Part Deux: OTT Is Where Everyone Wants to Be

Awesomeness TV

Today’s announcement that Verizon is taking a 24.5% stake in Awesomeness TV is another indicator that the hot, barely-tethered, Millennial marketplace is where the content distributors and content creators need to be. Fullscreen has AT&T ,AwesomenessTV has Verizon, Twitter just got the rights for NFL Thursday Night Football, and Vice will eventually take over the world (or at least France). It’s gonna get confusing and then there’s going to be consolidation. It will be fun to watch everyone duke it out.

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OTT Is Where Everyone Wants To Be

person using mobile phone
Fullscreen is launching an OTT service on April 26. This is a game content distributors need to get in now. The OTT landscape is going to get crowded, and confusing, during the next couple of years, then the dominant players will shake out the weaklings. It will be Darwinian business at its best. The big question is, “If I’m paying $4.99 – $9.99 a month for nine different OTT services, how is that better than cable/satellite?” We’ll see. #OTT #Fullscreen

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Disaster Avoided at Pokémon World Championships

A disaster was avoided this weekend at the Pokémon World Championships in Boston, and it was due to the quick thinking and courage of several people. Two men traveled to the tournament with a shotgun, AR-15 assault rife, a hunting knife, and 250 rounds of ammunition. These dudes had qualified to be in the tournament, which is no easy feat. The moderator of a private Facebook group became concerned based on comments these guys made online, and this person told security at the tourney who, in turn, alerted the Boston PD. The tourney organizers informed everyone on Sunday afternoon, after the threat was over. Thousands of people came together to play the game they love — and they did so safely. I’ve worked with the Pokémon team for many years and it’s an incredible undertaking for them to put on all of the tournaments, especially the World Championships. Kudos to Pokémon and Nintendo for a job well done. These kinds of things can be terrible for a brand and they handled themselves expertly. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Read more about it on Motherboard and The Daily Beast. Image: Jason Koebler

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Rules of Engagement, Or Why Democrats Should Behave Like They’re in Whole Foods on a Thursday Night

Whole Foods Parking Lot
This week was an exciting week. Thanks to Jill Robinson, a piece I wrote was posted on the Huffington Post. You can read the post here, and I’ve reposted the text below.


Machiavelli said, “Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”

Congressional Democrats would do well to heed such advice as they face the mid-term election in just over a fortnight. President Obama’s approval rating may be at an all-time low, but he got the Affordable Care Act passed and it’s working. Millions of people currently have health care who didn’t have health care a year ago. Sure, it was hard, and there were some bumps in the road (can you say “worst website EVER!”), but America has inched a tiny bit closer to the national health care standards set by countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom, and even Canada.

This is a giant feather in the Dems’ cap and what are they doing with it? Nothing. Not a darn thing. Congressional Democrats are letting the Republicans drive the story points in almost every race across the country. OK, we better beef up our armed forces otherwise ISIS is going to hit U.S. soil TOMORROW. But, wait, we can’t forget about closing our borders so that Ebola doesn’t wipe out half the population. Or maybe the best course of action is to reduce taxes, allow open carry, ban gay marriage, and put prayer back in schools. How about that?

What the Democrats need to do is pretend they’re at Whole Foods on a Thursday night. What they need to do, right now, is imagine themselves turning their Prius/Volt/Tesla into the store’s parking lot, only to realize, too late, that they turned down the parking aisle in which a medical-marijuana-toasted, middle-aged dude with no back-up camera on his beat-up, copper-colored Saturn repeatedly backs out of, and then into, a compact space that’s too compact for his mid-sized sedan. When faced with this situation, any self-respecting Democrat would see danger ahead and spy the hipster family walking straight towards their aisle carrying a mere two bags of groceries. Most intelligent Democrats would immediately turn on their blinker so as to warn all around them that they “own” the space soon to be vacated by said hipster family. If anyone else dare get near the soon-to-be-empty space, all REAL Democrats would honk and curse out the window to warn off the predators. But when faced with an opponent from the opposite party, no, they simply sit silently in their car and wish the crazy medical-marijuana-man away. It ain’t gonna happen. Ever.

What Congressional Democrats need to do, now, is go on the offensive. They need to remind Americans that the President’s party kept its promise to provide affordable health care to all. They need to remind Americans of the ridiculous lengths the Republicans went to to scare people into thinking the President, and his party, were going to turn this country into a Socialist state. You don’t hear Republicans referring to “Obamacare” now, do you? No, because they study Machiavelli and they know that “fear preserves you by a punishment that never fails.” Yep, the Republicans have the fear thing down. They realize Americans aren’t fearful about health care anymore, so they’ve turned our attention to ISIS and Ebola and higher taxes.

What the Democrats need to do, now, is use Machiavelli’s principles to direct voters’ attention to the fact that Republicans tried to block their access to affordable health care. When they lost that battle, Republicans even tried to reverse the Affordable Care Act. What Democrats need to do, now, is remind Americans that if they vote for a Republican, they are voting against access to vaccines for children, cheaper medications for seniors, and wellness care for all Americans. What Democrats want is to be loved by their constituents, but Machiavelli tells us that it’s better to be feared than loved because love is fickle while fear is not. Machiavelli is right.

The Democrats have the killer instinct in them. They do. They have searing ambition, which can blind them to the thin, gray line between ethical and unethical. Democrats have the potential to subsume their interest in others to their interest in themselves. But they have a problem. Their Achilles heel is they want to be loved. Their need for love seriously hinders their chances of winning the mid-term elections.

What Congressional Democrats need to do, right now, is pretend they got that parking space from the hipster couple and they are in line at the deli counter in Whole Foods on a busy Thursday night. There’s a confused, old man, with dirty pants, in front of them and he’s just put his little paper number on the deli counter for a second while he digs in his sticky pants pockets for a snotty hanky, or something. What Democrats needs to do, right now, is quickly switch their higher number with the dirty man’s lower number, which is the next one due to be called. If the smelly, confused man realizes something is wrong, the Democrats need only to begin ordering loudly and then answer an imaginary call on their Bluetooth earpiece.

I know the Democrats can do this. I have seen them at Whole Foods on a busy Thursday night, doing whatever they need to do to get their artisanal ham and hand-crafted, soft cheese. I have seen them.

It is better to be feared than to be loved.

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Nice Sphinx-er

Check out this new ad from Netflix. I have a no puppets and no clowns rule in advertising but I’m willing to rethink it based on this ad. Not only is it funny and engaging but it shows a good use case for the product. I can’t find anything about who produced it but I think it’s great.

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I Miss Miami Vice

I have no vested interest in the game but I’m going to watch it anyway, especially for the commercials.

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Pigeon Impossible—Um, Wow!

This is great. Beautifully done. Story is good. This guy should be working for Pixar. Thanks to Chris G. for sending it to me.

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Duck and Cover

ducks in summerducks back 2 school

So, every day when I drive to work I take Bicknell down to Main Street in Santa Monica because it gives me a clear view of the ocean and every day I can see the ocean is a good day. Anyway, there’s this house that has two plastic ducks out front, where the mailbox normally is placed, and the owner dresses these ducks in custom-made outfits. I walked over there yesterday to take a photo of the ducks, who were dressed in the lovely beach outfits on the top. I met the owner’s tenant who is a lovely guy and we chatted for a bit and exchanged cards. Today, he emailed me to tell me that the outfits had been changed to a back-to-school theme, complete with cheerleader ducklings (which you can’t see in the photo above). I love that this lady does this for the sole purpose of entertaining herself and the passers by.

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What Makes Me Happy? This!

This is my favorite ad (besides the ones we’ve done) on TV right now. It’s cheap, it’s happy and it’s memorable. The song was done by the Buckwheat Boyz and you can listen to the whole thing here. Check out their MySpace page here. The Baskin Robbins spot is supplemented by a contest where you can win $10,000 and $1,000 in ice cream cake. Enter here. The ad was done by Cliff Freeman & Partners. Kudos to them.

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I’d like to thank the Academy…

summit awards logotelly awards logo

OK, so we won some awards. My agency (Signal Theory) won a Summit Creative Award and two Telly Awards (one for animation and one for children’s audience) for a Pokémon TV spot we did last year. We didn’t used to care about awards but then we realized clients care about awards. And then we started collecing statues and it became kind of fun. You can check out the TV spot here. Thanks to everyone for their hard work on the spot.

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