Jonathan Salem Baskin

Why Super Bowl Ads Suck

I know, they’re funny, and ads with animals and/or kids can't lose. Last night was a ritual for some of us to judge and compare the commercials during a football game that we otherwise wouldn’t have watched. We’re going to spend a few days enduring incessant “best of” lists, marketers will perform some complex gymnastics to explain why the spots are brilliant business strategy, and ad agencies will refer back to all this buzz when it’s time to revive their pitches to sell Super Bowl spots to their clients next year.

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Bright Lights Project -- Ad Agencies

The fallout of digital technology and its social applications continues to wash across the communications industry, with many leading advertising agencies starting 2012 with staff reductions while big-name brands like Microsoft and P&G fire hundreds of their marketers.

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Turning Point

At the turn of the last century, AOL was the household name when it came to Internet access (not to mention a reliable source for spam CDs in everyone’s snailmail boxes). It was a portal...no, the portal to Internet experience through which people passed in order to access the content there.

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Bright Lights Project - Standard & Poor's Rating Services

Standard & Poor’s is one of three major American rating agencies (Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services are the others). They’re in the business of assessing risk of various financial instruments and the reliability of the companies and governments that issue or trade them, and their ratings affect both investor interest and the prices paid for said financial paper.

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Invent New Sports

There’s been little to no snow this winter, which has been a gift to those of us who commute in America’s northernly cities but an absolute existential disaster for ski resorts. You just can’t make enough snow (or keep making it fast enough) to come anywhere close to providing the sort of skiing experiences that most skiers expect. I can slide down ice in my driveway with no pricey lift ticket required.

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Bright Lights Project - The Consumer Electronics Show

The 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show ("CES") started two days ago in Las Vegas. Close to 150,000 people are milling around almost 2 million square feet of exhibition space filled with thousands of displays. Every device imaginable is playing, broadcasting, or otherwise beeping. Mainstream media types are trying to figure out what it all means. Bloggers have been flown there and often hired by companies so they can spontaneously tell the mainstream folks what’s what.

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Bright Lights Project - Mainstream Media

One of the places the idiotic “Free = Paid” financial model perpetrated by new media zealots first took hold was in the media business itself, perhaps because there was no obvious way to avoid it. Newspapers and magazines found themselves giving away the very substance of their existence much the same way looters yanking TVs through broken store windows represented a new financial model for electronics retailing.

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Customers, Not Conversations

Kodak is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, turning to renting out space to tenants on its manufacturing campus, and shopping its 1000+ digital patents (selling intellectual property to stay in business is kind of like giving away your mind in order to stay sane).

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A Case for Social Media

Although AT&T stuffed the announcement of its intention to takeover rival T-Mobile with all of the usual claptrap about improving the service its customers got, it was clear -- like most big ticket financial deals -- that it would most likely only pay rich benefits to the senior execs at both companies and their strategic advisors through layoffs and other "economies of scale."

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Ah Hah Hah Hah Hah Hah!

The public relations industry's trade association is running a campaign to come up with a new definition for PR. I can see the problem, since social media technologies have democratized the tweaking, spinning, and obfuscating of the truth that used to be the exclusive purview of PR professionals. In an age when anyone can be an expert on anything, every opinion is as valid as the next and no fact need go unchallenged, contradicted, or ignored.

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