Psychology of Consumer Behaviour |

Friday, February 27, 2009

Meme Watch- You are so "Off the Box"

Advertising Age is reporting on Brand tracking company Vanno who says that Kellogg's brand rating dropped significantly after they dropped Michael Phelps as a spokesperson.

The wave of negative press has it's epicenter in the "stoner community' they report. No kidding, Really?

From the Feb 25 article Emily Brison York reports, "The waves have been sizable enough that "off the box" is becoming a euphemism for getting fired for doing something stupid. UrbanDictionary defines it as "the state of being removed from a position of prominence/importance due to a foolish mistake."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Resistance is Futile--Coca Cola -Signs

They are out to get you..the coca cola signs

George Brown I've got a Crush on You- Be my Friend on Facebook

Funny the things you stumble upon while not looking for them. My students know that I have long been a fan of George Brown. Yes, it's the name of the college where I teach, but it's also a man who I've got a crush on.

OK, I know he's not perfect. He kinda wasn't a fan of unions, but the things he did were dramatic and important and I've long felt that he has been ignored and unappreciated- unloved even. Who can't relate to that?

Last year I co-authored a college writing text and of course I managed to put in an example paragraph that gave a little history about George, and I talk him up every chance I get. Pointing out to my students how just down the street on King Street at St Lawrence Hall he worked to abolish Slavery as one of the founding members of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada.

As if that wasn't enough, he established the Globe newspaper and was a leader in the Reform party (which later became the Liberal Party) and was one of the Fathers of Confederation. But who knows George?

Guess what? George Brown is on Facebook and not just any old George but my George. Who knew? Of course I have requested friendship. But what's it about? Well it turns out that I am not the only one who believes that George deserves a little recognition.

"A young Canadian sets out to discover why George Brown isn’t recognized for his role in Confederation and how this omission has implications for present and future generations," in this YouTube video

There's a website too

Seventh grade reader for business majors!

Del Jones of USA TODAY reports that a book written for seventh graders called Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe which became Japan's best-selling business book of 2007 is due for release here in March. The author believes the book should sell well to a business audience in North America.

Short and pitched at a grade 7 audience its juvenile-looking illustrations and flow charts take the reader through diagnosis and steps to a solution.

His book recommends, "listing potential causes of a problem, arriving at a hypothesis for the most likely cause, analyzing that cause, coming up with possible solutions, then prioritizing action and implementing a plan."

This is new? I'm scared.

What it says, what it means?

Alpo says Enough of the Metrosexual Dogs

OK, I admit it, in the past I have had occasion to dress my dog up. You see here Spot wearing a Rude Dog T-shirt. It was my boyfriend's T-shirt and he was off on the road, so Spot kindly donned his wardrobe.

It was a different day, my dog Dax would never ever have any part of such kind of nonsense, being the man's man that he his.

And I guess Alpo would say he's their kind of dog.

Their recent campaign features pictures of dog's in less than manly poses- in dresses, pampered in a spa or attacked by a cat some on LOST posters! They're lost and Alpo wants them to be helped all by a little of that manly chow-Alpo. There's a website too where you can put your dog to the test to see how Alpoian he is.
And to increase your involvement, there's a gallery where you can post a picture of your pet dressed up.

OK, I posted a pic of Spot. You'll see my Spotty in the Photo Gallery...I feel so proud..tee hee..Dog lovers are suckers for these things.

Keep your Shears off my Cupcakes

Cupcakes where the flowers made of icing look so much like icing that the gardener, the humming bird, and the bumble bee can't tell the difference and chocolate crumbs resemble dirt. The campaign is for Toronto-based Eini & Co., creators of high-end cupcakes for weddings, birthday and events.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hawaii Chair- I'm getting dizzy

"That feels great on my a...abs"


President's custom made pen imprinted with his signature gets it's own photshoot.

Using your head to advertise

Eyelink advertising

Sign of the times munchies

Banana Juice Drink Package

Promotion for Dexter Blood Spattered saran wrap

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Run! Public Embraces Snuggie Cult Pub Crawl

You've seen them on TV all smug in their Snuggies. You've laughed at the parodies on YouTube, but now they are coming for you, for real.

Thousands of them.

More than 2365 so far have signed up online at to take part in the Snuggie Pub Crawl. The event thought up by two twenty something internet marketers is planned for Chicago on April 18.

From their site, "The team is donating proceeds from the event to the AC-Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. AC-Orphanage rescues orphans from the streets of Tanzania whose parents have been victims of HIV and TB. Your donations will go directly to providing food, clean water, clothing and schooling for these children."

The event is strictly BYOS- Bring Your Own Snuggie.

Kit Kat -Human Vending Machine

Working like a machine? Feel that your office space is too small?
Well, don't feel bad you could be this guy whose job is to dispense Kit Kat candy bars from inside the vending machine.

It's all part of Kit Kat's Working Like a Machine Campaign

Monday, February 23, 2009

Drink an Orange- Don't mess with the straw in the orange!

In 1916 Claude Hopkins created an ad for Sunkist to persuade people to squeeze an orange and drink the juice. The ad ran in the Saturday Evening Post with the slogan, "Drink an Orange."

The early 1900s was a era of germs and disease and the ad supplied a solution explaining the healthy virtues that physicians recommended in "nature's germ-proof package."

Breakfast time was changed forever, aided of course by Sunkist's orange "extractor" for just 10 cents.

Fast forward 90 something years and the virtue of drinking an orange is still extolled by marketers.

Until recently Tropicana's brand symbol was an orange with a straw. In January they launched a new campaign and introduced a new look-- sans orange. Oops!

PepsiCo who owns the Tropicana brand also just brought out a new look for Pepsi to very mixed reviews.

But for Tropicana it appears, the company will back down to public pressure. Reaction to the new Tropicana design was swift. Consumers emailed, phoned and twittered calling the new packaging ugly, generic looking and stupid. Like the Pepsi design, this change was meant to be noticed - a new fresh image.
The old version of the package will return next month. It's an immediate world today that can effect a change like that.

Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America in Chicago said it wasn't the number of complaints as much as who was complaining. He admits they underestimated the deep emotional bond their most loyal consumers had with the original packaging.
“What we didn’t get was the passion this very loyal small group of consumers have. That wasn’t something that came out in the research.”

The orange and the straw return next month.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scrambling for your trust- Catch me if I fall-- Gecko, "Oh dear."

Who doesn't love the Geico Gecko? He's cute, he's funny and he's got attitude. In these financial times, though cute and funny may not be enough.

With financial companies dropping like flies, customers want to know who is going to be around when the dust settles. So if the Gecko has to don a pair of specks to give you some straight talk, he's prepared.

But you know he's going to do it with flair. In a series of print ads, he gets down to business with a little humour of course.

“Presenting a straightforward and serious talk about the nation’s third-largest car insurance company,” the headline on one print ad reads. “From a spokesman who’s not wearing any pants.”

The tone in the newspaper ads is a lot more serious than the TV commercials of course. These are all about trust and the Gecko is being coached on how to instill it all the while he's up to the usual antics.

Geico Gecko spends a dollar

Geico asked to play catch in Trust exercise

Friday, February 20, 2009

You know you're in trouble when the Spam-i-dex is Rising

OK everybody's talking about the signs that the economy is in trouble. There's the Lipstick effect that says women's guilty pleasure in tough financial times is lipstick. And there's the hemline theory that says skirt lengths either go up or down depending on the economy. Well here's my offering- The Spamidex.
What is the Spamidex saying?

From the Toronto Star today,
" Hormel Foods Corp. reported a higher-than-expected first-quarter profit as recession-hit consumers turned to its Spam meat and Dinty Moore stews, and it affirmed its full-year outlook, sending its shares up more than 5 per cent."

Miracle Meat to the rescue!

Now for your recession viewing pleasure a little Python and a little Al

Monty Python Spam Spam Spam

Weird Al Spam

"If there's some left use it for spackle or bathroom grout"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cut! Cut! Cut!

ANA (Association of National Advertisers) reports that the recession has had a profound effect on the marketing industry .

The top five areas where marketers plan to reduce costs or expenditures in marketing and advertising efforts are:

* Departmental travel and expense restrictions (87% versus 63% in the previous survey)
* Reducing advertising campaign media budgets (77% versus 69% in the previous survey)
* Reducing advertising campaign production budgets (72% versus 63% in the previous survey)
* Challenging agencies to reduce internal expenses and/or identify cost reductions (68% versus 63% in the previous survey)
* Eliminating or delaying new projects (58% versus 61) in the previous survey)

Other tactics under consideration
* Departmental salary or hiring freezes jumped to 57% from 45% six months ago
* 48% of marketers are looking at reducing agency compensation today, versus 32% six months ago

What's really happened in last six months:

* In July/August, 53% of marketers thought their advertising budgets would be reduced in the next six months, when in fact, 71% experienced a budget decrease
* 38% thought their budgets would remain the same, but only 23% had their budgets untouched
* 9% thought they would see a budget increase, when only six% did

Bob Liodice, ANA President and CEO, concludes that "... some marketers, (in the current economic environment)... will skew their media mix towards promotional spending and direct marketing... others will frame a new, relevant and timely brand message."

(Source: Research Brief: Marketing Plans Take a beating, Center for Media Research, Media Post Feb 19, 2009)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twisted Sisters -- Warning Chick Fight

Here we go ---the guys all love a chick fight

Use as Directed- It's war says Winston Man

The ad said, "I won't settle for anything less."
Alan Landers the cool 60s Winston man has battled lung cancer, and emphysema, and now a cancerous tumor on his tonsil.

A vocal opponent of the tobacco industry, he is suing RJ Reynolds for his health troubles. He regrets helping sell what he calls, "The only product when used as directed kills you."

Landers' lawsuit goes to trial in April in Palm Beach County.

"They're killers..... It's a war," he said.

Update: Alan Landers died while undergoing treatment for throat cancer on Feb 27, 2009.

May his cause live long.

A Kiss to Build a Dream on --Louis in an Absolut World

Oh in an Absolut world the cost of a movie is a kiss, and a bus ride just a hug or a kiss
and Louis Armstrong sings

"Give me a kiss to build a dream on and my imagination will thrive upon that kiss.
Sweetheart I ask no more than this-- A kiss to build a dream on.
Give me a kiss before you leave me and my imagination will feed my hungry heart.
Leave me one thing before we part-- A kiss to build a dream on.
Give me what you alone can give-- A kiss to build a dream on"

Absolutely lovely.....who needs the vodka- we got Louis!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Have it whose way at Burger King? Goldman Sachs

I think it's possible there really is a King at Burger King after all. The average Burger King employee in America makes about $14, 000 per year while one of its owners Goldman Sachs takes billions of dollars in Bailout money and gives out bonuses to their financial staff.

Robert Greenwald and his Brave New Films team is looking for,"the most creative, constructive, or comical ideas to curb corporate greed and help fix the financial crisis." They will send the ideas to Goldman Sachs as a reprimand for their wastefulness. Fight the War on Greed at

Watch the harmful effect of corporate greed

The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!

Got something you want to forget. Science may be able to help. Nature Neuroscience reports that a commonly used blood pressure medication may be the key. In experiments, the drug propranolol (Inderal) weakened people's fearful memories of spiders. Scientists suggest that the drug may help those suffering from post traumatic stress or anxiety disorders by helping erase the bad memories.

Of course what we all question is can it make us forget about that bad relationship, or that long lost love. Interestingly, I have taken this drug but not for lowering blood pressure or forgetting. It is also used in the prevention of migraines.

Did I know it could make me forget about those failed love affairs? No! No! No!

What happened? Well poor me I already have low blood pressure so all this drug did to me was make me sleep, and I couldn't have that, so I guess I'm stuck with all those memories!

There's always Lacuna Corporation

Lacuna Inc still ha a website. Check it out

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bad Boy Hat Trick -A Rod, Michael Phelps & Kobe Bryant

Guitar Hero came out with this ad in October 2008. Here are your spokespeople: Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant and Michael Phelps. Kobe had been in trouble, but the two others A- Rod and Phelps were pretty sure bets before this past month that is.

Fanta -Who doesn't want to jump in a puddle?

When Coca Cola wanted to promote their Fanta brand in Canada, they approached Taxi to produce an interactive experience. We are all kids at heart as you'll see in this caught in action video

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bring out the cliches- It's the Lipstick Effect

In the months following the Sept 11 attack in 2001, Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder noticed that sales of Lipstick were increasing. The reason he surmised was that women traditionally cut back on luxuries in tough times but turn to little luxuries like lipstick as a pick-me-up. Lauder hypothesized that the Lipstick Index was a good way to gauge the economy.

This is the so-called "Lipstick Effect." Not to be confused with last year's brouhaha "Lipstick on a Pig."

What is it about lipstick and coloured lips?

According to some accounts, Cleopatra may have been the first to use a form of lipstick made of henna and carmine. Victorian women would kiss rose coloured crepe paper for a touch of colour. And the Gibson Girls of the 1900s would bite their lips and suck on cinnamon to make their lips swell. Symbolically lipstick signifies a bit of glamour. During the depression women bought lipstick as their one luxury item.

Nancy Upton, assistant marketing professor at Northeastern University College of Business Administration believes consumers are being more discriminating with some higher priced items. For example a customer may check the ingredients of a higher priced cosmetic and a more reasonably priced one. If they both appear to have the same ingredients, the consumer may choose the lower priced one. This makes the consumer feel smart.

She does however point out that during tougher times we often see people make irrational decisions to lift their spirits, "Some cosmetics offer a discreet opportunity for conspicuous consumption. So a consumer may very well pay more for a Chanel lipstick, which she can put in front of other people. But will she pay more for Chanel nail polish when no one will be able to tell what the brand is?"

A quick Google search of the Lipstick Effect will yield a plethora of hits. Every blip in the economy seems to bring out the Lipstick Effect.

And if it's not Lipstick, it's hemlines. With hemlines, you can have it either way. One legend says that skirts get shorter when the economy gets tighter. Clothing makers save on fabric, and short skirts make some people happier.

The other hemline theory says the opposite. According to Barron's Finance & Investment Handbook, hemlines falling mean a sinking economy and bare knees mean rising stocks. Short skirts in the 1920s and 1960s correlated with boom times, while longer dresses in the 1930s and 1940s matched a bear market bring rising stocks, they say.

Which is true? Depends how you spin it.

If you really want to know how the economy is doing, you sure don't need to look at skirts or lipstick sales.
But if you want your product in the news and to get people talking about it and buying it, then pucker up and bring on the Lipstick Effect.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Anthropomorphism-Animals more human than me

In today's world, it's common that the good celebrity spokesperson for a brand can go from great to terrible in an instant. Kellogg's Michael Phelps sucking on a Bong and, Doublemint Gum's Chris Brown being arrested for allegedly beating pop star girlfriend Rhianna are two recent examples. That's why the Energizer Bunny keeps going and going and the Pillsbury Dough Boy may get poked or spattered by an explosion of Pizza Pops but he's good as gold.

Last week when Australia was burning and people were dying what was the endurable image? The Koala bear being rescued and fed by the Firefighter. The Koala now has a name- Sam.

And wouldn't you know it Sam- now Samantha finds love with Bob another Koala in care.

We humans seem to have an innate capacity to project human characteristics on non human creatures or inanimate objects. It's anthropomorphism of course and evidence from art and artifacts suggest it dates back to ancient times and is closely associated with fables and the art of storytelling. So it's logical that these animated characters and humanized animals appear in advertising to tell the fable of how brand x is our saviour.

But isn't it interesting that the anthropomorphized little animal can move us more than any human could. My students and I were moved by this one

What it Says- What it Means? Forget the humans, we've got to save the animals!

Happy Valentine's day little animals around the world!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Slinky! It's Slinky! Making a Want a Need

"What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing, everyone knows it’s Slinky!
It’s Slinky, it’s slinky, for fun it’s the best of a toy
It’s Slinky, its Slinky, it’s fun for a girl and boy
Everyone wants a Slinky; you ought to get a Slinky"

Today was take my Slinky to Psychology of Consumer Behaviour class day. Some people take their kids to work on special days, but with me it's my Slinky. Of course there's a story and that's what I want the students to discover. Through this little slinky exercise they learn how much they actually know about Consumer Behaviour.
I start out by playing this old Slinky commercial.

Some students even sing along. The Slinky jingle does that. There's usually more than a few Slinky fans in the class. Showing the students the mini Slinky, the box and contents, I'm usually playing with the Slinky. Now comes the task, they get into groups to try to figure out the answers to the following questions:
  1. Why did Karen buy a Slinky? Did she intend to buy one?
  2. What happened when she saw the slinky?
  3. When did she buy it-What time of year?
  4. Where did she buy it? Where in the store was it located?
  5. Who did she buy it for?
  6. If she bought it for someone else why did she keep it?
  7. If she bought it for someone else how did she resolve her cognitive dissonance?
  8. Is the slinky part of her extended self?
I give them a couple of hints as to location. The place is in walking distance of the college, and a bit west and a bit north. But I tell them to think about what kind of stores I might find myself in.

It isn't long before the groups are engrossed in the task as they pass around the slinky and the box and the little slinky book. Everyone wants to have a turn with the Slinky but the Slinky lovers sometimes want a second try. There's a lot of discussion.

It's amazing that a good number of students get most of the answers correct and they seem almost shocked how they can illustrate many of the concepts we have talked about in class in relation to of all things- a Slinky!

All students decide that I didn't intend to buy a Slinky, but that I was somewhere and it appeared. Most figure out that I was at the Eaton's Centre in Indigo buying a couple of books standing in line before Christmas when the Slinky box with it's retro box caught my eye. It was an impulse buy, they say. The Slinky name made the Slinky song play in your mind! Classical Conditioning! It was nostalgia. It was Christmas. It was under $10. You were buying it for a friend as a stocking stuffer. But you didn't want to give it to your friend after you bought it because you wanted it. He wouldn't really appreciate the gift, they say, and you would. You'd buy him something else.

But how did I resolve my cognitive dissonance? It isn't nice to buy something for someone and then keep it yourself. Usually one of the groups hits on the answer, "You kept it because you needed it to use in class!"

Yes, I changed my frivolous purchase into something I needed. A Want to a Need and now it's part of the extended self. It sits on a shelf on my desk in case I need to play, or use it for class of just have some silly memory of another time.

OK, the mini Slinky is less than $10 but really it's just a wire coil. Why do we pay so much for a wire coil. Let's look at a little slinky history.

In about 1945 Richard James, an engineer was working with tension springs when one fell and appeared to walk along the floor. Could it be a toy? He and his wife Betty experimented with different coils and steel and came up with a design and a name. In 1945, Slinky debuted in time for Christmas in Gimbel's Philadelphia Department Store and then at the 1946 American Toy Fair. In the 60s Richard ran off to South America to join a religious cult. Betty left with 6 kids and a floundering business, moved the company back to her home town and set about revitalizing the company and the brand. The Slinky jingle was born!

In 1990, a national survey revealed that almost 90% of Americans knew the Slinky and the Slinky jingle. Today over 300 million have been sold.In 1985 an Original Slinky was used by NASA in an experiment on board the space shuttle and in 1995 the US Postal office issued a Slinky stamp.

It's a metal coil, simple but made into an icon, a part of our culture thanks to marketing and a memorable jingle. "It's Slinky. It's Slinky. Everyone knows it's Slinky!"

Make the Internet your Valentine! Net Neutrality

Who do you really love? Go on admit's the internet. How much do you care?

Do you care about Net Neutrality and open and equal access to the internet for all Canadians? Convince the CRTC to stop big telecoms from controlling our access to the Internet.
Save Our Net

Just Creepy! Shock Ads

Just - liquid soap Ad reads: If you aren't totally clean, you are filthy.

Ad reads: If you don't feed then, who will?

Playstation II
What would Freud say? ...Never mind


Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's outside your door? Switch to Real Life

MTV International launched a series of Public Service Announcements last year, under the initiative MTV Switch to educate kids about global warming and encourage them to reduce their carbon footprints. Their website says they are looking for the best ideas and innovations "that can help us reinvent how we live in ways that are cool for us and the planet. This isn't about what we can't do, it's about what we can. It's time to switch." Of course this is a good cause but it's also all about involvement with their brand.

A couple of their recent PSAs focus on showing kids what they might be missing in the real world while they are surfing the web, facebooking or playing video games. Both are titled MTV Switch: Real Life's Better and play on the usual stereotypes.

For the Guys

For the Gals

My favourite part of course is that their example of Real Life is pure fantasy..ha ha

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Second Coming- Don't believe it "The vocabulary of Truth"

In Psychology of Consumer Behaviour, we talk about Just Noticeable Difference which is the minimum change in a stimulus that can be detected by a perceiver. Sometimes marketers want us to notice something, sometimes they don't.

It's not uncommon that we go to the store and buy a product that looks exactly the same as it did last week. On further examination though, it may happen that the contents of the package has been reduced ever so slightly. Over time there could be a large change, but gradual change bit by bit we don't notice.

Sometimes marketers want us to notice a change in their product by maybe updating their logo or image. Changing a big brand logo and packaging can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Who has that these days?

Pepsi! That's what they've been up to the last few months. Now comes the story of a "leaked " 27 page design brief that outlines the thinking behind the new logo. One news story from Fast Company reports, "The design brief... suggests that, if done right, the new Pepsi logo will likely lead to The Rapture that Evangelicals promise is coming...The presentation contains visual representations of and comparisons with the following: the golden ratio, the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon, the Gutenberg Bible, the earth and its magnetic fields, and the solar system/universe."

To the left we see the changing shape of the red, blue and white design reflects 'smiley' faces in different positions.

To the right we see how the curved areas are similar in shape to the gravitational pull of the Earth.

But there's more; there's the Mona Lisa, and nautilus shells, emotive forces shaping the gestalt of the brand identity, the theory of relativity and the "Gravitational Pull of Pepsi."

Here are some highlights from the actual document.

"The investment in our DNA leads to breakthrough innovation and allows us to move out of the traditional linear system and into the future."

"The vocabulary of truth and simplicity is a reoccurring [sic] phenomena in the brand's history. It communicates the brand in a timeless manner and with an expression of clarity. Pepsi BREATHTAKING builds on this knowledge. True innovation always begins by investigating the historic path. Going back-to-the-roots moves the brand forward as it changes the trajectory of the future."

From where did this document appear? Leaked to a social networking site.

It's 2009 but more like 1835 when Benjamin Day's New York Sun ran a series of six articles that captured the nation's attention.
There was life on the moon and Sir John Herschel, well known astronomer said it was so. The moon was full of bison, goats, unicorns, and bat winged humanoids who built temples. People couldn't wait for the next edition. Using the grandiose scientific language of the time, the story was so popular that it was reprinted and circulated in both local and national papers.

After the story had its desired effect, it was revealed as a hoax. The great Moon Hoax of 1835 had done its job: increased buzz buzz.

Methinks, we've been hoodwinked, bamboozled by Pepsi

....but then while reading the documents from the New York Sun I see mention of, "the vocabulary of truth and simplicity" and oh my God is that a bat winged humanoid holding a can......wait is it? it?... the new Pepsi logo?

Transformers- Let's pretend it's not advertising

While General Motors is taking bailout money, they are also unveiling 5 concept cars at the auto show that will star in the latest Transformers sequel. An attempt to improve it's now not so good image- a little Robotic shape-shift?

Christie Nordhielm, associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan believes when you want to change your image, the best way ... is with what appears to be non-paid promotion. She says, "You want to stay clear of advertising."

The retro cartoon of the 80s evokes nostalgic feelings and resonates with men in their late 20s to mid-30s, and is popular with kids. It's a story of good vs evil. There's even a kind of cult of Transformers. This past weekend, thousands of fans congregated at Botcon in Providence, an annual convention for Transformers fans. That's involvement!

The Transformers sequel is not just product placement, it's product immersion. They're selling GM as ROBOT hero.

Wikepedia gives us a brief list of typical robot characteristics:
  • It is artificially created.
  • It can sense its environment, and manipulate or interact with things in it.
  • It has some ability to make choices based on the environment, often using automatic control or a preprogrammed sequence.
  • It is programmable.
  • It moves with one or more axes of or translation.
  • It makes coordinated movements.
  • It moves without direct human intervention.
  • It appears to have intent or agency.
Now, I love a good robot. If you notice I have my favourite Robot to the left, but my Robot hero isn't GM and I'm not so sure that a gas guzzling machine is the answer... but I get the distinct impression they have an intent to artificially manipulate me.

Be afraid..It's not just the etrade baby who's wired

We used to hear the phrase, "It's 11 o'clock. Do you know where your children are?"

Today the question is," It's anytime, anywhere. Do you know where your children are?"

Here are some highlights from the latest copy of the enlightening email newsletter called "Engage: Kids 6-11" from Media Post.

About 10% of kids 6-11 have internet access in their rooms. 17% of those same kids were allowed to self- police their access. 83% of kids 6-7 were playing online games.

One third of American kids 6-11 who used the Internet in the last 30 days agreed that "being 'in style' is very important to me." The style-conscious kids are also tech-savvy and 48% more likely to download music; 33% more likely to shop or look to buy online; 29% more likely to say their parents let them go anywhere on the Internet; 34% more likely to use the Internet to listen to music; and 19% more likely to watch videos online.

More than half the kids who surfed in the last 30 days did so because advertising drove them there. This group was fairly evenly divided by gender.

While advertising motivated 50.4% of kids ages 6-7 to Web sites, it did so to 62.0% of youths in the 10-11 age set.

Kids 6-11 shopping online? Oh my!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Valentine's Day Approaches- Are you going to give something that's Forever?

It's the beach, schmaltzy music, a flock of birds, a couple arm in arm. "This Valentine's Day, give her a gift that will last forever"

A plastic fork takes over a 1000 years to decompose. The Eco-To-Go program has already launched at participating restaurants in New York City. When ordering takeout, advise the restaurant that you want the order to be Eco-To-Go--no extras, unnecessary napkins or plastic utensils.

Read more about the Ecoagents at and

Networks wah about Obama talking during prime time

Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post is reporting that Obama's prime time talks could cost the networks millions of dollars. She tells us one Network executive said of Obama's prime time talk, "His economic stimulus package apparently does not extend to the TV networks."

Fox , will miss an original episode "House." CBS would miss, "Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother."

ABC might start "The Bachelor" at 9 instead of 8 and NBC would preempt "Chuck."

Her report goes on to say, "But besides the economic hit, broadcasters are worried that this kind of shock-and-awe approach to prime-time preempting might be part of an Obama strategy to charm his way to a new economic-rescue plan. 'As we're meeting this guy, from a network perspective, it's like, 'Is this part of the plan for him?' ' the network exec said. 'Is this what it's going to be: Is he going to take to the airwaves every time he has something to say?'"

I wonder if FDR had radio networks complaining about his fireside chats.

I wonder if the world is just about to end and an episode of "House," or "How I met Your Mother," "The Bachelor," or better still "The Big Bang Theory" is running will they cut in to let us know?

Network executive who says, "Is this what it's going to be: Is he going to take to the airwaves every time he has something to say?" What do you think?

Ovaltine- Then and Now

Time was when Ovaltine pitched their brand directly to kids. Radio shows like Little Orphan Annie (1931–1940) and Captain Midnight (1938–1949) were sponsored by Ovaltine. Kids could save proofs-of-purchase from Ovaltine jars to send away for a "secret decoder ring," badge or pin to decode messages in the program. In consumer behaviour we call this involvement. Having the giveaways is key to the show and key to being a part of the Club. Kids then might remember that "Ovaltine" is an anagram for "Vital One". In the 50s, TV characters did the same thing. Here's a series of the promos Captain Midnight used to tell kids the right way to start the day "Ovaltine! Ovaltine!" He also flogs the special Captain Midnight Ovaltine mug made of styron plastic.

Step one: " First, get your mother to buy you a jar of Ovaltine"

Today's ads target the young moms directly with Opera no less. Cute young kids scowl, push away, spit out, turn down, flip over and and abuse their healthy carrots, peas, and broccoli. "Baby corn and carrots are not for me!"

So moms, give up the vegetables and give them sugary Ovaltine.

Training them right "The New Sellouts" swoon over Lincoln gas guzzler

Lincoln trying to go after a younger demographic, co-sponsored Sunday's Grammys using the broadcast to showcase 5 emerging artists, or so we are told.

It's a contest you see -Lincoln's "Project Rising Stars: Lincoln Video Music Challenge where young directors and artists create music videos starring you guessed it -the Lincoln MKS.

Karl Greenberg of Media Post reports that the videos align "with the way Lincoln launched the car last year, eschewing 30-second ads for a three-minute short narrative film about a Hollywood romance that aired during Black Entertainment Television Awards pre-show."

So if you are interested in the New Sell Outs ( sounds a bit like an appropriate band name) swooning around big gas guzzling, over priced machines check out the five winning videos at Lincoln Contest .

It's not a hybrid. Information about gas consumption seemed to be absent from the site-- lots of gizmos and flash and loud music though.

What it says, what it means.... new sell outs just like the old sell outs but doing it earlier.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kelloggs, Bongs, Race Betterment- FRUIT LOOPS!

It's a fact that when choosing a spokesperson your safest bet is an animated character. You can be sure your character won't go all OJ on you. One day golden the next, not so much.

It wasn't surprising when Kelloggs said they were not renewing their endorsement contract with Michael Phelps after a picture of him sucking on a bong traveled the world.

What is surprising is their statement, "Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg." That one just about knocked me off my seat.

This from the company that was associated with Dr John Harvey Kellogg who claimed to have invented dry cereal along with his brother. The same wacky fanatic who ran the Battle Creek Sanitarium preaching the ills of masturbation who had a fascination with enemas and discouraged sex as unnatural.

The same Dr. Kellogg helped found the Race Betterment Foundation, a major center of the eugenics movement in America. All for racial segregation, he believed immigrants and non-whites would damage the gene pool.

Dr. Kellogg gave a large portion of common stock of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company to the Race Betterment Foundation. It's not known if the stock was converted into Kellogg Company stock.

Now Michael you wouldn't want to sully their image!

To read about some real Fruit Loops see Stay Free magazine's Porn Flakes.

Blog for boobs!

The Swedish media world is abuzz with the news that Swedish bloggers were offered free beauty enhancements, Restalyne injections or new boobs, if they wrote positive stories about the products over a year long period.

While some bloggers were outraged by Q-Med's offers, others took them up on the offer.
Sweden's The Local reports, "Model and blogger Johanna Trenck went so far as to post a YouTube clip on her blog showing her on an operating table getting Restylane injected into her upper lip."

The blogger has no problem with the free perk from Q-Med and doesn't see why she should have mentioned it to her readers. She tells The Local, What’s free is good. My readers are interested in stuff like this and if Q-Med invites me to test their products for free, it doesn’t matter.”

However, the editor of the site she blogs for disagrees with the practice. Suddenly Q-Med is condemning the offer saying that the initiative was not well thought out.

I wonder if that means they now want their boobs back?