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Jul. 15 2010 — 12:01 pm | 197 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Old Spice’s ‘Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ and me

Here’s the thing: I’m happy that my T/S colleague Susannah Breslin received a personalized video thank-you from Old Spice Man Isaiah Mustafa after a recent post on the campaign’s increasing virality. And I’m not even pointing out that I wrote about the loony brilliance of the Wieden + Kennedy spots right here way back in February, and again last month, and have yet to get my shout-out from The Man. I mean, that’s fine. There’s plenty of Man to go around, and if he chooses to acknowledge others over me, like somebody who is apparently named George Stephanapoulos, although that doesn’t seem like it can possibly be right, well, so be it. My question is, at what point does the marketing juggernaut of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like spin off the inevitable backlash? So far the agency has managed to keep the thing flying with a stream of new video content, a barrage of humor and style, and a seemingly-inexhaustible Mustafa, who has to hold the world record for standing around in a towel by now. But at a certain point, does The Man run the risk of becoming the “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell” guy? I hope not. I’m pretty sure the world needs more wit, and I know the advertising world does. All I’m saying is, if — and it’s just “if” at this point — The Man starts to wear out his welcome, he’s going to need friends in the media. Friends who will be disposed to defend his good name. Just as they’ve done in the past.



Jul. 2 2010 — 2:33 pm | 41 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

How to run your business from Starbucks (without acting like a jerk)

Peter Mitchell, a public relations and adverti...

WiFi is now free to all at Starbucks, which makes Om Malik’s tips on running your business out of a coffee shop especially timely. Some of Malik’s suggestions have to do with working comfortably and efficiently (like investing in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones) but a number of others fall under the rubric of good manners: Tip generously, and don’t sit there like a potted ficus all day without buying something; don’t spread your personal effects all around the place; set your cell phone to vibrate and take your calls outside. It’s refreshing to hear somebody with a following urge his readers not to act like jackasses. But I’m afraid I’m not sanguine. One unintended consequence of WiFi’s increasing ubiquity beyond the home may well be an expansion in the number of people who act like they are home. So let’s all take Malik’s rules to heart and not hurt each other, okay?



Jul. 1 2010 — 2:15 pm | 22 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

‘Also, we understand it’s made of sweet, sweet candy!’

Via Editor & Publisher: Is this the hackiest, most lazily credulous cut-and-paste repurposing of a press release ever?

The Los Angeles Times and Tribune Interactive have launched the Times‘ next-generation mobile-phone app designed to easily access editorial content and built for a broad audience. News Reader offers a customizable user interface to bring Times content to iPhones.

“Next month, our Hollywood Star Walk app will also go live, offering a robust, interactive L.A.-centric experience for visitors to Southern California and entertainment junkies,” Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein said in a statement.

Based on user feedback, added Tribune Interactive President Marc Chase, the new app “adapts to users preferences and makes content just a click away.”



Jun. 30 2010 — 4:47 pm | 52 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Woot.com CEO: Amazon acquisition all about ‘free downloads’

Woot.com is a great e-commerce site with a zippy attitude and a minty-fresh scent, and when it was acquired today by Amazon, CEO Matt Rutledge had this to say, and much much more:

This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled “WHO OWNS THESE PANTS?” Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the Woot.com experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Amazon.com. Welcome to the family!

In short: Best inter-office email ever. Read it here.



Jun. 30 2010 — 12:30 pm | 279 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Return of ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’

Back in February, and it seems like a lifetime ago, I wrote about the making of the most fabulously creative TV commercial ever, Wieden + Kennedy’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (Old Spice). In the interim actor Isaiah Mustafa signed a talent deal with NBC, which was good, and the spot won the Grand Prix for Film at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, which was also good, while the company introduced a vastly inferior series of ads with muscleman Terry Crews. Which was bad. Holy Mother of God, it was worse than you could possibly imagine. Where was The Man Your Man Could Smell Like? Was it really possible Old Spice wouldn’t return to its greatest triumph? No. The Man is back. And while you might argue that in the new spot the agency piles on visual gags in a way that recalls an Everything Pizza, there’s no arguing with the splendor of the concept, or with the impeccable comic timing in Mustafa’s performance. Welcome back, Man. It’s been too long.


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    About Me

    I'm a writer in Santa Monica, CA. I spent some years at Newsweek and some more writing for TV. My freelance journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, Time, Slate, The Boston Globe, Fast Company, Fortune Small Business, Washington Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, American Heritage and TV Guide, and on PBS.

    I've been writing about popular culture for more than 20 years, and about technology for almost that long. I've been fascinated the last few years with the way the two have started to intertwine, so that's what I'll be looking at here: Technology, pop culture and the places where they meet. I'll also be poking around in the world of blogging, microblogging, nanoblogging, micronanoblogging and whatever comes next.

    You can reach me at billbarol.com.

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