Maybe it’s just all advertising

Thanks to the great cultural advancement that is the DVR, I can watch plenty of mind-numbing TV without commercial interruption. But sometimes, as I’m fast-forwarding to the next diagnosis on House, I catch a spot that looks intriguing.

Lexus has their annual December to Remember campaign going on. The ads start with a little boy or little girl speaking directly into the camera, a voice from the past, reminding you how excited you were to get that Atari or that pony, and how you thought that was the best Christmas ever.

Parents and siblings interact with each other in the semi-sepia tinted background while self-centered, spoiled Johnny or Sarah is childishly unaware that Christmas is about something bigger than expensive toys.

The commercial ends, of course, with the little child from your past taking you aside and saying SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS YEAR, NUMB NUT, AND REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, YA BIG DOPE.

No, shockingly, the commercial ends with the stunning revelation that the best Christmas ever would be one in which you get a Lexus.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that school kids are often introduced to logical fallacies and critical thinking by exploring advertisements. Check out this lesson plan for a quick review of logical fallacies (or this site for a comprehensive list) and how they show up in everything from magazine ads to infomercials to Super Bowl commercials to blogs.

Which isn’t to say that all logical fallacies are bad. Grampa sent us the dog house commercial last week. Dick thought it was hilarious, and I think he learned a lot from watching it.

Why are some ads so grating, and others, every bit as commercial and fake and obvious, turn out to be just plain entertaining? Are you willing to forgive a multitude of logical fallacies as long as something is also funny and clever? And at what age do you start pointing out the logical fallacies to your children?

Jane

Fight the Klutz Frump, and Other Tips for a Well-Lived Life

***Updated***

I should probably save all these tips for upcoming Works-for-Me Wednesday posts, but since Shannon could not be bothered to acknowledge my seven million shout-outs to her the other day (forget what I said about the Golden Rule, okay?), I just might start boycotting the carnival, which will really show her! Continue reading

Duck, Duck, Blog: The Art, Business, and Technology of Doing The Blog

doris day teacher's petFor those of us not attending BlogHer, I thought I’d compile everything I know about blogging. This is sort of like the (unfair to teachers) maxim: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” The list will make up in candor what it lacks in exhaustiveness. Go on, ask me how much I make on my BlogHer Ads. (I have no idea. Still missing my password, but my headline circle editor is on the job).

You can tell a lot about a person and their blog based on which aspect of blogging: Art (Writing or Photography or Quilling), Business (making money or expanding an IRL enterprise); or Technology (coding or design or web development), inspires their posts. A great blog will usually be artistically rich, income-generating, and technologically sophisticated, though there are many exceptions, and a great blog for me may simply be one that minimizes my angst.

Whatever your goal(s) for your blog, it’s good to explore the other aspects, if only so that if and when your interests or goals change, your blog will be set up to shift/expand more smoothly. Continue reading

Unexpected, and a call for Bloggy Opinions

Well-meaning friends and strangers have asked me why I blog. And I confess that sometimes I ask myself that very question. Also:

What on earth am I hoping to accomplish here? Or maybe that was what I wondered when I used licorice-bribery to get Susan on the potty this afternoon.

Various Reasons People have Suggested for Why a Female Mammal With Offspring Would Blog

Do I plan to become a real writer someday? (Do you plan to become more attractive someday?)

Do I just want to chronicle my family life? (Do you think scrapbooking would cure that?)

Do I hope to make money someday? (Do you want to hear about how much mother-work is worth?)

Do I think blogging will cure cancer in the near future? (Do you really think Ivana Trump’s fourth husband married her for love?)

So Why Blog?

Some days I think I will stop blogging, or stop viewing my blog as a letter to world. It can be very discouraging if you are not The Pioneer Woman getting 10,528 comments on your ode to John Denver and Zune (which didn’t discourage me from entering her Zune contest!). Or I can get discouraged because I don’t think I’ll ever write something as simply moving as Conversion Diary’s last post (via Rocks in My Dryer).

But every time I get especially down at the fact I have not brokered world peace yet, I get an email or a comment from a friend, family member, or stranger, and whatever sweet thing they say makes it all worthwhile. I think that this would happen even if I weren’t blogging — I think God expects us to minister to each other by encouraging and complimenting, but as writing becomes more and more something I want to be, nice things said about what I’ve written mean a lot.

Beyond Writing

Content comes first on a blog, but then you can consider design and marketing. I’d rather not discuss design, what with my complete lack of talent and patience with art and computers. Marketing is interesting, though, and not just because advertisers sell everything from cigarettes to hockey sticks with the same lie that both will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. If they’d only promise to make you more attractive, sympathetic, and obey-able to your children, I’d start smoking — herbal cigarettes, at least.

It doesn’t take an FBLA alumna to realize that the marketing of your blog and the marketing that businesses hope to do on your blog are pretty significant. I think the BlogHer Adnetwork is pretty cool because they combine these two things: When I place BlogHer ads on my site, my post headlines get placed on other blogs. I don’t know what that means in terms of readership or money yet, because I’ve lost my BlogHer password. Probably a big check is in the mail.

Your Input Needed

Next week I’ll be participating in a panel at the Blogging for Business Conference in Salt Lake City. I tried to demur, but thanks to the generosity, gullibility, and/or desperation of the conference organizer, I will be on a panel with Laura Moncur to discuss “Pitching to Bloggers: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What Will Get You in Trouble.” The other speakers include such luminaries as Brian Critchfield, Charlie Craine, Christopher Barger, Cydni Tetro, Dave Bascom, Jake McKee, Jason Brown, Rand Bateman, and Tom Pick. I have no idea who any of these people are, nor indeed how brightly their lumen shines.

Basically, I am so flattered to have been asked to participate that I have turned in my picture and bio on time not yet begun to figure out how to make what I have done for the past ten years sound remotely business-ish. I do, luckily, have some experience with being pitched to by companies that sell everything from fabric wallpaper to parenting magazines. Most recently I was asked to review a new LDS movie. Dick has been wanting to see it, so I said, “sure,” although the last Mormon movie I tried to watch was a serious contender for the Worst Movie Ever title.

I do have definite ideas on how businesses should pitch to bloggers, and almost every pitch that I’ve received could have been more effective if the PR person were more familiar with blogging. The overall impression I get is that PR people don’t know whether to approach bloggers as 1) journalists interested in press releases, 2) businesses selling ad space, or 3) human lab rats.

If you have any thoughts on this, I hope you’ll share them with me. I’d ask for wardrobe and hair help, but it’s probably too late for that. It’s probably also too late to lose that 20 pounds.

Your Take on Bloggy Pitches

What mistakes do companies make when they pitch to you?

What would/do you like to see in a pitch?

What motivates you to review/recommend a product or run ads (free review products, money, free products for giveaways, money, etc)?

What’s the worst pitch you’ve ever received?

Thanks!

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