I’ve seen it posted and reposted multiple times in the last few days — the New Era ad featuring Alec Baldwin and The Office’s John Krasinski talking smack over their favorite baseball teams, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox respectively. But as a Sox fan, I just don’t find it all that special. Yes, I love any trash talk regarding the Evil Empire, but as someone who has lived and breathed it, it just seems weak. I understand that it is an ad and that there is only so much you can say on TV, but it still seems a little too…polite.
I was there in 2004. Even when I think about it now, I get a little choked up — one of, not THE greatest post-season series in the history of sports. Coming back from being 3 games down against our most hated rival and ending “the curse” still brings a tear to my eye. I remember when that final out was thrown in ACLS, ending the Yankees’ season and sending the Sox to the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Â I rushed out of my dorm room with my fellow students as we all ran to Fenway, celebrating in the streets of Beantown.
So trust me, I’m well versed in Yankees trash talk. You don’t know how close I was to buying a t-shirt that read, “A-Rod is an A-hole”.
Anyway, I had no idea John Krasinski was a Red Sox fan. Maybe the ad would have resonated with me more if had been Ben Affleck or Matt Damon, actors who are famously from Boston. Was Mark Wahlberg not available? Conan O’Brien on vacation? I just found it to be a weird choice, especially since there is a campaign attached to it where you vote for Team Baldwin or Team Krasinski.
If Jim from The Office truly is a Sox fan, more power to him. I just think Yankee hating sounds better with less r’s.
In closing, JETAH SUCKS and GO SOX!
Is it just me or have puppets been slowly creeping their way into the mainstream lately? I originally wrote this in late January, but at the time, no one else saw the pattern. Well, today, Ford has announced a new “spokespuppet” for their new Focus campaign! Do you believe me now?
Puppets have been used in movies, TV and advertising for decades. Let’s not forget the Pets.com sock puppet dog (voiced by none other than Michael Ian Black) or for you history buffs, Danny O’Day and his dog Farfel in commercials for Nestles back in the 1950s.
Don’t get me wrong; puppets never really left the public eye. Sesame Street has been on for 41 seasons. But with anything in pop culture, their popularity ebbs and flows. Lately I’ve noticed a resurgence of more and more felt-covered friends.
Now, a brief history of puppets over the last decade. It all started with Comedy Central’s prank calling show “Crank Yankers” which debuted in 2002. The brainchild of Adam Carolla, Daniel Kellison and Jimmy Kimmel, the show featured the comedic talent of Tracy Morgan, Sarah Silverman and Kevin Nealon. And then there was Weezer’s music video for their song “Keep Fishin’” featuring the most famous puppets of all: The Muppets. Shortly after, the smash hit Avenue Q made the jump to Broadway. Then in 2006, a comedian by the name of Jeff Dunham came onto the scene with ventriloquist skills and a variety of characters. Again, puppet loving Comedy Central would not only air his specials but for a brief time, gave his own TV show.
Advertising hasn’t been sitting out on this trend either. First Zappos decided to use puppets to portray their dedicated customer service representatives in ads last year. Recently, Band-Aid and Neosporin teamed up for the “Squeeze and Stick” campaign. The commercial and corresponding website feature five- cute-as-can-be characters that represent the 5 signs of healing. There is even a song, complete with a demo karaoke style so you can sing along too.
I am going to place the influx of puppets in mainstream media on one man: Jason Segel. 2008′s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” introduced us to “Dracula: The Musical” and from then on Jason Segel and puppets became synonymous. Segel took it to the next level and decided to go big: doing another Muppets movie. The stakes and the excitement are high. Entertainment Weekly recently proclaimed, “The new Muppets movie can’t come out soon enough”.
But why puppets? We can do so much with digital animation; don’t puppets seem a little dated? To answer my own question, absolutely not! Puppets bring back memories from the days before CGI rained supreme, when characters seemed more “real”. Their creation was an art form all in itself. Think of the master of all things puppet, the late Mr. Jim Henson. Where would be without his skill, his art, and his iconic characters that have stood test of time? Honestly, which Yoda do you prefer: Empire Strikes Back Yoda or Yoda from Episode I?
In a world full of CGI, 3D and animation, it is nice to have something tangible to hold on to.
This was my first trip to SXSW and my first work conference. My only prior conference experience was Comic Con, which I think actually helped prepare me for the insanity. I went to panels and parties. I talked to lots of different people about everything from apps to social media. These are my top 5 takeaways from the whole shebang:
1. Social Media is this year’s Mobile.
2. That iPadâ€¦so hot right now. No, seriously, I did not see another kind of tablet the entire conference.
3. In Austin it is totally acceptable to have a full beard and a scarf on an 80 degree day.
4. Having a great moderator is one of the keys to have a great panel. A perfect example was Bob Garfield during “Brand Journalism: The Rise of Non-Fiction Advertising”.
5. The true value of SXSW comes from talking to people face to face rather than being online the whole time. In an industry where most of us spend the better part of the day in front of a computer, it is a great opportunity to meet with other professionals and discuss the latest tech trends.
Originally posted on Digithoughts:
Who would have thought something as classic as vampires would mix so flawlessly with something so new as an integrated marketing campaign? HBO certainly did when they set out to promote their new hit show â€œTrue Blood.â€ This is truly a case study for a marketing plan done right.
Here’s a background for those who have not yet seen the show: A synthetic blood drink has been invented that can sustain a vampire’s thirst for blood. This technological advancement was so significant that vampires can now â€œcome out of the coffinâ€ and become members of society.
Instead of a traditional marketing plan, True Blood creates an “in world” perspective. This is done through a vast array of social media, digital, and traditional advertising techniques but for the purposes of time and energy, I will focus on my favorites. The first campaign started before the debut of the show at last year’s Comic Con. HBO ignored reality and decided to play with imaginations by promoting the synthetic blood drink, Tru Blood, that the show is so appropriately named after. Posters promoting Tru Blood appeared on buildings and in magazines in the same way liquor ads do. They had catchy phrases like â€œFriends Donâ€™t Let Friends Drink Friendsâ€. They even launched a website for Tru Blood, which rivals even the best high-end beverage sites out there (it’s complete with â€œtype finderâ€, product descriptions, and of course, merchandise).
Of course, HBO didn’t stop there they took it even further digitally with the clever use of micro sites, blogs, and Twitter. The vampires’ lives on True Blood parallel the struggles other minority groups have faced in this country and in this universe, the fight for civil rights is not just for the living. Their main opposition, The Fellowship of the Sun has a bright, sunny layout that mirrors the (public) message of the church. It features sermons and words of wisdom to help us â€œlive in His light.â€ If you didnâ€™t know any better, you might just join the Light of Day Institute. The newest edition to True Bloodâ€™s online world is the American Vampire League which is styled to look like governmental and nonprofit websites. The content is what really brings the AVL to life; news, an â€œIntolerance Watch,â€ a Vampire Friendly Brands section, and even its own Public Service Announcements. And if youâ€™d like to support the AVL, there is an online kit where you can download fliers and T-shirt designs so that you too can rally for the cause.
Blood Copy is a blog written entirely from a vampire’s perspective. It is updated daily with everything from videos, to social commentary. On July 31st, 2009, regarding the topic of health care in America our blogger writes: “Breathers are so focused on our quasi-immortal lifespan, how we donâ€™t age and, barring a specific (and short) list of conditions, we do not die, they seldom note another critical aspect of our existence: Vampires donâ€™t get sick.”
Like many other media and entertainment professionals, HBO has also embraced Twitter. However, their approach is a little different. The twitter, BonTempsGossip, is named after the small town, Bon Temp, Louisiana, where the show is set. It provides small town gossip as well as leaks teasers for upcoming episodes, again from a first person perspective. Example- BonTempsGossip: Rumor is, Sookie’s in danger. Don’t think she counted on havin’ to get out of a mess without Bill’s help – word is he’s nowhere to be found.
Most recently, at Comic Con 2009, series creator Alan Ball announced that there will be a Tru Blood beverage on the market in September. Although Ball said it would be a mixture of â€œVicodin, Viagra, Ecstasy, Vodka, Cabernet and other ingredients,â€ the drink will actually be a blood orange soda, packaged in the same bottles as used on the show. So like I said earlier, well done HBO! I’m sure there will be more for us to sink our teeth into as the series progresses.