Media X: Road Rules

Last weekend, we took another trip up to Santa Cruz to search for a domicile for the kid -- and again I found many marketing nuggets to share with all my friends in the media business.

I learned from the TV in the Rio Sands Motel (100 steps to the beach, or 125 if it's midnight, and you're weaving) that Santa Cruz considers itself the Central Coast, although it looks like part of the Northern California cultural gestalt to me. When we got down to Capitola Village on Monday morning, one storekeeper was doing tai chi outside her surf shop.

We strolled through the Capitola Mall, where I learned the difference between a "bro" store and your basic Hot Topic. "Bro" fashion, it seems, is more or less ghetto apparel for white kids.

There's nugget No. 1 for you agencyites and clientists.

My son proclaimed himself a "bro" after I asked him what it meant and patiently waited out the inevitable sneer of condescension. Patience is an effective tactic when communicating with extraterrestrials. (All the ones visiting Earth seem to be 18-24 years old.)



That's two nuggets already -- I'm too good to you people.

I wondered what was up with all the American flags. I went looking for a Republican, which I finally found after a couple of hours. He reminded me that it was Columbus Day. Why is this holiday a marketing orphan? Where are all the cutesy explorer references? The "Columbus sailed around the world, all you have to do is come down to Numnuts Motors for a brand new, previously owned Chrysler" spots? I watched football on and off all weekend. I didn't see one Columbus Day beer ad.

You guys ought to jump on this holiday. Apparently, nobody "owns" it yet.

You're welcome for yet another nugget.

Anyway, we eat at Chili's. That was it for brand consumption for the long weekend. And a blissful three days it was, too.

Marketers have tinkered with giving us a commercial break -- television shows sans spots, or those special issues of magazines with one sponsor and no ads. (Magazines: flat, made out of this thin, crinkly stuff with ink on it.) But you should give us ad-free passes more frequently.

It cleanses the consumer palate, you know? Empties the engagement bucket. Gets us refreshed for the next load of crap you're going to throw at us. I'd particularly welcome it from your colleagues in the political arena, who really need to die already.

That's four ideation-ready nuggets in this column so far. You people are spoiled rotten.

Finally, we played a lot more with the GPS system in our Scion. You can find almost anything on there -- with logos, too. Well, except for "gentlemen's clubs." I know that for a fact.

Why aren't there ads on these things? Or at least the opportunity for marketers to stand out by paying for bigger logos? I mean, it's a digital search channel, right? Someone's asleep at the advertising switch, here.

And that's five marketing nuggets, all for you. I should go on road trips more often.

Now, excuse me, I gotta bounce.

I'm late for my tai chi lesson.

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