THE COOLHUNTER

By Mark Lewman

I prepare trend reports for fortune 1000 companies.
I am paid to play
the disenfranchised against the disrespected
make the F1000 feel connected
to the cognosumers who reject them,
stuck in the cultural crosshairs.

I package the questions and organize the answers,
emailing the butcher, blackmailing the baker,
sharing the bone marrow with clandestine video game maker.

I tell them about funky black barbers in Memphis
using fire to cut hair.
Swedish teens bored to tears
soaking their tampons in vodka
to get juiced in school.
Crispin Glover joins the Wu Tang Clan
and nobody bothers to understand
but everybody says
dude that’s cool.

The revolution
is a bunch of white kids
addicted to database pollution
yelling slogans, brandishing upside down crosses
bearing inverted icons;

Pillsbury wants to update the dough boy and make butter ‘younger’,
stick that fucker with a fork and call your mother,
scrape the lard from the fat of the land
and leave it smoking in the pan.

And some guy in a conference room in Ohio says into his speakerphone:
“Tell me more about the Krautrock movement and the abstract bands.”
I spit out details to counteract,
and wipe my face with my cuff,
generating more fluff,
without concentrating on the end result,
just the next step which is an orchestrated effort to tap into tech step

to sidestep the fact that all packaged goods are the same,
only the name changes.
and the game rearranges and the world Wayne lives in
can be divided into stages, phases, trends, fads, and crazes.

Declare a war on a demographic,
paying top dollar for a guerilla campaign of street posters placed in prime places
where kids congregate and pedophiles masturbate to juvenile faces,
services provided by an eco-terrorist graffiti artist specializing in revitalizing heavy metal.
His brandalism spreads the viruses we peddle:
Kids in custom vans should crave candy and chemicals, rejecting morals and resting on their laurels,
making fun of Pauly Shore
as they get addicted to death and keep whoring for more.

And some guy in a conference room in Ohio will smile. “This is teen cool AND mom cool.”

What’s hot, what’s right, what’s not in the spotlight?
Hold a focus group and retool, train the pilots to tame the planes and get ready for a midair refuel.

Do kids really think black is the new brown?
or is platinum the new black?
Who do we assassinate, and what era is ripe for a comeback?

Do you trust me to keep the world on track?

As if you needed any more reasons to hate John Mayer…

Over the weekend, James Duthie posted an excellent piece entitled Twitter whoring goes mainstream” – a brilliant rant about singer John Mayer plugging products via his twitter stream.

First there this:

johnm11

And then this:

johnm21

Horrendous!

This sort of behaviour, ladies and gentlemen, is why I worry about the future or Twitter, and any social network that becomes too popular.

Clean Coal? Yeah right

The myth of Clean coal (Possibly the oxymoron of all oxymorons in today’s vernacular) has been suitably de-mythed by the Coen Brothers, in this wonderful little parody.

The ad was commisioned by the Reality Coalition, a non-profit group dedicated to challenging completely rubbish notion that coal can be clean.

Talkin’ Skittles

This is fairly interesting. Skittles have changed their homepage to a link to a Twitter Search on Skittles.

All sorts of conversation, is happening right now about it. I mean RIGHT NOW:

ryancarson : http://skittles.com is now a Twitter search for the word “skittles” – Interesting (via @laughingsquid)
sushimonster : I can imagine the ad agency’s pitch now to skittles… “We’re not going to design you a new website. Your site will be THE INTERNET”. $80k pls

durbin : has anyone else heard about the skittles salmonella outbreak? be careful tasting the rainbow, its deadly.

emilychang : watching the tweets about skittles coming in and LMAO. the backlash has already begun. geek irony rules.

j3thr0 : I have a sudden craving for Skittles

and, ahem, my favourite:

ivoteforart: I’d rather spend my pocket money on a great piece of affordable art at http://www.ivoteforart.com, rather than a measly packet of Skittles

This graph, taken from Twitscoop, shows just how much buzz there has been in the last two hours:

To be honest, I’m not really sure what to make of this tactic. It will definitely create a bit of cheap PR for them, as media and bloggers alike talk about it. And then it will probably fizzle into nothing. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least they’re having a crack, I guess.

What’s your take?

Anyone for Layer Tennis?

layertennis

I think Adobe are definitely onto something with their ‘Layer Tennis‘ championship.

Originally conceived by Coudal Partners, the idea is simple, but very cool:

Two artists or designers battle out their skills by swapping a Photoshop file back a forth, adding to each other’s work in real time. Each competitor gets fifteen minutes to “volley” the file, and each volley is posted on the site.

The matches last for ten volleys and when it’s complete, everyone with an opinion sounds off in the Forums and then they declare a winner.

A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens.

Seems as though they have some high calibre creatives going head to head. This week’s battle was Skinnycorp’s Jeffrey Kalmikoff up against interactive designer Brendan Dawes – and special comments by daringfireball’s John Gruber.

What a great campaign – Artists inspired by other artists, in a format that you can easily digest. And spread to other artists.

It reminds me of a simple thought that Andy Sernovitz spoke about recently – If you want your marketing to get spread by word-of-mouth, it can’t be about You. It’s about them. It’s not your company, your product, or your message. It’s about theirs.

That’s why this campaign has already proven to be a word-of-mouth winner.

What I also love about this type of marketing is that it doesn’t smell like a marketing campaign. It’s fun, not corporate. It’s like something you’d expect from Crumpler. It’s great. And it doesn’t leave you feeling as though you’ve been marketed to.

What’s your vision?

There’s lots of talk on the internets at the moment about the launch of Amazon’s e-book reader, Kindle 2.

It wasn’t the new design, or improvements from version 1.0 that struck me about this launch. It was Amazon’s CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos’ expression of the company’s vision:

“Our vision is every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.”

Kind of makes everyone else’s company visions seem rather crap, doesn’t it?

(via Daring Fireball)

Freitag does confirmation emails right

I’ve confessed my love for Freitag several times before. They’re one of the first true green companies I  stumbled across, and their messenger bags made from used truck tarps, seat belts and bicycle inner tubes are rad, gnarly and awesome.

freitag

This week I made my first online purchase at the Freitag online shop. I now love this company even more, based on the order confirmation email that I got. It went like this:

Dear Ben of idyllic Melbourne,

Your Ordernumber is: {link}

We‘re honered to announce that you soon will be proud F97 WILLY owner. We do everything within and beyond our power to make sure that in no time a charming delivery man will ring your bell to hand over your personal piece of FREITAG!

Later this evening we‘re going to celebrate your shopping skills till dawn and we will drink at least 17 times to you. Therefore again, thank you very much!

Best regards
Your FREITAG Online Team

Usual delivery times (F-cut excluded):
Switzerland: 2-3 days
EU-Countries: 5-8 days
Rest of th world: 10-15 days

http://media.freitag.ch/000000190856/000000190856_7_0_L.jpg

And this one when they shipped it:

Hello Ben

Finally!! Your F-product has been successfully packed and is now about to leave our F-factory. We all gathered one last time in the factory hall to wave goodbye with scattered emotions.

We wish you and your FREITAG‘s the best of health in future. May you live in harmonic and eternal friendship!

To track the shipment of your beloved F-item please visit: {link}
Your tracking number is: {tracking number}

Once again, thanks heaps and we‘d love to welcome you back soon in our online store.

Your FREITAG Online Team

Both these emails made me smile. It goes to show that it doesn’t have to cost anything to building loyalty with your customers.