Fly on the wall
by Jeff Jarvis
: David Weinberger, probably the gentlest folk I know in this world (unless there’s a bad side I haven’t gotten on yet), writes an essay that rings very true with me about not being a pacifist anymore: “Then, one day I was writing a dialogue about the morality of pacifism, and I lost the argument with myself.”
My story isn’t the same but isn’t all that different. I made myself a pacifist early in life (after being a Civil War fan in the third grade but well before I was Vietnam draft bait; watching Vietnam on TV certainly had an impact). I wrestled with the same angels David wrestled with (what about Hitler? oh, that’s now a hypothetical). And then I faced the demons of September 11th and gave up my pacifism, publicly, in front of the few readers I had here a few years ago. Different paths. Similar feelings.
Assigning citizen journalists
: When I saw a story the other day about a media outlet encouraging citizens to send in photos of tornadoes, I wasn’t the only one who was worried that this might endanger those citizens.
: First, go read the Bill Clinton report, below. I hate it when something that took a lot of work scrolls off the screen. Isn’t it pathetic to plug and link to your own post? Yes, it is. Anyway…. Here’s one more thought that came out of what Clinton said…
The right was clever, no brilliant, to bypass the news — which they felt was stacked against them — to use other media and even entertainment to sell their political cause. Now the left is fighting back and so it’s interesting to look at the scorecard:
: Radio — still owned by the right, of course. Is Air America an inroad? Not if it doesn’t survive past the election. But Clinton said its getting audience last night and, of course, Al Franken says so.
: Books — shifting. Clinton said that during his presidency, most political books were from the right and they filled the best-seller list. Now the left is gaining with Franken, Moore, Clinton, and Clinton. There are still loads of conservatives selling well — start with O’Reilly. But now it’s a battleground. Only thing is, the audience for books themselves is tiny. The hidden agenda (besides earning advances) is going on book tours and getting publicity on TV, I think.
: Movies — owned by the left. Well, of course, they’re a product of left-wing Hollywood, aren’t they? There’s Fahrenheit 9/11, The Hunting of the President, The Day After Tomorrow in theaters now. What am I missing on the right? Who was the last big right-wing star after John Wayne?
: Music — always been the left. But I don’t think that’s effective today; it’s no longer and has not been in ages a medium of lyrics and the rebellion these days is often generic: anger at the Man rather than this Man or that Man.
: TV — outside of the news (let’s not get into that), isn’t TV rather apolitical? Oh, sure, there’s your random anti-Reagan miniseries and the message snuck in here and there. But I think this will be the next frontier of political entertainment. See Al Gore’s new network. It won’t be as overtly political as Air America, they say, but it will have a world view, of course. And I’ll be you’ll see some efforts to create the Norman Lear or the anti-Lear in politically hued sitcoms and dramas.
What do you see?
The mass market is (still) dead
: McDonald’s has discovered that the mass market is dead. The mass market started dying with the inventions of the remote control, cable, Internet, and VCR. But it’s still news when McDonald’s wakes up and smells it. I saw the other day (sorry, lost link) that McD’s is even using body paint on scantily clad women to push coming to McDonald’s late at night.
Steve Hall has a quote from a McDonald’s exec:
“Any single ad, commercial or promotion is not a summary of our strategy. It’s not representative of the brand message,” he said. “We don’t need one big execution of a big idea. We need one big idea that can be used in a multidimensional, multilayered and multifaceted way.”
That befuddled Steve. I think it means:
The mass market gives way to a mass of niches.
The No. 1 hamburger chain has cut its spending on prime-time commercials from two-thirds of its advertising budget to one-third over the past four years and plans to move further away from a one-stop strategy to draw consumers. The money has gone to “all other media” …
“We’re looking at the landscape very differently,” said Dave Burwick, chief marketing officer at beverage company PepsiCo . “Online will be bigger … print and outdoor will benefit from where we’re going. We’re taking dollars directly out of television.”
: UPDATE: Seth Godin reacts to the McDonald’s news:
I worry, though, about two things:
1. changing the marketing without changing the underpinnings of the business is almost always a bad strategy. If all the people, the systems, the real estate, the factories and the menus are organized around monolithic marketing, slapping a little brand journalism on top isn’t going to work awfully well.
2. The marketer doesn’t get to run the conversation. It’s not really brand journalism that’s happening, you see. It’s brand cocktail party! You get to set the table and invite the first batch of guests, but after that the conversation is going to happen with or without you.