Monday, October 31, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Forbes, Sony, Blogs, Marketing, PR and Creativity
I look at things through a few lenses at the same time.
The writer of the article approaches the bloggers as illegitimate pissants trying to usurp the media and the corporate message. The editor of the magazine knows enough to know controversy sells and that a message of, "Those damn nasty bloggers are messing up your brand!" will be well received by their corporate advertisers and readers, most of whom are in the business of making and selling products that can be easily criticized by people in this new fangled medium called the internet.
From a political point of view, this take on blogging is part of a larger style of communication that politics has used extensively in the last 5 years. Attack the messenger, not the content of the message. It doesn't ask the question, "Are they right? It asks, "How can we shut them up or marginalize them?" This is what Rove does with any challengers. They want to know how they can we go deep and destroy them critics. (After first pretending they don't exist.)
I find it ironic but not surprising that this article comes out at the same time I know that the marketing/PR community is striving to understand, "What makes bloggers tick? How can we pitch to them? How can we trick them or manipulate them or co-opt them?" A few smart ones are clever enough to ask,
"How can we engage them so that they talk about us or with us in a POSITVE way? Or, if it isn't a positive message, we can at least learn what dissatisfies them.""
Which brings us to this commercial for Sony and The BRAVIA Commercial its new LCD screen.
I first heard about the Ad on boingboing.net. Today they had a link to the ad it self. It involves dropping 250,000 colored superballs down a street in San Francisco.
Now besides the commercial itself, they will be generating a bunch of links/hits from the blogs that find this beautiful and fun. The ad itself falls under the title of "cool things you would do if you had the money and were still 14 years old." It also, because of the music, is hauntingly beautiful in almost a spiritual way. The people at boingboing called it "relaxing". I've watched it 3 times. Partly to hear the music but also to see the spectacle and appreciate the beauty.
To my mind THIS is a creative way to get your message out. Yes it uses an ad, but it also acknowledges that there is a community of people who talk about this. They might have sent notes to a few bloggers in the art community or the LCD geek biz to talk about this. (They did include a "behind the scenes" link that I haven't watched.)
I'm sure Sony also monitors the cranky people blogs, but I'm guessing they are more inclined to figure out their issue and try and make them whole and convert them to satisfied customers rather than attempt to destroy them. That is Rovian thinking.
That kind of thinking makes your lots of potential customers the enemy? Why would you want to turn an unhappy customer into an enraged one? Isn't it better to make things that delight and astonish customers? To engage them artistically, intellectually or technically?
Doc Searls and the Cluetrain Manifesto people wrote about the conversation that companies want to have with their customers. The influence of the Bush years tells the corporations that if someone doesn't get in line, crush them. It might make sense in politics where you have one competitor and you only have to convince 51 percent of the engaged voters. And it might also work for some monopolies who have a lock on the market. But way go that route? Is there that much anger stored up toward potential or unhappy customers that you want to go nuclear on your critics?
When Sony does a brand Google search on this topic, they will find this post. They will note the good will it engenders for the company. They might note that I know the product name, the band name and I know that color has something to do with what it does. They have brought me to the market place. My next step will be to the world of reviewers. If they can win there or be in the first three I'm going to consider them. In my mind that is an investment that has paid off almost perfectly.
Dear Sony product manager reading this blog: If you would like to give me one of these BRAVIA screens in exchange for using my comments here I won't turn it down, but I didn't wrote this post with the expectation of ever getting one. I just like to encourage positive behavior and creativity when I see it. Perhaps it will be result in more creative communications efforts.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Live Blogging! San Francisco Treasurer Debate
Of course I have a horse in this race. I've met Mr. Wang! I'm watching to see if he has followed Spocko's advice. He is but I just wish I could have done a West Wing style practice debate. I could play Cheryl Jennings!
Cisneros is smooth and seems a bit windup toy. He reminds me of someone giving the presentation for the 200th time. "I'm really excited to be here." (yeah right). He has the political line down, but does he have the "save money/ generate money line down?"
Louie had a good line about asking all the banks to fight for the cities business. But of course that is just one part of the revenue generation game.
14% of businesses aren't registered and paying taxes. Wow. I wonder if they are massage parlors? I'm sure we could get plenty of volunteers to audit them!
Velle, seems to be having a hard time communicating his ideas about what is important.
Wang just did a great job with his ability to fix the computer systems. Of course that was right in his wheelhouse, so I was glad to see him hit that one out of the park.
Wang has alot of cool ideas on revenue generation, money creation manager. That is a good line. He has the passion about that topic. Of course not all of them will be viable, but it is great to see someone "thinking out side the city hall box."
I don't know if I would go for a dog tax.
Nobody is answering the question? "Who should be second?" I like the idea of the question. I have to remember to give canidates a funny line for tough 'gotcha' questions like that.
God, if Cisneros says "I'm excited to..." one more time with that deadpan delivery I'll scream.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
All I want for Fitzmas is my two big indictments
But then again you can't always get everything you want for Fitzmas.
I'll be out for a few days. In the mean time be sure to read this story.
It's all about what happened to the guy in this photo.
War sucks for lots of reasons, but the damage to the brain is often not seen as quickly as a limb blown off. I have a lot of reasons to hate war, especially ones that weren't necessary. This is yet another.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Brian Sussman to caller: "Say Allah is a Whore"
UPDATE: Looking for Brian Sussman? Did he just say something on KSFO 560 AM that was so outrageous that you were stunned? Want to complain to the FCC or KSFO? Argue with him? Write him? Go ahead. Email here. Phone number here.
But it's pretty clear no letters and calls to a station that was conceived to promote this kind of talk will have any impact. The hosts delete your emails and brag about pissing you off. They know there is pretty much nothing they can say that is bad enough for them to be reprimaned, fined or fired. So if you want your opinion to have any impact, it's time to write the advertisers and go further up the money chain to KSFO's parent company, ABC Radio Disney.
Create a letter, send it to an advertiser, copy me (spockosemail @ gmail . com) and I'll send it on to other advertisers and the people within the organization that need to hear your voice. This is commercially supported broadcast radio, and some advertisers, when they become aware of what these hosts are saying just don't want to be associated with these people anymore. So let them know.
You see most advertisers have NO IDEA what these people are saying on the air. When they find out they are as shocked as you are. Ask the advertisers to stop supporting the radio hosts with their ad dollars.
NEW LOWS IN TALK RADIO!
The pro-torture, machine-gun-loving, Cindy Sheehan hating, morally repugnant Brian Sussman has a new technique in his bag of obnoxious tricks. This self proclaimed "theocon" now has a quick and easy way for his callers to prove they aren't really Muslim. He asks them to say, "Allah is a Whore." Wow. I mean just wow. Now I see why Brian Sussman is so pro-torture, his interrogation questions aren't very clever.
On today's show, after ranting about how wrong Cindy Sheehan is about the war in Iraq he took a call. After noticing the caller's accent The Suss Man guessed he wasn't American. Wrong. Then he guessed that because he was accurately stating the situation in Iraq he must be a Muslim. Wrong again. When the man said he wasn't a Muslim, Brian asked him to prove he wasn't.
Brian Sussman: "Why don't you say, why don't you just right now say Allah is a whore and that'll prove it to me."
Caller: "Allah.. I would not say that because who am I not, who am I to say
Brian Sussman: "Say Allah is a whore. That'll prove to me that you are not an Islamist."
Caller: "I am not (unclear) an Islamist. No I do not believe in religion.
Brian Sussman: "Prove to me that you are not a Muslim, say that you love eating pig.
Caller: "Actually I do like eating pork I'm a big fan of it."
Listen to the audio in MP3 format (42 seconds)
Listen to the audio in Windows audio format
I'm sure if, for example, the American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee - Located in San Francisco at 522 Valencia, San Francisco, California 94110 Phone: 415 861-7444 with the Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org would hear about this, they wouldn't really mind. Because Mr. Sussman wasn't saying this with any malice. And I'm sure that he would just whine "Political Correctness!" if someone challenged his comment. "Out of context! You have to listen to the WHOLE SHOW, to understand!"
Yes, Brian we UNDERSTAND there is a difference between people of the Muslim faith that are out to kill us. And just as you condemn people who you call Islamist for terrorist acts against Americans and others, so too should you understand that people of the Christian faith need to speak out against Christians (although I'm loath to use that term to describe you) who go beyond civil discourse and insult the faith of others in a pathetic attempt to get ratings.
Fortunately for you Brian most Muslims really ARE peace loving. And don't worry about your theocon religious community, they will probably embrace your comments, they love twisted folks like you and Pat Roberston. If you were in a real Christian community, one that follows the teachings of Christ, they would probably pull you aside and tell you to apologize.
But you are a lucky man. Most Christians really will forgive you. They won't make calls to your advertisers. But if they do, be proud of your stance. That's what Christian Theocons do!
Insult 'em! Torture 'em! Machine gun 'em! Just like Christ!
Congratulations Brian Sussman for lowering the already low level of discourse on Talk Radio! For throwing gasoline on the fire of tension between religions, Spocko's Brain once again gives you the coveted Morally Repugnant Human of the Month Award! Kudos!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The Colbert Report! "Make You Cry" funny. Torrent Link below
The funniest half hour of TV IN THIS GALAXY. On the very first show Stephen Colbert hits it OUT OF THE BALLPARK and INTO THE SPLASH ZONE! If this doesn't make you laugh you must be a disemboded ball of pure energy with no mouth.
--Spocko, Spocko's Brain (The Blog that is sweeping the nation! Now with 17 readers!)
If you missed it on Comedy Central download the torrent for free and deprive the network of valuable revenue. (This comment in no way endorses using Bit Torrent to download the episode or encourages you to use the Bit Torrent software from Azureus, to download the show.)
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Who is this Wang guy running for San Francisco Treasurer?
Help the city save money
Help the city make money
Use city resources efficiently
We talked about his plans to save the city money by fixing computer systems.
He had a neat plan to deal with rainy day (earthquakes!) financial disasters. It deals with taking transfer taxes now while the sun shines so that when the property taxes dry up after the bubble pops from the economy or an earthquake the city won't crumble financially. It also helps renters (smart move considering that 60 some percent of SF is composed of renters.)
I gave him some high-level Spocko communication advice. He's the kind of guy who is smart enough to listen to people. That fed the old Vulcan ego.
I talk about politics all the time at the highest levels. It's nice to have some input into people at the city level. I can encourage transparency and good ol' DEMOCRATIC sound fiscal policies. At the national level it is clear that the Bush admin has never been the party of fiscal prudence. I don't even think they try to claim that mantle anymore. Even the the rightwing nutballs simply say stuff like "The Democrats are just as BAD! They didn't stop spending either!"
I was pissed that Feinstein left Agnos with a deficit. I was pissed that Willie Brown left Newsom with a deficit. I like Newsom. I want him to have the best resources he can to deal with the challenges the city will face in the future.
If I can help Wang be the best treasurer he can be, them I get to be part of the solution.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Only in San Francisco? Win With Wang!
I mean the chants just write themselves.
"What do we want?
When do we want it?"
I just had to write this post to cleanse my pallet after writing about the Morally Repugnant Brian Sussman earlier.
Who Would Jesus Shoot?
I find his self proclaimed title as a theocon confusing. I missed the show were he talked about why Jesus was in support of the war in Iraq. I would have listened but I think I would have been afflicted by non-stop projectile vomiting.
One thing that I really would like the leadership of mainstream Christian churches to focus on would be separating themselves from people who claim to represent the values of Christianity. For example, I think most Christian leaders condemn Fred Phelps, (he of the famous "God Hates Fags" campaign). He's a hate-filled nut.
The right asks for the Mullahs to reign in their own crazy, Islamofacists who promote killing. That makes sense, don't you think they should also look at the log in their own eye at "theocons" (Christofacists?) who promote killing? War? Gun ownership? (Wow, would that freak out a few congregations!)
I'm curious, were there a bunch of ministers standing up against the "Kill Bill" that just went into effect in Florida? (Which was hysterically called something like the "Stand your Ground and Don't Run Away like a Girly Man if Anyone Scares You" bill.)
I know the NRA has done a lot of thinking about this. I have to give them credit, they are some of the most well prepared spokesmen on the planet. They have a reasonable sounding argument for every possible challenge to their most extreme rights. I'm sure that twisting Jesus' words into support of their "rights" is on page 2 of their spokesperson's handbook. And I'm sure they have plenty of priests, ministers, and nuns that they can trot out to support them.
Heck, even Spocko KNOWS some gun toting priests. But if pressed, I wonder how many will be behind everyone owning a machine gun? Well that's just what our favorite "theocon" father of five children under the age of 18 believes.
I think it's good Brian Sussman has gone on record with this pro-machine gun views. I also would like him to step forward and reaffirm his views every time children are killed with assault weapons. Better yet it would be swell if he talked to the parents of the dead. Now that would be some great radio! Even better TV! Can you imagine the show? "How are you feeling right now knowing that your daughter was blown away by the totally cool AK-47? Jesus must have really loved your husband to give him the privilege of getting his skull shattered by 12 rounds in rapid succession from a TEC-DC9. What? You aren't happy? Look, the death of your wife is a really small price to pay for the greater right of ours to have cool guns. The sooner you accept that fact the sooner I will be able to look at myself in the mirror."
It would be especially nice if he called up the parents of teen boys who blow their brains out with hand guns found in the home.
It really shouldn't be too hard of a call. "Hey Mom of dead teen, not having those hand guns in the house wouldn't have made any difference. He would have killed himself some other way. You obviously aren't a very responsibly parent if your kid got to your guns and used it. My kids would never do something so stupid. What do you mean you didn't think your kids would either? Well you shouldn't have left them out. Mine are in a safe and my kids don't know the combination. Oh, yours were too? Hmmm. Well I guess your kid is I mean WAS smarter than mine. Well, shit happens. I would say I'd pray for you, but everyone in my Christian community really are for MORE guns and against any kind of heathen gun control. Remember, Jesus said, 'Praise Me and Pass the Ammo!' And besides, only Godless liberals are for limiting guns. Don't look for any pro-gun control comfort from our community. Well have a nice day, there is a cooling front coming in from the north so bundle up!"
Finally, remember folks, if you son or daughter is playing over at the Sussman house, LOOK OUT! You know they've got guns, maybe the Mrs. should show you how safely they are stored. If some of Brian's Kids are in your classroom maybe you should take another look in their backpack! If you are members of Brian's congregation be sure to shake his hand after services and ask him what kind of assault weapon Jesus would be shooting.
Oh and if you are not happy with this kind of fun lovin' gun shooting talk from a Theocon, be sure to alert your favorite KSFO advertiser. Because you KNOW that the machine gun lovers will call the advertisers and tell them they LOVE what Brian is saying.
KSFO Advertisers Pick your favorite and tell 'em how much you appreciate Brian's gun lovin' ways. They have helpfully listed their websites for you to call or write them!
Of if you want to buy some ads on Brian's show be sure to call:
Michael Black, General Sales Manager
or E-Mail Michael Black at email@example.com
(Hey look, KSFO is a Family Friendly ABC company! Machine Guns and Mickey go together like landmines and legs!)
Get your "Everything's an assault weapon... you could technically assault somebody with a potato peeler!" talking point ready for pamphleteering or cable access show debates.
- From "9 Tips For Assault Weapons Revelers" by Norbizness. Check out his great site!
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Adventures in Advertising
The TV ads were terrible. They weren't compelling, and they didn't even deliver on the concept they were pushing. The print ads and the "non-traditional ads" were more interesting and compelling. I said as much. I probably shouldn't go into detail since I don't want them to come to my ship and repossess my tricorder.
We all said that we liked ads with a sense of humor. They then proceeded to show us ads that were NOT funny. I laughed at one because I thought about how I would change it to make it funny. When I told them poor focus group people were NOT amused (my fellow focus group people were though).
I'll let you know how much we influenced them when the ads come out. My guess? Not at all.
I was reminded of the importance of getting your message to the right people in the right fashion with some humor when I found this air-freshener. When I get busted for some sort of improper speech against the President I know who I will be calling! Maybe Karl Rove or Scooter Libby will be in need of their services soon!
Does Karl Rove even have a mother? Or did he arise from the rotting corpse of Lee Atwater?
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Soon to be RIPPPPED from the Headlines for CSI: Nebraska
Full story here (Link)
Sunday, October 09, 2005
West Wing: I'm just watching it for Janeane Garofalo
So for your feedback forms:
1) I'm watching West Wing primarily because Janeane Garofalo is in it.
2) I was a long time viewer but stopped after Sorkin left and it became "ER on the Potomac" and all the characters started doing stupid stuff.
3) It's harder to watch now than ever. The fantasy "Wouldn't it be great if Martin Sheen was our President?" isn't cute to me anymore, it just makes me sad.
4) Behind the scenes at the West Wing Republicans' campaign is missing the one driving force that the real world has: Karl Rove. Rove's style and Karen Huges' sensibility shape our image of The President. Maybe Ron Silver will be The West Wing's Rove doppleganger, if so, let's see some of the real tactics Rove has used show up in their campaign. Things like: Smears, push polling, gay rumors, The Fake Christian card and guns, Guns, GUNS!
5) Now my fantasy question is, "Wouldn't it be great if the Press on the West Wing were like the press in the real world?" They ask real questions! They ask follow ups! Of course they also aren't intimidated and punished for those questions like in the real White House. (see this great story about how the White House intimidates the press. Atrios found it and I hope that the excellent writer Eric Boehlert uses it for his upcoming book, "Lapdogs: How Bush Got the Press to Heel."
6)Nice use of that douche bag Drudge. Oh, and way to add credibility to him writers, could you now please show how he is used by the Rovians to drive FAKE stories? He's probably celebrating this coverage with some hot douche bag on Jeff Gannon action right now!
7)If there was ever any doubt that Chris Matthews is an actor and not a real journalist it was this episode. Gee Chris, I'll bet being on the show was just like real life! You only ask hard questions of people when it doesn't make any difference! Yes I'm really glad you nailed the fake candidate to the wall, but it's a TV show! Hopefully now people can see that you are just an actor and not a journalist. You really delivered that fake outrage just like you were quizzing a real politician instead of Alan Alda. I guess if the script calls for you to be tough, you will be. We can't count on this jerk to deliver tough questions unless he is scripted and he wants to do it.
8) Loved Janeane, but I think the eyebrows are a tad too severe. Maybe it's just me, but since your casting of her got me back into the show, you should really listen to me so I'll stick around.
9) Having Jimmy Smits character say "I voted for it before I voted against it." as a way to show the viewers, "See, he's like John Kerry!" was just lame. We get it. We get it. Of course that could mean that he will be Swift Boated and will lose the election. But since this is Fantasy World maybe this time the press will do their job and the people will find out the dirty secrets behind the competitor's military service, financial shenanigans and corporate deals. That would be nice.
10) Please send me $150 dollars for my time writing about the West Wing for your blogger focus group. You don't think I'd watch this show for free do you? My REALLY intelligent comments, the ones only YOU can get, are available if you ask now. Operators are standing by. Dial 1-800-AskSpockosBrain!
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Crumugeon Report: Those Damn Noisy Jets!
It raised the question: Why be loyal to an idea like truth or the constitution, vs. a man?
I reflect on this when I see the sweet sweet gig of a Bush Republican croney. You get medals when you screw up, no-bid contracts worth billions, cushy jobs in FEMA, and get nominated for one of the few lifetime gigs in America. Just do a few distasteful things (and maybe they aren't even distasteful to you) and profit. What's not to like? Just Two Rules: Be Loyal to Bush Over All Else and Keep Your Mouth Shut.
You can be greedy, ignore the wishes of the American people, screw up and cost people's lives. Just be loyal to a man. Not the institution he represents, not the greater ideals that the institution is built on, heck, not even the law (since it can be changed when it is messy). This should make us ALL upset. It flies in the face of what it means to be an AMERICAN. Reasonable people understand why rules and guidelines are in place to prevent cronyism. It is bad for our success as a country and it is bad for America's soul.
Today the Blue Angels flew over San Francisco and Star Fleet Academy and I thought about choosing competence over cronies. What would this magnificent waste of fuel and display of military muscle look like, if we had on the team, Jenna Bush?
Jenna isn't a licensed pilot. She can't fly jets. But she has the qualification that matters more than all that: her dad is the President and he has appointed her to the team. What might their future flights look like?
I know that most of us couldn't have the arrogance to ignore our lack of skill. We would realize that for some things you MUST be qualified and be really good or PEOPLE DIE. That is a huge responsibility and most people take that responsibility to heart. So when we see someone who is unqualified, incompetent and corrupt being placed in positions of life and death over others we want to SCREAM. No! Not this time! What gives them the Right?
This critical task goes to them just because of who they know? Sometimes it is not a disaster, but people who aren't Republican elites know that sometimes you have to say: Not this job! This is too important. and finally, "How DARE they? "
When Jenna's plane (or the US economy) crashes to the ground. Will we follow the lead of that idiot Sean Hannity and blame everyone else but the pilot? Will we believe people who say, "We couldn't have anticipated it happening?" Opine that, "No one could have imagined jets being used in that way?"
Will we act surprised that the massive debt to China or our no-bid contracts to Halliburton has a negative impact on our economy?
Cause and effect baby. Cause and effect. When you feel the effects of incompetence and cronyism remember who is behind one of the primary causes.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Bush to Senate: Don't Tell Me I Can't Torture People!
THE White House overnight renewed a threat to veto a $US440 billion ($578.11 billion) defence funding Bill after the US Senate defied President George W Bush by inserting anti-torture language into the legislation.
By a vote of 90 to nine, the US Senate passed the measure explicitly barring US soldiers from torturing or mistreating prisoners, and requiring strict adherence to established military interrogation guidelines.
By Stephanie Griffith in Washington
As you probably know, I'm against torture. I have lots of reasons and have addressed the topic many times. Today I just want you to know about the people in the Senate who voted against the McCain Amendment that added some anti-torture language to the defence funding bill.
The 9 Senators Who Voted against the McCain Amendment
(The list is alphabetical by state.)
Senator Ted Stevens (R - AK)
Senator Jeff Sessions (R - AL)
Senator Wayne Allard (R - CO)
Senator Pat Roberts (R - KS)
Senator Christopher Bond (R - MO)
Senator Thad Cochran (R - MS)
Senator Tom Coburn (R - OK)
Senator James Inhofe (R - OK) Senator "I'm outraged by the outrage"
Senator John Cornyn (R - TX)
Remember this vote when the really nasty Abu Ghraib photos and videos of boys being raped come out. Imagine their ads for reelection "I'm Ted Stevens and I approve of this boy being tortured and raped."
And to Brian Sussman, our favorite pro-torture radio host, these children were not trying to kill us, just thought you should know.