Posts tagged “nbc”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • ‘Law & Order’ canceled by NBC after 20 seasons: The culprit behind NY show’s demise? Low ratings [NY Daily News] – "Law & Order" is going the way of egg creams. After two decades and 451 shows, NBC pulled the plug on the New York-based series to make room for new shows. The series will end May 24. Once a top-10 show, "Law & Order" had struggled in recent years – along with the rest of NBC's prime-time lineup. This season the show is No. 56 overall.
  • ‘Little Orphan Annie’ comic strip skips off into the sunset [Washington Post] – Daddy Warbucks's favorite pupil-less redhead had enough Depression-tested pluck to survive 86 years in daily newspapers, but now the orphan's outta luck. Come June 13, her clear-eyed comic strip will end as her syndicate, Tribune Media Services, sends her off into the sunset. Canceled. "Believe me, this wasn't a decision we took lightly," said Steve Tippie, TMS's vice president of licensing. "But we also felt that 'Annie,' unlike many strips, has such wide, almost iconic presence in our culture that it would serve the character and our business best if we focused on other channels more appropriate to the 'kids' nature of the property." The strip's current artist, Ted Slampyak, said: "It's almost like mourning the loss of a friend."
  • In Search of Adorable, as Hello Kitty Starts to Fade [] – Hello Kitty has been licensed to products like dolls, clothes, lunch boxes, stationery, kitchenware, a Macy’s parade balloon and even an Airbus. But amid signs that Hello Kitty’s pop-culture appeal is waning, especially at home, where sales have shrunk for a decade, the company has struggled to find its next-generation version of adorable. Recent flops include Spottie Dottie, a pink-frocked Dalmatian, and Pandapple, a baby panda. Even the moderately successful My Melody (a rabbit) and TuxedoSam (penguin) show no signs of achieving global Kitty-ness. “We badly need something else,” said Yuko Yamaguchi, Sanrio’s top Hello Kitty designer for most of its 36 years. “Characters take a long time to develop and introduce to different markets,” Ms. Yamaguchi said. “But Kitty has been so popular it’s overshadowed all our other efforts.” …In a ranking of Japan’s most popular characters, compiled Character Databank, Hello Kitty lost her spot as Japan’s top-grossing character in 2002.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Hallmark Cards to feature licensed audio content from NBC Universal – NBC Universal has sealed a new licensing deal with Hallmark Cards that includes the use of the company's film and TV content. Sound cards from Universal films such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Sixteen Candles" and "Jaws" will be included as well. Ditto "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Battlestar," as well as NBC News archives. Beyond cards, the deal includes "a wide range of social expression products."
  • Escapism in Minutiae of Daily Life – nice NYT review of Sims 3 – It is almost impossible to avoid the temptation to make a Sim version of yourself, either as you really are or as you wish to be. In that sense the game presents basic but important questions: What kind of person am I? What kind of person would I like to become? How do I treat the people around me? What is important to me in life? What are my core values?

    Children usually form their tentative answers to these questions without considering them explicitly. Adults, by contrast, often confront such issues, even tangentially, only in the context of intense emotional involvement, some sort of crisis or high-priced psychotherapy.

    Most video games exist to allow the player to forget completely about the real world. The Sims accomplishes the rare feat of entertaining while also provoking intellectual and emotional engagement with some of life’s fundamental questions. I love aliens and zombies, but a little reality in my gaming once in a while is not a horrible thing.

The power of pervasion

Last October I blogged about NBC’s use of “fusion marketing” with the show My Own Worst Enemy.

Are they at it again? A recent episode of the NBC show 30 Rock revolved around a mini-microwave, “The FunCooker“…


…and then a week later in some webvertising I saw an ad for this-


-the iWave cube, a tissue-box sized microwave.

I couldn’t help but wonder if there was another fusion marketing approach afoot.

Marketing is both ubiquitous and stealthy, and in this mashed-up and pervasive environment, any piece of communication in any medium could be a marketing effort. I find this simultaneously intriguing and disquieting.

Pervasive, cross-context marketing is producing some creative and thought-provoking experiences (the recent Skittles/Twitter (Skwitter?) campaign, for one). And it can be fun to spot marketing easter eggs–I felt a little thrill of potential discovery about the two microwaves.

At the same time, this lack of clarity about whether any particular piece of communication is company-sponsored or not adds another level of opacity to an already Filo-dough-like world of layered information. Will bionic critical thinking skills become the new common sense?

Related posts:
Interacting With Advertising
Collateral Damage
Crossover Hit

Crossover Hit

One of the commercial breaks during the debut episode of Christian Slater’s new TV show, My Own Worst Enemy, started with a little recruiting pitch for the consulting agency that Slater’s character works for on the show, something along the lines of “we’re looking for a few good people.”

The spot listed a website for AJ Sun Consulting, the fictional character’s fictional employer. So of course I checked it out-I’m fascinated by this stuff.
The site was more substantial than I expected, sporting among its pages a mission statement, a privacy statement, and a client-access-only login field. And not a sign of it being a marketing platform for anything other than AJ Sun Consulting, until I had gotten as far as the fifth question on the job application form on the Careers page. But there it was:

Are you interested in learning more about our company’s employee program with Chevy?
___ Yes
___ No

Which Chevy vehicle would you prefer as your company car?
___ Chevy Traverse
___ Chevy Camaro

Looking into the backstory, I found a May 2008 press release from NBC quoting Dino Bernacchi, General Motors’ Director of Marketing Alliances and Branded Entertainment:

“We call it Fusion Marketing – partnering with the creative community around ideas that build relationships with a passionate audience, but done through the lens of the entertainment property.”

And indeed, a quick check of shows the site registered to General Electric, NBC’s parent company. (GE, furthering its forays into “fusion marketing,” also appears as Liz Lemon’s employer on the NBC show 30 Rock.)

For a while, there was a lot of buzz around companies and public figures trying to create a presence in Second Life and use that world to spur more action for themselves in this one. (The Second Life Video Gallery at New Business Horizons has some interesting artifacts around some of these efforts.)

So exactly what is it that’s happening, metaphysically, when I’m in “first life” interacting in a fake forum created by a real entity like GM to sell a real product through a fake premise?

I feel a little bit like the girl in the old A-Ha video–inhabiting a place that’s between real and virtual.

Related posts:
This Space Available
Collateral Damage
Field Research … In Second Life

Yeah, I think she worked here or somethin’

In a nice attempt at transparency, NBC’s official site for ER includes a section about former cast members, entitled (of course) Where Are They Now (sans question mark)

So where’s Julianna Margulies now?

(emphasis mine)

Julianna Margulies spent a total of six years playing Nurse Carol Hathaway on the medical drama ER. After leaving the show, Margulies went on to star in a number of plays and movies. Her career took her to the stage of the Lincoln Center to the starring role in such movies as “Ghost Ship” and “Snakes on a Plane”.

Note the horrendous grammar, the highlighting of some poor films and of course, no mention of her new starring role in Canterbury’s Law (on FOX). Maybe NBC isn’t quite as genuine/generous with its transparency as we’re supposed to believe. Don’t publicists check up on stuff like this? Or are they totally powerless once the contract with NBC is over?

We need a new term like greenwashing that describes the false transparency such as what we see here from NBC (and whether it’s ineptitude or malice, the lack of care and finish tell us something about what NBC cares about).


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