Why visit the Maldives? For the lack of air conditioning, professional torture methods and occasional loaf of stale bread, of course. Offer for journalists only.
In its ongoing mission to drive home the importance of press freedom, Reporters without Borders runs this sad set of PSAs that invite watchdogs, travel agency-style, to exotic locales for a taste of the hard knocks. We particularly like Cuba.
The no-freedom-without-press-freedom line has probably been repeated from the birth of unregulated reporting (read: gossip) but takes on a new meaning these days. While the country pores over Britney's latest attempt at relevance and Googles news coverage on Anna Nicole postmortem, we haven't any idea what zany hijinks Bush is cooking up on the regular.
Is this a symptom or a forfeiture of genuine press freedom? Before answering that question, maybe we should work out what exactly it is the press does. There's enough news coverage now to spark any interest, so is it just a matter of mainstream priority what appears on legit news sources?
Does the public indeed determine media coverage, or is the media managed by bourgie-ass interest groups and corporations? What does it actually mean to have press freedom, anyway?
Balendu draws our attention to this promotion for Beyonce Knowles' upcoming tour in Australia, which is drawing controversy from the usual slew of anti-smoking groups and mean PC people. One such group actually contacted the Federal Dept of Health to say the ad acts as a tobacco promotion, thus breaching the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act.
We're surprised by the lifelong groomed artist's decision to use the old-fashioned cigarette holder, particularly because of strong negative sentiment about tobacco's effects (as if nobody knew before). Nonetheless, the act makes a statement and we're impressed by B's gumption. The untouchable Audrey would appreciate the political hat-tip, even if her immortal pose with the long cigarette is decidedly more chic.
We pride ourselves on our unsurpassed potty-mouthage, so we feel a little outdone by this new Earth Day campaign that's kind of sponsored by Greenpeace.
The naughty prints are only "kind of" sponsored by Greenpeace because Exit3a copywriter Tom Mullen admits to AdCritic they haven't told the organization about the print series yet. "It's probably not legal, but there's too much paperwork, meetings and phone calls involved to get the campaign approved in time for Earth Day," he explains. "I figure Greenpeace is too busy getting sued by conglomerates to bother suing a few people who are trying to promote the cause. They can always officially deny the vulgarity."
If fortune favours the brave, perhaps that grace extends to those disinclined to ask permission for slapping mom-fucking ads out into the open and signing it Greenpeace.
We call this the conjure-bonds-by-insulting-the-source technique. This strategy occurs on the playground all the time, except it's done in crayon and usually ends in tears or angry phone calls. We have a feeling Greenpeace will be getting a few of the latter.
The Girl Scouts of America, that pristine organization of innocence and good values, at the end of January, stepped foot into the seedy world of MySpace with a site promoting this year's cookie drive. On the site you'll find pictures of the cookies and some of the cleanest, most fully-dressed pictures of people you'll ever find on MySpace. The MySpace presence, aside from our tasteless snark, makes perfect sense. Why not hang with the most concentrated collection of tweens and teens anywhere online to build awareness and to, perhaps, as a side benefit, encourage those tweens and teens to...put more clothes on while getting them to buy cookies and join the Girl Scouts...who don't let you wear low-cut, cleavage revealing belly shirts and low rider jeans to their den meetings. Wow. A Campaign With Benefits. Sell cookies and get American youth to fully dress themselves in the morning. Is this a new trend? If this campaign succeeds, will there be no more places online for teenage boys to drool over what they can't get in real life anyway?
Oh damn, our phone's ringing. It must be the Girls Scouts of America telling us to shut up and stop associating all this filth with their fine, upstanding organization. OK, fine. Besides, we have to take our daughter to a den meeting now.
Sort of along the lines of logic (or complete and purposeful lack there of) that resulted in Robert Goulet appearing in an Emerald Nuts Super Bowl commercial, Intuit has tapped Vanilla Ice (where the hell has he been all these years?) to front a Tax Wrap promotion for Turbo Tax. The promotion offers $25,000 to the person who makes the best homemade rap demo about taxes. So far, there aren't too many submissions and they are all embarrassingly horrible. We really don't know what to do with this one. Trash it for its use of a has-been to get all jiggy with one of the most financially serious periods in a person's life or praise it for its brilliant quirkiness and kitschy badness.
It's not the first time a political candidate will have used social networking as part of a campaign strategy, but it's probably the first time a political candidate has ever created his or her own social networking site.
Enter My Barack Obama, a social networking space dedicated to users who'd like to help Obama get into the White House in '08. He also has a MySpace that's of course not made or endorsed by him but by some very serious fan out there who happens to have little to do but make thousands of friends on his behalf.
There's not too much you can say to trash a guy who acknowledges his own lack of qualifications and admits to doing drugs in college. But we've all seen how internet influence can make or break you. A word of warning, Obama: remember Howard Dean.
While Joe Jaffe is all excited about having been present yesterday during Coke's Experiment #214 at which the famed EepyBird did their Diet Coke/Mentos thing, we're gleefully snickering at the mammoth company's 180 on the whole thing from its "craziness with Mentos doesn't fit our brand personality" stance to its eight-months-too-late embrace of the stunt. We'd be as excited as Joe too if we were there witnessing the event but we can't forget that Coke is doing this because their ass was taunted and dragged into it. I'd be curious if the word Mentos was even allowed to be mentioned at the event. Joe makes no mention of it in his review of the event.
Mentos Loves Diet Coke. Coke Could Care Less
Mentos to Launch Geyser Video Contest
Coke Copies Mentos, Launches Own Video Contest
Coke Wakes Up, Smells Social Media
Lynette Web points us to a study that finds most teens are in a social network (duh) but also finds that the prevalence of social networks may devalue longtime humiliating (or triumphant) traditions like reunions for those way past teenhood.
"For instance, we recently talked about having our five-year class reunion, and I found that most of the people I asked said they really had no reason to get together in five years because they used sites like MySpace and Facebook to stay in touch with anyone they really wanted to keep up with, anyway," says Sam Ford of Convergence Culture.
That's disappointing. What have we been working so hard for if in the next five years we can't show our former nemeses how awesome we still look, then act really sweet and invite them (and their six screaming babies) to sit next to us? We have officially lost our will to go on. MySpace, you destroy everything you touch.
In a twist on the usual interpretation of "friends with benefits," currently getting play on Boston Legal and because Pontiac says it's on the forefront of social networking (their words, not ours), the company is launching a Leo Burnett Detroit-created Friends With Benefits MySpace site which promises to offer awards to friends of those who buy Pontiac G5s. Pontiac tells us the promotion works as follows:
- MySpace users buy a Pontiac G5.
- They register their purchase on the "Friends With Benefits" profile page.
- They start getting cash benefits through their "Friends With Benefits" debit card, all the way up to $1,000.
Umm, buying an entire car just to join a promotion? Oh sure, we can understand the post-purchase, down-the-line benefits but, whoa, that's some price of entry. Getting a free. Oh but hey, if your gonna buy a G5 anyway and get up to $1,000, what's to complain about? Oh but wait. You have to bribe your friends to get a G5 too in order to earn the dough.
Child TEMA enlists Istanbul-based Alaaddin Adworks to raise awareness among children about its program, a smaller division of TEMA, The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats. (We can't believe all those words managed to fit in that little acronym.) The result is a series of posters made of playdoh, which will appear in primary schools and magazines so young planeteers in the make know where to pledge their allegiance.
The copy on this ad reads, "If there is no soil there is no tree. If there is no tree there is no life. If there is no life there is no game. Soil is life. Come and join to Child TEMA and let life and game continue."
The English could use some work but it's commendable that Turkey gets kids started early on complex global concerns. We're still trying to get our kids to stop littering.