by Chris Shugart
Someone with a flair for Hollywood marketing came up with this clever up-to-date movie trailer. The style is right on the money.
by Chris Shugart
Celebrating the exploits of Santa Claus and his minion of Christmas operatives is an American holiday tradition that’s been permanently wired into our modern culture. But in recent times, we’ve witnessed the rise of an unpleasant breed of disapproving spoil sports who’ve taken a dim view of this popular yuletide narrative. Their holiday huff is filled with grievances, offenses, and injustices for which we Christmas supporters must be held accountable.
As in many things, it’s a matter of perspective. Labor advocates might tell you that Santa’s employees are hardly more than overworked little people, slaving away in an arctic sweatshop with a compensation package that consists of nothing more than room and board in a frozen god-forsaken wasteland. Or consider the animal rights people who’d be inclined to see a fat old man exploiting reindeer, forcing them to circle the globe hauling a heavy sleigh overloaded with gifts. Then there are the protestors who would distrust any man with the unilateral power to determine who among us is naughty or nice.
Such are the perspectives of a minority of humorless wet blankets who see every winter wonderland as a potential environmental disaster. Well, we at New Media Age don’t see it that way. So rather than focus on a cranky 1%, we’ll focus on the 99% who make the effort every year to make the Holiday Season an experience we can all enjoy. So join us as we confront, endure, and ultimately ignore Occupy North Pole. And, should you dare to go this far—have a Merry Christmas.
by Chris Shugart
I’m happy to inform you that the Aflac duck is back, so all is right with the world once again. Ever since comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired for making insensitive jokes about the Japan tsunami disaster on his Twitter page, Aflac had been on a recruiting mission for a new spokesduck. It would appear they’ve found him. (see the video)
Shortly after Gottfried was fired, the blogosphere reacted. There was a considerable backlash of criticism that Aflac had overreacted, had no sense of humor, and that Gilbert Gottfried’s tsunami jokes were at worst, a minor infraction of bad taste. Certainly nothing so objectionable that it should get someone fired.
Fortunately for this duck-endorsed insurance company, sensible men prevailed. Rather than bend to the whims of the internet peanut gallery, Aflac did the only thing an established and publicly prominent business could do. They fired the guy. The only thing that surprised me was Gottfried’s reaction. He didn’t seem to see it coming. Anyone with any understanding of corporate culture knew it was inevitable.
And thus the Aflac duck saga reminds us that multi-billion dollar companies are not here to provide online spectators with their daily yucks. And if you’re a company spokesperson, it would be best to remember that you represent a professional organization whose first responsibility is to their customers and shareholders. They care little about your Twitter followers your Facebook “likes” or the number of views on your YouTube page. Social media can be entertaining, even informative. But business is still business.
by Chris Shugart
I think it’s safe to say that the Viral Media Index of the Charlie Sheen meltdown has finally subsided to a non-toxic level with his public antics no longer contagious nor risking further infection. Unfortunately for Sheen, he may now be discovering that being a huge media sensation doesn’t always translate into market viability. Just because you can successfully transform your talents into a traveling freak show, doesn’t automatically make you boffo at the box office.
Following his well publicized firing from the successful CBS TV series “Two and a Half Men,” Sheen has hit the road with a national tour featuring his own brand of, well, whatever it is he does now. He calls the show “My Violent Torpedo of Truth,” if that gives you any clue. Where is he going with this? Not exactly to Mr. Rogers neighborhood, I’m guessing.
The entertainment media was eager to report that Sheen was selling out venues around the country faster than a Lady Gaga Monster Ball concert. The problem was that the only actual ticket sales “figures” that anyone could cite were those coming from Charlie Sheen’s own Twitter page. When you’re a legend in your own mind, the facts are whatever you decide them to be.
Just days ago, a contributing journalist for CNBC, Jane Wells effectively debunked all of the Charliemania hype. As it turns out, there are plenty of unsold tickets, so much so in fact, that secondary ticket outlets such as StubHub are offering tickets at less than face value. So much for the Charlie Sheen Comeback Tour.
There’s an eerie parallel here, from which Charlie might like to take heed. In 1966, the show biz career of comedian Lenny Bruce was deteriorating as a result of drug abuse and an obsession with his legal battles over obscenity charges. During this time his club performances often included details of his encounters with the police, rants about his court battles, and tirades against fascism. Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it?
On June 25, 1966, at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Lenny Bruce performed his last gig. Concert promoter Bill Graham described Bruce as “whacked out on amphetamines” and thought that Bruce finished his set emotionally disturbed. A week later Lenny Bruce was dead of a morphine overdose.
Let’s hope that Charlie Sheen learns a couple of things while he attempts to reinvent his show biz repertoire. Lesson One: No matter how far over the top you try to take your talent, the audience still has to be willing to buy whatever it is you’re selling. Lesson Two: Achieving success, whether it’s in entertainment or any other professional field, is pointless if you can’t survive the journey.