Thursday, May 28, 2009

WTF LDS Media Planning?

Perhaps I am a little biased as a former rank-and-file member, but, in general, I would say the Mormons have done a pretty good job with their marketing and pr since, oh, . . . the 1980's.

In fact, to this day, I think the whole "Family, isn't it about . . . time?" campaign is pretty freakin' genius.

(Although the version aired in the U.S. did not have British accents; I think this is dubbed.)

But I seriously have to question this most recent move towards "interactive" media:

My friends and I were settling in to watch some hilarious SNL parody courtesy of the delightful Amy Poehler, when, ACK! It's Jesus! Offering me a Book of Mormon!

What is this trying to say? The Good Lord likes to get his chuckles, too? By watching SNL? Ironic, since the Church-owned NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City refused to carry SNL.

Maybe the Church is trying to save me from SNL? "Stop! Before you think of pushing play, remember Jesus and return to Jesus!"??

Bemused and befuddled, I watched the rest of The Dakota Fanning Show skit (hilarious, if you haven't seen it.) and learned a valuable lesson: blindly-placed banner ads (or any kinds of ads) are bad. Very bad.

*Please let it be noted that the PC display you see represented in the photo in no way reflects my own computer usage proclivities. The session of SNL viewing was done on a friend's PC and not on my own very lovely MacBook.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Los Angeles 3.0

It's true. I am back. I have left the fog-shrouded hills of San Francisco for the smog-shrouded hills of Hollywood.


Well, part of it is because I have inexplicably fallen in love with this adorable dork:

. . . and in spite of our gloomy recession was able to find an amazing job here three weeks after losing his old one.

We discussed it and agreed L.A. was a good option for both of us. For those of you who don't know, I was born here . . .

(B-Day No. 2, I think in like West Covina)

. . . and have wanted to come back ever since the parents cruelly forced the family into Utah exile. I tried coming back for undergrad and ended up at BYU. I kind of came back for a short while when I was a missionary in East LA for the LDS Church, but, of course, I then had to go back to Utah. I tried coming back for grad school, and ended up in San Francisco at the Academy of Art University. So the plan was to head down after the MFA to find a kick ass position in account planning.

Well, the plan has been sped up slightly. I am done with the studio core of my program and the bulk of it now is finding (a) great internship(s) at an advertising agency (in Los Angeles, now, instead of San Francisco).

In the mean time, I am enjoying the beautiful weather in Southern California and am preparing to present for Mid-Point Review.

I am sorry for being M.I.A. on the blogging front for the past couple of weeks. Finals AND packing AND apartment hunting in a different part of the state have been a lot to juggle. Last week was spent just decompressing and unpacking the surprising amount of stuff Shane and I have both amassed (anyone need a lava lamp?).

Thanks to everyone who showed up to help us pack and send us off.

Full set of Good-Bye pics here.

If you want to check out some pics of our new apt (sans furniture) click here.

We both love our new place. We are excited for all of the opportunities in L.A., to build a home together, and to defy the preconceptions of all of our SF friends and prove how wonderful and multifaceted L.A. really is.

Friday, May 8, 2009

All the Laaadies!

This goes out to all of my lady friends out there, in particular my dear friend, Noemie, who showed me that awful Quattro ad weeks ago:

Ultimately, what irks me about this is holding on to cultural traditions that don't serve us. Tip-toeing around anatomy for the sake of Puritanical comfort breeds attitudes that make women ashamed of their own bodies and lead some people to think that when not being used for sex, vaginas are icky.

This reminds of (of course!) that wonderful female driven show, Sex and the City. In one episode Charlotte is so uptight she has never actually looked at her own vag. Its not until her mid- 30's that she finally grabs a hand-held mirror and takes a peek. What does she learn? It actually looks really nice! Also reminds of an episode where Samantha gets scrutinized by a guy for being "between waxes". She grabs a pair of clippers and turns the tables on him. He learns: Hey! It looks bigger!

While I am not suggesting we put overtly sexual material out in the general public sphere. I am saying calling a penis a "wee-wee" or a vagina a "who-ha" creates internal conflict about body image and negatively affects sexual interactions in the future, which then negatively impacts families. Whether you're a conservative Mormon or gay marriage activist, don't we all want stronger families?

So let's be honest with ourselves and each other and maybe we can help erode inferiority complexes and unrealistic expectations. And maybe advertisers won't sell products like nervous middle-schoolers.

(Current TV's Target Women is one my favorite things out there.)


Chicken for you! And you! And you! And you!!!!


Okay. So Everyone is talking about this KFC thing with Oprah.

NPR article here

And really it is worth noting. I mean, this is what happens when powerful forces collide and you have unexpected demand (that should have been expected). But not many are actually taking a look at what this means for KFC's future long term.

AdAge does a great job of describing the problem, and maybe some of the short-term fall out. It's really worth reading.

Ultimately, though, I don't think this one snafu is going to crumble KFC's chances of turning around their brand and sales.

In my humble opinion, Kentucky Grilled Chicken is not going to do it. But it sure will help. Some people have said KFC should own its unhealthiness, and be a guilty indulgence. Well, at some point that brand positioning gets a little tired if EVERYONE is doing it, and also, there are cheaper unhealthy indulgences, and I just don't think KFC can drop their prices much more and remain competitive, which means they will have to reduce food quality or portions (which last time I went to KFC was already suffering) and thus lose the enjoyment of indulging.

I see KFC's real hope, especially in this "downturn" economy, in reinforcing their family-friendliness. Convince me that I can feed my family well, without breaking the bank too much, at KFC. Even in a recession, people still want to order out, whether it's because they are tired or they want to celebrate a little or let loose.

The thing is, who wants to order toxic, fat-laden chicken and reconstituted potatoes to their family?

So I agree that grilled is a step in the right direction, but, I need to know that if order from KFC (and I will probably want to get some fried chicken, because, well, now that you mention it, it does sound kind of yummy) I can get some food that is FRESH.

Cut back on cheese covered and let me know that I can get some fresh yummy veggies or yams or red potatoes (with the skin) with that. Let me know that I can get some rolls that are whole grain (where butter and milk are not the two main ingredients) and maybe something with fresh (unglazed) berries for dessert.

KFC is about the fried chicken, and if it tastes as good as it did when I was kid, then it is pretty-darned good, but as a more health-conscious human being, I need to know that if I get a whole meal from KFC, it won't be all bad for me. I am willing to accept a little fried, if I know the meal as a whole is fresh and wholesome and shows some color and life on my plate (and those sad-looking brown green beans aren't going to cut it).

I remember when I went to this amazing Southern BBQ place in SF. I knew most of it was not super-healthy (much as I tried to convince myself by ordering the delicious mustard greens), but at least I knew that everything I ate was made that day and was made with good ingredients.

Right now, everything from KFC has that fresh-from-the-microwave aroma and that genuine, 5-gallon bucket stirred goodness.