There’ll be no more high, but you may feel a little sick


no master how mustered, mind never mend


Brothers Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato named their clothing brand “Steve Jobs” in 2012 after learning that Apple had not trademarked his name. […]

The Barbatos designed a logo that resembles Apple’s own, choosing the letter “J” with a bite taken out of the side. Apple, of course, sued the two brothers for using Jobs’ name and a logo that mimics the Apple logo. In 2014, the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office ruled in favor of the Barbatos and rejected Apple’s trademark opposition. […]

While the Barbatos currently produce bags, t-shirts, jeans, and other clothing and fashion items […] they plan to produce electronic devices under the Steve Jobs brand.

{ Mac Rumors | Continue reading }

art { Left: Ellsworth Kelly, Nine Squares, 1977 | Right: Damien Hirst, Myristyl Acetate, 2005 }

News is what somebody does not want you to print. All the rest is advertising.


On January 4, 2012 an explosion killed a man in an apartment in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. Police arrested another occupant. One month later, on February 4, a second man was arrested in connection with the explosion. On February 27—six days before the March 4 Russian presidential election—Russian state controlled television station Channel One broke the story that the two detainees had been part of a plot to assassinate Russian Prime Minister, and presidential candidate, Vladimir Putin. “Channel One said it received information about the assassination attempt 10 days [earlier] but did not explain why it did not release the news sooner.”

Two points of this anecdote are noteworthy. First, information about the alleged plot was not released as soon as it was available. Instead, state television dropped the bomb- shell at a later, strategically-chosen time. Second, voters drew inferences from the timing of the release.

In this paper we analyze a Sender-Receiver game which connects the timing of information release with voters’ beliefs prior to elections. Early release of information is more credible, in that it signals that Sender has nothing to hide. On the other hand, such early release exposes the information to scrutiny for a longer period of time—possibly leading to the information being discovered to be false. […]

We show that fabricated scandals are only released sufficiently close to the election. […] Perhaps more importantly, we make predictions about the time pattern of campaign events. We show that for a broad range of parameters the probability of release of scandals (authentic or fabricated) is U-shaped, with scandals concentrated towards the beginning and the end of an electoral campaign.

{ When to Drop a Bombshell, 2016 | PDF }

The concentration of scandals in the last months of the 2016 campaign is far from an exception. Such October surprises are commonplace in US presidential elections. […] Political commentators argue that such bombshells may be strategically dropped close to elections so that voters have not enough time to tell real from fake news. Yet, if all fake news were released just before an election, then voters may rationally discount October surprises as fake. Voters may not do so fully, however, since while some bombshells may be strategically timed, others are simply discovered close to the election.

Therefore, the strategic decision of when to drop a bombshell is driven by a tradeoff between credibility and scrutiny. […]

This credibility-scrutiny tradeoff also drives the timing of announcements about candidacy, running mates, cabinet members, and details of policy platforms. An early announcement exposes the background of the candidate or her team to more scrutiny, but boosts credibility. The same tradeoff is likely to drive the timing of information release in other contexts outside the political sphere. For instance, a firm going public can provide a longer or shorter time for the market to evaluate its prospectus before the firm’s shares are traded.

{ When to Drop a Bombshell, 2017 | PDF }

‘The past is always attractive because it is drained of fear.’ –Thomas Carlyle


{ The American Museum of Natural History window and New York Philharmonic window at Bergdorf Goodman | More: 2017 Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows }

In this wet of his prow


It has become common practice for retailers to personalize direct marketing efforts based on customer transaction histories as a tactic to increase sales.

Targeted email offers featuring products in the same category as a customer’s previous purchases generate higher purchase rates. However, a targeted offer emphasizing familiar products could result in curtailed search for unadvertised products, as a closely matched offer weakens a customer’s incentives to search beyond the targeted items.

In a field experiment using email offers sent by an online wine retailer, targeted offers resulted in decreased search activity on the retailer’s website. This effect is driven by a lower rate of search by customers who visit the site, rather than a lower incidence of search.

{ Management Science | Continue reading }

related { This research demonstrates that a marketing claim placed on a package is more believable than a marketing claim placed in an advertisement }

How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?


Citigroup is suing AT&T for saying thanks to its own loyal customers […] Citigroup has trademarks on the phrases “thankyou” and “Citi thankyou,” as well as other variations of those terms.

{ Ars Technica | Continue reading }

Nous partîmes cinq cents ; mais par un prompt renfort, nous nous vîmes trois mille en arrivant au port


Most fans in many popular sports pay less for their tickets than conventional economic theory would predict.

Which poses the question: are team owners therefore irrational?

Not necessarily. There are (at least?) four justifications for such apparent under-pricing.

First, say Krautmann and Berri, owners can recoup the revenues they lose from under-pricing tickets by making more in other ways: selling programmes, merchandise and over-priced food and drink in the stadium.

Secondly, Shane Sanders points out that it can be rational to under-price tickets to ensure that stadia are full. […]

Thirdly, higher ticket prices can have adverse compositional effects: they might price out younger and poorer fans but replace them with tourists […] a potentially life-long loyal young supporter is lost and a more fickle one is gained. […]

Fourthly, high ticket prices can make life harder for owners. They raise fans’ expectations.

{ Stumbling and Mumbling | Continue reading }

oil on wood { Ellsworth Kelly, Seine, 1951 }

Bene ascolta chi la nota

Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, asks his editor (Hunter S. Thompson) if he could submit a novella instead of a “thinkpiece” to Rolling Stone. Hunter S. Thompson replies:


Abandon all hope, you who enter here


The authors identify customers, termed “Harbingers of failure,” who systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail—the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed.

Firms can identify these customers through past purchases of either new products that failed or existing products that few other customers purchase. The authors discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process.

The findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success.

{ Journal of Marketing Research }

‘You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.’ –Ronald Reagan


This article examines the extent to which advertising outside of an explicit campaign environment has the potential to benefit the electoral fortunes of incumbent politicians.

We make use of a novel case of non-campaign advertising, that of North Carolina Secretary of Labor Cherie Berry (R-NC), who has initiated the practice of having her picture and name displayed prominently on official inspection placards inside all North Carolina elevators. We […] find that Berry outperformed other statewide Republican candidates in the 2012 North Carolina elections. Our findings suggest that candidates can use this form of advertising to indirectly improve their electoral fortunes.

{ American Politics Research | Continue reading }

Hats off to da rich ones who flash and floss


Business Insiders is expecting to make 65 million dollars next year. […] It employs 325 people, meaning it currently brings in roughly $132,300 in revenue per employee. […]

BuzzFeed … $208,333 per employee

Gawker … $211,538 per employee

Vice … $457,500 per employee

The New York Times Company … between $440,000 and $450,000 per employee

{ The Awl | Continue reading }

You know, Sue Ellen, I do believe you’re going ninety miles an hour toward a nervous breakdown


Researchers Elizabeth L. Paluck and colleagues partnered with a TV network to insert certain themes (or messages) into popular dramas shown on US TV. They then looked to see whether these themes had an effect on real world behavior, ranging from Google searches to drink-driving arrests.

The study was based on three prime time Spanish-language dramas (telenovelas) which have a viewership of around 1.2 million people per week. Telenovelas are a genre similar to English-language soap operas except shorter, most lasting about a year. Into these shows, eight messages were added, ranging from health and safety (benefits of low cholesterol, dangers of drink driving) to community building (register to vote, scholarships for Hispanic students.) […]

So did it work? Not really. […] There was no evidence that messages about voter registration led to increases in the number of Hispanics actually registering. Nor did Google searches for terms related to the messages increase following each broadcast.

{ Neuroskeptic | Continue reading }