SXSW: Drunk at the Wheel, Driving Social Technology

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Offering no apologies for social disruption, the Emerging Social and Technology Trends panelists invite themselves into your conversation. The panel on Saturday hosted yet again a large group of speakers from diverse backgrounds. Although intimate panels tend to be more revealing, this one at least showed a little leg. Headed up by Laura Moorhead (Wired), the panelists included Andrew Blum (Wired), Robert Fabricant (Frog Design), Eliot Van Buskirk (Wired), Peter Rojas (Engadget), and Daniel Raffel (Yahoo!).

Perhaps drunk at the wheel sometimes, technology does drive social change. In turn, everyday people are now enabled to be the drivers as well. Similar to the blur of how you got home the night before, there is no longer a clear sobriety line to walk between social interaction and technology. Likewise, a constant negotiation between public and private, business and pleasure, leaves many at polar realms. Understanding the integration versus isolation debate is said to help us understand ourselves, or at least what Kool-aid we drank to get there.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-11-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Social



American Apparel (Maybe) Makes Splash in NY 'Hoods

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We love a conspiracy theory as much as the next guy. That's why we're so attracted to the latest rumour about the mysterious Splasher, an entity splashing paint on street art in trendy New York neighborhoods, who suddenly appears to have an agenda.

To lend some background, the Splasher's been attacking local art through January and pasting manifestos alongside them, calling street art "fetishized [actions] of banality" and "a representation of the most vulgar kind: an alienated commodity." Readers are admonished not to remove the flyers because the paste is allegedly mixed with shards of glass.

I'm Not Sayin notes the latest batch of splashed posters coincide with the art instead of defacing it. And what's the "art" in question? American Apparel ads, of course. He then posits the Splasher is a guerilla campaign cooked up by American Apparel in order to attract (or provoke?) the attention of hipsters, artists and news outlets.

They've succeeded (if indeed it's them), though we'll throw a guess in the pool and suggest they may just be piggy-backing on an actual art-defacing, paint-happy ad-Zorro out yonder. Assuming it's all AA's doing, whether they'll be revered for cleverness or reviled for crime (which graffiti, however pretty, actually is) is another story.

Thankfully, lots of street art starts out as some kind of "defacing" appropriation of public space so we're sure they'll be sympathetic to the big brand's splattery assertion that they're all bourgeois tools.

by Angela Natividad    Mar- 7-07    
Topic: Guerilla, Poster, Social



Borat Labeled Human Rights Victim of Cold Mean Kazakhs

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It was just a matter of time before Borat got pinned a victim for his masochistic hairstyle but it turns out his case may be bigger than that, depending on whether you value the right to good hair over freedom of speech.

An annual human rights report released by Condy Rice criticizes the real Kazakhstan, listing relevant examples of human rights victims and including fictional character Borat, the woman-bashing, Jew-spooked Kazakh reporter invented by Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

It's unsurprising Borat's come across some trouble considering the president isn't too keen on Cohen's charming rendition of Kazakhstan as racist, superstitious and misogynistic. The decision to pull Borat's website, Borat.KZ, is ceremoniously noted in the report: "The government deemed as offensive the content of a satirical site controlled by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and revoked the .kz domain."

We think it's sweet that the country has risen to Borat's defense. If we're going to chuck dirt at all our international friends anyway we might as well stop pretending it's for a good reason and go on righteously rallying for fictional characters.

Humbert Humbert had it rough too. Who wants to throw the rock at Mother Russia?

by Angela Natividad    Mar- 7-07    
Topic: Celebrity, Online, Social



Copyranter Continues Conversation With Ketel One

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Copyranter began an open dialog with Ketel One vodka in mid-2006 using the company's all-type/lots of white space print ads to do so. Copyranter's latest conversation responds to the distiller's latest headline, "Dear Ketel One Drinker, Not everyone likes Ketel One. Then again, not everyone's tried it" with "Dear Ketel One Maker, Not everyone hates your ads. Then again, not everyone's seen them." You've at least got to hand it to Ketel One for hanging on to the campaign for a while. If for nothing more than to give Copyranter more opportunities to continue the conversation.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 6-07    
Topic: Brands, Magazine, Social, Strange



Buying to Donate is (red)icu(less), Says New .org

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While we're sure retail campaigns like Gap's (red) and Kenneth Cole's Are You Putting Us On? mean well, they don't always ring sincere to the adxhausted audience they aim for.

With fingers on the pulse of a social backlash, Words Pictures Ideas and Romantic Static marry up to bring us the cynical Buy Less Crap, a pithy-prints effort pushing for less, not more, purchase-oriented donation.

In contrast to Gap's campaign, where donations are tied to purchasing (red) clothing modeled in the ads, (less) ads feature naked models with headings like (red)icu(less), meaning(less) and point(less). The website lists multiple charities where people can donate without having to purchase a heart-warming hoodie.

This isn't the first spoof on Gap's (red) but we dig the way it makes the point. While we see the benefit of turning philanthropy into its own sort of brand in a consumer culture, we can't shake the feeling there's a conflict of interest in blurring the lines between purchase and social responsibility.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-28-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Good, Online, Social, Trends and Culture



MoveOn: Like Iraqi Contention? You'll Love Pissed-Off Iranians

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In its ongoing effort to give Americans a different kind of education, MoveOn.org is raising money to air this print ad about what the escalation really means.

We try to antagonize both political parties equally on Adrants, but we have to admit Bush's WMD claim about Iran smacks of something we've heard before.

You know what they say about gullibility: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. "Fool me six billion seven times, call me a Republican senator," Free Republic adds in our heads (out of context, but a catchy ending nonetheless.)

To be fair, Republicans, Democrats and alternative parties alike are sweating bullets about Bush's latest flight of projectile fancy.

by Angela Natividad    Feb-28-07    
Topic: Good, Newspaper, Online, Social



Tila Tequila Hopes 1.7 Million MySpace Friends Can Launch Single

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MySpace phenomenon Tila Tequila is about to find out whether or not having 1.7 million friends is as powerful as having a multi-million dollar marketing budget. Rather than sign with a label, Tequila, who's single I Love U was produced by Lil Jon, will be released on iTunes tomorrow.

Oh wow. Just listened. She might be hot but that song sucks. Trying WAY too hard.

by Steve Hall    Feb-26-07    
Topic: Celebrity, Promotions, Social



Gladys Calls Ellen, MySpace Data Profiled, Grey's Spins Off

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- Adland wonders if Gladys Hardy, an 88 year old woman with a MySpace site and who's called into Ellen several times in just some sort of marketing promotion. It sure smells of it.

- Fox Interactive Media Buys Ad Targeting Firm to Leverage MySpace Profile Data. Let's mine that data, guys.

- ABC is creating a spin off of Grey's Anatomy with the Addison Shepard character and Taye Diggs. This just does not sound right.

- MediaBuyerPlanner reports, "Shares of the two largest, publicly traded billboard owners, Lamar Advertising and Clear Channel Outdoor, have skyrocketed in the past 12 months, growing 36 percent and 43 percent respectively."

by Steve Hall    Feb-23-07    
Topic: Guerilla, Online, Social



Three Guys Launch Campaign to Become Playboy Mansion Pool Boys

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Seemingly unassociated with any official Playboy promotion, Pool Boys at the Mansion is a site created by three guys Sam Rush and two other guys referred to as Denman and The Swede. The sole purpose of the site is to get the attention of Playboy and get hired as pool boys at the Mansion. Prior to setting up the site, they contacted Playboy through normal channels and were told, "pool boy positions at the Mansion, however, are likely to go only to trusted referrals."

Undeterred, the three launched Pool Boys at the Mansion. A quick Whois search confirms (well, as much as Whois can which isn't saying much) no official association with Playboy. Let's hope this is, in fact, the case, and not another sad attempt by a corporate entity to get jiggy with the bloggy thing. Good luck, guys.

by Steve Hall    Feb-23-07    
Topic: Good, Social, Weblogs



Adrants Ponders Dov/Julie Paradox

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For Dov Charney, who's bowing out of American Apparel in pursuit of his own manifest destiny, office life has been a source of both business and pleasure.

Short of being a lumberjack or Chuck Norris, Dov Charney is a king among men. Dov Charney:

* Masturbates regularly in front of reporters
* Gets freaky with colleagues (thanks, Jewlicious)
* Pushes American Apparel's squeaky clean clothes with skanky adverts
* Still manages to position American Apparel as an ethical business that pays good wages and poses no harm to overseas workers

While Julie Roehm fights for footstools over in Pariah-ville, she must be shaking her fist at what Dov got away with over the course of his career, also behind the guise of a similarly apple pie all-American style company.

Granted, American Apparel ain't all sex, and it isn't the first brand to use R-rated tactics to pull in a fickle demo.

Are we looking at a double standard? And double standards aside, is America just too uptight about this sex stuff?

by Angela Natividad    Feb-22-07    
Topic: Brands, Social, Trends and Culture










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