Thursday, June 30, 2005

Locusts. Katy-dids. Cicadas. Psychosis.

Just get this noise out of my head. I beg of you.

I don't know a hedge fund from a hole in the ground

But I like watching business TV. So imagine my girlish excitement when I learned that Squawk Box was starting a blog. Y'all!

Now though, I am so not sure. Because unless they learn the importance of a) links or b) the occasional joke, I may have to tear down my David Faber TigerBeat posters.

Power to the people

Do-it-yourself viral marketing. Good luck.

Everywhere a sign

Grant McCracken's theories are interesting but perhaps they can be taken too far.

Dear. Lord.

First Star Jones. Now this.

It's kinda like Mariah Carey and JLo, only with computers

Not since Boba Fett costumes became easy to make at home has there been so much excitement in Silicon Valley. One chipmaker is suing another. And it could get fun. There are heated denials. Accusations of bribes. And the curious fact that AMD is using the suit to launch an ad campaign. Now that's imaginative.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Quote of the day

In honor of Shelby Foote: "Most people, if the truth be told, are gigantic bores. There's no need to subject yourself to that kind of thing."

And non-writers often produce the most interesting magazine articles

You know who's holding back the ad industry? MBAs and portfolio school grads, that's who. Hey, don't look at me. Jonah Bloom at AdAge said it.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Offensive language

Should a brand ever offend some consumers in order to endear itself to others? The Hegarty Trade-Off says maybe. It's probably a better idea than offending all consumers and endearing yourself to no one. Hate it when that happens.

The pictures got small, but the ads got big

Schadenfreude can be such an ugly emotion. So instead of laughing at Hollywood's spectacular box office decline, let's look at a golden new marketing opportunity: advertising in theaters. That's right. Fewer people are going to the movies but those who do show up evidently are a very desirable audience: younger, free-spending and totally captive. Let the 3-minute Fanta commercials begin!

UPDATE: Wow. Everybody -- everybody -- is hatin' on the theater ads. But here's what's interesting: movie-goers are trending young and those people, the target consumers -- who probably don't remember a time when movies weren't preceded by ads -- don't seem to mind. Me? I'm just hypnotized by the Fanta dancers. Hell yes I wanta Fanta!

Are we not men? We are confused.

According to a new Leo Burnett study, "half the men in most parts of the world don't know what is expected of them." Feel free to mine that for all the pop psychology and comic gold you can handle. Meanwhile marketers are eager to learn more. Because in a world where you can buy a John Deere home or Vogue for men, the possibilities seem endless.

"When I heard you could make $8,000, I said, 'Wow, that's big money in my country.'"

An American company gets a new sense of purpose thanks to their foreign-born door-to-door salesmen.

Friday, June 24, 2005

"Don't underestimate the power of the older consumer"

Apparently some people who buy stuff are older than the 18-34 demographic. I'm shocked too. But studios are discovering that, thanks to DVD sales among older consumers, a movie can earn twice its box office gross. Why are these people staying way from theaters yet buying the movies later? Some say it's the popularity of home entertainment systems. I thought of another good reason but the guy behind me kept talking and now I forget.

Gay paper, local network affiliate become life partners

No one watches public affairs programming because 1) it tends to be broadcast at the exact same hour you're sleeping off a hangover and 2) it's boring. A Nashville station is trying to change that with a new program co-developed with a gay newspaper. It's called "Out & About Today" but it's not really all that out: the show will be broadcast on the affiliate's cable outlet.

Good boy!

Sometimes a marketer will do something so shockingly sensible, you just have to stop down and recognize. Like this: Procter & Gamble has chosen Wieden + Kennedy to handle the Eukanuba pet food account. And congratulations to Dan Wieden for a press release quote that's actually worth pondering: "'What is critical is not what P&G and Wieden have in common, but what we absolutely do not have in common....It is our differences that will push both sides to develop a better model suited for the times ahead.'" Well said.

Quote of the day

Via Adrants: "Nike is a giant corporation which is attempting to manipulate the alternative skate culture to create an even wider demand for their already ubiquitous brand."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pro and Cannes

AdAge has the best awards coverage. Just two quick thoughts:

1) Interesting that Oprah's Pontiac giveway won a Media Lion. Did the judges miss the part where audience members discovered their cars would be taxed as income?

2) Best feel-good story: "P&G picked up its Grand Prix for the launch of Biomat laundry detergent in Israel, aided by two insights...15% of Israel's population are conservative Jews who don’t watch TV, and everyone loves a mitzvah, or good deed. Armed with those insights, MediaCom, part of WPP Group, planned a newspaper, magazine and outdoor campaign encouraging people to donate old clothes, which were washed using Biomat in mobile washing machines taken around local communities on the back of trucks....Biomat grabbed a 40% market share in Israel."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Breakfast makes kids smarter. Except when it doesn't.

No one likes to yank our chain more than scientists. It must be their revenge for not having a date at prom. Example: new studies indicate that kids get better test scores when they eat breakfast while other new studies say the real determining factor may be sleep.

Sleep? That's it? Can't be. Because if it's just a matter of letting kids get a little more shut-eye each morning, who can make money off of that?

The 30-second employee handbook

You know you're a good copywriter when your advertising tagline doubles as a personnel department guideline.

"Adios, mofo"

Governor Perry doesn't know the cameras are still on and gives his opponent the perfect slogan.

That's the ticket!

Math is hard. Luckily there are smart people who can look at numbers and see that fewer and fewer people read newspapers or leave their homes to watch movies. So here's how movie studios plan to pump up attendance: advertise in newspapers. You can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Game off

ESPN has announced that they're just, you know, tired of that whole sports thing. Instead they want to begin developing more scripted programming. Sounds reasonable. Original movies and series may attract a wider, more diverse audience. It's programming that ESPN would own outright and could re-purpose through ABC and Disney partners or sell on DVD. And it would prepare ESPN for the next wave of viewers: teens who really love sports computer games but actual sports broadcasts? Not so much.

Of course, ESPN could be pulling our shin-guarded leg. They're currently in negotiations with the NHL and Major League Baseball so this may all be a sort of message to the leagues that ESPN won't pay huge licensing fees. Especially to leagues with no games.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Basic rules for trendspotters

Pantone's color director explains how she predicts color trends. Sometimes it means tracking "lifestyles and socioeconomic influences" and other times, it's simply common sense: "You wouldn't want to put anything red in bathwater products."

Fame leads to cooler shoes, better stem-cells

Proving that columns are just excuses to do things normal people can't, CNN's Gordon Anderson visits the Nike iD store. Never been there? That's the point: "you shop by appointment only, and must be invited to make that appointment....a bouncer is there to shoo away the inquisitive. If you're not a celebrity, the only way to get behind those well-guarded doors is to win a lottery." Anderson claims to be writing about mass customization but in fact he's describing how a marketer creates value by keeping the masses away. Only Anderson doesn't seem to realize it.

But maybe the real mark of celebrity is getting admitted to a European stem-cell clinic. "Roy Horn has entered a clinic in Germany noted for stem cell research....the clientele list includes royal families and international celebrities." That would explain a lot.

Dr. Quinn is ready for her examination

54-year old actress Jane Seymour decides that now would be a good time to do a nude scene. Did Diane Keaton start this trend? Can we stop it? Now? I'm not ready for post-menoporn.

One medium explores the demise of another

Article or prayer? USAToday asks if TV is dead. Cameo appearance by Faith Popcorn.

Friday, June 17, 2005

And a boatload of puking passengers can't stop them

The Norwalk virus? Hurricane season? Product placement deals that turn violent? No worries! Business is still good at Carnival Cruises.

Warhol never mentioned this part

Does your 15 minutes always have to include an endorsement? CaffeineGoddess looks at celebrities in commercials. Once, Virginia Postrel suggested that the use of celebrities might in fact be a sign of CEO self-indulgence and I was so shocked, I had to hum quietly along with my U2 iPod just to calm down.

And while we're on the subject: if a celebrity stars in your commercial then goes on to break the law, should your business be held liable? That's sorta what NASDAQ's looking at today after having featured WorldCom in their advertising. Guess that's the end of Bernie Ebbers' endorsement career.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Your mother would be so proud

Too bad she'll never see it.

A direct question

Some people consider direct marketing -- with its "call now" TV spots and credit card offer letters -- to be the granny underwear in the lingerie drawer of marketing. Practical, sometimes necessary but hardly something to show off. Is that changing? Y&R's Irvine office just hired a former direct copy writer to be their Executive Creative Director. The agency's managing partner says this is a sign "that the shop takes integration seriously. 'When clients tell us their deepest, darkest fears, we won't just say, "Let's make an ad and build a Web site,"' he said." No sir. Now they'll make an ad and build a Web site then get their intern to do a direct mail piece. Oh! I kid!

This may be a hopeful step. Because in a world where clients want more measurable results, there may one day be almost no separation between traditional direct and traditional branding. And all advertising will be sexier because of it.

I don't think they're talking about Grand Theft Auto

Computer games are being used to rejuvenate brain activity in seniors. I'm so going to need this.

Hint: nutraceuticals are neither nutritious nor pharmaceutical

You know Bob. You may hate Bob. But Bob's commercials for Enzyte "natural male enhancement" are well-executed, less offensive than Levitra spots and totally, mind-bendingly fraudulent. Now six states have sued Enzyte maker Berkley Premium Nutraceuticals who also markets supplements to make you thin or turn women into horndogs.

About time. Berkley isn't subject to FDA regulations. And surprisingly, pharmaceutical companies seemed not to care about Berkley, who was raking in $250 million in yearly revenues while making the whole drug category look dishonest. What finally tripped Berkley up? They lied about free samples, which were actually "a program involving continuing monthly shipments of product and billing of customers' credit cards." Oops.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Is it art?

Or just a new way to annoy people?

How to kick a drug problem

Bristol-Myers has announced a self-imposed ban on advertising new drug brands in their first year of availability. Well, actually, they've only banned advertising to consumers. All kinds of ads, sales calls and oh, the odd promotional cruise invitation will now rain down upon your doctor. It's not a ban so much as a change in strategy.

And a good PR move. The NYTimes report contains this detail: Bristol-Myers "has been working to improve its image in the wake of investigations of its accounting practices by the Justice Department." So maybe not surprisingly Bristol-Myers' real goal is to avoid FDA warnings and government interference for awhile. They just happen to be smart enough to look good while doing it.

Best quarter for Best Buy

When Best Buy isn't harrassing valuable customers -- or outright arresting them for no reason -- they do manage to sell a TV or two. Quarterly sales are up and new store-within-a store concepts will proliferate. What ARE the special electronic needs of "suburban housewives?" Wait. Don't answer that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Quote of the day

From a funny little story, this: "embrace failure, resist change. We rule."

Yeah we totally didn't expect you to be condescending or anything

Slate looks at Wal-Mart's plans to go upscale and predictably treats the retailer like a total country dumbfuck. That's a shame because when you get past all the jokes, there are interesting issues here. Like is Wal-Mart's own CEO holding them back?

Or is Wal-Mart simply trying to upsell current shoppers? Hey, come in for diapers, stay for the organic vegetables. Target's success and Wal-Mart's own slumping sales indicate that shoppers like innovation. In which case, Wal-Mart may be adopting the Procter & Gamble strategy: "innovation must be designed to constantly 'up-scale"'consumer preferences....Selling clean and cavity-free teeth isn't as profitable as selling whiter teeth....This upscaling of consumer tastes can't be limited to just the most-affluent consumers." This is what gives P&G the nerve to sell an Olay face cream for $17.99.

So what's true for mass brands -- innovation is the only thing that sells -- could be true for mass retailers too. Maybe it's not such a stretch. If 7-Eleven can sell gourmet coffee or McDonalds can serve salads -- hell, if Michael Jackson can stop sleeping with little boys -- anything's possible. Even if people would rather make jokes about you.

A Vogue don't

Patent infringement, even if it yields $60 million in ad revenues, is never a good look.

I offer you a laurel and hardy handshake

Congratulations to all MarketingSherpa winners, especially to the great Seth Godin and Adrants, who dominated the Individual Blog category. Thanks also to MarketingSherpa. I found so many great blogs because of their competition and was so impressed with the whole thing, I'm not even going to call out Lee Clow for lack of support.

Someone's not coping well with change

Nielsen's Local People Meters have yielded such erratic and unsatisfying results that broadcasters now want them to be regulated by the government. Yeah, those are the same broadcasters who complain about government regulations in the form of FCC crackdowns. Hypocrisy must be the new black.

Here's an option. It's called competition: Clear Channel wants a challenger to Arbitron and small-market TV stations have dumped Nielsen altogether.

The company blog

Realizing they can't fire everybody, corporations come to grips with employee blogs. Even if USAToday is scared, it may be OK. If only for what big companies have come to learn: "companies must accept that they can no longer control all the information within their organization." And this: "'We're beyond the point where companies can allow or disallow employees to blog about job-related matters,'" so why not define what's fair with company guidelines?

Best part: "Sun's guidelines tell bloggers to 'be interesting.'"

Monday, June 13, 2005

You knew about this already, didn't you?

A site devoted to proving just how cool you are because you know about stuff first.

I'm speechless. Well, except for what I'm about to say here.

Krishnan Menon describes a truly unethical request from a potential client in the midst of a pitch. Worse than Hilton Hotels' hinky little waiver. If you can believe it.

Oh, eff the Effies

In a move that may throw her future as a public speaker straight down the toilet, Cheryl Berman used her keynote address at the Effies ad awards to criticize colleagues. Really well-known colleagues. The "Leo Burnett USA chairman and chief creative officer, kicked off last week’s Effies Award ceremony with...a complaint that the industry’s prominent creative figures -- TBWA/Chiat/Day's chairman and chief creative officer, Lee Clow, among them -- did not support the awards show" because its focus is on results instead of creative excellence. Berman claims she's trying to boost the Effies' creative quality. To prove it, she tosses out another insult, this time at the judges panel: "'Some of the work that it rewards is not very good.'" Maybe Berman should keep talkin'. Rate she's going, she just might humiliate the Effies right out of existence.

P&G to consumers: fast forward this

Procter & Gamble knows how to spoil everyone's Monday morning. Rumor is that they're buying 5% less ad time on networks in the fall and 25% less on cable. Their new strategy? Product placement. Just think of the plot possibilities when Desperate Housewives meet Mr. Clean.

Help! Help! We're being oppressed!

Copyright law and content debates make my eyes glaze over. But this gets my attention: "'we’ll soon see personal video recorders that automatically delete recorded shows after a certain amount of time at the copyright holders’ behest.'"

NitroMed plays that card

Should a drug be approved as a heart treatment just for one race? Or, to put it in less sensationalist terms, should a drug company be rewarded for finding a creative way to protect their patent, cut testing corners and get a once-rejected product back in front of the FDA? Tough question. Because the real point of this story is that there are drugs out there that pharma companies don't want to invest in yet may be capable of doing much good.

One thing seems certain: NitroMed, having exploited race issues to get the drug reconsidered, will drop all talk of race once it's approved and for sale. Profits tend to roll in faster when your market expands beyond 12% of the population.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

News from abroad

Based on college test scores, Prince William is "the brainiest member of the Royal Family." Would you say the bar was somewhat low on that one?

A joke maybe 2 people will get

Have I ever told you about my theory that Maurice Chevalier, famed French entertainer, never really died? That's right, he's alive. And he's still on TV. My proof is here and here.

Mark Cuban to world: "Where's the love?"

He drives a nice car and he's president of the Dallas AV Club but still Mark Cuban is not popular with those NYTimes kids: "On his blog, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, uses the personal pronoun 'I,' in one random sample, 92 times in 9 entries over a month." Cuban's latest idea is to place advertising on NBA player uniforms. After rolling their eyes and making a face at the suggestion, the Times then quotes a fan: "'I am sick and tired of advertising,' Peter Wallroth writes. '...If my sports teams start becoming advertisements I am going to have to really consider not watching them anymore.'"

This will surely be a blow, following the massive fan exodus after players started getting shoe deals and arenas started selling naming rights. Why, hardly anyone follows the sport anymore. Pete: get worked up about something else.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nielsen = Emily Litella

Is Nielsen making it up as they go along? When the ratings researcher introduced their Local People Meters, the first results sent advertisers into full Defcon 1 panic. Young men weren't watching TV! Minorities weren't being counted! But now? With more LPMs in more markets, Nielsen changes their mind and claims everyone is watching more TV. Maybe so. Maybe TV programming got better all of a sudden. Maybe I really am a panty princess.

Katie vs. Diane, the undercard

The really interesting news in the Morning Show War is that CBS isn't third. They've been lapped by Fox & Friends. A cable show. Good luck, O'Briens!

Before Watergate? Waterfront.

The movie On The Waterfront was in fact based on a 1940s newspaper series exposing union corruption in New York City. Now those articles have been compiled in a brand new book. OK look, this is all just an excuse for me to say that the best scene in On the Waterfront is not Brando's "contender" soliloquy but Karl Maldon's shipyard eulogy. Macho! In a priestly sort of way.

A different kind of writer's block

Fortune cookie writer says "the inspiration is gone."

Spitzer swings and misses

From the NYTimes: "A former broker with the Bank of America Corporation was acquitted yesterday of 29 counts tied to improper trading in mutual funds, the first major legal defeat for the New York State attorney general, Eliot Spitzer." 29? And he couldn't get a conviction? I guess it's hard to concentrate on an actual trial when you got a campaign to run.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Maybe I'm easily impressed

But this is a really funny promo idea.

This kinda thing could give lawyers a bad image

I dunno. Instead of getting a lawyer to blast over an intimidating letter, I woulda given the blogger a steamy second photo and even a gossipy tidbit or two. Just for the shameless self-promotion of it all. Then again, there's probably a contractual stipulation against that.

Oh. I was looking for actionable advice.

The secret to good writing is of course having a provocative subtitle. "Why Ad Agencies Are Viewed as Laborers Rather Than Architects" certainly qualifiies. The rest of the AdAge article is fairly good too. But advice like this can seem insulting: "Building a great strategy begins with an understanding of customer needs. And too often execution [of a campaign] panders to internal audiences versus a strategic insight about the end-user." Well yeah. And when you come up with the perfect way to make a self-focused client realize his creative brief is, well, self-focused, I'll be all ears.

NotBillable reader: "Scoreboard!"

The other day I made gentle, lighthearted fun of an article about web advertising, which led a reader to comment, "most senior marketing managers...still believe that TV advertising is measurable and online is just for geeks." Today that commenter has been proven right. A new poll reveals marketers don't fully get their online advertising programs. Don't know how things are measured. Might not trust the results.

Readers, I bow in your general direction.

Gives new meaning to the term "handheld"

Gotta love Sony. They're making porn part of their business plan for the PlayStation Portable. "Two Japanese publishers of adult DVD video have announced plans to release a selection of their top titles on Sony's Universal Media Disc, or UMD, format, which is currently supported exclusively by the PSP....The eight video discs will be officially licensed by Sony." The goal is to make UMD and PSP the new standard. But Sony does have some sense. Their porn titles won't be sold here in order to "maintain a family-friendly image worldwide." Good idea.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Media planners eat at better restaurants than you do

And they get to see new TV shows way before you too. So what do they like for next fall? In a MediaLife poll, "'Everybody Hates Chris' was their pick for most promising new comedy. It received 48.5 percent of the vote, followed by CBS’s 'How I Met Your Mother' at 17.8 percent, NBC’s 'My Name is Earl' at 14.8 percent, and ABC’s 'Hot Properties' at 9.5 percent."

But the real news? Agency media planners want NBC president Jeff Zucker to get the ax. Hard. Which might make certain NBC staffers very happy indeed.

The difference between me and smart people

Me: "Look! A disposable camcorder. Something to take on vacation. Fun!"

Smart people: "Look! Something to crack open, hack into and transform into the cheapest reusable gadget ever. Fun!"

I can make it anywhere

More and more New York ad execs are taking jobs in, gasp, the South.

Gaping maw of hell opens, gets rave reviews

Maybe I'm not surprised. Hit Me Baby One More Time "was the week's most-watched show among coveted 18-to-49-year-old viewers." But I am ashamed.

It's a trick!

Oakland, California is putting photos of its citizens on billboards. But it's not exactly an honor.

With a song in my heart

Slate explores very bad ad songs.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Is she really going to defend junk food?

We all think schools should serve healthier foods, but are we prepared for the consequences? From the Dallas Morning News: "Dallas school district leaders decided to rid the school of all snacks, including candy bars....and lost nearly $2 million." Oh sure. A couple million may not mean much to you, but when your state politicians can't figure out school financing, it matters.

What no one talks about is how snacks help schools 1) by producing revenue that allows a cafeteria operation to pay for itself and 2) by maintaining meal purchases which in turn helps schools maintain federally subsidized meal programs. So is it fair to hold schools responsible for health issues and at the same time, deprive them of a key source of operating funds? Is it really wise to ban snacks outright? Maybe the best use of time and energy would be to pressure snack makers to offer more baked or low sodium varieties.

In the meantime, this special blend of nutritional advocacy and financial wizardry is coming to New Jersey. So watch out. Especially if you got milk.

Quote of the day

In honor of the great actress and true beauty, Anne Bancroft, this: "It's less trouble to feel sorry for her than it is to teach her anything better."

We know what you want

Just when you think you've matured into an eclectic bon vivant with complicated, unpredictable tastes, some techno geek has to go and ruin it. Retailers are now working on a formula for predicting musical tastes. So they can sell you more.

Customers who bought this theory also bought the new British formula for rating successful sitcoms. But maybe that's easier: "characters are witty, have different social status - and...they fall over a lot."

Why oh why?

If you write an article about the growth of online ads, you may need to gloss it up with talk of broadband connections and audience fragmentation. I get that. But why wouldn't you -- ever, at any point -- mention that marketers embrace online advertising because unlike television, newspapers or radio, it's measurable? Seems like that might be important.

Monday, June 06, 2005

News from the animal kingdom

Girl dolphins learn the meaning of "sponge-worthy."

Virginia on variety

In an article I couldn't decide whether I should read or not, Virginia Postrel wonders if American consumers have too much choice.

Stray thought: when social observers fret that we all have too much to choose from, what they're really saying is they don't like the choices you and I have made. And they think they know better.

No more hittin' the bottle

On the bright side, it may drive sales of crystal decanters.


I can't keep up. By today's standards, is it OK to be referred to as a "panty princess" in a New York newspaper? And if so, is it equally OK for your husband to call himself "an 'Uptown It Boy?'"

iPods are not forever

Of course you'll grieve when your iPod dies. But buck up. Because now you can take it to an Apple store for eco-safe recycling. There now. Doesn't that make everything better?

What's happened to the theater?

Snapple funds a theater center on Broadway -- and puts their name on it -- leading one observer to sob, "'It's sad to see Broadway becoming part of the marketing machinery.'"

Well, without exploiting marketing machinery, there may be no Broadway except for revivals and recycled hit movies. What? Oh. Never mind.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Seth Godin channels Steve Martin

And in the midst of his very own rental-car counter meltdown gives a name to what we all bump up against everyday: the "We Don't Care, We Don't Have To" economy. You don't have to travel to know what he means. But maybe there's hope. Stuff like this and this can, on rare occasions, force companies to realize they do have to care. A little. Maybe. I dunno.

Friday, June 03, 2005

That's heavy

LATimes examines and seems put out that the site might be trying to sell us stuff. Really? It's not just a service to their fellow man? Gosh.

Still. It's hard to hate anyone who prefaces ads with the threat that "It's either this or we panhandle in front of your house."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm repulsed yet I cannot turn away

Right this very minute, I'm peering into the gaping maw of hell and this is what I see.

Quote of the day

From a close-up look at Dallas: "'This is old-time corruption.'"

So. How'd that new campaign do?

Ft. Worth's Pier 1 continues to fishtail down the earnings highway. After last quarter's disaster, they thought a celeb-free new ad campaign could set things right. It didn't. And it's not like they're in a category that's suffering. Sometimes analysts put it best: "'younger customers are moving over to discounters.... I have yet to figure out where this company's growth is going to come from.'"

But Warren Buffett still likes 'em so there's that.

What ad people worry about

1) if length matters and 2) if deodorants really get you laid. Then again, maybe I didn't read it all closely enough.

Racing for dollars

Go ahead. Make all the jokes you want, but there's going to be a NASCAR Hall of Fame and it's going to be big business for the city that gets it. Estimates are "at least 500,000 NASCAR fans" would flock to it in the first year alone. Even if it will be designed by I.M. Pei.

I.M. Pei? Too bad.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


When Jib Jab produced a viral for Budweiser, it upset some fans. Can you think of anything funnier than that? Like Jib Jab is Coldplay. If a ringtone can top the music charts, can we all agree that accusing someone of selling out is somewhat anachronistic? And weak.

Unless you're talking about Lisa Marie, who might want, for the sake of Karma at least, to stop pimping out her poor dead daddy.

Jim Keyes likes it quick and clean

Here's what 7-Eleven CEO Jim Keyes has to say about competitors Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and McDonalds: "'We actually like the work that [they] have done in elevating the perception of portable fast food and drink for the consumer.'" He's good. In the cleverest way possible, he's admitting that 7-Eleven didn't care about perception until Starbucks came along. But then he gets a little nouveau riche and starts looking down on where he's just come from. Mom-and-pop shops, says Keyes, need "'to uplift the image of convenience...sometimes [consumers] walk into a mom-and-pop and they think they are in a 7-Eleven, but they are really not.'"

So you there with the burglar bars and hand-lettered signs? Quit bringing down the category.

A hard check

Help me out with this. ESPN has opted not to pick up NHL games for a third year. More accurately, they're opting not to continue paying $60 million in rights fees. But the NHL won't back off its price. According to one league official, "'We have no interest in further devaluing the product.'" Since this is a sport that just cancelled one season due to a strike and can't guarantee a labor settlement before the next, what product is he talking about?