....LMB: "Jargon Sluts Break Paradigms"....

July 23, 2002

The two things advertisers love most:

- new, fancy buzzwords
- fucking with your head.

The NY Times website, nytimes.com, has refused an ad proposal from Sony Electronics. Jargon went flying, and shady advertising schemes were exposed.

"Features by Sony" was a proposal to create a number of articles written by freelancers, paid for by Sony, and then placed on a number of popular websites (e.g. People.com, InStyle.com, MovieFone.com, AOL Music, NationalGeographic.com). These articles would be a series of "lifestyle vignettes" that feature Sony products.

Websites and other publications usually have no problem with this sort of practice-- they call such paid-for articles "advertorials"-- but they usually include a "this article is a paid advertisement" statement at the top or bottom. Sony wanted the websites to forgo this practice. NYTimes.com declined this offer from Sony. And the jargon began to erupt.

Said a Times spokesperson, "advertorial content must be clearly labeled to distinguish it from editorial content, and we were unable to agree upon a program ... that would meet these advertising acceptability guidelines."

And the marketing schemers ( Interpublic Group's Universal McCann, and WPP's Young & Rubicam):

So basically, Sony and its ad minions are reverse engineering product placement. Instead of approaching a media work in progress and trying to insinuate attention for your prodcut into that work, the advertisers are coming up with an idea to display their products, and are creating media to wrap around the ads. And part of this plan is to trick you into thinking that your favorite online magazines are providing you with the articles you enjoy, when they are actually advertisements.

And as a sidenote, it's also fun to note the targets (and the advertiser's names for the targets) listed in the article: "Alphas (early adopters and technology influencers); Gen Y; Families; Young Professionals; Small Office/Home Office; and Zoomers, (ages 55 plus)."

Posted by Jake at 10:00 PM

"So basically, Sony and its ad minions are reverse engineering product placement. Instead of approaching a media work in progress and trying to insinuate attention for your prodcut into that work, the advertisers are coming up with an idea to display their products, and are creating media to wrap around the ads."

Well, this isn't surprising at all. From the early days of media (anyone remember those first-years-of-radio-and-television-product-testimonials-by-actors-and-news-anchors?) this has been going on.

The big problem, I think, is the degree to which the individual in contemporary western society is immured in media, and the multiplicity of media sources--they're so many it's almost impossible, even for someone really aware of it's ubiquity, to identify when they're being bombarded by it (read: almost constantly). It's not just smoke signals every two moons. It's not just the Sears Catalog or Harper's every week or so when you went into town. It's not just that newfangled radio every Sunday night, or a black-and-white tv with a pretty actress telling you to buy Lye Brand dish soap or whatever, and then you going to the market and seeing a cardboard stand with a beaming housewife displaying the cleaning product that will make your husband so happy...

It's cross-marketing, it's "content integration," "blurring lines," etc etc etc. Seen the AOL home page lately? Hmmm. Why do they feature those danged Time Warner films so much? Golly, I donno. And those ads wheat-pasted a'la` target-marketing to my "ad-resistant" peer group--they're paid for with AOL dollars. Major record labels (owned by multinationals, of course) who own and bankroll "indie" labels (teen powerhouse Drive-Thru Records, anyone? and there are many many more) mine those kids for all they're worth, recruiting them for street teams and research....

So this is no surprise, it's simply the same damn thing: capitalism again and again and again.

Capitalism isn't sentient and I don't hate it. But it needs an equal and opposing force. Communications technologies and consolidation practices have made it too powerful.

any ideas?

Posted by: michele at July 24, 2002 10:52 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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