Yikes! Coupons Delivered Via RSS!

For discount junkies, Coupons, Inc., a U.S. provider of consumer-printable coupons, has rolled out an RSS feed to deliver advertisers’ coupons directly to consumers' desktops. The new all-coupons feed is available on the My Yahoo and My MSN services from www.coupons.com and for stand-alone RSS readers via www.coupons.com/rss.asp.

Apparently, the growing popularity of RSS feeds could not be ignored. Not an all bad idea for those that hate schlepping pounds and pounds of newspaper coupons to the dump each week, the coupons delivered to RSS subscribers are also updated simultaneously on Coupons, Inc.’s recently introduced CouponBar, - a toolbar directly installed into Web browsers that features an updated list of available offers. Combine this with A9 and no one ever has to leave their desk again to shop anymore. Here's to an even fatter America.

by Steve Hall    Mar-30-05    

Commercial Alert Rips PBS A New One

Commercial Alert sent a letter today to PBS, criticizing it for partnering with Comcast in a 24-hour cable channel for children that will carry advertisements. The letter follows.

Wayne Godwin
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Public Broadcasting System
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314
Via fax: (703) 739-7500

Dear Mr. Godwin:

The New York Times reports today that PBS and Comcast are partners in a new 24-hour digital cable channel for children that will play commercials along with programs such as Elmo and Sesame Street. Other co-owners will be Sesame Workshop and HIT Entertainment.

Public broadcasting is supposed to be an alternative to the commercial networks and a refuge from the huckstering that assaults children there. It is supposed to give kids, and parents, a real choice in this regard – a choice where kids won’t be seduced with junk food, junk entertainments and noxious commercial values with which parents may disagree.

In case you somehow haven’t noticed, American children already are subject to an unprecedented barrage of commercial propaganda. And, not surprisingly, they suffer from an epidemic of marketing-related diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Recent research by Juliet Schor found that “High consumer involvement is a significant cause of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and psychosomatic complaints” in children. Why would you want to make this any worse?

Your descent into commercial predation has been swift. In 1998, PBS first ran national commercials before and after Sesame Street. And despite shocking rates of childhood obesity, in 2003, PBS began running ads for McDonalds before and after Sesame Street. What’s next? A partnership with Philip Morris? If there’s enough money in it, why not?

Children need adults who will stand up to the commercial culture. They need adults who will put their health and development above the interests of money. It looks as though they aren’t going to find these adults at PBS any more.


Commercial Alert

by Steve Hall    Mar-30-05    

Radio DJ Places Escort Ad For Co-host, Co-host Pissed

Leeds Real Radio DJ Guy Harris placed an eBay ad for his co-host, Lorna Bancroft selling her as an escort girl. Needless to say, Bancroft was pissed.

Bancroft said, "I got nice emails from listeners after my photo was put on the radio website. Guy got jealous and this was his way of having a go at me. It (the eBay ad) made me look like a prostitute and people believed I was for sale. I am really angry with him. It was bang out of order and it will take time for me to calm down."

Harris has apologized and hopes Bancroft can forgive him.

by Steve Hall    Mar-30-05    

eBay Fires Agency Because Blah Blah, Blah

Commenting on eBay's recent firing of agency Goodby Silverstein, eBay spokesman Chris Donlay said, "Our policy is not to comment on vendor relations," to which we ask "why the fuck not?" Sidestepping the nasty habit of clients disrespecting agencies by calling them "vendors" versus business consultants for now, what is so crucial about an agency/client relationship that's so important it must be hidden from the rest of the industry. It's not like we're talking about national security secrets here. Haven't we all had enough of this bland, say nothing PR bullshit? Yes, we thought you'd say yes.

Is it asking too much for companies to at least come up with statements of interest like, oh, "We fired the agency because the account director is a self-important, pompous wind bag" or "We dumped that client because they are clearly clueless when it comes to effective advertising" or "The fuckers think the Internet 'isn't there yet' as a medium." Come on, a little honesty, inventiveness and effort would make all our lives more exciting. Please, PR, give it a try.

by Steve Hall    Mar-30-05    

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Quirky Movie Gets WTF Viral Treatment

OK, Like WTF?

Below is the meta data from the source code of CokeBadger, revealing it to be one of the latest, wacky viral promotions which, in turn, promotes another site which promotes a new movie, It's All Gone Pete Tong, already a fave on the festival circuit, to be released April 15.

meta name="description" content="The Coke Badger wants you to do coke. Nothing else. The Coke Badger will come after you if you don't. Coke, coke, coke. Coke addicts are the best society has to offer, so why not be one of the best? Oh, and, the Coke Badger is holding Frankie Wilde in hell."

You see. Frankie Wilde is the fictitious, central character of the upcoming movie, "It's All Gone Pete Tong." The phrase "it's all gone Pete Tong" is Cockney slang that plays off the name of real superstar DJ Pete Tong. It means "it's all gone wrong." The film is a mockumentary based on the life of fictitiously legendary DJ Frankie Wilde, a talented and envied European DJ and the central focus of hedonistic youth vacationing in Ibiza, Spain. As the movie progresses, Wilde, who eventually cokes out and goes deaf from too many throbbing throw downs, hires a lip-reading instructor, accepts a new way of life and rediscovers the dance rhythms that originally defined him. Wilde's redemption then returns him to the top of the DJ scene with a renewed connection to music and fame. And then he disappears, just in time for a sequel.

The campaign is deep and extensive, including an "unofficial" fan site, a site for "author" Eric Banning who wrote about Wilde's life, a site for his cheesy manager, Max Haggar and even a site his record label, handicapped artist focused Motor City Records (be sure to view the videos of "CEO" Jack Stoddart here and on the main page). Surely there are more sites tied into this elaborate promotion but we have other things to do today. We do give a big "brilliant" to this engaging effort. The usual suspects are behind this one.

by Steve Hall    Mar-30-05