Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.

FORTUNE on Blue Man Group

"Blue Man is a powerful case study in how to grow a brand without losing focus. We've all heard stories about companies that start off like a rocket—then crash and burn because they didn't stay in control of their original vision. Fifteen years after bursting onto the cultural scene, Blue Man has managed to avoid that fate, largely by making smart choices and turning down opportunities that a lot of entrepreneurs might have jumped at." Fantastic article. Brand Blue: After early success Blue Man Group could have cashed in (think Disney rides and blue cola). Instead, it found a way to grow without selling its soul. Read this one. Now.


Clear Channel and Jiffy Pop

Most people who know about Clear Channel loathe it. For those of you who don't know about it, it's a radio conglomerate, based in Texas, with an average of almost 25 radio stations per state. The reason everything you hear sounds basically the same is mainly due to Clear Channel. A big reason for homogeneity in radio is due to the interplay of payola and the Top 40 format, both of which Clear Channel loves (see, for example, this article from the NY Times, about Carson Daly, Clear Channel's robot DJ ... and this article from the Washington City Paper, on Payola). My question, then, is this: How is the practice of food manufacturers paying to have shelf space any different?

Food manufacturers now pay grocery stores $5,000 to $30,000 per new product per store. ... They also fork over money for advertising, sales and in-store promotions, known as "pay to stay" agreements. ... The Food Marketing Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, said retailers spend almost $1 million per store per year on new products that fail. ... "It's a terrible problem because consumers are ultimately paying for these fees," said John Ausura, a former food-company executive and a principal at Crossroads LLC, a California management and strategic consulting firm. ... Cheerios maker General Mills Inc. made $2.2 billion in promotional payments, including slotting fees, in 2001, an amount equal to 22 percent of annual sales. ... Imagine what might happen to the price of a box of cereal if General Mills didn't have to pay that.

It's not as ire-inducing as Top 40 radio, but it gets my dander up a bit. $2.2 billion? I can think of a few things that would be better to spend that money on. Of course, maybe that's why one day I'm going to live on a farm, raise my own food, and listen to college radio and the X.


a serious post for charlie...

An event that happens to but one in a billion people in a day happens 2000 times a year. A day when nothing weird happened would actually be the weirdest day of all.”
John Allen Paulos (mathematician)

David Myers wrote a must read article ( http://www.davidmyers.org/coincidence/ ) about coincidence and the power of large numbers. As humans, we are hard wired to look for patterns in nature. Usually we attribute these coincidences to fate or the intervention of a higher power shaping and directing our lives. The fact is, most coincidences can be attributed to the power of large numbers (Even our very own Courtney Page’s love affair with the number 17) Myers writes:

“Our intuition…fails to appreciate the streaky nature of random data. Batting slumps, hot hand shooters, and stock market patterns may behave like streak-prone random data, but our pattern-seeking minds demand explanations. Yet even the random digits of pi, which form what many mathematicians believe is a true random sequence, have some odd streaks that likely include your birth date. Mine, 9-20-42, appears beginning at the 131,564th decimal place. (To find yours, visit www.angio.net/pi/piquery). Try your phone number as well.
The moral: That a particular specified event or coincidence will occur is very unlikely. That some astonishing unspecified events will occur is certain. That is why remarkable coincidences are noted in hindsight, not predicted with foresight. And that is why even those of us who believe in God don't need God's special intervention, or psychic powers, to expect, yet also delight in, improbable happenings.


andy vs. the octopods

who would win this hypothetical street fight? andy stefanovich with his look at more stuff eye beam rays and think about it harder mind control, OR a team of segway riding ninja squids with the power of mind control over people named jerry? (and they can breathe on land for extended periods of time)



Dr. Pepper has co-opted blogging, as seen in this MSNBC article: Flogging on a Blog: Dr Pepper is trying to use the grass-roots power of Weblogs to promote its new drink. I'm ... conflicted.

MARKETERS AT Dr Pepper see the movement as the perfect launch point for a “grass roots” campaign for a new “milk-based product with an attitude,” Raging Cow. The first step is an in-house blog (ragingcow.com); it tells the fictional backstory of the drink, which rolls out in April in flavors like Chocolate Insanity and Pina Colada Chaos. Next comes a blog-related twist on viral marketing—recruiting “key influence bloggers” to promote Raging Cow by sharing their enthusiasm, linking to the site and distributing special screensavers, banners and skins. Beginning with an initial group of six people in their late teens and early 20s—flown to Dallas with their parents for an induction session—Dr Pepper hopes to develop a “blogging network” to hype Raging Cow and “be part of the ‘in the know’ crowd,” says its brand-marketing honcho Andrew Springate. Those spreading the news via their blogs won’t disclose their flackitude, says Springate, because officially they’re not paid Dr Pepper employees; they only get promo items like hats and T shirts. “We’re independent and can advertise Raging Cow the way we want,” says Nicole, 18, a Louisiana high-school senior with a popular blog.

In one sense, it's like any street team. You get compensated to hype the product. In another sense, it's a product that the kids have never tried before. I was on the street team for an indie record label back when I was in high school and college, and I would put up flyers when bands on the label were coming in to town. But I volunteered because I LOVED the music and I LOVED the scene. Here, the product is artificial and the scene is completely fabricated. Speaking of fabricated, the faux-anti-establishment rhetoric at the top of the raging cow site is lame. In big, "Eat mor chikin" letters, it says "Pasteurize this!" But it's not like the product is raw milk. THEN, I would buy it. Anyway, I'm curious to see what happens with this. If the product is awful, I think the project will tank, and will 86 the bloggers' credibility. If the product is actually good, it could be an effective campaign. Time will tell.

update: After digging around a little bit, I found that it's being executed by Richards Interactive, through a thing called Project Blogger.

The Project Blogger network of personal sites was created to connect our clients with individuals like you who would be willing to help advance their marketing efforts. Sometimes these clients want to pick your brain through a survey. Other times, they want to take advantage of your site traffic to launch products like cell phones or new drinks. For your efforts, you get advance access to these products, cool free stuff, and yes, even hundreds of dollars in compensation.

That's right, kids. Even hundreds of dollars in compensation. Like the Raging Cow kids, who get "promo items like hats and T shirts." I guess we all have a price. It's just sad to see some people hyping stuff — and making their "sponsors" goobs of money — in exchange for some lame cotton promotional items — that will only further promote the parent brand.

You can have your Raging Cow. I think I'll stick to ... oh wait. I think I'll hold off on the endorsements for now.


creativity timeline

For those of you interested, there's a Creativity Timeline over at GoCreate.com. It's a convenient collection of the entirety of history, and creative events that occured throughout. What I find especially interesting is that the Big Bang kicks the whole thing off. Does that mean that it was the first creative event?

who / what / why

At Play we create brands, strategies, new products, and better cultures for Fortune 100 companies. Our formula for creativity: "Look at more stuff. Think about it harder." Pure Content is one place where we do that, daily.

the cool kids' table

Ben Domenech
(politics, football, and a boatload of know-how)

Creative Generalist
(if Pure Content had a doppelganger ...)

Heath Row
(punk + business
+ creativity = Heath)


go go gadget google:

stuck in an airport

A Pattern Language

Creative Company
Orbiting the Giant Hairball
The Ultimate Book of Business Creativity

The Little Prince

Wittgenstein's Poker

The Dancing Wu Li Masters

The Tipping Point

new to you

04/27/2003 - 05/03/2003 04/20/2003 - 04/26/2003 04/13/2003 - 04/19/2003 04/06/2003 - 04/12/2003 03/30/2003 - 04/05/2003 03/23/2003 - 03/29/2003 03/16/2003 - 03/22/2003 03/09/2003 - 03/15/2003 03/02/2003 - 03/08/2003 02/23/2003 - 03/01/2003 02/16/2003 - 02/22/2003 02/09/2003 - 02/15/2003 02/02/2003 - 02/08/2003 01/26/2003 - 02/01/2003 01/19/2003 - 01/25/2003 01/12/2003 - 01/18/2003 01/05/2003 - 01/11/2003 12/29/2002 - 01/04/2003 12/22/2002 - 12/28/2002 12/15/2002 - 12/21/2002 12/08/2002 - 12/14/2002 12/01/2002 - 12/07/2002 11/24/2002 - 11/30/2002 11/17/2002 - 11/23/2002 11/10/2002 - 11/16/2002 11/03/2002 - 11/09/2002 10/27/2002 - 11/02/2002 10/20/2002 - 10/26/2002 10/13/2002 - 10/19/2002 10/06/2002 - 10/12/2002 09/29/2002 - 10/05/2002 09/22/2002 - 09/28/2002 09/15/2002 - 09/21/2002 09/08/2002 - 09/14/2002 09/01/2002 - 09/07/2002 08/25/2002 - 08/31/2002 08/18/2002 - 08/24/2002 08/11/2002 - 08/17/2002 08/04/2002 - 08/10/2002 07/28/2002 - 08/03/2002 07/21/2002 - 07/27/2002 07/14/2002 - 07/20/2002 07/07/2002 - 07/13/2002 06/30/2002 - 07/06/2002 06/23/2002 - 06/29/2002 06/16/2002 - 06/22/2002 06/09/2002 - 06/15/2002 06/02/2002 - 06/08/2002 05/26/2002 - 06/01/2002 05/19/2002 - 05/25/2002 05/12/2002 - 05/18/2002 05/05/2002 - 05/11/2002 04/28/2002 - 05/04/2002 04/21/2002 - 04/27/2002 04/14/2002 - 04/20/2002 04/07/2002 - 04/13/2002 03/31/2002 - 04/06/2002 03/24/2002 - 03/30/2002 03/17/2002 - 03/23/2002 03/10/2002 - 03/16/2002 03/03/2002 - 03/09/2002 02/24/2002 - 03/02/2002 02/17/2002 - 02/23/2002 current

see our neighbors
Comments by: YACCS