Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, August 04, 2021

So, that little maelstrom of controversy earlier this year over the naughty-naughty “OMFG” posters for “Gossip Girl”?

It appears that The CW is harnessing the byproducts of last April’s outrage to create the equivalent of (unintentional) user-generated taglines for the show’s new ad campaign:

The best part about the ads… is that the show is using actual “criticisms” from naysayers to promote the raciness of the teen drama.


The Boston Globe screamed GG was “Every Parent’s Nightmare,” while the Parents Television Council said the show was “Mind-Blowingly Inappropriate.” So the creative minds slapped the comments on poster, complete with a sexy photo of some of their hottie stars, and, voila!, advertising gold!

So this was the Vulcan-mind-trick intent all along, or else the network is taking an edgy lemonade-from-lemons approach. Either way, it’s a deft way of exploiting the knee-jerk negative attention the original ads got.

By the way: It’s 2008. People are still getting uptight about some lightweight television show “influencing” teens into having sex? Seriously? No wonder advertising manipulations like this strike gold.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/04/2021 08:40:41 AM
Category: Advert./Mktg., TV
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Anyone who resents reading through Yahoo! Shortcuts and similar automated-tagging links in Web content should get a chuckle out of a recently-publicized snafu resulting from said keywording:

The phrase “underage girls,” now added to a list of thousands of previously blocked terms, will never again generate a Yahoo Shortcut, the company said. But the incident highlights how difficult it can be for publishers to keep a tight rein on their sites in this age of user-generated content.

Internet publishers are increasingly relying on automated systems to tag phrases of interest and, in some cases, to provide links to other sites. With legions of YouTube users, Flickr photographers and anonymous bloggers posting floods of their own, largely unsupervised material, it’s impossible for publishers using automation to exercise total control.

“No matter how sophisticated you make these automated systems, you’re not going to make them perfect, and all you can really strive for is to tune them as you go along,” said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility. Still, he said, in this case “it’s pretty clear there was a lapse in terms of the quality control of Yahoo’s keyword list.”

Actually, I don’t think a mis-tag has to be salacious, or even controversial, to be obtrusive. To say that the algorithms aren’t perfect is a laughable understatement — because they’re based on keywords, they’re downright primitive. Context is often lost, and you wind up with unconventional word pairings and other phraseology that gets inappropriately assigned an irrelevant link.

The clearest examples I can think of are from sports news. I can’t tell you how many sports articles I come across where, for instance, the word “stars” gets auto-tagged with a link relating to the NHL’s Dallas Stars — even though the usage has nothing to do with that specific team. The same thing happens with any number of team names and other terms that are so simple that they, paradoxically, turn out tricky for the tagging program.

I realize this auto-linking represents value-added revenue potential, and it’s hard for publishers to give up that money. But really, it just looks sloppy, and the “value” added comes off as crass. Either have a human vet those links before making them live — probably too costly as a realistic option — or else ditch them altogether. The readership certainly isn’t going to miss them.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/04/2021 08:03:59 AM
Category: Internet, Media
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