Etsy (& Cyberoptix Tie Lab) on Martha

Martha Stewart will be doing an Etsy-focused episode this Friday. While Etsy was at the center of the Handmade 2.0 story, what I’m really pleased to hear is that one of the featured creators will be none other than Bethany Shorb/Toybreaker, the maker of hand-silkscreened ties, interviewed here in way back in August 2006, in this site’s very first Q&A. Big congrats to her, and Murketing remains a fan of her ever-growing line, and ever-expanding business. Check out the latest from her Cyberoptix Tie Lab here. Her Etsy shop is here.

Update March 3: Video of Etsy chief Rob Kalin on Martha Stewart. He does a good job; his energy level strikes me as quite a bit higher than when I met him, but that’s important on TV. Plus I’m quite confident that Martha is more fun to talk to than I am. Anyway, also featured in the segment was The Black Apple, mentioned in the Handmade 2.0 story — and according to this segment, she will be on the Martha show herself later this month. Impressive! Finally: Amusing to see a Toybreaker tie modeled by none other than Matthew Stinchcomb.

Shaking Polaroid

Before this site existed, I did an occasional email newsletter called The Journal of Murketing. (I still do an email newsletter, actually, but it’s different than the old one.) In a December 2003 edition of the old J of M, I had this item:

[ ] The current hit song “Hey Ya,” by Outkast, and its video, are probably the best boost for the not-so-cutting-edge Polaroid brand in ages. “Shake it like a Polaroid picture,” goes a key lyric, and the video includes scenes of mass Polaroid-waving. Even when this kind of thing happens organically, you can count on branders to pounce, and Adweek reports that Polaroid marketers are now developing (chortle) a scheme “to build on the song’s popularity and channel that into a guerrilla campaign.” The idea is to get Outkast to use the cameras onstage, and to put cameras “into the hands of ‘Polarazzi.'” This fictitious class of people is of course made up of celebrities and under-30 “trendsetters.” “The plan,” writes Adweek, “is to hit high-profile events on New Year’s Eve as part of ‘The Polaroid Ambush.'” And its goal is to get consumers to use the cameras in “real, natural ways,” which apparently is always something that’s best accomplished through just this sort of transparent gimmickry.

I guess this scheme did not rebuild Polaroid after all. As you know, the company recently said it would stop making the last iterations of its instant film. (Also: A couple months after the above, Polaroid put out a statement saying actually you should not shake a Polaroid picture: “Shaking or waving can actually damage the image.”)

Anyway: Will you miss Polaroid? Brand Autopsy is asking.

Your bottle opener is bourgeois: Progress or Novelty?

This is a new bottle opener.

It’s part of Alessi’s “Dream Factory.”

Core77 and Notcot — both sites I enjoy and respect — say “stylish,” and “beautiful.” — also not a bad site, really, all things considered — wonders aloud: Seriously, why is this thing necessary? Who needs a high-design bottle opener, for crying out loud?

What do you say? Is this an example of progress and innovation, aesthetic or otherwise? Or is it mere taste-appeal novelty?

[Previous entries in the informal “Your X is bourgeois” series here and here.]

Political/consumer “pleasure points”

To follow up an earlier post, here’s another bit from a recent New Yorker story about consumer behavior and political behavior. A John McCain piece mentions one of his strategists, 37-year-old Steve Schmidt:

At other times, Schmidt comes alive as a sort of political Rain Man. During one back-of-the-bus conversation, he explained that in 2004, when he was working for Bush’s reëlection, “we targeted voters not where they lived but how they lived their lives, in the same way that credit-card companies do.” He went on, “And so we know, for instance, that among independent voters there are life styles and behaviors that identify them as Republicans or Democrats. For example, the GMC Yukon is a Republican vehicle, and Volvos and Subarus are the most Democratic vehicles. Republicans have Fiji water preferences, versus Democrats, who have Evian water preferences. You have a huge grouping of consumer data, so you can micro-target messages to common groups, finding pleasure points and anger points on issues.”

I don’t think it’s any surprise that Volvos are supposedly more Democrat-ish than Republican-ish, but what about that Fiji/Evian split? What’s that about?

In The New York Times Magazine: KRINK

A specialty ink with a graffiti past aims for the broader market.

Back in the 1990s, graffiti writer KR invented his own ink. Over time, KR’s ink has become KRINK, a brand of inks and markers (and T-shirts sold at places like Colette and Alife.)

Of course KR, now known as Craig Costello, isn’t positioning KRINK as vandal supplies, but rather as a creative tool. For one thing, the market for the street art aesthetic and influence is a lot bigger than the market of actual street artists.

Read the column in the February 24, 2008 issue of The New York Times Magazine, or right here.

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

To Do in NYC: Design & The Elastic Mind has a good interview with Paola Antonelli about the Design and the Elastic Mind show that she curated for MoMA. Between that and the rave review by by Nicolai Ouroussoff in the NYT, among other reasons, I certainly hope to get up there to see the show.

Actually the review was such a rave it made me a little queasy; I don’t share “an unwavering faith in the transformative powers of technology,” and I’m more than a little tired of uncritical celebrations of capital-d Design. Even so, I recommend checking out the review as especially the Antonelli interview from Core77 . She’s so smart and articulate and passionate about what she’s doing, it’s a real pleasure to hear her talk about it.

And if any of you make it to the show anytime soon, I’d love to hear your take.

Weird fandom follow-up … if you must

So I mentioned the other day the weird “fandom” for Erin Esurance, the animated heroine of the insurance company’s commercials. I noted that some manifestations of this fandom include “mature” renderings of said heroine, but that I didn’t have it in me to actually check those out.

Delicious Ghost, however, came upon the post and apparently could not resist doing the necessary …  research. So if you want to see the NSFW images of the cartoon ad figure’s, uh, figure — here.

Brands in the news: “Change you can Xerox”

That was definitely the most awesome brand-in-the-news placement since the Pottery Barn Rule. In your face Konica, Lanier, Ricoh, and other makers of copiers: Top politicians looking to smear a rival for plagiarism know Xerox is the name to brand-drop.

[UPDATE: Here is what I was waiting for.]

Past-subject convergences of the week

Two items (I meant to highlight last week and got distracted) from the ever-surprising world of Handmade 2.0:

Etsy seller’s laser-etched Moleskines (Moleskine Consumed June 26, 2005; Murketing/Moleskinerie Q&A.) Via Moleskinerie.

Craftster user’s crocheted Brobee (Consumed on Yo Gabba Gabba January 20, 2008). Via Craftzine blog.

Today in dissonance: Deep interaction vs. being banged on the head

I’m struck by this section of a brief WSJ item today concerning the news that Pepsi is going to build a 287-foot-tall Ferris wheel with huge video screen built into the side that will make its logo and branding messages visible for miles around a Meadowlands mall development:

“We don’t want a brand to just put a big sign up,” says Larry Siegel, president of Meadowlands Development. “We want them to bang people over their heads with what they are trying to communicate.”

Advertisers are looking for ways to interact with consumers more deeply. …

The piece explains that aside from the Ferris wheel, Pepsi will devote a large amount of space to Pepsi trivia and historical Pepsi advertising. This, as I understand it, is the “deep” interaction with consumers piece.

It also notes that outdoor advertising — the immense video-Pepsi-wheel being an extreme example — is booming these days because of “marketers’ desire to find new ways to get consumers’ attention.” That, I think it’s safe to say, is the “bang people over their heads” piece.

The two pieces seem dissonant to me. But perhaps the idea is that if a brand bangs us over the head sharply enough, we’ll be in such daze that we’ll believe that learning brand trivia and admiring old ads forms of deep interaction.

When and if we come out of it, I expect some new form of banging-over-the-head will have been invented in the interim.

Crazy fantasy or actual product … or both

Do you remember that ad for some insurance company that was sort of about The Future, and opened with shots of people running around on this big weird springy stilt-shoes? Well here it is.

And more to the point, those weird spring stilt-shoes, to my surprise, are not a goofball ad agency creation of the nutty world to come. They are, apparently, real. They’re called 7 Leagues Boots.
Who buys these?

What do ad agencies stand for?

Adrants has this blip about a project called Unscrew America. It’s a campaign to get people to use compact fluorescent light bulbs. There’s a site, and some ads.

I’m kind of ambivalent about the execution — well, to be blunt, I don’t really care for it. But never mind that. What I’m interested in is that as far as I can tell this is underwritten entirely by GSD&M, not for any client or pro bono client or cause/organization or nonprofit. Just their own initiative, their own time and money.

Seems like most of the interesting or successful “good” work I see from agencies is always on behalf of some other entity — whether it’s Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter’s famous work, or the TheTruth or the Droga5 Tap Project for Unicef.

Nothing wrong with doing compelling work on behalf of some else’s idea or cause. But are there many other examples of an agency doing something simply to promote an idea that the agency itself believes in?

Maybe there are. You tell me.

Comments welcome


“Buying In” book preview at SXSW Interactive

[2/19: Please note time change below. Thanks.]

In the first of what I’m guessing will be roughly one million posts relating to my forthcoming book Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House; June 2008*), I’m pleased to announce that I’m part of the “Book Readings” program at SXSW Interactive this year.

If you’re going to SXSW Interactive, please come by at 1:30 pm NEW TIME: 3:30 p.m. on March 8, in the Austin Convention Center.

Finally: If you know someone who is going to SXSW and might be interested, please them know. I really appreciate it.

Here is the full schedule for the readings and panels and like that. The lineup looks interesting. Hope to see some of you there.

[* Available for pre-order now via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s. Just saying. But please note: The book isn’t out until June 3, so you won’t get it, and I won’t have any copies, prior to, or even at, SXSW. That’s why this is a “preview.” ]

In the future, everyone will consult

I was interested to learn (via Marketplace last night) about this Ad Age report on jobs on the marketing and media sectors. While the headline is about media jobs declining (shocked?), I was drawn to the stuff about commercial persuasion jobs.  “Employment in advertising/marketing-services …  broke a record in November,” rising to 769,000  jobs,  the piece says.

Among all the ad-related job sectors, the hot spot is marketing consulting. Employment in that field in December reached a record 148,500, accounting for the lion’s share of job gains over the past year in advertising and marketing services.

In fact, the article indicates that consultancy jobs are growing so sharply that they’ve made up for job  losses at ad agencies (down 10% from 2000) and PR agencies (down 11.5% since then).