Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, March 28, 2021

Much as Monday Night Football and Terrell Owens taught up almost four years ago, you simply cannot put a black man and white woman together in American media and not have people go (pardon the pun) apeshit.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. [LeBron] James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around [Gisele] Bundchen’s tiny waist.

It’s an image some have likened to King Kong and Fay Wray.

“It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

And in fact, some think that photographer Annie Leibovitz, who shot this April 2008 cover of Vogue, took her inspiration from the semi-famous “Destroy This Mad Brute” World War I propaganda poster, which predates King Kong.

As always, image is everything.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/28/2008 03:37:43 PM
Category: Basketball, Fashion, Photography, Publishing
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David Pogue ponders why more companies don’t embrace the transparency of corporate blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages and other public-facing interactive communications.

And he inadvertently hits the nail on the head with this observation:

Now then. We all know, intellectually, that no matter what image a corporation tries to project, it’s made up of ordinary people with personalities, insecurities and lives. But because the marketing and P.R. teams work so hard to scrub, control and package a company’s image, the public ordinarily sees none of that human side.

And all that scrubbing toward uniformity is exactly why you don’t see more penetration of Web 2.0 techniques. Corporate imagemakers are paid for version control — maintaining a buttoned-up storefront that conveys a “serious” company. The idea is that anyone who wants to do business, especially in terms of swapping real money, won’t do so with a bunch of clowns who are goofing around on MySpace on company time.

That’s typically not the marketing wonks pushing such an agenda. Ultimately, the company chieftains are the ones who yea or nay the approach, and since they usually become immersed in fairly rigid corporate cultures (especially when the money becomes larger), they are less comfortable with informality in their brand messaging.

So is a Web 2.0 approach the key to unshackling this closed loop?

When a company embraces the possibilities of Web 2.0, though, it makes contact with its public in a more casual, less sanitized way that, as a result, is accepted with much less cynicism. Web 2.0 offers a direct, more trusted line of communications than anything that came before it.

Well. Anything can be managed at the source. There are plenty of examples of corporate blogs that are ill-maintained, becoming little more than token permalinks filled with press-release text. I don’t think Web-based techniques are inherently purer than any other marketing collateral; maybe their relative newness triggers more trust from public audiences, but that will wear thin as traditional corporate communications techniques get channeled through them.

Ultimately, Web 2.0 gimmicks work only as long as quality content inform them. When they come in contact with corporate America, the quality becomes more restrictive the larger a company gets, and that includes once-spunky Web operations like Google (despite internal efforts to preserve the loose atmosphere). Doing business unfortunately leads to the narrowing of paths.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/28/2008 02:40:55 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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