Hah! This is great. WGN reporter Dean Richards interviewed Mel Gibson and after it was over Mel called him an asshole – on tape. To make matters worse, Mr. Gibson now says that his publicist was making faces at him off camera and he was actually referring to him, and not to the reporter. Big. Liar.
Mark Barret over at Ditchwalk penned an astute article on advertising. What he reveals in it is something so obvious that I’m thinking it gets overlooked. Anyway, I found it interesting even though I really do like the western bacon cheeseburger over at Carl’s Jr.
You’re watching TV. A commercial comes on for a product that is in no way related to sex. Despite the obvious disconnect the commercial itself is entirely about sex. You’re not surprised, of course, because there’s nothing new about this. Sex has been selling products other than sex since products other than sex have been sold. The current sex-obsessed Axe body spray commercials are simply an updating of the Hai Karate commercials of yesteryear. Granted, today’s commercials demonstrate a greater corporate tolerance for pseudo-pornographic content, but that’s primarily a function of the increased difficulty of attracting eyeballs in the digital age. We’re not looser than we used to be: we’re just more desperate for attention.
So sex sells. That’s nothing new. But the use of sex to sell nonsexual products is also a tell. To understand what you’re being told when you see sex in a commercial for a nonsexual product, you need to know Barrett’s First Law of Marketing:
When your product is indistinguishable from the competition, add sex.
Carl’s Jr., for example, feeds dead cows to their customers — as does Wendy’s, McDonalds and Burger King, to name the leading competitors in the beef category of the fast-food industry. In order to differentiate their brand and distract customers from the grisly reality of their business, Carl’s Jr. could tout the fact that they use a specific kind of dead cow, as with the Black Angus commercial war that broke out recently, or they could call attention to some other aspect of their food service. But all such product-related marketing choices would be shades of gray in a market category dominated by gray.
To get real brand recognition for an indistinguishable product in a generic market you need to do something radical — like mate a partially nude, gyrating, grinding, blond bimbo to a bucket of suds, so nature can take its course with whatever demographic (dad and his wallet) you’re trying to attract. That’s how everything from toasters to antiperspirant to shoes to cars to dental floss to insurance to fast food becomes steeped in curves and innuendo. It’s not that sex sells everything, it’s that sex helps sell stuff that otherwise cannot compete on its own merits.
Which leads us to the inverse of Barrett’s First Law of Marketing:
If sex is used to market a nonsexual product, that product is generic.
Any time you see sex added to a product that is not inherently sexual, you are being told by the company that makes the product that their product is not special or unique in any way. Axe body spray is no better than any other body spray. Carl’s Jr.’s dead cow is no better than anybody else’s dead cow.
This inherent revelation of mediocrity holds for all products in all markets. This includes movies, music, computer games and books.
Here is an awesome story about a boy and his iPhone. One day it got stolen by an evil man. The boy was sad but determined to get his iPhone back. Read this most excellent retelling of the events. No really, do it. It’s hysterically wonderful.
Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose book “A People’s History of the United States” became a million-selling leftist alternative to mainstream texts, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass.
The cause was a heart attack, his daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said.
And here it is, the new tablet from Apple, the iPad. Probably not in stores yet as the online Apple store is not down.
Not only is it terrifyingly cold and snowy in Chicago, it’s also darn right dangerous to walk the streets. You never know what could happen… to your head!
The truth behind the AT-AT has been revealed at last, in this diagram showing us the turbo-skeleton of the creature driving those AT-ATs. Yes, you thought they were giant robots – but they are actually giant monsters! Love this!
Ya know, when I moved to Alabama I did not believe that there would be any chance of having frozen tundra. Sadly, I was wrong. We woke up the past few days to temperatures in the teens. Real hard to keep it above freezing in the greenhouse. Hope the satsumas don’t take a hit. Oh, and lookie, it appears we’ll be getting some snow tomorrow!
That is all. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Several years ago Sekin & Rae had a snowman and a Santa Claus that had sound chips in them. The Santa, when squished, said, “Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas,” and the snowman said, “Let it snow let it snow let *it* snow!” Anyway, Star killed the toys when she came and we were all very sad. But good news! I have been able to find both of them – made by Multipet. We already have the snowman (made an iphone ringtone too!) and the Santa is on it’s way from an ebay seller.
I love this band and this song – so happy they’re getting some recognition:
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett has selected “One Thousand Tears of A Tarantula” by Dengue Fever for his Decade’s Best Song List for Rolling Stone magazine. The song comes in at #2. #2 people!
Also included on the list is Damian Marley’s, “Welcome to Jamrock,” which also does not suck.
OK, I had no idea these even existed.
Good news for men who enjoy urinating in stainless steel troughs at professional baseball games: The Chicago Cubs will renovate the bathrooms at Wrigley Field this offseason, but a team spokesman has assured the Tribune that the treasured urinal troughs, long a part of the stadium’s lore, will remain.
Specifics of the loo renewal effort were not released. The Cubs also offered no explanation as to why the team has decided not to invest in more modern urinal technology — say something along the lines of a Nano Pint Ultra-Low Consumption Urinal System.
Generations of male Cubs fans have stood side-by-side at the troughs. The silver receptacles are spoken of both lovingly (in that they give the place character) and loathsomely (in that some struggle to go in the close company of others).
I admit that I have thought about doing this before. Not that I know how to knit or anything, but I’m pretty sure I could learn.
I know why he didn’t wake up until 2:00.