Friday, October 02, 2009

Top 10 Hypocritical Punch Lines?

So David Letterman was the victim of an extortion plot which solicited $2M to refrain from going public with the talk show host's numerous affairs with female staffers.

Last night Letterman discussed both the plot & his affairs on his show claiming that he did this "to protect the staffers involved and his family." Dave I have news for you, protecting your staffers and family would have been you keeping your pants zipped up.

And all this from a man who has made a career of skewering celebrities and politician's indiscretions, the lady doth protest too much, methinks. At least he can do a Top 10 list of hypocrisy though.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disruptive Marketing or Just Disruptive?

In a way you have to pity Sony Corp. Their recent history is one of missed opportunities, questionable product quality, root kits and lack luster sales. Now in an attempt to "connect" with core-gamers (a strategy Nintendo avoided rather successfully with the Wii) they have opted for an edgy approach, a strategy that seems to putting them back in hot water.

First there was the unauthorized use of Manchester Cathedral in a shoot-em-up game. Ironically the church has been a leader in ministering to those affected by gun violence. Sony did apologize but declined to pull the game or contribute to a suggested charity. This was followed by the "White Is Coming" campaign for the PSP, loudly criticized for it's overtly violent racist overtones. And now this; their latest ad for the PS-3 which depicts a youthful gamer donating blood to Nazi General and desert fox, Erwin Rommel.

However, my point here is not to rage against such questionable advertising but throw light on the unique problems encountered by such a large and diverse operation as Sony. On one hand you have Sony Pictures devoting themselves to a family-centered audience and on the other you have Sony Games with a product portfolio heavily biased towards the Mature rating. Likewise, Sony Music fights the battle with the RIAA against piracy whilst Sony Computers makes highly efficient tools to illegally download to your heart's content.

CEO Howard Stringer has fought hard to bring down the business silos at Sony but is that really possible when the philosophies around much of your product lines are completely at odds with each other? How can you keep a family friendly moniker at one division whilst impressing the guy playing Demon's Souls at another? Is this a problem exclusive to Sony or do other corporations come to mind?

Monday, September 28, 2009

LfD Sing-A-Long

LfD Has A Theme Song, not just any old theme song but a completely batty track that we are not even worthy of. So stick that in yer pipe, 5 million daily hits but no theme song, Arianna Huffington.

<a href="">Life for Dummies by Joe Jack Wagner</a>

Thursday, September 24, 2009

McCafe Needs Tweaking I Think

While the youngsters were chomping down on breakfast I decided to try the new McDonalds' McCafe coffee offerings so I ordered a latte.

Since my drink hadn't appeared for a while I wandered over to the McCafe station and found the young server staring intently at the picture shown here.

"You're not looking at that trying to figure out what a latte is?" I joked.

My bad, apparently she was!

Some staff training might be appropriate if you're looking to get into the higher-end coffee market.

If You Build It They Won't Come

I'd like to welcome a guest blogger today, Eric Foster of the aptly named Gun Barrel City, Texas, and his words on the next phase of real estate development in Dallas;

I am the son of a non-starchitect, i.e. Star Architect, a buzzword reproduced in the current D Magazine. This issue regurgitates the old bromide that Dallas is has an Edifice Complex like that is a big surprise.

Fair Park was just the first of these Edifi-Compli to be aborted on to the streets of Dallas, and then left to be abandoned by its citizens for all but a few weeks per year. And soon to be a bigger ghost town as the museums, one by one find new Edifices downtown ‘where the lights are bright’… for now. Cheap frames covered in Art Deco facades.

Deep Ellum was next, and it has been rediscovered by the real estate predators, only to be left again and again, as we find new places to gentrify.

Las Colinas is another. The empty shells now including Texas Stadium, stand testament to our constant search for new and different, and then when "They" start to move in, abandon it for....

VICTORY.... Park that is the ultimate "if you build they won't come" because there are not enough "rich they" to show up. If this is Victory imagine what defeat must feel like.

And then there is Turn-Style Heaven that is Arlington, the latest Not-Fair-Park. You don’t live there but you can buy a season pass.

And Coming Soon: The AT&T Performing Arts Center, the latest Complex-Edifex. 30 years in the delivery, it arrives with so many "future site of" parking lots that will eventually be the property of German Financiers. And don't forget the Park that doesn't even exist, built over the freeway that was designed to cut off US from THEM and worked too well.

But where are the jugglers, the caricature artists, the chess players, the strolling violinists that were so prevalent in the illustrations from 30 years ago in the Arts District? Oh, they'll be hired for Opening Week. But then in reality they are moving back into the abandoned shells of Deep Ellum and Fair Park squatting and renting the Edifi-Compli's of Old.

And 30 years from now when ‘US’ open the latest host of Tax Deductible Gardens of Stone to FINALLY fix Downtown or Uptown or Ghost Town to draw in the people who can't afford to live there, go there, and especially park there, we will look back on the abandoned ruins of the Arts District, Victory Park, Los Colinas, Willow Bend, Deep Ellum, and Fair Park and

Keep silent...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Not Me, It's You (part 2)

Business Week has an interesting article on Apple's future with music and it doesn't look particularly good for the record industry. Although having surpassed Wal-Mart as the biggest seller of recorded music, Apple appears to be less and less interested in this side of their business.

And why should they be? The record labels have hardly embraced Apple as one of the few points of light in their failing business model. Having fought hard to retain the hated DRM they finally embraced unencoded tracks only to follow up by forcing Apple to raise prices.

Apple understands the product cycle and realizes that the days of the iPod as a pure music player are largely over. The latest Nano's incorporate cameras and video and the iPod Touch supports all the iPhone applications that don't require a cellular network. And that's where it gets juicy for Apple. Instead of arguing with recalcitrant record labels over a few pennies, they are attracting legions of application designers and Cuppertino gets to keep 30% of every sale.

I don't believe that Apple will drop the iTunes music store anytime soon but they realize that the future of music listening is best defined by streaming operations such as the wildly popular (in Europe) Spotify. I doubt that it will be too long before Apple releases it's own such network and enjoys the recurring monthly revenue provided by such a service. To embrace that future I would look for WiFi to appear on all but the smallest iPod Shuffle.

Where does this leave the labels? One could hardly believe that they could be any worse off than they are currently, but that may be exactly the future they're facing. Their legal download options are almost completely limited to one vendor and they have no strategy or cohesive voice to implement an alternative. They have made no friends in Cuppertino and could find themselves marginalized very quickly.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Lions, Tigers & Presidents - Oh No!

Not content with merely turning this nation into a Socialist paradise our President is now proposing to indoctrinate our school children with an Orwellian broadcast scheduled for Tuesday morning. According to the White House our foreign-born leader will cover such radical topics as "the importance of education, the importance of staying in school, how we want to improve our education system and why it's so important for the country."

Thank goodness my son's school and education authorities, both local and around the country are planning to boycott this incendiary nonsense.
Like them, I preferred the days when our President was more interested in sending our youth off to die in unnecessary wars than filling their minds with such political nonsense as this.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Innovative Marketing?

I have a teen driver! And actually, thanks to Sears Driving School it's all been a painless experience and she's now finishing up the road portions of the course.

Sears uses Honda Civics for their classes, citing their reliability as a big factor in what must be a brutal life for a car. I could not confirm if they have a formal deal with Honda but even without, what a brilliant marketing move for the manufacturer this is.

The Civic is an extremely pleasant, well engineered ride. The students really enjoy the car and predictably, this is now the vehicle my daughter & her friends want to own themselves.

Honda & the other Japanese brands have fine tuned the "move up" theory of car ownership. They understand that by giving a new driver a great experience in their starter car they will remain faithful to the brand, moving up a model at a time as their earning power increases. In Honda's case, a positive Civic experience sells an Acura RL 20 years later (and hopefully another Civic to the offspring). It's long term planning at it's best. Compare this to the domestic small cars, which in most cases seem designed to turn off a driver for life creating a customer who cannot wait to ditch the car and quite possibly the brand too.