Monthly Archives: July 2008

the opti grab of search

I have not commented on the un-coolness of the Cuil rollout because everyone else already has. But as more time passes and the fiasco grows bigger, I might as well throw my two cents in as well.

My first beef is the name. It’s hard enough to communicate simple web addresses. You don’t need the handicap of freaky pronunciations and spellings. And as a colleague pointed out to me, you’d better not have a typo when typing it in or you find yourself in a NSFW environment. Of course, if you can’t type it in directly, you could google it.

When I first saw the press on it, I went to the page to try it out and it was AWOL. As the recent Firefox blowup showed, it’s best not to have a timed event online when everyone shows up at once. This is old media thinking. If you’re having a grand opening for your store on Main Street, you hire the clown, the radio remote broadcast, and the chamber ribbon cutting for 2pm. In an online opening, it doesn’t matter if a guy in his underwear shows up at 3 in the morning.

And finally, the biggest problem is that most of the time Cuil doesn’t work and when it does it’s not as good as Google. Simple queries that should bring back alot have zero results. The queries that do have results are hard to sort through. The columned format stinks.

I’m no super smart former Google employee, but it might have been good to test all this out before a big rollout. As the inventor of the Opti Grab will tell you, it’s best to test products before you take them to market. (even on prisoners)

fidel watches the price is right

Surely, if you’re breathing and have watched any amount of TV in the last few months, you know that your over-the-air TV ain’t gonna work next February unless you take some steps. I got my “government cheese” digital TV conversion coupon a few months ago. Now instead of watching through periods of slight static, the show I’m watching is replaced momentarily by a completely dark screen with the words “searching for signal” on it. We’re on the cutting edge.

(Don’t get me started about the fact that I now have to hit 4 or 5 buttons to change channels — one of which is a decimal point that is located in the most un-ergonomic place on the remote.)

Our local stations have beat it into the ground with badly produced promos that run incessantly. In fact, every time the “digital conversion is coming in February of 2009. Will you be ready?” promo comes on, my three-year-old son says “we’re ready”. Because he knows the new box on top of the TV is what the promo is talking about.

So I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s so bloody simple that a 3-year-old can understand it. But, perhaps you’ve noticed in your daily life that there are some people walking around who aren’t this bright.

There are groups who are criticizing the government’s publicity efforts and are asking for more money to publicize the switch. And that’s insane. While it has been a typical bureaucratic fiasco, the message has been pushed about as far as a marketing campaign can go.

Plus there’s a good reason that the switch won’t be as painful as the detractors say it will be. The local TV stations aren’t going to let the little old ladies watching The Price Is Right disappear — because those little old ladies also love the dollar they get from Neilsen to fill out a diary. And in general, the local stations will correct the problem and bring all the stragglers of all ages on board for self-preservation economic reasons.

But some of the points addressed in the article make sense: Why is there an expiration for the coupons? I nearly let my 90 day window pass by and used it a few days before it expired. Government handouts shouldn’t expire! And it is hard to find the boxes now. I can imagine they’ll be very hard to find next February. And some people like the little old lady in the NYT story are just plain stubborn and won’t change until they’re forced to. (like in Cuba, she says.)

sing what’s in the brackets

Shotgun Marketing Blog presents: Real Media Spending Cutbacks
[Real Media Spending Cutbacks!]

Today we salute you, Mr. Anheuser-Busch Media Buyer.
[Mr. Anheuser-Busch Media Buyer!]

Anheuser-Busch has slashed radio spending that will hurt the broadcasting industry especially large radio companies like Clear Channel.
[Let’s play Monopoly!]

The bigwigs say they’re just moving money around. Sure. Moving it out of reach from Hits 97.3FM.

Why spend money in a local market when you can buy Super Bowl spots like they’re on the Dollar Menu?
[waldrobe malfunction!]

So crack open an ice cold newspaper classified section, Mr. Anheuser-Busch Media Buyer. Because it’s either that or picking up a shovel down in the Clydesdales‘ stables.
[Mr. Anheuser-Busch Media Buyer!]

Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri Leuven, Belgium.

(After writing this, I have new respect for the copywriters who do the Real Men of Genius campaign. You have to get the cadence exactly right or it doesn’t work.)