Posts Tagged "marketing"

September 9th: You’re Not Going to Believe What Happened

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time (and by once upon a time I mean 1776) our country was called the United Colonies. While this worked in the initial start-up phase of the country, once there was an IPO the founders realized they had to come up with a snazzier name.

So the Founding Fathers contracted the hottest marketing firm of the time to brainstorm and then market test fun and memorable names for the young country. Unfortunately, marketing was in its infancy as a profession and the FFs engaged Bob the Marketer.

Calling himself Bob the Marketer may have been Bob’s best marketing job ever, because Bob was really a pig farmer. Which meant that all Bob’s market research was done with his pigs. And while pigs are smart, they are not known for caring much about what the country is called. Or maybe they do care but just can’t communicate it very well. Or maybe they communicate very well and Bob just wasn’t good at interpreting. Whatever the true case, Bob the pig farmer didn’t have a lot of useful input when it came to branding the country.

Bob presented three alternatives to the Continental Congress:

  • A Bunch of Folks Who Got Together in America
  • Petunia (after his favorite pig)
  • United States of America

Bob actually threw that last one in there as a joke, but all sorts of jokes get taken seriously and this was one of them.

On September 9, 1776 the Continental Congress (another group that could have benefited from working with Bob the Marketer) formally declared the name of our nation to be the United States of America.

This made everyone (except Petunia) happy. The flag makers were happy because they got to make more flags. The mint was happy because it got to print new money. And Congress was happy because it actually got something done (modern day lawmakers know nothing of this).

Petunia was unhappy as she felt slighted by an entire country. But as has been pointed out, Bob’s porcine communication skills left a lot to be desired so he never knew.

Happy Naming Day, America.

Love, Mom

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Secret Messages, Anti-Abuse Message Only Kids Can See, Stadium Suspense

top secret messages letters to college kidsDear Kid,

I don’t know whether to be fascinated or horrified. Or perhaps a little bit of both.

Have you seen the child abuse ad that displays differently depending on how tall (or short) you are? The idea is to get a message to children being abused even if their abuser is standing right next to them. This is done with (get this) a lenticular top layer which shows different parts of images at various angles. Look straight ahead, see the standard message; look up from a child’s vantage point, see bruises and cuts and a phone number to call for help.

(Between this info and the invisibility cloak info from yesterday, I am turning into a real science hound, am I not?)

IMHO, this is wicked cool technology. But as others have pointed out: don’t you think the abusers might be on the internet and might have noticed all the commotion? Don’t get me wrong—anything anyone can do to help a child, especially an abused child, is all to the good. But there might be a dark side to the technology.

Back In The Day when I was in school (yes, Ray of Click and Clack fame was my marketing professor—different story for a different day), we spent a lot of time talking about subliminal messaging (which I’m pretty sure is mostly illegal in advertising these days). But Back Then, soda manufacturers would put an image of a soda or someone drinking a soft drink in the previews before a movie. It would be just one frame and go by so quickly your conscious mind would never see it. But the unconscious mind (ho, ho!) was another story entirely. Drink sales skyrocketed. There are lots more examples. Of course, the ones I remember are mostly not appropriate for polite conversation.

The point (and yes, my dear, there is a point) is what happens when advertisers figure out they can talk to children without mom interpreting knowing what the kid is seeing interfering. As a parent, I think it is part of my job description to help kids (especially small ones in the throws of ‘gimme!’) understand what is and is not appropriate at any given point in time. It helps if I have a clue what they are talking about.

On the other hand, there might be some extremely cool uses for this lenticular top layer technology. What if you could show one message to the student section of a football stadium but not to anyone else? Or one message to people going up the stairs to a given landing and another to those going down? I don’t yet know what the point would be, but it sounds cool.

Beware of messages, Kid. You can’t always be sure you know what they’re telling you. What you can be sure of is that I love you.

Love, Mom

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