Jonathan Salem Baskin

Yeah, Groupon Sucks

The extraordinarily successful group discounter Groupon succeeded in offending pretty much everybody with its Super Bowl ads, which spoofed worthy causes (for instance, actor Tim Hutton bemoaned the destruction of Tibet's culture while celebrating the Groupon discounted curry fish at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago), and then with an explanatory letter from its CEO claiming the spots were intended to bring attention to said causes (and that they actually made fun of Groupon).

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The Buzz Discount

When did it become marketing orthodoxy that commanding more time and attention from consumers is good for brands?

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Better Trade Shows

Remember that mobile, networked, multimedia rich future that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show ("CES") early last month? That's good, since it went away pretty much the day the trade show closed its doors. It's back to the less awe-inspiring present for all of those visionary manufacturers, hopeful retailers, and fawning media.

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No Ghost in the Machine: The Case for a Social Renaissance, Part 1

(I'm sharing this essay in celebration of the official launch this week of my new book, Histories of Social Media. It debuted at SocialMediaToday and the second half is available there exclusively today).

 

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I've Lost the Plot

Heineken's "The Entrance" is a 90-second movie about a youngish James Bond-type who strolls through a fancy party doing the exactly right, funny, or utterly cool things, replete with consistent panache and high production values. Check it out on YouTube (you have to sign-in due to the content, which makes no sense since I don't remember anything morally objectionable in it).

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The Smartest Guys in the Room

A leading ad agency creative type jumped ship last week to join the Google Creative Lab, following in the footsteps of others who’ve joined the 50-person unit to accomplish nothing less than winning the Nobel Peace Prize, according to one of its leaders.

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Needing A Recharge

The North American International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit earlier this week, and it seem that almost every manufacturer is either promising or delivering some version of an electric car. Chevy's Volt was even named Car of the Year. And nobody cares.

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Why CES Doesn't Matter

The 2011 International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas ended yesterday, not with a bang but with a whimper. 

Here's why it’s an anachronism:

 

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Confused Definitions

More is better, according to the leading marketing theorists when it comes to brands participating in social media. Blogger how-to lists and entire books are dedicated to the proposition, and there are services that will tee-up "content" so you can repurpose it into the mediasphere. The Conventional Wisdom not only says this is effective commercial speech but that it's a replacement for old approaches, like advertising. Spend more of your marketing budget on it this year or risk being oh so 2010.

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Out with the Old

Did you notice the lack of inane viral videos of the "Elf Yourself" variety this past holiday season? That video -- in which you can insert your face into a cartoon of a dancing elf and then email it to your friends and enemies alike (see above) -- proved years ago that it could get consumers' attention and spawned lots of knock-offs. My expectation would be that we'd get flooded with them last month.

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