Friday, June 19, 2009

We are living in a Media World (and I am a Media Man!)

The thought occurred to me that I live in a media-centered, ad-centric universe unlike many others around me. This epiphany came the other morning when I was a guest in my sister-in-law’s home. She remarked that her towels were scratchy and loofa-like due to her air drying them. Of course, I replied “Towels are kind of scratchy!” in the voice of the Creepy Innkeeper from the Verizon Wireless commercial. No one in the room knew what I was referring to. If you have to explain a joke, it’s not a very good joke or, so said David Letterman, of his recent apology to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Recently Dave made a comment about Ms. Palin being at a NY baseball game and her daughter getting impregnated by A-Rod in the 7th inning. Of course, he was referring to the older daughter, Bristol, who had a child out of wedlock at age 18, despite her then political candidate mother’s anti-abortion stance and her right wing bullshit that she taught her children to abstain from pre-marital sex. Ouch! I’ll bet that stung.

In any event, Dave was making a joke about the older daughter but unbeknownst to him, it was actually 14-year old Willow Palin who was traveling with her Mom on the recent NY outing. Oops! Dave did his best to apologize but it was all for naught. The haters had already spooled up and created a scene over a one-line joke and Mr. Letterman was forced to make a pseudo-apology. Ms. Palin accepted and we can all move on.

I suppose my focus on the media is due to my love of advertising (I watch the Super Bowl for the ads, really) and my work in Marketing/Ecommerce. Yes, while I am on the fringe, I still follow all of the media news and am fascinated at the many new ways to get one’s message across.

I quote commercials, if I think they’re funny or share a laugh with my teen if something is particularly entertaining. To me, it’s an art form and not an easy one to master. Many will recall the atrocious animated SalesGenie commercials that InfoUSA put on during the 2007 Super Bowl. They were poorly written (then-CEO Vinod Gupta actually credited himself for writing them!) and racially insensitive.

If you find the world of Advertising fascinating like I do, rent Mad Men, from Netflix, a fictionalized (and adult) look at advertising in the 60’s. Never have I seen people drink and smoke so much! They drink at work (in the office, self-congratulatory cocktails are always at hand) and smoke in elevators, in the office, in bed, almost non-stop. It’s an amazing look at an earlier time.

In the past week, I’ve traveled to both New York City and Boston, in search of expanding my empire (I like the way that sounds). My biz is up and running and now I need to find the right way to spread the word about myself and my/our capabilities. It’s slow going in this economy. It’s hard to prove yourself when you no one is willing to answer the phone to speak to you. I understand the pressure and the workload, as I’ve been on the other side of the desk before. Still, at a time when you’re business is going to hell, now is the time to find out what solutions exist in the market.

So, in a recession, when all around me will retreat, what will I do? What would Don Draper do? The answer is simple: I'll advertise.

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket