Hanging Around A Newsstand : A Window on Culture

By | Branding, New Media | No Comments
photo by Eric E. Johnson

photo by Eric E. Johnson

I remember walking to work in Manhattan and glancing at a Newsstand’s cascading color pallet of magazine covers.  Pure eye candy; a bespoken world of words and pictures with all  those visual images screaming at you.

Hey! Choose Me; Choose Me!

Every masthead meticulously quaffed and designed to capture: size, shape and color to perfection.

The result?  Being able to assimilate pop culture in about three seconds … a Blink.

Cosmopolitan was an early adopter, thanks to Scavullo and Helen Gurley Brown, who together redefine women and fashion in the ‘70s. It established itself as a brand for women: attainable, albeit dramatized: the Cosmo Girl. ? Its counter was MS magazine fueled by Gloria Steinem.  Other influence came from Conte Nast which made a science of melding titles with branded content. Clay Felker did the same with New York Magazine. Time made it an art; National Geographic made it an industry. Life magazine made it our window to the world. It was literally larger than life and proved it. Then, Vanity Fair and Anne Leibovitz’s glorious gate-fold front covers made a clarion call to pop culture and Vogue made its indelible brand mark necessitating advertisers to participate within its pages or perish.

Women's Magazines on News Stand

So, what happens now after a century of published Brand building and recognition?

Reinvention is calling. Every corporate identity designer, editor and photo-journalist is reimagining their art form.

Today, iPad is the publisher and the iconic branded mast heads of the past are now chapter headings.

That of course is all going to change. What fun it will be to see how it manifests itself and which brands retain their resonance and relevance.

Click here to read more: http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/

Don’t look now, but the iPad just stole your brand.

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Don’t look now, but the iPad just stole your brand.

Lines this weekend stretched for blocks around stores in New York and Los Angeles. 700,000 units are estimated to have been sold. That’s a big number. Everyone is talking about it as a technology and social phenomena.

Not since 1450 has technology become such a cultural event. Back in its day, moveable type was a revolutionary technology: it recorded the Renaissance, Reformation and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy to education and inform the masses.

But, in 1450, it was about ideas. Not the paper it was printed on or its packaging. There is the issue and the problem. The iPad is only the package and it has superseded the content and the power of the print brand.

Today it’s about the packaging, not content.

We seem to like this process. Remember when Vaudeville was repackaged? They called it Radio and when it was repackaged it became television.

If you are a journalist, a writer or an artist, are you losing your voice to repackaging?

In an attempt to deliver “eye candy” for the sake of attention, are we commoditizing the value of the message? When did content, that was king, become the present?

Don’t let the creative get in the way of your message and commoditize your brand.

iPad ABC iPad NPR iPad Men's Health

Publications dedicated to print and digital media, need to protect their Intellectual Capital, not simply repurpose it in another medium. In doing so they are diluting their core brand .

iPad USA Today iPad WSJ

You keep score. Media brands on the iPad from Day one.


How should I leverage new technology to enhance my core brand?

Here is a review of the current status. Click here to read more.


Beijing Television

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Bejiing TV

Recently KKM was invited to make a presentation to a contingent of Chinese broadcasting executives from Beijing Television (BTV).

Their visit to UCLA included exploring the realm of new media marketing, entertainment marketing strategies, the convergence of on demand, content as an experience, new business monetizing models and the importance of technology in social media; an acknowledged topic of intensity and cultural sensitivity.

We addressed all of the above and explored the importance of International cooperation, the exchange of content and mythic story-telling, joint ventures, trade relations and Intellectual Property protection; a topic of critical concern.

What became evident, is that change, takes time when it travels across borders. And as importantly, that cultural and strategic business objectives require a dispirit set of expectations concerning time and timing.

Nonetheless, we found instant symmetry to many media platforms: our Facebook is their Douban; our YouTube is their KU6 and Tudou Net, and finally, our Twitter is their Fanfou.

Read More

Art: Time, The Infinite Storyteller

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Time, space and place are seminal plot-points in every archetype of story-telling. We found this New York Times article compelling, because we are story-tellers and technology is influencing our plot. Roberta Smith takes us beyond screenplay to tell us the real story.

NYT ARTS / ART & DESIGN | January 01, 2010
Art:  Time, the Infinite Storyteller
By Roberta Smith

There are certain artworks that make us experience time with particular sharpness, deepening our emotional understanding of its nature.

Time and Place; a fusion of technology, location and experience…

In a way it seems a trifle odd that artworks are such superb instruments of time travel. Time is not visual, after all, unlike space.

Time’s Progress

One way or another, much art tells a story. That is, it depicts time on the move, at different rates, in slices of various thickness. Sometimes a narrative is so deeply embedded in cultural consciousness that a single moment from it, or maybe two — as in a before and after — can stand in for the epic whole.

In art as in physics, time isn’t necessarily linear. It can be compressed by memory, and some art reveals its simultaneity.

Mortal Time

Such anxiety tends to be tied directly or indirectly to the end of real time, a k a mortality. It is hard to feel, in an art museum, alone in your fear of death, since it is one of the most common motivations for artists. To say that art has long tried to placate death, its gods or the dead themselves, or to achieve a comfortable afterlife, would be an understatement; think of the Met’s Egyptian wing, filled mostly with items from royal tombs, or its galleries of European medieval art, where the lives of Jesus or the Christian saints are reiterated in work after work. And it could be argued that just about every object at the Met not intended to placate gods or commemorate the dead is an effort to live on beyond death in human memory. (Of course there’s no penalty for trying to do both at once: the Raphael Madonna, to cite one of many examples.)

Mortality is made especially palpable by the deaths of our predecessors, starting with our parents, and paying respects has long been a way to ease our relationship with our own impending end.

Material Time

Some artworks make us especially conscious of the time they took to create. The Gubbio Studiolo speaks of awe-inspiring skill, patience and the desire for beauty. So does the tughra, or calligraphic signature, of Sulaiman the Magnificent, who ruled Ottoman Turkey in the 16th century, on view in the upper level of the Great Hall. Its sweeping strokes of blue, filled in with intricate blue and gold floral patterns, are the result of painstaking mastery and of a cultural sophistication refined over centuries. Appearing at the top of each of Sulaiman’s edicts, it lists all his titles and fittingly suggests a proud peacock.

Jackson Pollock’s dazzling drip painting “Autumn Rhythm” also awes, but with its sense of velocity. It conveys the painter’s movements and gestures, his “dance” around the canvas and his successive choices of color. As startling as the implied speed of its production is the way it so clearly expresses a new conception of painting.

Children of Cyberspace

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In our article titled, “Mapping the M-Gen,” we begin by saying, “If you’re reading this article and you’re over six years old, you’re out of control.” Meaning, you are no longer in control…of technology.

It wasn’t too long ago that generations were measured in 20 year increments; then 10 years. Now, it’s down to 5 years. But, the new common denominator has less to do with demography and everything to do with your adopted technology or what’s in your cultural tool box.

Brad Stone provides us insight into what is now second nature or a New Nature: Comfort and familiarity in the cyberspace grid—The age of instant information, access and response…bringing us to technology that is intuitive and matches our [the user’s] needs.

Here are a few highlighted comments for you to consider.

NYT WEEKINREVIEW | January 10, 2010
The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s
By Brad Stone, YouTube.

Facebook. The Kindle. Now a tablet. New technology is creating new generation gaps.

Researchers theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

These mini-generation gaps are most visible in the communication and entertainment choices made by different age groups. According to a survey last year by Pew, teenagers are more likely to send instant messages than slightly older 20-somethings (68 percent versus 59 percent) and to play online games (78 percent versus 50 percent).