Archive for the ‘Media Hype’ Category

The Recession Needs Balls

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

moreballs2.gif
I’ve been hearing a lot of people tell me they won’t do anything gutsy: Friends advising me against certain actions cause someone might react poorly (as if anyone’s paying attention); colleagues warning they think everything should be on pause while the economy recapitulates; partners saying no to events because they think it could hurt their “personal brand” (whatever that latest cliché means); and clients who feel their dulled-out partners might “get mad” over an overly-aggressive PR campaign (their partners couldn’t get press on their own though). Then I’ve overheard many suffering financially tell me they are waiting out this period to see what happens in a kind of take it day by day attitude that emits this kind of what will be will be or it is what it is or what can I do but wait and see. What I call “blah blah blah.”

Guess what? The chips have now fallen once again. Recession is here to stay, and regardless of what Government officials say, this is not a double dip. This is the third one… So get off the floor.

Laziness equals self-importance during a crap economy. If you think somehow things will magically change overnight–look Ma, Dow moved a notch–then you live in a fantasy land and the faster you wake up and stop paying attention to the creeps on TLC and E! Entertainment and DO SOMETHING the better it is for and your bank statement.

Having balls are at issue. The only way to get anything done worth doing is to take risks. No chance taken is wasting precious energy since same old same old sucks; you aren’t doing much to upgrade your position in life. Dare I say: it will help your personal brand?

There is no better time to stand up and say, “Let’s try that ridiculous idea in the office” (and in your personal life too, just imagine) than this goddamn second. It is that simple. If you look at our nation’s checkered history, all the fine successes that came up during down-down periods were when companies, the government or individuals said screw it let’s do it and went head-first to partake of the nuttiest, “over-the-toppest,” and most outrageous thing they could think of in their wildest, and least expensive, dreams.

Why? First, no one is paying attention to you anyway. Everyone is so darn turned inward right now that to get any attention you have to be shouting from a multitude of rooftops (see The Rules below).

Your clients/friends/lovers/associates/bosses/enemies could care less if you’re loud or noisy do because they’re ultimately worried about their own skin. They’ll appreciate you had the chutzpah to make a thing happen when they cannot. (Well, they won’t admit that to you but you’ll sense it.)

As for trouble gathering, it’s like the old saying that I will now make NEW: If it makes you feel good…do it!

There is a big group of workers doing a great noiseless job covering their asses–they worry about keeping their jobs more than doing their jobs. You know the ones: they act like wallpaper and hope to G-d no one notices they’re still there because they just do what they are told. Never make waves, always seem to be on the side of zero activity. Those people are useless. Yeah I know you aren’t one.

Alas, making money in this gargantuan recession is tough; there is not a ton of money for companies to spend. Ah but…when the dust settles ones who excelled with their heart will be remembered; the CYAers whose heads were down will be despised. With that, I offer some assistance.

The 5 Rules For Ballsiness In These Bad Times

1. Be consistent, be yourself
You know, I never thought I’d say this, but you got to hand it to Ex-VP Cheney. He never veers from who he is–even when it’s dastardly! The other day he was asked about the torturing he oversaw and said he wouldn’t take back the decision even if rendered unlawful. That’s an attitude many of us can learn from: not the position he’s taken, but the feeling that what he believes in is not swayable and you can’t make him take it back. In these times that kind of resoluteness is respected.

2. Rule the roost somehow
Find something that you can do at work that no one else can do and MAKE SURE it’s obvious that you are doing it–and well, and a lot of it, and with glee. Oh, and it helps if this is not part of your job! This is not kissing butt; it’s just finding a new way to be useful above and over the norm. Then, when you want to do something outrageous like I’m about to describe, more people will think “Yeah him.”

3. Find the loudest perch–and be a contrarian from atop the thing
Come up with a statement that is contrary to the popular view (like “I hate candy!”) and then get known for it. I’m serious.

4. Think up something fantastic
When you’re falling asleep at night and something weird but doable occurs to you, jump up and type it out on your PDA. Once you determine what you were trying to say, it will be a better idea in the morning. Then that germ of an idea has to be something you talk about with lots of folks. Shift your energy–daydreams and small talk - and get collaborative in a real sense. Don’t be competitive; be outright damning to anyone who thinks it is a bad idea. Remember that if everyone likes it there’s something wrong with the idea–someone has to hate it (it’s the law). And don’t let it get murdered by Committee Think, Inc.

5. Be Known as a Bitta Trouble Maker (Key Word “Bitta”)
Darn! Show off a little. They’re going to talk about you anyway. So in order to wreak havoc, make waves. It’s good to be remembered, particularly since the layoffs are not over, no matter what the economists (wrong) say. Trouble is healthy and yet more common in headier times. These days with so many scaredy cats working at their desks, someone with some verve/gusto will stand out as someone to KNOW. Everyone may be mad at K West, but his tour went on sale Friday and it’s nearly sold out. Trouble? T for paycheck.

And don’t forget: this thinking can help in pursuit of late night activities too.

Bottom line is there is no bottom line. There is no energy or gumption or newness in almost every industry. But you - you! - have one superb idea that is rambunctious and in line with how people are feeling–you can feel its ingeniousnes. I bet you could get others to participate in it, since, uh, they don’t have much going on besides award shows, tweeting, and fantasy football!

You got to be the guy who stands up in middle of a dull meeting and says what are we doing here? As good ole Sally Hogshead, author of “Fascinate”, says: “Never allow the size of your mortgage to exceed the quality of your work!”

Remember you have to secure buy in from everyone you work with. Way to get something going is to sell it, baby. Believe in the idea to such a degree that those whose normal M.O. is to naysay lunch orders might even go “You know! That dude knows what he is talking about.”

Be passionate, have your talking points at the ready, and explain what the agreeable colleague will get for going along. Show them what positivity/money/affirmation will occur should the idea become reality. Make it seem like they co-crafted it by writing down input. Like a Broadway producer once told me: “Never tell prospective investors the production is finished.”

If the ones who pay you paltry cash tell you “no you didn’t” cause you a) took a stand; b) went a little overboard with messaging or c) began to tell it like it is (”Our industry is so slow it’s killing us; it’s time to rush things,”) then you got to find better payers. Maybe you should simply say what I do when someone says to me, Well yes Richard but we should discuss this internally before it goes further….

“Okay I get it. It’s all good. Would you have the person that replaces you call me?”

Tweet @laermer

Ashton Kutcher’s Lateral Move to Nowhere

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

I just watched half of Ashton Kutcher’s romp-com No Strings Attached. By accident. I laughed at a bit player’s line: “The sounds of your sex are ruining my porn!”

Then I got bored and started staring at my thumbs.

Mr. D. Moore has done the same character in about 12 and a half movies, including the glopped-together Valentine’s Day, where he was, once again, the clueless cluck with a heart of gold. Inevitably, I’m confronted with his movies while on airplanes, and each time I shake my head in wonderment, “WHY is he hired?!” …”Why is HE the lead actor?” … “Can’t they find someone else with more than one expression?!” It’s not as though any of these starring roles — The Guardian, Guess Who, Butterfly Effect, Killers, Just Married, the list is endless — has made any money.

Dude, where’s my actor? Ashton Kutcher is not he. This guy is a puppet (also known as a marionette, which is commonly referred to as a dummy)!

kutcher-dumb.png

Which brings me to the news: Hiring his abs, err, this piece of plastic to replace America’s favorite Sheen-wreck in Two And a Half Men makes perfect sense — for Kutcher.

While he may be able to give excellent ghost-written speeches at TED and such events; boast about his one million Twitter follower milestone; handle a pretty good starry marriage to a lady who seems like an actress; talk a good game about causes he believes in, and somehow be credited with the forward to a book on social media … he is not a movie actor as much as a well-honed product placement.

Michael Kelso, the character he handily got us loving in That ’70s Showis Ashton Kutcher. He’s the clumsy, daft guy a lot of women find attractive. It’s what got him started, but sadly, he’s never learned to shake that persona and emerge as a respectable actor.

How about creator Chuck Lorre does something different … actually makes an “actor” of him? Shake it up! Bring him back on 2 ½ as the long lost gay cousin … or, shave his head, give him nerd glasses and make him gain 100 lbs. or wear a fat suit. Will the ladies still drool? Who cares. Pay for the guy’s scene classes and wash that perpetually goofy grin away. Otherwise we might just start missing Tiger Blood–at least ratings wise.

Kutcher possesses none of the traits thrown at him. He’s not this big social media guru; he tweets. As for his huge Twitter following, you do know that once you follow him you are unable to unfollow him, eh? Sneaky bastid. AK plays a public part that changes constantly and he does it quite well. Every choreographed move in this man’s life is strategically pieced together by his posse.

I’m glad — for Lorre’s sake, and for the goober mainstream media’s — that a bright-eyed, good-looking malleable Hollywood star has taken that asshole’s place in a show a lot of people like. I hope everyone at CBS is aware, though, that his ratings popularity is, just like Whoopi Goldberg’s, not guaranteed. Pre-The View a multitude of Whoopi’s movies, books, comedy shows and theater gigs fell with loud crashes; she always does well on TMZ“though. [Her unread autobiography was, not ironically, titled Book!]

The big Ash could pull off his new TV gig if he tunes in and recognizes the need for an eight-year-old show to evolve into something brand new AND different. This is a gig in which he desperately must succeed. We all know he is that guy who while not a trained actor (see above) can perform for his supper. As Daniel Tosh might say, “I thank him.” Because dumb is as dumb does.

But, do we have to be just as idiotic to watch?

____
A portion of the above was originally created for HuffingtonPost but got killed by its AOL-purchased editors; do you think they’re in bed with Ashton Kutcher? I am not upset about it.

Find me on Twitter posing as @laermer. I’ll let you unfollow.

My List (Is a Very Very Very Fine List)

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

optimism.jpgIs this the worst economic hardship we’ve suffered through? It’s bad, that’s for sure. And yet… Let’s Imagine a Worse Year! Sorry 2009 was ugly but it could get yuckier if we’re not careful. I’ve hereby devised scenarios to make this bright Christmas seem like the best yet! See,in the next 12 months who knows: you could find everything you ever believed in suckered-punched sideways.

Everything has truly hit rock bottom if:

…The World Famous Magnolia Bakery converts to The New York Breadline.

…Black Friday is a holiday when no one buys anything.

…Tiger Woods opens a self-defense school

…You’re forced to get that new Shareable PDA, smarmily branded as 2010’s PartyPhone!

…Stouffers sells frozen dinner called LeftOvers.

…Jeff Zucker transfers to Golden Light Bulbs at GE.

…An internship replaces a regular job…..for CEOs.

…An email comes offering “Provides New Stamina,” and it refers to your mind.

…Airplane seats are auctioned off at SalvationArmy.com. I mean the chairs–not chances to fly.

…Someone famous dies and instead of going “Wow I can’t believe this,” and spending time emailing/statusing our friends, we just go on with the day.

…The only no-reunion-ever band Talking Heads reforms with David Byrne for a cover album of Sinatra cover ballads; guest hosts Regis, then does a daily drive-time show on talk radio. Finally, Byrne embarks on the Whenever-I-Call-You-Friend tour with Stevie Nicks.

…A town known as Off The Grid pops up; it’s geographical equivalent of the train’s Quiet Car. That is: nothing can be done between people but talking–and sex.

…Jake and Reese officially split up — and admit that the whole thing was a sham and that Taylor and Taylor are following in their footsteps LA publicists commence hunger strikes!

… The NY Post and NY Daily News merge–and reemerge as Entertainment Weekly. Ultimate mashup!

…NBC dumps the whole of prime time for That Leno Show (third hour hosted by Kathie Lee)

…But no one notices.

…SiriusXM Satellite Radio changes into White Noise Inc.

…A much loved, decades-old magazine ceases publication –and no one tweets about it.

…Google can’t close a deal! Google files for, well, no one knows.

…Taxes are lowered across the board. Schools are shut, parks close down, highway medians remain half-built. Oh, yeah right, that’s California now.

…Without a new gimmick on deck, Glenn Beck and Beck duet on a CD. (And, in times of direst straits, Martha Stewart and Jon Stewart are combined for a gig on LifeSucks channel.)

…Having a meal at your parents’ is not obligatory any longer since you need the sustenance.

…We rent our homes by the hour to couples. Thousands of highway motels go under.

…Sappy Web videos do not cheer you up (sorry, ukulele-playing kitten!).

…It is unlawful to dub yourself “talent” or “talented” unless it’s true.

…Trump & O’Donnell are the new Sonny & Cher. (Cher sues. Cher pouts. Cher marries Donald, Jr.)

…Popular Wine Clubs replaced by even more populated Whiners Anonymous.

…Legal betting on which celebrity will be forced into exile is the newest national pastime. Results from this are mandatory. No ifs or buts.

…Wal-Mart has a hissy-fit when a chain called Smears opens. [You know, the new Sears and Macy’s combo.]

…IHOP runs out of batter! Japanese restaurants run low on rice! Hooters runs out of… you know!

… Newly-freed Katie Holmes is slated to star in Mission: Impossible 4 - A Woman Scorned!

… Janet Jackson starts seeing Bubbles on the down low..

… Palin joins Real Housewives. Does anyone notice?

…NotAGuru.com becomes a hot 12-Step Program.

…Microsoft and Apple join hands: iPod and Zune become IZod, a strangely compelling the line of musical clothing.

…High school and college reunions are the only networking events left.

…The words “on sale” are automatically cut-and-pasted by “please buy this.”

…Kirstie Alley loses a whole bunch of weight through hunger. Food markets in Beverly Hills close.

… Government certifies the donut crumb as a vegetable for schoolkids.

…Congress passes The 2010 Say Something Act, whereby useless phrases are taken to the woodshed: “Sounds Good,” “Booyah!” and “No Problem” are first. And “Game Changer” added at last minute.

…At the same time, lawmakers tell drugstores to sell, you guessed right, pharmaceuticals and that’s it.

…Home-free families create habitats in zoos.

…Ryan Seacrest, sensing attention-to-him deficit just as E! folds and American Idol finds a knowledgeable music biz host, finally admits he’s–happy.

… Nigerian scammers pay us.

…Some idiot who writes lists as blog posts is roundly ignored.

…Paul Simon calls Garfunkel to see how he’s doing.

NY Times promises it will never ever publish another of those 2000 stories on how social media is the saving grace for brands. No one….yep.

…Joe Biden makes some sense.

…All remaining newspapers -4!–are purchased by fifth graders. They recognize their reading level.

….Kissing is named new Olympic sport. (Say it together now-: Awww.)

…Aability to marry yourself passes in 47 states and Guam to portray the true meaning of equality.

…Zac Efron, lost without screaming teens to support his entourage, is forced to make High School Dropout

…You read this long, unadulterated list and go “Wait. Shit - really. That could happen.”

——–Twitter @laermer and @howtofame

Lenny Bernstein Will Smile Now

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Leonard Bernstein, the emblem of 1960s New York and icon of the time when classical music still mattered, would have been 91 this week.

Bernstein came onto the scene when art music was cool. Here was a 25-year-old with a wild haircut on stage with the New York Philharmonic. The kid was a rock star when Mahler was still considered rock!

To get an idea of the world during Bernstein’s prime: For nine years, from 1962-1971, CBS broadcast more than four dozen of Bernstein’s Young Person’s Concerts LIVE from New York and these shows were syndicated to more than 40 countries. Think about that. A major TV conglomerate (”suits”) broadcasting hours of classical music to every set in America for almost a decade, and advertisers paid for it. Today we get 12 episodes of Harper’s Island from CBS if the ratings hold water.

Unfortunately, Lenny probably wouldn’t much recognize or appreciate what the audience of the Philharmonic and its counterparts is now: It’s old. I mean really old. If you go to a concert these days, expect to wait between movements for the old people to stop coughing. I’m serious! Lorin Maazel even steps off the podium occasionally.

So what happened here? Why didn’t the next generation follow their parents into the orchestra halls of America? It is said our nation’s constantly-shrinking attention span got the best of art music. As Robert Putnam’s sick-with-research Bowling Alone notes: urban sprawl and the logarithmic growth of the availability of everything have made in-person social events that last more than 15 minutes pretty much outr

Earth to Lou Dobbs: Hawaii is a “United State”

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

No matter what you think,today is not a wasteland of slow news. The Government is having its most thorough health care discussion ever witnessed, the climate is doing all sorts of strange things (summer has yet to arrive here in the city of New York), and Michael Vick is once again a free man. And playing.

Still, the lazy media finds ways to report on possibly the most asinine

Look at you, TV, all Grown Up

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Five years ago, it was a shock that the television phenomenon The Sopranos won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama. It was the first time since 1977 that a program that did not air on one of the “Big Three or Four” took the prize. (Trivia buffs: The 1977 award went to PBS import Upstairs, Downstairs.) It was the first time ever that a cable channel took the prize. Hell, it was one of the first times one was even nominated.

That year the nods went to HBO’s The Sopranos, 24 (FOX), CSI (CBS), Joan of Arcadia (CBS; does anyone remember?), and NBC

Much Ado about So Little It Hurts

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are the ultimate made-for-TV event. The

#twitterfame, and Fame

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Coverage is so easy to get in 2009. There are outlets everywhere, with barriers to public distribution so low that anyone can get their name in some kind of media with minimal effort. Given that “normal” people have learned the tricks of the coverage trade, the time-tested celebrity accident has been rendered useless, because we’ve discovered that accidents happen and ultimately mean nothing.

Around 50 years ago we’d have believed that Frank Sinatra really did beat the snot out of someone pissing him off, because the guy was pissing him off. It’s how Frank rolled. He didn’t do it for notoriety, because he didn

How To Lose Friends and Misinfluence Vampires

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Gawker has been a pretty cool site for quite a number of years. As far as gossip rags go, it actually does maintain some level of credibility. The writing is crisp and witty, the commentary is spot on. It’s a fun and informative read. It’s delicious and sneaky and vicious. Vicarious fun.

Over the past several years, Gawker Media has extended the brand by creating blogs covering sports, cars, video games, fashion, gadgets, personal productivity, and others. Gawker has built quite a remarkable stable of reliable content.

Then, the powers-that-be in the advertising department almost ruined the whole thing.

Apparently, HBO broadcasts a television show about vampires. True Blood is entering its second season. The HBO people favor something they think is viral marketing for the show. Before season one, they introduced a beverage

The (Fill in Blank) of Record

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Newspapers strive to be seen as the defenders of society

Buy the Book - 2011

You are currently browsing the archives for the Media Hype category.

Categories

Archives

Links

Resources