Category Archives: marketing

Nearest book meme

Stephen Abram’s nearest book meme came at just the perfect time. I have two books I’ve been meaning to blog about and now I can do it and meme at the same time. What efficiency!  Thanks to Doug for the invite.

“He watched Best Mate racing away down the hill and then disappearing into the trees.”  Michael Morpurgo in Born to Run.

pioggia's flickr stream

pioggia on flickr

Rules:
* Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence – either here or on your blog.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don’t look for your favorite book or your coolest but really the nearest.

I had the great fortune to see Michael Morpurgo in person at this year’s Kaleidoscope. He was an entertaining and enjoyable speaker so I rushed out to purchase a few of his books. Born to Run is a novel for middle elementary students. It details the story of a greyhound puppy as he grows and is lost and found a number of times. The narrative alternates in voice between the various owners and the dog. Each scenario is rich in detail. The characters are vibrant and real. I was a little put off by the sections narrated by the dog. I suspect young readers would have less difficulty with the first person point of view. Somehow I no longer can imagine a dog speaking using ‘I’ Still it is an enjoyable read and I must admit I have a certain fondness for an English lilt in fiction, perhaps having grown up on Wind in the Willows and the Narnia series. I felt right at home in Born to Run.

.storm flickr stream

.storm on flickr

The other book which jumped off the shelf at me is branded by Alissa Quart. This essay on the effects of consumer culture on teenagers is a sobering read. Alissa Quart looks a three sides of the over-marketed state of American youth. First she looks at the adverstising industry and its marketing to youth and use of youth in marketing. She looks at methods such as product placement in video games and movies and use of teen trendspotters. Next she looks at the youth and their own perceptions of the marketing and particularly its influence on body image, university choices and ‘self marketing’ of teen-aged writers. Finally, she looks at the push back of teenagers who wish to reclaim their identities and culture from the marketing machine. As a parent, I cringe at the influence of a globalized culture on my own children and within their environments. There are few public spaces which are free of logos and advertising of some kind. Public buildings, public schools, public universities are making ‘partnerships’ with businesses and as a result very few spaces are free from marketing. This book takes a look at the more detrimental side of these partnerships and advertising methods. It’s well worth reading. I feel I am now walking with my eyes newly opened.

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Filed under children's lit, marketing, meme, personal

Bridezilla and the Economy of Attention

In my reading of this last year, I ran across the idea of the attention economy. My memory is faulty but I am pretty sure if was in a book by Colin Lankshear but is not an idea that has it’s origin with him. The gist of it is that we are no longer in an economy dictated by supply and deman as the supply of possible things to consume far out strips the demand for these things, but now it is an economy of attention. The one (company, individual) who gets the most attention wins (succeeds, makes the most money, has the most influence).

The idea of the attention economy struck with full force as I listened to CBC radio this evening. The program dealt with the YouTube video “Bride wigs out”. The video was posted on Youtube and within weeks (days?) had had milllions of hits. The video it turns out was a ‘short’, a video produced by Unilever with the specific purpose of setting the meme “wig out” into the public consciousness. The radio show debated its effectiveness and its morality. One of the commentators said that it was an old-fashioned idea that there is a difference between private, personal space and public economic or commerical space. He mentioned that for young people in MySpace, the world is a mash of items – some cultural, some commercial, some personal and the dividing lines are blurred.

I believe he is right and I am frightened by it. We are losing or have lost, public non-commercial spaces. The public bus is splattered with advertising inside and out, personal vehicles sport the advertising of radio stations and small business, public easments can be rented for large signs built of flowers or painted on the grasses. Where do we get to go to be unsolicited as consumers?

I am a person. I am not a consumer or producer above all else. I want to take a stand for slogan free spaces. I see a real need here for advocacy and education. Can we as a society say no to ‘guerilla advertising’? Can we say no to overt advertising? Every concert hall, every sport arena is a sponsored place. My Luddite is screaming here. How do we teach about this?

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Filed under blogging, curriculum, education, free speech, marketing, meme, web 2.0