Beet Farm B&B

Although I’m not really a big fan of NBC TV show “The Office,” I can identify with some of the quirky personalities. And when the topic of paper comes up,  I know what they’re talking about, having bought and/or specified paper for years.

There was an episode of the show that featured the Schrute Beet Farm, a new agro-tourism destination. TripAdvisor had some fun with that, which turned into a bit of a windfall in attention. The report, via WebNewser:

Schrute Farms in Honesdale, Pa., is the subject of more than 600 reviews onTripAdvisor, more than the total for several hotels in Manhattan, and 82 percent of the reviews of the beet farm-turned-bed and breakfast were positive.

The only problem: Schrute Farms doesn’t exist: It was part of an episode of The Office on NBC that aired in September 2007, in which it belongs to the show’s Dwight Schrute and his cousin, Mose, The New York Times reported.

TripAdvisorSchruteFarms2.jpgTripAdvisor chief marketing officer Christine Petersentold the Times, “We don’t have a big marketing budget and don’t do TV ads. This was the big time,” adding that she was considering adding pages for the Bates Motel fromPsycho and the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.

And proving that not everybody in the country watches The Office, TripAdvisor recently added the pictured disclaimer to its Schrute Farms page, explaining that it was fictional.

Great fun — and good marketing — for both TripAdvisor and The Office.

Sugarloafin’


Ah, back at Sugarloaf after a couple of years. Spring conditions, with some rain, and everything is open. Skied the back side for the first time, which was a little sketchy.

No ice — just lots of soft snow.

Suckability

If you watch sports on TV, beer advertising cannot be avoided. Mostly entertaining, some more than others. Once in a while, those of us in marketing question whether the ads are effective, as in do they help move product. Dos Equis and “The World’s Most Interesting Man” was a good example of success in this field.

Today we read about the other side, as Bud Light recorded its first full-year decline is sales. Consumerist picked up on it in August, and this week Ad Age got into the details…

Shortly after August Busch IV was named CEO of Anheuser-Busch, he accepted a company director’s recommendation for a consulting firm that would assist with managing the brewer’s burgeoning brand portfolio.

The firm, Cambridge Group, ended up going far beyond portfolio management. In fact, its exhaustive research resulted in the “Drinkability” campaign that — four years and millions in fees later — is considered a major factor in Bud Light posting the first full-year sales decline in its history.

The “Drinkability” debacle, however, resonates beyond A-B, as agencies increasingly chafe under the growing influence of consultants. Marketers are under pressure to justify their budgets, and CMOs, skating on ever-thinner ice, are trying to bring a more scientific approach to a discipline traditionally heavily reliant on gut calls. The degree to which these consultants’ recommendations and findings can translate directly into creative is becoming a familiar frustration for agencies.

Excellent report, with typically good comments.

Very few of today’s effort can rival the effectiveness of “Miller Time” or “This Bud’s For You.” And who doesn’t remember “Tastes Great, Less Filling?” I look forward to getting “drinkability” off the air…

Time For National Broadband

The FCC has finally introduced their National Broadband Plan. The sooner the better, I say.

PBS Newshour did a good piece on it, interviewing Chairman Genachowski…

According to ars technica, we’ve been down this road before, especially the wireless spectrum portion…

Between 2006 and early 2009, the agency actively vetted a proposal by M2Z Networks to provide a free, wireless broadband across the United States. The FCC would lease a national spectrum license to M2Z in the Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3) band area (2155-2175MHz), and the company would offer a free, advertising-funded, 512Kpbs broadband service that filtered out indecent content. Consumers would be able to access the band area via an attachment device on their computer. The firm would also offer a faster, unfiltered premium service and pay the government 5 percent each year from its gross revenues. Once granted this band, M2Z would commit to rolling out the smut-free network to 95 percent of the US population over the course of a decade.

M2Z launched a spirited campaign to generate public interest in its proposal, which came complete with a small battalion of endorsers. “I know many Utahns would welcome the opportunity to provide their children with the educational and economic opportunity which broadband access can provide without having to become software engineers in order to protect their children,” Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) wrote to the FCC in 2007.

But while the idea received lots of shout-outs from family advocacy groups and members of Congress, the FCC rejected just granting the spectrum to a chosen entity. Then in 2008, agency chair and values voter Republican Kevin Martin came up with an alternative proposal to run an auction of that license zone—the winning bidder promising to abide by M2Z’s commitments and rules.

Seems the broadcasters are in favor of reallocating spectrum, so let’s have at it.

Internet for All


The Internet has only been around since 1969, and the first Web page only since 1989.

I’ve always thought it would be a good thing for all of us to have Internet access. That’s right: an entitlement. Maybe that’s what the broadband stimulus is all about. Giving everyone access.

According to a survey commissioned by the BBC, nearly 80% of the world see it as a fundamental right. 90% believe it is a good place to learn.

The survey – of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries – found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.

Countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access is a human right for their citizens.

International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access.

“The right to communicate cannot be ignored,” Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News.

“The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created.”

He said that governments must “regard the internet as basic infrastructure – just like roads, waste and water”.

“We have entered the knowledge society and everyone must have access to participate.”

Get a copy of the PDF here. Check the methodology for yourself.

We must find a way for everyone in the U.S. to have access to this essential resource.

Support Free-Form Radio

WFMU’s annual Marathon is on. As my favorite radio station, I plan to support them by donating some money.

You can find them on your radio dial in New York/New Jersey at 91.1 FM, and 90.1 FM in the lower Hundson Valley. Online, worldwide at wfmu.org and via iTunes (under the “Eclectic” category). And you simply must get their new iPhone App — it’s free, too, and one of the best around.

Want to hear music you won’t hear anywhere else? This is the place to listen. Most of the time, my Shazam app isn’t able to identify what they’re playing. It did succeed a while ago, however: Jerry Reed’s “Your Money Makes You Purty.” Never heard that one before.


Pledge to the WFMU Marathon!

Dr. Seuss

Who doesn’t remember their first Dr. Seuss book? Mine was “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”

Great idea to honor Dr. Seuss on his birthday with the NEA’s Read Across America. Yes, First Lady Michelle Obama was there.

I recall my dentist had a full collection in his waiting room. In fact, he was such a big fan he could recite “Green Eggs and Ham” from memory.