Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Friday, September 29, 2006

RFID: PRISM Retail Tracking

An electronic system that tracks shoppers' movements instore and correlates them with sales data could have a profound effect on marketing, claims number one US retailer Wal-Mart Stores.

The Prism system, unveiled this week in Chicago, promises the first scientific metric for the effectiveness of instore sales tools, such as shelf location and promotional displays.

Its sponsors believe it could boost the importance of such marketing while the industry assesses the impact of the internet on TV and magazine advertising.

Comments Wal-Mart's svp of marketing Stephen Quinn: "I do think a lot of marketing resources are up for grabs."

The system has been developed over the last year by a consortium of retailers and major manufacturers, including Procter & Gamble and the Coca-Cola Company.

Says P&G global marketing officer Jim Stengel: "This is huge for our industry. The store is the moment of truth. We will now be able to measure consumer 'reach' with far better accuracy."

Laura Desmond, ceo for the Americas at Starcom MediaVest calls Prism a "game changing" move to target consumers based on shopping habits rather than demographics.

The system has been tested in ten US stores during a month-long trial. The consortium now wants to recruit more participants.

via WARC

Wikipedia RFID.RFID You

Unbanked: Traditional Banks Take Notice

"A first-of-its-kind initiative has launched in San Francisco, encouraging residents who normally rely on expensive check cashers to open a bank account.

San Francisco Mayer Gavin Newsom and Treasurer Jose Cisneros unveiled Thursday “Bank on San Francisco,” with the hope that in the next two years 10,000 of the city’s 50,000 unbanked – roughly 15% of all households – will have a checking or savings account.

About a dozen participating banks and credit unions, including Ba
nk of America, Bank of the West, Citibank, and Washington Mutual, have agreed to offer low-income families new products and services to bring them into the banking system.

Bank on San Francisco is run in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and local nonprofit Earned Assets Resource Network (EARN).

via banknet360

AV: Aki has posted several articles on Unbanked consumers and the trends around them. Perhaps this is an initial step for the traditional banking industry in seeing the possibilites in the unbanked market. According to estimates from the National Community Investment Fund, the check-cashing industry processes 180 million checks per year, with a face value of nearly $55 billion. Now there's a number that'll make a banker take notice.

The Contiuned Expansion of Facebook

"Facebook will reveal a new ad unit in coming weeks that will appear within the social networking site's recently launched, and controversial, News Feed feature, a self-updating list of alerts indicating when a user's "friends" make changes to their pages."

"The new ad unit, called Sponsored Stories, will occupy the third position within a News Feed, either as a small banner-like placement or as a video clip, writes MediaWeek (via MediaBuyerPlanner). When users click on the ad, the user's entire network of friends is alerted, and they can then interact with the ad. According to Facebook, the ad will allow advertisers to harness the site's social-networking dynamic and leverage social-networking behavior."

via marketingvox

AV: Facebook is making some interesting moves as of late. Founder Mark Zuckerberg is trying to grow the business and expand beyond its college-only roots and open the site up to all users. That, combined with new even more stalker-friendly features led to furious protests from students, leading to the creation of half-million member facebook groups protesting the recent developments.

Understandably Zuckerberg is seeking to grow his business and potentially sell it off, but why risk turning a somewhat differentiated social networking site into just another myspace? What separates Facebook is its semi-exclusivity, and these new moves all but eliminate that. In fact, that was one of the reasons I liked Facebook and haven't gotten on any of the other sites, theres a certain feel of uniqueness to the site that myspace and the others just don't have. Now I'm not so sure...

Although, I suppose at the end of the day, $1 billion buyout would be really hard to pass up, regardless of what the result on your site is...

Long Tail: According to Calvin & Hobbes

I love to skip the academics...

via The Long Tail

Wikipedia Long Tail, Amazon, So Many Choices...

The "Second Life" of Leo Burnett

"Advertising creatives looking for a new opportunity in virtual world can now apply for a position at Leo Burnett's online agency in Second Life. Brandrepublic reports Leo Ideas Hub is a new "virtual" department which will connect over 1.600 creatives worldwide who will be able to interact and showcase their work within Second Life."

AV: I would say given Burnett has fallen on some hard times recently, such as the loss of Cadillac after a 71 year relationship, and being cut from a potentially business changing account in the Wal-Mart review, "Second Life" is a pretty accurate descriptor. Maybe a bold move in new territory can help breathe some life back into a storied agency. Second Life seems to be getting big and is definitely a novel and intriguing idea, I wish I had the time to devote to exploring it more. Large firms and businesses are starting to take notice, will be interesting to see where this goes...

via adverblog

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mass Interactive: AirForce Aborts MySpace Mission

The Air Force has taken down its profile on MySpace because of "concerns about associating the service with content that it deems inappropriate" (Air Force Times) . An official quote: "The danger with MySpace is we got to the point where we weren’t real comfortable with the potential for inappropriate content to be posted [on the page of] a friend of a friend."

The Marines (as you'd expect) haven't given up the hill yet.

Citizen Journalism: "i Report for CNN"

I'm still laughing from a segment on The DailyShow last night. Unfortunately I can't seem to find it posted anywhere illegally, so you'll have to navigate Comedy Central's site to see it.

Basically, CNN has launched iReport, a place where regular peeps can send "news" in the form of video, pics, or audio to them. And if your story airs? You get to tell your friends, "I report for CNN!" I'll let Jon Stewart tell you the rest...

Here's the path:
Start here on DailyShow's homepage.
Click on Videos: Daily Show: Headline Pt. 1. (this is a segment on the Magazine industry. funny, but not why you're here.)
On the lower right, Click on "Daily Show: Headline Pt. 2." (this is what you're here to watch.)

Photo taken by Jeff Melacon, who can now say he reports for CNN. In truth, I'm not hating on the idea—getting a more human perspective (without having to go find it) is great. Nor do I think people won't want their stories aired on CNN, just that they may be flooded with inappropriate clips. I just find the way they describe the payoff amusing...and more amusing with Jon's help.

Conscious Consumption: Campbell's Pink

The Kroger Co. is launching a new pink tag campaign in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness next month, with a goal of raising $3 million toward breast cancer research.

Starting Oct. 1, the grocery chain will display pink tags on select products in stores nationwide. Each time customers buy a pink-tagged item during the campaign, they will help support breast cancer research and awareness. Participating products include Kellogg's Eggo, Keebler and Sunshine items, Coca-Cola's Powerade and Minute Maid brands and Breyers, Ragu and Wishbone products under the Unilever umbrella. Kroger's Private Selections items will also carry pink tags, the company said.

In addition, Kroger stores will carry limited-edition Campbell's soups featuring pink and white labels with a pink ribbon. This marks the first time the Campbell Soup Co. will replace its traditional red and white labels to support breast cancer awareness. Nearly 7 million special edition cans will be available in two flavors—chicken noodle and tomato—in Kroger stores starting Oct. 1. Campbell will make a donation to benefit breast cancer awareness initiatives nationwide.

Other retailers will launch promotions tied to breast cancer awareness. Panera Bread is serving up pink ribbon-shaped bagels in its cafes during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Starting in October, Panera will donate a portion of the proceeds from each pink ribbon bagel sold to a variety of breast cancer causes, including the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation.

via Promo

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Politics 2.0: Minneapolis: Culture and Convention Politics

It was just announced that Minneapolis-St. Paul will host the G.O.P. Convention Sept. 1-4 2008. Until today, it had also been one of three cities contending for the Democratic Convention to be held the preceding week. I'm interested to see how hosting a convention of this scale will impact the city. Current press coverage cites the usual heightened media attention and economic benefits as attendees descend on the city seeking entertainment (and perhaps cheese curds given the convention's coincidence with the Great Minnesota Get Together). But what really interests me is how this new political catalyst will drive national perception of the Twin Cities brand?

Minneapolis has received increased attention in national travel press in the past year due to a number of new architectural openings: Jean Nouvel's Guthrie, Cesar Pelli's Minneapolis Public Library, and Michael Graves' addition to the Minneapolis Institute of Art over the summer alone. And let's not forget the 2005 Herzog & de Meuron Walker Art Center addition, the upcoming Shubert Performing Arts Center, the new MacPhail Center for Music building - we've even built a Chambers Hotel.

Repositioned as a (relatively) diverse cultural hotbed, how will the Twin Cities brand incorporate and respond to the convention's influence over the next two years? Only time will tell.

Until then, I'm off to camp out by the Excel Center in hopes of appearing in the Daily Show's 2008 election coverage. Look for me on YouTube.

(photo credit: Sharkey M. on Flickr)


Isn't it great that we can print our own individual messages on our candy (M&Ms)! Just think of the effects as these messages filter through our bodies. Can it change our thoughts or does that only happen with water?*

*Dr. Masaru Emoto ( is an internationally renowned researcher who has gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness. His message is simple, profound, and far-reaching. His photographs can be seen in Messages from Water Vols. I, II, and III (over one million sold internationally in twenty languages) and in The Hidden Messages in Water (over 500,000 copies in print in eleven languages), The True Power of Water, and The Secret Life of Water.

Mass Interactive: Eons, a 'MySpace' for the boomer set

Eons, a 'MySpace' for the boomer set.

Quickie Facts:

"Our goal is to be the center of gravity on the Web for adults 50-plus," says Linda Natansohn, senior vice president for strategic development at the firm, a Charlestown, Mass., offshoot of job-board giant

300,000 others in recent weeks have logged on

2 million page views to date — more than 800 affinity groups, with interests that include gardening, digital photography, and anti-quing, have already been formed.

Five partner corporations — including Hyatt, Liberty Mutual, and Verizon — back Eons and serve as information providers.

Many of the site's features generated in-house and with no intent other than to enrich.

A feature called cRANKy is "the first age-relevant search engine". When its research showed that senior users were frustrated by enormous, largely irrelevant yields found by major engines, Eons built in a vetting process that pulls down top sites based in part on its own editors' reviews and previous users' ratings.

"[Eons] is purpose-driven, vs. a lot of the younger sites," says Natansohn. "It's a good place to hang out, but at Eons we've got lots of important things we want people to come and do."

Eons will pursue growth by taking a role far beyond that of basic sites built around communities of interest — it has set out to be a master aggregator of senior-specific tools and services.

*But one good question stands: "Is being over 50 years old a strong enough affinity? I'm not so sure," says Howard Rheingold, a writer and well-regarded expert on the social implications of communications technology.

A recent study by Jupiter Research found older users to be the group least interested in online social networking, says Corina Matiesanu, a senior analyst there.

Still, Ms. Matiesanu says, 20% of nearly 900 respondents ages 55 and older were open to the function. And Jupiter estimates that 62.4 million over-50 adults will be online by 2010.

"The fastest growing group for Internet dating is older people," Gloria Steinem tells The New York Times.

"There's a strong bias that we have toward interacting with people who are demographically and physically similar to ourselves," says David Krackhardt, a professor of organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School and a leading expert on social networks. Age, he says, "is one of the strongest, most persistent predictors of how networks form."

via USA Today and Christian Science Monitor

Bankrupt!: Unbanked: Payday Lending to Military

We've noted before about the exploding Payday Lending industry which reaped $10 billion in sales in 2000 to $40 billion, including $6 billion in interest rates and fees, in 2003.

A Defense Department report issued last month found that as many as one in five (20%) U.S. service members “are being preyed on by loan centers set up near military bases,” which can charge annual interest rates of 400 percent or more. Increasingly, soldiers have debt levels so high they are barred from serving overseas; others suffer from “bankruptcies, divorces and ruined careers” due to the strain and stress of debt. The Pentagon has joined consumer, military, and veterans groups in backing a bipartisan amendment that places a cap of 36 percent on high interest rates for short-term payday loans to military members.

Payday lenders offer high-cost, short-term loans marketed as cash advances on the borrower’s next paycheck to cover an "emergency need." Lenders charge roughly $15 to $25 per $100 loan for two weeks, and most loans are extended for several weeks because the borrower is unable to pay back the original loan amount. The average loan "is $350 and has an annual interest rate of 390 percent to 780 percent," meaning the average borrower "pays back $834 for a $339 loan." Between 13 percent and 19 percent of U.S. servicemembers -- roughly 175,000 people -- took out such loans last year. "Because of the high-risk terms, borrowers often get caught in a vicious cycle of chronic debt. When they cannot afford to pay back the fees plus the principal at the end of the two week period, borrowers are forced to pay another high fee to roll over the loan for an additional two weeks or take out another loan to pay off the first loan, thereby getting trapped in a costly and often devastating cycle of 'back-to-back' loans."

Payday lenders systematically target military families, who are an ideal demographic for payday lenders because they usually have a steady government paycheck with little to spare at an average of $1,200 a month for new recruits. A 2005 report found that in 19 of 20 states studied, payday lenders were "located in counties and ZIP codes adjacent to military bases in significantly greater numbers and densities than other areas."

The Pentagon states that payday lending "undermines military readiness, harms the morale of troops and their families, and adds to the cost of fielding an all volunteer fighting force," problems already exacerbated by the war in Iraq. Debt can distract service members from their duties or cause them to become security risks open to compromise. The Navy and Marine Corps denied security clearance to about 2,000 service members nationwide last year because of concerns that their indebtedness could compromise key operations. The Pentagon report outlines current efforts to combat abusive practices through education and credit counseling for service members, but also acknowledges that education is only part of the solution.

NBC's Martin Savidge reports .

via Center for American Progress and MSNBC

fight dirty?

I swear - the voiceover for the new(?) Dirt Devil spot sounds like "talk dirty." I'm not joking. They've put kones (cones) on the market. I peg it: purposeful ambiguity, who's with me?

Let's pay the tribute that's undeniably due:

In anticipation of ensuing responses, they've made a commitment to help "clean-up" breast cancer...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cycling Makes You Smarter

Keep Pedaling!
Read more

Freeloader: Every Simpsons Episode

Every single episode of The Simpsons. Free. Woo-Hoo!

For one week. Doh!

Mass Interactive: Hotel Bed Jumping

Like you don't do it...So shoot it and post it here. Also check their ongoing Hotel Bed blog and Hotel Pool blog!

107 additional hotel bed jumping clips on YouTube

1049 additional regular bed jumping clips...but that doesn't provide the same kind of naughtiness to it, huh?

Crispin thinking ahead, other Floridians should do the same

We are now within 1 degree celcius of the highest temperature the planet has been in for the past 1 million years. If the temperature rises another 2-3 degrees celcius, the planet will be as warm as it was in the middle pliocene period.

Here's a map of Pliocene Earth:

The biggest difference is that North and South America are no longer connected (which will make some people happy) and North America is a shadow of its former self. It also looks like the Norwegians, Swedes and Finns might have lost their homes. However, Minnesota is safe and looks to be thriving. Here's what we look like today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Inbox of Immaturity

It's been a while, so a few more links than usual. And a warning not to get my buddies started on first crushes:
Six from Blossom
Winnie Cooper from Wonder Years

No pain, no gain
Commercial break #1: Fresh Breath
Soccer Skills
Nice mash-up
Cut the line
Commercial break #2: Good Health
New Art Movement
Apache is Hot

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Trend: User-Created: Lego NXT

Lego's new Mindstorm NXT series has taken the step of inviting the nation's biggest corps and colleges to take the BIG ROBOT ON CAMPUS CHALLENGE. They asked top engineers, designers and programmers from Reebok, HP, AOL and Cartoon Network to create their own special spin with the Mindstorms NXT robotics. See some of what the participants created.

AKI COMMENT: Good stuff, and shows that these companies have open minds and a great sense of humour. And cheaper than a corporate campaign to try and tell me the same, and more effective than the typical lame-ass "youth initiative" that any of these companies would attempt on their own. Clever way to get AOL "You've Got MailBot" and Gap Kidbot into my kid's email box and kickstarting his brand preferences.

the commodity of love

So, in my recent insomniac state I've been watching TV because what else do you when you don't want to think...Anyway, just saw a commercial for that promised a “make love happen” satisfaction guarantee in 6 months or you get 6 months free use of the site. wtf? Since when has love become so commoditized? Why?

Are we under that much pressure to find a mate? Is this a new level of desperation? Have users expressed dissatisfaction/frustration at the site that they can't find someone to hold hands with? And if so, it seems crazy that the business has taken upon itself to guarantee it to the point they are offering free service. It all comes down to the quality of people they are attracting. What if said person is completely intolerable? What then?

Maybe I just don’t know enough about online dating, but maybe they should be putting the cost of forgoing 6 months of service payments to getting people some “mindfindbind” advice from Dr. Phil…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trend: The Experience Economy: Retail Spaces

All the dust and energy Marshall Field's Macy's recently invested in making the downtown Minneapolis store white, sterile, and a nightmare for its cleaning staff has reminded me how a retail environment can alter your perception of a store as well as your experience. And given the preponderance of stores like Costco, Old Navy, and Circuit City, it's refreshing to see some retailers thinking outside of the big box. (Or under it in the case of Apple, below.)

While they're not exactly the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or the Colossus, BusinessWeek's Nine Retail Wonders of the World (via Brand Experience Lab) go above and beyond typical store experiences. One of my favorites is REI's Seattle store that includes fabricated ecosystems where one can test out raincoats or hiking boots; even though the store is almost 10 years old, the idea is still intriguing (if a little gimmicky).

One thing all of these stores do well is break the mold not just from other retailers, but from their own "sister" stores. The LA Prada store would lose some of its cache if suddenly every Prada boutique looked the same. While localized customization is impractical for retailers with hundreds of stores, new models are emerging. Local coffee shop franchise Dunn Brothers tries to reflect both the local community and owners through "highly interchangeable" store design packages.

And even if it's as small as the "About/Made in Minnesota" film section at my old local Blockbuster, a little can go a long way to foster good will from people.

Ad Agency Deathwatch: Eliminate Middle Man

Business Week has an interesting one pager on a company that allows consumers to get paid directly for vendor leads, eliminating the middle man (pg. 92; 9/25/06 in print). Instead of Lending Tree benefitting up to $75 on your information, you go to the Root Exchange and reap the monetary reward for your quality lead.

Due to initial investor interests, the site is thus far exclusively for mortgage leads, but there's no reason why it couldn't extend to everything else: Car/home insurance? Business travel? Pet ownership? Obviously, the value of the information to a brand (and corresponding incentive for a consumer to divulge) increases with the cost of the item in question, but it could potentially work with anything. Hey, people are going to shop Target, some might be up for seeing a relevant promotional ad once a week for a quarter added to their kitty.

Trend: Bankrupt!: Bank of Mom+Dad: Slacker Insurance

Continuing my series + + on the economic implications of emerging "kid adults" who increasingly rely on Mom+Pop to finance their way post-graduation and beyond...NY Times reports on legislative trends to increase the maximum ages that "children" can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans - sometimes well into their 20’s.

Some stat highlights:

*About 30 percent of adults ages 18 to 24, and more than one-quarter of adults 25 to 34, are uninsured, though the average for all age groups is 16 percent, according to figures released by the Census Bureau in late August.

*The availability of health insurance in the workplace has become a problem for young adults. One reason employers are reluctant to hire full-time employees is the rising cost of health insurance and other benefits. The percentage of employers offering health insurance dropped to 60 percent in 2005, down from 66 percent in 2000, according to a survey of employers conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

*Thus, new graduates, from both high school and college, are entering a job market that is increasingly characterized by consulting, freelance and contract jobs.

*And many employers that still offer insurance are asking employees to shoulder a higher share of the premiums.

And predictably, young adults are keeping the change and opting out of insurance or bumming a ride on Dad's plan.

“Basically, I’m a healthy 31-year-old male,” one young freelancer said. “The last three times I went to the doctor, everything was O.K. So I haven’t felt the need for insurance.”

Other young adults said they had more pressing financial priorities. Tom Donatelli, a 29-year-old freelance cameraman from Brooklyn, is eager to reduce his credit-card and other debt. “If I have extra money, then it’s going to go toward debt that I already have, not debt that I might have."

AKI COMMENT: Though one way to address this is to initiate a universal healthcare plan for all America's citizens...starting with kids. But that is another story for another time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Demographics: Where da brains at?

The October issue of The Atlantic Monthly has a great article on the migration of America's educated elite - what they are calling the "means migration."

[The means migration:] The mass relocation of highly skilled, highly educated, and highly paid Americans to a relatively small number of metropolitan regions, and a corresponding exodus of the traditional lower and middle classes from these same places.

Not surprisingly these people are settling in cities coast to coast (blue states...) with a scattering in between, but what threw me off was the density found in CO. Regardless, its most interesting to compare 1970 and 2000. While the National average is 24 college graduates per 100, you see the bulk of the US at 20 below in 2000. Ah America, when are we gonna learn...

Naturally, this is posing problems for companies in these areas when it comes to recruiting top talent. Economics is the motivating factor - ambitious poeple NEED to live in a means metro in order to realize their full economic value. (This makes me think of the Planetarium and the plea to corporations to donate to further Minneapolis' competitive edge in technology and innovation. It all goes back to inspiring a young work force..)

Places that bring together diverse talent accelerate the local rate of economic evolution. When large numbers of entrepreneurs, financiers, engineers, designers, and other smart creative people are constantly bumping into one another inside and outside of work, business ideas are more quickly formed, sharpened, executed, and - if successful - expanded. The more smart people, and the denser the connections between them, the faster it all goes."

via The Atlantic Monthly, Oct 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Minneapolis: Lit 6 Project

Ever since I moved to Minneapolis two years ago, I've been tracking these guys - the Lit 6 Project. They are a group of housemates that live together for the sake of "literary smackdowns in the livingroom." They've been covered by City Pages this week in the Fall Arts section:

The four-person show follows the tales of a group of dysfunctional writer roommates whose obsessions run the gamut from porn and Pete Sampras to the earth's demise. Obsession is everything here. One of the many amenities that comes with owning a nonexistent two-story house in a fictional part of south Minneapolis is a special treehouse that hosts a clarinet playing, wise-talking Alan Greenspan ("G-Span"). The show, featuring musical performances and a narrator, is like a hipster's Prairie Home Companion, but with a lake called "Woeisme" instead of "Woebegone."

They are on season III of their Electric Arc Radio Show - podcasts are available on their site and shows are $10. Worth it - check 'em out.

Lit 6 Project & City Pages

Trend: Bankrupt!: National Overdraft (don't ask) has posted a ranking of the world's national government account balances - that is, countries with the actual gold and cash on hand and in-vault to back their debt pending. And uh, well, guess who is ABSOLUTE LAST? Yep, United States ranks 150th and well over-drafted at $-829,100,000,000 (yes, that is NEGATIVE). In simple terms, we got a hellava overdraft fee piling up, and all the "checks" we're writing are the least coverable if all nations were forced to ante up the dough tomorrow.

Japan tops the list with highest balances at 165,600,000,000, China at no. 2 with $ 160,800,000,000, Germany $ 115,500,000,000, Saudi Arabia $ 90,730,000,000 and Russia comes in 5th $ 84,250,000,000. Essentially, the whole planet comes in at balance and less overdrawn than our nation.

Joining us in the bottom five overdraft club are the western empires France, Australia, UK, and Spain.

But it gets better. According to the US Federal Reserve, total foreign ownership of US Federal deficit currently stands at 45% as of end of first half of 2005.


Japan $687.3Billion
China $252.2 Billion
United Kingdom $182.4 Billion
Caribbean Banking Centers $102.9 Billion
Taiwan $71.8 Billion
Germany $63.5 Billion
Korea $61.7 Billion
OPEC $54.6 Billion
Hong Kong $48.1 Billion
Canada $47.8 Billion

Grand Total $2,065.5 Billion


* Foreign sources financed 54% of US Federal deficit in 2002, 73% in 2003, and 99% in 2004
* Total foreign ownership of US Federal deficit currently stands at 45% as of end of 1st half of 2005
* The US Government currently owes Japan $687 Billion, China $252 Billion, and Korea $62 Billion - together $1.0 Trillion
* The US Government currently owes $2.0 Trillion to foreign lenders

And those lenders we owe, ironically, turn out to be the most balanced managers of their dough.

What's true of individual Americans is true of American government.

The Miniature Earth

This is an interesting look at relative demographics on a global scale. The flash picture show explores the question: if the world's population was reduced to a hundred but the proportions were kept the same, what would it look like? The music is as ominous as the realities the stats reveal (or "tendencies" as the disclaimer says). Maybe watch it on mute...

Despite the soundtrack, it's a testament to how information can be distilled into a simple, yet impactful idea.

The Miniature Earth


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Poll: We Know Drama!

Amidst the hype for the new "hot" fall TV season, it occurs to me that we advertisers are yet again sorely ignored and underrepresented.

I joke with my wife all the time that everybody and their dog gets a damn show - cops, lawyers, docs, office salesmen, footballer's wives, even garbagemen get represented. But never is the lowly advertiser represented by sexy actors like Patrick Dempsey and Eva Longoria. The best we've gotten in these long years of financing the TV networks is Darrin Stevens (a bumbling hack who technically didn't even create most of his winning ideas, they were accidental results of Samantha's magic gone awry).

Well enough of this! It's time we bring sexy back and join as a movement to get advertisers better represented on TV! Advertisers: We know drama! Make your vote heard below:

Should TV networks feature more shows about advertising?
Select up to 2 of the following:
Hell yeah! We know drama better than cops, docs, lawyers and footballer's wives.
Hell no. Nothing tops the image bar set by Darrin Stevens, get over it.
Create Free Polls

Enter the Copywriter!

Kung Fu advertising action reated as part of an internal spoof contest that makes fun of agency life inside McCann Erickson Advertising.

via Russell Davies

Mad Science: Music for Lovers

According to a recent survey performed by Adrian North for the University of Leicester, people in Britian who listen to Hip-Hop are more likely to have had more sexual partners in the last five years, than people who listen to country music.

North, who is a psychologist, polled 2,500 Britons to determine how music related to their lifestyles. The telling survey was conducted in an effort to make a correlation between the behaviors of people based on the music they listened to.

The results revealed that 38% of Hip-Hop listeners and 29% of dance music fans surveyed had engaged in sexual activity with more than one person in the last five years.

In comparison, only 1.5% of country music fans admitted to participating in the same type of behavior.
"Surprisingly there have been very few studies on how people's age, sex, socioeconomic status and personality relate to the music they enjoy listening to," North told Reuters.

Additionally, North’s survey revealed that more than 50% of Hip Hop and Dance music fans admitted to breaking the law and committing some type of criminal act.

The survey also discovered that at least a quarter of classical music fans have used cannabis and that 12% of those surveyed who enjoy opera had experimented with "magic mushrooms."

In an effort to expand his analysis, North plans to recruit an additional 10,000 subjects to poll in the near future.

AKI COMMENT: So...proof that hip-hoppers are not just rapping incessantly about "it", they are actually doin' "it", too. Anecdotally, has anyone noticed that hip-hop has become the ubiquitious soundtrack for strippers? Rock is losing ground on sexy.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bravery: Keith Olbermann's Blog

Check out this post it's a must read. The author is a news guy with MSNBC, Keith Olbermann who I remember as a funny guy from local LA news when I lived there. He reminisces about 9/11 and pulls absolutely no punches when it comes to the current administration and the president. Having the courage to write and support this makes me really like Olbermann and MSNBC.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

funny: only in texas

Listen up to this phone message from Texas. This man is leaving a message for a friend when he witnesses a car accident involving four elderly women. He stays on the phone to give a play-by-play. It was so popular when they played it on CHUM FM that they had to put it one their site. Its probably been around for a while, but I just came across it. I don't know why, but its damn funny. Perhaps it belongs in Seth's inbox of immaturity...

Trend: User-Created: LonelyGirl15 Exposed (sort of) Finale

NY Times reveals the woman who plays Lonelygirl15 on the video-sharing site has been identified as Jessica Rose, a 20-ish resident of New Zealand and Los Angeles and a graduate of the New York Film Academy. And the whole project appears to be the early serialized version of what eventually will become a movie.

Yawn. Unfortunately, I now begin to suspect that there is no "there" there. There is only this, and this is all there is.

More revelations and behind-the-scenes to be found here, and here including model shots of the actress, and other celeb style who-gives-a-damn ( if this is a "real" series - and I suppose, in a way, it is, huh? Which is the bigger story behind this project. But we'll get back to that later.).

Needless to say, the trick may be done. And a rather lame magician they proved to be - nice entrance, lame finish. No big flourish to come. Go home.

To be clear, I am not let down by the "real"/fiction quandry...I am let down with it's pointlessness. The riddle wrapped inside of an enigma has no meaning, no "point". It proved to be neither innovative brand connection strategy, nor savvy movie lead-in, nor simply a real girl's confessional reality - only a lame, not-too-entertaining student-movie soap-opera. By most measures, it was indeed a successful prank...just not a very funny or inspiring one. Sorta like getting that impossible tag up on a landmark building, only to mispell the words.

Hopefully the next guys up to bat will harness all the willing attention and public passion and squeeze some greater purpose out of it.

By the way...who noticed that NY Times has a "Screens" blogger on staff whose charged with "finding, reviewing and making sense of all those senseless new images: web video, viral video, user-driven video, custom interactive video, embedded video ads, web-based VOD, broadband television, diavlogs, vcasts, vlogs, video podcasts, mobisodes, webisodes, mashups and more." Yay, NYT!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Making the impossible imaginable

Most of us can conceive of three dimensions. Can you imagine wrapping you head around ten? Not being deeply immersed in string theory, I had never even tried. Check out the fascinating linked flash animation (Via The fact that I almost get it is an amazing testimony to the power and simplicity of flash to communicate complex ideas. After viewing this, I couldnt help but think of Tom Hulce's Pinto in Animal House where, after smoking a joint, he exclaims "you mean to say that our entire universe might be an atom in some all-being's fingernail?".

Monday, September 11, 2006

Trend: Mass Interactive: My Space Seminar

Trend: Identity Theft: This Week In ID Theft

Stephen Colbert offers useful advice on protecting your ID

Fox 6 Reporter Beaten on Camera By Identity Thief

Trend: Bankrupt!: Natural Disaster Financial Planning

NPR provides direction for protecting personal finances in preparation for natural disasters. It occurs to me that I am sorely unprepared...