat out dangerous to show two young men, as this commercial does, doing exactly the things we tell young drivers they should not do: hurtle around a twisting road, driver looking over to chat with seat mate, driver distracted by the sound system, the rev and the hiss of the auto conveying adventure rather than possible doom.


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by Steve Hall    Dec-15-02    




B to B Ad Spending on the Upswing

B-To-B Ad Spending Continues To Recover

Business-to-business advertising figures for October, released on Friday by American Business Media, show a positive trend in the rate of decline in year-to-date b-to-b ad pages and spending. Overall, ad dollars were down 9% compared to October of last year, while pages were down 10.6%. Year-to-date spending decreased by 16.7% and pages by 16.9%.


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by Steve Hall    Dec-14-02    




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