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December 15, 2006

I want my MTV... Turkey?


This week is all-Turkey, all-the-time here at bookofjoe, what with Tuesday's shout-out to my new best friends in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Adana, Gazientep and all the rest.

I just happened on Eric Pfanner's New York Times story from this past Monday (December 11, 2006) about the debut in October of this year of MTV Turkey, "the latest of more than 50 MTV channels worldwide, beaming music videos and other entertainment to cable and satellite viewers across the country."

The new channel adds Turkish-language TV hosts and local musical acts into the international mix.

Here's the Times article.

    Who Needs Europe, Anyway? Turkey Has Its Very Own MTV

    Turkey’s relationship with the European Union, and with the wider Western world, may be fraught with uncertainties. But now, Turkey has MTV.

    In October, MTV Turkey became the latest of more than 50 MTV channels worldwide, beaming music videos and other entertainment to cable and satellite viewers across the country. While Turks had long been able to tune in to MTV Europe, an English-language channel, MTV Turkey adds local musical acts and Turkish-language television hosts into the international mix.

    Pop stars move in different circles from, say, politicians or popes, so it is surely only a coincidence that in the six weeks or so since the channel began, the volume of news, of a different sort, about Turkey has been rising. Opposition to Ankara’s bid to join the European Union is growing in some European capitals, and foreign ministers were expected to discuss that in Brussels on Monday.

    But pop culture, particularly through advertising, has a way of reflecting broad political and social trends. The ad agency Leo Burnett Turkey, created a campaign for MTV Turkey that highlights the sometimes bittersweet relationship between Turkey and the West.

    One spot, now appearing on television and in movie theaters in Turkey, riffs on the story of Aladdin, featuring a young waiter at a Turkish resort and a British female tourist.

    The waiter spots the tourist across the hotel terrace, and starts to fantasize that she is falling for him. Returning to his cramped room, he rubs his lamp, à la Aladdin; instead of a genie, the British tourist appears, whispering that she loves him.

    Things heat up further when the waiter hands her a love note alongside breakfast, asking her to go dancing with him that night. The imagined evening culminates in her bedroom, with the tourist suggestively lowering her top to reveal an MTV tattoo. To her astonishment and delight, the waiter reveals a similar tattoo on his chest.

    The ad cuts to a picture of a newspaper rack with a tabloid whose banner headline reads, “MTV is in Turkey, Turkey is in MTV.”

    “The idea was to show how cultures can mix in Turkey,” said Yasar Akbas, creative director for Leo Burnett Turkey. “It’s a place where there are many surprises inside.”

    MTV Turkey said that it was too early to determine how many viewers were tuning in to the new channel, adding that it could potentially reach 8 million households via satellite and 1.3 million via cable.

    A Web site linked to it is attracting 1.5 million hits a day, MTV Turkey said. MTV, part of the Viacom media conglomerate, is paying a lot of attention to the Internet, as social networking sites and those with user-generated content, like MySpace and YouTube, have lured away MTV viewers in some markets.

    Like several non-English services started by MTV, the Turkish channel runs under a license with a local partner, in this case Multi-Channel Developers, a Turkish company.

    Neither Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe, nor MTV Turkey would say how much was being spent on the ad campaign.

    Turks might be unhappy with the current wrangling over the European Union bid, Mr. Akbas said, but they are unlikely to spurn the West.

    “Some people in Europe may not think Turkey can adapt to the European Union,” he said, “but this is a country where the East kisses the West.”

December 15, 2006 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How Campbell's Soup could get its groove back — 'Think outside the can'


This old industry stalwart has watched from the slow lane in recent decades as more nimble competitors in the passing lane have whizzed by.

I mean, Campbell's only went to lift-off tops about 20 years after the fact.

So now, as the company redesigns its labels in an attempt to spruce up its image for the 21st-century soup wars, it sits as always looking on and wondering, "what happened?"

This, an allusion to the wonderful "There are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, 'what happened?'"

But I digress.

Campbell's salvation appeared to me this morning as I was getting all my coffee stuff together.

I thought about why it was I seldom have Campbell's soup even though I have a number of cans in my larder.

It's because it's still a royal pain in the butt to prepare, what with having to empty the can into a bowl which ultimately will require washing, then going over to the sink for a can of water, then mixing the contents before nuking them (with a paper plate underneath for burn-free removal and one on top as an anti-splatter shield).

Memo to Campbell's CEO: lose the need for a bowl by packaging the soup in a yet-to-be-invented/produced self-opening bowl that blossoms, as it were, when you open the packaging enclosing the condensed soup.

You then add water to the level marked "Soup Line" (nice wordplay, eh?) nuke it and Bob's your uncle.

Of course, the bowl's disposable: I mean, duh.

You'll want to have IDEO do the design if you have any sense.

Sure, price your fancy package higher than the competition: worked pretty well for the iPod, what?

As always, no charge for this idea.


Bonus: you can pretend it's yours.

December 15, 2006 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

://URLFAN — 'An experiment to discover what sites bloggers are referencing in real time'


I happened on this site last evening and as is my wont couldn't resist sticking bookofjoe into the search box to see where I stood.

Better than some, worse than others (above).


Try it.

December 15, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Sitting up straight is not good for your back


Oh, man.

Yet another of mom's admonitions into the toilet, along with "reading in poor light will ruin your eyes" and all the rest.

Anahad O'Connor, in his wonderful weekly New York Times Science section feature, "Really?", debunked this one in Tuesday's (December 12, 2006) column, which follows.

    The Claim: Sitting Up Straight Is Best for Your Back

    The Facts: Sit up straight, parents tell their children. It’s a well-known refrain, repeated through generations and based on the theory that anything other than a 90-degree posture places undue strain on the back.

    Despite its persistence, that advice is wrong. Parents may insist that sitting up straight with your thighs parallel to the ground is the best way to sit, but a long list of studies has shown that that position increases stress on the lumbar disks in your lower back.

    Thirty years ago, scientists first showed this by inserting needles into the backs of volunteers and measuring the amount of pressure created by various seating positions. They found that a reclining position was ideal, placing the least strain on the back and minimizing pressure that could lead to back problems. Since then, multiple studies have confirmed that finding.

    But it was only in 2006 that scientists produced direct visual evidence. In a study that used new magnetic resonance imaging machines that allow people to sit instead of lie down, a team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland looked at 22 volunteers who sat in three positions. The first two positions, sitting upright and sitting with the body hunched forward, produced the greatest spinal disk movement, causing the internal disk material to misalign. The third position, in which the subjects reclined at a 135-degree angle with their feet planted on the floor, created the least strain.

    According to the study, any position in which a person leans back, opening the angle between the thighs and the back, is preferable to sitting up straight.

    The Bottom Line: Sitting upright at a 90-degree angle strains your back; leaning back places less pressure on the spine.


And how about a shout-out for Leif Parsons, creator of the graphic up top which accompanied the piece?

December 15, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Julie Roehm into Jenny McCarthy


Ms. Roehm (above), 36, senior vice-president of marketing communications at Wal-Mart until she was defenestrated last week for bringing too much bling to the Bentonville, Arkansas company's advertising table, could pass for the 34-year-old actress/model/former Candies spokesperson (below),


who's been a marquee attraction for the Lingerie Bowl in the past.

Small world: Ms. Roehm left her previous job at DaimlerChrysler after her aggressive sponsorship of this past January's Lingerie Bowl, which DaimlerChrysler found a bit too rich for its own corporate blood.

Back in the day, when Jenny McCarthy was big — no, we're not going there — it was hard to find a picture of her where she didn't have her mouth wide open in a manic scream.

Perhaps Ms. Roehm was channelling her when the photo below


was taken.

December 15, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze — OCD housecleaners (and those who love them), your dustpan is here


Marianne Rohrlich wrote about the new PowerPan™ (above) in her "Currents" feature in yesterday's New York Times Home & Garden section.

It's totally tricked out for the 21st century, with throwback aerodynamic styling (no doubt perfected in one of NASA's wind tunnels or their ilk) to enable you to finally, at long last, get that ever so fine line of dust that eludes movement onto the dustpan.

Me, I brush it off into the room at large or under a table or couch but I'm sure you would never, ever stoop so low — as it were.

But I digress.

Here's what Ms. Rohrlich had to say:

    Energized Dustpan Gets It All

    It’s hard to imagine how a dustpan could be improved. But if you have been frustrated by that last line of dirt that is always left just outside a dustpan after sweeping, you will appreciate the new PowerPan by ReadiVac. The PowerPan is a dustpan with a built-in, battery-operated vacuum that picks up every last crumb with the push of a trigger on the dustpan’s handle. It can be used with any brush, emptied by holding it upright over a wastebasket or by opening its back cover, and it hangs on a nail like other dustpans.


True, it's going to be tough to stuff into a stocking but hey, cleanliness — like being beautiful — hurts.


December 15, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How is it that Michelle Wie's not the spokeswoman for Nintendo's Wii?


It seemed obvious to me the moment Nintendo announced its idiotstick, unpronounceable name for its smash hit new videogame console.


Yet as far as I can tell Nintendo's done nothing to pursue this no-brainer.

I mean, Ms. Wie's a 17-year-old female international superstar — perfect for Nintendo's target audience.


What's going on there at Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto?

Maybe they're so busy lugging sacks of cash to the bank they don't have time to think.


That must be it.

December 15, 2006 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PBS Coffee — Brand Extension Gone Wild?


From Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and PBS comes the news that the two have paired up to raise money with their new PBS Blend Fair Trade Organic coffee (above).

Maria Aspan reported the new fun couple's betrothal in a story which appeared in this past Monday's (December 11, 2006) New York Times, and follows.

    A Caffeine Jolt for PBS Fund-Raising

    The Public Broadcasting System has added a new revenue channel to the pledge drives and sales of Masterpiece Theater DVDs it uses to supplement its federal funding: a PBS coffee blend.

    Last week, PBS announced a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, in the first non-media-related commercial venture for the television company. Green Mountain has produced and packaged a PBS Blend, which is being sold by Green Mountain and the PBS Web site, shoppbs.org, in a brand licensing arrangement. PBS will also make the coffee available to its member stations as a product to offer during on-air fund-raising pledge drives.

    The partnership with Green Mountain is the first of several planned enterprise ventures for the television company, said Andrea Downing, the vice president for home entertainment and partnerships for PBS, who declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

    The television company now receives about 13 percent of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and federal grants, according to PBS representatives, who said that Congress has long pressured the company to be more entrepreneurial in finding additional sources of funding.

    “This is an experiment,” Ms. Downing said. “We’re looking for potential new revenue sources and expanding our brand awareness.”

    Some media critics see the coffee deal as veering into dangerously commercial territory for the public television company. Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-based nonprofit organization, wrote in his blog (democraticmedia.org/jcblog) on Thursday that commercial ventures like the coffee deal were “a short-sighted and short-term strategy” for PBS that threatened “to undermine the rationale for taxpayer support.”

    But PBS representatives dismissed these concerns, noting that the company cannot afford to ignore the bottom line.

    “It’s a reality for many nonprofits these days to look to raise other revenues,” said Lea Sloan, a PBS spokeswoman. “We need to try a number of different ways to raise money.”

    Correction: December 12, 2006

    An article in Business Day yesterday about a new coffee called PBS Blend being produced by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in partnership with public television misstated the name of the TV company. It is the Public Broadcasting Service, not the Public Broadcasting System.

December 15, 2006 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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