Sell The Smell

Our house in Brooklyn today.

I’m a New Yorker. Born in Brooklyn, moved to Tuckahoe went I was 11. Spent my summers “Upstate,” as we say.  Got my college education in The Bronx. We always looked down on “Jersey” (never daring to call it “New Jersey”).

Well, after living here since 1991, I’ve realized it, like other states, has it’s good points and bad. Some things are getting better, while others are getting worse. Traffic congestion varies, but it can get maddeningly chaotic when critical roads get backed up. On the other hand, roads and bridges are improving with key projects’ conclusions.

At times, it feels like the entire northern part of the state is urbanized, then other times you take a ride from Oldwick to Long Valley and it feels like you’re in New England. From farms to factories, 12-lane turnpikes to single-lane dirt roads, this state has it all.

The state’s tourism department isn’t working with any particular slogan or tag line these days, but I do remember “Jersey’s Got It” from the 80’s and “New Jersey & You: Perfect Together” from the 90’s. So I was quite surprised to come across the “Jersey Doesn’t Stink” site

It’s a good effort and kind of cute. The video responses they’ve gotten are pretty good.

On the contrary, I’d look into doing it differently. I had a thought a few years ago, once I became comfortable with being a New Jersey resident, the new slogan should be “New Jersey: What’s That Smell?”

All that’s good about the state has it’s own distinct smell: The Shore, the restaurants, the fresh fruits and vegetables. “Stink” sounds worse than “smell,” don’t you think? Even the negatives can be handled in this context. “What’s that smell? Petroleum hydrocarbons being burned off to make your gasoline. New Jersey is home to three large refineries, with a combined capacity of nearly 700,000 barrels per day.”  Or “…that’s methane gas being released by an old landfill. That gas is being used to generate electricity. And it’s being cleaned up now to comply with the Clean Air Act.”

Think of the cultural enclaves, with their vibrant restaurants: Indian in Edison, Portuguese in Ironbound, Turkish in Paterson. You get the picture. Can’t you just smell it?

I know MTV Networks is happy with the popularity of the “Jersey Shore” show, scandals and all. Gov. Christie ought to through his weight around and get them to cease and desist as they may be infringing on the state’s trademark: The Jersey Shore. His response on ABC News was lame…

He can pick a fight with the state’s teachers, but not MTV lawyers, ey? That stinks.

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Dry Erase Response

Remember last week’s “dry erase girl” hoax? Here’s a terrific spin on it

Like Apps? There’s a TV For That.

Interesting move by Samsung in providing a really big incentive to develop apps for its TV platform: $500,000 in prizes.  Samsung Free The TV Challenge will announce the winners at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2011.

Samsung is freeing the TV, with its Samsung Apps line of televisions and Blu-ray devices, which can download, install, and run apps natively.  Samsung Apps is built into all Samsung 2010 Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater Systems, and the majority of TVs 40 inches and larger.  For the first time, distributing content to TVs is as easy as creating an app!

To celebrate the release of the Samsung TV Application software development kit (SDK) for this industry-leading line of TVs and Blu-Ray devices, Samsung is offering $500,000 in cash and prizes for the individuals or teams that develop the best looking, most brilliantly conceived, and most functional apps. Developers will retain all intellectual property ownership for their submissions, while having the opportunity to reach millions of people through their television sets.

The Challenge is open to U.S. residents of the 50 States (including the District of Columbia), as well as organizations employing fewer than 50 people that are domiciled in the United States. The Corporate Recognition Award is a non-cash recognition award intended to encourage organizations with fifty (50) or more employees to enter.

Not sure consumers will “get it,” but developers might. With such an incentive, it’s worth a try.

Meanwhile, the NAB launched “Keep My TV,” which is aimed at “educating and empowering viewers” during carriage negotiations between TV stations and pay TV providers. I don’t think people care much about carriage negotiations, much less know what it means.

Perhaps the fringe site “Turn Off Your TV” is becoming more mainstream, as families realize watching so much TV is detrimental.  Or not: surveys show an average of nearly five hours per day.

At our cottage in the Catskills, where we used to spend the entire summer as kids, we have a strict “no TV” rule. We like it that way. Fosters creativity. Take, for example, this creation on the banks of the Schoharie Creek…

Follow That Car!

A car-chase video edit Benny Hill would have been proud of.

Books, Kindles, Laptops

TechCrunch is quoting Nicholas Negroponte as saying the physical book is dead in 5 years.

The physical book is dead, according to Negroponte. He said he realizes that’s going to be hard for a lot of people to accept. But you just have to think about film and music. In the 1980s, the writing was on the wall that physical film was going to die, even though companies like Kodak were in denial. He then asked people to think about their youth with music. It was all physical then. Now everything has changed.

With Amazon selling more Kindle e-books than hardcover books, this prediction may not be that far off. In the same session during Techonomy, he also highlighted the fact the OLPC program in Peru has found that children are teaching their parents to read…

Truly transformational. But what to do with all the books? Do as Matej Krén did: build a book cell…

Nestlé Makes The Very Best

Nice tie-in with Atari from 1983. Customers didn’t talk back in those days. At least not as they can today.

Here’s an interesting story about an all-out fight on Facebook.  A taste of what Unilever got last year.

The details, via All Facebook

The crisis earlier this year was prompted when a Greenpeace video highlighted Nestlé’s use of palm oil grown on former rainforest land in South-East Asia and linked the iconic Kit-Kat with the deaths of orangutans, which are an endangered species. Nestlé sought to ban the video and successfully removed it from YouTube, though not Vimeo. The Nestlé Facebook page was inundated with protests and criticism as a result.

The ad has already prompted a parody on the 28,491-strong “Can this orang-utan get more fans than Nestle?” page, with the word “bullshit” replacing “like” next to the thumbs-up symbol.

The Nestlé page has 109,502 fans but many of them seem to have joined in order to leave critical comments about issues such as palm oil or baby formula, such as the ones below. Nestlé is such a consumer-facing company that it’s probably right not to retreat from social media – but I can’t say I envy the poor PR flacks who have to run this page.