Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New continent discovered

Ideas are inspiring. But insights can be even more of a revelation.
Take as an example the winning entry in this year's PhizzPop challenge.
Whether you think the idea is brand new or not - a web site that enables the swapping of unused resources - the first minute and a half of the entry video is jaw dropping.
First time I watched it, I felt like someone had discovered a new continent, sitting at my feet all these years.
Cheers to Zeus Jones and Sierra Bravo. Minneapolis will rise again!
Read more here, and see the video here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Annual Traveling Auto Museum

There was an uneasy silence at the Minnesota Convention Center this weekend. That's because it was the culminating weekend of the annual auto show, and everyone in attendance, exhibitors and visitors alike, walked around displaying the quieter stages of grief.

Gone were the boisterous side rooms featuring blinged out Escalades.
Hummer simply had a few models sitting on the floor, not like years gone by when the cantilevered models and rugged display-topographies exuded a wall of muskiness.
In fact the whole GM presence was anemic. Most of their displays were car only, and disbursed far apart from each other to make the space look as if it's filled, like entry-level hair plugs.
The Saturn anchor/presenter thanked an empty expanse of carpet for its attention. Chevrolet bleated its best about the number of its old school combustion-only engines were actually new school ethanol-able engines.
Saddest was the human dynamic. Past years, you could feel the buying process in the room. Brochures were gathered. Serious, engaging questions were asked of the company reps. This year, it was more a feeling of combing through the wreckage of some beautiful multi-billion dollar disaster, cataloging what could be useful in the future and what is now just a rueful memory.
The smiles from the company reps were as brilliant white as ever, but you could almost hear them hissing through their bared teeth a pained "I know... I know..."
Hyundai - a brand in ascendancy, one that not only has the economy coming to it, but that is also doing something about it - owned the day with aggressive messaging all around the show. One floor decal with a visual of footprints advertised their Assurance+ program. 'The most support your feet have had in a long time' it said.
And in one small corner of the vast wasteland, a dozen collector's cars. Here was the most interesting find of the entire night. Two electric cars, one from the early twentieth century, and the other a 1960 Henney Kilowatt, capable of 60mph and a range of 60 miles on a single charge. That's fifty years ago. What happened since?
To re-capture our lust, cars have a lot of progressing to do.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The market never lies

A few of us are back from a long and fruitful trip to California, where the word Mexico cannot reach its second syllable without all those present flinching and checking the shadows for drug assassins.

The gigantic underground market for illegal drugs has brought a war to our doorstep.
Take away the market and the war is over.
Not that we're pro drug here at Persuasion. Noooo. We sure are anti-crime, though. Take away the crime, and so go the criminals. No doubt you'll either violently agree or disagree, as these things tend to be.
Or car audio systems. Once they were designed to be proprietary to a given vehicle, the market for stolen racks disappeared. That's why your window hasn't ended up on the sidewalk so often this past decade.
Then to advertising, where the market is yet to shift. So long as there are buyers for the type of service offered by the big agencies, not much will change. ANA speeches are words, calls for change are well and good. But really, the power lies in the pocketbook. And if that power is not being exercised, what are the reasons?
The complaints are mere venting.
The complaints are negotiating postures.
The big agencies are changing to meet the demands.
The alternatives just aren't viable solutions.
Got any more?