Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

27 September 2006

Gap Remodels with "Pardon Our Dust"

Check out the slow slide into gleeful destruction:

I like the ad in particular because it speaks to a deep desire within me to do this very same thing when I walk into a Gap store. You have to admit all those khakis and button-downs year after year is a fucking frustrating sight. Bravo, I'm anticipating what the new store will bring.

26 September 2006

Some People Just Can't Resist Torching a Bridge

A letter to Mark Zuckerberg from Aaron Greenspan, CEO of Think Computer Corp.

I have my own opinion about the ethical implications of ripping your buddy's idea, but hey, if it's easy to rip and it's not patented either then somebody would've done it anyway. Might as well be the cat who can turn it into a billion-dollar idea. And don't you think this is sort of pricky and bitter? Because, well, I do.

I didn't initially think that was worth a $900 million offer from Yahoo but a friend made a good point earlier this morning:

"Can Yahoo serve $100 worth of ads to 9 million users? Easily," he said. He's right. And with the suite of Web 2.0 yummies, including, that Yahoo's swooping up like candy, they're going to have quite the marketing-rich arsenal when it's all said and done.

Cheers to Yahoo and Facebook and maybe a beautiful future. Sucks about Greenspan and Facebook's users, who aren't terribly thrilled with the company of late. But hey, such is life.

25 September 2006

Why Blogging Matters

A well-executed blog campaign is not rocket science. It is, however, an act of love. That's what gets in the way for some people. Love is scary stuff.

-Hugh Macleod,

For his views on the components of an organically successful blog, check out Case Study: English Cut.

20 September 2006

On Networking

Over the weekend a friend and I had a discussion about the merits of networking. As a fledgling documentarian with a great deal of talent, he explained he is only now realizing how critical relationships are to a make-or-break in the career world, and he's making an effort to develop strategic, beneficial connections.

The guy is sweet and totally guileless; I told him he shouldn't have a problem if that's what he wants to do. But he said he's troubled because he'll have great conversations with "strategic relations," make conversation about the wrong things, then completely forget to mention what he does for a living.

The ideology of networking as a glamorous professional game has given him cold feet. I thought about the conventions and dinners I've had over the last couple of years, remembering the disdain I felt while staring into the face of a talking head with a plastic smile who knew all the proper "casual" things to talk about (sports, the weather, small jabs at my town) before pitching the shit out of me. Out of this monotonous dance, repeated thousands of times by thousands of different faces with little apparent imagination but a savvy for the rhythm, a networking relationship is expected to bloom. Am I actually supposed to feel something for these people, much less be willing to help them out sometime?

I began to consider what lives at the core of the networking relationship, a tool so vital to conducting business. Many articles have been written about the benefits of maintaining connections. One in particular, called "It's Not Who You Know, But Who You Get to Know" (2002), is comprised of interviews in which people discuss professional networking organizations, among other things, including the benefits of remaining in the loop after college:

The ability to stay connected with colleagues, to seek and give counsel, to share information, news and opportunities, to give and obtain career and employment information are but a small part of the benefits you receive.

-Wayne Phillips, President of the Oakland/SF Bay Area
Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public

But what's at the core of networking? Why is it such a big deal? One of the biggest beefs I had early on in my career was with the artificial relationship-building that goes on in companies. It's sterile, contrived and worked down to a science. As things stand, I don't consider myself much of a socializer; I spent all of college working and developed pockets of relationships with people I genuinely liked, people who wouldn't give me plastic smiles and with whom I shared a sense of mutual respect or regard. But many would allege this is not how it works; this is doing it wrong.

I'm not discounting the merits of developing strategic alliances; they're key to any career. But we need to remember why networking is so powerful a force in the first place: people aren't wholly rational. We're emotional creatures who are keenly aware of chemistry. How often are accounts won, not because of a great pitch, but because somebody is a "good fit" for the company or job?

With that in mind, I think it's critical to be less concerned with knowing the "proper talk." Instead, let's get more invested in being sincere, so the connection is a pleasure to maintain instead of a royal energy-sapping pain in the ass. Business is comprised of people seeking to make beneficial connections - and when I say beneficial I don't merely mean career-wise. We want to feel that extra something: the connection with somebody that suggests we're really friends, we get each other, and maybe you want to help me, not because I knew what to say about sports or make the right jokes, but because you can see my merits as a person and a professional.

We experience too little genuineness from day to day, especially while running the career track for the majority of our days. You stick out when you truly engage somebody and make a real connection, and that's far more meaningful than the hundreds of business cards stacking up in my desk, representing chipper hollow faces about whose characters I truly know nothing.

19 September 2006

Nickelodeon Grows Up for Parents

As if the world were running out of children, Nick has decided to expand its sights to the kiddies of yesterday.

Last month Nickelodeon launched, a social networking site that is just completing beta. Unbranded thus far as a Nickelodeon offering, parents can create profiles, scope blogs, post on message boards and watch videos. The site has already piqued the interest of some heavy rollers in terms of advertising, like State Farm Insurance and Nissan, which seeks to promote the Quest minivan they were once targeting at children.

The site is moderated by parents and Nickelodeon plans to conduct the official launch in January. They expect it to become profitable within the next two years.

In my opinion they could try and make it a bit more attractive. It's wildly dull. Are parents wildly dull? They're typically fairly active people and more than a few watch (and enjoy!) Nick cartoons with their kids. I'm wondering whether they'll toss in television tie-ins, particularly those for which Nickelodeon (er, Nick at Nite?) is most known. My generation still falls all over itself when somebody brings up The Wonder Years.

14 September 2006

Starbucks Reintroduces Throwback Logo

In commemoration of its 35th anniversary, Starbucks has plastered its original logo back onto coffee cups in Oregon and Washington. “Customers like to see the old logo,” said a representative for the brand.

A Seattle elementary school teacher, royally pissed about the topless mermaid with the wide-open welcoming fins (why are those fins split anyway?), made some noise in the media this week about her unease. She's also pushing staff and teachers at Kent Elementary, her home base, to cover the logo up with coffee sleeves if in fact they must patronize the caffeine giant.

I can appreciate the nod to history but in all honesty I'm not a big fan of the old logo. It strikes me as boring and tasteless, hardly the meme I'd attribute to the coffee brand of all coffee brands. And I consider my opinion relatively unbiased - my relationship with Starbucks has lasted longer than most marriages.

11 September 2006

Revisiting the Roots of Hyphy

Over the weekend I hung out with my relatives in the cities where I spent more than fifteen years of my childhood. Back in a world in which I passed so much time, a world I abruptly left, I experienced a sense of culture shock almost equal in magnitude to what I felt upon my return from France.

Urban fashion for the hip-hop generation in Fairfield and Vallejo is strikingly distinct from anything you'll find in the City or in Concord, which are less than an hour away. To illustrate the point, my cousin is dating a dude from San Francisco and they absolutely hate the way the other dresses. There's a jarring of the tastes that simply can't be overlooked. The hyphy movement is of course wildly influential across the Benicia Bridge, considering this is the home of E-40.

It's not uncommon to see the stunna shades everybody is trying to wear. But there's an added flavour in the clothing that, superficial sheen of hyphy/crunk aside, maintains a sense of the authentic. It's attractive, witty, tongue-in-cheek - and anything but lazily conceived. I still love the elegant earthy embroidery on colourful LRG hoodies pulled up over a crisp shirt, big-ass headphones draped lazily over the shoulders, and contrasting kicks you won't find anyplace else. I dig the brass-coloured pointy heels you wear with mid-calf jeans, a form-fitting wifebeater and a flesh aviator jacket that falls down to mid-waist. I love the long straightened hair partially covering oversized shades, and baby tees that say I'M GOING GOING BACK BACK TO CALI CALI. I think it's hype the way Vallejo and Fairfield natives have their own slang and have really pushed grassroots marketing for "the soil where them rappas be getting their lingo from" (E-40, Tell Me When to Go).

As kids, the music permeating through the flesh of the streets was wildly influential. All of us were in bands and most guys were rappers who made beats on the side. It was as if the music industry was the only foreseeable way to do anything with your life. I wrote songs to somebody else's music. Breakdancing thrived here. And we wedded all this to the provincial, authoritarian way in which we were raised - those nagging apron strings that added inherent and uniform values to our foundations.

Another interesting thing about Fairfield and Vallejo is the sense of pride wrapped around the slippery and infectious lyricism E-40 is known for. It's not something that originated with him; it's part of the earth in the cities, the asphalt's twang. I grew up saying "sigg" when a kid got teased, "goosed" when somebody got laid and "hutch" to refer to a girl of questionable propriety.

I've spent so much time away from the place that I forgot what it's like, how slow and chill life feels, and how it's as much a part of me as anything else. I can see why we moved - my father always felt that if I grew up in this atmosphere I'd acquire a brand of comfortability and possibly racial self-entitlement that would never be beneficial to an opportunist - but at the same time, I can appreciate the culture that thrives at the roots of the cities, both provincial (when I was young Fairfield was a farm town) and gritty as you can imagine (I went to church on a boulevard that, to this day, remains rife with prostitution and street drug sales).

It's nice to come back to the soil in which you took root, even if life brought you elsewhere. And hell, it's also nice to know there's still nuance to hip-hop.

07 September 2006

Cherchez la Mini

The French have a saying, "Cherchez la femme," which means "look for the woman." The logic is that behind every passionate chase, every dream that keeps one fueled, when all is said and done it's a woman that catalyzes the motivation. Ideally and with some determination, the ultimate capture of the woman will lead one to success or happiness or whatever else you seek.

Anglophones have a similar metaphor in the chasing of the white rabbit - a pursuit that, while perhaps futile at best, will at least lead you through dazzling, curious and life-changing adventures. Just ask Alice.

Mini's put together a wildly imaginative campaign that plays upon these notions and on the 'net-roving wanderlust characteristic of Generation: Web 2.0. The object of the pursuit, however, is zippier than a woman or a rabbit - it's a Mini in telltale white.

Click on a Mini banner to start the chase. Instead of finding yourself at the Mini Cooper website (what a dated idea!) the merry little Cooper leads you haphazardly through an eclectic series of websites, including the Museum of Food Anomalies, the Silly Sign Collection, and the online home of the Handlebar Club. Each respective site has yet another Mini banner inviting you to continue the odyssey.

According to AdCritic, "the ingenious campaign aims to reinforce the freedom of movement enjoyed by MINI owners, while simultaneously proving that even banner ads can veer off the beaten path."

The campaign's been nicknamed "The White Rabbit" and it was put together by Profero, a marketing agency based in London.

06 September 2006

Culture Clash

Since returning from France, I've found:
  • The Mona Lisa's fame is only perpetuated by propaganda. She's not all impressive and I'm sorry I broke through the exhaustive crowd just to see her
  • I want to eat, and eat well, 3 times a day - sitting down, with no distractions
  • I'm preoccupied with hot chocolate and prefer it over coffee in the mornings
  • I smoke
  • I feel the desire to walk and be outside a lot. Everything here is so remote, and I want sunshine, wind and rain
  • I am a red wine person, and I favour Beaujolais
  • I like knowing the people around me, and the people who make the ingredients in my food
  • I love Doisneau, Klimt and Dali
But I must admit I much prefer the ads here.