Wednesday, September 24, 2008

get your hands of my teats, ben and jerry!

Okay finally something INTERESTING happened in the media! Elections what elections? No no I mean INTERESTING in that it was enough to really make me wanna jump up and BLOG. Throw open my window and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"

What is up with PETA? They want Ben & Jerry's to stop using cow's milk and start using human breast milk to make their ice cream? WTF? Who is running that place? Hugh Hefner? Larry Flynt? Raquel Welch? Seriously. That's just gross. The only people that should drink breast milk are babies and new age parents who want to tell all their goofy new age friends "Of course I TRIED it. There's nothing wrong with it. It's....sweet."


With all the unethical treatment of animals all over this planet THIS is what you're brainstorming on, PETA? You can't save a bunny from being tested with a shot of hair spray to the eyes? Or a rat from having a human ear sewn to it's back? You have to focus on dairy cows who probably have nothing better to do than milked all day anyway? It's not like they're cute or anything and it's not like they don't WANT to be milked. They're gaggin' for it, as my friends on Coronation Street say.

Okay, while I agree that cow's milk is not meant for human consumption WE DRINK AND EAT IT ANYWAY. I know we don't really have the enzymes required to break down the lactose. I get it. We shouldn't smoke. We should exercise. Fine. But I don't see how I'll get healthier by eating someone stranger's breast milk. I don't know WHERE SHE'S BEEN! I don't want a stranger's breast milk in my ice cream. Not in my cheese. Not in my roux. Not in my birthday cake. Not in my STARBUCK'S frapplattamochaccinasloppa.

Never mind the health. THINK ABOUT THE MENU! Even on a really basic level you totally RUIN the Ben and Jerry's list of flavours. No matter how you look at it these basic items are never going to be the same:

  • Coconut Seven Layer Bar (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Everything But The...(Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Oatmeal Cookie CHUNK (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Karamel Sutra (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Berried Treasure (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Berry N'ice (Now with Breast Milk!)
  • Oh My! Apple Pie! (Now with Breast Milk!)

So fine. The old list is RUINED. What do you do? Rename stuff? That's even worse. I DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS LIST OF FLAVOURS ANYWHERE. EVER.

  • Boob Batter
  • Triple Ariola Chunk
  • Bananas on the Mum
  • Chocolate Chip Boobie Dough
  • Boober Pecan
  • Chunkey Mummy
  • Cinnamom Buns

I have to believe this is some kind of joke. Some kind of mistake. Some kind of sick prank that PETA is playing on the whole www. Are they suggesting we herd a bunch of mommies and feed them grass all day and wait 'til they moo for relief? Hey, let's herd them in the farthest reaches of Alaska to save time. It's pretty cold up there. That's animal friendly AND cost efficient. Supply meets demand. Frozen t(r)eats. "Is it just you or is it cold in here?" "No, it's a bit nippy."

Yarf and barf.

Go home PETA. Go home and sleep it off because you must have been wasted to come up with this idea. Too many shrooms while you dance your ritualistic purple circle of healing dance in the forest. Back to the Shire with you! Shut 'er down before it's too late. Know your limits. You're going to embarrass yourselves and puke in the cab. This is taking the milk of human kindness way too far! Don't make us bust out any more puns!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Game Shows, Television and the effect on your BRAIN

I was at lunch with a colleague the other day and I was ACCUSED of watching what he labelled MINDLESS game shows. Sir, to that I say pistols at dawn. Pistols, I say!

First of all let's start by addressing television as a technology. M'kay.

Though very few studies have been done, we do know that while watching TV your brain goes into an alpha wave state, which is relaxing and is similar to a hypnotic state. You become more passive, less alert. The feelings of passivity do not end when you turn off your TV. Back in the day that was because your TV had cathode ray tubes, which produced a flicker that the conscious mind does not detect. Kind of like the flicker from a campfire.
Theory suggests that because HDTV involves staring at a more detailed picture the alpha state will be even more pronounced. You will be even more entranced.

This ain't no joke, kids. Human beings "habituate" to repetitive light-stimuli light flickering light. If habituation occurs, then the brain has essentially decided that there is nothing of interest going on. The left half of your brain is in such an alpha state it's like being asleep. The left half is for logical thought and analysis. The right half of the brain, which deals with dream images, fantasy and intuition continues to receive TV images but because the bridge between the right and left brains has been "turned off" due to habituation, all the processing of the information is "turned off". You're not learning anything you'll be able to recall. In a nutshell the neurophysiology of watching television amouts to this: you space out.

Even if you're watching a documentary on sharks, the technology of TV and the inherent nature of the viewing experience actually inhibit learning. Very little cognitive, thought-based learning takes place while you're watching. Very little recall. Very little analytical thought. So that means when you watch any TV program you're doomed to numbness. That includes documentary television, people. That includes Mutual of Omaha's National Geographic. That includes Polkadot Door. That includes Flip my Frikkin House or whatever.

You know what that mean? The more that political issues are confined to television, the less knowledgeable the public is about them. The voter cannot process information he or she is receiving. And you wonder why they keep voting republican. They're not learning!

Love the sinner and not the sin, Gladys because all of it, ALL OF IT is an OPIATE for the masses. That's not a cliche, it's a fact. And from now on I'm not calling it traditional or mass advertising. If it goes on the telly then I'm calling it opiate.

Now that we've got that everwith -- UP WITH OPIATES!


1. Match Game
I don't need to tell you why this is great. See for yourself and imagine this episode if it starred people like Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Fox, and whoever else your little heart desires. You may not recognize them but these folks were real celebrities who stepped down off their pedestals to play with the common man, matching punch line for punch line. Rim shots welcome. They were film actors, broadway stars, TV celebs. You name it.

2. Jeopardy!
Staying power people, staying power. This is a tough game for folks with METTLE. Jennings anyone?

3. The Price is Right
If it wasn't for the other two shows this would be right on top. What a concept! It's brilliant. An hour-long TV ad that people watched daily for decades. You can't measure the ROI. Remember to spay or neuter your pets!

4. Password
Hey this is a hard game, people. Try it for yourselves. The one word clue is not an easy thing to master. Some people were really good at this and some people were terrible, which is why you switched partners. When you got stuck with a lemon, it cost you.

5. Let's Make a Deal
Canadian Monty Hall. Really. If this guy isn't the love child of a magician and a car salesman I don't know who is. No matter how silly it might look now, there are countless websites and videos devoted to the mathematical explanation of what has come to be known as the Monty Hall paradox. Come on.

6. Pyramid
Uh uh. Well if it isn't a winner then explain this.

7. Hollywood Squares
You know why this show was amazing? These are celebrities. No, like famous ones. A list celebs. The ones in the tabloids. And they didn't mind looking like dorks. And they were smart enough to be funny. And they were accessible and they didn't make 15mil just to show up and wipe their arses. You couldn't recreate this if you tried. No one would bite and if they did it would suck because the biters would be has-beens. Er...take Whoopie's version of Hollywood Squares. Sucked. New password. Sucks. 1. Because they made it FAST and EASY for their fast food nation. 2. Because (with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows) WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE? I can't tell the difference
(with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows) between the contestant and the celebrity. Alfonso Ribero? Give me a break. He ain't no A lister. The show is based on B listers (with the exception of Betty White, the queen of game shows).

So what does this all boil down to? Why am I even blogging about this?

You can't put someone in a BOX because they watch reality TV vs. game shows vs. sitcoms vs. documentaries. It's all the same flicker.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the good, the bad and the oh no you didn't

***Warning. You might find sarcasm on this page.****

What is up with this?

Is it phenomenal because they've broken the laws of physics with that type size? Is it phenomenal because they had enough insight to code it in 1992 and beam it into the future? Like, is this the first cryogenic site? Has it been dormant for 15 years and now it's come to life because the Internet is "hot"? Is it like a colony of termites that has been resurrected? Is there wood to ground contact? Or is it phenomenal because the projections on the number of people attending versus the pittance they've spent on the site will put the ROI through the roof? In that sense, it may very well be phenomenal.

But that's not what they mean by phenomenal. I have seen these two speak and they're smart and successful. Fine. But if they're offering up phenomenal in my life, your life, people's lives, why does their site look like it was designed in very dim light by a student who is taking maths (plural intentional), who just got dumped by his girlfriend, and has a huge paper cut and who's in the hold of a tall ship in the middle of a hurricane and is being gnawed at by plague-ridden rats that look like Liza Minelli?

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is brand promise.

What is so phenomenal about using the EXTRUDE filter in Photoshop to make the price seem PHENOMENAL? Does that extrude filter make you feel you can trust these people? Who wrote the badge on the left that says you can get "Two inspirational speakers for the price of one!" Does that inspire you? Did they trawl the dregs of infomercial writers to find the only one left wearing a button down sweater and a fedora? The one whose pants ride up to the top of his rib cage? The one smoking that stank-pipe who calls the woman in his life (read, receptionist) "little girl" as he stares at her "bosom"? Did they find that one writer? Is he cryogenic too? Is he a George Romero corpse? Because nobody writes that stuff unless they're looking to sell unwanted hair removal systems or knives that cut ripe tomatoes or things that make the beef jerky. Does this type size make what I'm saying more phenomenal? What if I add !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and ?!?!?!?!?!?!? and some NEW NEW NEW NEW. What if I show ACORNS? That's a good metaphor for...for growing and...saving up....and falling far not from the tree and gum - together at last!

"Have you seen the burgeonverger!?!?!?!?!?!? It's phenomenal."

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is credibility.

So this blog is rather a stream of consciousness and it's sometimes hard to get through as a result. I know. I know. But it's supposed to be. And I'm not selling anything other than thinking and ranting and violins. (See previous posts.) The grammar on that site is absolutely hideous. Just read the first paragraph. It's not good. It doesn't really make sense. Not really. It's a self-improvement site! How am I supposed to believe I'll self-improve when what I'm reading is so badly written? The conference is a few hundred bucks and the folks running it will be selling those who've paid their few hundred bucks another few hundred bucks worth of material they can't live without! Confused? Don't be. If you go they'll try and sell you a bunch of stuff they've written. More of what you already heard and paid for - but chocked full of daily exercises so you can put your learning into practice ... and blank paper so you can take notes in the blank paper book you just paid $30 for. Some of their products will be priced in the HUNDREDS.

But if that's the kind of writing I'm seeing on the site, why would I pay for more? No one has taken the time to edit it. I wouldn't even buy a thong that isn't stamped INSPECTOR 35 and that only costs a coupl'a bucks.

One word to consider before you hit the PUBLISH button on your site is integrity of your product.

I have no problem with this "self-improvement makes good business for the common man" business that's surfaced due to the consciousness raising of Umrricah and all that. Fine. But the least you can do is have someone edit your sh!t so I don't feel like I have to turn my head and cough when I sign up. Leave me some semblance of dignity when I write you the cheque.

See you at the conference! Be there or be an acorn!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC ate my homework

I will officially be using LHC as my excuse for anything that can go right or wrong in the next 10 years. This is an amazing opportunity because just about anything can happen as a result of that beam of proton smashing zingdiddlything they fired 'round the planet.

Sample excuses:
  1. "I was on my way to work when LHC activated my dyscalcula and I lost my sense of direction so I'm going to be a bit late. Where am I NOW? Vegas, yeah. I got turned around on the 401."
  2. "I know I told you the house was termite free but the colony has jumped from one part of the string to another and in a parallel universe, they're eating your home. LHC treatment is $15000."
  3. "Yes we agreed the deadline for layouts was this week but what you need to understand is the space time continuum has been warped by LHC so the workback sched is now a workforward sched. I'll need you to sign off on that, by the way."
  4. "Are you there LHC, it's me, Margaret."

Et cetera.

For those of you who aren't interested in LHC and what's been happening take a look at any news feed on Earth and ask yourself "Why?" This is important stuff, people.

Samples of who it might be important to:

  1. If you're a creationist, it's important because you can argue that this whole experiment is as blasphemous as the island of Dr. Moreau. Didn't he get what he deserved that wicked, hubris sucking freak?
  2. If you're a contrarian, you argue that it's a waste of taxpayer dollars or whatever. Just fill in the blanks here.
  3. If you're a Kabbalist, you can argue that you knew this experiment would happen 4000 years ago and "So what? You want I should I lie down and die, already? I own houses in each of the 10 dimensions."
  4. If you're Morrisey from the Smiths you can say "Some Protons are bigger than others and some Protons Mothers are bigger than other Protons Mothers. Regardless, the sun shines out of their behinds."

Just form an opinion about this. If you don't know what it's about, find out. How you'll see the world around you will change. People say that and you're so used to seeing things the way you see them that you don't get what a big deal that is. It's COLOSSAL. LHC should stand for LONGTIMELOVEYOULONGTIME HOLY CRAPCOLOSSAL. I'll say it again: It will change the way we all see the world. No, really. THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD WILL CHANGE. Did I mention you might gain a different perspective on things? Or more like, your world will change whether you like it or not. "What is she on about?" you say? Um, birth canal, anyone?

It will be like being born except you'll be aware of it this time and you'll have to deal. Your birth was a shock you repressed. YOUR BRAIN WON'T LET YOU REMEMBER CUZ IT'S TOO BIG BIG BIG. You can't hide this time, man! You're going to have to deal with the stupendous impact it will have on your life. Not because it proves or disproves the big bang. That's only one aspect of the conversation. It will change your life because it's quantum, man. It's like, acid but for realz. It's about parallel dimensions, man. Like, Jumper and Memento and stuff.

From WIKI:

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator complex, intended to collide opposing beams of protons with very high kinetic energy. Its main purpose is to explore the validity and limitations of the Standard Model, the current theoretical picture for particle physics. It is theorized that the collider will confirm the existence of the Higgs boson, the observation of which could confirm the predictions and missing links in the Standard Model, and could explain how other elementary particles acquire properties such as mass.

The LHC was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and lies underneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over eight thousand physicists from over eighty-five countries as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. The LHC is already operational and is presently in the process of being prepared for collisions. The first beams were circulated through the collider on 10 September 2008, and the first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled on 21 October.

Although a few individuals questioned the safety of the Large Hadron Collider in the media and through the courts, the consensus in the scientific community is that there is no conceivable threat from the LHC particle collisions.

Okay so what has LHC done for me lately? What do I care from collisions?

Scientists figure that if micro-black holes, which are smaller than the nucleus of an atom, exist, they can be used to determine the number of extra dimensions in our world. If scientists smash two high energy protons together they could theoretically make a micro-black hole. They can try that with the LHC. Once created, the micro-black hole decays quickly and emits over a dozen different kinds of particles such as electrons, neutrinos and photons, which are easy to detect. Using the predicted decay properties of the black hole into neutrinos, scientists then do complex equations and determine if our universe has 10, 11, or more dimensions, which is even too many dimensions for conventional (irony here) string theory. People, this is a big deal.

All that being said some major science dude that's kind of in charge says that even if there's a black hole created it will be, like, mosquitoes colliding. I don't buy that. And who on Earth put that guy in charge? WTF with the mosquitoes colliding thing? Bad example, Scientist Sir. Everyone knows how annoying one mosquito can be, let alone two so you might want to pick another creature for your metaphor. Make it like two bunnies colliding. We love bunnies. Who doesn't love a bunny? Where was I?

So science dude is trying to allay our fears telling mosquito metaphors because people are screaming "Don't go into the woods!" at the screen right now. Science gets a bum rap if it gets a rap at all and here is the first time science ain't got a bum rap and you just can't ignore this can you? And speaking of bum raps...holy mother of all that is good and pure what the eff is this all about:

LCH Rap Video by some white girl science student...oh no you didn't...

Did that freak you out? It was meant to put your mind at ease. You want to talk Armageddon? That video has a squillion hits on yoube. That is something to be a'skeert of.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Integration in the Ad World

Picture it...

There's a corner in BigCity, North America. Walking down one side is Lady Tradagency, in a suit, carrying a briefcase, chattering on her PDA about Bigclient and their TV ads and media buys and placement and deadlines and budgets like 6 mil.

Around the other side is Boy Digitalshop, on his roller skates, wearing an iPod, listening to Radiohead, thinking about updating his blog and following Don Draper on twitter and deadlines and budgets 60K.

Neither of them is paying attention to their surroundings and BLAM! they collide at the corner and her chocolate bar goes flying up into the air, spinning, somersaulting whooosh whooosh until PLOP it lands right in his open jar of peanut butter.

"Hey you got your digital in my Mass!"
"Hey you got your TV on my web!"

Integration is born!

That's how random things can feel when you try and integrate "new media and old media" or "interactive and traditional" or "chocolate and peanut butter" or "hohan and ronson". What's the plan, Stanley? What is the plan for integration? Will it work if there's no plan or is integration supposed to be a randomly successful accident. Some people are allergic to peanuts. What about them?

I just had lunch with someone in the biz and we had a long chat about people and how to staff up a shop that's integrated. The irony is, you can't staff up a shop that's integrated because they're already staffed up. Up to here. Up to there. With people that don't necessarily know what the plan is. With people who don't necessarily care. With people who don't know "where to start" because they think the web is about technology and they don't know how to "program".

I'm not being critical. I'm pointing at the big pink elephant. Look there it is.

Integration is the big pink elephant. I'm sorry but it has yet to work the way everyone says it's going to work and it's been nigh on 10 year that people have been aiming toward it. It's the ever elusive bull's eye, the v.gasm, the Yeti, the Easter Bunny, you name it. It amounts to a promise that cannot be fulfilled. Sorry. Get rid of it. Don't use the word. Try ANYTHING else but you'll not staff up a shop with the promise of integration because it doesn't exist. It can't exist because the whole idea of it is wrapped in MYTH. I don't mean falsehood. Look up the meaning of MYTH. Ask Northrop Frye. I mean integration is fraught with beliefs that someone just poof created out of thin air because they needed to believe. Not lies. Beliefs. Myths about integration. The myths you create around integration are the myths that negate it. Now what? We can dispel a few of they myths to start.

Mythbusting 101 point oh:

As in "Oh! I didn't know that." As in " Oh! crap we just blew our budget." As in "Oh, God. Save us from webmaggedon."

  1. If you don't know how to program a website, you don't know how to think for the web. (Bust: The web is more than a website. Cut it out.)
  2. Advertising on the web is putting a banner ad on line so the creative teams can just think "tv ad but smaller". (Bust: Is wearing make-up equal to plastic surgery?)
  3. Creative web folk don't understand TV. (Bust: Most people who work on the web did nothing but watch TV, do nothing but watch TV, eat drink man woman TV. We get it. We just don't work in that head space.)
  4. Web is the same as TV because you see it on a screen. So you should use it the same way. (Bust: Come on.)
  5. Creative folk that work on MASS hate people who work on the web because they are trying to steal their jobs, budgets, awards. (Bust: You put your job at risk the moment you become afraid you'll lose your job. It hinders your performance. Clients are moving the budgets. There are plenty of award categories that have been NEWLY created for newer media. When did they stop giving out awards for TV? MASS folk are not haters, they're just new at this web stuff. Stop thinking they're afraid of you, webbies!)
  6. Teams of 3 or more multi-disciplinary creative people won't get anything done and they can't meet deadlines. (Bust: The only reason they don't get anything done is because they're afraid to share ideas and lose the credit they oh so deserve because their egos are too big. Nothing to do with interactive folk vs. MASS folk. Same happens with two competitive teams who specialize in TV. Same happens when two competitive interactive teams work on interactive. Creative people are competitive. We have big egos and that is not a criticism. It's an observation, an elephant of a different colour. Look up the definition of the ego, it's the voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough and that you need to get credit for every little thing that comes out of your mouth because if you don't bad things will happen. Like....that OTHER guy will get the credit and lawdy forbid...the coveted AWARD.)
  7. Buying a web shop and making them sit in your office makes integration easier. (Bust: This is obvious. No it doesn't. Just because you get staff that knows web doesn't mean everyone will play nice. Or even know how to play nice. What are they supposed to do?)
  8. Integration means adding interactive to a MASS campaign. (Bust: Try this on for size: Force your team to come back with an idea that is born on and lives on the web and THEN after they sell that idea....only THEN can they come back with TV and print. I dare you to get your teams to do that from now on. By your team, I mean your whole team, including account folk. Keep telling people integration is about Flash on the web to extend a MASS thought and see how strong your results are. Back to the Easter bunny and the banner ad.)
  9. If you build it they will come. (Bust: Just because you say the team is integrated doesn't mean you'll get to hire that all-star. It's been a while. People are moving around. The secret is out that integration is not as easy as it seems.)
  10. Winning web awards when you didn't win them before means you're integrated. (Bust: What are your results? What is the purpose of the award? What did it do for the brand? There are 100+ questions I could ask here that makes this a MYTH of epic proportions.)

Is anybody seeing integration is a snake eating it's own tail?

Solution? If I had the answer, I'd be RICH. We can only try something else at this point but I'd start by asking people what they really think. Sure, I'm on the interactive side so I have my opinion but I have yet to meet someone who says integration has worked. Or is working. Ask anyone whose worked at an Agency that's integrated if they're really satisfied with what is happening around them. If they feel they're standing in a place they can identify.

Maybe changing the language is the place to start. Try calling it something else. Integration is not a good word because we've tainted it. Once you stop telling the world that you've got an integrated shop, you have a clean slate. Tabula rasa. You know....


Call it an existentialist shop, I don't know. Just try something else and let it come from THERE.