The New New *NEW* Marketing

This morning I am contemplating my ability to sustain an interest in microblogging (i.e. Twitter) and attempting to give it another go (inspired completely by Kai’s boyo adding me to his list of Twitterers). I wanted to post something this morning before setting out on a walk with Eliot and decided that in order to capture the true nature of our morning walks, it was important to note the very Zen-like focus they have for me. This, of course, got me thinking about the term Zen and how more and more frequently I see it used as an adjective. Which, in turn, got me wondering if any of the online dictionaries are starting to note the term as an adjective as well as a noun. So I opened up a new browser tab and went to Google and dropped in my “Define: Zen” and lo and behold discovered a new Marketing exploitation strategy. The very first definition in the list (not the second or the eighth, but the first):

A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and the use of topographic maps from Map Express.

Wow. If only I’d know that I could attain enlightenment through topographic maps. My whole life might have been different.

Recently I had to give up reading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series due to excessive product placement (seriously, how many times do you really need to mention Coke or Nike in a book of that size?).

I am desperate to watch the season opener of The Office, but can’t bring myself to deal with the 15+ minutes of commercial disruption that are bound to occupy the hour long space. I’d rather wait for it to come out on DVD, as we have with all the other seasons of every other television show I have watched since Buffy went off the air (except a certain medical drama, let’s call it Bray’s Banatomy, which I watch online “with limited commercial interruptions”). Joss is the only person who could (maybe, possibly) make me go back to watching regular TV.

The gas station near our house recently installed televisions with EXTREMELY LOUD SPEAKERS on top of every. single. pump. which broadcast a continual stream of ads for everything from cars to video games as you stand there, a captive audience. Needless to say, we no longer stop at that gas station.

You know, I work in marketing, so I get the function. Or rather, I get the intended function. The reasonable function, sans excessive manipulation and psychographics and consumer insanity. I understand that it is important for a company to communicate to its current and potential clients. But where are the limits?

Wherever we set them I guess.

Some days, though, doesn’t the noise just get to you?

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8 Responses to The New New *NEW* Marketing

  1. kaizerin says:

    Tee hee…well, dear, if you don’t take a map, you’re just wandering the desert. Of course, I’m something of a cartography fangirl, so I’m biased. I’ll take you to my map Mecca, Metsker’s Maps in Seattle, and we’ll see if you don’t get a little buzz of the divine.

    But product placement in a dictionary is a wee bit beyond the pale. And I would certainly cast aside with force a novel that kept screaming ads at me–unless that was the point of the novel. Have you read William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition? The main character has an allergy to brands and goes to great lengths to scour them from her life. She uses her condition in her work as a consultant to corporations: they show her their brand concepts, she tells them (based on the strength of her revulsion to them) which one is the strongest brand. It was one of those books that when I finished it, I wanted to flip it right back open at page one and go through it again.

    As for the noise…I feel like I do a pretty good job keeping it at arm’s length, but it’s definitely out there, looking for a way in. We hate to get stuck watching live tv because of sitting through the commercials; we either DVR it, or at least let it buffer for 20 minutes, so we can skip the commercials.

    I’ve never liked branded clothes–I should pay you for the honor of advertising for you? I don’t think so! (One of my favorite moments in Pattern Recognition is a dissection of the howling vacuum of meaninglessness that is the Tommy Hilfiger brand, which I have always hated passionately.)

  2. CountessZ says:

    I absolutely need to read that book. And oh my goodness am I ever excited that you have Anne in your reading list right now! We should totally get Sense & Sensibility up under the site reads one of these days. I’m still plowing my way through Fountainhead. I hit a dull point for awhile and my progress slowed, but I’m back at it full force now. I’m looking forward to doing a write up of my thoughts and impressions. And am considering adding Atlas Shrugged into my queue for a reread. But my next order of business is Wicked and some Jane. Only now you have me thinking about Anne…

  3. Ramona the proud says:

    How did you deal with not wearing the ‘right’ brands in jr high?
    Zee Countess definitely needs dvr.

  4. CountessZ says:

    Oh, and ditto on the branded clothes (or vehicles — eddie bauer edition anyone? — or accessories — because it’s more impressive if I carry a channel purse? — or anything else for that matter).

  5. kaizerin says:

    Did we decide on S&S? Goody! I’ll pop it up on the list right now.

    Anne was a delight to revisit; I’ve requested a bio of LMM from the library, too. I’ve been mulling an entry about ways our favorite childhood reads shape us, as I also re-read An Old-Fashioned Girl not too long ago, and was surprised how much of it had stuck with me.

    Ramona, there was a time I thought I’d never be able to say this, but the wounds of junior high have faded sufficiently that I don’t recall much about them. Not having the right brands was never my problem: thinking differently, thinking too much, thinking at all, and not being willing to shut up and blend in: that was my problem. I don’t remember anybody picking on me for not wearing the coolest brands, although they did pick on me for ‘weird’ clothing choices. And MAN did they pick on me on Punk Day when, photographic evidence shows, I was the only one in school with the faintest notion of what punk was. (Although, truth be told, I was more of a New Romantic than a punk.) But yeah, fancypants branded clothes were the least of my worries.

  6. kaizerin says:

    ARGH! None of the S&S choices list Jane as the author! They’re all by editor, apparently–how rude! So I picked the cover I liked best, and trust our tiny but loyal readership to know better than to think this Claire person wrote it.

    Poor Jane, she’s getting no respect at all these days.

  7. CountessZ says:

    Poor Jane indeed! She deserves better. Luckily, you can edit all the information that appears with the image of the book cover, so I updated it to say that Jane was the author (and also got rid of the “Oxford Edition” subtitle).

    As for brand name clothing, Kai and I are pretty much on the same page there. Never really saw the point, and had purple hair and wore mismatched socks and combat boots for most of high school. Before venturing into experiments in being me, though, I did have one year where I tried desperately to “fit in.” And did my best to buy the “right” clothes at consigment stores where we could almost afford them and basically borrowing stuff from “friends.” That was one year and at the end of it, I dyed my hair and started wearing what I wanted. The friends didn’t translate. I remember high school being initially lonely, but once I found the other misfits and rejects, we settled into a happy and blissful state of social anarchy.

  8. kaizerin says:

    Jr. High and the first semester of HS are better forgotten, although I credit Ramona with inculcating the necessary “So what? Fuck them!” attitude to get me through it. Stories out of school: I came home from 4th grade upset that the kids at my new school had started calling me “witch!” R said, “But that’s kind of a compliment. Witches are strong, independent women with power.” After that, I would just smile when they called me witch, and that stopped them pretty fast. In 8th grade, I got my picture in the paper for winning a history competition. I was reading in the HS library when an older girl pushed a copy of the paper over to me with the word “bitch” written over my picture. I wrote “super” over “bitch” and pushed it back. I told R about it, because it did upset me, and she laughed and said that was just right: don’t let them see they’re getting to you.

    Once I switched schools midway through 9th grade, life got better, fast. I fell in with the drama/music geeks (more of a ‘rushed headlong into their welcoming arms,’ really.) My drama clique became my D&D group (Ah, summer of ’85, how I loved wasting you in a succession of late-night basement gaming sessions!). In my gang, you could wear what you wanted, listen to whatever music you pleased, and be as conservative or wild as you felt like, as long as you had brains or talent–that was what we cared about.

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