Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nooooooooooo Scrabulous

A while back, I wrote a post on how much I loved Scrabulous. After logging into facebook yesterday, I followed my daily routine and clicked on the Scrabulous link, only to find this error message:
Turns out, Hasbro finally gave Scrabulous the boot. They've even created their own "official" (but inferior) Scrabble Facebook App, which I haven't even tried yet. And to be honest, I don't even know if I will. It sucks that the application that introduced Scrabble to a whole new market is now defunct. The only positive thing about this is that my facebook usage will go down by about 75%, giving me a little more time to find other procrastination outlets :P

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Greatest Marketing Scam of All Time

A friend introduced me to this 17-page article written in 1982 for The Atlantic.   It's all about the fabrication of the Diamond Industry, and how De Beers, with the help of marketing firm N.W. Ayer, managed to transform the psyche of the entire world! 

Almost impossible to put down, this article will make you realize how diamonds have no actual value.  Try explaining that to your significant other ;)

As always, I've listed a few key points that might tickle your interest:
  • If you try to resell a diamond, you'll never get what you paid for it... think about it.
  • Diamonds only maintain their value if the consumers hold on to them.  If the general public decided to part with their diamonds, the entire industry would crash.
  • Diamonds were given to celebrities in the 50s and 60s to associate diamonds with status.
  • The concept of giving someone a diamond for your engagement is actually the product of marketing... there's nothing traditional about it
  • Along with coming up with the slogan "A diamond is forever", N.W. Ayer has also created some of the greatest marketing campaigns in history; including "Be all you can be" for the American Army.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Generation X: Tales For an Accelerated Culture

I literally JUST finished reading Douglas Coupland's first (and probably most famous) novel, Generation X. At the time it was written (1991), this book was geared towards the generation born in the 1960s that were in their 20's and early 30's. Surprisingly enough, the issues Coupland writes about are still relevant to the same age group today... which is probably why I liked it so much. The greatest part of the novel is probably the witty and shockingly hilarious definitions in the side panels of the pages. Here's are some of my favorites:

Emotional Ketchup Burst: The bottling up of opinions and emotions inside oneself so that they explosively burst forth at once, shocking and confusing employers and friends - most of whom thought things were fine.

Successophobia: The fear that if one is successful, then one's personal needs will be forgotten and one will no longer have one's childish needs catered to.

Lessness: A philosophy whereby one reconciles oneself with diminishing expectation of material wealth: "I've given up wanting to make a killing or be a bigshot. I just want to find happiness and maybe open up a little roadside cafe in Idaho."

Anti-Victim Device (AVD): A small fashion accessory worn on an otherwise conservative outfit which announces to the world that one still has a spark of individuality burning inside.

If you've ever been through a mid-20s life crisis where you start questioning your entire past and future, you're bound to find something to relate to in Generation X. I'll leave you with another hilarious quote:

"When someone tells you that they've just bought a house, they might as well tell you they no longer have a personality. You can immediately assume so many things: that they're locked into jobs they hate; that they're broke; that they spend every night watching videos; that they're fifteen pounds overweight; that they no longer listen to new ideas. It's profoundly depressing."