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Ning, the Marc Andreesen-backed social network creation service, has reached 100,000 networks. Ning, which powers our own AdGabber social network, makes it easy and free for anyone to create their own social network without having to possess any technical skills. Writing on his blog, Andreesen describes Ning as a horizontal network of social networks which purposefully does not focus on or serve any particular vertical.
Andreesen describes the atmospheric growth of Ning as double viral, writing, "On Ning, users both join existing user-created networks -- one of the 100,000+ networks that already exist -- and/or create their own networks. This is a double viral loop. Loop one is users being invited to join a network created on Ning. Loop two is some percentage of those users creating their own new networks and then inviting other people to join those new networks."
While conducting research for our last article, it came to our attention that there are a lot of bummed-out twenty-somethings sitting around making Nickelodeon tributes to shows they grew up with. (See more here.)
Why is no one -- least of all Nickelodeon -- exploiting this wellspring of self-obsessed nostalgia? If we saw Gumby or Inside-Out Boy pushing product at us, we'd be all over that in an irrational second.
And we'd possibly (though not probably) kill to see a marathon of Salute Your Shorts or something SNICK-like. We'd even revisit Hey Arnold! if we had to. Man. Remember when TV was good? Remember TGIF? WTF happened to TGIF?!
Bill over at Make the Logo Bigger weighs in on the use of kids to push causes that perhaps can't push themselves.
Should kids be involved in "adult" debates that have as much to do with their futures as ours? It's easy to say yes. But in cause-oriented ads, we often find them confidently taking positions fed to them by other adults (who should presumably be engaging in the discourse themselves).
By and large, kids depend our protection and sound judgment. One reason why The Exorcist and The Shining were so scary is that, when put in the position to strike fear or conviction into an adult, the young wield massive emotional force.
If the viewpoint of children makes us more emotional than critical, maybe we should indeed confine their marketing savvy to selling cookies, rather than selling political positions or causes.
We just thought it was interesting to note this video clip from the movie Network is even more relevant than it was thirty years ago when the movie debuted. This is the movie that gave us the famed line, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" In the clip, Peter Finch rails against the public which has been dumbed down by television and don't read books or newspapers any longer. Sound familiar?
Television is not the truth Finch tells us. "It's a goddamn amusement park." TV will tells us anything we want to hear and it will lie to deliver. Combine that with the rest of the media business's insanity and the our fixation with celebutards and the world depicted in the recent movie Idiocracy seems completely plausible.
We're firm believers in that if you're going to devote your life to something, even something as "banal" as advertising, you should commit. Let yourself go. Fall in love with it. Learn it inside and out.
After reading Adland over the weekend, we're thinking, here's a book that finally lets you do that.
It's really hard to find a book on advertising that doesn't come off as worshipful and jam-packed with debauched ad men and images of half-naked women, or overly critical and almost caustic. These are all attempts to simplify the profession and shove it into a box it doesn't really belong in.
We get a sense that author Mark Tungate has as much of a love/hate relationship with advertising as anybody. Without ignoring or embellishing those feelings, he examines the industry as a chartable landscape with a unique history.
Once again, advertising has caused an uproar over nothing. CNN's Mike Galanos covers the new (and really great if we do say so ourselves) Clearasil campaign and is upset over the ads which show a guy trying to pick up his friend's mom and a daughter who says "You should see me now" while her mother shows naked baby pictures of her to her boyfriend. While Galanos prudely prattles on, Melissa Henson from the Parents Television Council talks about how marketers use too much sex to sell and Debbie Wolf from the People Against Censorship says the moral minority shouldn't control what gets seen on TV and everyone should just lighten up and laugh.
The Hardee's Flat Buns commercial has caused an uproar in Tennessee with Tennessee Education Association President Dr. Earl Wiman (who you've got to hear) saying, "It is unbelievably demeaning." The ad shows a female teacher dancing seductively in front of a class that raps about the positivity of flat buns which the teacher, of course, does not possess. The commercial is part of a campaign launched earlier this summer which included the Flat Buns website.
Wiman wants concerned citizens to complain to Hardee's, saying, "I am asking that all of our members and the public who care about children and their education to contact their local Hardee's to voice their concerns."
There's one sure thing that can be said about Britney Spears' performance at last night's MTV Video Music Awards. She delivered exactly what everyone expected; a horrifically embarrassing performance that had to have Kevin Federline rolling on the floor laughing uncontrollably. Practically tripping over herself throughout the limp, lifeless, lip-synced performance, Spears began the performance looking as if she'd just stumbled out of a bar drunk searching for something to hold on to so she wouldn't fall over.
From there, it didn't get any better. Several years ago - before Federline, before kids, before physical and emotional meltdown - Spears would have been all over that stage exploding with high energy dance moves. But at least twice last night, she had to be hoisted up and down from a riser like an overweight kid trying to climb out of a swimming pool.
With the ubiquitous YouTube video, Leno appearance and online video site, famed (at least if you watch movies and TV) Fred Thompson has entered the 2008 presidential race. We're not much into politics finding ourselves oddly aligned to some things Democrat and some things Republican but not comfortable with Independent status and certainly not or right or left wing crazy...at least in real life. So it is with confusion, we are drawn to Fred Thompson who appears to be as Republican as they come but also pretty laid back about a lot of things.
Who says advertising objectifies women? Certainly not The Ranch which is very kind to women keeping them nice and hot as opposed to letting them get cold like the beer they serve. How compassionate. How understanding. How forward thinking. How evolved! This objectification of women is just a bunch of hogwash (as I guess people who'd go to The Ranch would say), right?