Ebony magazine didn’t invite Klan members
I’ll keep the identity of the company secret, but I was invited to a do on April 3 here in Wellington, relating to the “Asian” community. Guest of honour: the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet, the Hon Winston Peters. The question one has to ask is: why?
I know they probably don’t read this blog, but surely inviting a man who has slagged off almost all 3·7 billion Asians on the planet (and perhaps more speciﬁcally the billion-plus of us with yellow skin) for political gain is dangerous, and does their brand harm from the outset? Unless they tell me they are “building bridges”, but then again, Ahmadinejad had some Jewish fellas at a Middle East conference he hosted.
I am in Auckland that day anyway, and wrote back to say that if they wanted me there, then their guest of honour should expect to be upstaged!
Back on Bruce Robinson’s case on March 1. I’m doing the Foreign Minister’s job at my own expense and I could have sought compensation rather publicly! Posted by Jack Yan, 20:45
Blogger-to-WordPress geeks: I want to hear from you
OK, I’ve now read the WordPress site about what their service offers. My question now is: anyone want to tell me what their Blogger to WordPress transitions were like? Can I make a WordPress blog look like this one and host it at the same place? Can I hack my posts’ HTML?
I’d rather hear from users, rather than brochureware pages. The computer industry has let me down too often for me to believe anyone. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:13
New Blogger is a load of rubbish; and how to stop switching
The new Blogger is a load of rubbish, and another sign that when some of these companies improve things, they make it worse for the very people that matter: the users. The other services that people have kindly suggested are paid ones (I just checked the Typepad page, for example).
I am an amateur blogger, so I would rather not pay for my right to self-expression. I host these pages, not Blogger. Meanwhile, I will be removing the Blogger tags from last week’s posts as I have no layout control over them, and they are disrupting the look and feel too much. They also make republication take an age. God only knows how long tag removal will take.
Other little things do not work, and even when I make the slightest change applicable to just the home page, the new Blogger insists on republishing the entire site.
I wanted to blog less this year, anyway, and Google has just helped me on my way. I am sure there will be many people who will blog less as a result of the changes. Let the mass media and big corporations take over again. With Google’s monitoring of Blogger users who fail to log out, it is not hard to see the company’s motives. ‘Do no evil’ my ass.
Tip: for those who do not want to change to the new Blogger yet, set yourself up as a second user on your blog. Then, from now on, blog as that second user. Blogger only bugs blog owners to change, not contributing authors.
PS.: Of course, as I was removing tags:
We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.
When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:
Describe what you were doing when you got this error.
Provide the following error code and additional information.
This information will help us to track down your specific problem and fix it! We apologize for the inconvenience. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:45
‘You cannot be serious!’ ‘OK’
[Cross-posted] It was a pretty good week if I were a media whore: North Carolina, South Africa, and locally (on the radio and in Idealog where, I notice from Vincent Heeringa’s editorial, my name appears ﬁrst). But I am not a snob when it comes to media. Here’s an interview with yours truly for Mr Joe Blogs in the UK, carrying on a great tradition from his grandfather, who started blogging with hieroglyphics.
We all need a bit of humour and comedy in our day, and it is Friday, after all. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:16
Immigration in New Zealand: a fair and balanced look
[Cross-posted] You know you’ve made it in New Zealand when Ant Sang does a Bro’ Town-style character of you. This appears in an article by Simon Young in this month’s Idealog, one of my favourite magazines, out now.
In the article, Simon discusses whether immigrants are needed in New Zealand and knocks a few of the stereotypes out of the ball park. Immigrants, as he uncovers, are more skilled than the cabbies that the stereotype likes to paint. He is fair and balanced, quoting both pro-immigration parties and, well, the government, which is vague almost out of fear, and which his interviewees take to be a prelude to a crackdown on who can enter New Zealand.
Why can’t this government be more courageous and stand its ground, rather than be bullied by some minor parties and their nobodies? Typical. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:35
Can clutter and luxury go hand in hand?
[Cross-posted] I hope folks like the new Lucire cover. We had to change it after modiﬁcations saw the cover lightened, which resulted in the type disappearing. The question I still have is: are there too many cover lines? I don’t think we’ve done eight for a while. And, we haven’t ever correlated cover lines with sales.
Andrew Yee shot the photograph, which we thought was quite expressive of femininity, one of our themes. The typeface is mine, albeit inspired by Helvetica. Posted by Jack Yan, 13:01
Brand gaffes in New Zealand
Witnessed today, two potential brand gaffes. I keep ﬁnding these with Ana, who is interning with us.
As we drove past Lower Hutt KFC, we noticed a window cleaner. Not weird. Except he was part of the guys in uniform—probably one of the lads behind the counter usually—and he was on the second storey, with no harness or any safety equipment. Not a good look. KFC may or may not be good for your health, and probably the latter if you are dangling outside the second storey doing a Frank Spencer.
Meanwhile, a van for some computer-geek outﬁt—Geeks on Wheels, if I remember the name right—was parked outside the Mt Vic tunnel today. A few folks do this, to catch passing trafﬁc and get some brand exposure. Not only can I not remember the name correctly, I understand the van was parked there ﬁve hours ago.
Lads, if you are going to use the ‘A’ Team van as a billboard, move it after a while. Otherwise, some people might think you were stuck on a job for ﬁve hours.
Finally, I hear that a major supermarket chain forces its check-out folks to scan 18 items per minute. Any fewer, you get told off. This one is hearsay, but Woolworth’s was named. Next time you shop, ask behind the counter if they do this. I have had nos from New World and Pak ’n’ Save. However, I have not shopped at Woolworth’s in New Zealand since November 1993, ever since they denied me service due to my race. (The story gets worse. I may ﬁll y’all in one of these days. I’ve been biting my tongue for a long time.)
If the 18 target is true, then all I can think of are sweatshops. This is New Zealand, for Chrissakes, and we expect a bit of friendly banter, not some kid trying to break a Guinness record to prevent his supervisor from abusing him or her. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:14
They need to start Putin this right
[Cross-posted] Why did Vladimir Putin attack the US most recently? Simple: he’s been watching the American MSM and seeing how division has crept in to the United States, and ﬁgures, ‘I’d rather go back to that old CCCP system. If we follow this democratic route that the US wants us to, we’ll become divided and ﬁght one another. I’ll have a population that doesn’t even vote for the most part, and half the bunch spends the rest of the time hating the guy at the top. I might as well side with the Red Chinese: at least they are keeping their population in check with few revolutionary elements that get out of hand, depriving them of their basic human rights.’
It might not matter that the Secretary of State speaks Russian, unless she ran for President. Vlad might be looking for a judo partner. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:06
Site feeds at new Blogger are SNAFU
For those who are subscribed to this blog’s feeds, please note that new Blogger sucks. That means among my “latest entries” in the Atom feed are posts dating anywhere between one and thirteen months old. Blogger does not seem to be able to ﬁgure out how old posts are, so it thinks it will just chuck a whole bunch together, regardless of age.
I object strongly to this new Blogger and being forced to switch to it, since it is inferior in every aspect.
Just now, I had to blog at Vox the following review. I am even surprised that there is a Blogger feed these days!
New Blogger’s site feeds do not work, if an email from my friend Johnnie Moore is any indication. He is right: I just put my mouse over the old Atom feed button, which used to be correctly linked at old Blogger, and it gives the wrong URL—regardless of whether I have this set right in my new Blogger settings. I have just hard-coded the URL into the template code, rather than rely on the string that Blogger’s template uses (as it seems that old templates and new templates do not appear to be compatible).
In the old days, I could choose for only the home page to be updated. I no longer have that choice, and I am going through the process of waiting for the entire blog to be republished in another IE7 tab right now. Only thing is, as I typed this post, the following came up at Blogger:
That never used to happen. And, when I click on the link, nothing happens. It doesn’t work. I had to go and republish from scratch.
Either Blogger’s beta users never had to use Blogger to publish any posts, because I can’t see why these weren’t reported as a bug or annoyance, or all beta feedback was ignored.
This reminds me of when Chrysler launched the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volaré without fully testing them, using the customer as their quality control department.
Evidently, new Blogger should remain on beta, or we should retain the choice of sticking with the old version, which was vastly superior in every respect if you were an everyday, average Joe user like me. I didn’t ask for these changes, and I am willing to bet that the majority of Blogger users did not, either.
I did not ask for Blogger being made less ﬂexible, less friendly, slower, more impractical and a means through which Google can spy on me.
Remember, using new Blogger means that your Google searches will be associated with your user name, which I regard as a violation of my privacy. You need to log out of Blogger or Google to return to the status quo. Which means, the option to keep yourself logged in is fully impractical. You need to type in your username and password each time you reuse Blogger.
As with so many “improvements” in the computing industry, I am ﬁnding more and more reasons to hate a program or service. Well done, Google. You have just turned me off even more.
I am still waiting for this speedier, new Blogger to ﬁnish republishing. It might never get there. That message just came up again. And the ‘click here’ still does not work.
I am a total technophobe when it comes to installing software, but Randy Thomas and others’ suggestions I move to a customized blogging program are making me wonder whether I should overcome my fears.
Despite not logging out, Blogger’s cookie forgot who I was anyway. Posted by Jack Yan, 12:51
New Blogger: all that hassle for nothing
[Cross-posted] I can’t understand what’s superior about the new Blogger, which I was forced to change to, otherwise Google would not let me in.
I have to type in a longer email address as my username. The cookies forget that I am even signed in. I seem to recall Blogger claiming I would not have to wait for the publication of posts because it was all instantaneous. Right now, I am at Vox while I am waiting for the publication of posts because it is not instantaneous. It’s been a few minutes. I notice no time difference between old and new Blogger.
It lets me do tags. Great. Waste more space. I was already doing tags anyway, using other services.
The conversion process was bollocks. The reason I am waiting is that it couldn’t convert my old template properly, rendering a few characters unreadable. I had to go in manually to change them.
I’m stuck with that load of cobblers for now, but it is yet another example of computer types “improving” things without understanding normal human behaviour.
Blogger should have let us stay with a choice of old or new. Let the geeks go on to the new one and talk up how things have improved, and we stupid mere mortals can stay with the old and get on with our work.
I would have recommended Blogger had they let it be. Now, with all these “improvements”, I think I will recommend Vox. Posted by Jack Yan, 04:44
Life on Mars: back in the nick of time
As covered on my Vox blog, Life on Mars’ new season has been supported by an advertising campaign from Red Bee Media.
Most impressive to me has been the return of the old BBC1 Colour branding, from when there were only three UK networks, and outdoor advertising that apes the 1970s. A small booklet on policing has also made its way out into the public, supposedly authored by DCI Gene Hunt.
A Camberwick Green spoof 20-second commercial was clever, kicking off the campaign, working on the nostalgia that many have. And before the ﬁrst episode of the new series, the BBC1 ident shown was that of the early 1970s. The English announcer even said, ‘This is BBC1, in colour.’
Typographically, the BBC1 ident in Wales was a bit fake, with Arial used (the typeface was not around in 1973), while the booklet’s use of ITC Franklin Gothic (which dates from 1980) and the kerning in the ITC Souvenir text betray the 1970s effect. The poster has the on in the programme title capitalized—not sure if it would have been in 1973—and the headline is not centred. However, the tightly set Caslon is a beautiful throwback to days of headline compositors and Letraset. The BBC logo looks like it is set in Neue Helvetica angled slightly more—the original was not Helvetica. In fact, I am not sure if it was a Swiss sans serif, but a grotesque that was custom-done for the network.
As covered at mad.co.uk, the Cortina used in the show (is it a GXL or a 2000E?) will even be auctioned.
I wrote at Peter Taylor’s blog earlier today:
Still, hats off to the Beeb for the campaign. Not many networks would have the guts to depart from current branding for the sake of a single show. Someone there obviously has a brain, knowing that occasionally breaking the rules can enhance brand equity. And, occasionally breaking the rules will nab a crim or two.
Sometimes, breaking the odd rule can work. The trick for any organization is to know when it’s OK to do so. I am glad the BBC was not too bureaucratic and precious when it came to promoting this ﬁnal season of Life on Mars.
Oh, the episode wasn’t too bad, either! Going to watch the second one in a tick. More from me on this topic at Vox, plus a few of the the TVCs and idents collected together in another post. (The Starsky & Hutch-referred one is not there presently.) Posted by Jack Yan, 04:08
Bruce has been granted bail
Good news, from the Robinson family on my answerphone: Bruce Robinson was granted bail 5.30 p.m. Polish time. For all those who sent their prayers or signed the petition, thank you. He’s not out yet: the prosecutor can still appeal and had originally expected to be able to keep Bruce in jail till June, so conﬁdent he was of his situation. However, it seems a fair judge may have heard the pleas for bail.
Despite our government’s inaction, hold your breath for the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet taking credit for all our hard work. Now we have to make sure he gets a fair trial, so I’ll still be active on it. Posted by Jack Yan, 20:49
When I talk to our interns, MySpace, Bebo and having your own domain name does come up. These are young ladies interested in fashion, not computer geeks. So I was interested to see a quotation on Johnnie Moore’s Weblog today, from Watts Wacker (from an interview by Mark Ramsey, referred by Rob Paterson):
Perhaps the biggest trend that I would pay attention to in the short run is that while consuming is never going to go away, consuming as the deﬁning criteria for individuals is. We are now using our media consumption as opposed to our physical consumption to explain who we are.
So you don’t go to a party anymore and say, you know, “Where’d you go to college? What kind of car do you drive? Where do you live?” Now you say “What do you blog? What websites do you surf? Have you read the article in Vanity Fair on terrorism in South America? Are you an Imus or a Stern person? Have you seen The Departed?”
This is going to be a media-savvy generation, and the MSM had better watch out. If they are worried now, we may have a generation that cares less about reading the news and than creating it. Posted by Jack Yan, 06:41
Smokey and the Bikini Bandits
[Cross-posted] Damn, why weren’t the Bikini Bandits in force when I was last in København? I even was there on graduation day and for midsummer, with drunk students all over town.
I wondered if this was real. As my friend Ian points out, the name of the trafﬁc cop is too fabulous to have been made up. But the reality is that it is part of a governmental campaign to get people obeying the 50 km/h speed limit. Sorry! Scandi is not as liberal as people think!
As a viral campaign, it has its merits. It may be very base, appealing to sexuality, but every 50 km/h sign is a trigger to the campaign. Outdoor advertising need not get raunchy: just showing the model’s face (as with the website) can work.
While I enjoy the campaigns in New Zealand, which play more on shock value and horror—the road toll here is very high for a small country—I have to wonder if a positive, viral campaign, with a downloadable video, might work. The speed limit is the same for residential areas and the city, so even passing it around here might work, especially for high-risk 15- to 25-year-old males. Posted by Jack Yan, 06:14
The ofﬁcial fashion magazine of Miss Universe New Zealand
[Cross-posted] Finally, we can publicly show the ‘Ofﬁcial Fashion Magazine’ tag with the Miss Universe New Zealand 2007 logo, beginning with this advertisement appearing in Her Business magazine. The cover, photographed by Andrew Yee, is to be ﬁnalized shortly, but I wonder if eight cover lines are too many. It’s certainly more than we have done for a while. Also, the tagline has been tweaked: there are going to be a few with the ‘Liberated’ theme.
Design-wise, the usual three typefaces are used: Lucire, Slabb and Fiduci. I have just realized we missed out doing the NTE ligature in the ﬁrst line of the headline. It does exist, with respect to Herb Lubalin. Back to regenerating the PDF. Posted by Jack Yan, 06:05
Where’s the Breeze?
Two remarks about New Zealand marketing: the simple things can be missing. Don’t get me wrong: Kiwi advertising (as opposed to marketing overall) is pretty smart, but I think in our pursuit of the higher context, we miss the lower ones sometimes.
The Breeze, a Canadian-owned radio station here, has been running TVCs of late. Obviously getting people to tune in. The only thing: the ad does not show the FM frequency. Nor does it tell us the website. Sure I can Google away, but I would not mind if a commercial got me past the desire part into action. The last time these guys ran a TVC that I remembered the frequency from, it was called Radio Windy 89, and the frequency was, you guessed it, 890 kHz, on AM.
Ah, stuff it, I’ll just continue listening to Groove 107·7 FM. None of that emo crap.
Meanwhile, since smoking indoors is illegal here, at least at work, it’s commonplace for folks to go outside. But if your company is the Body Shop, it looks out of place. One of my interns has the image on her cell after I encouraged her to shoot it. Smokers outside the Body Shop might not be the right message for the brand—and is a good example where, maybe, a smokers’ room or area might be a good thing. It’s also a strong example of where brand-thinking could be a good place to start when it comes to marketing matters. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:53
We can all help Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson, the New Zealander in a 15 m² Polish jail cell, with seven other blokes, who is allegedly being ignored by the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet and other members of the diplomatic mission in Poland, now has a petition set up for his cause.
As reported on this blog, both the Minister and now, the Prime Minister, have said they will not interfere in Poland’s sovereign processes.
This is ironic, since both politicians are quite happy to interfere when the targets are easier.
Contrary to the Dominion Post report today, the petition was set up by Bruce’s sister, Lyn. And yes, I do have the inside line on this case now, and have done for some time, with the Robinson family’s blessing.
But at least the Fairfax press has not repeated a one-sided story from the Foreign Minister, who initially accused TV One of being unfair to him when Rawdon Christie ﬁrst uncovered the story, and The New Zealand Herald willingly obliged with republication.
I hate it how this guy always plays the victim, just to cover the fact he cannot do his job.
But let’s not split hairs. It’s important word gets out and we sign this petition and get the government to act. We are paying taxes and I am wondering why the hell we need to, if we do not go to bat for our own.
Even the Aussies have gone to bat for David Hicks, the alleged terrorist held at Gitmo. Both John Howard and Alexander Downer have seen Bush, Condi, Rumsfeld and Gates and Alberto Gonzales for this one guy. All Bruce is guilty of is patriotism and travelling on his New Zealand passport.
Sign here, even if you are outside New Zealand. Posted by Jack Yan, 10:29
My brand of people
I remember when magazines here were pretty lame. One title did a special on typography in the 1990s and didn’t interview me. Another looked at typefaces and also skipped JY&A Fonts, claiming that the search engine the writer used didn’t have us. (Pull the other one. I did the search New Zealand fonts on the same day and there we were, occupying most of the ﬁrst 10 slots.) Not that I was too sore, but it showed that journalists back then were all concerned about upholding the establishment of big ﬁrms and trod on the little guy.
That has changed with better research and perhaps more discerning readers who will blog and complain when things go wrong. It’s nice, therefore, to note that NZ Business’s February 2007 issue interviewed Christine Arden and Mark di Somma on branding. Both know what they are talking about and are active in the country. Once upon a time, a similar article would have probably interviewed some ad agency and left it at that. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:41
It’s in the jeans
An excellent entry appears at Summer Rayne’s blog today, on labour abuses in Red China and the ﬁlm China Blue, about teenage girls having to work up to 20 hours a day in a sweatshop. I have blogged about such issues before, not necessarily relating to my own people. In any case, we should be aware of what has gone in to those cheap jeans that we picked up at some discount outlet. Posted by Jack Yan, 06:35
Help support literacy: your turn
John Mennell at the Magazine Publishers’ Family Literacy Project, with which Lucire is afﬁliated, told me today that his organization now has s. 501(c)(3) status, which means more and better fund-raising options. Above is one widget that we’re using (and it works on this blog, too). You’re free to help this literacy programme to help kids read by visiting this page and downloading an appropriate badge. The above widget can be copied by clicking ‘Copy’ and then pasting the code that’s revealed, though you may want another one at John’s site.
In John’s words, the Project is ‘the ﬁrst and only national, magazine industry-wide literacy effort for children and families,’ and it’s our pleasure to support it.
John and I began working together in 2005 and met that year. Through a Lucire event, he met Stacie Jones Upchurch (The Apprentice), who wound up supporting John’s group through her Harlem store. Posted by Jack Yan, 08:49
Francophiles may be interested to watch Henri Chapier’s take on En aparté last week (below), on Ségolène Royal, the presidential candidate, discussing her image and glamour, as well as her vision (originally posted at Franceglobal.com). My view is that Mme Royal will open up politics to a new generation: the young, especially, feel distant from the political process in their country, and it’s not just those who rioted a couple of years back. She is already engaged in participative meetings where citizens do all the talking and she’s taking notes—not unlike Sen. Clinton asking for a ‘conversation’ with America.
Something is shifting in democracy, and I like to think modern communications, especially the web, have had a major part to play. When I was last in France, Mme Royal certainly got more press. If she’s listening, then all the better for a country that needs direction after President Chirac, who gets more like a lame duck with each year in this term.
It’s in stark contrast to the slick—but ultimately one-way—campaign staged by Mme Royal’s main rival, interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy. That seems so 20e siècle.
Posted by Jack Yan, 06:46
God bless the pedants
Sometimes, I love what pedants pick up, even when I goof. I love The Atlantic for this reason, reading through Barbara Walraff’s ‘Word Court’. Here’s a great one from Josh, who points out a problem in the Irish paper—I mean, The New Zealand Herald.
I have a lot of reasons to like the Herald, balanced by a lot of reasons to hate it, so I am “fair and balanced”. And here’s one to hate it: an inability to use the English language. In its editorial today:
Maori have reminded the bridge managers that they readily hoisted the Team NZ petard during the America’s Cup.
I’ll let Josh explain the rest. Now, I would add a macron on the a in Māori—after all, this is an ofﬁcial language in New Zealand; and I am one of those oddballs who like seeing America italicized in the above context, since it is the name of a ship, not the continent(s).
Personal note: it’s still useful to keep a copy of an Oxford dictionary (an old Concise, in my case, and the latest includes the verb sex it up) next to the computer monitor. Posted by Jack Yan, 04:16
Ten years ago, when Lucire started online, short articles were the name of the game. Today, I think things have turned 180 degrees.
I ﬁnd us running longer articles on the web than in print. Online newspapers have been doing this for years, and we noticed this becoming a norm after the scroll wheel on mice became commonplace: people didn’t mind going down the page.
Consequently, blog pages are long. A lot of web pages became long. And why not? Because of Google, the more content on a page, the more likely it would suit a particular search result. To heck with æsthetics.
While we run some article previews on Lucire, we are ﬁnding that the web edition is being used by those researching particular topics, while the print edition is for “browsing”. This is the exact opposite to how the web was perceived 10 years ago, when hobbyists and casual surfers made up the majority of the audience. The web edition is a knowledge base.
Web 2·0 designers might have no problem with this thinking, but I bet some Web 1·0 ones will need a shift in their mindset. Posted by Jack Yan, 03:17
Caleigh launches on to Shortland Street
As blogged at Vox, my friend and Lucire colleague Caleigh Cheung (pictured on the left, with Alistair Kwun, on the real Shortland Street) made her début as Lily Choi in episode 3,701 of Shortland Street, New Zealand’s prime-time network medical soap opera.
There was no mention of soap and there was certainly no opera being played, but it looks like Caleigh’s role will go on to greater things. She tells me her accent is relevant to the plot.
Fans will hate me when I say my watching Caleigh has brought my sum total of Shortland Street-watching to 15 minutes. I caught 10 minutes of it in 2000 in a skiing scene with actress Claire Chitham. I accidentally watched it while giving a university lecture, while I had given the students a snack break after the ﬁrst hour.
I have probably met more Street stars than most people. The difference is that I did not know who they were. I kept looking out for Sister Scott and Dr Albert, and realized I had the wrong show. The last TV doctor whose ﬁctional exploits I followed was one Dr O’Neill on The Love Boat, then he transformed himself from looking like Dick van Patten to looking like Bernie Kopell by the second cruise, then changed his name to Adam Bricker in the third. Now, come on, that’s fascinating.
It’s going to be a good year for Cal, with another series being ﬁlmed where she is the lead actress.
Some of us are geared to watching soaps and some of us are not. I’m afraid I am one of the latter, who prefers things concluded in self-contained episodes. Life, to me, is far more interesting a soap to watch and be a part of.
It also does not cease to amaze me the extracurricular activities our team gets up to. Not long ago, I blogged about Avidiva, the singing group formed by JY&A veteran Jennifer Hamilton. Now we have an actress on prime-time TV. This is the modern organization: people living their lives, doing the things they love, and companies providing them the freedom—and in some cases the means—to do so. Dictatorial management is so very nineteenth century. Posted by Jack Yan, 00:30
Al-Qaeda is (or was) not cute enough to use cartoons
Last week’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerrilla marketing campaign in Boston, Mass. by Turner Broadcasting Inc. raised sensitivities, given that some citizens of the city thought the cartoon characters were erected by terrorists or were part of a plot or attack.
The initial reaction we had here, in a country that only has had one terror-type attack, was thinking that Bostonians had overreacted. But in a post-9-11 world, and since some of the 9-11 terrorists took off from Logan Airport, Bostonians should be, in part, forgiven, even if folks in eight other cities didn’t go into a panic.
But it saddens me to note that Bostonians themselves would have loved this campaign had it came out in 1998. By all means, be alert. Be wary of things that could be terrorist-related. Bin Laden and his cohorts aren’t cute enough to use cartoon characters from a late-night cable show, although I do think electronic boxes with protruding wires were probably more the issue than the Aqua Teen character itself.
Having said that, Turner’s Shirley Powell does claim the boxes were up for two weeks with no complaints.
And it probably did the cartoon itself a world of good, publicity-wise.
America is at war. Let that not be forgotten. And God bless those ﬁghting for freedom. But don’t let those terrorist bastards change your lives so much that an innocent, albeit provocative, marketing campaign instantly signals ‘Terror alert’. There remains a difference between vigilance and overreaction: don’t give terrorists (or anyone else) the opportunity to have even a chuckle at your expense. Somehow, I doubt they would be so kind as to give the date of an attack, as some of the signs did. Al-Qaeda is not the IRA.
One other consequence is that all a real bomb has to look like now is an box with the word ‘Advertising’ printed on it to look innocent—in other words, Boston has essentially ended the chances of similar campaigns in future, nationally. Now, all of the US will have to be on alert—for better or for worse. Posted by Jack Yan, 22:23
Aston Martin, a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
It’s not quite ofﬁcial: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA has bought Aston Martin from Ford, beating out Ulrich Bez’s consortium. The Ford Motor Co. will reportedly retain 15 per cent interest, according to Dow Jones, who said Auto Bild will break the story over the weekend (referred to us by Autoblog).
As mentioned last year, I think this is a great idea from a capital POV, and Aston might be quite at home in a brand-oriented structure rather than a sugar or shipping family or oil company. The expertise seems to be there at LVMH, and for this reason, I doubt there will be a repeat of the 1970s and 1980s when Aston Martin was passed around like a hot potato.
However, whether Aston Martin will last as long under LVMH’s stewardship as compared to Ford’s is open to question. Will partnerships for technology be retained? Will the testing procedures be as thorough? But if it works, it will say something about using brands to lead organizations, rather than industrial processes. Posted by Jack Yan, 05:01
NoteEntries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.
Individual JY&A and Medinge Group blogs
Earlier entries at the Beyond Branding Blog
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