Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Google Search is the new Kodak Moment

Posted by andreaitis on February 8, 2010

I just read T/S’er Kashmir Hill’s post Super Bowl upset: Google puts on the best ad.    In it she says:

Getting the millions of people watching the Superbowl to feel all warm and fuzzy toward the company “that does no evil” may have been one of most strategic plays of the evening.

She’s right on all accounts, but the words that jumped out at me  are “warm and fuzzy.”   There aren’t many products people feel warm and fuzzy about these days.   Apple causes gotta-have-it Mac attacks, and the  iPad certainly led to obsessive reporting and was cleverly and very publicly punk’d by Jason Calacanis.    But warm and fuzzy?  Not so much.  In fact, I can’t think of a product that has elicited such emotional ties since Kodak.   Take a look at this Kodak commercial from the 1960s.  If you make it to the end without sobbing you’ll hear “One little girl.  One precious childhood saved for years to come, in pictures.  You can do it too.  All it takes is a camera, Kodak film, and thoughtfulness.”     Yes, that’s right:  Thoughtfulness.

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In this commercial from 1985, you’ll hear Barbra Streisand singing ‘Memories” while the hypnotic voiceover urges “When the moment means more, trust it to Kodak video tape.”

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George Eastman was an entrepreneur by his mid-twenties, way back in 1880.  He had a simple goal for the Eastman Kodak company:  “to make the camera as convenient as the pencil.”

Eastman’s faith in the importance of advertising, both to the company and to the public, was unbounded. The very first Kodak products were advertised in leading papers and periodicals of the day — with ads written by Eastman himself.

Eastman coined the slogan, “you press the button, we do the rest,” when he introduced the Kodak camera in 1888 and within a year, it became a well-known phrase.

via History of Kodak

Like Google, Kodak was used as a verb.   While Google’s verb-alization came organically, Kodak included it in the advertising headline “Kodak as you go.”   That phrase didn’t stick, but “Kodak Moment” did.   It’s a phrase still used today even though Kodak no longer plays a central role in our lives or our memories.  In fact, I suspect some people use “Kodak Moment” without really knowing where it originated.   Kodak created an emotional connection with its customers, and fed that through its advertising campaigns.   As Kodak struggles to find its place in an increasingly digital world, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hayzlett is trying a new approach.

Mr. Hayzlett has abandoned the warm-and-fuzzy branding ads once typical of Kodak. Well-known slogans have included “You push the button — we do the rest” and “Share moments, share life.” Instead, he favors more product-specific ads. “We have to have ads that drive sales,” he says.

As part of Mr. Hayzlett’s effort to give Kodak a hipper image, the company was featured last year in the reality-TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and recently signed on for another season.

via Kodak Ads Get More Aggressive – The Wall Street Journal

The implication here is that “warm and fuzzy” cannot be hip.   Last night, Google blasted that theory to bits.  Google beautifully and simply told the story of boy meets girl, with Google Search helping them every step of the way toward happily ever after.   Google created an emotional connection that only further cements its place in our lives and now, gently,  in our hearts.   That Google commercial?  A Kodak moment, for sure.

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Posted in Business, sports, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Hasselhoff lookalike pitches ass spray

Posted by andreaitis on December 22, 2009

Adam Jay Aspray Geisinger and David Hasselhoff 12-22-2009 2-08-12 PMUp until now I was blissfully ignorant of Adam Jay Geisinger and his made-in-the-USA ass spray.  His video pitch caused a stink on MSNBC and was pulled after a single airing in the middle of the night this past summer.  It was also a huge sensation on YouTube, with well over half a million views.   Still, somehow I missed the David Hasselhoff lookalike and his anti-scent-sation.   My bubble burst this morning when a friend mentioned ass spray over breakfast (ew).  Turns out, she worked for Ignite Media, the company that markets Aspray.  For those sticklers out there, the correct pronunciation is actually A-Spray but let’s not kid ourselves: that’s just a semi-polite way to camouflage the ass the spray is intended for.

Ignite Media is familiar with the infomercial phenomenon.  They market the Snuggie,  Designer Snuggie,  Snuggie for Kids and  Snuggie for Dogs.   And, lest we forget, T/S’er Leor Galil recently posted about the — wait for it — Weezer Snuggie.  All this to say they know the smell of success when it wafts over them.

The story behind ass spray is very much a common man living out his American Dream.   For Adam Jay Geisinger,  a roofing contractor from Long Island, NY, the dream started with stench.

It came to pass that Adam had an idea for a personal grooming product (on the way to the gym, natch), and because this is America, where anybody can do anything, Adam begot something so completely and wonderfully absurd that he took to the airwaves to advertise it himself.

And so there came to be Doc Bottoms Aspray, billing itself as the first “All Over” deodorant.

The resulting two-minute infomercial, featuring wildly enthusiastic Adam Jay Geisinger as pitchman, is so cheerfully mortifying, such a big fat spritz over the line of good taste, that it reaches its own level of art. Or something.

via Adam Jay Geisinger’s Doc Bottoms Aspray Is So Shocking, MSNBC Pulled the Ad –

Doc Bottoms.  Get it?  Here’s the whole video pitch:

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It’s as if Adam is simultaneously channeling Mad Men’s Don Draper and Married with Children’s Al Bundy, with a little Hasselhoff thrown in.   Who else could deliver lines like “Pungent pits?  Beastly butt odor?  How do you stop the stink?” and still somehow maintain an air of respectability?   Take a look at the official ass spray site and you’ll see a great example of marketing to the masses: “Our TV ads may be funny, but embarrassing body odors are not!”  Hard to argue with that.   They even offer a free portable pocket shot of ass spray.   Stocking stuffer, anyone?

Btw, it says it’s safe for all odor zones .  Not sure if that includes Kashmir’s ass lobster

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True/Slant is encouraging readers to donate at this holiday season. Read more about it here if you’d like to help a classroom  in need.

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Time's Person of the Year is Ben Bernanke: Who cares?

Posted by andreaitis on December 16, 2009

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testi...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

By now we all know Time selected Ben Bernanke as Person of the Year.

Raise your hands for me, please, if you care.

No one?  Shocker.

It’s not about Ben Bernanke, although that certainly warrants a “Really?”.  It’s about Time.  I simply don’t care who Time thinks should be anointed person of the year.   Now more than ever it seems like a cheesy gimmick circa 1992.   I’m not even all that interested in a single person of the year.

I’d rather hear who Matt Taibbi thinks has been influential this year.  Jon Stewart,  Fred Wilson,  Sarah Silverman, Elie Mystal.  These are people whose perspectives are interesting to me.   I may agree with them, or disagree, but they are filters for how I absorb my world.    Their opinions are relevant and thoughtful and at times unexpected.  What’s Time’s perspective these days?  I dunno.  They no longer have a distinct voice, they’re  no longer a relevant filter for me.

So, uh, Time?  Get over yourself.   Your time has passed.

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Office of self promotion: T/S founder named to Silicon Alley 100 list

Posted by andreaitis on December 9, 2009

Here’s LD, clocking in at #42 on Silicon Alley Insider’s annual top 100 list.  This year, the list actually goes up to 113 and represents “people in the NYC digital community who did really cool stuff.”

No worries, world.   Our collective T/S ego remains in check.  And if it dares to swell a bit we simply have to pull up the other Silicon Alley Insider story about us, the one that called us boring five minutes after our alpha launch.

Ok, that’s not fair.  It was more like 12 hours after we launched.

Seriously – on behalf of LD – we’re excited to make the list.  Thanks, SAI.

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Top 50. Not too shabby, LD.

Posted in Business, social media, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

China's Entrepreneurial Journalist Hu Shuli

Posted by andreaitis on November 10, 2009

Hu Shuli

How much we take for granted as we all engage in incessant multimedia chatter about the death of newspapers and paywalls and search engines.

This should make us pause for a moment to reflect on bigger battles still being waged and those brave enough to truly fight for freedom of the press.

This is the face of Entrepreneurial Journalism.

The journalist Hu Shuli has often been called “the most dangerous woman in China.” And she may become even more so. As the pioneering editor of China’s most influential business magazine, she managed to publish groundbreaking stories on official ineptitude and financial malfeasance despite China’s tight control of the media. She may be on the verge of even greater freedom after cutting her ties with the owners of her magazine. On Monday, Hu announced that she was resigning from Caijing (Finance and Economics), the publication she built into one of China’s rare voices of journalistic autonomy. Instead, she and a core group of reporters and editors are going to form a new magazine.

via China’s ‘Most Dangerous Woman’ Hu Shuli Gets a New Forum – TIME

Caijing’s managing editor, Wang Shuo,  confirmed on his public  Twitter page that he and almost all the other top editors had  submitted their resignations.  One reporter said, “It doesn’t really matter which publication we work for. We just follow her. That’s it.”

We wish them all the best of luck.

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Rupert Murdoch angry at 'content kleptomaniacs' and crazy like a fox

Posted by andreaitis on November 9, 2009

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M...

Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Two pieces of news from the Murdoch empire:

1. New York Post circulation continues its downward death spiral.

Nearly every paper in America has lost circulation, but The Post more than most — down almost 30 percent in 2.5 years, to 508,000 in the most recent reporting period, against 544,000 for The Daily News. The slide accelerated after The Post’s price returned to 50 cents last year. And this year, The Daily News has surged far ahead in online readership.

[New York Post editor] Mr. Allan, who called it “a joyous occasion” when The Post took the lead, now takes a more subdued view of the competition, saying in an e-mail exchange that “whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

Sober Mood at New York Post as Circulation Spirals Lower – New York Times

2. Rupert Murdoch suggests he will remove News Corp. websites from Google and other search engines.  At least, that’s what the headlines are blaring.   Are they jumping the gun?  I think so.

If you listen to the first five minutes of Murdoch’s interview with Sky News political editor David Speers, you hear the following:

–  Speers delivers a classic and very public introductory suck-up,  referring to his interview subject (and big-time boss) as “the world’s most powerful media owner.”

–  Rupert Murdoch says users should not have had free content, that “we’ve been asleep.”  He sees the paywall as long overdue, but says we’ll be surprised by how minimal some of the fees will be.

–  He wants a different kind of audience – not drive-by consumers but loyal and engaged users with high-frequency habits.  Or, at least, users who will open their wallets.

“What’s the point of having someone come occasionally, who likes a headline they see in Google?… The fact is, there’s not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our website, but paying.”

– At this point, Speers raises the Google index question.  When he asks Murdoch why he hasn’t removed News Corp. sites from Google’s search index, Murdoch replies “Well, I think we will.  But that’s when we start charging…”

BUT Murdoch doesn’t stop there.  He goes on, indicating that perhaps he didn’t fully understand Speers’ question.  They clearly were not communicating on the same, uh,  Google wavelength.

“…We do it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get usually the first paragraph of any story, but then if you’re not a paying subscriber of there’s immediately… a paragraph and a subscription form.”

Does that sound like he doesn’t want News Corp. content to appear in Google or Microsoft search results?  Nope.

Speers follows up, asking  if this is the model we should expect to see.  Murdoch’s clear as mud answer: “Maybe, maybe.” He mumbles something about the Fair Use Doctrine and taking it slowly.

So all those headlines shouting about Murdoch pulling his sites out of Google?  Not quite accurate.

When you take another  look at the comment from New York Post editor Col Allan, it all starts to make a bit of sense: “…whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

It seems Rupert Murdoch is saying size doesn’t matter.  It’s quality of audience, not quantity. The only quantity he wants is the dollars from subscribers, in both micro and macro payments.  Perhaps he’d rather build audiences that are meaningful, loyal and consistent because these are audiences that can be sold and targeted to an advertiser.

Will he pull all of his sites out of Google?  I doubt it.  When he refers to “content kleptomaniacs”  I’d venture he means not the initial link, but the pay-off link to the full story that is currently not providing a pay-out to the content creator or publisher.

Rupert Murdoch is bold and brash.  He is not stupid.   He is approaching the digital news  problem the same way he approached his move into television:   just because this is the way it’s being done doesn’t mean it’s the way it has to be done.

Remember when ABC, NBC and CBS were the only three networks?   Remember when CNN and MSNBC were the only dominant news players on cable?

I worked at Fox while Rupert Murdoch was transforming it.   I remember when he announced he was going to start a new cable news channel.  I walked through that studio as it was being built.  Murdoch is a challenger, even when the status has barely reached the quo.   I’m not counting him out just yet, and neither should you.

Watch the first five minutes of his interview with David Speers and you’ll see what I mean.

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Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

NYT editor started reading 'mostly digital news' 3 weeks ago. Contemplating cellular phone next.

Posted by andreaitis on October 20, 2009

The headline caught my eye:  Bill Keller trying to read the Times “mostly in digital forms”.

Aged news.  That’s my first thought.  I mean, The Daily Show’s Jason Jones took New York Times Executive Editor Bill  Keller d-o-w-n when TDS invaded the NYT newsroom.

“Trying.”   That’s my second thought.  He’s trying to read the New York Times in digital form? I mean, how hard can it be?

Poorly written headline.  That’s my third thought.  I must be misreading that headline.  On to the story:

John Temple, former publisher of the defunct Rocky Mountain News, suggested in July that newspaper editors spend time exclusively reading news on the web, but Keller (and Times managing editor Jill Abramson) are the first I know who have tried it. I emailed Keller to see how the experiment is going, and he obliged with some observations on comprehensiveness, serendipity, and the “balky and drab” experience of reading the Times on a Kindle:

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller

It’s been about three weeks of consuming my NYT (and competition) mostly in digital forms: desktop (the website proper), TimesReader (on a notebook), iPhone and Kindle. In truth, I cheat some on weekends. I love print, and while this experience is making me appreciate more the versatility and creativity of our web staff, nothing has yet made me love print less.

via Bill Keller trying to read the Times “mostly in digital forms” » Nieman Journalism Lab

Brain overload:

1.  Yes, headline is correct.  He’s trying to read news in digital form…

2.  …for three weeks?  THREE weeks???

3.  Someone had to suggest he do this?!?!?

Love print all you want, Mr. Keller.  I love it, too.  Doesn’t mean I’m clinging to it on the cold hard streets outside the unemployment office which I can’t get into because there’s a long line ahead of other people who loved – and lost – print.   What’s that expression about loving something so much you have to set it free, and if it comes back it’s meant to be?

It’s not coming back, Mr. Keller.   Consider these three weeks your printervention.

Posted in Business | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

What do user-generated porn sites and Rupert Murdoch have in common?

Posted by andreaitis on August 6, 2009

originally posted to Flickr at http://www.flic...

Image via Wikipedia


Repeat three times and click your heels:  Free-to-fee.  Free-to-fee.  Free-to-fee.  

That’s what user-generated porn sites and Rupert Murdoch have in common.  They both want to start charging for content that up to now has been free to consumers online.  Murdoch made a bold declaration yesterday, emphatically stating that he would start charging users to access all of his news websites by the end of next summer.

Can’t be any clearer:
1. Charging for ALL of his news websites
2. By end of next summer

Stung by a collapse in advertising revenue as the recession shredded Fleet Street’s traditional business model, Murdoch declared that the era of a free-for-all in online news was over.

“Quality journalism is not cheap,” said Murdoch. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites.”

Rupert Murdoch plans charge for all news websites by next summer | Media | The Guardian

Turns out the user-generated porn industry is struggling with the exact same issue.   Traffic is high.  Revenues are low.  Content is free. Long-term viability is in question.   Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise that they’re reaching the same conclusion.

“Tube sites”–adult content Web sites that mimic YouTube in hosting everything from professionally made videos to user-generated clips–have quickly risen in popularity since they came onto the scene a few years ago, and rank among the highest traffic-getters globally. Some, like Youporn and Pornhub, attract more views than the Web sites of The New York Times or Apple ( AAPL – news – people ). But like YouTube and other video-sharing sites, tube porn sites have struggled with profitability and piracy.

“Tube sites have become part of the adult landscape now,” says Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of prominent adult movie studio Vivid Entertainment.  “But when all of this adult content is free, how do we get people to go from free to pay? ”

via The Challenge Of User-Generated Porn –

I don’t think anyone anticipated the intersection of porn and news in quite this way.   Although, knowing Murdoch, perhaps it’s to be expected.   We should’ve seen it coming in the fine print of his British tabloid The Sun.
See for yourself.  It’s all laid bare on The Sun’s Page 3.

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