New Quarterlife TV Show on NBC ROCKS!

I have been reading for months about this new show Quarterlife and how because of the writer’s strike, it got a shot at airing on network TV when it had only been an online show before that point. I ran into the Quarterlife show the other night on TV by accident and thought I would check it out. I was surprised that despite being 32, and not the target of the show, I really liked it. I specifically remember being 25 and having a quarterlife crisis (term coined by John Mayer in a song) and going through some things with being on my own for the first time, with my first job, dating woes and dealing with being a full on adult for the first time. Plus leaving all childhood frivolousness behind is a somewhat scary thing. No more silly stuff? No more hip clothes? Will I just be a boring blah worker that never gets anywhere? All my friends too had these thoughts.

I found that the show Quarterlife represented these feelings pretty accurately. The content of the show was very genuine and right on for that age group and I watched earnestly remembering that time in my life. I thought it was funny and clever and very dramatic and true all at the same time.

they were open and honest about everything from sex to work to relationships and I found it refreshing, although the show moves at a very fast pace. I had to speed up my brain just to keep up with all the cuts to different angles and fast dialogue. Quarterlife does seem very real though and the actors are pretty good. (although one girl that blogs is reeeeaaallllyyy overacting)

Then I saw online that people were calling it a failure because it only had 3.9 million viewers. I don’t know if that is really bad since I saw no online or offline campaign promoting it and I am online all over the place. How would that 20-30 yr crowd that doesn’t watch TV know it was going to be on? Did they do any WOM marketing? Duh? if you don’t invite them and tell them it’s coming no one will show up.

I think this show has all the elements of a West Wing for the Millenials but about personal politics rather than national politics. I think it should stay on the air and they should give it some marketing boost, and maybe a tripod to anchor the camera better in some situations. Anyway, I just thought it was important to say that I watched the show and I liked it a lot and it should stay on air at NBC and online.

I know that the commerical spots were sold with X amount of audience guaranteed and if they miss that point the network has to refund or give away more free ads to compensate for it. But maybe this show was not positioned right, promoted right or sold right by the network. I thing the writers, actors and developers of the show did a great job and the show may get shuffled around, but should certainly stay on the air.

Oscars, Trends and Once Movie Wins Best Song

once movie, wins oscar, best, music, song, musical, 2008, 2007, 2006, marketa irglova, glen hansard I think people were generally happy with the outcomes of the Oscar awards last night. Although there weren’t any big blockbuster films this year that were box office smash hits or huge societal movements, there were some well made movies that got recognized for their hard work. I was especially happy to see that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won the Oscar for best original song. I felt like the Enchanted people were good at producing a Disney musical and Amy Adams sang and danced on stage twice (not easy when it is in addition to her regular attendance duties) but Once was a great movie with a lot more meaning and resonance than a Disney musical could possibly ever have. (especially for people over the age of 10, which I would think most of the academy is made up of)  I was also thrilled to see that Jon Stewart gave Marketa Irglova a moment to come back out and say her thank you for her award after the commercial break. Kudos to him for that. And we should all remember what she said quote: “fair play to those who dream and don’t give up“. Those are great words.

I think someone said on NPR this morning that international (foreign) stars dominated the awards last night and that may be true but I don’t think it was the trend that explains why they won. I think the academy awards are moving past the popularity contest that they used to be and really rewarding the most meaningful and powerful quality work in every category. It makes movies like la vie en rose or Once possible to win when they were only even shown at Art House theaters here in Chicago and most people never even heard about them. (in an unrelated event I went to a blockbuster video store this weekend and I didn’t recognize 1/2 the movies there either) I think this may help these indie, foreign or cutting edge films find an audience they would not have before but more importantly it rewards people with more work because of the award and makes the careers of talented people doing great work so they don’t have to sell out and just do what makes the most money. Its kind of like trying to positively influence capitalism’s negative affect on art.

I also think that it just so happens that the people willing to make these different movies that aren’t big blockbuster type films are more likely foreigners that are less influenced by the lure of the big Hollywood blockbuster that has no artistic quality but brings in a big paycheck and instead, these foreigin actors make movies for the love of making movies and the chance to do good work. And, they got rewarded for that. It is refreshing to find people who are interested in quality work over money. It seems that foreign people not only have the better work ethic and simpler lifestyle demands to be able to manufacture everything from our cars to our clothes but now they also have captured a more pure (not money only) sense of making movies also now. I think it’s kind of a sad sign in general for the U.S. but like always it doesn’t really mean anyone would really try and make a change. We’re not good at that.

I look forward to seeing some of the films that I had not seen yet by the Award telecast and hope to discover some new great actors and films that I can enjoy. And if you haven’t seen Once, go rent it on DVD from Netflix or wherever you rent DVDs today.

Top Gaining Web Sites Jan 08

From an email update I got today from comScore:

http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=2067  

I think this is interesting because some seasonal trends are in here and others are not. Check out the list:

comScore Top 10 Gaining Categories by Percentage Change in Unique Visitors (U.S.)

January 2008 vs. December 2007

Total U.S. – Home, Work and University Locations

Source: comScore Media Metrix

                                         Total Unique Visitors (000)

                                    Dec-07         Jan-08        % Change

Total Internet: Total Audience     183,619        184,239            0

Taxes                                7,729         23,336          202

Politics                             8,384         13,807           65

Career Services and Development     49,150         64,144           31

Real Estate                         32,747         41,991           28

Ground/Cruise                        8,909         11,303           27       

Car Rental                           4,065          5,130           26

Retail – Computer Software          26,756         33,548           25

Financial Information/Advice        32,109         39,792           24

Hotels/Resorts                      25,131         30,958           23

Online Travel Agents                34,581         42,530           23

Presidential Primary, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Political Campaign Marketing

I am usually not very political and hate how spin and vicious attacks are used to sway people’s opinion when they have little or no impact on the job that someone would do. That aside I am interested in seeing who will win this next presidential election in the U.S. and how the marketing that their campaigns do impacts the outcome.

The first thing I noticed was that all the campaigns for the presidential primary elections and Iowa caucuses were utilizing Email. Rudy Giuliani used it the least (once a week is not enough) and Ron Paul was the most primitive with text only messages that seemed to be hand written after each event, but everyone got out the info about donating this way. I noticed that Barack Obama and Jon Edwards slowly built up momentum with emails supporting the increase in number of stories they had covered in the press. Hillary Clinton (Billary) has been sending a deluge of daily emails since about 6 months ago. I would say she has over-used this medium. I am almost becoming immune to the emails now and not even reading them anymore. I did think it was a nice touch that Rudy Giuliani sent an email thanking everyone after he dropped out of the race and another one a few days later asking his supporters to join the McCain camp. It was very classy and genuine.

Online they seem to really try and use banners to advertise their sites and not the issues, but I haven’t run across that many banners or display ads yet since I don’t hang out on political sites all that much. On TV they seem to be targeting the states and DMAs where there are primaries but I think national ads will be seen soon. I just hope they remain positive because there is much more to be gained in voter enthusiasm from a carrot rather than a stick. Text ads in search have also been utilized but I don’t think they have been as targeted or flexible as they should have been. They aren’t taking advantage of the customize-able real time edit-ability of these ads. All the candidates really need someone on the bus listening to issues and going to events that can be online at that moment and customizing campaigns to reflect the outcome. Plus a team in the background analyzing and optimizing the campaigns based on tracking conversion to donation data. One guy who does this as a second job and isn’t even very good at it isn’t the right solution. Barack, you’re just giving your money away for nothing with this one. 

The news publication/blog/press/PR area is another world all together. I feel like they all try and court this market the most and rely on these writers to transmit their message. The thing is not everyone watches or reads the news. I almost never do, because I am never home. Plus these writers are pretty willy nilly all over the place with what they cover and how frequently. They write about whatever the big thing is that moment and after the day the story runs, the buzz is gone. (plus a lot of it is fluff) It’s forgotten and on to the next big thing. It’s just so short. You have to keep churning out notable stories or always be the front runner to benefit from this medium. I would find this very frustrating to be over saturating a small market/audience of people with messages that are fleeting, confusing and less meaningful rather than building a real relationship with them over time or examining the issues and candidates in depth once and getting a final vote.

An alternative medium being used more this election than ever before is the use of political humor shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and late night shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. These shows give politicians an audience of voters who may not watch or read news because they are disengaged or apathetic. If they are light on issues and come across as like-able, funny and can take a joke making fun of themselves they may gain some votes this way from people who vote by like-ability rather than issues. I see the blur between news and entertainment blurring further in the future and this will continue to be a tactic in future campaigns.

I assume direct mail was a part of the mix although I didn’t get any mailings locally or nationally for the primary in Illinois. Lawn signs and outdoor signage in general always plays a big role leading up to the last month and days before an election. So do volunteers. This is really the backbone of the marketing organization. The enthusiasm, scripts message and overall level of performance of these cold callers and door knockers can make or break the candidate’s chances in local and primary elections. So do the quality and clarity of the leave behind brochures. They must differentiate your candidate from the others and make clear why they will be the best candidate in real terms for the voter.

Anyway, I will be watching and waiting as per usual to see how this comes out in the end. Who will you be voting for and why?