Posts tagged with "marketing" - Faerye Net 2011-03-10T22:56:24+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Pedantry Pays 2011-03-10T22:56:24+00:00 2011-03-10T23:00:40+00:00 <center><a href="" title="My free Norton Critical Edition of Hamlet by Felicity Shoulders, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="My free Norton Critical Edition of Hamlet" border="0" /></a></center> <p>I have often been told that it just isn&#8217;t worth the effort to correct people on the internet, and I&#8217;ve largely been convinced. It&#8217;s sometimes rude, or a disingenuous means of avoiding substantive debate, and often the matter simply isn&#8217;t that important.</p> <p>A few days ago, however, I decided I had to speak up. I saw a <a href="!/NortonCriticals/status/42987681029955584" target="twitter">typo in the Norton Critical Editions&#8217; twitter stream</a>.</p> <p>I adore <a href="" target="links">Norton Criticals</a>. Their footnotes are consistently useful, their historical contexts and critical essays interesting. The books, expensive though they are, give you a solid, rich feeling. When you have a Norton Critical in your hand, you feel you really have a handle on the text. (It is a continuing &#8212; no, really &#8211; source of regret to me that I sold back my <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780393960693'><em>Great Expectations</em></a> back after English 10 in high school. It was so beautiful! And had both endings!) I am currently in the midst of my <a href="" target="links">winter campaign</a> through <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780393966473'>the Norton Critical <em>War and Peace</em></a>, complete with footnotes both by the modern editor and by the translator, who was <em>friends</em> with Tolstoy.</p> <p>So I figured that if this bastion of precision, this fortress of the footnote, had promulgated a common misspelling (&#8220;Suess&#8221; for &#8220;Seuss&#8221;) they should be told; if only to prevent it being spread further by virtue of their authority. I drew my pedantry around me and <a href="!/faerye/status/43071911575552000" target="twitter"><em>corrected Norton Critical</em></a>.</p> <p>This was the happy result:<br /> <blockquote><a href="!/NortonCriticals/status/43323588681531392" target="twitter">New policy: for every typo found in the <span class="caps">NCE</span> twitter feed, a free <span class="caps">NCE</span>. Your choice of new editions- Hamlet or Utopia.</a></blockquote></p> <p>Yes, gentle reader. I got something good and valuable &#8211; a free book, my first <span class="caps">NCE</span> of a drama! I can&#8217;t wait to sample the critical matter! &#8211; for telling someone they were wrong on the internet.</p> <p>A red letter day, indeed.</p> Zeitgeist in the machine 2010-06-13T00:04:57+00:00 2010-06-13T00:48:55+00:00 <p>You know how you&#8217;ve never heard of something, and then you hear about it seven times in one week? I used to think it was largely psychological &#8212; you wouldn&#8217;t have noticed the extra instances until you had a context and a reason to remark them. (In fact, there&#8217;s a psychological term for this impression: the <a href="" target="links">Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon</a>, a learned psychologist informs me.) But I think it&#8217;s also partly real, an effect of zeitgeist, critical mass of relevance. Or as we now say, of something being <a href="" target="links">&#8220;trending&#8221;</a>.</p> <p>I had an interesting experience along these lines recently. I had seen the cover of <a href="" target="links">Janelle Monáe</a>&#8216;s first album <a href="" target="links"><em>The ArchAndroid</em></a>, but I hadn&#8217;t really registered it until I saw a link round-up on <a href="" target="links">Racialicious</a> with two links to blog posts about her, one of which had an embedded video. Long story short, I ended up buying both <em>ArchAndroid</em> and her earlier mini-album and loving both. (While I mostly use this as an example, I do recommend checking her out: her voice is as versatile as her songwriting talent, and her album is catchy but smart, eclectic but cohesive.) I <a href="">tweeted about it</a>. This was June 7.</p> <p>On June 9, I noticed her <a href="" target="links">uh, imprint</a> had retweeted my tweet, as they do most mentions of her, and that their most recent retweets mentioned that her name was trending. And now <a href="" target="links">she&#8217;s showing up other places</a> I wouldn&#8217;t have expected. The weird part here is that her album came out <strong>May 18</strong>, and it&#8217;s getting this body of attention now. One of the original two articles I read was complaining that no one was noticing her album &#8212; that it didn&#8217;t have &#8216;buzz&#8217;. A week later, I think that&#8217;s no longer the case. And that&#8217;s what is so odd about trending topics. There is now a metric for buzz.</p> <p>It used to be that zeitgeist lived up to its ethereal name (&#8216;geist&#8217; is literally &#8216;spirit&#8217;), but now we have to some extent bottled that genie. As we analyze, capture, track and archive more and more about our lives &#8212; where we go, who we like, what we watch and listen to &#8212; there will probably be other moments like this, when the intangible becomes suddenly concrete. Perhaps some of them will make us nostalgic, but perhaps it&#8217;s a good thing. That blogger complaining that Janelle Monáe didn&#8217;t have buzz was creating buzz. She was one (big) rock hitting more pebbles, and the hillside moved. We can measure this buzz because all of our voices contribute. There&#8217;s something charmingly democratic about it, even if it means the world is that much more mechanical.</p> In which I discuss dentifrices 2010-04-26T23:54:01+00:00 2010-04-26T23:54:16+00:00 <p>I have brought it to my own attention that this blog has been both sparse and all-work-no-play of late. Therefore, I am going to post about something very trivial and obvious which bothers me, in celebration of the fact that this is still a blog and it is still on the internet, and all this substantive stuff and serious business needs a little leavening.</p> <p>So, people of the internet: I do not want to whiten my teeth. Seriously, I don&#8217;t want to paint whitening agent on my teeth or bathe them in a whitening wash, or even commit the relatively sane step of asking my dentist what whitening process he recommends. And most of all, I do not want to whiten while I brush. This should not be difficult to accomplish. I just want toothpaste that does what it says on the box: when used in a regimen <span class="caps">BLAH</span> <span class="caps">BLAH</span> <span class="caps">BLAH</span>, keeps my teeth from rotting and falling out. Because I like being able to eat a steak, because cavities make eating chocolate painful, because tooth pain can cause headaches, because tooth disease can cause other more systemic health problems. Because cleaning our teeth is a pretty basic hygienic standard we&#8217;ve mostly agreed on for decades (if not more).</p> <p>Which is why it&#8217;s so frustrating to find more and more of the grocery store toothpaste aisle devoted to whitening every day. I actually have to read the fine print on each box before I buy it, to make sure that I&#8217;m not being accidentally whitened. Fates forfend I should try to buy a travel-size of plain toothpaste. It&#8217;s as if I walked into the canned veggies aisle and found that 80% of canned green beans now come mixed with diet supplements, because you can&#8217;t just want green beans.</p> <p>We all have our personal capitulations and complicities with the beauty standard. But we don&#8217;t have to embrace living in a world where every single part of our body has an established yardstick by which its appearance is inadequate. &#8220;Clean&#8221; is a pretty good social standard: for hair, for skin, for teeth. If we accept that the default version of a simple toiletry should include extraneous &#8220;beautifying&#8221;, we&#8217;re accepting that the standard isn&#8217;t just clean, it&#8217;s also &#8220;shiny and manageable&#8221;, &#8220;toned and tightened&#8221;, or &#8220;white and glistening&#8221;. There are enough channels telling people they aren&#8217;t good enough in America. Why does toothpaste have to be one of them?</p> The decline and fall of the movie trailer 2007-02-05T21:58:08+00:00 2008-06-08T12:19:32+00:00 <p>I am so sick of bad movie trailers that I could scream. Forget screaming, I&#8217;m almost to the point of sneaking into movie theaters and editing the trailer reels with shears and Scotch tape.</p> <p>Recently, it seems that almost all movie trailers follow one of two truly horrible patterns:</p><p> <b>Pattern the first:</b> Actors and producers sitting around talking about why the movie is so &#8216;neat&#8217; for three minutes, intercut with small pieces of actual movie. Directors, who can be assumed to have some ability to tell stories, albeit in pictures, occasionally appear; screenwriters, whom one might expect to be proficient in the use of words, never. The hodge-podge of inarticulate, faint praise leaves you eager to never see the movie in question and, further, to never again go to a movie theater, where these expanded trailers usually appear.</p> <p><b>Pattern the second:</b> The trailer begins by giving the setup, which for many plot-driven movies is a reasonable thing to do. It then proceeds to show you the first and second twists, along with the romantic subplot and pieces of truly inane dialogue that only exist to drive along the plot. Yes, it&#8217;s actually the 30-second version of the movie, a crappy and unflattering 30 seconds at that, and this type of trailer is the one I see most often. Why would anyone think this is a good way to sell a film? Movies that one wants to see for reasons entirely unrelated to plot and suspense do exist but by no means predominate, and this sort of stultifying exposition-ridden tension-drainer of a trailer is used for all genres.</p> <p>Stop it, Hollywood. Whatever sleep-deprived, drug-addled cretins you have putting together these trailers, fire them. Hire a few 16-year-olds with average IQs. If this is the way you try to motivate the movie-going populace to go to movies, it&#8217;s a wonder that you are <a href="" target="links">lying about the box office &#8216;slump&#8217;</a>. "Hello Mr. Yukkamoto, and welcome back to the Gap!" 2006-11-27T21:43:09+00:00 2008-06-08T12:25:31+00:00 <p>In my capacity as a Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa crew member, I have to comply with certain dress codes. Confusingly, I am neither required nor allowed to have extensive facial tattoos &mdash; however, I am required to tuck in my shirts.</p> <p>In this age of low waistlines, this presents a problem, but as we are allowed to have an auxiliary tucked-in shirt under our primary shirt, not an insoluble one. Knowing my need, friend Grizelda recently gave me a hot tip: the Gap&#8217;s camisoles come in a longer, more tunic-like edition in their Gap Maternity section. Pursuant to this intelligence, I purchased two such garments and paid for them with (yes, I have one, deal) my Gap store credit card.</p> <p>A week later, I was surprised to see the usual Gap e-mail (I opted in so as to scoop the sales) in my inbox, but with a cryptic subject. &#8220;The perfect outfit for your special day!&#8221; What special day? The message made it clear: my&#8230;baby shower. I bought two camisoles and now the Gap thinks I&#8217;m pregnant. I&#8217;ll be interested to see if they swap me back to Gap Women in a few months, or try to sell me baby clothes. </p> <p>There are many futures, and Philip K. Dick is their prophet.</p> When did musicals become marketing tie-ins? 2006-03-24T12:12:16+00:00 2008-06-08T14:26:42+00:00 <p>I think I&#8217;ll blame Disney for this. Disney has made millions of dollars by parlaying successful films and characters into &#8216;experiences&#8217;, and the musical versions of <em>The Lion King</em> and <em>Beauty and the Beast</em> are essentially Disney experiences that range around the country instead of staying in one place exerting gravitational pull on children and wallets.</p> <p>But <em>The Lord of the Rings</em> needed a musical? Good God in Heaven. Only incredible composition makes <em>Les Mis&eacute;rables</em> work as a musical (and it barely does, if you&#8217;ve read the book), and it, at least, has a deeply personal story at its core, with epic elements draped around it. All seven volumes of <em>The Lord of the Rings</em> in one play? And they&#8217;re surprised <a href="" target="links"> it&#8217;s getting bad reviews</a>?</p> <p>Sheesh, people. If you crave epic Ring musicals that much, <a href="" target="links">get your Wagner on</a>.</p>