The Culture Wars: Advertising

An investigation into advertising in the culture wars over time.

The year is 1971 and the culture war is raging. Richard Nixon is President. The New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. Large-scale May Day protests against the Vietnam War lead to mass arrests. Cigarette advertising is banned from television. Greenpeace is born, signaling the rise of the environmental movement. Sixty-percent of the American public is opposed to the Vietnam War. The 26th Amendment is ratified lowering the voting age to age 18. Ping Pong Diplomacy delights the public as the U.S. table tennis team visits the People’s Republic of China.

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The Culture Wars: Trust

An investigation into the impact the culture wars are having on trust.

Trust, and learning who to trust, begins in very early childhood. A study by Harris and Koenig found that 3 and 4 year-olds very quickly learn who to trust when presented with two speakers — one who consistently named a set of familiar objects accurately (cup, ball, shoe) and the other who consistently labeled them inaccurately. After three pieces of evidence about the speakers’ accuracy, the children preferred to learn new information from the accurate speaker.

If only we could be those 3 and 4 year-olds it would be so much simpler...

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The Culture Wars: Introduction

Introduction into the 12-part series on the culture wars

Mac versus PC, mainstream versus social media, democrat versus republican, male versus female, Chevy versus Ford, religion versus religion, and the list goes on. Culture wars are not new and they are not going away. But, they are not all created equally.

A culture war over brand of truck or computer is playful and inconsequential to either tribe. In fact, people want the other side to exist so that they have the ability to engage in a playful war….

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The Art of Politics

I believe the most powerful way to observe culture is to look beyond just what is happening today and look instead at how it differs (or doesn’t) from what was done in the past. When it comes to political posters there are very few unique messages and sadly not many unique styles either.

Although not all were official campaign posters, some took on that role because they became voter favorites.

To view the series published on Medium, click the link below.  

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The Power of Play

These edible letters have combined two simple things from childhood into one. Both irresistible. Both incredibly tactile. Both can make even a type-A stop to play.

You remember those letter magnets that help kids learn the alphabet? There’s something about those chunky letters — solid lines so perfectly formed that you don’t just experience the letter visually, you take it in tactically as well. It’s the tactile experience that creates an immutable bond. Put those magnet letters in front of someone and they have to touch them. They’ll line them up. They’ll spell words. Put them in order. Organize them into groups. They’ll touch and play.

And Jello? It is beyond human capability to eat Jello without making it wiggle. You have to do it. Jello’s wiggle is an irresistible force. Just like the letters, tactile play.

Put those two things together and you’ve got perfectly chunky tactile letters that will wiggle for you. I must have these letters from m-inspira.

Navigating the Culture Wars

If you are not one of the few brands who has social activism in your DNA –a brand that people know what to expect and have already embraced or rejected because of the activist stance– you need to use caution entering the social activism/commentary space.

Countless brands have entered recently and faced varying degrees of backlash. Nike is worthy of a long analysis which I’ll be doing soon. Ditto Ben and Jerry’s and ABC.

In honor of Halloween, today’s micro example is Hulu’s halloween costume tweet.

Beware the Zombie Profiles

Will data devour your insight?

In 1965 Gordon Moore made a prediction about how computing power would evolve over the next ten years. Fifty years later, he’s been mostly right and the application of Moore’s law has transformed technology.

An interesting thought experiment about Moore’s law was to imagine the automobile if it followed the same trajectory. Former Intel CEO Brian Krzanich explained that if a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle had advanced at the pace of Moore’s law over 34 years, “you would be able to go with that car 300,000 miles per hour. You would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and all that for the mere cost of four cents.”

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You can tap human behavior

You can seldom change it.

I want to be Tom Fishburne. He's got the friendliest way of skewering every ridiculous, lost touch with reality thing that marketers try to do.

If you don't already know him, you should. His website - Marketoonist - is full of hilarious, insightful gems.