Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Targeted Advertising

Let's talk about Marketing & Advertising and whether it works.

You fast forward through commercials every chance you get, right? Even in Podcasts, I attempt to scrub through ads (editing term), knowing I'll likely miss some of the Podcast if I don't do it precisely. I just don't care what is being advertised.

In the works of Bill Hicks, "...if anyone here is in advertising or marketing....kill yourself."

EVEN if the copy is read "on the air" by the talent, I fast forward through it.

Look, Paul F. Tompkins and Conan O'Brien have better commercials than anyone else! But I am predisposed to NOT listen to it! It's hardwired in my lizard brain. The same lizard brain that Ad Agencies hope to engage with advertising.

And targeted advertising is THE WORST!

My Facebook feed is FILLED with ads for women's underwear. (Speaking of taking advantage of lizard brains)

Yes, I have bought underwear for my wife online. Have I bought so much that I see at least 3 ads a day? My wife would be the first to tell you, NO! (I need to buy her more things).

I mean, all things considered, I don't mind seeing women in underwear. Butt (<-- see what I did there?), I don't think I have EVER clicked on one to purchase said underwear!

This is one of my favorites:

This is a woman, in her underwear, getting a gift of MORE UNDERWEAR! 

I can only assume the person who gave her this gift (Husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, fellow bookclub member) thought, "Hey...you've been siting around in the same pair of underwear for the past 3 months...maybe some new ones?"

Perhaps underwear is just her thing, ya know?

"Hey, there goes underwear lady. How's it going underwear lady? Off to get some new underwear?"

THIS is the type of targeted advertising that drives me crazy though!

Like when I bought a car from D'Ambrosio in Downingtown, PA. The guy who sold me the car emailed me twice a week for about two months to see if I was in the market for a new car...starting THE WEEK AFTER I BOUGHT THE FUCKING CAR!

I should hope not, buddy!

He finally stopped when, two months after buying my car, my key FOB died. I emailed him back on one of his threads and asked if they'd replace it. He informed me I'd need to reach out to the manufacturer and offered no additional help.

I never heard from him again. Want the email thread?

I also am fascinated by targeting advertising that MISSES THE FUCKING TARGET!

I have, in emails, been propositioned by the Republican National Committee, or more to the point, the Trump Campaign, to donate money to a man I have fought again since the first time he ran for office (and lost...why doesn't anyone seem to remember that?)

I just delete those emails, but am baffled how they have ended up with this liberal on their email list.

Perhaps some of those lady underwear ads I previously claimed to have never clicked?

But more so are the targeted ads that miss by a little...

This B-52's GroupOn ad is a prime example!

The offer is now Sold Out, however I received this a few weeks ago. Now I rarely click through to GroupOn offers. But I actually thought this would be a lot of fun...AND it's under $40!!! I'm in!

Just one small problem: this show is in Greensboro, North Carolina!!! What the fuck?!?

If you then go through the tedious leg work (ie click another button) to get to the Philly show, it's almost 50% more expensive! Sure $60 is not a terrible price to pay to see the B-52's, but it's a hell of a lot more than the $37.75 I was led to believe it would cost.

I think my favorite ad right now, is this one:

I have seen this more than once. And every time I do, I try to figure out, WHAT DOES THIS PHOTO HAVE TO DO WITH GETTING A LOAN?!?

I'm assuming this a woman on a ski trip and not some weird Bukkake Wintery Forest Getaway. So is the ad implying I can get a loan to go on a ski trip? It specifically mentions mortgages, so are they recommending I buy a cabin?

The line, "Don't worry, we're experts," is what gets me. Experts at what? Randomly matching non sequitur photos with your ads?

Look, I know that ads aren't going away, and for the most part I don't mind them. It's just that most times, they feel more like a shot in the dark as opposed to a thought out strategy that an algorithm is programmed around. 

And I'm also well aware that simply Googling a word can completely change the algorithm used to advertise to you. Which is why I wish I had had more confidence regarding the spelling of "bukkake" above.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Second Chance (For A Third Time)

I like really weird and nonsensical stuff.
I was obsessed with MTV's The State and Mr. Show in the 90s.

Lately I have been watching "I Think You Should Leave" with Tim Robinson. It's fantastic.

So last night I wanted to watch something short that I wouldn't have to invest a lot of emotional time into.

I stumbled across something from 2018 called "Party Monster: Scratching the Surface."

It looked like a stand alone mock-u-mentary starring Jon Hamm. So I started watching it. It was asinine and immature, and quite frankly exactly what I was looking for.

I laughed a ton and wondered, "How in the hell had I never heard of this before?"

And then, about half way through the 30+ minute short, Kimmy Schmidt showed up.

Allow me a moment to talk about, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, for anyone who doesn't know, was a series originally developed for NBC. It would eventually be sold to Netflix in 2015.

It was created by Tiny Fey (creator of 30 Rock) and Robert Carlock (show runner for 30 Rock), and starred Ellie Kempler. Remember when I said, "I was obsessed with The State and Mr. Show?" Yeah, well add 30 Rock to that list! 30 Rock remains one of my top 5 sitcoms of all time. It was both sketch and narrative at the same time. It was able to jump from reoccurring "bit," to almost drama, to biting social commentary, to poop joke all within 2 or 3 lines of dialogue. It is a much smarter show than it is typically given credit. So it would make sense that I would LOVE anything and everything by the creative forces behind it. But then there's Kimmy Schmidt.

I remember the excitement the day that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt debuted. People were praising it left and right on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In (maybe)...So I couldn't wait to check it out! Then I did...

...I hated it. Not hated, but rather was completely bored. I didn't care about any of the characters. I found the first few moments to be laborious. HOLY SHIT! How am I going to get through this episode, let alone the whole season?!?

The short answer, I wouldn't. I used to do a podcast called "You've Got Geek." On it, we'd talk about movies or TV shows that you can "fold your laundry to." It basically meant, you could watch it without "watching it."
Think Cheers.

James Burrows used to equate Cheers (and Frasier, and Wings, and Friends...) to old radio shows. You didn't need to be invested visually to appreciate the show. And while that may be true, I have always had a hard time watching something and NOT being completely invested. I realize that this contradicts what I said earlier about how I, "wanted to watch something...that I wouldn't have to invest a lot of emotion into." But the fact is, I CAN'T!!! Even the dumbest little thing like a sketch or mock-u-mentary, I am all in.

Otherwise, I'm ALL OUT!
So back to Kimmy.

I turned on the first episode. And I couldn't get into it.

I paused it.
I walked away.
I watched while folding laundry.
I even turned it off for a few hours and went grocery shopping.

I just couldn't invest myself.

Finally, at the end of the day, I made it through the first episode!!!

Over the course of the next few days I allowed the next two episodes to play in the background of my life. I would find myself getting pulled away and didn't even bother to pause it.

"Ah, whatever," was my thinking. "I'll figure out what's going on."

And then. I just stopped.

Two and a half, maybe three episodes in, I was done.

Three more seasons would eventually be released much to the pleasure and joyous accolades of many of my friends.

I was happy for them. But I had no interest in the show.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I did attempt again. Somewhere along the way, I rewatched episode one. After all, I remember having a similar reaction to Orange is the New Black's first episode.

Julie and I watched it. She liked it, but I wasn't into it, so we stopped. That was it....until later, when I gave it another chance and ended up loving it! I devoured it, WITHOUT Julie. I have always felt badly about that, which Julie loves to torture me over.

Perhaps I merely wasn't in the right emotional place when I attempted to watch Kimmy Schmidt...or I just had some important goddamn items on my grocery list! So I went back and rewatched episode one. The results were the same.

Cooler version of me bored and apparently wearing a tie while I watch TV.

That brings us back to last night.

I LOVED Party Monster (not to be confused with Party Monster the book by James St. James which I read and loved! OR Party Monster the movie with Macauley Culkin and Seth Green, BASED on the book by James St. James, which I saw and liked).

How could this be so?

It's the same writers.
The same production staff.
Hell, even many of the same characters!

Is it possible that BOTH times I attempted to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I wasn't in the right mindset?

Would the third time be the charm?

I mean, I really liked this mock-u-mentary, but would a 30 minute short be enough to convince me to watch 51 episodes of a show I was rather bored with on a previous attempt?

The answer, yes.

But this time, I'll watch it with Julie. Just on the off chance we have another Orange is the New Black situation on our hands and I can make that up to her!

Otherwise, she can suffer with me as pay back for constantly reminding me I made her stop watching it in the first place.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Millionaire Halloween

Though 176 days away for most of us, yesterday was the celebration of the annual "Millionaire's Halloween." This year's Met Gala, which is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY, saw an impressive bevy of costumes, but once again failed to have a single participant dressed as a Ghostbuster on the Red Carpet. When will they learn?!?

Up until last year, The Met (the Museum, NOT the Gala) was "pay-what-you-will." Because of this, the concept of the Met Gala event to raise money, seemed almost philanthropic.

Now if you want to visit The Met, it'll cost you $25 for an adult, $17 for a senior, $12 for a student, and FREE if you're under 12. However, if you want to visit the Met Gala, it'll cost you $30,000! Or you can get a table for $275,000. Based on the money, you can mathematically fit 9.16 people per table, which explains why only Jared Leto's head could make it this year.

The theme was allegedly "CAMP." Of course, I didn't see ANYONE dressed in a denim vest, a sun beaten fishing cap, and a tool belt. But I guess "camp" doesn't mean the same to everyone, "know what I mean, Vern?"

So what sui generis costumes did this unique mass don?

Lady Gaga (one of the event's "Hosts") dressed as Silly Puddy. Still a classic!

Gaga also brought extra costumes (a brilliant move to go out and get ADDITIONAL candy).

Here's one of her dresses as Mary Antoinette Poppins. "Let them eat a spoon full of sugar!"

Katy Perry went as Lumiere (again) from Beauty & The Beast. Katy, we get it! Your Mom worked hard on that costume, but seriously, EVERY year?!?

Gal Gadot and Clare Waight Keller dressed as timeless Mad Magazine characters, Spy vs. Spy.

A couple of "almost the same costume" moments with:

Janelle Monae rocking the One-Eyed Jack. Combining the playing card AND the Marlon Brando's character Rio in the film One-Eyed Jacks. Pretty heady stuff!

As well as Gemma Chan going as that thing that Superman uses to talk to his dead father in the Fortress of Solitude.

Both outfits drew heavy inspiration from Marlon Brando.

A near similar set saw Kylie Jenner's Mahna Mahna Music video inspired costume...

... almost get confused with Amber Valletta's "Green Fry Guy" costume.

RuPaul's Tony the Tiger outfit was great, until he lost the head piece.
(Seriously, if anyone found it PLEASE return it! It was rented!!!)

And Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner's couple costume homage to 1980s video games (Q-bert and Tron, respectively) was impressive!

I also appreciated Gwen Stefani's costume as "The Future Mrs. Kevin Regan."

But my favorite costume of the night was hands down Colin Kaepernick as Johnny Lawrence in his Cobra Kai outfit, along with Nessa Diab dressed as the 2nd place trophy Johnny won at the 1984 All-Valley Karate Championship that Sensei John Crease would break in the parking lot afterwards.

A little promotion tie in for Cobra Kai Season 2 now on Youtube Premium.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Blue Jeans (Cover Your Asshole)

I just met a girl named Blue Jean...I didn't. But it popped in my head when I wrote this, so now hopefully it's popped into yours.

I wear blue jeans, almost everyday. I own other pants. Dress pants. Khakis. Cargo pants. Sweat pants. Pajama bottoms. The list goes on...or actually ends just about there. But I rarely wear anything other than blue jeans. Probably because they're easy. Also, they hide dirt well. So you can get away with wearing the same pair for like four days in a row. If I can go four days without having to make a decision, that is a huge win for this indecisive asshole.

Speaking of assholes, in the end (literally) that's all pants are: a covering for your asshole.
Sure they cover your dick, lady parts, or what ever you have, but with few exceptions, we all have assholes. (<--- !!! Seriously, go back and CLICK that link and read about the man who lived 55 years without an anus! SCIENCE!)

You may be thinking, "Hey, I like seeing assholes....on a date...or in a club...or sunbathing in the park..." Okay fine. But I'm talking about in regular places throughout the day, like grocery shopping, or at the mechanic, or in the waiting room of the doctors office...and WHAT park are you hanging out at?!?

Personally, I just like having a reliable pair of pants that are pretty universal for most occasions. As long as they're not covered in mud, jeans are accepted most places you'll go today.

What I HATE, is buying jeans. In fact next to a car and a bed, they are probably the thing I like buying least! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE owning them, but loath the process of actually buying them.

Recently, I blew the knee out of two separate pairs of jeans (same knee...maybe my left knee is extremely sharp or something), forcing me to replace them. I went to Old Navy, as they have had pretty affordable jeans in the past. They were running a sale, but truthfully, it was still more than I wanted to spend. In the end I bought two pairs, but it got me thinking how expensive jeans can be.

I recall a story in which a friend of mine was in a band, and his drummer who would brag about a pair of $600 jeans he had purchased. This is astounding to me. If I spent $600 on jeans, I'd assume it included at least 13 pairs as well as a new dresser in which to hold them! But a single pair? WHY?!?

This dresser is available at Raymour & Flanigan for under $190.00

Obviously, this Old Navy shopper realizes different people want different things, have different styles, and different budgets. But why on earth would anyone spend $600 to cover their asshole?

I Googled "the world's most expensive jeans," and found some real treasures (that I could never afford):

3x1 is a company that start in 2011. Their "made to order" jeans start around $1200. While I admit, made to order is going to come with a slightly higher expense, the idea that they are 30 times more expensive than my most recent jeans purchase is insane. Even if it was "maid to order" in which a maid comes to your house and cleans it from top to bottom while your jeans are being made, I'd still think it's about $800 too expensive.

Note even THEY are wearing denim!

Michael Kors, one of the few names I recognize because of my wife's love of Project Runway, has a pair of Tie-Dye Leather Bell-Bottom Pants that sold for $2000! I swear to God, the three things I hate most in pants listed in no particular order are tie-dye, leather, and bell-bottom. Christ, even Yandy wouldn't have something this gaudy! Michael Kor jeans vary from $1200-$1700. Jesus.

I stand corrected. Yandy! Say it ain't so!

Alexander McQueen jeans go for between $1000 and $2000. I found THIS PAIR of "Steve McQueen" jeans on Ebay for under $30.00.

The man could rock the denim!
Gucci released something called their "Genius Jeans" in 1998. At the time, they were the most expensive jeans in the world with the hefty price tag of $3134!!! They are a distressed pair of jeans (read: washed a shit-ton), that are ripped (read: blown out left knee) adorned with African beads (read: covered with shit from Michael's).

For the record, when Steve McQueen's 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback came off the assembly line, it cost $2712. Meaning you could have McQueen's car, and "his" jeans we previously talked about, and still have almost $400 left over to buy 2 dressers...

Hell yeah!
Finally, this fucking pair of jeans!

Secret Circus' $1.3 millions dollar pair of jeans based on the 15 diamonds encrusted on the back pocket. Look lady, I was already looking at your butt, you didn't need to have the GDP of Thailand on there!

Seriously, you spend this much on jeans we may not see your asshole, but we'll surely see you are an asshole!