Monday, March 30, 2009

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Today on a lovely little bike ride through Golden Gate park I came across this sign at Ocean Beach. It struck me as being oddly straight forward, even honest. It made think about other signs and how they might be different if they took this same tone. Instead of 'STOP' we might see 'Cars have been smashed into by enormous SUV's while running these.' Or maybe 'Please Recycle' would say something more along the lines of 'The earth is rotting because people are carelessly tossing their trash. Asshole.'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Thought Monday (on a Tuesday)

I frequently listen to podcasts on my commute to and from the office- my days at American Public Media turned me on to some great radio shows. On my way home last night I had an episode of Radio Lab playing, a great science show out of WNYC in New York. While listening, I found myself having to keep rewinding the show. My mind was wondering so much that I would go minutes without absorbing a thing they were saying. Conversely, as I rode the train this morning enjoying an episode of This American Life, I noticed that I stayed tuned in the entire time. Of course, this doesn't surprise me at all as I've long been a "morning person" and have suspected that my mind is sharpest in the wee hours of the day, but still I found this little exercise that truly demonstrates that fact to be quite interesting. I think I may take these findings to my boss and make a case for a 3:00 quitting time...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Encyclopedia Wines

The other weekend I was at the grocery store (my favorite grocery store) and stopped to taste the wine they were sampling (this is why it's my favorite). They were featuring the newest line of wines from Francis Ford Coppola called Encyclopedia Wines. The concept focuses on educating drinkers about wine, which evident on the highly informative and academic-themed website. The packaging caught my eye right away- rather than the standard shaped wine bottle this line of wines is bottled in what looks like a piece of equipment from a science lab. The wine rep at the tasting told us that the bottle itself is meant to be reused as a decanter. Seems they're targeting a younger crowd who is both new to wine drinking and also appreciative of an environmentally conscious package. I think it's a great concept overall, I have a feeling it'll do better than the slew of animal-themed wines we've seen emerge in recent years.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Better Banners

"Online spending is on the rise"... "Marketers continue to shift budgets online" ... "Online advertising, the cost efficient and effective choice for advertising in the recession"...

I get it, online = good. What I don't get is why banner creative continues to = BAD. I was perusing the webby awards website the other day and was impressed, but not in love with, some of the banners I saw. I couldn't stop wondering why I'm not seeing MORE of these placed on sites, not just grouped on award pages??? Why do I continue seeing shitty, annoying banners trying to sell me a student loan?!?!

There's a gap that's really bothering me: online advertising is targeted, cost-efficient and immediate yet the click-through rates are dismal and the general effectiveness of banners is relatively low. This simply shouldn't be the case. Banners should be performing better. I believe the only way this will be the case is when the level of creative out there takes a huge leap ahead. I hope that day comes soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recession Wear: Power Suits

An interesting sign of the times-"Interview Must Haves" on

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"You like me, you really like me" -Commercial Breaks

There was an interesting article in the NY Times titled "Like the Show? Maybe It Was the Commercials". The article highlights research that found that people tend to enjoy experiences more when the experience is interrupted. The same holds true for negative experiences- when they're interrupted, they level of dissatisfaction or annoyance increases (think: loud vacuum that keeps getting turned on and off over and over). The theory was put to the test with commercial breaks and the findings were consistent- viewers enjoyed the TV show more when it was interrupted by commercials. I think at the heart of all of this is simply that interruptions allow for more time to process our experiences thus lending to a heightened sense of awareness and as a result we have more intense emotional reactions.

There was one notion in the article that I disagree with, however, and that was that the content of the interruptions didn't impact the level of enjoyment the viewers experienced. I have to believe we've gotten ourselves into this whole Tivo/Hulu/Ifuckinghatecommercials mess entirely due to the shitty commercials that are forced upon viewers. Despite the fact that our acceptance/enjoyment of commercial interruptions is subconscious, I believe a better overall commercial experience in terms of content is absolutely something consumers would consciously respond positively to.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random Thought Monday

At dinner the other night the subject of cocktail dresses came up. This got me thinking about why we call them "cocktail dresses" and further if we can have cocktail dresses, why not have sandwich pants?? This conversation occurred while a few friends and I were eating at Farmer Browns, a great place here in San Francisco with yummy southern comfort food (and really cool interior design/decor). Two people in our party were enjoying the Po'Boy of the day and agreed that sandwich pants should definitely have elastic waist bands.