Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NIN Try to Fix Flawed Ticketing System

One thing that technology has ruined is the distribution of concert tickets. Unfortunately, by the time I hit the age to go to concerts, the technology was there. I remember, though, a few times when I went to a physical Ticketmaster outlet to buy tickets. Yes, you had to wait in line for long periods of time, but if you're a fan of the music, it's worth it.

At my school, events were sold at tables and you had to wait in line the day of the sale to purchase tickets. Being a dumb freshman and witnessing the massive line that assembled for Red Sox-Yankees tickets, I assumed that something similar would happen when Dave Chappelle was doing a show on campus...well man was I wrong. I was the first person in line around 7 am, waiting for 2 1/2-3 hours for tickets to go on sale...I think like 10 people came in behind me around 9:15. However, I'm proud to say that I was the biggest Dave Chappelle fan on campus.

I wish tickets were still sold like this. Instead, scalpers, ebay-ers, and ticket reselling agencies scoop up the good seats in quantity, hike up the price about 400% to those who can afford it, and leave some of the biggest fans in the back row. I recently bought Radiohead tickets. Knowing that they were going to play a show in Philly, I constantly checked their website for updates on the date and when tickets were going on sale. Out of nowhere, a presale for pit tickets started on a Wednesday morning...unfortunately, I had a meeting at work and by the time I got out, all of the pit tickets were gone. I brushed it off and waited for the public sale that following Saturday, which I woke up atleast an hour and a half in advance for, and constantly hit refresh on the ticketmaster page as it neared 10 am. My first request...lawn seats. What the hell? Fortunately, I lucked out with someone who backed out of their seats, but the seats are still toward the back.

I would gladly camp out for front-row seats to Radiohead. Anyone who is a big enough fan of a certain group would probably do the same, and the people who are grabbing all of the good seats just to make a profit probably would not.

Well, Trent Reznor is seeing this, and has made a small effort toward fixing it. It's nothing new...fans that are registered on the NIN site get first access to the best seats at their shows. I think that there's probably no way to cutting out technology and going back to selling tickets at physical outlets with physical lines of people, so I suppose this is one of the best ways to get the good tickets in the hands of the real fans.

Technology has had a huge impact on music and artists need to realize that sometimes that impact can hinder the true fans from being true fans. There's a movement toward cutting out the middleman between the artist and the fans with music...why not do the same with their concerts?

Free Metallica Music?

When I was growing up and deciding which music genres to become a fan of, my older brothers played a big role. I often listened to the music that they purchased and much of it molded my taste for music. One band particular: Metallica.

I loved Metallica's older music and purchased and listened to all of their older albums. The best albums were the ones with the original group, before tragedy struck bassist Cliff Burton: Kill 'Em All, Ride The Lightning, and Master of Puppets. "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" has an incredible bass solo which I attempted to nail as I began playing bass guitar. When bassist Jason Newsted took over, they still put out some good albums. ...And Justice for All has some killer guitar solos and of course one of their best known albums: The Black Album. [You know an album is good if fans refer to it as the (insert color) album (Weezer's blue album is another).] Then they cut their hair.

Load wasn't bad...Reload was "ehh." I liked their innovation with S&M, when they played with an entire orchestra. But that was about the time that things went faster downhill. Y2K may have been fine for technology but it hit Metallica the wrong way I guess. They battled Napster. Jason Newsted quit. A few years went by and they put out a crappy album with a bass player who I can't even name. That was 5 years ago.

Out of left field, I saw a headline that "Metallica may join the free music movement," which has been innovated by Radiohead and Trent Reznor. Wait, what? Let's go back to "They battled Napster." Lars Ulrich was the #1 enemy of the music fan with internet access. He went to the headquarters of Napster with a list of users that were sharing Metallica's music, demanding that all of them get blocked. I know that I'll never forget that...I doubt anyone else that was downloading music at that time will either.

I suppose it's a good thing that Lars (because I doubt Kirk Hammett, guitar god, was that opposed to pirating music...he's a mellow dude) came to the realization that you can not stop the "illegal" downloading. This free music movement should not only be about the price though. It's about principle and your opinion of a group. Radiohead is probably my favorite group and the only album of theirs that I paid any money for was the one that they offered for free. I'm holding a grudge with Lars though...I'm not taking their freebies and I hope other people who were against what he did with Napster do the same.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Volleyball Season is Over

It was a challenging volleyball season to say the least. Our final record: 2 and about 40.

I remember the first week, thinking about how we would improve over the course of the season. I'm not sure if our team exactly achieved that "most improved" award, however, I think it speaks to our character that we stuck it out until the end.

Cliff came to the realization that we would probably do a lot better in dodgeball. Case in point: in one of our final matches last night, Caroline literally pulled a move worthy of The Matrix and fell on her ass when the ball was coming toward her. Unfortunately, Leanne could not have the same reaction when a 100 mph spike was slammed toward her face (but she shook it off and kept playing of course...that's team dedication).

Needless to say, we will not be appearing in the playoffs next week.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mario Kart Wii Tries Guerilla Marketing

If I lived anywhere near NYC, I would have definitely tried to get a view of this one...

Mario Kart Wii is a highly-anticipated game that comes out this Sunday, 4/27. Apparently, one promotion that went on today in NYC involved Mario and cabs. In fact, in midtown Manhattan, in the morning and around lunchtime, Mario was hailing cabs for commuters.

I would rather see Mario driving the cabs, but I suppose that's probably difficult for whoever is wearing the large Mario head. Plus most people in their right mind would not enter a cab driven by Mario (I, on the other hand, would absolutely love to).

I love guerilla marketing efforts like this because they really allow for creativity. They're less common, often a break from reality, and you can't really avoid someone dressed like Mario hailing cabs in Manhattan. Of course, they don't always go well...

In January 2007, to hype up the release of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie, aptly named, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters," large LED blocks that animated a "mooninite," a popular character from the TV series (if you have no idea what I'm talking about right now, I wouldn't worry about it), were put up all over Boston. Apparently, the people of Boston did not react very well to it, because eventually the Boston bomb squad declared all of these LED blocks as "improvised explosive devices." Yikes.

Weed Beer

Ok, if you just read the title of this blog post, you would probably think it was about a beer brewed with weed. Well no, it's not, but there is a "Weed Beer" and it stirred up some controversy recently. Why the name? The town in which it is brewed, in Northern California, is called Weed. (Apparently tourists love the school buses in the town that say "Weed High" on the side but that's irrelevant).

The problem obviously is not that the name of their town is Weed. Federal alcohol regulators made a stink about the bottle caps, that owner Vaune Dillman (Dillman from Weed? too easy) already spent 10k on, which state: "Try LEGAL Weed." The agency said the wording, "could mislead consumers about the characteristics of the alcoholic beverage." The beer says "WEED" on the label! I'm pretty sure anyone who is not familiar with the town of Weed, California (which is probably a LOT of people) would see "Weed Ale" or "Weed Lager" on the shelves and get the wrong idea based on that...I think using the word "legal" is actually a small, but decent way to dispel those wrong ideas (even though it's purpose is probably mostly for humor). I'm sure the packaging also explains how the name comes from the town where it is brewed also.

Dillman makes a good point, questioning this so-called ban on drug references on alcoholic beverages. What about Hemp Ale? And why haven't they made any strides toward Rogue's Dead Guy Ale? Stone Coast Brewing in Maine has some borderline references...their 420 IPA is named for the brewing process, but who are they kidding? Besides, this controversy is happening in a California town...don't they give away prescriptions to medicinal marijuana like lollipops in that state?

I'm pulling for the Mt. Shasta Brewing company to win this battle.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Blog Cuss-O-Meter

So, it looks like my blog is pretty much G-rated:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

I'm guessing most people who have used this tool are on the other end of the spectrum. Apparently my rating was 90% less than other websites who took the test. Out of curiousity, I tested some major websites, most of which were under 1%. If George Carlin had a blog, he'd be able to cuss all he wanted; he's a comedian and people expect it from the persona that he has established. But there are people that don't like George Carlin because of his foul humor. If you're looking to attract pretty much anyone to your website, foul language should obviously not be used. Even if you slip on one page, that could lose a customer/reader/person forever.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Guerilla Marketing

I don't think I've ever been impressed by a pharmaceutical advertisement, but I thought this one was pretty cool:

Adrants found this one all over the streets of Boston on telephone poles. I thought it was cool that they went with a simple, scribbled-with-a-sharpie look that won't necessarily grab everyone's attention, but probably have an impact on those who do because of its originality and cleverness.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cricket Hill Brewery

I found this video to be pretty funny. The owner of a Fairfield, NJ brewery called Cricket Hill made a speech before a tasting at the brewery. The guy is like the Lewis Black of beer brewing - he gets so heated! To sum it up, the guy does NOT like Coors Light...personally, I think he's a little bitter that Coors Light outsells Cricket Hill in the state of NJ, but that's neither here nor there. I know Coors Light is a mass-produced crappy beer, but I gotta admit that it's pretty damn refreshing on a warm day...when I'm slumming down to a cheap beer, I'm Coors Light all the way. In fact, I have a large neon Coors Light sign lit up on my bedroom wall as I type this.

But at the same time, I get what he's saying...all of the large-budget breweries don't really make great beer (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc.). But they have the money to advertise the crap out of the beer and therefore become "the standard." Price aside, if I had to choose between Coors Light and a microbrew, I'd choose microbrew without hesitation.

Here's the video:

I just bought tickets yesterday to the Garden State Craft Brewer's festival on the Battleship New Jersey in Camden being held at the end of June. I attended last year, and know for a fact that Cricket Hill was there. I'm wondering if this guy Rick Reed will be there this year...if so, I'm tempted to wear a Coors Light shirt and ask him to sign it.

P.S. I have a beer in the fridge that I'm having tonight called Belzebuth with a cartoonish picture of the devil on it. It's 13% abv so I guess the picture is warranted. No Coors Light tonight folks.

WSJ has taken away some free news!

If not every day, every other day I work the Wall Street Journal Media & Marketing section into my online news rotation...

Well apparently not anymore...unless I want to subscribe! A bulk of the online edition of WSJ is subscription-only, but the Media & Marketing section was one part that had free access. All of a sudden (a minute ago when I checked), they change that? What's the deal?

I'm sure subscription fees are minimal, but I'm not even going to look into it because it's the principle of it. Making something free, that you normally have to pay for, is an easy transition to communicate to the consumer. The reverse is a different story though. Don't make something initially free if you're going to take it away later on. Atleast post some reasoning for the transition.

I'm fighting for my right to free news...I'm e-mailing them. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mario Theme via RC car and Wine bottles

I watched this video and I thought...

The people who took the time to create this video are absolutely geeks, but they sure as hell are creative...

P.S. I'm a geek too...I just got Mario/Sonic Olympics for Wii in the mail today. I'm just lazier and less creative than these guys...

What happened to the School Bus system?

Ok, I'm going to have a Seinfeld-esque post...what's the deal with school buses nowadays? Are they school buses or personal chauffeurs?

Honestly though...I just drove home from work and on a single road, within probably about 1/8th of a mile, a bus stopped 3 times to let kids off. And these must have been 5th grade+ students. I understand the safety aspect of it is important, but c'mon now. If it were December and it was snowing hard, I wouldn't be ranting, but it's like 70 degrees out! It's beautiful!

I remember when I took the school bus...it was against the rules to be personally dropped off. The bus driver had to abide by mapped out stops. What happened to that?

What they need to do is pick a middle ground, make sure the kids who live on the other side of the street cross the street, and drive off. It won't kill the kids to get a little exercise...obesity is a problem in this country and these bus drivers ain't helpin'.

Can I get an Amen?

P.S. This is my 100th post...booyakasha.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Man vs. Beast

Does anyone remember that short-lived TV show called "Man vs. Beast"? Wow...what a great piece of American programming. I don't know why I got a flashback to this TV show, but I guess that's a sign that my brain officially does not work for anyone's benefit.

If you never saw the show, it's pretty self-explanatory...men compete against beasts. It makes sense that having looked it up on Wikipedia, apparently comedian Bob Levy directed all of the protest-inducing episodes. You know when you see images or scenes of the downfall of our country's IQ level, when it shows something so ridiculously dumb that it's funny? [see movie Idiocracy] Well...this show is a great example of that. I'm pretty sure that when God set out to create creatures of the earth to roam the land with man, (s)he didn't have televised competitions between the two in mind. But of course I loved the idea and watched every episode.

Some of the events included:
  • A Navy Seal vs. A chimp on an obstacle course (Navy Seal won)

  • A sprinter vs. a giraffe / A sprinter vs. a zebra (beat the giraffe, lost to the zebra)

  • A sumo wrestler vs. an orangutan in tug-of-war (orangutan won)

I'm pretty sure the one that killed the show was the large group of dwarves against an elephant in who could pull a jet to the finish line (guess who won that one?). And of course I can't forget my favorite competition of the show...

Notice: that host totally cursed Kobayashi at the end. "No human being...can beat you." Yea...except Joey Chestnut.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ronaldinho is the Man

Ok, for those of you who have been surfing the net lately, forget about that dumb fake video with Kobe Bryant jumping over a moving Aston Martin. Kobes a joke.

Instead, turn your attention to a better fake viral sports video. If you have never heard of Ronaldinho, chances are you're American. He's a Brazilian-born legend of soccer (football), and some of the moves he makes are unbelievable. This video is better at being debatably real, mostly because Ronaldinho is so awesome that he could probably give a good shot at actually doing this...

There was also a Lebron James video that was even a TV commercial, showing him sinking 3's from fullcourt. That one was entertaining. And again...Lebron James is sick so people were wondering whether it was real. People that are debating whether the Kobe Bryant video is real should stop huffing household chemicals...honestly...jumping over a car that is moving straight toward you for fun, when you're getting paid a boatload for your physical abilities? Get real.

Either way though...these kinds of videos are viral marketing at its best.

The Big Lebrewski

I picked up a copy of the latest Ale Street News last weekend at Southport Brewing Company, and I just had to give props to the organizers of a huge beerfest held in Cooperstown, NY. Brewery Ommegang, a Belgian-style brewery in NY is a very popular place and they apparently organize some legit events, one of which is "Belgium Comes to Cooperstown." Anyway, I loved the advertisement I saw about it because it used an epic movie as its inspiration:

It doesn't look like I'll be going to this beerfest, considering it is already sold out, but I can confidently say that any advertisement that includes beer and Walter from The Big Lebowski will at the very least grab my attention.

P.S. As I write this with Jeopardy in the background, I'm happy to see that the home-brewer who wore a beer tie won tonight!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Morning Routines

Ever since I exited the college life, consisting of sleeping as much as possible, eating unusual things in unusual times, managing time in varying ways day to day, and abusing my body constantly with alcohol and late night munchies, I've been all about gradual change...

Gradual change, meaning making use of the 24 hours in a day, eating healthy, and implementing certain things in my daily schedule that will benefit me. I admit...it's hard to go a whole day without devoting atleast an hour to goofing off, but I'm working on it.

I just came across Dumb Little Man's site, tips for life. Most recently: "7 Simple Ways to Burst Out of Bed." The morning is definitely not the productive time of my day...it's usually a rush to shower and get to work [although somehow, I almost always manage to check Woot, Tanga, Amazon Daily Deal, and Buy.com Daily Deal before heading out the door...even though I usually don't buy anything]. So I'm all about working some tips into my morning to be more productive, a few of which I'll share with those who are interested...

Eating. Almost every morning, I down a multivitamin with an Instant Breakfast shake, immediately before walking out the door. Better than nothing, but Dumb Little Man advises that our bodies work best if we eat a lot in the morning and light in the evening. Makes sense...energy throughout the day.

Water. A bit before you go to bed, and some right when you wake up. Refreshes your body and let's just say it helps the digestive system.

Exercise. I've struggled with making morning exercise a routine but understand its importance. It's great to get the blood flowing right in the morning, and once made a routine, your body adjusts to energizing in the morning and therefore helping you get out of bed immediately.

Finally, the "me" time factor. This helps in motivation to wake up. I'm a child of the online newspaper so sitting down and reading the paper just doesn't really do it for me. I will, however, try to plan a couple chapters/articles of reading every morning to help me to get up. And hey, I might even try to get a blog post done in the morning every once in a while...

Thanks to Dumb Little Man for the tips!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Isn't today a Federal Holiday?

Why are we at work right now? Do people not realize that today is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition of beer?

Yes, on April 7th, 1933, eight months before the ratification of good ol' veinte y uno, the 21st amendment, that repealed the 18th amendment which had called for national prohibition, breweries got a jumpstart and started brewing away.

God bless America.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lil Jon is Making Wine

This is probably one of the best headlines that I've seen in a while..."Rapper Lil Jon starts his own wine label." Awesome. The best part is what it will be called..."Little Jonathan Winery." When questioned on his knowledge of wine, he said, "I'm not no 'drink wine every day' kind of dude...I'm not like an expert, so don't ask me no questions...I just like the taste."

This is like something from Chappelle's show...I had to recheck the date of the article to make sure it wasn't an April Fool's joke. I wonder what the names of the wine will be...pinot crunk?

I'm not gonna lie...if I see this stuff on the shelves, I'm definitely picking some up. YEAAAA!!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Top Chef

Well, this season of Top Chef is underway...the drama is beginning and the lesser talented chefs of the group have been weeded out. I absolutely love this show. It has the drama of a reality show where a bunch of chefs are living together and competing against each other, but the competition is really what makes the show great. They pick a group of very talented chefs and give them all of these really unique and challenging tasks, and it's very interesting to see how they respond.

Tonight's elimination challenge, for example, was a great idea. In a random picking of teams of 2, the competitors had to choose one of their favorite movies and base a dish on it, because one of the guests for the show was Richard Roeper (film critic). Considering I've seen quite a lot of movies, when I tried to choose some of my favorites and base a dish on them, I found it to be a lot harder than you'd think. Braveheart...ummm haggis? Dazed & Confused...ummm weed brownies? I decided that if I were on the show, I'd base my dish on Deep Blue Sea, and serve an enormous plate of shark.

I'm a little bummed that Manuel got kicked off tonight's show. I was pumped about him competing because he is a former chef from Mario Batali's Babo, and I just read a book based around that restaurant, Heat. I think it was great that he was eager to learn in the elimination challenge and trusted his teammates' expertise in Vietnamese food. He just kinda got screwed because Spike, it turns out, didn't really have what you would call "expertise" in Vietnamese food. However, Manuel didn't really stand out on the first few episodes, and I think he proved to be more of a team player, rather than a standout solo chef.

By the way, if you have not seen Deep Blue Sea, I added one of the best clips from the movie here. Here's one instance in Samuel L. Jackson's film career in which his yelling does not persevere...

Radiohead - Nude Remix

Well, Radiohead is at it again. I just got an e-mail about their new single, a remix of "Nude" from their recently released In Rainbows. In celebration of their release of this single, which they note, "we still have those in England" (singles), they have taken apart the original release of the track into "stems" for you to purchase.

Something that I've never done but would definitely like to get into is using music remix software to produce various mixes on songs, etc. Radiohead has made the stems available of this track (bass, drums, voice, guitar, and strings/FX), and is encouraging fans to purchase any or all of the stems and produce their own remix of the track. They have made a site for users to upload their remixes, which can be judged and voted on.

This is nothing new - people have remixed songs on their own for a long time. This is the first time that I have seen a band offer a track's stems and encourage fans to do it though...really cool. Radiohead is nailing all of the opportunities that the web gives bands. I hope they keep it up.

As for their online video contest, which I brought up a couple weeks ago as good usage in "the 5th P of Marketing," I've checked out a few of the videos that have been submitted which are pretty good...check them out here.


Richard Branson is truly...the man. Excuse me...Sir Richard Branson. The guy is one of the most successful businessmen in the world...but he definitely mixes work with pleasure. Yesterday, he pulled a prank at the CTIA wireless show...and man, those guys are gullable.

He announced to the huge crowd of mobile insiders that along with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, they would be flying a solar-powered "Noah's Ark" to Mars. Their name, a combination of Virgin and Google of course, would be Virgle. Why a "Noah's Ark"? Because he said that they would be taking animals with them. Ultimately, their plan would be to put life on Mars and build a city there. At no point did anyone start laughing...in fact, they started applauding. Branson continued by saying that the first people who would go may not come back, but the hope is that it will be beautiful by the time they finish building the city.

At the end, he asked for volunteers, at which point atleast 30 people came on stage...probably mostly to get a picture with Branson. Google did their end of the prank by creating a page about the project.

I admit...Richard Branson is crazy enough that people would believe him about something like this. Awesome April Fools prank though.

Speaking of April Fools pranks, I'd like to thank Dave for his successful decoration of magnets all over my car yesterday...not here at work in the parking lot, but in the parking lot of the apartments where I reside. My paranoid level has been elevated to orange.

Also, speaking of Virgin (uh oh, where's he going with this?)...the company Virgin...they announced the headliners of their festival in Baltimore this summer - Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, and Stone Temple Pilots. Pretty sweet basis for the festival I think. My brothers and I went to this 2-day festival last summer and had an awesome time. In fact, we saw Richard Branson walking through the crowd. Another reason I love the guy - I also saw him on the sidestage during Wu-Tang Clan.

Richard Branson ain't nothin' to f*** with!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Final Post

Well guys...unfortunately I've come to the decision to end this blog. I know, I know...dry your eyes, get a tissue. Why am I doing this you may ask?

Well, I've been thinking about time as a major resource of mine lately. You may have noticed that I haven't posted as much in the last couple weeks. Well, let's put this into perspective...if I continue to average a few posts a week and spend, say about 30 minutes on each post, that's about an an hour and a half a week spent on this blog. That's atleast 78 hours a year, strictly spent on this blog.

3 1/4 days a year blogging...about 0.009% of the year, I'm blogging. That's almost 0.01%!!

And for what? I could be devoting that time to something more productive.

So, I'm going to take back that time and use it wisely. It's been fun...and it's been an experience. Thank you to everyone who read this blog, especially those who consistently read it and commented on it occasionally.

I realize that this blog is not legendary or anything, and only has a handful of readers, but I've been thinking about the last words to post on here. You gotta end with something powerful, you know? This is what I came up with...