Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 15, 2021

What’s Mattel to do to revitalize Barbie, which is losing its traditional base of little girls to upstarts like Bratz?

It launches a Barbie line of clothes for women, hoping designs by Anna Sui and Tarina Tarantino will create build a fashionista coolness cache that results in more doll sales.

What Mattel hopes will happen: Fashion-forward thirty-somethings will adopt the look.

What probably will happen: Forty- and fifty-somethings, who have more of a nostalgic attachment with the doll than their younger counterparts, will buy the clothes, and look so obviously out-of-place in such girly clothes that the whole enterprise backfires.

No word on if these clothes will fit only women with Barbie’s infamously exaggerated proportions. Actually, with that kind of track record in influencing female body images, I question if Mattel is the ideal company to push couture.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/15/2005 08:58:23 PM
Category: Fashion, Pop Culture
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I find the logo of the Oregon State University Beavers to be quite amusing. Not to disparage beavers in general, but I can’t imagine a real-life one looking quite so super-charged and fierce.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/15/2005 07:35:34 PM
Category: Sports
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So you wanna be a music star, kid? Get ready to work, because the odds are long, the learning curve is steep, and it takes a lot more than talent just to eke out a living, let alone break it big.

Cue the cold shower: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, competition will remain keen and job growth will be slower than average, 3 percent to 9 percent, for self-employed musicians through 2012. Even if you land a steady gig, the median annual earnings of salaried musicians and singers remains in the mid-$30,000 range. Statistically, of the roughly 215,000 professional musicians out there, four in 10 will work day jobs to support themselves.

So, really, it’s just like any other business, but particularly the entertainment field: There’s the big stars, then the masses scraping by. And it takes the right mix of craft and business acumen to maximize musical success.

But is that going to change soon?

The good news is, thanks to the Internet and affordable recording technologies, the balance of power has shifted toward the musician and away from the recording industry. The bad news is, as a result, there’s more competition than ever.

“I see a shift from the ‘music’ business to the ‘musician’ business,” says [Berklee College of Music director Peter] Spellman. “We may not see a lot of millionaire artists in this new picture, but we’ll be seeing more and more middle-class musicians making a sufficient living while still having full ownership rights to their creations.”

It’s a nice concept, but I’m not sure this will ever be the case. Democratization of production tools and channles is one thing; but even when the playing field levels, popular appeal takes over, and the record labels will follow that and provide the marketing and distribution muscle only they can give. The only thing that changes is that that there’s more selection — but way more chaffe than wheat.

And again, it comes down to how you play the game, business-wise:

[Music consultant Christopher] Knab is one of the dream makers, a 60-year-old music-industry veteran who prepares parents and would-be rock stars alike for the harsh realities of making it today. Repeat after him: Talent is never, never enough. If you don’t have money, figure out a way to get some. If you don’t know the business, learn it. And if you don’t have the guts to stick with it, forget it.

“Of the calls I get, 98 out of 100 are people who don’t have any money, but they say, ‘I’ve got some really good songs’ or ‘I’ve got really great music.’ So what, you know? There are millions of great songs and talented artists. The industry won’t pay attention these days because of the flood of music that’s out there; everybody and their sister is recording. What will wake them up is when they start hearing over and over again, ‘Have you heard this new record?’”

This is the payoff, and lack thereof, in committing to a creative field. Every move is a Hail Mary play: Either you hit it big, or you bust. It’s part of the process and part of the territory.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/15/2005 07:09:21 PM
Category: Business, Creative
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Since placing Google Adsense ads on this blog, I’ve been keeping an eye on other people’s posts on their experience with the program. I like to get a feel for comparative performance; I’m insecure like that.

Alas, I haven’t been able to find an awful lot of chatter on Adsense. But I did just come across an interesting post about one person’s experience with Google Adwords, a related service: Going by traditional target-marketing metrics, it leaves something to be desired:

There are 2 kinds of campaigns you can run with Adwords. The first consists of “pay per click”. This is where you get charged a nominal fee every time someone clicks on your ad. Since Aug 31, 2021 I’ve had 14 individuals “click” on my ad based on the keywords I setup in my campaign. Those clicks came from 6,018 impressions (times my ad was displayed). It cost me roughly $0.40/click.

The second type of ad I ran was the “cost per 1000 impressions” ad. This is much more expensive to run, but can be targeted at specific sites, (fortune.com, etc.) based on your marketing requirements. I didn’t run the ad as long, but ended up paying (for the test) about $38 to reach 6,400 impressions. 30 people clicked on the ad which cost over $1.25 per click. Cost per 1000 impressions was $5.90.

In essence, I dropped over 12k mail pieces for about $43 of which 44 people opened the piece and threw it in the trash. Not a good measure of success by any standards.

I haven’t been looking at using Adwords, so it’s not like this one review is going to turn me off. But it’s enlightening. I’m betting that the word-buys work best if done in huge volumes; on a small scale as described here, it’s chickenfeed. A parallel to direct mail is a little strained, I think.

The author goes on to ask if anyone is making money using Adsense on blogs. For me: It’s been less than a month, but so far I’m quite pleased with how it’s performing for me. I’m not going to quit my day job, but it’ll more than cover the hosting costs for this site. Plus, the revenues from it appear to be increasing every week, albiet slowly. So I’d rate it a success, especially considering that it requires no additional effort on my part.

In both scenarios, results will vary. If you approach online marketing as a business investment, you deserve to expect a some impact for your return. If it’s just to hitch a ride on your blogging traffic, it’s all gravy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/15/2005 06:11:35 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin'
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