Published on: December 11, 2009
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to go with my best friend to the Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots game at Landshark Stadium in South Florida. It was an exciting game, with the Dolphins upsetting the Patriots; while I had the Pats in my football pool, I never complain about an exciting football game that goes down to the final minutes, especially if I happen to be in the stands.
Before the game, we were hanging out, having a Landshark Lager (of course), and I spotted an interesting promotion that seemed so emblematic of the ways in which marketers can rely on methods that are out of touch with reality.
There was a kiosk from which a couple of people were trying to get people to take out subscriptions to the Miami Herald
by offering a Dolphins blanket as a giveaway.
Wait a minute. We’re in South Florida, and they’re trying to get people to use an outmoded form of media by giving away a blanket that people would have t take back to their seats to hold for the duration of a game being played in 75-degree heat?
No wonder they weren’t getting a lot of takers.
Now, to be fair, when I engaged the woman working the booth in conversation (and I’m sure the last think she needed was some wisenheimer Northerner challenging her when all she wanted to do was her job), she explained, very patiently, that some houses in South Florida don’t have heat, and that a blanket could be very useful. And, she said, there are people who rely on the newspaper - like her 94-year-old father.
All of which is well and good. Except that I’m not sure I’d build a promotion on the hope that senior citizens occasionally might get cold while reading an actual print newspaper.
It always is tempting ... reassuring, really ... to fall back on old world methods to reach an old world audience with old world products. After all, when you venture into the new world, there always is the worry that you’re going to fall off.
But, as they say, nothing ventured...
If you haven’t seen it, go out of your way to check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert, which is playing this month on HBO.
This is a fabulous program that will get you tapping your feet and humming along as some of the true legends of rock perform at Madison Square Garden. Some of the selections will be familiar - Simon and Garfunkel doing “The Sounds of Silence” and John Fogarty doing “Fortunate Son.” Mrs. Content Guy fell in love with Sam Moore singing “Soul Man.” And Bruce Springsteen, doing a series of duets with a range of rock stars, proved that he is someone who takes the heritage of rock and roll very seriously, while wearing his mantle as rock’s biggest star very lightly.
Great viewing. Great listening.
BTW...I love Billy Joel, but there is a marked difference between him and the Boss when they appear on stage together, even though he is just four months older than Springsteen. (They’re both 60.) Joel has gained a lot of weight and lost his hair, and he limps a little bit while walking to his piano; he also seemed to be having a little trouble remembering the words to some of the songs. Springsteen, on the other hand, can best be described as a muscular rock star - he is full of energy, glistens with sweat as he performs, and radiates enthusiasm.
As I’ve said here before, I love my Kindle. One of my favorite features, it sends up, is the ability to download samples from books that I’m curious about, so that I can read a few chapters before making a buying decision. Some people say that when you stop going into bookstores it eliminates the pleasure of browsing, but that’s not my experience.
Right now, I’m deciding between a number of books:
• “The Evolution of God,” by Robert Wright.
• “In Praise of Slowness,” by Carl Honore
• “The Last Best Hope,” by Joe Scarborough
• “Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years,” by Michael Palin
• “Denialism,” by Michael Specter
• “Googled,” by Ken Auletta
• “Spooner,” by Pete Dexter
The hard part? I want to read all of them.
I was a huge fan of the old “The Making of the President” books by Theodore H. White (his “In Search Of History” also is a longtime favorite of mine). So I very much enjoyed reading “The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election,’ by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson.
Maybe you have to be a man of a certain age to get this new TNT series, but I really liked “Men of a Certain Age,” the new Ray Romano-Scott Bakula-Andre Braugher project that debuted this week. All three actors play men approaching fifty with varying degrees of trepidation, panic, desperation...and even a sense of humor. Guys our age have all had that moment when we look in the mirror and wonder where that wrinkle came from, how all that gray popped in overnight, or how come there seems to be a little less hair in one corner of our forehead than there used to be.
“Men of a Certain Age” is strong television. it’ll be interesting to see where it goes as the program evolves.
My wine of the week: the 2006 Lackey Shiraz from South Australia, which is a highly affordable (about fourteen bucks), robust and smooth red wine - as good with a steak as with risotto.
Enjoy, and thank me later.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.