Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: July 2010

Inevitable Parody

National Public Radio recently posted a poll to determine the 100 Best Thriller Novels of all time, based on recommendations from their listeners. Much to her surprise and delight, seananmcguire discovered that her book FEED had made the top 200 list and was eligible in the reader poll for the top 100.

Some people in the comments complained that they couldn’t get the poll to come up properly, due to filtering software at their location. kyburg commented “I’ve refreshed so many times I’m the $#@%! Old Spice Man.”

And my brain went click.

So here, for your enjoyment, is the Isaiah Mustafa Old Spice commercial I imagine for Mira Grant’s novel, FEED:

“Hello, readers. Look at your book. Now back to me. Now back at your book. Now back to me. Sadly, you aren’t me, but if you stopped reading trashy airport novels and switched to FEED by Mira Grant, you could be well-read like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on the beach with the person you could be as well read as. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it; it’s an epidemiology textbook with an explanation of the science behind the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Look again, the textbook is now a DVD of the future Rosemary and Rue movie. Anything is possible when you read FEED by Mira Grant. I’m on a velociraptor.”

Truth in Advertising, I guess

In the fridge at work today, I noticed a container of margarine left over from our recent summer office party. It was a Kroger store brand called, I kid you not, “Butter It’s Not!”

Wow. That’s a really bold stand for a product to make. “What’s in this container? Heaven only knows, but it’s not butter. Could be absolutely anything, but butter? Not a chance.”

This causes me to wonder two things: what names did the marketing geniuses behind this product *reject* before settling on “Butter It’s Not”. And who on earth is inspired to buy it based on that name. “Honey, go to the store and get some milk and cheese. But don’t get any butter!” “Ok, sweetie. Back in a bit.” ::trundles off to store:: “Oh good, here’s the no butter. I was wondering what aisle it would be on!”

Once upon a time, my friend Jim had a giant bottle of generic acetaminophen (paracetamol), which was labelled in giant block letters: NON-ASPIRIN TABLETS. I said, “Jim, you do realize that you have no idea what’s in this bottle, right? It could be anything. It could be arsenic. The only thing they’re willing to assure you is that it isn’t aspirin.”

It really does make you want to be a fly on the wall during the brainstorming sessions in the marketing department.

[Further amusement: I decided to go find a photo of this product to add to this post. A Google search turned up a perfect image, so I clicked through to it and, since it was on Flickr, checked the usage license. I was terribly amused that I had managed, in a google search of a random store-brand product, managed to select a photo taken by erinwrites. It’s a small, small world. Thanks to Erin for permission to use the photo. *grin*]

Signal Boost: Old Spice and Gender Politics in Advertising

xiphias is a pretty cool guy on the best of days. Today, he makes some observations about the current Old Spice ad campaign that I thought so worthwhile, I wanted to get other people to see them. It’s so short, I hate to excerpt it, but here’s the money quote:

It’s addressed to women, with the impression that WOMEN are people who can make choices. It’s not terribly feminist, yes, but there IS a difference between the commercials for men’s deodorant which treat women as props and these, which at least make a nod to the idea that women are people.

Go forth and read.

Blizzard sensibly backs away from new forum policy

Since I got a fair bit of response to yesterday’s comments on Blizzard Entertainment’s proposed forum policies and the privacy implications of them, I wanted to make sure and take the time to note that they are responding to their customers in a postive manner. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime made this post today on the game’s forums:

Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

Just as they deserved the brickbat when they were proposing to do something stupid, they deserve praise for recognizing they’d mis-stepped (and in a rare move for most companies, recognizing it before they actually implemented it.

Good job, Blizzard. Very good job.

Blizzard “Real ID” system sparks controversy

Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft and other games, unveils controversial new forum policies

I’m a person who has long argued that there is no privacy on the Internet,there never was any privacy on the Internet, and that pretending otherwise is a comfortable delusion people craft for themselves in order to not freak out thinking about how much of their personal information is floating around in the ether.

Having said that…Blizzard is seriously out of bounds on this one. The concern isn’t just the forums. If it was, we’d all just shrug and go on with our lives; I can’t remember the last time I read the official forums, much less posted to them. And as you can see, I post to Usenet with my real name and e-mail address, and have done so for 20 years, so I’m not overly concerned with people finding me .

But then, I’ve never had a stalker. I’ve never been sexually assaulted. I’ve never been the victim of identity theft. I’ve never been harassed because I’m female, or gay, or transgendered. But I know people who fall into every single one of those categories, some of them very close to me. Their concerns about protecting their identity from random strangers are real, substantial, and very much valid.

Right now, it’s just the forums, but what happens when they decide to reveal your real name to people using the Armoury? Or an in-game query against your character? As much as I generally regard slippery-slope arguments as a fallacy, it does seem very clear that Blizzard has a cavalier attitude towards its users’ identities, and that is troubling.

It’s one thing to soapbox about the illusion of privacy on the Internet, and another thing to simply blatantly ignore the importance of the illusion and flagrantly expose your users’ information. There may be only the thinnest line between you and the world, but that thin line matters; it’s part of the social contract that allows the Internet to function.

Bad move, Blizzard. Very, very bad move.

More reading on this that I liked:

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén