Thursday, April 30, 2009

Words I don't want to read in a Barry Diller interview: "Edited for length and clarity"

Still the USAToday interview is worth reading, only so you can crap your pants out of sheer dread: "You're going to pay for information that you want. And you're going to pay directly, which means there's going to be either micropayments or subscriptions. Advertising in the new world order can't support much of hour-long drama is not going to exist at the multimillion-dollar production level and not in the current distribution scheme. For everybody in that world, you talk about creative destruction. General entertainment is absolutely going to change for all of us."

By the way, I simply don't believe that Barry Diller ever has to be edited for clarity. Saltiness, maybe, but never, ever clarity.

"Oh no! He ANSWERS!"

A bad omen for Adam Lambert.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

So what exactly is this "different consumer mind-set" that JCPenney has discovered?

They've raised their 1st-quarter outlook: "'We are preparing ourselves for a different consumer mind-set,' [CEO] Ullman said, pointing to what he called a permanent shift in shopping habits."

So, in response, "J.C. Penney is focused on stocking exclusive and private Allen B., Bisou Bisou, nicole by Nicole Miller and Fabulosity by Kimora Lee Simmons." OK. I guess that'll lure traffic. Anything else? "Penney is also putting hard-to-find sizes of major brands in stores to ensure that it does not lose out on customers." What does that mean? Are petites and plus sizes now critical to recession-proof retailing? Kinda interesting.

And then, because I hate the DFW Airport, there's this: "Penney moved its annual analyst meeting from Plano, Texas, where it is based, to New York this year, citing the recession's impact on many firms' travel budgets." I wonder. Would that be the case if there were more nonstop flights to Love Field?

I spent all evening driving around looking for a bar that served Earth Day drink specials

Isn't that the key? You can eradicate snakes or defeat European armies but it's an association with alcoholic refreshment that really transforms your day into something important.

(I only bring this up as a way to point out that, although the Cinco de Mayo Dos Equis radio seems less fun than other Most Interesting Man in the World spots, the crucial question might actually be: would you date him?)

ADDED: I've rewritten that first paragraph twice now and it's still stupid. Sorry.

Who will be the first to post a "Leave Peter Arnell alone" YouTube video?

He's a human! You're lucky he even performed for you bastards! But maybe that's not needed, as the post-Tropicana debacle Newsweek profile already provides its own Chris Cocker: "'Peter is an artist—he's a genius,' says Steve Stoute, a former partner at Arnell's firm who now runs a rival branding firm."

It's clear Daniel Lyons has his own impressions: "But when you spend some time around him, you quickly realize that (a) he's extremely insecure, (b) he knows this mess has damaged him and (c) he wants to move past this as quickly as possible. That's probably why he agreed to let me spend two days following him around."

After the two days? "I have a plane to catch. Which is a good thing—if I stay much longer I fear that my head might explode. Either that or I'll burst out laughing. After I leave it occurs to me that the way to understand Peter Arnell is to think of everything he does as a kind of high-stakes performance art. Not just the commercials and advertisements, but everything—the meetings, the memos, the celebrity phone calls, the crazy brainstorming genius shtick."

Have we gotten to a point in advertising when the performance art -- the schtick -- is seen as outdated? Even dumb? Yes?

ADDED: I anxiously await the debut of Arnell's Peapod -- "With no air conditioning and a top speed of 25 miles per hour, the $12,500 Peapod is basically a fancy golf cart. Arnell hopes people will buy them for doing errands around town. He wants to call customers 'peaple.'" Oh! And did I tell you that it was 90 degrees yesterday?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Mountain Dew economy?

7-Eleven notices some new purchasing trends. We're buying more 18-packs of beer and "are trading expensive energy drinks and waters for Mountain Dew. The soft drink apparently provides the biggest buzz for a buck. It's moved up a couple of notches to the No. 3 soft drink at 7-Eleven."

If you watched ABC's A Hidden America" about Appalachia, you have to be worried.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Houstonians take their shopping seriously, their 'culture' with only moderate enthusiasm."

From the April 1952 Holiday magazine.

I only had a few minutes to change from my Battlestar Galactica officer uniform to my parrothead grass skirt

It helped that I was sober.

ADDED: Portraits from the SciFi Expo -- in case you're like me and didn't pay the extra $25 to meet the celebrities. And a review of the Jimmy Buffett concert, which I imagine is a very difficult thing to write -- what can you say? what can you add? -- but seems incomplete without a description of the RV lot. That's part of the show, isn't it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jacques Goudstikker's art collection or at least part of it

You can see the 200 works of art that remain but you have to wonder about the rest: "He left behind in his Amsterdam gallery about 1,400 artworks that the Nazis promptly grabbed."

And not that anyone asked but yes, I do miss Bloomberg TV's Muse. Terribly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Did any of the Idols follow Quentin Tarantino's advice?

I don't think so! Also: did you notice that, although Ryan Seacrest referred to Tarantino's new movie, he never mentioned the title?

I love the MLB Network

And I will marry it. Even Joe Magrane's crack on the Rangers' softball-like box scores -- "they should just put a keg in the dugout" -- made me laugh.

Although you know what I'd like to see more of? Old guys. Well, OK: Old guys who are not Tim McCarver or Peter Gammons. All the MLB prime-time studio fellows are like 45 or under and, while they're all interesting and fun to listen to, the passing of Harry Kalas makes me wish we could hear more from people like, say, Hal McCoy. Or even Vin Scully. Just a little. Just every now and then. They're gems.

Hard to imagine now

But Mark Fidrych became a sensation before SportsCenter could hype him and he didn't even need Chris Berman to give him a nickname.

How did Southwest become the airlines of the stars?

Weird, right?

They're going to demolish the best place to watch a hockey game

Reunion Arena will be gone by fall -- taken down in parts. No grand implosion? Can't this city do anything right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

"But the people on TV rarely seem to address something very basic: What's the point of tweeting?"

A few weeks ago, Slate's Mickey Kaus coined the term "Twitterola" and I began to think I was missing out on something. But now Slate's Farhad Manjoo says it's totally OK not to join so: whew. Although. Seth Godin is right: I am bored. Back to Manjoo: "The best Twitterers post a few times a day, but with care—like the best bloggers, they aim for comedy, insight, and drama and to share cool links. They also don't overload their followers. I've dropped people for tweeting too often; more than three times an hour seems excessive." Yeah. He's right. That's way too much pressure.

QVC jewelry designers keep popping up in the news and not in a good way

Their sales may be slipping but QVC is still one of the top five jewelry retailers and -- I think -- the top seller of 18K gold jewelry in the country. That always kinda amazes me. They're geniuses at moving both fake gems and the higher-priced stuff too.

So why are things getting so weird? One of their featured designers (from Texas! Yay! Oh! Maybe not.) was nearly taken in by a con man. Their Heidi Klum clover leaf jewelry looks way too much like a Van Cleef & Arpels collection. And Cartier is suing QVC over their Joan Rivers watch designs.

Maybe it's just bad luck.

"The crowd was staring in awe, kids were in tears, and everybody was unbelievably excited."

I'm trying to understand the appeal of Miley Cyrus. Is it that the dad is such a visible part of the story?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Radio buys as a sign of desperation?

Interesting. On the other hand, a spike in Home Depot spots might be tied to seasonal considerations like lawncare. You gotta time that pre-emergent stuff just right! Don't you?

Naw. I think he's on to something.

"I always intended to be in a profession where being written about was part of the territory."

Alex McCord, one of the Real Housewives of New York doesn't really care about all the criticism. It's "part of being in the public eye" -- at least part of being a cable reality show castmember, which in itself evidently constitutes "a profession."

I wouldn't have even noticed Alex's comment except I had just read this from A Field Guide To Narcissism: "Real-life narcissists, however, desperately need other people to validate their own worth. 'It's not so much being liked. It's much more important to be admired. Studies have shown narcissists are willing to sacrifice being liked if they think it's necessary to be admired,' says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee."

This really does explain so much about the people you see on TV every night. Bravo, news, gossip, CNBC, sports, all of them.

And now I'm trying to reconcile all that with yesterday's Grant McCracken post: "Tina Fey has this to say about Amy Poehler: Amy is funny because she doesn't care what you think, but she does want to make you laugh. It's a complicated and important combination." -- which doesn't sound like narcissism but is an interesting trade-off of likeability for a kind of success -- "Fey's observation is...a nice way to think about branding. The new brand is self confident in just this way. It's less agreeable, less eager to please, less unapologetically pleasant. The old brand was a bland brand. The new brand is Amy Poehler."

Have I mixed up a lot of unrelated things? Will someone start a marketing blog called "The new brand is Amy Poehler"? Or at least print t-shirts? And is this new brand a reflection of a new mindset? Is it only made possible by the fact that we're all becoming narcissists? (Well, you're all becoming narcissists. I'm completely OK.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hey maybe there'll be a rain delay so we can listen to Waite Hoyt

It's going to be cold and wet out there today so bundle up and check the batteries in your transistor radio. You don't want to miss all those stories.

Aw! It's 2009 isn't it? In that case, stay home, watch the games on TV and, during commercial breaks, re-read this line from Hoyt's Wikipedia page: "when he wasn't playing baseball he spent days working as a funeral director and nights appearing on vaudeville." And try to understand how we went from that to this: "After graduating from St. Louis Country Day School, Buck began his broadcasting career in 1989, while he was an undergraduate at Indiana University."

Oh, you national pastime!

Friday, April 03, 2009

What happened?

Today Manolo actually recommends cowboy boots. To wear "barelegged with the short black dress." For a woman who is in her forties.