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The Biro signs off of WIN

Tom Biro, who welcomed me to the AdJab fold, eventually turned over the reins of that site to me and then even later on brought me on board MWW Group, has announced he’s official left the Weblogs, Inc. payroll. WIN runs sites like TVSquad, Cinematical and, before AOL ditched it, AdJab. Tom has a good (and far more mature than my write-up) perspective on things in his post so go give it a read.

Celebrities: Just like us, only better

If you’re a Cubs fan like myself than you (hopefully) accepted the fact that all the Tommy John surgeries in the world (not a reference to how many he could have, but actually did have) would not bring Kerry Wood’s arm back to what we all hoped it would be. I don’t even say “what it was” because it wasn’t healthy long enough for us to see what it was. We collectively had this belief until about 2005 that just one more trip into the operating room would bring back the pitcher we saw in 1998 striking out 20 Astros. But now we’ve largely given that up. It’s just easier and, frankly, more realistic.

But the corporate advertising world still seems to be stuck in the “It’ll all work out” phase familiar to Cubs fans, survivors huddled in the basement after nuclear wars and people who think J.J. Abrams has a plan for “Lost.” Advertisers still see a situation wherein a company or retailer faces the challenge of gaining market share or stemming sales declines and think that celebrities are the answer. Macy’s picked Donald Trump and Martha Stewart, meaning they can cash in both their “place” and “show” tickets “The Apprentice” window. Ben McConnell dissects this effort nicely. HP has tapped rocker Gwen Stefani for a new campaign, since she had that big hit “Color Cartridge #22” and so is known as a printing industry guru. And don’t get me started on The Gap, which launches celebrity-driven campaigns with the same regularity Sisyphus pushes the boulder of the hill, and with about the same effect.

Wouldn’t it be better for companies to spend a fraction of what they are on lining up celebrities – celebrities that will endorse their competitors at the drop of a larger check – on seeing how they can build up their existing customers and empower them to spread their own word-of-mouth? They could create online communities where people talk about the brand, share their own stories and meet other like-minded people. And all this could probably done for a fraction of what Trump asked to utter a couple lines and pose for a handful of pictures.

People want to connect with each other – it’s a natural human instinct. The myth of the celebrity has been almost shattered by tabloids – both print and online – and that has taken much of their endorsement credibility with it.

Quick Takes 8/27/07

  • filmstrip.jpgNYMag’s Vulture blog points out that that the score from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil seems to be popping up in, seemingly, one out of every four trailers that’s been released recently. Sicko, Bee Movie, Wall-E and others have all used Michael Kamen’s score for some strange reason.
  • Peter points to an article talking about how movies from the Fox Faith label come under increased scrutiny by just about everyone and also get pigeon-holed by audiences, who are sometimes turned off by what otherwise might be movies they’d have seen.
  • Veteran movie marketer Brian Fox has left the agency he founded – and recently sold – to start a new movie publicity firm. The new operation will operate as a cross-national, platform agnostic shop that hopefully will build on Fox’s network of relationships to succeed.
  • Poynter and Spout have the best posts I’ve seen on the kefluffle between Roger Ebert and Disney over the use of the “thumbs” rating system, an important point not only for readers but also movie marketers anxious to play up those thumbs in their ads and related material.

LOTD: 8/27/07

  • Well, now that LOLcats can be officially designated as passe by their inclusion in the WSJ this weekend… (TB)
  • On that list of news you don’t want to see floating around the blogosphere regarding your vehicles, this item at AutoblogGreen is probably in the top two or three items, whether or not it’s 100% legit or not. That is, true believers, because you know people will try it. (TB)
  • I find it amusing to no end that one of the reasons cited by MySpace for not wanting to allow people to sell things directly from their profile is the desire to avoid “clutter.” (CT)
  • If you don’t follow the social media crowd on Twitter you might not have seen people this morning complaining about slowness on YouTube, problems with Tumblr and delays on getting Twitter updates. All those gripes have, of course, arrived delayed because of the Twitter delays, thereby slowing down the rotation of the Earth and endangering us all. (CT)

Quick Takes 8/27/07: Friends of MMM Update

  • static3.gifClyde bids adieu to blogging at Fast Company in order to focus on expanding and getting the most out of his own network of sites. I completely understand the desire to hone in on building out a personal brand and when you do it as well as Clyde it makes complete sense.
  • CK has used the watching of a number of recent movies to get over her anxiety over flying and offers her opinions on the flicks she’s watched.
  • Over at our work blog, Tom writes an open letter to the Trib’s Eric Zorn on how to cash in with SEO. And on TMD he mentions that you can now embed videos from MTV’s Overdrive site.
  • Alex let me know that was named one of PCMag’s Top 100 Sites of 2007, which is totally deserved.
  • Jeremiah Owyang is announcing he’s leaving PodTech to join Forrester Research, one of the top research firms around. Congrats to Jeremiah on the move, which is completely in line with the focus on studies and data that is obvious on his site.

Titles are your friends

Dear Eric Zorn,

Chris and I really love you and your blog. Just one piece of feedback I’d like to share after seeing this gem of a post title earlier today (for link click slackers, it’s “The call is coming from inside the house!!!!”), I wanted to point out that if you’d get the fine folks at the Trib to make your title tags as your post titles, you’d get far better search engine traffic for whatever pithy witticism you chose to put in there.



More on Starbucks and Arctic Tale

arctictale_posterbig.jpgThe Los Angeles Times has another story today about the failure of a promotional deal with Starbucks to ignite ticket sales for Arctic Tale. I’m actually quoted at the end of this one, getting in a brief point about the difficulties inherent in trying to get someone to do something at a later date. The story hits a number of the same points as previous ones but those others didn’t include me, so this one is obviously vastly superior.

Listen at your own risk

acrossthesound.JPGOver the weekend, in-between cutting up the tree that fell in my backyard and preparing for my home’s siding to be replaced, I participated in a three-way conversation with Joseph Jaffe and Kirk Skodis for the latest episode of Joe’s Across the Sound podcast. We talked a lot about movie marketing, some entertainment trends and some other good stuff. I’d highly recommend giving it a listen as it was a lot of fun – we talked for two hours and probably could have gone on for another two before hitting all the points we each wanted to make. If you at any point wonder which one is me, I’m the one who’s making no sense whatsoever. Kirk and Joe are the ones that sound lucid.

LOTD: 8/24/07

  • Yeah, that’s right, the kid hacking the iPhone and getting it to work on T-Mobile is from New Jersey. You know you’re jealous. (TB)
  • Am I the only one that thinks Nielsen’s idea of using participants in its new social network venture as a panel of sorts is a tremendously bad idea? (CT)
  • It’s always good to read reminders that customer service – of the old-fashioned call-center variety – is every bit as important to your business as all the fancy marketing plans in the world. (CT)

Pownce Challenge reminder

24 hours later and still no takers on my offer of a Pownce account and help in integrating it into a movie marketing campaign. Remember – this is open to anyone involved in a movie’s marketing efforts. Just drop me a line and I’ll set you up with a Pownce invite and provide a bit of brainstorming help. There is no cost to you so if you feel like experimenting without spending a lot (or any) money this might be just the right thing to satisfy that urge.