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Culture journalist Xeni Jardin visits dance competition MAXT OUT organized by Joanna Vargas and reports on NPR about the rebellion against today's commercialized hip-hop and the resurgence of a favorite early 80's dance craze. Sick of lame, repetitive FM programming and the poser hip-hop that comes with it, many teens are now turning to word of mouth, Kazaa or CDs burned by friends to stay current with fresh underground hip-hop. The 80's dance craze breakdancing has also resurfaced and is popular among urban youth who use Bboy, Myspace.com and Friendster to find out where breakdance and other hip-hop events will occur.
For marketers seeking to ride trends and reach trendsetters, traditional media isn't going to do it and hasn't for a long time. They aren't watching and they aren't listening but leading and creating. Of course that's nothing new. They never have watched or listened but today with the exponential fragmentation of media and the shift in control from media conglomerates to individual, the challenges marketers face are reaching ever insurmountable levels.
In this word of mouth world, there's really no need or purpose for mass marketing anymore. It's more like clandestine detective work. Cultures and trends need to be infiltrated and experienced first hand with primary reaserch. The culture needs to be lived more than observed. By living it, the alpha-trendsetters can be identified. Once identified, the relationship between marketer and trendsetter becomes a precarious one not unlike the relationship between a drug dealer and an undercover cop. Of course, marketers don't have to and should not lie about their motivations. After they've been found and an open discussion has taken place they should be given the product, told what's great about, have any questions answered and then set free. This, as well, is not new. It's being done on a large scale by Tremor and on a small scale by an endless list guerilla and street marketers. Not unsurprisingly, it's easier said than done. But, then again, most everything is.
Viral Firm TTR2 has launched sendus.info, an SMS service that enables the delivery of any file format to email via SMS. With the limited number of handsets capable of receiving and viewing video or Flash TTR2 has gone back to basics and simply uses the text capabilities of the handsets to enable brands to deliver viral video's or Flash games to a users chosen email.
Brands who sign up to use the sendus service can create their own unique keywords online and attach video/Flash files to them. The sendus codes can then be printed on brochures, off-line advertisements, billboards and product packaging. When a user responds to the sendus code via their mobile the file is delivered instantly to their email. The brands can then track in real-time responses and collect customer data such as emails, mobile numbers etc directly from their personal admin area on-line. If required sendus can also deliver video directly to the handset.
Music Channel Fuse is running a new ad campaign that looks just like Apple's iPod ads and Apple is furious. Apple's lawyers are threatening Fuse, which is owned by Cablevision's Rainbow Media, with a law suit unless Fuse stops the campaign. The campaign mirrors the silhouette-like Apple campaign but takes it in a decidedly different direction with one ad showing a man apparently masturbating and another showing a woman pole dancing. The ad shown here with a guy doing a beer bong is supposedly tame.
As an example of the dramatic shifts occuring in the telecommunications industry, ad giant AT&T has announced it will end all promotion and advertising of consumer phone services and re-focus its efforts on the business to business end of the telecom segment. It will continue servicing existing customers but forever end efforts to aquire new ones.
This has been out for a while but it's worth viewing. Kelly Ripa spoofs her own hair care commercial telling the truth about what keeps her going during the day. And it's not the hair.
The British reality TV industry is pushing the envelope even further with a newly proposed reality series where the man with the fastest sperm wins. Possibly to be produced by Brighter Pictures and called "Make Me A Mum," the series will narrow down a bunch of guys to two finalists. One will be chosen for his intelligence, sex appeal and fitness. The other will be selected on the basis of his genetic compatibility with the woman. The two will then be filmed having sex with the woman using technology allowing us to see deep inside the interior bodily mechanics of the love making process. The man whose sperm reaches the egg first wins the game.
Predictably, response to this has not been very positive. A spokesman for the anti-abortion campaign group, Life, said, "It's absolutely despicable. It's exploitation with no consideration for the child that may or may not be created. If the child learns that he or she was fathered, not out of love, but for the purposes of a TV program, that's extremely psychologically damaging."
Of course the producers are passing the show off as some sort of intriguing science experiment rather than the hump-fest it really is. Props to Charley Brough.
Russell Buckley points out a Belgium-based SMS campaign Ford is running for its Fiesta. The campaign consists a billboards that act like a giant pinball machines which are controlled by consumers who "play" the game by standing near the board and sending short codes via SMS on their cell phones. The billboards react positively or negatively based upon the players performance which can also be tracked on this website.
The technology's available to make these types of campaigns prevalent in this country but trying to get behemoth Clear Channel to put them in place will be similar to, as Buckley alludes to, weaning agencies from their stereotypical reliance on the :30.
Washington State's Spokesman-Review publishes several weblogs and its sales forces is now trying to fill what could potentially amount to $79,000 in ad revenue. Two of the paper's weblogs, Wheel Life and Health Beat have had deals cut. While the sales forces struggles to understand what, exactly, they are selling, Online and New Media VP Ken Sands says, "they seem to be selling themselves right now."