Monday, December 31, 2007

What song is this?

This is amazing. Plays backward and then forward. Watch the whole thing. (It's only 2 and a half mins) So great:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"We did whatever we could do to win"

This post is not about a six-year-old girl. This post is about a six-year-old's mom and the pop culture phenom that is Hannah Montana.

In case you haven't seen this story, you can read about it on CNN.com: "Girl wins concert tickets with essay faking dad's death in Iraq." Basically, a little girl entered a contest to win Hannah Montana concert tickets and a Hannah Montana makeover by submitting an essay that started: "My daddy died this year in Iraq." It came out this week that the girl and her mother made the story up to win the contest. Her mother said: "We did whatever we could do to win."

Let's face it, a six-year-old doesn't know any better. Age 6 is when we start to learn these things. You steal something from your friend's house, your mom yells at you and makes you return it and apologize. Moms are around to teach those lessons. How else will kids learn right from wrong? Which is why I think this story is horrifying. It's doubtful that the essay topic was the kid's idea. And all for Hannah Montana tickets?!

I've seen these kids and their moms on Oprah when people from Hannah Montana are the special guests. They need to pull it together! Especially the moms. It's a kids' show. Get a grip.

But this has taken the Hannah Montana frenzy to a new level. And this girl's mother should be ashamed of herself. Not only teaching her kid to lie to get what she wants -- but THIS kind of lie? There are ACTUAL soldiers dying in roadside bombings. There are actual people with dying parents. Two of my friends' parents died recently. And this girl's mother encourages her to make up a dead dad in her essay for HANNAH MONTANA tickets?

Watch out for this duo. I'm sure beauty pageants are next. This woman screams stage mom. I just hope her kid has someone around who she can look up to -- and maybe someone teaching her a lesson or two as well.

And a message to all you Hannah Montana crazy people out there -- it's just a show. (This is coming from the queen of tv, too, so it means something.) You all need to get it under control. It's not really that important. Like I said, there are ACTUAL soldiers dying in roadside bombings... Who don't know who the hell Hannah Montana is. And who couldn't care less.

Bottled water

Finally catching up on my blog reading now that Christmas is over. Wanted to draw your attention to a post over at Ben and Jerzy's blog: "Bottle your own water." Ben's done his research, and his post contains some great food (or... drink?) for thought.

(Want to get more ideas for going green? Check out Living Green, at Better Homes and Gardens.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dear Barista: I'll have a Virgin White Russian?

Blog readers:

Would you attend a Starbucks "happy hour" - no alcohol, of course? I'd give it a go. But I don't exactly foresee that as the key to success the 'Bucks has been looking for.

"Forget the Cute TV Critters; Starbucks Needs a Happy Hour"

But do I agree with the author that the Starbucks ads definitely aren't doing it for me. The article also includes valuable insight into the problem with Starbucks' widespread popularity. It's no longer an "experience," a "getaway" -- dare I say an "oasis"?

I've spent many an hour in that place. Studying, chilling, chatting, cramming, procrastinating, working, reading... it used to be the place to do it all. Maybe it's just since I moved to the city, but Starbucks doesn't hold the same allure. Don't get me wrong though, my heart still skips a beat to see those red cups back again. (Talk about great branding.)

What do you think? Actually, I know what a lot of you think -- "Starbucks is the devil. So who cares?" I know. (I really do.) What do the rest of you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Supersize My... Report Card?

McDonald's is now advertising on report cards in the Seminole County school district in Florida, according to an article in Advertising Age last week.

"McD's Newest Ad Platform: Report Cards"

The report cards now sport a Mickey D's coupon on their fronts, offering a free happy meal to kids who get good grades, don't have many absences, or are generally well-behaved... and who bring their report card -slash- coupon to a participating McDonald's.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about good grades. I'm a total geek like that. But does this ad campaign take advertising to a dangerous low? When McDonald's is fronting the printing costs for your report cards (I'm looking at you, Seminole County) in exchange for free advertising -- doesn't that cross a line?

It raises the old Channel One debate again. What's advertising's place in schools?

(If you don't know about Channel One, you can read a summary of the debate here at Commercial Alert. Also, check out http://www.obligation.org, a site built to raise awareness about commercialism in schools.)

Some parents are upset because McDonald's is side-stepping the parents and not only targeting kids directly but also telling them what their reward should be for good behavior: fast food. I think the problem's even bigger than that. And it's not just McDonald's. (Although it's so easy to hate on Mickey D's.)

I remember back when I was a smaller, younger geek and always participated in the Book It! program at school. You read a certain number of books, you get a free topping on your Pizza Hut pizza. Ultimate product placement. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but it definitely made my family take a trip to Pizza Hut that we otherwise wouldn't have taken. So in retrospect, it was brilliant marketing. That doesn't make it right though. Kids are impressionable and don't understand about media literacy. I know schools need funding. But I don't think fast food chains is where they should be getting it. Not in exchange for direct, targeted advertising to kids in the one place that's supposed to be governmentally sanctioned as safe from evil media: school.

What say you, blog readers? Do you agree with me: that McDonalds-sponsored report cards is taking it too far? Or do you think it's really no big deal? Companies have been doing these things for years, and we all turned out okay.

But does that make it right?

va-jay-jay: origins

Also, the origins of "va-jay-jay," used oh so cleverly in the title of my last blog post.

"What Did You Call It?"

From the New York Times a couple weeks ago.

Think it's a step forward? A step backward? Don't care? Yeah, me either really. But what's interesting to me is that the reason Shonda Rimes used it on Grey's Anatomy (which is where it gained so much popularity) was to appease ABC Standards and Practices, who requested there be fewer uses of the word "vagina" on the show.

Shonda later went on to make the series Private Practice, picked up by ABC, which is about an ob-gyn practice. Where there are infinite mentions of the vagina. Whole storylines surrounding it, in fact. And perhaps just a little too much labor for comfort. (Read about it in my post at The Televisionista.) Anyway, thought you might be interested.

Is your va-jay-jay better than your Visa?

An article posted today at The Consumerist talks about underwear recently found in the juniors section at Wal-Mart. View the picture with the article here.

This relates to one of my old blog posts: Lolita's Closet

What's the world coming to?

(P.S.: Thanks Ben for sending me the tip!)

Monday, December 3, 2007

World Aids Day was Dec. 1

This first vid is annoying - but stick with it. There's a point. The second is from the (RED) campaign.

"Actual reality. Act up. Fight AIDS!"



The Foundation for Aids Research



Join (RED)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More ad targeting

"Ad targeting improves as websites track consumer habits" from CNN.com today.

More info about behavioral targeting in ads. Why do I keep posting this stuff? Because you need to know. You don't want to be one of the people this woman is talking about in the article, do you?:

"You want to have enough targeting that a consumer notices the message and pays attention, but you don't want it to be so obvious that they are thinking (there) is targeting," said Tracy Ryan, professor of advertising research at Virginia Commonwealth University. "That would be scary."

Let me assure you... there is. Be a knowledgeable media consumer.