Friday, January 26, 2007

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

A bit of interactive learning technology, produced by me!

Every letter of the English alphabet is used in this Pangram. Read the dot field from left to right, top to bottom; follow the dots up to the sentence to confirm.

This sentence is used to display typefaces and test equipment.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

'AS IT HAPPENS' must have Marshall McLuhan Spinning In His Grave.

Barbara Budd

I've been listening to CBC Radio's As It Happens for 30 years. Barbara Frum was weaving the story back then, with Al Maitland drawing the pictures with voice.

Over the years many great hosts have sat in those chairs; many great producers and writers have created magic behind the scenes.

"It takes a special talent to deliver a radio script..." says the current announcers biography. Barbara Budd does not have that talent.

Perhaps the writing staff can't compose; the narrative is usually so badly butchered I can't tell if the writing was good or not. The trips-ups, flubs and miss-takes of rhythm are too much to bear.

They say a great actor can't save a bad script - but a good script can save a bad actor; perhaps in this case it's a mixture of both the bads.

Carol Off

Carol Off doesn't help. The introduction to the production says, "As It Happens is like taking a trip around the world five nights a week." It has become one of those Red-Eyes you wish you'd never booked. The hour and a half used to fly by - when the people who worked on the show understood the reference in the introduction to Marshall McLuhan's Global Village.

Carol Off treats her role as "medium-intermediate" as if it's an old stale formula. Instead of taking us on a trip around the world, she convinces us with every burdensome, half-baked, lineal question that the show isn't really modern at all.

The guest is left telling the whole story from beginning to end while Carol waits for a pause where she can interject one of a list of questions the team came up in the pre-production meeting; trying to make apparent some pseudo-intellectual point.

Happily, there is a solution to all this. In August I heard two masters at work on the show: Helen Mann and C. David Johnson.

Really enjoyed their work this summer, a special team.

Hire them full time As It Happens, before someone else does.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Super Bowl Marketing on DIGG

On January 16.2007 an article appeared on DIGG, the democratically edited news site.

This DIGG story placement was a carefully engineered piece; it was designed to create a buzz Diggers think they are joining.

This is a new type of marketing campaign developed by called a Viral Video Product Placement. This is how it works...

This is the piece that appeared on DIGG:

I'm Blogging! Pay Attention to Me!

Rand sent me the above comic strip and instructed me to let it inspire me (it seems he enjoys giving me the occasional homework assignment), and the first thing I thought of when I read it was, "Why do people blog?"

The Title of the piece draws you in; people like to read about themselves or connect with a group of people like themselves. The first line promises a cartoon by clicking on the story. Now your at and viola the Cartoon:

The site looks like an ordinary new-business blog site, inter-office chatter. The cartoon is funny, so you read the piece about blogging.

It turns out the community of people here are really nice. You find out that Someone knows Someone who's going to propose marriage during the Super Bowl! Clicking the link confirms JP is going to pop the question. Not only that, but there's some Buzz developing around this, a radio spot, an appearance on Good Morning America... ..and a marketing company is involved and "the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital will also benefit from the buzz"

The DIGG story placement was a carefully engineered piece of writing; it was designed to create the buzz they pretend you are now joining.

This is a new type of marketing campaign called a Viral Video Product Placement, according to the strategy plays out like this:

"the bride-to-be will be under the impression that her smart and wonderful boyfriend was able to win them and some friends a Super Bowl party (compliments of a major corporate sponsor)."

"the potential bride and groom-to-be, along with several of their closest friends, will be filmed by their corporate sponsor, enjoying the game and the product that has paid for their good time"

"suddenly the image of the groom-to-be appears on the (TV) screen (at the party). The venue filled with friends and the bride-to-be, as well as the rest of America, will be viewing the much anticipated proposal that has been building a media frenzy over the past several weeks"

"viewers will view the web address of where they can go to see the response video that was taped during and AFTER the television proposal."

To sum up the idea... the corporate and media savy 'average American guy' sets up a free corporate party during the Super Bowl , which is being filmed; then the proposal of marriage comes on the TV in the party venue - which the television audience is watching - them watch, - at the end of the spot a web address comes up. The television audience can't believe it and America rushes to their computers. The web site resolves the brides answer to the question - but not all the machinations of how it came about. The buzz could last days until we all figure out what happened around the water cooler at work.

Well, now you're ready, now you know, now you can be the smart hip one.

By the way - what is 'Super Bowl'?