....LMB: "Amateur Hour"....

February 02, 2003

Let's say you were an aging white male PR executive who was told to create a webpage for young people, maybe 10-15 years old.

It might be uncomfortable, as you are really out of touch with this age group, not knowing what they enjoy, what they think is "cool," what words they use, what they want.

Now let's say you were an aging white male PR executive who was told to create a webpage for 10-15 year old girls. Even trickier. Not only were you young so long ago, but you were never a young girl.

Now let's say that you're an aging white male PR executive who needs to create a webpage for 10-15 year old girls, encouraging them to eat more beef.

Apparently, you'd scan the graphics for a Barbie doll box, read an issue of Teen People, and then create this pile of crap:


"Cool-2B-Real is about real girls like you! Whether you're in school, playing sports or just having fun, strive to be the best you can be! Real girls are 'keepin' it real' by building strong bodies and strong minds... and they're feeling great about themselves!"

And if you check the fine print at the bottom:

"This project was funded by beef producers through their $1-per head checkoff and was produced for the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association".

The site is hilariously bad.

Not only is there nothing there that would make a young girl want to spend time on the site, but there's also nothing that's going to convince young girls that they need to eat more steak. Or beef tacos. Or kabobs. Or beef on bamboo. Or nacho beef dip.

And the beef council is not all that subtle. Among all the boring talk about self-esteem and keeping fit (with anything resembling a slang word put in "quotes"), are these very out of place references to meat. For example, on the Keepin' It Real page, there are sections about self-esteem, "smart snacking," exercise, and a poll question: "What type of beef do you most like to eat with your friends?"


So we've learned a valuable lesson. PR execs aren't always nefarious schemers who are warping our minds. Sometimes, they're idiots.

[thanks to "saint aaron"]


I think I found the boys' version, Burger Town. They're even more blatant that the C2BR site. Poll on the front page "Eat up! How many ounces of cooked beef make one serving? 10 to 11? 5 to 6? 2 to 3? 3 to 5?"

And their KidsCom Cookbook is loaded with all-beef recipes, including--I shit you not-- salads made of meat!!

Both of these sites are apparently products of KidsCom, which is owned by Circle 1 Network which is part of or subsidiary of SpectraCom. Spectracom's company history page tells us that in 1994, "KidsCom.com [was] developed as a pilot project for Kraft Foods."

[Update II]

Andy has shown us one more youth-meat site, Pork4Kids. If you thought the other sites were funny, man, are you gonna dig this one. Of course, this site gives you recipes for meat-laden salad, games, and most strangely, a smiling, cartoon pig mascot who is apparently cool with the idea of web visitors killing and grilling his entire race.

Posted by Jake at 03:24 PM

Oh, that WAS bad. I was a girl once, that would just not have worked on my little girly head. But you know, I think they actually just ripped that site directly from the Barbie web site, not just the box. And then added a...um...beef slant.


Wow. Bad bad bad. I also particularly like how the whole thing is about "Real Girls." As if you're not "real" if you don't eat beef.

Posted by: lee at February 2, 2003 03:42 PM

I checked the results of that quiz and it looks like...whoa....wait.

I just checked back to get the exact number, and it's gone from somewhere in the 2,000's to 30045, in just two, three minutes.

Are REAL GIRLS actually visiting this thing and taking it seriously?

How the fuck are they getting all these hits? They must be linked to some other high-traffic kids' sites...

I am terrified. I also am dissapointed, yet again, by young girls in general. Get with it, ladies. I taught kids ages 4-13 for years, and you were all cool, very bright and intelligent. What the hell happened to you? Adolescence can't numb your synapses THAT much.

Then again, I shouldn't have forgotten what I learned when I was in elementary school, and then again in junior high and high school (college was a little better): most girls suck.

Take it from a Real Girl.

BTW, tacos are winning by about 30% right now.

Posted by: michele at February 2, 2003 07:32 PM

You know it was one of those classic scenes, when at the unveiling of the website there was that uncomfortable lights up moment when one of the cattlemen pushed up the edge of his hat and drawled...

"Thought we was doing sumptin' about GRILLS?"

Posted by: bruce at February 2, 2003 08:09 PM

Actually, I'm pretty sure the poll is bogus. I tried voting on it a few times and every time, the total number of votes increased by 1-4. I think the numbers either go up automatically, or they count each vote several times.

Posted by: Jake at February 2, 2003 09:18 PM

I am reading the SpectraCom site, and I love that on the history page it says...
"1996: Complaint against KidsCom is filed in May with FTC complaining about KidsCom's privacy practices. Jori appears in Washington to testify before the FTC "

And that factoid turns up on the company Prez bio as...
"Jori has been involved in setting industry direction through talks (by invitation) for the U.S. Commerce Department, the Federal Trade Commission and Harvard's Law School on Internet safety and privacy. She also speaks frequently at conferences and seminars around the world..."

Posted by: SaintAaron at February 2, 2003 10:13 PM

[in best Homer Simpson voice:]

Mmmmm...meat salad....

Posted by: michele at February 2, 2003 10:50 PM

"My friend said it is wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?"
"No, just ignorant."

I'm sure the boys site appealed to masculinity, "Be a MAN. Eat beef."

Posted by: Eric at February 3, 2003 11:10 AM

c'mon, the genius of pork4kids.com is so obvious. what is wrong with you people.

ha ha ha ha ha ha

Posted by: jeremy at February 3, 2003 11:26 AM

You mean it's a cover for a kiddie porn site? Damn, I better get those pictures off my desktop.

Posted by: Eric at February 3, 2003 08:38 PM
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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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