Category Archives: New York Times

Vote for Your Favorite Advertising Icon and Slogan

USA Today and Advertising Age are sponsoring this year’s Advertising week Walk of Fame. In the inaugural year of 2004, five icons five slogans were selected; in subsequent years, it’s been two and two. Last year’s icons were the Geico Caveman – disappointing to me, given the more established choices available – and the Serta (mattress) Sheep. the slogans were “We deliver for you” (US Postal Service) and, in an interesting pairing, UPS’ “What can brown do for you?”

Here are this year’s icon nominees (with year first used, if noted):

AOL Running Man (2003) – seems unlikely; a now-marginal player
Big Boy (restaurants) (1936) – now that’s an icon, though I always thought of it as a regional chain
Budweiser Clydesdales – I only see them in Super Bowl ads; doesn’t quite seem right
Burger King (2004) – not only do I find that plastic “the King” character creepy, it makes me LESS likely to buy the product. Whereas the nominated slogan, “Have it your way”, is quite appealing.
California Raisins (1986) – seems like a short-lived fad
Captain Morgan (rum) (1944) – I’d consider this one
Crash Test Dummies (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) (1985) – would have thought Vince and Larry had been around longer
Doublemint Twins (Wrigley gum)(1939) – seems more like a concept than actual icon with a specific look
Fruit of the Loom Guys (underwear) (1975) – maybe some day
Jolly Green Giant (1928) – actually was my second choice; after all, he is, you know, GREEN
Keebler Elves (1968) – another one that needs to wait its turn
Little Debbie (snack cakes) (1960) – someday
Maytag Repaiirman (1967) – I think I have a bias against humans as icons
McGruff the Crime Dog (1979). AND the National Crime Prevention Council’s “Take a bite out of crime” is up for best slogan; I think I’d be more inclined to vote for the slogan. Maybe someday.
Michelin Man (1898) – should win on seniority alone
Mr. Clean (1958) – iconic; my third choice.
Mr. Mucus (Mucinex) (2005) – WAY too new, and I didn’t even know 1) that he had a name or 2) the name of the product, though I’ve seen the commercial dozens of times
MSN Butterfly (2002) – I happen to think it’s boring and unmemorable
Roaming Gnome (Travelocity) (2004) – too new, and mildly irritating
Ronald McDonald (some restaurant chain) (1963) – if I were to pick a human, this is who I’d pick. Wouldn’t pick the slogan “I’m lovin’ it,” though; never liked it.
Smokey Bear (U.S. Forest Service) (1944) – another Top 5 choice; too bad I can only vote once. And the slogan, “Only you can prevent forest fires”, is also top five.
Subway Jared (sandwiches) – if picking a human like the Maytag guy was problematic for me, picking an actual person like Jared just won’t fly with me. But the slogan, “Eat fresh”, I’d consider.
Test Man (Verizon Wireless) (2002) – “Can you hear me now?” Yes, practically in my sleep. Too new, too human.
Toucan Sam (Froot Loops cereal) (1963) – I actually have a stuffed Toucan Sam. But there are characters more identified with their specific product.
Vlasic Stork (pickles) (1974) – they really used the real Groucho Marx in the early commercials! I did not know that. Top 10 choice.

But my pick is:

Snap, Crackle, Pop (Rice Krispies Cereal) (1941) – not only are these readily identifiable with their brand, they come with a nifty song (LOVE that counterpoint) with interesting lyrics.

Besides, I’m a cereal eater and I consumed a lot of Rice Krispies over the years, although almost none since I discovered that it is pretty much nutritionally void.

I’m not going to go through all the slogans, but I will give you my top three:
3. “Priceless” – MasterCard and 2. “Got milk?” – California Milk Processor Board; both of these have been so widely parodied as to become almost generic. But I’m picking the newspaper I’ve often read, “All the news that’s fit to print” from the maybe-not-as-venerable-as-it-used-to-be New York Times, a motto that’s also been spoofed (“All the news that fits,” e.g.).

I do feel slightly guilty, though. As a business librarian, I probably should have voted for “I Love New York”, if only to keep the award from going to “Virginia is for lovers” or Las Vegas’ “What happens here, stays here”. Here’s one downstate ad, plus a whole slew of commercials linked here.

Also at the site: the WOF game

Voting ends at 6 p.m., Eastern Time, Friday, September 18. Only one vote per computer.

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And speaking of voting:
Corey Ellis, a local coordinator for Barack Obama last year, is running for mayor of Albany, among many races here and across the state; the primary in New York State is today from noon to 9 pm upstate and from 6 am to 9 pm in New York City. Here’s a Metroland story about Corey Ellis. Also, the Times Union endorsement of Jerry Jennings while noting that Mr. Ellis is right on many of the issues; most curious.
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And speaking of curious:
Kayne West. Oy!
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I’m sorry that Patrick Swayze died – somehow I ended up seeing this Barbara Walters special, with him and his wife talking about fighting his cancer – but actually I’ve managed to miss every movie that he made, even the ones I had planned to see such as To Woo Fong and Dirty Dancing. Well, except Ghost, which is feeling just a bit too on the nose right now.

ROG

Comedy Today

As I’ve long admitted, I can’t tell a joke to save my life, though I can be funny when the situation generates it. April Fools’ Day just does not play to my strength. I do enjoy bad jokes, though. And none are worse than the daily meditations I get from David Pogue, the techie guy from the New York Times. I think I follow him on Twitter just so I can groan. Recent examples from his Twitter feed (Pogue):
The algebra teacher confiscated a kid’s rubber band, believing it to be a weapon of math disruption.
and this one
I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
and this:
I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.

From other sources, more terrible humor:

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

I may look like just an ordinary man, he said to her, but in just a few years, my father will die, and I’ll inherit $65 million.

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.
***
Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told George (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.. He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home…and left it there all night.
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A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: ‘Stop! Acts 2:38!’ (Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: ‘Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.’
‘Scripture?’ replied the burglar. ‘She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!’

Ncevy Sbbyf Qnl
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And speaking of fool, I go into the NCAA men’s basketball pool generally having seen no more than two games prior to March Madness – this year it was 4 of the 6 overtime periods Syracuse played vs. Connecticut; that’s it.
Yet I always have a chance going into the final weekend. As it turns out, NO ONE in my pool picked the ultimate champion. They all went for Louisville or Pitt or Syracuse or, like I did, Memphis.
My other Final Four picks (Syracuse, Louisville, Memphis) dried up, but Villanova, who essentially played at home the first two rounds, then beat Duke and Pitt to be my one pick in the Final Four; Final Two, actually.
So the Saturday games will tell the tale. I have a one-point lead. If ‘Nova wins, then I win. If UNC beats ‘Nova, then I end up in the middle of the pack, but if UNC and Connecticut both win, I’ll be hanging out in the lower regions of the pool. Go Wildcats!

ROG

J is for Jazz

The problem with jazz is that it means everything from Kenny G to Madeleine Peyroux to New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band. No definition of the American music seems adequate. One I saw recently described it as “cerebral music with rhythm”. This one is about as OK as I can find. Even the word itself, the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Twentieth Century, has been hard to nail down.

Jazz is about discovery. This article expresses the wonder of discover that jazz can bring.

Ultimately, though, jazz can’t be adequately described. It must be experienced. These are all songs I own.
Tutu (live)- Miles Davis
Tutu was one of the last albums I got as an LP; i.e., on vinyl.

Cassandra Wilson – Harvest Moon
A Neil Young cover.

Benny Goodman & His Orchestra – Sing Sing Sing
As the title suggests, this song DOES have lyrics, but I think it’s better as an instrumental.

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – STOMPING AT THE SAVOY
Also recommended: any of the Ella Song Books. Or all of them.

Oh, there’s so much, I can’t do the topic justice.

Here’s a peculiar thing about Jazz that perhaps folks not in the United States or Americans who don’t follow basketball might not know. There is a basketball team called the Utah Jazz. Utah is not generally known for jazz, and in disposition seems to be the antithesis of that music. The Jazz was formed in New Orleans in 1974, a most likely place for a team with such a nickname, but the team moved to the Rocky Mountains in 1979. (New Orleans got the Hornets, a team formerly in Charlotte, NC in 2002.)

ROG

The Times They Are A Changin'


You may have seen this cover of a fake New York Times that was being distributed last week. If you want a PDF of the whole thing, it’s here. We’re not at that point in the headlines, of course, but I’m pleased with the transition website. I like that openness. Naturally, he’s still being coy about his Cabinet. (Wanna guess and win a prize?) The speculation that Hillary Clinton might be named Secretary of State has this town all a-buzz, mostly concerning who might succeed her in the Senate.

Speaking of the New York Times, the REAL paper had a great article earlier this month about the imperial Presidency of George W. Bush. (Free login required.) The Dan Rather fights back piece intrigues me. There was also another article that caught my attention, “Can Obama Help Kill Baggy Pants Look?”
“P. Rubinstein, a sociology professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, agreed. ‘It’s very clear that what a president wears has an impact on the population,’ she said. Not everyone believes that words alone are enough. One doubter is Alan Flusser, a designer of men’s wear in Manhattan who has written several books on fashion. When it comes to Mr. Obama and the brotherhood of the sagging pants, ‘I don’t think his commenting on it one way or another is going to influence anybody,’ Mr. Flusser said.”

And I’ve finally discovered Rachel Maddow, who laid out in six minutes why the Dems should strip Joe Lieberman of his chair of the Homeland Security Committee. It’s not about 60 “Democratic” senators – would you trust this man to be the 60th person in a cloture vote? – or revenge over Joe supporting Johnny Mac, but about competence (or lack thereof) in the job he has had:
or here.

But there were a couple stories that made me remember that the country’s still a scary place. A member of a group linked to the Ku Klux Klan has been charged with murder following the death of an Oklahoma woman who was recruited via the internet to Louisiana, but subsequently tried to leave an initiation ceremony. The KKK. In 2008. Ain’t that ducky?

Much closer to home is this hate crime apparently part of a pattern of violence which was stirred up in part by the rhetoric of a local politician. After I wrote this, I discovered that Greg also touched on this topic, proving the “great minds” theorem; and Common Dreams likewise had a story.

So lest we get all warm and fuzzy about “change”, know that “change” is a process, not just a flick of a switch. Or even a voting lever.

ROG