Saturday, May 22, 2010

Name That Job!

Name the job where you can consistantly be wrong and still have a job?
Hint: One day a year a famous rodent does your job for you!

Bieber...The Koppel Factor

I've always prided myself for my ability to pick out hit records, but pop music has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I know what's good, but sometimes the unexplainable happens.

While watching the (thank God) semi-final episode of this season's painful American Idol I was treated to my first taste of pop sensation Justin Bieber. The kid has the number one record in the nation, but for the life of me I fail to see what the fuss is about.

Bieber crooned his way through to forgetable songs, that had the girl's in camera range mouthing along the words, some near tears, and no we aren't talking about a handful of tweens! These were full grown women!

I can't quite put my finger on it, but could the attraction to young Justin really be the Ted Koppel Factor?! You decide.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome To Obama’s Hooterville

Michael Graham- That’s No Angry Mob, That’s My Mom (Regnery Publishing)

While I realize there will always be the Kool-Aid types that will latch onto Presidents of any stripe like a barnacle and blindly agree with that leader’s policy with a cult-members mindlessness, I have been absolutely amazed by the reactions that Barack Obama has gotten during his first fifteen months in office.

I’ve been at a loss to explain why seemingly intelligent people have bought into the big government, anti-capitalist, class warfare doctrine pushed by the Obama administration and the predictable attacks on talk radio, Tea Party activists and anyone who dares disagree.

In his new book, That’s No Angry Mob, That’s My Mom, talk show host Michael Graham comes up with the most plausible explanation I’ve heard up to this point, when he draws the humorous analogy to the classic television show Green Acres.

For those not familiar with the 60s era classic, the Green Acres storyline has Attorney Oliver Wendell Douglas living behind the rat race of Manhattan for the simple life, down on the farm. Douglas sets up to work the land in Hooterville, a town populated by the goofy, the weird and frankly the downright insane and since the town’s residents are of a like twisted mind, it is Douglas who ends up the weirdo.

Welcome to Obama’s Hooterville! Where perfectly normal, hard-working Americans who are concerned with the growth of government, the growth of the national debt and looming death of American exceptionalism and choose to express that concern in a public way are treated like to a volley of insults ranging from Tea-baggers to being labeled racists by the lazy media and what Graham dubs the O-bots.

Graham does the not-so-heavy lifting that the lazy media won’t do when detailing the ridiculous charge that the Tea Party types are short fuse looking for a light and claims that these ordinary, hard working folks are secretly plotting to overthrow the government or worse. The lazy media claims that Tea Party rallies are a hot bed of violence just doesn’t stand up even the lightest of scrutiny, in fact Graham points out that much of the “violence” has been perpetrated by the loyal O-Bots, most often sporting some form of Union garb.

Graham acknowledges that like any large group there are a few loose cannons in the Tea Party, but unlike liberals who embrace the nutcases, conservatives tend to shun the lunatic fringe and generally denounce their actions and words loudly and clearly.

Graham utilizes a sharp wit and clear-headed point of view to dissect the left’s ridiculous reactions to Tea party dissent.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

From The Pioneers to the Mad Men and Guerillas to Tweets

The Age of Persuasion- How Marketing Ate Our Culture - Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant

(Counterpoint Books)

Who would ever believe that a book about the history and inside baseball of the advertising industry could be so interesting? Probably the same people that made a hit out of the Age of Persuasion radio program on Sirius satellite radio.

Authors, ad men and radio hosts Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant have tapped into our popular culture fascination with advertising and the people who create it. Television is rife with programs about the ad game from the wildly popular; Mad Men and thirtysomething to Bewitched and the recently failed Trust Me.

I n The Age of Persuasion, O’Reilly and Tennant offer insiders insights into the mechanics of the advertising business. They also offer a unique chronology, working their way through the historic beginnings of the fledgling ad agency, as one man gathers basic ads from business people and sends them via Morse Code to newspapers around the quickly expanding United States.

O’Reilly and Tennant pepper The Age of Persuasion with anecdotes and quotes from the legends of advertising that makes this an indispensible learning tool for those who are in the business or those that aspire to it.

The thing I found most difficult to balance was the author’s contention that people in the advertising business are just as hacked off about the constant marketing onslaught that we face on a daily basis as the average consumer. Their claim that the bombardment makes it easy for ad messages to get lost in a sea of commercials flies in the face of their push for strong creative.

The complaints about the over-saturation of commercials messages and images is a familiar refrain among consumers, but it treads new territory coming from a couple of guys who make their living in the business. At the end of the day O’Reilly and Tenant don’t really offer any solution to the overcrowding.

Given the rapid pace of the evolution of how we as a society communicates it seems unlikely that marketing messages won’t continue to keep pace. It’s equally likely that in order to compete and make their clients products standout, ad men who can deliver the creative goods will continue to prosper. Which based upon the historical content included in The Age of Persuasion is the way it’s always been.