If there's anyone who doesn't think the world — and particularly the United States — desperately needs WikiLeaks, I offer you "Exhibit A" of why this is the case: the star-studded official trailer for the "Call of Duty: Black Ops" first person shooter video game. Regular readers of this column might recall my November 16 article, "Nowhere Left to Run," where I discussed the cultural implications of "Black Ops" after spotting a poster for the game in a Berlin subway around the time of its release. Since then I have seen the trailer, whose slogan is "There's a soldier in all of us" and features both ordinary people — a secretary, fry cook, hotel concierge, and the like — along with celebrities like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, and late night American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
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Reality telling-vision ‘talent’ shows, aside from being another hastily buffed facet of the bread and circus, alpha-wave inducing media trivio-sphere, also, I believe, serve to substantiate and maintain an ugly and inevitably destructive cultural and social paradigm.
The Celebritocrats lean over us from their polished pedestals, purporting to be our salvation, overseeing the next chosen one’s ascent into their domain, casting aside all those deemed unworthy to be stood before their vapid (pay no heed to the man behond the mirror) visage. How easily the discomforting pornography of schadenfreude that parades in the initial stages of these shows, seems forgotten; contestants disposed of, ‘deleted’, mercilessly and without recourse, culturally guillotined whilst the baying hoardes jeer and mock.
The first myth that these events promulgate is that of audience (electorate) participation in outcome, that is bolstered by the temporary feeling of belonging that comes from a large (in this case discomfortingly vicarious) social event.… Read the rest
Talk about a bad analogy: Appearing on television recently, former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser and current public relations executive Mark Penn suggested that President Obama needs a moment "similar" to the tragic terrorist attack on the Oklahoma City federal building, in order to "reconnect" with voters. He didn't even seem to flinch in making the comment. Penn is currently president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a multi-national public relations firm. He also served in 2008 as chief strategist for then-Senator Hillary Clinton's run for the White House. Before that, Penn advised former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his third run for the UK leadership post, and served clients such as AT&T, Texaco, Ford, Merck, Verizon, BP, McDonald’s and Microsoft.
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Can you forge an emotional bond with a brand so strong that, if forced to buy a competitor’s product, you suffer separation anxiety? According to a new study from the USC Marshall School of Business, the answer is yes. In fact, that bond can be strong enough that consumers are willing to sacrifice time, money, energy and reputation to maintain their attachment to that brand.
“Brand Attachment and Brand Attitude Strength: Conceptual and Empirical Differentiation of Two Critical Brand Equity Drivers,” a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Marketing, is co-authored by USC Marshall’s C. Whan Park, Joseph A. DeBell Professor of Marketing; Deborah J. MacInnis, Vice Dean of Research and Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration; and Joseph Priester, Associate Professor of Marketing; along with Andreas B. Eisingerich, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Imperial College (London) Business School; and Dawn Iacobucci, E.
While the Republican Party uses grade school techniques for bullying conservatives and libertarians into voting for them, the Democratic Party has more sophisticated, scientific ways of trying to manipulate liberals and progressives. From the New York Times:
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Over the past few days, thousands of Democratic-leaning voters nationwide — including the young people, minorities and unmarried women who were a crucial part of Barack Obama’s 2008 coalition and whom the party is desperate to rouse again on Tuesday — received a message in their mailboxes that effectively said: we’re keeping an eye on you.
The mailers are the handiwork of Hal Malchow, a political consultant who is acting on a theory that first intrigued him four years ago. Before the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial primary, three political scientists isolated a group of voters and mailed them copies of their voting histories, listing the elections in which they participated and those they missed.
The recent slew of “man up” and similar comments coming mostly from Republican candidates makes this 2008 Stephen Ducat piece from the Huffington Post perhaps even more relevant than when it was written:
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The racist lynchings of the 19th and 20th centuries featured castration as a central component of those ritualized assaults. The same appears to be true of contemporary rhetorical lynchings visible in the right wing media-scape. First aired on April 23 of this year as a news item, the latest ad by the Grand Dragon of GOP character assassins, Floyd Brown, is only the most recent example.
Brown, who succeeded in turning Black rapist murderer Willie Horton into Michael Dukakis’s running mate, is now going after the testicular credibility of Barack Obama. The ad cited a vote Obama cast as an Illinois state senator against a bill mandating the death penalty for gang-related murders — a bill the state’s Republican governor later vetoed for being overly broad, vague, discriminatory, and for lacking any deterrent effect.
Every new product launch, ad campaign or package design takes significant research, time and resources to ensure success, but not every launch is successful. Suffice it to say that guess work plays a part to determine: Will it grab attention? Will it be memorable? Will it engage emotionally? And most importantly, will it drive purchase intent? Taking the guess work out of the equation prior to launch is a marketer’s dream, which is now a definable reality with quantifiable results. Just recently the notion was put to the test to see if neuroscience could be used to help a magazine sell more copies. And the results were enlightening. Clever Covers In a publishing industry’s first, New Scientist Magazine approached NeuroFocus to test three different cover designs...
Whenever a major political party tries to “rebrand” itself, aesthetically, it inevitably ends in disaster. Last time it was GOP.com, but to prove the graphic failure is bipartisan, the Democrats have come up with a new logo, and a new slogan (“change that matters”). An exasperated Bill Maher tried to help out the party by offering some new slogans, like “fighting for you (to a point)” and “we got Lisa Ling’s sister out of Korea.” The logo (which, it should be noted, The Atlantic has already called out for plagiarism from a Midwestern pizza place), is a small “D” in a blue circle. The hours spent thinking up this complex design must be incalculable. Maher presents it without comment, though his face says it all, and to add insult to injury, Jon Hamm of all people deadpans from off-camera, “Radiates power, doesn’t it?”
I've never been slim — I played offensive line in high school — but I'm no cow either. (I'm happily a "Russell Crowe" body type.) So I immediately went across the street, bought a tailor's measuring tape, and trudged from shop to shop, trying on various brands' casual dress pants. It took just two hours to tear my self-esteem to smithereens and raise some serious questions about what I later learned is called "vanity sizing." Your pants have been deceiving you for years. And the lies are compounding:Read More on Esquire