Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, April 29, 2021

While rushing through the Upper East Side today, a sign in an electronics store display caught my eye:

DIGITAL CAMERAS
YOUTUBE-ENABLED

I half-suspected that this was a snake-oil claim. But in fact, Casio’s Exilim camera line touts its YouTube-branded point-click-upload onboard software interface, which is designed to make recording and posting of videos seamless. Furthermore, Casio got an exclusive on this YouTube-by-association feature.

Of course, this ain’t news, as Casio rolled out the Exilim almost a year ago.

But it’s news to me. And I think it’s indicative of the times that a camera’s ability to play nice with YouTube is such a powerful sales hook that it’s front-and-center in valuable window display territory. In fact, I’m thinking this is a crucial feature for selling to younger consumers, how might otherwise need convincing to get a dedicated camera versus just using their cameraphone.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/29/2008 11:02:26 PM
Category: Internet, Photography, Tech
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Try to follow along here:

To introduce their new non-pizza offerings, Pizza Hut had some fun with an April Fool’s announcement that it was rebranding itself as “Pasta Hut”.

As a follow-up to this campaign, it’s been running a TV commercial to promote these new dishes, called Tuscani Pastas. The spot follows a time-honored format — hidden-camera taste-testing — but with a questionable wrinkle:

The commercial purports to gather unwitting eaters to try the food at Tuscani in New York, and then revealing to them on hidden camera that in fact it’s Pizza Hut pasta, not Tuscani’s pasta.

As far as I can tell, there’s no Tuscani restaurant in New York. Although it’s a pretty effective ad, it seems to me that if they made up the whole thing it’s particularly egregious, even for the advertising world.

No Tuscani’s, but no problem:

The people were invited to an actual restaurant that is named Provence, he adds, but [according to ad agency BBDO] “we intentionally did not reveal the name and instead outfitted the restaurant as ‘Tuscani’ to reinforce our new product launch.”…

True, the fact that the restaurant is presented as if it is named Tuscani is not factually accurate. But I believe that it falls within the realm of artistic license, particularly since the campaign has already used an element of imaginary name-changing.

But wait, it gets even more convoluted:

One final note, dear readers. The New York Times reported that the restaurant Provence was scheduled to close last week and reopen in May under a new name, Hundred Acres. Maybe Pizza Hut could ask the owners to rename it Tuscani — at least long enough for folks to stop by for a pasta dinner.

So basically, the restaurant on TV is a fake makeover of a real NYC restaurant, which is itself now “fake” in the sense that it’s no longer open — but is in the process of getting a real makeover/rebirth.

Throw in the French/Italian/fast food cuisine switcheroos at play here, and my head hurts. On top of that, my stomach’s growling.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/29/2008 01:02:49 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, New Yorkin'
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There’s no ambiguity about the inspiration for Tyler Knox’s “Kockroach: A Novel”, as the book’s opening line should tell you:

As Kockroach, an arthropod of the genus Blatella and of the species germanica, awakens one morning from a typically dreamless sleep, he finds himself transformed into some large, vile creature.

And if it doesn’t tell you, then I’ll let one Franz Kafka enlighten you, “Metamorphosis”-style:

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.

I’m a sucker for such literary remixing, as my earlier reading of Joe McGinniss Jr.’s “The Delivery Man” as latter-day “Less Than Zero” attests. If nothing else, it shows off an author’s reverence for the writerly giants.

Notice the level of reversal that Knox imbues in his prose. Not only does he accomplish the bug-to-man change (that “large, vile creature” being a human), but he picks up on Kafka’s granting of “anxious dreams” to Gregor Samsa to, in turn, establish that Kockroach, being a cockroach, would be bereft of any dreaming at all prior to all this. Dealing with more active mental faculties becomes a key driver in Knox’s telling.

I only wish “Kockroach” had held up beyond its opening couple of chapters. A nice enough attempt at hardboiled comic noir, but ultimately a bit of a mess, with most of the characters (including, regrettably, the lead female, who also serves as one of the three narrators) being too underdeveloped to keep the story going. A transformation — in the form of another editorial proofing or two — could have done wonders.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/29/2008 12:19:55 PM
Category: Book Review, Creative
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