The Weather Company’s Vikram Somaya talks about why marketers are clamoring for weather data.
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Most of the time, targeted ads are pretty harmless. You searched for a flight to Denver? Here are some hotels in Denver. You looked for new running sneakers? Here are a few options.
But a new “study” from marketing firm PHD recommends a strategy that crosses the line from merely targeted to outright predatory, explicitly advising brands to seize on the times of the day and week when women feel the most insecure about their bodies and overall appearance in order to sell beauty products and other goods.
Women, the study claims to have found, feel less attractive on Mondays, especially in the morning. Thus, as the release explains, “Monday becomes the day to encourage the beauty product consumer to get going and feel beautiful again, so marketing messages should focus on feeling smart, instant beauty/fashion fixes, and getting things planned and done. Concentrate media during prime vulnerability moments, aligning with content involving tips and tricks, instant beauty rescues, dressing for the success, getting organized for the week and empowering stories.” Yuck.
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Several months ago, this author sat at a classical music concert, trying to convince himself that wine is not bullshit.
That may seem like a strange thought to have while listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major. But Priceonomics had recently posted an article investigating The Price of Wine, part of which reviewed research that cast doubt on both consumers’ and wine experts’ ability to distinguish between quality wine and table wine or identify different wines and their flavors. It seemed a slippery slope to the conclusion that wine culture is nothing more than actors performing a snobbish play.
Listening to an accomplished musician while lacking any musical experience resulted in a feeling familiar to casual wine drinkers imbibing an expensive bottle: Feeling somewhat ambivalent and wondering whether you are convincing yourself that you enjoy it so as not to appear uncultured.
Given the inexplicable, unintuitive conclusions of this research on wine, thinking about classical music promised firm ground to stand on. Despite the influence of class on classical music consumption and the fact that outsiders do not necessarily recognize and enjoy great music performances, no one believes that Beethoven and their 10 year old cousin play the piano equally well. Surely in just the same way a $2,000 bottle of wine and a $5 bottle are not indistinguishable?
This past week, however, Priceonomics reviewed research that cast similar doubt on our ability to appreciate great performances of classical music.
Say you, like me, went to bed a little early last night. And when you woke up this morning, you decided to catch the episode of the Daily Show that you missed. So you pointed your browser over to thedailyshow.com, and there, as you expected, is John Oliver. But there’s something else there too, at least if you’re me: flashing deals for hotels in Annapolis, which just so happens to be where I’ve been planning a weekend away.
We all are familiar at this point with the targeted ads that follow us around the web, linked to our browsing history. In this case, Google (who served me this ad) only got it half right: I had already booked a place.
And yet, I am planning a trip to Annapolis, and Google “knows” this, and is using this information to try to sell me stuff, a practice commonly criticized as “creepy.” But as philosopher Evan Selinger asserted in Slate last year, the word “creepy” isn’t particularly illuminating. What, really, is wrong with ad tracking? Why does it bother us? What is the problem?
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The singer’s social media presence combines faux intimacy and calculated messages that make events out of her most normal moments.
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…There is no one theme that has anywhere near the prominence and influence that Disney Princesses do. Regardless of the more recent generations of empowered princesses in Disney movies, the overall princess trope promotes traditional notions of femininity and an unhealthy focus on physical beauty. Even the most feminist-friendly princess derives her social currency, her political power, and her personal identity as “princess” from the make-believe patriarchy.
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Some companies are born great, some companies achieve greatness, and some companies drop greatness on your face — in the form of a taco.
The latter certainly applied to one of the greatest fake startups ever: TacoCopter. The prank company drew headlines with its stated plan to use “flying robots” to deliver tacos to smartphone-ordering customers. Basically, they wanted to use automated helicopters to reign deliciousness down on people. It was genius.
It was also illegal. A short brainstorm of air-dropping tacos on customers uncovers a number of drawbacks, including but not limited to: What if the tacos hit somebody else? What if somebody steals your taco from the toy helicopter? What if the copter crashes into a building? What if the FAA opts to clear the skies of Mexican delivery? But all of this was besides the point. […]
Of course, it’s hard to know if people really want what you’re building when almost nobody knows about you. It’s what Y Combinator’s Paul Graham calls the “Trough of Sorrow.”
The Trough of Sorrow is where most startups meet their demise. It’s easy to give up when nobody’s paying attention. Anything that kicks the company out of the shadows during these lean months (or years) is by definition good. Even if that means floating outlandish plans to parachute tacos down to customers.
Read more. [Image: Tacocopter]