Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Blur is Complete

Programming note: Art presses on, but because it's summer and even I need a vacation now and then, I'm gonna mix it up a bit the next few weeks.

It had to happen. The way things have been developing, it was merely a matter of time. From Variety:
NBC Universal is expanding its battle against YouTube and other viral video sites, using the weight of its top-rated USA cable network to launch an all-advertising website called

Set to launch early next year, site will offer a vast archive of current and classic TV spots, movie trailers and other "brand-related content." USA-Sci Fi Channel prexy Bonnie Hammer said the goal is to "become the go-to destination for on-demand advertising content."
You can't see anything if you go to right now, but with this new concept, the blur is complete. Advertising = Entertainment. But wait, it gets worse:

Launch of Didja -- whose name is a play on the phrase "Did ya see that?" -- marks USA's first digital media initiative not directly linked to the cabler's programming. Brainstormed by USA execs, Didja will start out with extensive promotion on the channel and will eventually extend to all divisions of NBC Universal.

Didja will roll out after NBC and News Corp. mount their first major assault on YouTube, the viral video partnership known as New Co. Both efforts are designed to give NBC a bigger share of the ad revenue being generated by streaming video.

Peacock will use its massive ad sales division to help stock the site with content. Conglom hopes that advertisers will eventually pay for prominent placement on the site or create microsites within Didja focusing on their brand (an all-McDonald's channel, for example). [emphasis mine]

Mind you, Mickey D's hardly needs the additional exposure:
Anything made by McDonald's tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children.

In comparing identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and plain wrappers, the unmarked foods always lost.

Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids when they were wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches.

The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald's foods in name-brand and unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test.

"You see a McDonald's label and kids start salivating," said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids. She had no role in the research.

Levin said it was "the first study I know of that has shown so simply and clearly what's going on with (marketing to) young children."

Study author Dr. Tom Robinson said the kids' perception of taste was "physically altered by the branding." The Stanford University researcher said it was remarkable how children so young were already so influenced by advertising.
"[R]emarkable" is not the first adjective that springs to my mind in response to that finding, but given we're talking about children here, I'll leave out the saltier words that do. Of course, it's not just the burger-pushing clown that's waging this battle for the hearts and effectively washed minds of the populace:
Pradeep Chintagunta, a University of Chicago marketing professor, said a fairer comparison might have gauged kids' preferences for the McDonald's label versus another familiar brand, such as Mickey Mouse.
Indeed, in another study (of web-centered [or "Social Media"] consumers), positive associations with the brand "Disney" were amazingly high:

Even within the tech-savvy crowd, the study reported that "After assessing consumer sentiment Google, Disney and Nintendo appear to have the most positive buzz going on." Disney?!?

Consider this an open thread:

Labels: open thread


Anonymous dp said...

I'm very excited about Didja, and hope it's a big success! Maybe it will do so well that advertisers will decide to put all their commercials on Didja, and stop interrupting regular programs. Wouldn't that be cool.

8/08/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger milf-magic said...

I just threw up in my mouth and swallowed it. Bleech. Why? Who needs to see more commercials? Will the volume always be really high on that channel? What if I have the urge to buy something after watching a commercial from 1984 for something I can no longer buy like an Atari? Won't that be frustrating?
I guess Tuttle was right. Art's "job", as it were, in this society is continually getting pushed into a practical catagory a.k.a. fitting into late capitalist society.
Yes the art-world has grown immensely, but this is because it has grown to include art that serves, as Tuttle was maybe trying to state, a passive function within the construct of our society... i.e. as decoration, status marker, etc., not to mention the elevated status of the "functional arts" these days like advertising, design, fashion etc. It's not about abstract or figurative. I like Mike Kelley's stance on always questioning the social environment and that that's what art is to him. Art as beautiful object definitely has it's place too, but it is so hard to avoid commodification of this type of art now that it is rare that it really strikes a chord beyond being fashionable for a while. And it's only going to get worse: as marketing proves, pre-school kids already have learned to buy stuff that's crap. Maybe this is good? Maybe a healthy society doesn't need art in a moral sense and art will eventually only function in a practical sense, as diversion; beautiful colors and logos for Nascar cars. But it seems like there's still plenty in our society to question, particularly it's leadership.

8/08/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Great post.

I like the lyrics and it's got a beat you can dance to.

8/08/2007 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Anyone who has ever squeezed 7-11 chilli onto their nachos realizes its all about bandwidth.

I had a close relative get involved with a site with similar intent - though it was called (no shit!) and was a "portal" in the parlance of the web marketeers. Portals are "doorways" into "realms". was a realm of culinary delight.

It failed, mostly because it's business model was built on a limited version of what is now known as google earth (a food version).

Another reason may have been the unappealing branding (No Julia Childs no iron chef no top chef no you tube)- as in the McDonalds example. I read Oliver Sacks account of a color-blinded artist (haven't we all?) and loved it. It shows how much color is part of psychology, taste and ultimately meaning.

Orange and yellow = hungry right?

8/08/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said... advance web site design

they paid a lot of money for that site. Hemoraged money.

I think the better business model is to creat webisodes of spoofs of old commercials and sell them to enthusiasts for 3 dollars and episode. But also they would be commercials so you could get ad revenue.

Want to invest?

8/08/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Well, I know how I'm going to deal with Didja: the same way I deal with McD and Disney. Give them no money, time or attention.
But I like dp's thinking that it would be great if all advertisers put all their commercials onto the site. In the meantime, I'm going to keep working that Mute button.

By the way, Zip, no offense, but your animated picture thing is retinally offensive. I mean, it hurts. Sometimes I can't read your posts because it hurts to see the flashing images. I tried reading one post with my thumb over the pix, but that was just silly. Gotta hand it to you, though: you've managed to cram half a dozen images into one picture frame, and I've yet to figure out how to get one in there.

8/08/2007 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Sorry, I hadn't realized. I'll try to get it up to around 72mhz so you wont notice.

8/08/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous dp said...

In the meantime, I'm going to keep working that Mute button.

Or you could do what I do, and just skip tv altogether. Except for Entourage, of course. (Okay, I watch John From Cincinnati too.)

8/08/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

PS - There's an interesting bio on William Gibson's website, where he atributes his success as a writer to tv abstinence.

"I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here. "

8/08/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I grew up in a household without TV, and I know I've gotten a lot better at watching tv since then. Media literacy doesn't grow on trees.

8/08/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

David, thanks for the intro to William Gibson. His bio was a delight. I'm adding that quote to my collection.

I stopped watching TV 20 years ago, about the same time I started making art seriously... that's 20 years of parties where you're the only one who didn't see Twin Peaks, Seinfeld, or Southpark last night.

8/08/2007 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous A Jab In Jest said...

is that why your art blows?

8/09/2007 11:15:00 PM  

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