Banning the Lord’s Prayer video

This video was made by the Church of England to help publicize a new prayer website. A cinema advertising firm was paid to show it as one of those advertisements that run before the previews. But then the advertising company banned the video on the grounds that it might offend some people.

Interestingly, though, the British public is now up in arms over the decision. Not just church leaders, but the Prime Minister, politicians of all parties, and representatives of those expected to be offended, including Muslims and atheists. Even the new atheist author Richard Dawkins is speaking out against the ban.

But enjoy the video for its own sake and as a Thanksgiving prayer.


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Sex doesn’t sell after all

“Sex sells,” according to the conventional wisdom on Madison Avenue, a principle that has led advertisers to use sexual imagery to sell everything from automobiles to cleaning supplies.  But a new study shows that sex–or violence–doesn’t sell at all, that advertising with sexual or violent imagery tends to be ineffective.  That’s because the imagery distracts viewers so much that they don’t remember the actual product they are supposed to buy! [Read more...]

The Eight Human Truths of Impulse

Candy sales have been soaring ever since marketers started putting their wares by checkout counters.  Such “impulse buying” increases the longer customers have to wait in line to get to the cash register.  Now, though, self-service checkout, online retailing, and other technological developments mean that consumers are spending less time in checkout lines, which manifests itself in less impulse buying and a problem for the snack industry.

Hershey’s, though, is planning new ways to sell its candy.  And it is using certain truths of human nature that they call the “Eight Human Truths of Impulse.” [Read more...]

Live-blog the Super Bowl commercials

A curious development in the history of the NFL championship game has been the role of commercials.  Viewership is so huge for the big game that ad agencies have been going all-out to come up with the best commercials they can devise.  So commercials have become themselves a beloved part of the festival.  And for much of America whose teams didn’t make it into the game and for people who don’t care that much about football at all but go to watch parties anyway, the commercials are the best part.

So this is the place to live-blog the commercials.  Which ones work and which ones don’t?  Which is the best?  Which ones are really bad?  Which ones are clever, funny, or mildly amusing?  Do any of them actually make you want to buy their products?  Are any of them as good as this one?

Why they cancelled “Longmire”

One of my favorite TV shows has been Longmire, an extremely well-done mystery series centering around a modern-day sheriff on the high plains of Wyoming.  It’s critically-acclaimed and one of the A&E Networks’ top-rated shows.  So the network is cancelling it.  The reason why–even though it is said that we are in a new “Golden Age” of TV drama–tells us much about network TV.  And why TV funded by subscription rather than advertising, such as Netflix and HBO, is coming into its own. [Read more...]

Google invading your car

If you have a newish car, you can already integrate it with your smartphone, answering your cell with a button on your steering wheel and carrying on cellphone conversations through your car’s speakers.  You can even buy “apps” for your car.  But when your car is your phone and your computer, outside entities are getting their hooks into you.  The price of getting information from the web is that the web is getting information on you.

Now Google has announced new initiatives with auto manufacturers, turning cars into Android devices.  This will allow Google–along with its client companies and its government snoopers–to collect all kinds of personal information about the drivers.  Google will be able to place ads– tailor made just for you and your buying weaknesses–right into your car.

Won’t that be a great advance in automotive technology? [Read more...]