26. Anything longer than a tweet is 'tl;dr'.

October 30th, 2013

Tom Morris updates a classic:

It has now been fourteen years since the Cluetrain Manifesto. I have updated it to reflect contemporary reality and society.

  1. Markets are conversations in much the same way as the school bully picking on the disabled queer kid is friendship.
  2. Markets consist of human beings. Smelly, horrible human beings who we want to fuck over.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. Conversations with social media marketers sound like people attempting to sound human.
  4. One of the problems with the market is that people make stupid decisions based on a lack of information. This is not like Twitter at all.
  5. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. But NSA wiretapping subverts hyperlinks, so we've got that covered.


[Via The Null Device]

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Where we came in…

March 27th, 2011

Jim Emerson is aghast at the notion that at one time cinemagoers used to turn up and watch a film regardless of whether it had just started or was halfway through:

Now, if, like me, you were in college (or university, as they say back East) when Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) in "Annie Hall" announced that he had to see a picture "exactly from the start to the finish," and you thought that made perfect sense, it seemed bizarre to imagine a time when people had to be encouraged to show up before the feature started: "No one… BUT NO ONE… will be admitted to the theatre after the start of each performance…" (It turns out Paramount had done something similar with Hitchcock's "Vertigo" just two years earlier: "It's a Hitchcock thriller… You should see it from the beginning!") As the proprietor of the Opening Shot Project, which emphasizes the importance of the first shot in setting up and framing certain films, the idea that somebody would watch a movie without having seen the beginning is incomprehensible to me. Why cheat yourself of the joys of discovery and development? Or just knowing what's going on in the story?

I'm a few years younger than Emerson1 but I have a vague recollection that when I was a kid it was deemed perfectly reasonable to arrive part-way through a screening and watch it through to the end, then stay put so we could to see the film's next screening up to the point where we'd come in.

Now that I'm (allegedly) a grown-up, I find it bizarre to think that anyone could sit through the last half of a film knowing that they'd missed so much of the story. It'd be like opening a novel and starting to read it from page 175 … downright disrespectful to the writer and the story, and short-changing yourself. You can never get that first reading of a story back: granted that re-reads are sometimes hugely worthwhile, and that plot isn't by any means the sole engine of a good story anyway, but still – isn't it just wrong to jump in halfway through?2

  1. And in the UK, for whatever that's worth.
  2. What also puzzles me is that if this practice was really so much more commonplace in the 1940/50/60s I'd have expected that films made in that era would have catered for it more noticeeably, repeating vital clues and plot points at regular intervals so that latecomers wouldn't be completely baffled by later developments. Have I just failed to notice films from that era spoonfeeding the audience?

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The feelgood hit of the autumn?

February 23rd, 2011

In response to a Salon article about how marketers come up with titles for films:

Most unintentionally funny/weird title ever

"Barry Lyndon"

Because people thought it was about the Presidential campaign of 1964 and stayed away in droves.

– redhatter

[Via Fritinancy]

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Never Knowingly Undersnowed

December 23rd, 2010

A stunning insight, courtesy of the Santa Brand Book:

*Santa* winds infinite Possibilities around finite Limitations to evoke the essence of invention and the Odour of Nostalgia. It has the complexity of Simpleness and the Simplicity of complexitiveness. It begins with the Hiss of Power and ends with the Ah of Surprise. *Santa* is.

There's much more where that came from, including a marvellous scatter graph of the Fatiness/Beardiness spectrum on page 6 which reveals that Hagrid is more likely to encroach upon the reputational space of the *Santa* brand than, say, Kylie.

[Via Fritinancy]

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Softer than the pouch of a cloud kangaroo

December 11th, 2010

There's soft as a baby's bottom, and then there's Vagisoft. Yes, the makers of the Vagisoft Blanket are1 serious:

Betabrand Discovers World's Softest Substance

The world of tactile technology was satisfied with "soft as a baby's bottom" as the measure of absolute softness. Anyone who dared name something "softer than" the aforementioned infant's posterior was suggesting a theoretical, quantum world of soft that existed beyond anything man could conceive.

That is, until researchers at the Betabrand Livermore Laboratory invented the Tactile Soft-o-meter, a device that can detect and compare the density of softrons, the subatomic units of softness. And while this has proven a Nobel worthy discovery, our scientists could not simply rest on their laurels.

Using this newfound knowledge, they set out to line the pockets of our world famous reversible smoking jackets. And so comfy was the fabric they developed, so rich and impossibly supple, that test subjects had to have their hands removed from the coat pockets with the Jaws of Life. Success!

But what to name this miracle material? Again and again, the Soft-o-meter produced a result that had our marketing department in a nervous titter. But we're scientists dammit, not salesmen, and if the Soft-meter says this fabric measures "Vagisoft" within a standard deviation of one softron, so it shall be named!

[Via Fritinancy]

  1. Not entirely…

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Tasteful, black-rimmed emoticons

July 3rd, 2010

Maciej Ceglowski on skeevy marketing practices in the online obituary business:

Things got decidedly sketchier a few weeks later, when legacy.com decided to email me a reminder that the guest book (which I had only posted to, not created) was about to meet a fate very similar to the person it was honoring if I didn't act promptly to renew, which, legacy.com suggested, would be the perfect way to show my support to a grieving family in a difficult time.

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Like Google Reader for S&M

August 17th, 2009

xkcd on Branding.

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April 7th, 2009

Are we sure this story wasn't published a few days late?

Sainsbury's has renamed Pollack as Colin because, it said, potential buyers were too embarrassed to ask for pollack, a cheap and plentiful cod substitute. After a marketing revamp by the designer Wayne Hemingway, and extensive market research, Sainsbury's hopes colin will revitalise the market for the fish.


Image really is everything; so to help colin stand out on-shelf we've used bold, bright colours and a design that is cheekily inspired by another well-known 'Pollock' [the artist Jackson Pollock]. The new-look colin sleeve will be the star of the Sainsbury's store; we expect coach-loads to travel by land and sea to see it.

[Via The Null Device]

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