Are the Fans the Problem or the Owners?

September 22nd, 2009

The National Football League has a policy. Games, which are not sold out, are not shown on Local TV. This is to encourage (punish) local residents to go to their home games (and not stay home to watch the game and all its accompanying advertising.)

It doesn’t seem like they will deviate from this. Not in the event of the worst recession in recent memory. Not in the face of massive job loss, thousands of local home foreclosures, and dismal employment outlook.

When I hear people blame the fans, I scratch my head.

Their argument is usually along the lines of-

1) The weather is too nice in San Diego. There’s an array of other things to do on a Sunday afternoon.

2) Too many people who live here are originally from other places. They keep their home team and don’t adopt the chargers.

3) The fans here suck.

I would certainly agree with number one. The rest ring hollow to me.

I recognize that professional football is a business. If people aren’t buying your product it seems shortsighted to blame the end consumer. When Starbucks’s business dropped off, they didn’t label the coffee drinkers as soft or undedicated. They introduced new specials and cut prices.

If most other cities aren’t facing the blackout, it seems like the Chargers ownership, not the team, have failed to adequately build their customer base.

The people who own the Chargers are quite wealthy by any standard. How hard would it be for the Spanos family to “buy” a few thousand tickets and give them away to teachers, cops, kids, etc? Or how about giving them to some military men and women? San Diego is a military town and we are fighting 2 concurrent wars. The news and accompanying photo ops would generate some good will and positive brand awareness.

To me, the blackout issue is between owners of the San Diego Chargers and the NFL. Not the fans and the Chargers team.

Collection of Images

September 21st, 2009

More Images Here. Warning – A few might be unsettling depending on your disposition.

Via The Matt Smith

Welcome Back, Kotter

September 10th, 2009

I didn’t think a TV show theme song could be covered so well.

Via the excellent indie music site, Gorilla Vs Bear

Art and Copy

September 10th, 2009

This film looks right up my alley.

ART & COPY is a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray (SURFWISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry. Exploding forth from advertising’s “creative revolution” of the 1960s, these artists and writers all brought a surprisingly rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation: George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Hal Riney and others featured in ART & COPY were responsible for “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different,” and brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents. They managed to grab the attention of millions and truly move them. Visually interwoven with their stories, TV satellites are launched, billboards are erected, and the social and cultural impact of their ads are brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion.

ART & COPY Trailer from ART & COPY on Vimeo.

I think I’ll be making a trek up to Irvine next week to check it out. Carpool anyone?

The Faces of Real Journalism

September 8th, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee were imprisoned for entering North Korea while covering the plight of refugees escaping to China.

When we set out, we had no intention of leaving China, but when our guide beckoned for us to follow him beyond the middle of the river, we did, eventually arriving at the riverbank on the North Korean side. He pointed out a small village in the distance where he told us that North Koreans waited in safe houses to be smuggled into China via a well-established network that has escorted tens of thousands across the porous border.

Feeling nervous about where we were, we quickly turned back toward China. Midway across the ice, we heard yelling. We looked back and saw two North Korean soldiers with rifles running toward us. Instinctively, we ran.

We were firmly back inside China when the soldiers apprehended us. Producer Mitch Koss and our guide were both able to outrun the border guards. We were not. We tried with all our might to cling to bushes, ground, anything that would keep us on Chinese soil, but we were no match for the determined soldiers. They violently dragged us back across the ice to North Korea and marched us to a nearby army base, where we were detained.

I was struck by several things in the piece-

1) The precaution they took to protect their sources both before their arrest and during interrogation.

2) Getting the story involved huge risks with little payoff. People here barely care about refugees in the United States let alone halfway around the world.

3) The fact that they may have been set up by the leader of South Korean underground railroad.

4) Their courage.

There’s a lot of criticism directed at journalists these days. ‘The media’, ‘They don’t ask the hard hitting questions,’ ‘It’s all fluff.’

That all might very well be true but like most broad sweeping statements it demeans an awful lot of good people, most of whom we never hear about. I’m put in mind of the adage; for every ant you see there’s a 1,000 you don’t.

Awesomeness is Far and Wide

September 4th, 2009

I quite like this and enjoy many of his other cuts. The gritty Newark landscape is a great back drop.

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates

Why People Need Drama in Their Lives

September 3rd, 2009

Derek Sivers has an excellent post about attending a lecture by Kurt Vonnegut. The acclaimed author of Catch 22 and other great reads explains why people crave drama in their own personal lives.

Kurt Vonnegut-drama

Time moves from left to right.  Happiness from bottom to top.

It starts with her awful life with evil stepsisters, scrubbing the fireplace. Then she get an invitation to the ball! Things look up. Then the fairy godmother makes her a dress and a coach. Even better! Then she goes to the ball, and dances with the prince! This is great!  But then it’s midnight. She has to go. Oh no. Sadness. Back to her humdrum life scrubbing the fireplace. But it’s not as bad as before, because she’s had this encouraging experience.  Then, the prince finds her, and the happiness factor is off the chart!  Happily ever after.

“People LOVE that story! This story arc has been written a thousand times in a thousand tales. And because of it, people think their lives are supposed to be like this.”

But the problem is, life is really like this…

Kurt Vonnegut-drama

Our lives drifts along with normal things happening. Some ups, some downs, but nothing to go down in history about. Nothing so fantastic or terrible that it’ll be told for a thousand years.

“But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think are lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.”

That’s why people invent fights. That’s why we’re drawn to sports. That’s why we act like everything that happens to us is such a big deal.

We’re trying to make our life into a fairy tale.

Derek Siver’s post has another great chart about disaster stories. I’m a big fan of info graphics. Done right (like they are here) and coupled with a bit of text, they rapidly and effectively convey a lot of information.

A lot of writers, song writers, and large scale marketers may find his post very useful.

Michael Jordan of English

September 2nd, 2009

Don KingOn his usage of the English language Don King is often derided as ignorant or uneducated. To me, if you can use a wrong word or make up a word that no one has even heard of, and seamlessly convey the correct emotion, it’s art. Much the same as a sculptor taking a block of marble and carving an angel.

A few examples and other quotes-

“I am the living attestation of the American dream. I am the extolment of this great nation.”

“Don’t besmirchify me.”

“I can’t believe that having said what I said was interpreted as having been what I said when I said it, because I said it where I said it, when I said it, and who I said it to.”

“Mike Tyson has been given every penny he has coming.”

“Martin Luther King took us to the mountain top: I want to take us to the bank.”

“He worked for the day when all people would be clothed in dignity.”

“I can’t believe what I said about myself. What I said in my own private conversations with myself to an ESPN producer are my business, and I had no business saying them to someone else.”

“Don’t try trickeration on me.”

“You never get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. You got a right to say yay or nay.”

On working long hours-

“You get nothin’ from sleep but a dream”

From others commenting on his very questionable business practices-

“Don King is one of the great humanitarians of our time. He has risen above that great term, prejudice. He has screwed everybody he has ever been around. Hog, dog, or frog, it don’t matter to Don. If you got a quarter, he wants the first 26 cents.”
Randall Tex’Cobb

“One day Don King will asphyxiate by the force of his own exhaust.”
Carmen Graziano

HBO Put out a great movie about his life. I was impressed with the balance it struck. Ving Rhames kills it as Don King. Also with Jeremy Piven, Keith David, Bernie Mac, Lou Rawls, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Darius McCrary.

Language in this clip may be NSFW.

People criticize Don King a lot, often with good reason. A few things I’ve never heard him accused of is being untalented, a hack, or lazy.

His acumen as a marketer and a promoter is breath taking.

Three Heads are Better than One

August 27th, 2009

What do you get when you combine an acoustic engineer, a software engineer, and an interior designer? The Mile Project.

Design project mile was formed by Bandai Matsuo (acoustic engineer), Kentaro Kai (software engineer) and Kozo Shimoyama (interior designer) while they were still students at the University of Tsukuba. After they graduated from 2000 to 2003, they continued the project while becoming fully active in their own respective fields. They changed the name to MILE in 2008 and started working in full scale as a team. As “three heads are better than one” (the Chinese character for MILE can be read as san which also means three), they are expanding their design activities making use of each member’s specialty.

Who design all sorts of neat things such as-

Sumibako

(It will remove odours and moisture too!)

Just a sack and two handfuls of charcoal.
That’s all it is.
It doesn’t look very stable, but somehow it stands by itself.
You will also find it surprisingly useful.
You can place it anywhere and put anything in it.

Looks like it would be great as a laundry bag as well.

Next Up-

A clock that uses beams of light instead of moving hands to display the time. It even has a seconds beam!

Clock

Neat Clock

Many other projects and designs at their website.

The Drama of Oxygen

August 23rd, 2009

I’m in awe of how entertaining this message/lesson is and how it would resonate with almost any audience.

Oxygen from Christopher Hendryx on Vimeo.

The ability to evoke emotion through communication be it teaching, storytelling, music, art, cooking, sports, photography, marketing, (really, this list could be far longer and is too sacred to be appended with an etc.) is endlessly fascinating for me.

Within the framework of expressing the interaction of oxygen molecules, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done better.

Via Delicious