Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Burger King Back on The Throne

It seems the "King" is making a comeback—Burger King that is—with its hilarious series of commercials filmed last November at a Midwestern Burger King.

The setup goes like this. Customers are told that Burger Kings's famous 'Whopper' has been discontinued due to its over popularity. Hidden cameras film the customer's reaction to their beloved hamburger’s demise. Needless to say, most customers where bewildered to downright dumbfounded at the fact their favorite fast-food hamburger was no longer offered.

Beyond the hilarious reactions from unsuspecting customers, the marketing behind it is genius, getting customers to proclaim their loyalty to Burger King’s product over their archrival McDonalds.

America's love for the hamburger dates back more than one-hundred years and has its origins from German immigrants. Now it has become an American icon, and like fine wine, people are finicky about its taste and even how it’s served to them. Who would've thought that a cooked pattie of ground beef would cause such emotional trauma to a hungry patron.

Video Source: YouTube

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The British Soul Invasion

Lately, the return of soul music is getting an interesting rebirth, not from its American roots, but from the motherland of good ol' Britain. Could this be the era of the white, female soul singer? It sure sounds like it with the likes of Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, and recently Alice Russell.

Alice Russell

They are such phenomenal singers, and they do it with style, envoking that angst and emotion that makes soul music so therapeutic. And It's refreshing to see an African American music genre embraced across the pond and worldwide. From its roots in the 70s till today, soul music continues to make an impact among an era of commercial pop music, rock, and hip-hop.

Soul music always maintians a blip on the commerical radar from decade to decade. The evolution of American soul today is known as neo-soul that has developed many faithful followers over the last decade. Artist like Eryka Badu, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Leela James, and others continue to garner praise from mainstream critics. But it's the unlikely source of the soul genre from Great Britain that strikes a cord of respect from even the most diehard.

White female singers with a soulful urban sound. The likes of these British singers had their beginnings like most artist, in the underground, which gave them a lot of street cred by the time they hit the mainstream.

Amy Winehouse

Channeling the voices of the 60s and 70s era of singers like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Donny Hathaway, Steve Wonder and many others the new generation keeps alive the distinctive soul sound. Over the last decade we've had an American movement and now the British want to invade. From my standpoint, this might be one of the most welcoming invasion yet. Keep it coming.
NeoSoul Singers:
Link Source: Wikipedia
Photo Source: Artist Websites and Wikipedia

Friday, February 1, 2008

Microsoft Bids for Yahoo!

Today, cash heavy software company Microsoft, made public its whopping $44 billion dollar bid for search engine giant Yahoo. Microsoft is notoriously known for being stingy in spending or investing any of its enormous cash reserves, but with this eye-popping bid, in an effort to take on goliath Google, they are ready to crack the piggy bank and splurge on what will play a large part in their future growth--search technologies.

This could be perfect timing for Yahoo, as their shares have been slipping lately while Google's shares continue to remain steady. A few years back, Yahoo failed to take advantage of the lucrative advertising dollars of search, where Google gobbled up the market. Now as advertisers look to increase spending to a projected $80 billion over the next two years, Microsoft needs what market share Yahoo does have to capitalize on the growing popularity of the internet for news and entertainment where once mediums like radio, television, and newspapers ruled.

It's a strange time in corporate world. With the battle over being number one, It seems everyone wants a piece of anothers pie to get there. Because as Microsoft attempts to acquire Yahoo to capitalize on the lucrative display Ad market, Google looks to get into Microsoft territory with its own free office applications, Google Apps Team Edition.

While Microsoft's bid is monumental, they still have many hurdles ahead like possible antitrust laws, Yahoo shareholders, and the likely hood of other bidders. The internet business reminds me of the movie Dark City, where the everything changes overnight. Hopefully, what emerges in the morning will be a landscape beaming with new amazing options for the consumer.

Emerging web based mediums:

Entertainment:, YouTube, Fox On Demand

Newspaper: Craigslist

Photo Source: Paul Sakuma / AP file

Isuzu Calls It Quit in America

R.I.P Isuzu

After 26 years of selling commercial vehicles and passenger cars, the latter more than a decade ago, Isuzu America is no more. With only two truck models carrying the struggling car manufacture, the Ascender and I-series pickup, both based off General Motors' platforms, sales have declined drastically to just 4,138 units in 2007.

The writing on the wall was visible for some time, even as far back as 1993 when Isuzu stopped selling the popular Lotus-tuned Impulse (photo above) and Stylus sedan to focus on light trucks and SUVs. Even attempts to resurrect the brand in the public's mind with fictional 80s commercial icon, Joe Isuzu, didn't do much to improve sales or America's perception of the brand.

With so many companies trimming the fat of slow selling brands or models, it's sad to see Isuzu wasn't able to bring some innovative cars to our shores beyond the less stylish GM clones.

Saturday, January 26, 2008 Is Here!

Back in November 2007, announced that it would be beta testing its new website that offers premium programming in popular television shows, movies, and video clips among other media. Several popular networks like E! Entertainment, FUEL TV, SciFi Network and USA Network and others have partnered with Hulu to provide a full programming experience.

If you were interested in becoming a beta test participant, you were able to do so by providing your contact information for access to the site when it launched.

Only a select few, according to Hulu, would be chosen for access to the site. I signed up, hopeful that I would be picked to participate. Yesterday I received an email confirmation from Hulu with a login and password.

Here are some initial thoughts.

From the get go, I was pleased with the quality of the streaming video. Having looked at hundreds of videos on the web with grainy, pixelated quality, Hulu's video quality is refreshing with an HD look in normal viewing mode. The variety of popular shows they've managed to lineup so far is impressive--even offering programs that viewers could only watch with cable or satellite.

Hulu provides several viewing options to enhance your media experience with features like full-screen or pop out mode for a more cinematic look. Viewers can dim the lights of surrounding site, leaving the crisp video stream even more engaging.

Like YouTube, users can copy embedded code for placement on their website or blogs and share video with others. Hulu offers a users feedback section to flag video problems, or inappropriate content among other possible issues.

So far, I'm impressed. And for me, one of Hulu's greatest benefits is that it allows busy folks like myself to catch up on missed shows or when you've reached the maximum amount of programs you can record in an hour on your DVR.

For those who don't yet have access to Hulu's programs, I've posted a popular TV show from Hulu's site for you.

Episode 10 - Prison Break on FOX

Video Source:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gawker Spills The Beans on Tom Cruise

Patsy Cline's hit song, "Crazy" popped into my head after watching Tom Cruises' latest performance released by Gawker, now appearing on YouTube—Scientology's man of the year award. If you haven't seen the video, spoiler alert! Tom ingratiates himself and Scientology as the Rosetta Stone for the entire world.

In Tom's crazy, wild-eyed babbling discourse full of non sequiturs, he insinuates only a devoted follower of Scientology's principles can effect change on the world with their masterful ability to see a problem cosmically and somehow know what needs to be done.

Admittedly, I'm not that knowledgeable about Scientology's principles and practices, but I do believe that from Tom's perspective, the non-Scientologist is glib and the world is beyond their understanding, at least without the expensive guidance of a Scientologist auditor.

Other Cruise Moments:

In order to be one-up on the world around you, you got pay—dearly. A session to get enlightenment can run as much as $750 to more than $8,000 dollars. That's a lot cheese for what could be looked at as intangible results.

I think Tom's celebrity probably has done some damage to Scientology's quest for new assimilates. And strangely enough we never hear of other high profile members like John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, and others getting entangled in such media mishaps dealing with Scientology. Why? Because they'd all like to keep their careers.

Tom the Scientologist has been public knowledge for years, but I think now we know that insanity and Scientology is a dangerous mix that could blow at any moment.

P.S. On second thought maybe Scientology causes insanity. Hummm?

Famous Scientologist:


MARY BONO (wife of Sonny Bono)





Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hyundai Ask Are You Committed

Back in September Hyundai began a new marketing campaign called
"Think About It". The campaign was conceived by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, a marketing agency Hyundai recently tapped to redevelop their image in the mind of American customers. In Hyundai's press release, VP of marketing Joel Ewanick states, "Our new 'Think About It' advertising campaign is designed to be thought provoking."

After watching several of the aired commercials and reading ads placed in a few popular car magazines, I can affirm that the ads definitely have unearthed some latent thoughts I've had for years. One specific commercial, "where is the commitment," links our society's obsession with instant gratification to problems with commitment—something I think is a dying attribute in the American mind.

In this commercial it talks about physical appearance, our jobs, and our relationships as things we discard when we tire of them, regardless of our original commitment. The question is have we become so recklessly cavalier in light of the instant gratification modern society provides us?

As thought provoking as Hyundai's commercial may be, it can only provide a spark for self-examination of one’s commitments in life. How can we take the momentum of this marketing piece to a deeper personal level, leading us all towards change?

A starting point would be commitments close cousin—integrity.