Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"We have the whole internet to correct..."

I don't know if you saw the Mac vs PC web ad below (it's kind of old, so I'm sure you have), but I was at a digital workshop the other day where we discussed it. (Plus, Ad Age ran an article today that mentioned it.) In case you haven't seen it, it ran on the New York Times home page in 2008. It's a clever use not only of ad space but also of the site placement (you can see this is very specific to the NYT). The video below is someone who has filmed their computer screen. The body of the page is the actual home page, and the ad placements on the right column and across the top are what Apple bought.

In what's arguably the age of the banner ad's decline, I think this is an extremely creative way to use a media buy. Most companies who buy multiple ad spaces on a site run either the same creative, or different creative from different campaigns. The ad below is an example of how to make the ad space work for you.

The blogs who talked about this ad at the time, like this post at Leveraging Ideas, posited that this was where the ads of the future were headed. I think we have yet to see a lot of media buys and banner campaigns executed with this kind of creativity. But they should be. And that's my thought of the day.

Enjoy:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pretty much New York?

Watching How I Met Your Mother season 3 tonight. Just thought I'd share an exchange from the second episode that is representative of why I love this show:

Ted: "You guys live in New Jersey, not New York? New Jersey?"
Girl #1: "Yeah, but don't worry, it's pretty much New York."
Ted: "Oh. No. Oh no. New Jersey is not pretty much New York. You are not pretty much New Yorkers."
Girl #1: "And how would you know?"
Ted: "Because I live here. Yes, that's right, I live here. We're full of crap, yes. We pretended to be from out of town so we could sleep with you and leave in the morning. But do you know what's even worse than that? Saying you're a New Yorker when you're not. Because this is the greatest city in the world, and you have to earn the right to call yourself a New Yorker. So why don't you girls crawl in the open sewer pipe you call the Holland Tunnel, and flush yourselves back to Pretty Much New York. Because I will do a lot to get laid, but I am NOT going to New Jersey."


Also, another reason: Slap Bet. :)



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is tonight! Don't forget to turn off your lights, TVs, computers, etc. for one hour tonight! 8:30-9:30 pm local time, wherever you live.




Friday, March 27, 2009

Thought of the day:

Benign is the greatest word in the English language.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nevermore.

Poe + wordplay = happy Lisa


(xkcd.com)

Have you?

Colbert and Meredith have. Have you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

a Hell of a town

It's days like this that I hate New York City.

1) I waited for the elevator in my 33-story apartment building for about 10 minutes. (They are doing "renovations" and so they are shutting down the 3 elevators in my tower for 6 weeks each. However, the ones that have been "renovated" keep breaking, making morning commute wait times excruciatingly long. 10 mins was nothing.)

2) Then, these mothers toting strollers, diaper bags + extra screaming jumping kids got in the elevator. I know this probably happens in other places besides NYC, but I have to say that the Evil Stroller Mom is endemic here in the Big Apple. She wields the biggest strollers you've ever seen and brings them into the tightest places (elevators, subways, buses, bodegas, everywhere). She also feels entitled to shove you all over the place and laugh as her kids press every button in the elevator. And then stop dead right in front of you when you get out of the elevator to help her spawn put his jam-hands through the sleeves of his spitty dirty little coat.

3) After I finally push past the Brady Bunch, I practically run outside to get to the bus stop. Of course, the buses pull away as I am crossing the street, and the drivers look at me and laugh. Thanks MTA.

4) I live too far from the subway to walk there without adding a substantial amount of time on to my trip. But every time I miss the buses and then sit around impatiently waiting for the next ones, I think to myself, "I bet it would be faster if I'd just walked... someday I'll try that." Well, in an ill-thought-out decision, today was that day. I thought I'd just walk down... in my heels, tights, skirt, and carrying an overnight bag because I am staying at my sister's. NOT a good idea. As I learned, when the next bus passed me on my way. There are two buses that come to my neighborhood, and they usually pick up back-to-back, so I decide to wait at the next stop for the bus that's supposed to follow the one that just flew by me. Of course, that bus was late. And by the time I got on it, I actually SHOULD have just finished walking to the subway. Not to mention that I was squished into the front and almost thrown out the windshield by the erratic lead foot of the man at the wheel.

5) Then I get on the subway. And it was nice, I was listening to my iPod, snoozing a little, nobody was sitting next to me because the seat next to that was occupied by a mom, a diaper bag, and a stroller -- and nobody really wants to sit next to Satan on the train. So I think, okay, score, this is fine, I'll be a little late for work but no biggie. But then we get to the "137th Street - City College" stop, and the conductor announces that this is the last stop and everyone must get off the train. Apparently something happened at South Ferry, the last stop on the 1 line. Why that meant that my subway car had to empty way up at 137th street is still unclear to me. But we all got off the train, pissed and impatient. (NYC commuters do NOT like these kinds of interruptions.)

6) We wait for a long long time for another train. When it finally comes, it's full. Shocker. So our entire train of people load onto this already full train. I am still carrying my big bag, and not at all amused. And of course, I have to stand. And hold my heavy bag, because there's nowhere to put it on the ground because the train is so full. And I'm squished into a corner in the train, next to a woman sighing and muttering as she reads a book in Spanish (both the book and the muttering), a very tall guy with bronchitis coughing on my hair, and another woman carrying 80 bags to my 1, who somehow breathes like a dragon (she needs to get that checked out) and keeps hitting me with her copy of the Post. Oh, and I forgot the family of tourists from somewhere with an accent I can't stand who are talking about some movie where everyone dies on a subway and are not holding on to the straps and are therefore hitting me in various places on my body as the train starts and stops. You're not in Kansas anymore, people.

7) Then I realize that everyone who was on ANY downtown 1 train this morning when they made everyone get off is now trying to get on my train. Which is to say that the train was more full than any train I've ever been on in my life. It was lovely. And as I tried to get off at my stop (many many stops later), I couldn't even get out the door. It was horrific.

8) My commute was awful. So I think, okay, I'll go to Starbucks and get some coffee and oatmeal - that will make me feel better. Well, the line is a million people long, and because I work in midtown half of them are tourists and are milling about because they don't know what to order since apparently they don't have coffee in hickville, or France (yeah, some of them were French today), and I finally get to the register and order and the girl tells me there's no oatmeal because their water is off. And then I head over to get my coffee, and the barista tells me they're only working with one bar so it's going to be a while. And I proceed to wait 20 minutes, while the woman next to me keeps bitching and complaining to the barista about how she was just on a business trip and hadn't brushed her teeth this morning (the correlation of that escapes me), and how she is hilarious doesn't the barista agree, and how someone over at the condiment bar keeps stealing Splenda, and whatever else crazy people talk about.

All this is to say that if I was not in NYC right now, I doubt any of this would have happened. The first 7 things definitely wouldn't have. The last one, maybe, but it seems doubtful. Don't get me wrong, I love this city. But today, and on days like today, I wish I lived somewhere where I could just hop in my car and drive to work and get there in 10 minutes. Instead of 2 hours, which is how long it took me today.

Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me I need more patience. Which I do. Or maybe it's just a bad day. Either way, I love NYC more than anything, and I'm so happy I live here... but sometimes it can be really frustrating. Especially when it involves the MTA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anxiety Girl

Check out the t-shirt I just got in the mail last night from the web-comic site NatalieDee.com. Yeah, they print t-shirts now! It's so me, right?? (PS: Thanks for the blog-reader discount, NatalieDee!)



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quotable

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain."

-- Unknown (but borrowed from CMack)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quotable

"'If there are 150 million people in a room, you should probably go to that room,' says Narinder Singh, chief product officer for Appirio, which helps big companies like Dell and Starbucks find ways to connect with users over [Facebook]. 'It's too attractive a set of people and too large a community for businesses to ignore.'"
- "How Facebook is Taking Over Our Lives," Fortune Magazine, March 2, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Sweet Homepage

Facebook is at it again.

That's right -- in case you haven't heard, Facebook launched its new homepage today. I was talking with my coworker, who hates the new homepage, and I asked, rhetorically, whyyy they keep changing it. Then I remembered. Revenue. That pesky pesky... what's it called? Oh right, business model. (You know, the thing Twitter doesn't have?) Although Facebook claims the new design is meant to make the homepage more relevant compared to other social networking sites (... Twitter), they're really doing it to make money. Yes, I said it. The new redesign is more advertiser friendly.

"But Lisa," you ask, "what do you mean more advertiser friendly? It's Facebook! I know they don't have a clever slogan like MySpace..."

(Sidebar: MySpace's slogan is 'A Place For Friends.' Facebook's ever-catchy slogan is 'Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you')

"... but it IS a place for friends, right? Who cares about advertisers?!"

Yes, little one, it is a place for friends. Except now, companies ARE your friends. Scared yet? The new redesign no longer gives companies pages of their own ("fan" pages) that designate them as companies and keep them separate from your life. Instead of these "fan" pages, they now have regular profile pages, just like you, me, and your mom. Which means they can directly infiltrate your news feed. In case you haven't noticed the companies piloting this over the last few days (the NYT has been doing it to me), any company you've become a "fan" of can now post directly to you and show up in your news feed, right amid the updates from your real-life friends who are "Baking cookies! I feel so domestic!" or who are "Commuting... AGAIN" -- and who aren't trying to sell you something. (Usually.) It's a brave new world, folks.

The new design does have some cool features though. Read more about it here.


PS: In other Facebook news, you all should read this article from The Weekly Standard. It's called "Down with Facebook!!" by Matt Labash. Well-written and hilarious. Also, it's true. Guilty as charged. (And yet still using, and writing about, Facebook. Damn you, Zuckerberg!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quotable

"I know now that there is no one thing that is true - it is all true."
- Ernest Hemingway

Monday, March 9, 2009

A few items of note...

1) Barbie is 50 today. (She was introduced on March 9, 1959.) She looks pretty good for an old broad, doesn't she? Check out this TV ad from 1959, the year of her birth. Also, she's having a big party in Milan today to celebrate. Check out the pink Barbie Fiat she's getting. Blondes have all the fun.

2) Beware the Ides of March. Check out this card from someecards that I sent to my sister today:



Julius Caesar jokes never get old.

3) Saw The Watchmen on Friday. (Yes, opening night... in Times Square. Complete with Times Square hooligans applauding, cheering, and yelling at the screen. Quite the experience if you haven't seen for yourself.) I thought it was excellent. As someone who hasn't read the graphic novel or anything, I was new to the story and the characters. I must say, my favorite character by far is Rorschach. Brilliant. Did you see the movie? What did you think of it?

4) Fox is planning on stripping special features from rental DVDs. One more way Fox is trying to get me riled up. As this post at Boing Boing notes, hopefully this doesn't apply to Netflix. Let me know if you hear one way or the other.

5) Two comics of note. As a daily reader of the blogs xkcd, indexed, toothpaste for dinner, nataliedee, phdcomics, and a few other similar sites, I'm always armed with several clever comics to share. Enjoy.

(from toothpaste for dinner):




(from xkcd):

Thursday, March 5, 2009

IBM's new IT Security Widget

Check out this really cool IT Security widget from IBM! The most fun part is the Threatblaster game (found on the "game" tab). If you want to grab it for your own blog, Facebook page, or iGoogle home page, click the "Grab this" button on the bottom right corner.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Old Man Stewart Shakes His Fist At ____

This week it was Twitter. Hilarious.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brand loyalty

What brands are you most loyal to? There are some brands you probably don't even know you're loyal to (like, Tide, for me) and then others you definitely know you're loyal to (like Apple).

The latest study in Brandweek shows that the brands pictured below are those with the most loyal customers. It looks right to me. What say you? Are you loyal to any of these brands? I know I am. Viciously loyal to some of them. Which are you loyal to and why?



(You can view the full list of rankings at brandweek.com/brandkeys, if you're curious.)

Daily Geek

Okay, I did it. I finally started watching Battlestar Galactica. And I have to tell you, it is awesome. I've only just begun season 2 (and I hear it just gets even better from here) and I already am completely obsessed with it. I don't really understand why people think it's such a geeky show - it really is seriously good drama. Plus, already by the end of season 1 it has everything you could ever want in a TV show:

- Back in the day, the humans created Cylons (robots), who not only turned against the humans but also evolved to look like them. They took over the humans' planet, Caprica, forcing the remaining members of the civilization to flee. And because the Cylons look like humans, they don't know who's a Cylon and who's not... even aboard the Galactica. (The premise is the most geeky thing about this show - it gets way less geeky from here.)

- The Galactica and its fleet are *lost* in space trying to find some place called Earth (and they're not sure if it exists or where it is located).

- The newly appointed president (who thinks she's been fulfilling prophecies in her reign and thus turns into a religious zealot) and the head of the military are in a constant power struggle not only between military and civil decisions but also murky ethical ground.

- A government terrorist who has been jailed aboard the ship garners massive amounts of followers and challenges the authority of those in power.

- There is a genius on board who sees dead people. Well, not dead people as much as his former (Cylon) girlfriend who he left behind when he escaped Caprica during the takeover. Nobody else can see her, but she gives him all the answers aboard the ship to help catch the Cylons. Or does she?

- Because Cylons look like humans, many people are accused of being Cylons, which leads to confusion, suspicion, and widespread oppression aboard the fleet.

- The Cylons are monotheistic and the humans are polytheistic. Fascinating choice that leads to some interesting dialogue ("Oh, thank gods.") and debates.

- Romances and sexy scenes abound, between the lovable and spunky "Starbuck" (Kara) and several men on board, as well as between several different Cylons and some of our favorite male crew members.

- Battles and action also abound. Who doesn't love chase scenes and explosions now and then?


All this is to say that the plotlines above sound like any other show to me. Yes, it's set in space, and yes they have some cute geeky lingo - they say "frack" instead of... well... you know. But you do not have to be a geek to enjoy this show.

So get your inner geek on and tune in. I promise it's worth your while, geek or not.

Quotable

"The truth is always a compound of two half-truths, and you never reach it, because there is always something more to say."
- Tom Stoppard