LifeSlices: Stuck here, stuck there

When you do a lot of traveling, you expect to fully experience the roll of the dice that comes with bad weather. Monday night, I was stranded in Charlotte with no fresh clothes, no toiletries, and no way home. The motel was, well, yuck (and I had to pay for it).

Now, I’m en route New York City and stuck in New Orleans, because there are t-storms in the Big Apple. I’m in a little coffee shop with free WiFi, so things could be worse. They tell us 5pm for departure, but we’ll see.

This should be an interesting trip. Underneath a stack of clothes on my bed is my cellphone, so I’m, ah, incommunicado for a few days. This should be fun. My phone, of course, is also my connection with what I view as my “life.” I’m shaking already.

More to follow. Adventure awaits. Oh boy!

UPDATE #1. It’s 4pm now, and the flight is delayed further. What a cluster foxtrot! The plane that’s supposed to take me to LaGuardia is a flight that goes from Toronto to NY to New Orleans. The first leg was cancelled, so they’re allegedly replacing the “crew and equipment” in NY. Assuming that happens, I’ll leave here around 9pm, which will put me in NY around 1am for a 9am Friday conference. Whoo boy.

If the flight is eventually cancelled, it’s a rental car return to DFW.

And so it goes…

UPDATE #2. It’s 10:30pm, and I’m back in Dallas. Flight to New York was cancelled. No way to get there in time for the conference. Shit.

AR&D’s Media 2.0 Intel

Here’ the link to the latest newsletter. Today, Steve and I look at the iPhone and offer our analysis. There’s also some fascinating information from Bear Stearns on the power of aggregation. Enjoy.

How to do elections online (?)

I’ve been graciously invited to participate in a brainstorming panel in New York on Friday sponsored by the RTNDF with assistance from the Carnegie Corporation and the meeting host Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. It’s a pretty lofty panel that includes some biggies in broadcasting and the web, including my friend Jeff Jarvis.

The topic is fascinating: what can broadcasters do to better their 2008 election coverage and include their audience? Here’s the way conference organizer Deborah Potter put it:

RTNDF has a new initiative called Digital Elections: Using New Media to Engage Your Audience. Our goal is to create a project that will enable RTNDF to help local stations use their digital resources to better inform and engage their communities, in an interactive way, during the 2008 election. By bringing so many bright minds together, we expect to use what we glean from this meeting to shape this important project.

Executives will be there from NBC, CBS, Gannett, Hearst-Argyle, Scripps, Univision, Nexstar, Public Radio and more.

So what should I contribute? What do you think I should tell this group? How can we use the web to better tell the election story and to involve users in the process?

Hand me another brand, please

I spent a lot of time watching TV this week and noticed that we talk a lot about brands these days. During the CBS coverage of the PGA tour this weekend, we got to view super slow-motion golf swing footage compliments of the “Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision Camera.” CompUSA probably doesn’t sell that one.

But what’s worse is we’re actually using the word “brand” as if it’s something you hear in every day language. This is the arrogance of marketeurs.

While the Boston Red Sox were beating up the Atlanta Braves, the announcers noted an enormous number of Red Sox fans in the audience. “What a powerful brand they have,” said one guy. I almost spewed. It’s a bloody baseball team, you idiot!

How about these beauties from commercials I’ve seen this week?

Tee off with the brands you want from Academy Sports.”

Watch your favorite Wrigley’s brands tear up the track this weekend.” (I kid you not!)

Of course, the marketeurs can bring themselves to use the word, because we — the targets of those brands — are CONSUMERS of brands (that’s what they’re taught in the good schools). We have no other purpose in life. Consumers are passive participants in this “targeting” process, and Madison Avenue now doesn’t even think it has to be clever. All it has to do to put us in our place is toss out the word “brand,” and we’re supposed to behave like we know what that really means.

Brand” is apparently a substitute noun, and, well, it seems to works everywhere.

Let’s go down to the old brand and suck down a few brands. Man, that chick’s wearing my favorite brand. Mmm, that smells like her best brand. Oh my, that brand is something else. Give me a pack of my brand. What’s YOUR brand, man? Hey, what do you think of my new brand? Is that your brand in your pocket or mine?

I’m going to drive my brand to get some brands from a brand with lots of brands, wrap myself in one or three brands, put a brand on my wrist, in my mouth, over my ears, on my head, and settle down for a nice quiet evening with branded entertainment while filling my head with unwanted messages from a hundred other brands.

Gosh, I’m tired.

LifeSlices: Feeling better

I apologize to regular readers for offering only a few observations this past week. I’ve been down and out with diverticulitis, and I’m still not 100%. I’m getting older, and I need to pay better attention to the signs my body sends me. I let this go too long, and it has knocked the crap out of me.

It’s a particularly nasty malady, but the treatment is worse. I’m taking two antibiotics — one twice a day, the other three times a day. These are very powerful meds and are REALLY hard on the stomach, which is why you’re supposed to take them with food. Of course, that’s the last thing you want to do with diverticulitis, which requires a liquid or bland diet, neither of which will ease the stomach pain. One begets the other, and soon you’re just exhausted from all the nausea, gas, discomfort and diarrhea.

This is why God made vanilla malts.

I’m losing the sense of immortality that’s a favorite side dish of youth. It’s a sweet and tasty delicacy, which is why it’s hard to give up. Comes with the territory, as they say. And so it goes.

Meeting with local advertisers and my take on Yahoo!

Here’s the latest edition of our Media 2.0 Intel newsletter. Enjoy.