Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, August 09, 2021

It’s not so remarkable that Microsoft got out of the digital ad agency business today by selling Razorfish for around $500-600 million. What’s impressive is the key long-term provisions they baked into the transaction:

A big part of the deal is what is being called a strategic alliance agreement between Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., and Publicis, which also owns agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, the MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.

The alliance agreement, which is to run for five years, calls for Publicis to buy a minimum guaranteed level of display and search advertising using Microsoft properties like msn.com and bing.com, the new search engine. Trade publications have estimated that guaranteed level in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The alliance agreement also calls for Microsoft to spend a minimum guaranteed amount with Razorfish.

So not only did Microsoft unload a non-core business unit, it also ensured a huge infusion of ad buys into online properties, capitalizing upon Bing’s early traction. Not only that, but this Publicis alliance dovetails with the previous big deal to power Yahoo!’s search with Bing technology: Microsoft can now deliver user search data from Y! Network sites to Publicis and its clients. It puts Microsoft squarely at the heart of a lot of online consumer behavior.

I can’t believe this is Microsoft making these shrewd moves. I guess there’s been some personnel shifts to drive a lot of this, but that’s never been enough in the past. These kinds of coordinated maneuvers hint at deep organizational adjustments — something I didn’t think the Big Redmond Machine had in it. Based just on these business acrobatics, I really think Mountain View has justified reason to worry now…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/09/2021 06:27:09 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Business, Internet
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As G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra rose to a $54-million debut this weekend, I was reminded of the original 1980s cartoon series. Specifically, I was reminded of how absurdly bloodless that show was:

The first war between G.I. Joe and Cobra (1985-86), as documented in the G.I. Joe animated series, was the most violent conflict in history never to result in a single casualty. Through a combination of terrible aim, superhuman jumping ability, and impossibly reliable parachutes, every combatant escaped even the most dire of situations without so much as the angle of his beret askew. The G.I Joe series is an ode to the improbable escape, and the thrill of the violence comes not from the possibility of death but from the zany ways the Joes and Cobras avoid it.

Actually, to my memory, there wasn’t much “zany” about those escape scenarios. Oh, maybe when it came to the primaries, aka the nameworthy action-figured characters like Duke, Scarlett, and Cobra Commander — their preservation demanded grand theatrics. What would kill me was how the animators went out of their way to display how everybody — I mean, everybody — avoided death. Every battle scene involved anti-aircraft fire taking down both sides’ jet planes, but those planes never went down or exploded until their pilots were clearly shown to have ejected and parachuted away safely. Civilians always had several seconds to run away from a soon-to-explode car or storefront. Even the anonymous bystanders avoided the barest hint of death, collateral damage be damned.

I always figured this ultra-sanitizing of what was supposed to be a war story was due to the children’ TV watchdogs of the day working overtime. I guess the faintest idea of mortality was too traumatic a concept to allow into pre-teen skulls.

Of course, I was teenaged during that original Joe-Cobra conflict, which probably explains my impatience (even then) for the lack of bloodshed. In my defense, the writing in a small stretch of those episodes was unusually a cut above the typical toy-adaptation fare — which put it only on a 7th-grade level, but still. In particular, “The Traitor” and “There’s No Place Like Springfield” were quite memorable for their halfway-complex plotlines. And, inevitably, their lack of war violence…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/09/2021 03:20:33 PM
Category: Comedy, Movies, Pop Culture, TV
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