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Old 11-10-2004, 04:37 AM   #401 (permalink)
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The Persuaders is very good. What I think is most significant about it is that it makes the strong link between product advertising and political advertising.

Here's a link to the PBS Frontline section on The Persuaders:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...ws/persuaders/
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Old 11-10-2004, 06:39 AM   #402 (permalink)
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Persuaders was well done.

I worked for Saatchi and Saatchi in the mid90s when the turmoil of that company was just starting to peak. Maurice Saatchi was suing to remove the name from the company since he was ousted by the board. They had lost a key account the Florida Orange Growers Association which they had forever. I did not know they had lost the J&J account recently.

Watching this reminded me of my childhood when I first read Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy and how much I really wanted to be a part of that industry. I remember being so excited when I got to do some consultant work at Ogilvy & Mather. I even was more excited when I got hired at Saatchi and Saatchi. I was disgusted and burnt out after 4 months. The industry is too cutthroat for me.

While I watched Persuaders I couldn't help but remember the Tom Hanks movie Nothing In Common where he plays and ad exec building a brand for a airline and he makes a emotional connection in his pitch. Something somewhat unheard of during the mid80s.

Thanks for the link art.
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Old 11-10-2004, 06:49 AM   #403 (permalink)
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I sent an e-mail to CNN and NBC in question about the information in your post. However, your post is wrong. They assured me you were lying.
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Old 11-10-2004, 07:45 AM   #404 (permalink)
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...

In any event, the Frontline show is worth watching. It will be available online on Friday. The other features on that page (linked in post #401 above) provide additional info on the source material. The work of Dr. Clotaire Rapaille is incisive and has the ring of authenticity. Not his conclusions, necessarily but his methodology and approach to the subject of what drives our consumption.
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Old 11-10-2004, 12:08 PM   #405 (permalink)
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Stompy,

You mentioned that you watch Adult Swim. Adult Swim is one of the most ad-saturated commericial blocks on TV. Most of the ads are for other Adult Swim or CN shows and that is how they have built Adult Swim into such a rating giant. They have formed a clique-culture around watching their blocks with the 'cue-card' style riffs between commericals and each show. They have found a unique way to make each watcher feel like they are being directly communicated to and it has worked as their ratings have nearly tripled since they switched to that style of pitching.

It is not that someone is forcing you to buy their item or to make a purchase that you don't need; it is more that everywhere we go, we are inescapably surrounded by media. Constant exposure to this stimuli yields a familiarity to the product or idea thus making a purchase or decision less foreign. Just being aware of the use of that media and that there is a specific purpose to it, is a big step in the right direction. You can form your own ideas about tinfoil hats and conspiracies.
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Old 11-10-2004, 12:49 PM   #406 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
I do highly recommend checking out Merchants of Cool it's available to watch online. I'm just about to watch The Persuaders which I think will be equally eye opening.
Cool, I'll check this out when I get some more time later.

Quote:
Remember the old commercials "I want my MTV!"? Yes, that's clever marketing and brand building.
Yeah, it's pretty successful. That whole thing stemmed from the fact that cable providers didn't want MTV, so they came up with the whole "I want my MTV!" campaign. Successful and widely recognized, yes, but how's that negative?

There's definitely a lot of products that have their catch phrases and jingles that stay in our head, but I don't think it's something I'd call manipulation.

Quote:
You mentioned that you watch Adult Swim. Adult Swim is one of the most ad-saturated commericial blocks on TV. Most of the ads are for other Adult Swim or CN shows and that is how they have built Adult Swim into such a rating giant. They have formed a clique-culture around watching their blocks with the 'cue-card' style riffs between commericals and each show. They have found a unique way to make each watcher feel like they are being directly communicated to and it has worked as their ratings have nearly tripled since they switched to that style of pitching.
I can't recall a single ad on Adult Swim that wasn't for some kind of anime movie (way out of my league of interest) or their own shows (like you said), but the "cue-card" in-betweens is really just a bunch of random quips that they come up with that are unusual, yet hilarious.

If they're advertising themselves, then what is the viewer being bombarded with? I know a lot of people used to just watch Family Guy, but then they'd show ads for Aqua Teen. If it wasn't for those ads, a lot of people probably wouldn't have had the chance to know about other quality (but off-the-wall) entertainment! Personally, I just to just watch ATHF and Family Guy, but then I'd see ads for Sea Lab. I'll watch it occasionally, but it's not like I'm being bombarded with anything other than "watch our shows". I do enjoy the shows.

But don't you think their ratings increase because of quality shows that people enjoy watching as opposed to the "user friendly" in-betweens that they're presented with?

Product familiarity... I don't see how or why it's so negative. It's just the result of advertising. I'm assuming you're talking about "fun" characters like Tony the Tiger, or the Trix Rabbit.

A kid watches cartoons on TV in the morning, but those stations get funded by advertising space. Ok, so Kelloggs or whoever comes in and advertises Trix. A "fun" little cartoon with a rabbit scampering about and catch phrases "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!" So now they know about Trix.

I dunno, maybe someone could provide some insight as to something I'm overlooking because I don't particularly see how it's something to be worried about.
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:14 AM   #407 (permalink)
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For me the most important question to ask myself is "how much of my identity has been shaped by media?"

In other words, how much of who and what I think I am has been assimilated from television, movies, popular music, other forms of entertainment and infotainment, and advertising. How much of the texts of these things fills my mind and motivates my thoughts, words, and behavior? How much of what I see when I look in the mirror is a reflection of the images, suggestions, hints, clues, and cues projected by media regarding what is cool, hip, badass, masculine, sexual, attractive, smart, acceptable, etc.?

I'm of the opinion that if I do this scrupulously, I find that I am more a collection of mediated suggestions, impressions, concepts, and images than an actual integral and integrated personality.

The only reasons I have found that prevent me from arriving at these conclusions are based on vanity, denial, wishful thinking, and a deluded sense of integrity.
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:06 AM   #408 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stompy
Cool, I'll check this out when I get some more time later.



Yeah, it's pretty successful. That whole thing stemmed from the fact that cable providers didn't want MTV, so they came up with the whole "I want my MTV!" campaign. Successful and widely recognized, yes, but how's that negative?

There's definitely a lot of products that have their catch phrases and jingles that stay in our head, but I don't think it's something I'd call manipulation.



I can't recall a single ad on Adult Swim that wasn't for some kind of anime movie (way out of my league of interest) or their own shows (like you said), but the "cue-card" in-betweens is really just a bunch of random quips that they come up with that are unusual, yet hilarious.

If they're advertising themselves, then what is the viewer being bombarded with? I know a lot of people used to just watch Family Guy, but then they'd show ads for Aqua Teen. If it wasn't for those ads, a lot of people probably wouldn't have had the chance to know about other quality (but off-the-wall) entertainment! Personally, I just to just watch ATHF and Family Guy, but then I'd see ads for Sea Lab. I'll watch it occasionally, but it's not like I'm being bombarded with anything other than "watch our shows". I do enjoy the shows.

But don't you think their ratings increase because of quality shows that people enjoy watching as opposed to the "user friendly" in-betweens that they're presented with?

Product familiarity... I don't see how or why it's so negative. It's just the result of advertising. I'm assuming you're talking about "fun" characters like Tony the Tiger, or the Trix Rabbit.

A kid watches cartoons on TV in the morning, but those stations get funded by advertising space. Ok, so Kelloggs or whoever comes in and advertises Trix. A "fun" little cartoon with a rabbit scampering about and catch phrases "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!" So now they know about Trix.

I dunno, maybe someone could provide some insight as to something I'm overlooking because I don't particularly see how it's something to be worried about.
adult swim is doing the same kind of brand building that MTV did in it's early days. Shameless self promotion of building an identity to itself. Cable companies weren't denying MTV space, they just didn't have the capacity at the time. Some channels even split their days such as Nickelodeon in the day, A&E at night, when A&E got their own channel, that left Nick with a hole in the evening, thus Nick At Nite was born.

While you think that a jingle sitting in your head isn't manipulation, if it helps lean you in a particular direction when you are looking on the aisle for something and the jingle hits your head because of recognition, it's done it's job.

as far as marketing to kids, recently Nickelodeon and ABC both had to pay large fines for having too many commercials in a 1 hour time frame along with showing same product during a show, ex. Power Rangers show cannot have power rangers toys commercials.
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Old 11-11-2004, 01:42 PM   #409 (permalink)
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Old 11-14-2004, 02:02 PM   #410 (permalink)
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An issue for consideration is the fictional division of the population along simple-to-define factional lines that are used to create audiences that function also as political constituencies.

The hypothesis is that we evidence fationalization and division as a result of narrowcasting and demographic marketing. And as always the media do not reflect who we are but create who we are.

The following article can be seen in this light:

* * *

Media landscape pits Red vs. Blue

Sun Nov 14, 4:22 AM ET
from, Variety

Peter Bart, STAFF

(Variety) — Book publishers are supposed to be retards when it comes to marketing, but they seem to have all this Blue State-vs.-Red State stuff figured out. There are two utterly divergent constituencies for books, so they've mobilized Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich to adorn one bestseller list and Bill Clinton (news - web sites) and the anti-Bush polemicists for the other. The strategy is working so well that surely the film and TV mavens can't be far behind.

Mel Gibson (news) showed everyone how to muscle the Red States, and Mormon filmmakers for years have prospered within their mini-industry. So now that the Red States have their own president, why not give them their movies and TV shows, too?

The hot-button campaign issues may even provide storylines. Wouldn't they flock to a "Gay Married With Children" -- a series about a gay married couple who hate one another? How about "Desperate Anti-Abortion Housewives?" And since "Troy" worked, why not try "Goy," with Brad Pitt taking on the Crusades?

There's one entertainment sector that's surreptitiously shared by both Red and Blue sectors, however: Market expansion of porn in the old Bible Belt, in fact, exceeds that of the coasts, and one of its major purveyors, Adam & Eve, is even nestled in North Carolina.

The only distinction between Red and Blue is this: While porn-watchers on the East and West Coasts have switched to DVDs, the heartland still covets its VHS format. That distinction, perhaps, defines the truly rigid conservative.

* * *
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Old 11-14-2004, 04:08 PM   #411 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stompy
If they're advertising themselves, then what is the viewer being bombarded with? I know a lot of people used to just watch Family Guy, but then they'd show ads for Aqua Teen. If it wasn't for those ads, a lot of people probably wouldn't have had the chance to know about other quality (but off-the-wall) entertainment! Personally, I just to just watch ATHF and Family Guy, but then I'd see ads for Sea Lab. I'll watch it occasionally, but it's not like I'm being bombarded with anything other than "watch our shows". I do enjoy the shows.

But don't you think their ratings increase because of quality shows that people enjoy watching as opposed to the "user friendly" in-betweens that they're presented with?
Their ratings went up because the number of people watching the shows increased. The question is: WHY did they increase? You stated aboce that seeing Sea Lab commercials helped you decide to watch it occasionally so that advertising worked (at least occasionally) with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stompy
Product familiarity... I don't see how or why it's so negative. It's just the result of advertising. I'm assuming you're talking about "fun" characters like Tony the Tiger, or the Trix Rabbit.
A kid watches cartoons on TV in the morning, but those stations get funded by advertising space. Ok, so Kelloggs or whoever comes in and advertises Trix. A "fun" little cartoon with a rabbit scampering about and catch phrases "Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids!" So now they know about Trix.

I dunno, maybe someone could provide some insight as to something I'm overlooking because I don't particularly see how it's something to be worried about.
Product familiarity isn't by itself a negative thing; it is a result of a potentially negative effect of advertising. The whole purpose of advertising is to create or increase the consumption of a product or to set apart a product from the competition. The validity and accuracy of the ads have become a moot point.

Here is a little example: Let's say I know nothing about Green Beans. I need to pick some up for a special meal and I go to the grocers shelf and find 10 different brands of green beans. Since I know nothing about them, I start looking to see which package 'catches my eye' and I rule out half of the choices because they don't 'look' good to me. I check the remaining cans and decide to go with Green Giant because they are the only brand that I have ever heard of. Sitting on that same shelf was a plain beige can of Laura Lynn green beans that were 75 cents cheaper and were made by Green Giant for Ingles Grocery stores. In the end, I overpaid for the exact same can of beans because I 'bought into' their effective advertising. Green Giant won my purchase because they exposed me to the "Ho-Ho-Ho, Green Giant" jingle as a kid and I remember them because of it. Maybe 20 have passed since I heard that jingle and it is still in my head. How effective was that ad?

Green Giant didn't create my desire for their product in the same way that the advertising you mentioned for Trix cereal does. Trix ads are aimed squarely at little kids and create an artificial demand that has nothing to do with quality of product. This type of advertising uses positive influence and state of mind to create a consumer for it's product.

Advertising is embedded in our culture and we are exposed to it at every turn. We are constantly bombarded with messages designed to intrigue, delight, and pique our curiosity but most are devoid of any validity. We are constantly fed incorrect information by Media and are denied other information by the same. in other words, our knowledge and opinions are formed in many cased by artificial information purchased by manufacturors.

The most decided arguement has been summed up by Art in recent posts. How do we independently define who we are when most of the information we use as reference and grounding is bought by someone? In other words; How much of ME is really ME?
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Old 11-15-2004, 04:44 PM   #412 (permalink)
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to art...

i have read 5pages of this thread and intend to read the rest...

wow what an insight..

although i have always thought consiuosly about ads and advertising..

i have never really thought about it like this thread pointed out..

today i had an awfull long drive and i discussed this with my drving buddies.

and my imidieate reaction was i dunna know this sounds kinda cheasy.. i read the first 3 pages and looked at the examples. and deccied either one of 2 things..

i am immune or i have brain washed...

i still havent quite decided but im not really leaning one way or the other.

i never saw the words in the 1st 3 pics.. even after it was pointed out quite plainly.

i expect sex or dreary to be in my face so to speak all the time.. but is that becasue i have been force fed theese things..

but after my drive this morning i had a chance to think things thru...

and damnit i have alott of stuf that happens to " sounds good" while im inadvertantly living..


so this is my chance to say what a great thread.. its been around along time...

thank you for opening my eyes a little more...

i do wonder what steps can i take..
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:46 AM   #413 (permalink)
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from today's NYTimes.com
link

Quote:
December 22, 2004
Entertaining Web Sites Promote Products Subtly
By NAT IVES

MARKETERS usually try to slip their names into every conceivable venue - like cellphone screens, bathroom posters and TV shows via product placement. But there are times when an ad that almost disguises its sponsor can be more effective.

Many of these ads have taken the form of specialty Web sites, like www.subservientchicken.com, which is intended to entrance visitors with humor, video or games.

Subservient Chicken, perhaps the year's most prominent example, allows visitors to type orders to someone dressed in a chicken costume, who is seen obeying, as if on a live Webcam.

The site, a promotion for the TenderCrisp chicken sandwich sold at Burger King, says little about Burger King or the sandwich, although there is a discreet link to the Burger King site.

Other marketers have moved into specialty Web sites, including Alaska Airlines, which operates a parody site at www.skyhighairlines.com, and Best Buy, the retail chain, which is creating specialty sites tied to particular campaigns, products and audiences.

At one site, Best Buy depicts a fictional Slothmore Institute (www.slothmore.com), which brags of "enabling greatness through sedentary living."

A note from the institute's fictional founder, Dr. Harvey Funkel, explains. "Here at Slothmore we believe that everyone deserves to achieve one's dreams and aspirations," he says, "especially if one's dream is to never achieve a thing."

The idea is that stay-at-home sloths may as well surround themselves with a stereo system, which, incidentally, visitors can check out by clicking on a Best Buy banner ad at the bottom.

Michael Borosky, vice president and creative director at Eleven in San Francisco, said specialty sites enjoy technical and creative support from the marketers, but do not have to observe the conventions of the corporate site. Eleven has created sites for companies like Barclays Global Investors and Eastman Kodak.

"I do consider them kind of like pirate radio stations," Mr. Borosky said. "You're kind of borrowing some bandwidth from the brand, but it allows you to do things the brand may not be comfortable with on its own corporate site."

Another site, Digital Joy (www.digitaljoy.com), advertises the benefits of a partnership between Microsoft and Intel to sell digital entertainment technology, like personal computers that can record television programs. Microsoft and Intel hired Deutsch in New York, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, to create advertising promoting their products.

"Clearly these guys want to be players in the digital home entertainment world," said Fred Rubin, a partner at Deutsch and director of its iDeutsch and directDeutsch divisions. "There's this big idea you want to get out there. It also is different things to different people."

"A television commercial alone would not have solved their problem," Mr. Rubin said. "A Web site alone would not have solved their problem either." It took commercials to drive consumers to the site, he said, and the site's abilities and narrow focus to show them what is available.

At www.comeclean.com visitors are asked to type in confessions, urging, "Start the new year fresh by coming clean." Entered confessions then appear on a hand over a sink, where it is washed away with soap that you can buy at an online gift shop linked to the site.

Visitors can also peek at previous visitors' anonymous confessions. "I haven't changed my sheets in about a month or two," one palm reads. Other confessions are not appropriate for a family newspaper, but all go down the drain in the end. Even confessions of criminal acts are washed away - after an advisory on the site that says they have been sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The site was created by the same agency that is behind Subservient Chicken, Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, to promote Method, the San Francisco marketer of the soaps used to wash away the confessions.
I was thinking about this as I was playing Need For Speed: Underground 2. As I drive around the city I see lots of Best Buys....
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Old 12-22-2004, 11:00 AM   #414 (permalink)
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The lines between simple commercialism and the interaction of entertainment and technology are constantly being blurred more and more each day. Witness many car commercials that put the vehicle in a precarious situation, then entice the viewers to go to something like 'seewhathappens.com' to view the end. Ah, yes, the car survived the roll down the cliff-how clever.
The more I watch tv, the less I watch tv. I have always hated commercials and getting me to run to my computer to see even more of them has, in my case, backfired
for the conglomerates.( I assume the car survived the roll-otherwise what would be the point?)
It seems to be a tug-of-war. As consumers get a bit more savvy, conglomerates need more creative ways of reaching them in the belief that, what we didn't fall for last week, we may, if it's tweaked enough, fall for it now.
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Old 12-27-2004, 07:27 AM   #415 (permalink)
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From today's bylines...a year 2004 recap.

Quote:
Media Moguls Ate Humble Pie in 2004

BYLINE: SETH SUTEL; AP Business Writer

DATELINE: NEW YORK

BODY: Media moguls had some tough times in 2004.

Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Eisner agreed to step aside, albeit on his own schedule, following a shareholder revolt; Mel Karmazin bolted as the No. 2 at Viacom Inc. after years of sparring with chairman Sumner Redstone; and Rupert Murdoch shored up his defenses after longtime ally John Malone moved to grab 17 percent voting control in Murdoch's News Corp.

Even Richard Parsons, whose revival of Time Warner Inc. is winning accolades, is still cleaning up a major mess he inherited - resolving allegations from federal regulators that its America Online unit had faulty accounting practices. On Dec. 15 Time Warner announced a $210 million settlement with the Department of Justice and a proposal for a $300 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Parsons had referred to 2003 as a "reset year" for Time Warner, when the company got back on its feet following the disaster of the AOL merger. For other members of the Big Media family, 2004 turned out to be their own year for a bit of humbling - and getting their own houses in order.

Disney and Viacom both addressed long-looming succession issues, Viacom got rid of its underperforming Blockbuster video unit, and Vivendi Universal SA unwound a disastrous acquisition spree by its former CEO by merging its TV and movie assets with General Electric Co.'s NBC.

Yet even as they responded to investors' concerns, media firms' standing with the public sank to new lows. A drive to further deregulate ownership rules ran into a firestorm of opposition from public interest groups and some in Congress; Janet Jackson's breast-baring episode at the Super Bowl touched off a backlash against what many see as declining moral values on TV; and CBS anchor Dan Rather apologized for a story questioning President Bush's National Guard service.

The repercussions are already being felt. Many ABC stations canceled an airing of "Saving Private Ryan" on Veteran's Day over concerns about the film's language and violence, and ultra-popular radio jock Howard Stern claimed that ever-tightening decency controls led to his decision to abandon broadcast radio for Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., which along with competitor XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. so far is out of reach of federal regulations.

It adds up to a challenging environment for media companies in 2005. The Federal Communications Commission is likely to revisit the deregulation of media ownership rules next year after a federal court threw out most of the proposals, but the prospects for major changes are dim. Several media companies are still hoping that a ban on owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same city may be eased, as well as limits on how many radio or TV stations can be owned by the same company in one market.

"The media industry in 2002 was extremely confident that they were going to get deregulation of ownership," said Blair Levin, a media regulatory analyst with the Legg Mason brokerage firm. "I still think it's going to happen, but it's going to take longer than the media thought and it's going to be less significant."

Making matters worse, the industry is still trying to figure out how to adapt to the emerging era of digital recording device such as TiVos, which threaten the traditional advertising model by allowing users to easily skip commercials.

It's not just the threat of ad-skipping - and that's a big one. The blockbuster popularity of the iPod has got the radio industry worried about losing listeners, especially the young adults that advertisers want to reach most.

And as the capacity of media-storage devices like TiVos jumps, that raises yet another concern for media companies: not only do programs have to compete with all the other channels clamoring for our attention, but also with every other program or song that's stored on customers' hard drives.

Levin says protecting their copyrights and adapting their business models to the new realities of the digital age are the biggest challenges facing the media industry going forward.

"There's really a change in the network architecture," Levin said. "In five years will a TiVo be able to store 500 movies? That tells us that the competition is getting tougher, because you're not only competing with more channels, you're competing with any program that was made over time."
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Old 12-28-2004, 08:06 PM   #416 (permalink)
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"...media firms' standing with the public sank to new lows."

That does sound encouraging. However, as we seem to have a fascination and obsession with things we hate and we don't hate something unless it has an unyielding grip on us, I'd say this newfound revulsion toward the power of media upon our lives indicates media continues to increase its power over us and there's not a thing we can do about it - except the small things we do to make us feel as if we are "fighting back" and "gaining back some territory." I don't see real progress being made at all in getting our minds back.
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Old 12-28-2004, 08:45 PM   #417 (permalink)
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I've really just started to deeply think about this subject, and I've little profundity under my belt so feedback of any sort would be nice, but I'm thinking of the media as it is implemented today as a weak experiment in creating an intellectual super structure. It seems as though, human nature has willed this beast of society into existence and is becoming more receptive to certain aspects of it whilst becoming aggresively opposed certain aspects, changing it into something more suitable to itself whilst changing to accomodate it.
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:45 AM   #418 (permalink)
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OK, ARTelevision, you have piqued my interest.

Now, I've just started reading this thread, so I'm posting my obervations "now" at post #32 to keep myself honest. I realize that the discussion may have spiralled far away from where I am now.

First picture, four flowers, a bird (pidgeon-like), and a fly.

Second picture, gin ad. And they are totally related... ok, I'm guessing that there is some kind of sex reference here, but I'm not seeing any connection. It's always about the sex, right?

Onward with the thread!

OK up to post #55 - Unless Dr. Frankenstein is her PCP, that's not her arm.

Commentary Thus Far

Yes, media does, can, and will attempt to influence us any way they can. To buy products, promote lifestyles, and manipulate our political choices. Yet, mass media is how we obtain our information and the ability to sift through such information for they key parts is vital. This is particularly important in my line of work.

I am a clinical pharmacist. My job is tendering my learned opinion on drug therapy. Not only what works, but what works best considering the patient's current health, concurrent medications, habits, and finances. Patients, physicians, and family of patients look to me to know what I'm talking about. Every time there is a new commercial on a drug the questions I field about that drug and that class of drugs increases tremendously. Fortunatly, I usually know of these drugs before the public does and have a judgement already made. How I make that judgement, however, is ultimatly based on the companies that manufacture the medications. There is a mountain of data generated on safety and effectiveness on drugs that is submitted to the FDA. What is sent to the FDA, I, as a health care practitioner, have access to. (Y'all have access to it as well, but I've been trained to know where to look and what it means. This makes the search a lot less time consuming for me.) Still, as we see from the Vioxx / COX-2 debacle, the companies that generate the information, or pay to have it done, resist the dissemination of the negative information.

On another point, the when the media designs an advertisement, they make certain assumptions about how we think and how we process information. These assumptions don't always hold true. My son is autistic. He processes information differently than other children, and certain senses have unusual sensitivities. His frame of mind may be quite different from typical people. As my wife and I had our son tested when we noticed some strange behaviors, the therapists started asking some interesting questions. These involved certain habits of his and what we might expect as he grow older. I discovered with some alarm that the behaviors that she was mentioning are behaviors and coping mechanisms that I have. After some further research it turns out that I may be autistic too, but I have learned adaptive coping mechaisms to deal with the stress.

I have a lot of trouble following a point. If you point your finger at something, I try to get you to describe what it is that you are pointing at, because I can't visualize the line that leaves your finger to the object in question. I tend to focus on the hand, and I recognize it as a symbol of direction, but that's about it. When I saw the bank advertisement I came away with a vastly different interpretation. At first it looked like a picutre of a young man, college age, studying hard. There was a distorted picture in the back, but it wasn't relevant to the focus of the picture since it was out of focus. If it was relevant, it would be in focus, right? I came away with the initial impression of once the man graduates he will have a use for the banking service.

After some reflection, I found the ad disturbing, almost threatening. The distorted picture of the girl wasn't sexual, it was malformed, spectral. The image wasn't a wispy image of a reward, but the dire image of the consequences of failure.

Now, I'm not saying that I have alien thought patterns and am thus immune to media swaying. But I have found that I interpret symbols somewhat differently than others. Also, I pick up on details that most people seem to miss, and miss other things that most people find obvious. So, maybe, if you are looking for an astute advisor or news filter, you find someone who thinks a little differently than others.

OK, next comment will be on a new post.

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Old 12-29-2004, 07:45 AM   #419 (permalink)
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Thanks for the insightful post and the personal perspective, Baron Opal. Yes, it's a lengthy thread and covers much the topic in some depth.

I do agree that much perception is subjective. But mass media, by definition, is concerned with the statistically and demographically targeted group - as specified by the most sophisticated research it can muster. The fact that we are susceptible to suggestion, social beings, existing in peer-pressure cultures renders us vulnerable to the most successful tool for human manipulation in the history of mankind. That's why I think delving into the subject(s) at hand has value for us all.
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Old 12-29-2004, 03:05 PM   #420 (permalink)
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From http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/index.cfm I found the last paragraph I incuded to be the most telling.

Media and Girls
"They have ads of how you should dress and what you should look like and this and that, and then they say, 'but respect people for what they choose to be like.' Okay, so which do we do first?"

Kelsey, 16, quoted in Girl Talk


The statistics are startling. The average North American girl will watch 5,000 hours of television, including 80,000 ads, before she starts kindergarten. In the United States, Saturday morning cartoons alone come with 33 commercials per hour. Commercials aimed at kids spend 55 per cent of their time showing boys building, fixing toys, or fighting. They show girls, on the other hand, spending 77 per cent of their time laughing, talking, or observing others. And while boys in commercials are shown out of the house 85 per cent of the time, more than half of the commercials featuring girls place them in the home.

You've Come A Long Way, Baby?

The mass media, especially children's television, provide more positive role models for girls than ever before. Kids shows such as Timothy Goes to School, Canadian Geographic for Kids, and The Magic School Bus feature strong female characters who interact with their male counterparts on an equal footing.

There are strong role models for teens as well. A Children Now study of the media favoured by teenage girls discovered that a similar proportion of male and female characters on TV and in the movies rely on themselves to achieve their goals and solve their own problems. (The one discrepancy was in the movies, where 49 per cent of male characters solve their own problems, compared to only 35 per cent of their female counterparts.) Television shows like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and computer games such as Tomb Raider and Perfect Dark, star girls who are physically assertive and in control. And of course, Lisa has been acknowledged as the brains of the Simpson family since the start.

Then there's Teen Vogue, which gushes that 'finding yourself and what makes you feel happy and healthy [is] always in fashion', but also runs ads for breast enhancement tablets. For $229.95, you too can grow bigger boobs, 'feel more beautiful and sexier than ever' and have 'more self esteem, more confidence.'
(Source: Janelle Brown, Salon, 2001)
However, the messages media send to young girls are mixed. On the small screen, male characters continue to outnumber females by a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1, and 90 per cent of the actors starring in American children's programming are male.


Magazines are the only medium where girls are over-represented. However,almost 70 per cent of the editorial content in teen mags focuses on beauty and fashion, and only 12 per cent talks about school or careers.

Media, Self-Esteem and Girls' Identities

Research indicates that these mixed messages make it difficult for girls to negotiate the transition to adulthood. In its 1998 study Focus on Youth, the Canadian Council on Social Development reports that while the number of boys who say they "have confidence in themselves" remains relatively stable through adolescence, the numbers for girls drop steadily from 72 per cent in Grade Six students to only 55 per cent in Grade Ten.

Carol Gilligan was the first to highlight this unsettling trend in her landmark 1988 study. Gilligan suggests it happens because of the widening gap between girls' self-images and society's messages about what girls should be like.

Children Now points out that girls are surrounded by images of female beauty that are unrealistic and unattainable. And yet two out of three girls who participated in their national media survey said they "wanted to look like a character on TV." One out of three said they had "changed something about their appearance to resemble that character."

In 2002, researchers at Flinders University in South Australia studied 400 teenagers regarding how they relate to advertising. They found that girls who watched TV commercials featuring underweight models lost self-confidence and became more dissatisfied with their own bodies. Girls who spent the most time and effort on their appearance suffered the greatest loss in confidence.
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Old 12-29-2004, 03:09 PM   #421 (permalink)
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nice addition ng...

we really don't have a clue do we?
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Old 12-29-2004, 03:18 PM   #422 (permalink)
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My Gawg! but you read fast!!
I had been reviewing this thread and noticing Art's remarks about growing up with notions about having to match or emulate what was put before him via media and his subsequent rebellion and researched media influence on young girls-being the parent of one and one who was greatly influenced and, being who I was or am, coming up so greatly short of what was shown.
While I know both genders are heavily influenced by commercial perceptions, I think young girls have a harder time dealing with their shortcomings as they pertain to these false ideals. The 'love me because I'm beautiful' syndrome can and does have fatal consequences.
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Old 12-30-2004, 07:27 AM   #423 (permalink)
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Yes. What immediately comes to mind is how the old saw of "parental influence" is thoroughly subverted by media-induced "values."

As if being a good parent could somehow sway a child away from the persistent, pernicious, and powerful-beyond-reckoning domination of media-programmed self-image perception.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:32 AM   #424 (permalink)
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and the marketing of snacks to kids vis a vie characters...

I do know that Clifford the Big Red Dog isn't allowed to be on surgary snacks. So he's on some natural fruit gum thing, onion soup, Kix cereal, and that's about it.

All the others market everything from cookies to candy and make tidy profits...

Quote:
It'd Be Easier if SpongeBob Were Hawking Broccoli
By MARIAN BURROS

ASHINGTON

TO those who don't spend a lot of time around children, the boxes and containers lined up in a conference room here last week looked like a collection of toys and games, each bearing the likenesses of characters from Shrek to SpongeBob SquarePants.

But on closer examination these packages contained food: cereals, of course, but also candies, pizzas and pancake syrup. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a group often critical of the government and the food industry, displayed the packages to show what children are exposed to in a barrage of food marketing.

Some countries have banned advertising and marketing food products to children, but there are no such federal restrictions in the United States. Marketing bombards children not only through television but also in schools, in movies, video games, Web sites, books and even in textbooks. Because the government isn't expected to ban it any time soon, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has turned to cajoling instead of demanding some changes.

Last week the center, known to its critics as the nation's nanny, published its "Guidelines for Responsible Food Marketing to Children," which if implemented, would reduce the amount and kind of food marketing to which children would be exposed.

At its news conference here, it offered a small sampling of what parents must contend with when they take their children to the grocery store, including an Oscar Mayer pizza Lunchables kit with 45 grams of sugar and SpongeBob SquarePants, the star of the moment, featured on boxes of Pop Tarts in which more than half of the calories come from fat and sugar.

Dr. Margo Wootan, director of nutrition for the center, said that parents bear the primary responsibility for seeing that their children eat the right foods. But, she said, "they are fighting a losing battle against food marketers." In the last 10 years the amount of money spent on marketing food to children has increased to $15 billion from $7 billion.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America says that the center's focus on advertising and marketing is too narrow. It also says its members are introducing more nutritious foods, smaller package sizes and better nutrition labeling.

Earlier this week General Mills announced that it had added whole grains to its cereals, though many of them still contain one gram of fiber or less per serving.

McDonald's Happy Meals now offer apple dippers as an alternative to french fries and low fat chocolate milk instead of a soft drink. Wendy's is offering mandarin oranges and milk. And Kraft has reduced or eliminated trans fats from its Nabisco cookies and crackers and has introduced 100-calorie packs of Oreos and Chips Ahoy. The company has also said it would no longer market its products in schools.

There has been a smattering of support for more responsible marketing in television. Nickelodeon, the children's cable network and home of SpongeBob, has been running public service announcements that encourage exercise and promote healthful foods. But most of the efforts have been in the schools. As of 2003, the date for which the latest figures are available, at least 17 states had enacted some legislation to improve nutrition in school meals. By last spring the Center for Science had collected information on 14 schools showing that offering healthy food and drinks in vending machines had not reduced their profits, and in some instances, had increased them.

Connecticut is one of the states that has imposed stricter nutritional standards on its school food service. In Danbury the Rogers Park Middle School is also part of a pilot program to encourage more nutritious foods in vending machines provided by Stonyfield Farms. The machines' baked chips, yogurt smoothies and lower fat popcorn are particularly popular, said Suzanne Levasseur, coordinator of health services in the Danbury public schools. "Even the older kids have adjusted to it," she said.

Other countries have gone further. Sweden, Norway, Austria and Luxembourg have all banned television advertising to children. School-based marketing has been banned in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Portugal and Vietnam. In Ireland, where television commercials for candy and fast foods are banned, wrappers must carry warnings that fast food should be eaten in moderation and that sugary foods cause tooth decay.

Critics of the proposed guidelines have said that people should be free to eat whatever they want. But personal responsibility goes only so far in combating obesity, according to Dr. Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. Americans live in a "toxic food environment," he said.
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:28 PM   #425 (permalink)
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"...banned television advertising to children."
"School-based marketing has been banned..."
"...television commercials for candy and fast foods are banned, wrappers must carry warnings that fast food should be eaten in moderation and that sugary foods cause tooth decay."

That's how we get some control back over the debilitating effects of media. Censorship? Words mean what we want them to mean. I like to think of it as a simple exercise in POWER. No one has the "right" to create a toxic environment - including a "toxic food environment."

Thanks Cynthetiq - good to see some concrete solutions.
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:31 PM   #426 (permalink)
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sometimes the deals themselves become news and some of the more conscious people will at least see it coming...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
January 13, 2005
ADVERTISING
Volkswagen Product Placement on NBC
By NAT IVES

MORE and more, it seems, marketers believe all roads lead to Hollywood. Volkswagen is set to announce today that it has signed a long-term deal with NBC Universal providing the automaker with opportunities for product placement and promotions tied to a number of entertainment programs and events.

The deal, which will cost Volkswagen an estimated $200 million, guarantees the company the chance to place its cars in movies released by Universal Studios or television programs that appear on NBC or sibling networks like Bravo, SciFi and USA. Volkswagen will also be able to promote its vehicles on various DVD releases and at Universal theme parks in California, Florida and Spain.

The agreement, which is for three to five years, offers a steady income stream for NBC Universal, which is controlled by General Electric, and is also a signal that product placement will remain important at Volkswagen for some time.

But no one expects product placement to replace traditional corporate advertising campaigns in the foreseeable future.

"The classical communications tools like advertising will always be there and we will always need them," said Dirk Grosse-Leege, the head of corporate communications at Volkswagen, speaking from Germany. Volkswagen and its dealers spent $661.9 million to advertise in traditional major media in the United States in 2003 and $437.5 million from January through September of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, which tracks estimated ad spending.

"But product placement is gaining much more importance," Mr. Grosse-Leege said, noting that some of the money to pay for the deal with NBC Universal will come from the budget for traditional advertising.

Volkswagen is not new to product placement, having arranged appearances by the New Beetle in "Shorties Watchin' Shorties" on Comedy Central. But its excursions have been relatively limited.

Other automakers have been less timid. Last year Ford Motor signed a deal securing product placement opportunities in releases from Revolution Studios; the partnership was responsible for the presence of the Lincoln Navigator in the coming Ice Cube movie, "Are We There Yet?" Ford's British division also paid the author Carole Matthews to mention the Fiesta, a model sold in Europe, in two novels. And Ford opened an office this month in Beverly Hills, Calif., to facilitate its entertainment marketing efforts.

But Volkswagen's deal for long-term presence at Universal Studios puts it in a position to catch up fast. It will have an office there to facilitate on-the-set decisions and learn about the process, and twice a year it will invite writers and other participants in its advertising creative process for demonstrations and test drives.

For Volkswagen, part of the motivation is to infuse its ads with some of Hollywood's drama and emotion to sell car models like Golf, Jetta, Passat and Touareg. Its cars are known for technology and quality, Mr. Grosse-Leege said, but not for their emotional tug on consumers.

"We want this to be front and center when people are writing scripts," said Stephanie Sperber, executive vice president at Universal Studios Partnerships, a division of NBC Universal created in June to pursue corporate partnerships across many entertainment platforms.

The deal, the fine points of which are still being negotiated, does not specify how many movies, television shows or DVD's will be pressed into service for Volkswagen marketing. "There is no limit to their exploitation of our assets," Ms. Sperber said.

It is the sort of exploitation, in fact, that corporate executives describe as a reason to collect entertainment assets across many channels. In that light, the Volkswagen deal may be viewed as a dividend from the creation of NBC Universal in October 2003, when the NBC parent, General Electric, acquired the entertainment assets of Vivendi Universal, including Universal's movie and television studios, theme parks and three cable channels.

"This is the first deal that we've done in terms of a marketing alliance since NBC Universal was formed," Ms. Sperber said.

Despite the continued sweep of marketers into entertainment, critics of product placement have not gone away.

Last year Commercial Alert, a corporate critic advocacy group co-founded by Ralph Nader, asked the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to require on-screen disclaimers whenever product placement appears during a television show. The commissions have said they are investigating the request.

But the bigger threat to product placement may be product placement, should its use continue to accelerate at current rates, said Adam Hanft, chief executive at Hanft Unlimited in New York. "We're reaching the tipping point where overexposure of product placement is going to wind up creating the same kind of wallpaper effect that commercial television has created."

"There will be great traditional marketers and great product placement marketers," Mr. Hanft said. "And there will be bad."
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:49 PM   #427 (permalink)
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What would you prefer? Welcome to capitalism.
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:47 PM   #428 (permalink)
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A capitalist context has been acknowledged in this thread since its inception. That is not at issue here. The various methods in which culture at large and advertising impact populations are being examined. Many posts here illuminate these topics. Many others contain cogent comments, which have carried the discussion forward. It's a lengthy thread which has, for the most part, not been taken lightly. Many thanks to those good members who have contributed significantly toward its continuing development.
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Old 01-15-2005, 08:17 PM   #429 (permalink)
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Re: Cyn's latest post: I remember as a kid watching cop shows produced by "Quinn Martin Productions" and every one featured Fords and Lincolns to the point of making it seem that no other car maker existed. The shows were, of course 'brought to you by your local Lincoln-Mercury dealer'. So, this is certainly nothing new at all. I think what IS new is the consciousness of both the public and media since back then, as I don't recall any news announcements pertaining to these placements. It was just a matter of course accepted when noticed.
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Old 01-15-2005, 08:59 PM   #430 (permalink)
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I think there is also the developement of the entire concept of product placement and it's inherent value to consider. ngdawg mentioned a good older example of 'sponsorship' which I think was probably the predecessor to today's product placement agreements.

Seeing Coke cans, or Reese's Pieces in films isn't new, but the motivations behind the placements are much more organized. Many older product placements were done because a director/actor simply liked a prduct or, in some cases, it was probably what was on hand for the set props.

Today's product placement agreements not only lock-in the products, they lock-out others. In many cases, (like the Volkswagons mentioned before) the manufacturor wants to up the associative stock of their product by attaching it to the popular, oft-mimicked, hollywood scene. Why would anyone would invest 200 million into this type of agreement if there weren't concrete evidence of the associative effects that media has on our buying habits?

I seem to remember that BMW motorcycle sales nearly tripled for a time after their R1200C Cruiser was featured on the then-current Bond Film. BMW has been making motorcycles since the 1930's and a single prominent product placement in a popular movie had a huge impact on their sales. Kind of powerful...isn't it?
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:12 AM   #431 (permalink)
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Powerful, yes, in that it is 'mind-control' through suggestion. Example, try not to eat your favorite food. But the more you think about not having it, the more you want it-you're actually putting the vision of that food deeper into your subconscious by constantly telling yourself you shouldn't have it. We as individuals are bombarded with over 5,000 ads a day, thanks to product placement alone. This includes styrofoam cups from convenience stores, those flash ads on top of your favorite sites, t-shirts, everthing. A small child may not be able to read, but show the MacDonald's arches, and they'll identify them. No one is immune to this power of suggestion and the more we consciously try to ignore any single part of it, the more sucked in we seem to get. Our choices must be all-encompassing and deliberate, a very hard task to master.
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Old 01-16-2005, 09:26 AM   #432 (permalink)
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I am officially addicted to this thread...ARTelevision, great work.
I now do realise that I'm always living scenarios in my head...
Maybe drugs is a way to escape that?? Don't we think differently when on drugs?
i dont know... All of this scares me and fascinates me at the same time....
I want to get away from all this
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Old 01-16-2005, 02:32 PM   #433 (permalink)
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Thanks...

In my quite extensive past experience, drugs magnify the fictional scenarios. If there's a real way out of all this, I'd think it would have appeared in these pages by now. My own "solution" is simply to work on being aware of the fictions we live...
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Old 01-16-2005, 02:48 PM   #434 (permalink)
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Thanks to roachboy for recently reminding me of the work of Guy Debord...

Within the following words a bit of a manifesto can be intuited. It is a manifesto of individual self-actualization, I think - an ideal perhaps - but of interest in terms of pointing a finger toward the moon. Remember to not look at the finger...

..............

B U R E A U O F P U B L I C S E C R E T S

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Critique of Separation
(film soundtrack)

We don’t know what to say. Sequences of words are repeated; gestures are recognized. Outside us. Of course some methods are mastered, some results are verified. Often it’s amusing. But so many things we wanted have not been attained, or only partially and not like we imagined. What communication have we desired, or experienced, or only simulated? What real project has been lost?

The cinematic spectacle has its rules, its reliable methods for producing satisfactory products. But the reality that must be taken as a point of departure is dissatisfaction. The function of the cinema, whether dramatic or documentary, is to present a false and isolated coherence as a substitute for a communication and activity that are absent. To demystify documentary cinema it is necessary to dissolve its “subject matter.”

A well-established rule is that any statement in a film that is not illustrated by images must be repeated or else the spectators will miss it. That may be true. But this same type of miscommunication constantly occurs in everyday encounters. Something must be specified but there’s not enough time, and you are not sure you have been understood. Before you have said or done what was necessary, the other person has already gone. Across the street. Overseas. Too late for any rectification.

After all the empty time, all the lost moments, there remain these endlessly traversed postcard landscapes; this distance organized between each and everyone. Childhood? Why, it’s right here — we have never emerged from it.

Our era accumulates powers and imagines itself as rational. But no one recognizes these powers as their own. Nowhere is there any entry to adulthood. The only thing that happens is that this long restlessness sometimes eventually evolves into a routinized sleep. Because no one ceases to be kept under guardianship. The point is not to recognize that some people live more or less poorly than others, but that we all live in ways that are out of our control.

At the same time, it is a world that has taught us how things change. Nothing stays the same. The world changes more rapidly every day; and I have no doubt that those who day after day produce it against themselves can appropriate it for themselves.

The only adventure, we said, is to contest the totality, whose center is this way of living, where we can test our strength but never use it. No adventure is directly created for us. The adventures that are presented to us form part of the mass of legends transmitted by the cinema or in other ways; part of the whole spectacular sham of history.

Until the environment is collectively dominated, there will be no real individuals — only specters haunting the objects anarchically presented to them by others. In chance situations we meet separated people moving randomly. Their divergent emotions neutralize each other and reinforce their solid environment of boredom. As long as we are unable to make our own history, to freely create situations, our striving toward unity will give rise to other separations. The quest for a unified activity leads to the formation of new specializations.

And only a few encounters were like signals emanating from a more intense life, a life that has not really been found.

What cannot be forgotten reappears in dreams. At the end of this type of dream, half asleep, the events are still for a brief moment taken as real. Then the reactions they give rise to become clearer, more distinct, more reasonable; like on so many mornings the memory of what you drank the night before. Then comes the awareness that it’s all false, that “it was only a dream,” that the new realities were illusory and you can’t get back into them. Nothing you can hold on to. These dreams are flashes from the unresolved past, flashes that illuminate moments previously lived in confusion and doubt. They provide a blunt revelation of our unfulfilled needs.

Here we see daylight, and perspectives that now no longer have any meaning. The sectors of a city are to some extent decipherable. But the personal meaning they have had for us is incommunicable, as is the secrecy of private life in general, regarding which we possess nothing but pitiful documents.

Official news is elsewhere. Society broadcasts to itself its own image of its own history, a history reduced to a superficial and static pageant of its rulers — the persons who embody the apparent inevitability of whatever happens. The world of the rulers is the world of the spectacle. The cinema suits them well. Regardless of its subject matter, the cinema presents heroes and exemplary conduct modeled on the same old pattern as the rulers.

This dominant equilibrium is brought back into question each time unknown people try to live differently. But it was always far away. We learn of it through the papers and newscasts. We remain outside it, relating to it as just another spectacle. We are separated from it by our own nonintervention. And end up being rather disappointed in ourselves. At what moment was choice postponed? When did we miss our chance? We haven’t found the arms we needed. We’ve let things slip away.

I have let time slip away. I have lost what I should have defended.

This general critique of separation obviously contains, and conceals, some particular memories. A less recognized pain, a less explicable feeling of shame. Just what separation was it? How quickly we have lived! It is to this point in our haphazard story that we now return.

Everything involving the sphere of loss — that is, what I have lost of myself, the time that has gone; and disappearance, flight; and the general evanescence of things, and even what in the prevalent and therefore most vulgar social sense of time is called wasted time — all this finds in that strangely apt old military term, lost children, its intersection with the sphere of discovery, of the exploration of unknown terrains, and with all the forms of quest, adventure, avant-garde. This is the crossroads where we have found ourselves and lost our way.

It must be admitted that none of this is very clear. It is a completely typical drunken monologue, with its incomprehensible allusions and tiresome delivery. With its vain phrases that do not await response and its overbearing explanations. And its silences.

The poverty of means is intended to reveal the scandalous poverty of the subject matter.
The events that occur in our individual existence as it is now organized, the events that really concern us and require our participation, generally merit nothing more than our indifference as distant and bored spectators. In contrast, the situations presented in artistic works are often attractive, situations that would merit our active participation. This is a paradox to reverse, to put back on its feet. This is what must be realized in practice. As for this idiotic spectacle of the filtered and fragmented past, full of sound and fury, it is not a question now of transforming or “adapting” it into another neatly ordered spectacle that would play the game of neatly ordered comprehension and participation. No. A coherent artistic expression expresses nothing but the coherence of the past, nothing but passivity.

It is necessary to destroy memory in art. To undermine the conventions of its communication. To demoralize its fans. What a task! As in a blurry drunken vision, the memory and language of the film fade out simultaneously. At the extreme, miserable subjectivity is reversed into a certain sort of objectivity: a documentation of the conditions of noncommunication.

For example, I don’t talk about her. False face. False relation. A real person is separated from the interpreter of that person, if only by the time passed between the event and its evocation, by a distance that continually increases, a distance that is increasing at this very moment. Just as a conserved expression remains separate from those who hear it abstractly and without any power over it.

The spectacle as a whole is nothing other than this era, an era in which a certain youth has recognized itself. It is the gap between that image and its consequences; the gap between the visions, tastes, refusals and projects that previously characterized this youth and the way it has advanced into ordinary life.

We have invented nothing. We adapt ourselves, with a few variations, into the network of possible itineraries. We get used to it, it seems.

No one returns from an enterprise with the ardor they had upon setting out. Fair companions, adventure is dead.

Who will resist? It is necessary to go beyond this partial defeat. Of course. And how to do it?

This is a film that interrupts itself and does not come to an end.

All conclusions remain to be drawn; everything has to be recalculated.

The problem continues to be posed — in continually more complicated terms. We have to resort to other measures.

Just as there was no profound reason to begin this formless message, so there is none for concluding it.

I have scarcely begun to make you understand that I don’t intend to play the game.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord....separation.htm
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Old 01-25-2005, 06:30 AM   #435 (permalink)
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A current myth is the notion that because people get their infotainment from the Internet (many sources) rather than major news channels/organs (few sources) we are somehow magically more well-informed. Clueless use of the Internet and blind faith in its sources do not constitute critical thinking. There is no substitute for discernment and critical thought.

Here's an article by Antone Gonsalves, the Editor of InternetWeek...from internetweek.com. I can tell you that my students are fairly clueless as to how to search and discern wheat from chaff when they're researching and referencing their writing by using online sources.

...................
"
Fooling Ourselves

Research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project...shows that many of us are not as smart as we think.

The non-profit group found that only 38 percent of search-engine
users are aware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results, and only 1 in 6 can always tell which results are paid and which are not.

On the other hand, 92 percent of searchers in the Pew survey said
they were at least confident about their search abilities, with more
than half saying they were "very confident."

That's quite a contrast. This is the equivalent of being unaware of
the distinction between a newspaper advertising and a news story, or between a TV news program and an infomercial.

While I don't believe the study shows the majority of us are stupid, it does point to careless use of the Internet as a source of
information, and I can't help but wonder if this is an indicator of a
bigger problem. As the issues facing our nation increase in
complexity, we need to learn to search out facts that will help us
make intelligent decisions in our own lives and in the voting booth.

If we base our decisions on carelessly gathered information, then
it's likely we'll suffer in our personal lives and as a free nation.
"
........................
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Old 01-26-2005, 06:46 AM   #436 (permalink)
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very nice art...

yes while I can find things very quickly and accurrately, I have to keep my critical thinking hat on when researching on the internet.

Before you had a phyisical book to hold, that lead a little credibility to the writer in and of itself because years ago it was not easy to get a book published, fringe or even mainstream. Now it's not that simple, as sometimes research can be cicularly linked referencing each other. The AAA road rage and newsmedia self fueling stories of the 90's exposed that flaw and that was in traditional media outlets.

Critical thinking must always be at the ready.
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Old 01-26-2005, 06:58 AM   #437 (permalink)
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Autorox on Spike TV

Last night they had an "awards" show for cars.

It was an MTV production flash with cars as the centerpiece and rock stars providing the soundtrack. A long 1.5 hour commercial on cars, music, fashion. If you can catch it I suggest just the first 15 minutes or just after the Yellow Corvette drives off the stage.

http://www.autorox.com/rsc/
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:05 AM   #438 (permalink)
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from today's Variety:

Turner takes a stand
Maverick mogul blasts big business congloms

By ELIZABETH GUIDER

LAS VEGAS -- Alternately wisecracking and whimsical, Ted Turner took several pot shots at media consolidation but largely spared his old colleagues at AOL Time WarnerTime Warner during the opening keynote session at NATPE Tuesday morning.
The maverick mogulmogul told some 750 NATPE delegates that the concentration of media might in the hands of five congloms had made it well-nigh impossible to break into the business -- and, even more perniciously, made the news operations of such companies less critical of government.

But describing himself as "phased out" of the bizbiz, the CNN founder came across to the NATPE contingent as more resigned than riled up. Feisty he was not.

Given war and environmental degradation, he pointed out, there's a tremendous responsibility in running these operations.

"We need to be very well informed. We need less Hollywood news and a little more hard news," Turner said in an opening 10-minute address. That young people get much of their news from sources like Jon StewartJon Stewart on Comedy CentralComedy Central was, in his view, "frightening."

For Turner, the issue of media consolidation is in his "top five" list of global problems somewhere down from war, nuclear proliferation and environmental degradation.

Responding then to questions from former CNN news anchor Bernard Shaw, Turner reiterated that he was "against the formation of these giant companies," including in retrospect the merger between TW and AOL, which voting for was his "craziest" business mistake.

Asked by Shaw what he would do were he to find himself in a sauna with former AOL TW chairman Gerald Levin, (the architect of the merger), Turner declined the ball and quipped, "I forgave Russia for despotic communism, so I can forgive Jerry Levin." In fact, Turner said there was no point in rehashing the AOL fiasco in that he still sits on the board and has a responsibility "not to be too critical of my old company."

Coming across as more rueful than wrathful, the 66-year-old cable pioneer advised a couple of questioners from the audience to take their greatest risks while young, as, to his mind, there's nothing worse than an older guy who used to be rich. "That's why I started that restaurant business," he added, referring to his chain of grills, which specialize in bison burgers.

"It's not as exciting as the bombing of Baghdad, but people have to eat. They've got half the fat of beef burgers," he half-joked.

To another query from a young cable aspirant, Turner opined that consolidation had made it "virtually impossible" to start up a service -- "they own 90% of the business" -- so "I'd go into the restaurant biz -- or go work for a salary for those jerks."

Meanwhile, in kicking off the 42nd NATPE convention the org's prexyprexy-CEO Rick Feldman unveiled an initiative to help local stations deal with indecency issues.

Together with the Annenberg School at USC, NATPE will host a symposium this spring in Los Angeles to come up with solutions that will both safeguard consumers and allow creativity to flourish.

"The uncertainty over the regulatory landscape," Feldman told NATPE delegates, has led to "a chilling atmosphere."

He pointed to the latest incidence of censorship in which PBS excised a scene from HBO's movie "A Dirty War" because it showed a naked woman being de-contaminated of some chemical poison.

Feldman said incidents like that and the reluctance of some stations to broadcast "Saving Private Ryan""Saving Private Ryan" because they were concerned they might be fined - or even loose their broadcast licenses - needed to be addressed. "NATPE will help find some answers," he said.

"The guidelines have to be clearer and our own stance on these issues needs to be communicated to government and the FCC in particular," other NATPE reps added.
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Old 01-31-2005, 12:45 PM   #439 (permalink)
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World’s Top Brands for 2004:

The first story here refers to Al Jazeera’s move into the World’s Top Brands for 2004. Brand recognition is sort of a popularity contest for memes. It matters not what the brand is all about – just that we know it and recognize it. The other news here is that Apple topped Google in it’s quest for our cranium space.

………….

Surprise contender in battle of the brands


Times Online 01/31/05

Apple and Google have battled it out with al-Jazeera, the controversial Arab television channel, in the branding stakes

Apple, the computer company, has toppled Google, the search engine, to be voted "the brand with the most global impact" in a poll run by Interbrand, the branding consultancy giant.

The real surprise, however, was the emergence of al-Jazeera, the controversial Arab television station in a top-five dominated by "shiny", fashion-conscious, western companies.

Apple aficionados are likely to regard the verdict, reached by readers of Interbrand's brandchannel.com website, as overdue. The company, recently described by one fan as having the "attitude of an artist and the eye of an anthropologist", has consistently won plaudits for its sleek, lovingly engineered products and now enjoys commercial success.

"It’s hard to imagine a brand having a shinier year than Apple," said Robin D.Rusch, the editor in chief of Brandchannel.

The phenomenal popularity of the iPod has transformed Apple’s fortunes. Over 10 million of the must have music players have been sold since the product's launch four years ago. Last year they helped achieve a 300 per cent increase in revenues for Apple – more than offsetting its shrinking share of the computer market.

The upstart Google, whose internet search engine inspires similar levels of loyalty, usurped Apple as the most admired brand in 2002, according to the poll. But this year the company, which makes 95 per cent of its revenue from paid-search advertising, could only manage second spot.

The shock result came among the runners up. Following the familiarly western Ikea and Stabucks – deemed the third and fourth most impactful brands of the last year respectively – came al-Jazeera, the controversial Qatar-based television station.

Al-Jazeera, which is funded by Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, the leader of Qater who staged a coup against his father a decade ago, has become renowned for its decisions to air tapes that the western media have considered too bloody or violent to screen.

It has also frequently been the first channel to receive messages from figures on the run from western authorities. The channel last month played a tape purportedly from Osama bin Laden urging Iraqis to boycott the weekend’s parliamentary polls. United States forces bombed the channel’s Baghdad bureau earlier in the Iraq war.

The incendiary style of programming has displeased several disparate groups – the US Defence Department has labelled al-Jazeera "an unbalanced political entity" while many Shias regard the station as a Sunni mouthpiece – but it has changed the media landscape of Middle East.

In the nine years since al-Jazeera began broadcasting it has been joined by more than half a dozen Arab competitors, leading commentators to observe that having been unable to strangle the station, other Arab states have been forced to emulate it.

Compared with 2003, al-Jazeera climbed eight places to reach the fifth spot in the global survey.

Mr Rusch said: "Al-Jazeera presents an alternative point of view to those who until recently have had only CNN or the BBC to supply ‘world’ news views."

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/ar...464886,00.html

……………………………………………………………………………………………

The next story is a broader report of the contenders for the top spot in our minds and eyes. Let’s just take the time to reflect on these reports.
…………………………………………………………………………………………….


Readers Pick Apple in 2004
by - Robin D. Rusch
31-Jan-2005

Global: Apple bites big
After a two-year hiatus Apple has returned to win the 2004 Readers’ Choice Awards for the brand with the most global impact—a title held by Google since 2002.

It’s hard to imagine a brand having a shinier year than Apple. Notably punctuated with iMacs, iPods and iTunes, Apple’s 2004 presence was felt in the press, in ads and on the streets, with iPod coming to define the word “ubiquitous.” Coupled with strong revenue, Apple reported a net profit of US$ 295 million in the last quarter of 2004 alone and a 2004 overall net income growth of 300 percent. Yes, 300 percent.


At Apple’s core is great innovation, beautiful design and an ability to bring warmth and passion to those who may be completely incurious about technical gadgetry but need it nonetheless to survive in today’s world.

From U2 to “You too?,” the iPod alone sold 4.6 million units in the last quarter, practically doubling sales since its launch. (There are now about 10 million pod-addicts on the planet.) Meanwhile, iMac sales tripled as Apple’s overall computer sales rose by 26 percent over 2003 sales. Music division iTunes became the blueprint for Napster-alternative online music sales. And swanky retail outlets gave Apple enthusiasts a chance to worship or interact directly with the company as well as each other.

However, Apple’s cultural symbolism was not economically symbiotic. Its worldwide computer market share dropped to less than two percent in 2004 to a 1.87 percent share in Q3 of 2004 (down from 2.19% in Q3 2003). The 2004 world leader for market share was Dell at 18 percent, followed by HP at 16 percent and IBM with 6 percent. The small white hope is that iPod’s halo effect will bring more buyers to Apple’s other offerings, which go beyond consumer goods to include servers, WiFi, and software, and include the already-backordered new iPod Shuffle and a sub-US$ 500 Mac.

Not far behind Apple, and equally appealing to those navigating a potentially complicated technical landscape, is Google.

The world’s number one search engine, Google’s impact on our readers reflects the online public’s growing dependence on sorting through an incomprehensible amount of available information. On our screens, its minimalist design betrays its maximal capacity. But Google does more, including technology licensing and hardware, news aggregating and shopping (Froogle). According to the company, 95 percent of revenue comes from AdSense advertising.

Google lost little ground in being dumped as the search engine behind Yahoo early last year; it conducts more than 200 million searches a day and leads the world for search engine usage with 57 percent of the current market, followed by Yahoo at 21 percent and MSN at just 9 percent.

Largely based on functional attributes, which offer clarity in a complex field, Google is by no means invincible. It faces competition on many fronts including Yahoo’s Overture search engine and other solutions like Vivisimo’s Clusty, and MSN Desktop Search, all of which hope to build a better mousetrap.

From the public’s perspective, Google’s unique approach to life’s little issues was on display as it went public in 2004, seeking to do so largely on its own terms. The same strong arm can be felt in the pretzel twisting exercise webmasters are submitted to when trying to meet the company’s keyword ranking guidelines. However as long as the brand is on top, it gets to call the rules.

The upside to Google’s future? Only 12.7 percent of the world population has access to the Internet, leaving 5.6 billion potential future users.

From tech to retail, numbers three and four on the Global list are, respectively, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA and American coffee brand Starbucks. Surprisingly similar despite product differences, both benefit from having highly branded retail spaces that quickly generate publicity and awareness.

Both IKEA and Starbucks expanded in 2004. IKEA opened ten more stores in 2004 and has staked out 20 new locations for 2005.

Starbucks opened 1,344 new spaces in the first three quarters of 2004, to bring its global total to 8,569 in more than 30 countries. The hyper-caffeinated brand intends to expand to 15,000 US stores and 15,000 international stores. Although the expansion’s timeframe is unclear, consider that the retailer opened roughly 3.5 stores every day in 2004.

Starbucks is not without competition, particularly beyond US shores. Pretty much any venue brewing quality coffee and offering ambiance can rival the barista. However Starbucks benefits from high brand awareness, an efficiency of size and operating on the McDonald’s principle of “safety in the known.”

Rounding out the top five 2004 Global Brands is a surprise winner: the Arab-focused, 24-hour news source Al Jazeera. Based in Qatar and offering an alternative to BBC or CNN, Al Jazeera has over 35 million viewers (overwhelmingly Muslim) and 30 bureaus worldwide. As the issues of 2004 hovered heavily around the Middle East and Islamic populations, Al Jazeera’s relevancy soared.

Though suffering difficulties such as banned reporters, advertising boycotts, and charges of bias (arguably stemming from those who are themselves biased toward European and American interests), Al Jazeera is viewed as relatively independent within its region and is increasingly gaining mainstream credibility beyond its borders. The company itself claims to “cover all viewpoints with objectivity integrity and balance.”

Already offering news in English at www.English.AlJazeera.net, the media source is planning to offer an English channel satellite service in 2005.

Other brands in the top ten are previous year mainstays, with Germany’s car brand Mini and America’s Coca-Cola sliding from the top five in 2003 to sixth and seventh in 2004. The UK's Virgin entered into the top at eighth from last year's eleventh. Finland’s Nokia slipped from seventh to tenth.

Notable newcomer to the top ten is eBay (at ninth). The American online auctioneer claims 95 million registered users, and in 2004 expanded abroad to Asia, South America and Europe, allowing people all over the world to sell things they don't want and buy things they don't need.



US & Canada: Jobs well done

Apple is the winner in the 2004 Readers’ Choice Award for the US & Canada for the second straight year. Target falls to third as Google creeps up to place second.

The perpetual underdog, with less than two percent of the world market, Apple has what John Schwartz in the New York Times aptly described as the “attitude of an artist and the eye of an anthropologist” (16 January 2005). The company’s ability to delight the user in a bland land of equipment and software makes it easy to see why it impacts those of us who spend our days in the 21st century.

However, less savvy consumers contribute to the actual sales dominance of mainstream competitors, particularly in the computer division. Apple Computer ranks sixth in the US with just 3.33 percent of the market (Dell leads at 33%, followed by HP at 20% and Gateway at 5.23%).

Undaunted by the competition, Apple’s dizzying pace of inventing new toys looks set to continue in 2005. The Shuffle and Mac mini were both unveiled in January of 2005. (2,000 Shuffle units sold within four hours of revealing the iPoddler.)

Continuing to reflect global results, Google pulls up behind Apple at second place.

It’s no surprise that Google ranks so high in the lives of North Americans, as more and more households go online (roughly 68 percent of the North American population now has access to the Internet).

Google deserves credit for offering clarity where most other portals employ a jungle of links. Easy enough for a newbie to navigate, it still remains the engine of choice for techies. Consider this: 66 percent of Microsoft employees use Google while only 20 percent use their own MSN engine. (We’d speculate on what the remaining 14% are up to but we’re worried about mysterious DOS errors).

Overall in the US, Google holds 34 percent of the search engine market. Yahoo is close behind with 32 percent, MSN at 27 percent and AOL, the milk and cookies version of the Internet, drags in at nine percent.

Retailers Target and Starbucks are, respectively, third and fourth in the US & Canada, making tech and retail the categories to most impact our readers.

Although trailing Wal-Mart in actual sales, American department store Target gets points beyond just price (Wal-Mart’s primary offering). Target’s fourth year in the top five US & Canada Brands reflects the public’s love of the reasonably priced, upscale retailer.

Shopping for bathmats, a Target shopper feels smart, savvy and, dare we say, sexy. It appears that while we’re glad to get a year’s supply of toilet paper at Wal-Mart for a nickel, the experience doesn’t exactly linger beyond the checkout line. Perhaps this explains why Wal-Mart placed 18th to Target’s 2nd.

Despite offloading its underperforming divisions in 2004 (Marshall Field’s and Mervyn’s), Target is rumored to be looking to expand. Canadians may see their beloved Hudson’s Bay Company acquired by the retailer in 2005.

Though experimenting somewhat outside of its charter with breakfast and lunch options in select markets, and offering branded music compilations, it seems safe to assume that Starbucks’ impact on the daily need for caffeine isn’t waning. A relatively cheap treat, Starbucks is a good example of socialized luxury.

Reflecting an incredible rise in the US & Canada results is Pixar at fifth place, up from eighth in 2003 and 31st in 2002.

Still under the partnership thumb of its distributor Disney (and majority-owned by Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs), Pixar released just one feature-length film in 2004: The Incredibles. Competitor DreamWorks, which placed 40th, released four films in 2004, including Shark Tale and Shrek II. Placing 37th, Disney (a comprehensive conglomeration of entertainment businesses making it difficult to really compare with Pixar) made news most notably in 2004 by declining to release the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 from Michael Moore.

We mention Moore because, though not listed on our survey, he received quite a few write in votes along with his nemesis George Bush. (At this point we should remind our readers that a brand’s overall “impact” could be positive or negative.)

Brand cults-of-personality who were listed did quite well in the US & Canada results. The follicly-adventurous real estate and reality TV developer Donald Trump came in seventh, just above imprisoned home-economics guru Martha Stewart (eighth) and daytime TV icon and Pontiac shill Oprah Winfrey (tenth).

Two Internet companies, Amazon.com and eBay placed sixth and ninth respectively. Both brands survived the dot-com bust and are thriving by heeding the qualities of successful offline brands: fulfilling a market need with reliable service.

Europe & Africa: IKEA inches up

Swedish retailer IKEA topped results in the Europe & Africa region in 2004. Although the Swedes may at times grow weary of the assemble-it-yourself furniture giant, the rest of Europe is still reveling in the opportunity to buy Scandinavian designs on a shoestring budget. Europe represents 81 percent of the furniture giant’s sales (North America is 16% and Asia just 3%).

As for interest in the brand, consider that IKEA’s is the world's most widely read catalog with145 million copies printed in 2004 (and not a single naked person).

IKEA has come a long way from selling pencils but its success is not assured. Fellow Scandinavian furniture retailer, ILVA has plans to expand beyond its borders, adding to IKEA’s competitor list. First stop: the UK in ‘05.

Speaking of the UK, Virgin splits Swedish retail brands IKEA and H&M (third), by finishing second in Europe & Africa.

Virgin has so many businesses that it’s not possible to parse through what impacts our readers specifically. But at this point, it must be possible to live a complete Virgin life from transportation to communication, entertainment, drinks, cosmetics, financial services, and so much more. Next stop space, literally.

Richard Branson continues to delight or disgust depending on one’s perspective, but we suspect the voters for Virgin in this ranking are definitely fans. Sir Richard’s tremendous talent for making us feel like winners just for choosing Virgin cannot be underestimated, even if his success at reality TV should have been.

Swedish clothing retailer H&M operates on IKEA’s philosophy by offering inexpensive yet stylish clothing for men and women. Priced below or at the same level as other popular high street retailers, H&M leverages the “get what you pay for” formula to the customer’s benefit by offering frocks so low-priced they’re practically disposable. Competitors like Spain’s Zara, which placed eighth here, typically price higher, making purchasing less of a lighthearted decision.

The company’s extraordinary expansion brings it to a total of over 1,000 stores worldwide. Ninety percent of H&M’s sales happen beyond its borders, with Germany (not Sweden) as H&M’s biggest market. In 2004, H&M acquired Germany’s Gap chain, simultaneously increasing retail locations and decreasing competition.

Sliding since 2001, but still within the top five, Finnish telecommunications brand Nokia comes in fourth in Europe & Africa. Still the world’s leading cellphone maker, nokiaholics are regularly treated to design and technology innovations from multimedia messaging to Java applications to EDGE or GPRS wireless web access.

But why is Nokia sliding from its number one placings in 2001 and 2002? Probably because by failing to add a toaster to recent models, Nokia has become its own worst enemy. Ratcheting up its innovation half-life to an unmaintainable degree, Nokia disappoints fans when it slips with inconsistent designs or simply slows down to mere human levels.

In its ninth year of broadcasting, Al Jazeera rounds out the top five in Europe and Africa, coming in ahead of competitor BBC (at ninth place).

Accused of bias (an argument we have not the tipple nor time to enter into here), Al Jazeera presents an alternative point of view to those who until recently had only CNN or BBC to supply "world" news views. Compared with 2003, Al Jazeera has climbed over eight other brands to place fifth in both 2004 Global and 2004 Europe & Africa results.



Asia-Pacific: Sony sees enemies at the gates

Consumer electronic brands lead in Asia-Pacific with Sony in first followed by Samsung and LG. The close results of these brands perfectly reflect the zeitgeist of the marketplace in which they compete.

As the Asia-Pacific brand with the most impact in 2004 (eleventh Globally), Sony is working harder than ever to innovate in each of its various and varied divisions.

Film, music, electronics, and semiconductors: Sony is involved in just about every aspect of entertainment from delivery systems to content. In 2004, its music division merged with BMG to form Sony BMG, second now only to Universal Music.

Still, as popular as Sony is in the consumer market, it’s obviously struggling. Strong competitor challenges from every part of its business as well as the public’s endless expectation of lower prices for digital equipment, have led to lower profits across the industry. Sony is countering with an investment in R&D, partnering with its own competition including NTT DoCoMo and Samsung, to develop new technology, and even taking the long-expected and advised step of withdrawing from areas where it’s weak. (In 2004, determining that the PDA market will eventually cede to cellphones, Sony withdew the Clié from the global market to sell only domestically. It will refocus its resources on smart cellphones instead.)

Part of Sony’s headache must include the strong showing of Korean chaebols Samsung (second) and LG (third).

Although Samsung’s businesses sprawls from semiconductors to oil and textiles, we assume the brand impact measured here is from its consumer electronics division Samsung Electronics.

Like Sony, Samsung now fights on many different fronts and ended 2004 by warning of lower profits than expected. But the Korean brand has been on a strong rise for the last couple years by turning its product from cheap to smart, investing in quality design and technology, and generally surprising consumers with competitively priced, quality products.

Samsung is also drawing praise in its appliance business. Now third in the global appliance sector (behind Whirlpool and Electrolux), Samsung unveiled smart products in 2004, such as the germ-free fridge.

Similar in scope to Sony and Samsung’s diverse businesses, LG places third among brands with the most impact. The Korean consumer electronics brand appears to be trying to beat Samsung at its own game by countering a traditionally poor image with a better quality product.

Last year kicked off with LG’s pledge to become one of the top three global electronics brands. As part of the strategy, it has set its hopes on the handset division where the theory is that loyalty to the brand’s phones will create a halo effect on other product. Sales rose from US$ 6.9 million in 2000 to US$ 44 million last year (beating Sony Ericsson and placing fifth in the world for handsets).

Back to Japan where Toyota places fourth. The automaker’s serious approach to perfection is reflected in sales and prominence in the industry worldwide. Toyota is the largest automaker in Japan and second worldwide only to General Motors. (GM has 15% of the world market; Toyota rose to 13% while Ford sunk to 11%.) While not the number one automaker, Toyota did turn the most profit in 2004: US$ 11.1 billion (to GM’s 4.04 billion and Ford’s 2.67 billion).

Toyota also received many write ins for its Scion line (a sub brand in the US), which seems to be gaining enormous interest beyond the brand’s traditional market.

Ranking fifth in Asia-Pacific is Australia’s Lonely Planet. No longer targeting the backpacker segment, the 31-year-old travel guidebook brand has grown more conservative with age. Its more mainstream approach to content has attracted a larger readership while also placing the once strongly differentiated brand squarely in the path of competitors.

The brand has made good use of the Internet with its travel forum Thorn Tree, and branched into other related guidebook areas such as restaurants and activities. But Lonely Planet’s challenges still lie at the core of its product’s expertise. The right (or wrong) guidebook has the potential to have a substantial impact on one’s life via that emotional connection brands are always looking so hard to establish. Feeling well led when encountering the unknown cannot be underestimated and can lead to lifelong brand loyalty. It is for this reason that Lonely Planet's overwhelming priority should be constant quality control of its content.

After weathering colossal threats to the travel industry in the last three years (SARs, recessions and September 11th), it will be interesting to see how Lonely Planet now handles the rewrite on Asian titles affected by the tsunami to compensate for resorts and “places to eat” that are no longer there.

Rounding out the top ten in the region are, respectively, Singapore Airlines and Qantas, the financial mammoth HSBC, Japanese automaker Honda, and nudie drinks, Australia’s answer to the well-publicized Innocent Drinks brand in the UK.

Latin America: Cemex cements top spot

At the top of the 2004 Latin America brand rankings is Mexican cement brand Cemex. The third largest cement company in the world, Cemex’s recent success can be traced in part to Mexico’s housing boom, as an increase in government mortgage loans has led to an increase in development. However the brand’s finishing is surprising when compared to other regions’ tech and retail favored results.

Nearly a hundred years old, Cemex reported that 2004 net income was more than double 2003’s net. Growing at a comparable rate is Cemex’s debt, now at US$ 5.6 billion, which the company claims is one percent less than the year before. At this rate, Cemex should be debt free just in time for Mexico to reclaim Texas and California.

Three beverage brands land in Latin American’s top five; Mexico’s Corona places second, Cuba/Bermuda’s Bacardi places third and Chile’s Concha y Toro is fifth (knocking off Café de Colombia), leaving bakery brand Bimbo (fourth) to soak in all the booze.

These rankings represent no change from the 2003 Readers’ Choice Award results for Central & Latin America.

Grupo Modelo’s Corona holds the majority of its home market in Mexico, and it does an effective job of selling an image of sun and sand to the rest of the world.

In 2004, Bacardi added to its stable of brands (which includes Dewar’s, Bombay and Martini), including the (estimated) US$ 2 billion purchase of the incredibly successful Grey Goose brand from Sidney Frank.

Chilean wine brand Viña Concha y Toro reflects the overall healthy Chilean wine industry. Chile’s wine market increased 26 percent between September 2003 and October 2004, and of that market, Concha y Toro holds more than 20 percent between its fifteen vineyards. Sales for 2004 were up 3.8 percent with more than half of the revenue coming from exports to nearly 100 countries. The brand follows the Chilean industry model of offering good quality wine at popular price points, but it receives a lot of attention, praise and awards from critical entities like Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Descorchados and Wines and Spirits.

Mexican brand Bimbo, the third largest bread maker in the world and market leader for flour-based products in the Americas, reported year-over-year increased sales of 7.7 percent in Mexico in 2004 (in the rest of Latin America sales were up 4.9 percent from 2003). Its US sales dip has been blamed, in part, on the lo-carb fad.

With no monumental news in 2004, it becomes difficult to know exactly why our voters rated this brand with such a high impact. Still, like the coffee (and arguably the alcohol) brands in the survey, bread is a daily part of most lives, and no one does bread quite like Bimbo.

Brands rounding out the top ten in Latin America include Brazilian flip-flop brand Havaianas, capturing voters’ fancy as a footwear trend, and finishing sixth. It was followed by Mexican airline Aeroméxico at seventh place.

Although Café de Colombia slipped to eighth (from fifth in 2003) this National Federation of Coffee Growers is still one to watch. Second behind Brazil as the world’s largest coffee producer, Colombia organizes its relatively small individual growers under the more powerful Café de Colombia brand (sub-brand and retail outlets include the Juan Valdez brand).

In addition to reaching more markets abroad, Café de Colombia hopes to brew domestic interest in its own product at home. Presently Colombians only drink 1.2 million of the 12 million sacks of coffee sold each year by the brand.

Rounding out the top ten for Latin America brands are Brazil’s largest industrial company, Petrobras (ninth) and the nation’s cosmetic brand Natura (tenth).



Methods to the Madness: What, who, when, how

The annual Readers’ Choice Awards are a chance to recognize the brands that have the most impact on our lives each year. Impact can be either positive or negative.

A total of 1,984 brandchannel readers from 75 countries voted online between November and December 2004.

A shortlist for each region is provided but readers are given a chance to write in brand(s) to compensate for omissions on the part of brandchannel.

The shortlist comprises brands that were highly visible that year. Write in votes carry equal weight to listed brands unless the brand is already listed in the shortlist, in which case we accept up to 10 write ins for one brand.

Voters are allowed to vote for up to five brands per region and complete the demographics section once. No section of the survey is mandatory, which explains the varying response rates by region. Respondents per region equal: 1,984 for Global, 935 for US & Canada, 858 for Europe & Africa, 655 for Asia-Pacific, and 408 for Latin America.

After submitting, voters receive a “cookie.” Unlike the treat that goes with milk, this cookie signals that the respondent has already voted in that region and cannot vote again.

Voting is open to anyone. Rankings are compiled purely on the basis of reader results. We do not influence the results through weighting, sampling or a flawed electoral college.

Our readers are interested in brands and branding. They are online and are therefore presumably familiar with technology. Of course, they are above average in intelligence, curiosity, good looks, taste, charm.

Sixty percent of voters identified themselves as men; the strongest group of voters fell in the age range of 26 to 35 years old.

Previous year results are equally fascinating: 2003, 2002 and 2001 or view charts of this year and previous year’s surveys.

Brandchannel will be conducting a similar survey for 2005.

Robin D. Rusch is Editor-in-Chief of brandchannel

http://www.brandchannel.com/start1.asp?fa_id=248

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Cogent comments on just how much thinking room we have left to ourselves – considering the humongous impact these conceptualizations have upon our earthly existence - are always appreciated here.
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:04 PM   #440 (permalink)
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Except for not recognizing some of the European product names, these surveys sound like lemmings took part. Makes one wonder....do we choose the likes of Target or Sony because of their market saturation or did they earn market saturation through our choices?
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