A View of Society From Mars; An Alien’s Perspective

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

If Mars aliens were examining us from a space rover, what would they see?

It’s what I’ve been wondering ever since I heard news of the Curiosity rover landing last week, and I’ve come to a conclusion that as an inhabited planet, we must be a fascinating group to watch, just like little ants under a microscope.

While the Mars rover has landed too recently to make any Earth-shattering (haha, get it?) finds, here is what a window into Earth life must look like from the big red planet.

Green, blue, and inflated with cheap goods– That’s us. We may not have a surplus of drinkable water, but we most certainly do have an economy based on plastic rubber duckies and the like. An alien with a microscope may be sufficiently perplexed by an economy that is so grounded that the largest booming businesses are sweatshop factories in China.

A headless-chicken political mentality– Democrat! Republican! Idon’tcareicrat! Although political polarization is nothing new, it has reached what may be considered a new high on the fronts of economic stimulus and social rights. The aliens would probably be moderately interested in this, until the cane-beating begins. It’s just too painful to watch.

Watching people continually running is circles is a popular spectator sport– Whether it be people or cars, society seems to never have lost its penchant for spicing up the mundane. As civilized creatures, we have managed to make sports a transcendent experience, especially through marketing and social media. Like an athlete? Follow them on one of a variety of social network, buy their autographed memorabilia or follow their blog. Sports are not just about sport- they are about experience.

Everyone is a stalker, but it’s considered socially acceptable– Did you know that your mom is in the kitchen peeling potatoes right now? I don’t actually know her, but that’s what her status says! In todays society, we are all human radio towers, broadcasting our personal lives to,well, everyone. The line between personal and public is now shrinking, for better or worse, and it is not infrequent to have friends ask you about the party a friend of a friend had. How did they know? Oh,right.

If you think Mars is a strange place to visit, you should take a second look at Earth- scrap the telescope and look at a bunch of squiggles called writing which you are reading on a “Blog” which is on the internet which is a series of interconnected tubes (am I right?) An outside-of the box perspective is the lifeblood of innovation.

And if you happen to be a Mars alien, feel free to correct me.

Also, I want your autograph.

Confessions of a Non-Olympics Watcher

August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Okay, fine, I’ll admit it. I don’t care about the Olympics.

Call me strange, but really, I’d much rather watch me some nice Chef Ramsey shows than watch Mitt Romney’s horse do ballet and runners run in circles.

I am in no way denying that these athletes incredibly talented- I wish I could spin in circles while on parallel bars, too. It’s just that the Olympics, well, are boring to me.

So what’s the life of a non-olympics watcher like during the Olympics? Well in the everyday sense, it’s not much different than usual; it’s like almost every other day except when:

1.People ask “did you see that girl last night that did XYZ?”: No, I didn’t, nor do I care much, but thank you for asking! How about we avoid the awkward topic of how little I know about sports and you tell me all about it?

2. Commercials come on featuring all-star Olympians and I have no idea who they are: Usually, somebody in the room follows up by adding “oh wow was that so and so on that ad?” Yeah, I wouldn’t know. Best answer- “hmm I missed it. It could have been!”

3. Advertisers absolutely give up advertising on other channels to put all of the “good” commercials on with the Olympics: As an open marketing dork to whom the ads of the superbowl are more important than the superbowl itself, this is pretty rough. Between uninspiring ad re-runs galore and just uninspiring content outside of the Olympics, my heart is breaking a bit.

4. People ask if you watch the Olympics and you honestly admit you don’t: the conversation usually turns to something like “oh my god do you live under a rock? Then what do you watch?!”

5. There is nothing on TV to watch… well less than usual: How about some re-runs of Hell’s Kitchen for the next few weeks? No? Tough luck! Because that’s ALL that’s ever on.

So while you all watch the olympics, I will proudly express my place as the minority who lives “under a rock” and not watch

Mind you it’s a very nice rock. And it’s well stocked with stuff. Like marketing books and Cheetos.

“Please Make it Stop!”: Why Your Sister’s Obsession With One Direction is Marketing’s Fault

August 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Seriously- she won’t stop talking about stupid One direction. Our family was on vacation and literally the only thing she ever talked about the whole time was One Direction!”

Sound familiar?

According to recent statistics, every one in three girls under the age of 15 is infected with something called the “One Direction Infection” It includes owning at least three posters of the band, talking about the hotness of Harry, and singing “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” until it makes their siblings scream.

Alright, so maybe I made up that statistic (which I did) but it’s here- the latest tween fad, and many of us who have graduated middle school are older are covering our ears for dear life.

HALP?!?!?

Well, you (rather, your sister) can thank ingenious marketing for the spread of the, ahem, one hit wonder.

Ascending to fame from the “American Idol” spin-off show “the X Factor”, preteens ecstatically watched as the members rose to fame, after which they created a band which makes those of us with younger sisters shudder- One Direction. Eep!

If you are one of these unfortunate souls, you are probably asking “but why?” You see nothing spectacular about the band (really, I don’t) and would rather they went the way of the Jonas Brothers.

it’s because of the way they’ve ascended band status- to brand status, and all of their memorabilia is coming to a store near you.

For heaven’s sake, they’re even selling tee shirts with the pictures of the band members on shirts at Delias that say “I love British boys!”

but there’s more to this obsession. Here’s why:

1. British men, well, have an appeal; especially when they’re serenading you about how beautiful you (their audience) are- Think of the Beatles mixed with Lady Gaga and plus some cheese-ball lyrics with a catchy beat and you’ve got One Direction. That being said, these children, growing up with all of these factors as a part of American pre-teen culture, have been baited from birth.

2. It makes them feel good about themselves- listen to the song, and you can tell that the song is addressing what the band thinks is the most beautiful type of girl; one that doesn’t know she’s beautiful. Aww, how sweet, right? Wrong. While it might be a lovely song to teach young girls with an ego that a man won’t want them if they’re full of themselves, look what it does to pre-teen girls who already think a boy would never be in love with them, ever. Keep it up, I like your lack of confidence, poor you who needs a boyfriend!

3. Most pre-teen girls have no dating confidence anyways- uh oh, I think we might have a bit of a predicament here. These girls can’t get boys and want them. So what now?

“Omgz they r so kute! Trololol!”

This, the obsession over the band which drives many of the rest of us AWOL. These groups and their marketers know what these girls want- and they give it to their audience at the cost of the rest of us with currently functional eardrums.

That being said, One Direction absolutely has talent- but the fame level that their brand has made them achieve is much more than most of us will give them credit for.

But that’s what makes them beautiful, Right?! (for your little sister)

Everything About Your Samsung Phone Belongs to Apple

August 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m sure that more than a few of you have heard about the lovely proverbial fistfight going on between Apple and Android right now.

While Apple is often hailed for being THE forefront of innovation and is laying claim to anything vaguely similar to their mobile devices (in the words of Forbes, “any phone with a glass touchscreen and rounded corners”. Goshdarn they take all of the good ideas away, don’t they?)

Essentially, Samsung has landed themselves in a bit of a legal crisis. And while they might have a case for defending their right for glass screens and rounded corners on their phones, there are some slight (read: MAJOR) similarities between some of their product designs and those of Apple that sure aren’t helping their case:

 

Hmm this seems mighty familiar looking, doesn’t it? But one might argue that there are only so many ways to design the back of a tablet, right?

Huh- this is pretty peculiar, too. After all, Apple is known for their unique cables- you know, the long and narrow ones? Its almost enough to give a strike to Samsung, but not quite.

THIS.

Is called asking for a lawsuit, buddy.

Oh, and by the way, did you happen to see this lately?

and no, it’s not Samsung this time, it’s Dell. Apples ideas and marketing is just so good that their competitors cant seem to get their grimy hands off of Apple patents.

My solution? Curl up in a ball with your arms over your head and prepare for lawsuit!

Incentivize This!; How Sitting on Your Butt All Day Just Got More Rewarding

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

“My god, you actually don’t do anything all day!”

That’s what my parents told me the other day.

Maybe saying I do nothing was a bit of an exaggeration on their part; I work three days a week as a marketing intern at the lovely Netprospex, an up- and-coming data prospecting firm. However, I’m not going to lie; the other two days of the week it might not seem like I do much.

At least in the minds of the technological luddites that are my parents.

Computar? Like the kind with tubes that hold the intra-net?

That’s them.

But my friends, I am out to make the pocket change of a lifetime- while not moving an inch the entire time.

enter: the loyalty program.

You have probably heard of them before, especially in terms of credit card reward programs. But get this: the loyalty program is spreading like a virus, to everything from television to app downloads.

In the great words of Apple, “there’s an app for that!”

Want to get paid to watch comedy clips and doing internet searches? Look no further than Swagbucks

How about getting paid for downloading apps on your phone? There’s a program for that, too; Appredeem.

Or for watching TV? It’s called Viggle.

Watching app trailers? App Trailers.

Visiting blogs? PuchTab

You get the idea. And you know I’ve downloaded all of them. ALL of the loyalty apps!

“ALLLL OF THEM!”

Loyalty programs really prove that when targeting us, marketing has gone hand-in-hand with entertainment and life, and almost seamlessly. And although these apps haven’t quite reached the status of world domination, and few of them have attained mild popularity, I can almost guarantee you that within five years  being a part of a loyalty program for almost everything and anything will become the norm.

Marketers understand the power of incentives like no other, harnessing the power of social interaction in these apps to make them not only connected, but to make them part of an over-archingly greater entertainment experience. (My inner marketing nerd is smiling relentlessly right now)

it’s just like Hamlet said- “TV or not TV, that is the question!”

…wait a second…

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