Archive for October, 2006

Who Remembers Global Warming?

News fluctuates and whoever yells the loudest seems to gets the most attention, and such is the case with global warming. I recall a few months ago when global warming was at the front of everyones mind, it was on the cover of Time Magazine and people were actually reading a book by Al Gore. But its hard to keep our attention so we move on the next big issue and forget about others.

On front page of the Monday edition of the New York Times there is an article discussing the lack of funding for research in the fight against global warming. It is one of those problems that doesn’t really have short term returns so private investing is may not be as high because combating global warming is a long term project and investors are looking for returns sooner than later. American’s in general don’t like to deal with long term because they are interested in the short term and instant gratification so interest in topics like global warming tend to fade very quickly. The truth is though the impacts are going to hit us a lot sooner the longer we ignore this and if we wait too long we are going to have a huge problem on our hands.

While I was reading this article and thinking about globalization in general many things have become quite obvious. With nations like China and India demanding more energy for their expanding economy and industries this is going to escalate further the carbon dioxide emissions. Of course some of the countries are thinking about ways to lower emissions already and many countries are involved in plans to lower emissions (Kyoto) its still hard to say how all the development will affect our environment. Environmental problems shouldn’t hold back development it is just a key factor that needs to be addressed. More importantly though America needs to do something especially if we ever plan on gaining our respect back in the international community. Hart recently posted about the American complaceny that has swept the nation and I couldn’t agree more. We need to be progressive and quit being the gas-guzzling, over consuming, slobs that have taken a seat on the couch of “we are better than you”, and get up or else fall behind.


Globalization of Healthcare

A recent article in Newsweek entitled “Which Hospital is the Best?”, Dr. Brian Jarman points out that as “health care becomes more a global enterprise, with patients going farther afield in pursuit of the best care, the need for an objective measure of hospital performance has become more pressing.” How far will this expand? I really can’t make any predictions but its just fascinating to think that perhaps that people would go to the best facility to get treatment regardless of location. Of course this possibility is most likely a really long ways off for the average person, it is still none the less a possibility in the future of globalization.

The article also discusses that in the U.S. “more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals participated in a campaign of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston to reduce mortality rates.” Hospitals and doctors have never been in favor of sharing hospitals mortality data but there has been a wave of hospitals willing to share this information with patients, even publishing it online.

With standards being set and hospitals beginning to willingly to share once hidden data will this increase competition between hospitals? Not that there hasn’t been in the past, but will this intensify competition to provide the best healthcare?

“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sisimpur?”

I’m sure most of the people in class are familiar with the show Sesame Street. You might admit you watched it (or maybe you still do) as a child but its not something we give much thought to now. Things have a way of coming back and you can never escape your past can you? In any case no matter what age you are it is clear that Sesame Street has managed to globalize itself in its pursuit to educate pre-school age children. In the blog that I have been following this semester there was a posting about the recent PBS documentary “The World According to Sesame Street”, the blog poster stated that it is “a fascinating documentary about Sesame Street and how it has gone global, not just as “American” entertainment for children, but as a catalyst for social and economic development by targeting the youngest citizens around the world. The film follows productions in Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa and “examines how producers from New York’s Sesame Workshop take the iconic American television show and localize it with indigenous songs, puppets and curricula while facing cultural, political and production challenges.””

If you are interested I highly recommend looking at the website for the documentary. I perused it briefly and it just amazes me that a show I watched as a 4 year old is impacting the world. Sesame Street is played in over 120 countries and has 20 co-production of shows that are similar to the original but are more specified for the area. In South Africa they have a muppet named Kami who is HIV+. The goal is to educate young children about the fast growing problem in South Africa. In Bangladesh (where it is named Sisimpur) they have a girl muppet, named Tuktuki, that “was created to show that girls can have the same opportunities as boys”. Even in Kosovo there has been a creation of a Sesame like show (dubbed in both Serbia and Albanian) in hopes that in educating the young children it will foster a future of peace in the often unstable and violent area. Sesame Stree and its similar “spin-offs” have been highly successful in ratings and have been well recieved in these countries.

Who would have thought that Sesame Street, as radical as it was for the time it was created, would grow into an international phenomenom. Could this create some sort of future cultural unity? If you all grow up on the same street whether its called Sesame, Sisimpur or Takalani Sesame isn’t there bound to be some neighborly love and understanding?

Quick Update

I haven’t posted in awhile but in today’s news I noticed that Wal-Mart has fired its advertising companies and hired new ones. With the latest reports on profits it is apparent they are having trouble attracting the new upper-class customers even with the expansion of grocery section to include organic and the clothing section to include more higher-end clothing. With Wal-Mart’s new goal of bringing in more affluent consumers they have hired a new advertising agency that will hopefully find a balance. That balance being between not angering loyal (usually rural lower class) customers but still enticing more affluent middle and upper class customers.

When Things Come Together

Today as I was reading The Wallstreet Journal there was an article entitled “Increased Collaboration Helps Sales And Marketers Get Closer to the Customer” and it discussed a couple of points that I had made in my last post. The future of advertisting is now in the consumers control and Advertisers are trying to figure out how to deal with it effectively.

The article went deeper though and touched on some of the ideas that we talked about today in class. “The roles of sales and marketing professionals are changing. The gradual merging of these two functions, and the pressure to target the right audience at the right time from the right platfrom with the right message, are making these jobs increasingly complex.” So in short these jobs are requiring more specificity but the problem right now is that very few people actually have the type of training that is a hybrid of sales/marketing, right now. Some companies are shelling out money for their empoyees to get this training in hopes that “this hybrid sales/marketing professional will understand just as much about demographics as they will about neuro-linguistic programming and psychology.”

Here is a real world situation that exemplifies what we talked about class. The future of sales and marketing is going to be a collaborative effort so that they will in effect become closer to the customer. This is why it is important to have an active-mind so that when these changes come along that you can change along with them rather being stuck in the past and possibly the unemployment line.

Advertising on Eggs?

For a couple of days now I’ve been struggling to find a topic to write about but today as I was reading the New York Times I stumbled across an article entitled “Letting Consumers Control Marketing: Priceless”. In a recent meeting of the Association of National Advertisers the main topic of discussion was the future of advertising. Now that the consumer has control over what commercials they watch (via TiVo, etc.) advertisers have been trying to find new ways to get out their message. The solution many companies are coming up with? Let the consumer take control of the steering wheel and in addition, the call to “replace decades worth of top-down marketing tactics with bottom-up, grass-roots approaches”. Do I sense a sort of flattening occuring in the advertising market?

Since this is mainly uncharted territory there have been failures but this sort of exploration is important because without the failures they will never come closer to the “right” answer for the future of advertising. Big names such as Wal-Mart are getting in on this new wave of advertising and as stated by Wal-Mart’s senior vice president for marketing, Stephen Quinn,”Today, the customer is in charge…and whoever is best at putting the customer in charge makes all the money.” Wal-Mart is in a stage of transformation trying to look beyond its “traditional base of rural low-income customers” by “aiming to woo a more affluent and suburban” shopper who’s standards may be higher. The sale of higher price and more luxury items looks to be the future of Wal-Mart but of course this depends on the economic standing of an area so in the future “…more stores will be customized by location,”.

More and more it appears that the future of advertising will be in the consumers hand and rightly so, who better to say what the consumer wants then the actual consumer. Until advertisers find that balance between consumer control and advertising companies there will be many attempts (some of them weird) to grab the consumer’s attention. So where does the whole “advertising on eggs?” come into this scenario? Well, while I was searching for videos on YouTube (another big player in advertising) I stumbled across a segment of the Daily Show that is entitled Back in Black and its basically a rant by Lewis Black. That week he was discussing exactly what I had read earlier in the paper. So although the video clip was a month or two old it still applied to many of the interesting (and weird) ways that advertisers were trying to get the consumers attention. He mentions how HP shelled out $200,000 for product placement in a Jessica Simpson music video, and you don’t even notice it (just check out the video, link at the bottom). Lewis Black also mention’s how CBS used “On-Egg Messaging” in order to advertise for their fall schedule. As cited in USA Today, “More than 35 million eggs will be marked with phrases such as “CSI: Crack the Case on CBS” and “The Class, New Grade-A CBS Comedy” as part of a deal between the CBS Marketing Group and EggFusion, an egg-coding company”. Its a creative idea but will it work? CBS hopes so, this “…campaign is part of what the network is calling its “Outernet strategy,” an effort to reach viewers “outside their homes as they go about their daily lives,”

So are any of the ideas actually going to work? Only time will tell, and who knows what other interesting advertisements they will come up as advertisers have to find new ways to reach their audience.

Also if any of you are interested in watching Lewis Black’s rant it can be found here.

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