Davis Thinking } analysis and interpretation
The international edition of Variety.com recently reported that Coca-Cola has halted the scheduled release of an Italian spiritually-themed film for unauthorized use of the brand.
It’s been but a few days since the Virginia Tech “massacre” and already the media has covered nearly every angle of the story. I need not go into further detail on all of the media coverage, as we’ve all been inundated with the words, photographs, cell phone videos, e-mails and instant messages that captured the sadness that occurred on April 16. The one angle that interests me the most, however, is the way that technology has impacted the way we learn about, respond to and deal with a crisis.
There are few things we love more than McSweeney's -- whether it be the brilliant quarterly concern, the Internet tendency or the store briefly documented in this clip. These folks are so smart: genuine and precious eccentrics celebrating engaged minds and the curious connections they make. It serves as a gentle, humane reminder that "mash up" is nothing new; the brain has sought and processed creative collision for a long, long time. And where else can you take a writing class, read books and buy a new glass eye? Step inside and peruse, use, excuse, recuse, amuse, bemuse yourself and others. Choose: a world of McDonald's or of McSweeney's? Only one nourishes.
The event that took place at Virginia Tech is quite disturbing, and as a current college student, it really hits home. Too much pressure isn’t good for anyone, and I believe many of today’s college kids are experiencing stress and pressure at really high levels. Without proper outlets and forums to voice day to day problems and issues, I think we are creating a escalating problem. However, there is one outlet available, and widely accepted among students. It’s called Facebook, and trust me, it’s used daily by many of us!
Ok, now read this in your head (or aloud if you’d like) in the fashion of your favorite movie trailer voice-over guy (note: if you’re reading this aloud, really emphasize the throaty, I-just-inhaled-an-entire-carton-of-Winstons-dipped-in-wet-asphault voice). Everybody ready? Here we go: “In a world where creativity hides in dark alleys behind commercial franchises, the masses are lining up for what critics call ‘…grippingly compelling…,’ ‘…compellingly gripping…,’ and ‘…an experience that is sure to compel the grip right out of your pants…’
While it’s not the newest tagline on the street, it is one of the most poignant and relevant with regards to the shifting consumer control of brands. As is evidenced by some of the world’s largest brands (e.g., Apple, Nike, Target) marketing has evolved from product-focused and transactional to consumer-focused and relational. For example, not only does Nike tell YOU to “Just Do It” both bluntly through its tagline and subtly through its logo, but the company also empowers consumers to now customize their own shoes. Successful companies are handing over control at the risk of misuse; knowing that consumers will own and shape their brands to their liking, regardless of the company’s permission. These companies understand that it’s do or die.
John Stauber is a self-proclaimed watchdog over the PR industry. He paints all PR efforts as evil and manipulative, disregarding programs that educate seniors about things like Medicare enrollment or vacationers about safety abroad. Are these programs paid for by drug companies or travel groups? Sure. Does that make them evil, even as they help with essential life issues? PR has been abused by unethhical companies, and indeed it has a complicated past. But it is not all evil all the time. At best, Stauber is a hypocrite. Notice the books he flashes in his innocent video -- they are written by him and the sales of them benefit him. Stauber uses the same techniques he so despises. Propagandists! They are everywhere.
Now, don't get me wrong, Entourage is one of my favorite shows. However, when did HBO start running so many commercials during its programming? I thought when I bought a DVR I was done with the product blather and never-ending pitches to "buy this" or "try that." I realize that viewer numbers are down, but it appears that the powers that be at HBO had a fire sale on product placement prior to this season.
I once had a ripe sense of adventure. Fifteen years ago, I spent seven months wandering the streets of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, partaking in daredevil activities and socializing with fellow travelers who shared my curious and open-minded approach to life. I am proud that my experiences were shaped by the in-person social interactions with fellow free-spirits over a cup of coffee in a random coffee shop in Ovalau, Fiji, at a hostel in Byron Bay, Australia and during an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Jared may just have to have his jaws wired shut in order to stay away from the delicious new pizza Subway is touting these days. Yes, that’s right. Now, in addition to sandwiches, you’ll be able to pick up a thick-crust style pizza at your local Subway. The new product launch is intended to reach consumers who frequent Dominos and Pizza Hut, and with pizza being the most competitive category in the fast food market, you bet Subway wants a bite.