Catching up on this week's TV last night during a date with the DVR (no TiVo baggage here - just a straight forward, simple cable DVR) we realized a few things. Aside from the usual hits everyone watches such as Survivor, Lost, Grey's Anatomy and ER (well, it used to be a hit), there's a few shows that are getting some attention but deserve more. While racing, blissfully, through a few commercial-free hours of saved programming, we realized there's a few lesser known shows worth mentioning:
- UPN's Veronica Mars is a brilliant show. Each episode is a mini-mystery that Veronica, who's Dad is a private eye, solves all while wondering what she's doing in this really strange world they call highschool. In addition, each season contains an arching mystery that drops clues each episode. Smart strategy. Each episode can stand on its own while the viewer is rewarded with an in depth story if they stick with the series.
- FOX's Reunion, while not brilliant, has an amazingly intertwined plot which spans the live's of six people over 20 year from 1985 to 2005. Each episode represents a year. Because each episode jumps back and forth between present day and the episode's year, it can get a bit confusion following the plot. Perhaps that's one reason why its rating are in the toilet. This show's really a perfect candidate for DVD when you can sit down and watch big chunks of it at a time. Though FOX has done a good job with episode recaps for those who want to catch up.
- ABC's Invasion finally moved the plot along a bit this week with an episode that revealed a bit more behind the alien assimilation thing and the lead characters long involvement with it. It's the better of the several alien shows airing right now. The show has a blog which is nice but they do a terrible job of referring to it on the show misusing the terms blogs when they mean posts on a blog. Does anyone else think the actress playing the Sherrif's daughter, Alexis Dziena, is oddly attractive?
While UPN's Veronica Mars
and ABC's Invasion
will see future seasons it's likely, but unfortunate, Reunion
will be cancelled after this year.
Donny Deutsch will announce the 2005 "Media Person of the Year" on his CNBC show, "The Big Idea," this Monday, Dec. 5. Each year, I Want Media runs a poll to find the "Media Person of the Year" defined as the figure who had the most impact on the media landscape. Last year's "Media Person of the Year" was the Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart.
This year's 10 candidates, submitted by the site's readers are CNN's Anderson Cooper; Gawker Media's Nick Denton; Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Apple's Steve Jobs; Author Judith Miller; media mogul Rupert Murdoch; Craig's List's Craig Newmark; Viacom's Sumner Redstone; Howard Stern and Martha Stewart (who was named the 2002 "Media Person of the Year").
I'm voting for underdog Nick Denton. You should too. He, and blogging, have significantly altered the media landscape in recent years. The online poll closes this Sunday evening.
The ad industry is all a twitter about recent rulings by the Children's Advertising Review Board reports Ad Age. CARU, a division of the self-regulatory group National Advertising Review Council, has been battling Kraft over a Lunchables Chicken Shake-Ups ad which CARU claimed did not properly represent four out of the five food groups as required by the group's guidelines. Kraft revised the ads but said forcing advertisers to show all required food groups might cause advertisers to "depict an overabundance of foods."
Advertising attorney Douglas Wood told Ad Age CARU is overstepping its bounds by making the wrong way, saying, "Doing so [make policy changes in advertising practices] through cases rather than rule-making is a very dangerous road. By using a case to announce a broad reaching rule, some will argue that CARU has eliminated the deliberative process and engaged in rule-making more by fiat than fairness. Without doubt, this will further fuel the debate that CARU has become too aggressive."
Neil French's sudden non-appearance at a Singapore AdAsia conference, held November 21-23, isn't news. What's news are comments he made in a Singapore newspaper article run a day prior to the show in which he tried to claim it's not just woman who are "crap" because they make time for family, it's men too. French claims, according to Ad Age, children are "incompatible with the long hours needed to become a top creative." Egoistically proving his point and hinting fatherhood is for wimps, French told the paper he hasn't seen his only child, an eight year-old boy in months. Keep smokin' that cigar, Neil but humbly suggest you give that Harry Chapin song, Cats in the Cradle, a listen. It's got an important message for you.
Of course, one could claim the above is written from an overly PC, American viewpoint. If you flip the coin and acknowledge cultural differences between America and Singapore, where French has spent most of his career, French comes out smelling like roses as indicated by a comment reportedly made by a creative who said, during a dinner attended by French and, we assume, the Ad Age reporter who reported it, "You have to look at this through a cultural filter. In Singapore, its still legal to beat your wife." While we find that hard to believe, we're not making it up.
Following a MediaPost Real Media Riff's column that roasted Ad Age for an editorial cover wrap attached to 1,000 copies of the magazine distributed at ad:tech in early November, Ad Age's Rance Crain, today, offers up a mea culpa and apologizes for what MediaPost deemed a serious ad/edit line crosser. Apparently unbeknownst to the magazine's management, including Crain and Editor Scott Donaton, a last minute deal was struck between someone at Ad Age and a company called SpecificMEDIA to adhere a front page cover wrap that appeared to look like news content and distribute it at ad:tech. Crain writes David Klein, publishing and editorial director of the Ad Age Group, sent an email to the magazine's staff stating, among other things, the publications credibility had been damaged by the wrap. Crain also makes no excuses for misjudgment.
In a nod to an American Business Media "Editorial Integrity: Under Assault?" panel Crain moderated last week, he noted readers have increased protection from "overzealous advertisers" by blogs and other journalists who will call out moves such as this cover wrap debacle. It's encouraging that Ad Age chose to publicly deal with this issues as it could very easily have simply swept it under the rug and moved on. Welcome to the conversation, Ad Age.
There's never a lack of ad babes peering, longingly, out of magazine ad pages luring guys into buying things they really don't need so it's without surprise that we find both been-there-done-that Paris Hilton and IndyCar babe Danica Patrick meeting our eyeballs as we flip though the December issue of GQ, which, by the way was a multi cover issue on which Jennifer Anniston appeared semi-nude but we, unfortunately, ended up with the Vince Vaughn version. Come on, Jim. You read Adrants. You know what we like. Send a memo to the circulation department, stat!
Paris, who, hands down, has the best "do me" look, is in GQ hawking her Paris Hilton For Men fragrance. Oddly, the container looks like a lipstick wand so we're doubtful too many men will actually be seen buying or using this stuff. Danica, who has the more girl-next-door, wholesome look, except here, is smirking for TISSOT Swiss Watches. The ad carries the headline, "A Woman's Touch...in a Man's World," which appropriately, references her place in the male dominated world of car racing.
So in terms of which ad does a better job selling its product, without doubt, the award goes to Danica Patrick's TISSOT ad. It's a product an actual man would actually buy and Patrick's demeanor, at least in this ad, is far more tangible and realistic that Paris Hilton's airy, empty, vacuous persona seen here.
"Advertising within TV shows is still the mother lode of how the networks bring in their revenue, and CBS and the other networks have an extremely important interest in protecting the sanctity of the first-run show's ratings," said Andy Donchin, executive vp and director of national broadcast at Carat. Andy might be eating those words in a few years as cable and broadcasters wake up and smell the VOD. Certainly, not everyone is going to pay for ad-free content but an entire generation who will refuse to accept current ad supported content models is fast growing and simply won't settle for business as usual. Additionally, if show producers and broadcasters see a viable and profitable pay per VOD business model, they'll dump advertisers faster than Cue Cat came and went.
Bringing two decades of style together and highlighting a few products a long the way, Norstrom, with help from Fatboy Slim, has launched Norstrom Silverscreen a remixed version of the 80's G0-GO's video "Our Lips Are Sealed." Random Culture points out several products are featured in the video and the two decade groups cavort in typical music video style. Other similar video remixes are forthcoming. Visitors can opt to watch a basic version of the video or an enhanced version which requires a download but will automatically play each new video as it becomes available.
Unfortunately and stupidly on Nordtrom's or it's agency's part, the enhanced version only works with, you guessed it, Internet Explorer and not with the IE-killing and fast growing Firefox, the browser of choice for anyone that has a clue. Marketers and technology providers have got to stop sleeping with one bed partner and start playing the field. There's a lot of untapped Firefox hotties out there willing and waiting for the "enhanced experience." So, come on marketers and technology providers. Stop being so prejudice in your choice of bed partners.
Kathy Sierra, writing on Creating Passionate Users, has put together a chart that compares the old ways of marketing to the new. Filled with gems like "Hire a creative, user-focused product designer" rather than "Hire a creative, award-winning advertising designer" and Buy Typepad accounts for every employee in your company, and maybe some users too" rather than "Hire a PR firm" and "Product placements in the 'real' world, by donating samples to those who could benefit" rather than "Product placements in a 'fake' TV, movie world," Sierra has created a chart that inspires and demonstrates how truly stupid current marketing efforts are.
AdJab points to a consumer-generated media treasure trove called Revver. It's a site where anyone can submit self-created videos on any topic. Revver will host the video, insert a short ad at the end and share the proceeds, 50/50, with the video creator. The ad, called a RevTag, is embedded in the video so that viewership can be tracked whether the video is viewed on Revver or viewed as it wends its way from friend to friend via email attachment.
Apparently the site's quite popular as it's moving slower than a turtle pulling an 18 wheeler. We hope that's temporary. There's a lot of promise here as people begin to realize that all content doesn't have to come from big media companies and all ad revenue doesn't have to go to large corporate conglomerates.