Bytes & Bites

An obscure French marketing trade magazine, "Le BuyMoreSheet," has disclosed that Zinédine Zidane is opening an online anger management course and that his head-butting in the final minutes of the World Cup was a form of world-stage guerilla marketing to draw attention to his post-futbol enterprise. In fact, dozens of college students organized by Mark McCormack--who returned from the dead to help Zidane promote the course--were seen at the exits of Olympiastadion wearing T-shirts of Marco Materazzi flat on his back, passing out flyers for Zidane's first session, entitled: "Ever Feel Like Kicking Some Italian's Ass on Global TV?"

Former network news anchor Dan Rather and Ted Koppel are claiming that they are having more fun laboring in total obscurity than they did as Big Shots on national TV, although both confess to having a hard time getting used to eating in the back room at Michael's.

Predator-networking site has surpassed Internet powerhouses Yahoo and Google as the most popular U.S. Web site, according to research from some outfit which knows these things. In the week ended July 8, 4.5 percent of all U.S. visits to the Web were to, and traffic to the site has soared 132 percent in the last year alone. The audience is composed of 23.4 percent college students; 18.6 percent high school students; 32.7 percent convicted sex offenders; 15.7 percent Catholic priests; and 27.5 percent, guys who think that by listing little-known British punk bands, some girls will think they are cool.



Otherwise astute observer of the ad world Steve Hall, in a desperate-for-copy weak moment, picked up from a press release that "ad network Bluelithium had received a Top Innovator of the Year Award from technology publisher AlwaysOn." Among the other winners of this seminal award: Claria. Steve has promised to post all future copy to adrants before opening the Merlot.

The FCC increasingly has been asking for tapes of sports broadcasts as it reviews indecency and profanity complaints, which have increased exponentially. One wonders if viewers object to the digital, ambient, surround-sound that makes it virtually impossible to tune out exuberant fans with four-letter comments, or obscene chants, or the fact that Barry Bonds is still playing every day.

In a demonstration that high salaries and great benefits do not attract the best marketing minds, both Mentos and Diet Coke are inviting users to send in new video, now that the viral video of the explosive geysers is so OVER. Kind of like when Galliano knock-offs show up on the racks at Wal-Mart.

Your audience has been falling steadily for years. What do you do? Figure out a way to annoy viewers even MORE! According to the Mindshare "Clutter Watch" report and a MediaPost story, "broadcast and cable networks [are] reaching the highest levels of prime-time commercialization ever." Geez, just can't wait for that commercial ratings system to kick in. Let's see--how many people are in a .000000000000356 share point?

In spite of some softness (again) in the upfront, not all the news is bad for the networks. For example, a new survey of daring, live-on-the-edge agency execs by the Association of National Advertisers reports that "trends thought to be hot, such as videogame advertising and mobile marketing, were viewed as least significant to the marketing mix." The last thing they ignored was something called "the Internet."

In a boondoggle generally reserved for New York City public school officials who use tax dollars for mad money, trade group American Business Media will kick off a "global initiative" by taking CEO members on a trip to China this October. The trip is being billed as a chance to talk with government officials and other publishers already successful in China. It wasn't so long ago that steel, garment and computer CEOs made similar trips... leaving the carcasses of their industries for the People's Republic to pick over.

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