Loose Change: The Sequel

Proving that denial is not just a river in Egypt, General Motors Corp. said it would build an updated version of the Camaro, set to go on sale in early 2009--reviving the high-powered performance car at a time when American consumers are increasingly opting for smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles in the face of high gasoline prices. Maybe they plan to make it run ONLY on nitrous oxide.

Two consumer groups filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, accusing 77 TV stations of running video news releases without properly identifying them as being created by third parties. The groups said that video news releases that aren't tagged as such can deceive viewers into believing they are watching neutral news reports. Problem is, most of the fake news footage is better than the usual local news parade of weight-loss success stories, peeks at new baby bears at the zoo, and mini-documentaries on successful lemonade stands.

In early July, a company launched an online ad network aimed at bike riders preceded by the launch of the Top Dog Network, which was aimed at dog owners (or dogs themselves, who knows?) Other niches that are crying out to be reached online: people who hate online advertising; former AOL subscribers (think of the reach!); teenagers about to lose LimeWire; people who didn't read this because they were at the beach.



Since 1977, a Harris poll has annually measured public perceptions of 23 professions and occupations. Answering the eternal question of "how low can you go." the percentage of U.S. adults who say business executives have "very great" prestige has dropped from a dizzying 18 to a current snake-belly 11 percent. This puts the Business Roundtable set on par with stockbrokers--but beneath other cellar-dwellers like actors, union leaders, journalists, bankers, accountants and entertainers. Wait till they create categories for telemarketers and cable TV executives.

Creating real-looking profiles for fictional characters is the latest step in marketers' quests to reach the highly sought-after MySpace contingent, according to news reporters. Can't wait to trade e-mails with Hannibal Lecter, Don Birnam, Tom Rath and Joe Clay (gentleman, start your Googles...).

Under the terms of a new agreement with Toyota, NBC has guaranteed a specific level of viewer engagement for the TV programs that carry Toyota ads. Toyota says that it has gone this route in response to studies showing that audiences that are attentive during a TV show are more likely to retain information about the accompanying commercials. Unlike my house, where commercials are like the Big Bang, dispersing viewers in all directions until they settle into pod-long orbits around the commode, the refrigerator or e-mail.

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