Today's Mighty Oak

I’m probably going to take some heat for this, but here is an ad that was running, and then quickly pulled:


Copyranter picks it up as a Date Rape adSlog sees it as a alcohol ad.

Copyranter mentions how hard it is to do a good rape ad, and he’s right.  It’s a very, very tough line to walk.

Slog points out that alcohol and drinking do not magically make rapists exist.  It’s a valid point, and it makes me think that this works better as an alcohol awareness ad.

In that sense (with some changes to the the copy), I think that it is a great ad, and I would hope it would remind, not just women, that when impaired, people are prone to do things they wouldn’t otherwise, or were even coerced into.  It could be quite an awesome campaign, focused around the “couldn’t say no” theme.

Emphasis on “couldn’t.”

Contrary to the views in the links above, I don’t see this as victim-blaming.  I can see how it could be perceived as that, but I guess I’m more looking at the ad as a piece about self-control.

Even though this ad was quickly pulled, it got a lot of coverage online, so at least we can hope that brings attention to the cause.


Coming up later this week, the Pittsburgh Symphany Orchestra’s mailer for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Filed under: Coming Up

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for Warhol’s Phone, but I’ve had some things for a while that I’ve wanted to discuss, so look for them over the next few weeks, I hope you’ll enjoy!

Filed under: Coming Up

Radio is a medium I do not typically write about.  It’s not glamorous; a favorite book of mine described it “one of the great mysteries of advertising.”  But its reach is far, and if done correctly, it can have a very large impact.

The State of Pennsylvania is in the midst of running a new campaign from their Department of Health, focusing on the age limit for buying tobacco.  And it keeps getting stuck in my head.

Thankfully, I’m not alone.  The folks over at Jezebel have been discussing it as well.  Like them, I have not been able to find an online version of the ad, but I’m guessing you’ll know it as soon as you read it:

“Let me see your ID please,
keep it with you like your keys,
sorry please don’t cause a scene,
you know you must be 18″

I’m not the primary audience, which made me wonder if the station I hear it on (Star) would have the most reach to their audience.  I don’t smoke, even though most of my friends do, and I’ve always listened to 80′s music, even in high school.  Anecdotal evidence, yes.  But maybe it is in fact a good way to reach the kind of goofy kids that might be susceptible to peer pressure.

All in all, a decent ad.  I can’t say I don’t cringe a little bit when I hear it come on, but I’m always singing along by the end, if only in my head.

Filed under: Radio

This could probably also be posted on “The Great and Secret Show” but for now, I’ll leave it here on Warhol’s Phone.

The City Paper is reporting that the ACLU is looking into the almost arrest of Green party activists at Point State Park.  Apparently, it is against DCNR regulations to distribute anything political in their parks without getting prior permission.  This line of the article made me laugh a lot:

Turns out the regs have been in place for nearly 40 years … but even the ACLU never noticed them:

Some things just go unnoticed.

It’s tough, I guess that I don’t know enough about the review process, and even if there will still be any kind of process in this whole mess.  Of course I think we need to protect our first amendment rights, but we also need to protect our natural resources, which is ultimately what the DCNR does.

How much of a bother are groups passing out literature or holding rallies in parks?  I guess that too, depends on the person.

So at the moment, I have a whole lot of nothing to add to this conversation, but that’s okay too, I just wanted to bring he matter to everyone’s attention.

Second change banner

TDP Banner 2

This is the banner for the second roll-out of changes for the TDP (Transit Development Plan) by the Port Authority.  Something about it was bugging me,

and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure it out.  Then it finally hit me.  The banners, especially the first iteration, remind me a lot of the artwork used in the card game “Beer Money.”

Beer Money

Beery Money boxart

The first round of changes was ushered in by a purple banner, which matched the Beer Money cards and box (shown below).

But I do like them a lot.  The movement, although more understated, matches the banner at the top of their website and I do love the choice of bus that they used (one in good repair, with their name all over it), but I digress.

These are seen on the side of buses, as well as inside (think ads in the NYC Subway, above everyone) as well as online.  I’m still trying to locate the first banner, and if I can find it, I’ll put it up here.

And now for a shameless plug: want to read more about PAT?  Check out my (almost regular) weekly column, PATransit Tuesdays, over at Pittsburgh Metblogs.

Filed under: Online, Outdoor Tagged: PAT, TDP

A quick follow up to the Google Fiber post.  While I was writing that up, I was listening to the latest episode of Slate’s political gabfest, and one of the hosts mentioned that her kids were excited about the project, not so much for their own city, but just in general.  So I’m going to take this as more proof that the cancellation was another April Fool’s Day joke.

The discussion came up by discussing the recent decision on net neutrality.

Filed under: Law, Second Thoughts Tagged: Google Fiber, Net Neutrality

This will be broken up into a few different thoughts.

First, Google Fiber is the project to bring super high-speed broadband access to one test city.  Cities competed and applications were due April 1.  Semi-famously, Topeka changed its name for a month to Google.  Google then changed their name for an April fool’s joke.

Mayor Luke gathered people together on Forbes Ave. to spell out the word Google and then, presumably using the city’s wireless network, pressed send on the application.

The Post-Gazette covered it here, and some of the quotes were quite amusing, including some bewildered passerbys thinking it was a protest of some sort.  Also, the number of non-Pittsburgh residents who helped out was really nice to read about.

So do we have a good shot?  I think so.  Google has offices here, at CMU, although they’ll be moving to Bakery Square, if they haven’t already, and Pittsburgh certainly has emerged as a powerhouse in technology, specifically medical and robotic advances.

The web-site for the project here in Pittsburgh is well done, and is branded with “Ready, willing & able,” a fitting slogan.  The parking chair is a fitting image, especially with all we heard about them during snOMG.

And then things got a little crazy.  Later in the day on April 1, Google announced that the entire thing was a hoax.  They did it by releasing this press release.  I got the link sent to me while I was at work.  I didn’t have much time to read it closely, but it was fishy.

To have basically the entire first paragraph made up of unattributed quotes was not only bad form, but really unheard of in PR writing, not to mention the strange use of ellipses.  The second paragraph was one sentence, and that might not be too strange, it was once again an unattributed quote.  The boilerplate came after the ending hashmarks, which might be a preference, but again, struck me as odd.

So I called shenanigans.

Was it a ploy to weed out the competition, make sure only the serious applied?  Possibly.

The Google Fiber web page is still up, and now into the next phase, choosing a winning city.  Pittsburgh is represented well on the map, so we’ll see in the next four months or so what will come of it.

Mayor Luke said as we hear more, we’ll probably be doing more to further attract Google to the Steel City, here’s hoping!

Filed under: Industry, Interactive, PR Tagged: Google, Google Fiber, Pittsburgh

A few follow up thoughts to my article about Seton Hill’s iPad:

One of the things that I think works against Seton Hill in their ads, especially those that I see all the time on the buses, are that they look remarkably like the ads for CCAC.  If I didn’t pay as much attention to not only the ads on buses, but also ads in general, I think that I would easily get the two campaigns confused with each other.

I didn’t discuss the eBooks that will be available through iTunes now.  From what I have heard, the interface is very well put together (although it is inside iTunes, which is a memory hog, hence my switch away from it).  What still bugs me is a criticism of Apple in general, and that is their proprietary file formats and generally closed-off nature of their devices and applications.

I’m very much a fan of open source technology and the power of crowdsourcing, so when an eBook is only available on one device, I get worried.  Granted, that is a part of the new digital age I think, but it is not good for consumers, who find themselves in a position where their library (be it books, music, video, games or anything else) is trapped on one devices, or one set of devises.  That of course, comes back to bite the company in the ass: consumers are more reluctant to move on to the next generation/new model if they can’t bring their libraries with them.

At the moment though, that has not been a problem.  But the elephant in the room currently are the game consoles.  New generations of consoles come out every five or six years (on average, the 360 came out sooner, and Sony had said they expect the PS3 to be theirs for 10 years), and then a large chunk of hardcore consumers upgrade.  At least with the Wii, while it can be tied to your account at Nintendo, it does not have to be, instead, downloaded games are tied to the physical console.

A small bit of code would fix that, and hopefully, responsible companies are looking into that, and of course, I do realize that this has become more of a tangent than looking at Seton Hill’s iPad marketing, but interesting thoughts nonetheless (at least I think so).

So back to Apple’s proprietary file formats.  Presumably the iPad that students will be getting (and from what I have found out from a recent SHU alumni, students will also be getting desktop Macs as well) will be for use in the classroom.  Imagine (and I hope that Carnegie Mellon is working on things like this) a professor walks into the room, with his or her tablet.  He has that day’s handouts digitally and with a flick of his finger, sends the handouts from his tablet to every other one in the room (maybe this would have to be done from some sort of educational kiosk at the lectern, but you get the idea).  He can instantly pass out slides from that day’s discussion, including notes taken on the smart board in the room.  Exams could be sent out, done by students and then flicked back to the professor for grading.  Blue books would be a thing of the past, if each student has a word processor in their fingertips.

Granted, things like safeguards against cheating would have to be worked out, and all that kind of stuff, but even in just the more mundane classes, this not only would be a huge savings in term of paper and printing, but students would be able to keep notes filed and organized on one device that could then sync with their desktops/laptops in their rooms.  And in the more creative and scientific fields, tablets could be a great way for design students to take projects with them to work on where they find inspiration, to view their projects on different operating systems, and even provide  new type of gallery opening, one in which projects are scattered and maybe even travelling to different screens, but each artist has the power to have a gallery with them at all times.  Those in the sciences could store data, in numbers, video, images and their own thoughts, recording as they walk through their experiments, giving them unfeathered access to their own work as it is created and examined.

Anyway, it’s all projection.  And a ways off.  I hope that textbooks are able to be shared between students and their iPads, to allow for joint note taking (some textbooks are more like workbooks after all), and that was how I saved a bunch of money in college, sharing books on subjects I knew I wasn’t going to keep after they were done (sorry Fr.  Simon!).

Okay, so I had more thoughts than I imagined I was going to, and I did get off on some tangents, but who knows, it’s a discussion, right?  We’ll see what develops.  For now though, I’m going to leave the Seton Hill iPad alone, I think I’ll be moving on to a couple other things that have caught my eye recently.

Filed under: Online, Outdoor, Second Thoughts Tagged: Higher Ed, iPad, Seton Hill

Seton Hill iPad

This wasn’t what I had originally wanted to write about for the first post, but I’ll get to that at a later date.  For now, I’m going to jump in and discuss the news and marketing that Seton Hill will be providing all of their students with an iPad.  One of the strange things I noticed, is that there is no mention of that fact anywhere on their homepage.

My guess is that details are still being worked out, and probably language is being written (if it hasn’t already) to break the news that (presumably) current students are ineligible to receive an iPad.  Yes, the ad says that it will go to all full-time students in 2010, but I kind of think it won’t happen.  I guess I’m a bit more of a cynic than I thought, but really, it’s not that relevant to this post I suppose.  This whole paragraph has been speculation, just so you know.

I actually first read the news on a Seattle-based news blog, which has since followed up with an interesting story that points out that many students retain more knowledge from words on a printed page, versus a screen.  This fact is one we discussed many times in web design courses, and one that makes the advent of ebooks tough on publishing houses I think.

Think about it, the easiest thing to do is to just take the manuscript of a book, put it into ebook format and release it.  If it is hard to read, well then that is the fault of the hardware the user has invested in.  Eink is slated to make reading on a screen much easier on the eyes, although I have yet to be really impressed with any e-reader or tablet (but I’m expecting that to change in the next five to ten years).

And of course, the limitations of the iPad are widely known (one proprietary input jack, lock-down of software), but those are actually more suited to discussion in The Great and Secret Show, so I’ll leave them be for now.

The striking similarity however, and one that I’m sure others noticed, is this is the same deal, just updated, that Grove City College ran (I could not find information on whether or not their program was still going on): all incoming freshmen were welcomed to campus by a new laptop and printer (and strict rules to not walk on the grass, rules which have since been relaxed from what I can gather).  It’s the same idea, just updated for 2010.

Grove City College is a whole different beast, although I don’t think the free laptop was high on the list for enrolling students.  Will this have a measurable affect on applications and incoming class size?  We won’t know until next year, and even then, only if Seton Hill decides to divulge that information (and even then, we’ll have to look through the spin).

But I do like the Web page (pictured above), it’s clean, simple, much like Mac.  It could do a better job driving prospective students to apply, and it looks as though it was used as a splash page, maybe on the day it was officially announced, thankfully that is not the case at the moment (very annoying, even if it is providing a way to geek out).  I am surprised the logo in the lower right is for Mac, and not Apple, seems a bit of a wavering of Steve Job’s branding of everything Apple and i-related.  And again I wonder why there is no news story, or even mention on Seton Hill’s home page, at best it seems inconsistent, or even ashamed.  But I will be interested to see if other schools, especially schools in the area pick up the same kind of promotion.

Filed under: Online Tagged: Higher Ed, iPad, Seton Hill

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