media

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

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{ 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

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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?

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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

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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:

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Abandon all hope, you who enter here

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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

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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

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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

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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 }

‘Radio — suckers never play me’ –Public Enemy

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With the advent of the Internet, many U.S. metropolitan areas have seen newspaper closures due to declining revenues. This provides the researcher with an opportunity to analyze the microeconomic sources of media bias.

This article uses a large panel dataset of newspaper archives for 99 newspapers over 240 months (1990–2009).

The author found that, after controlling for the unemployment rate, the change in unemployment rate, and the political preferences of surrounding metropolitan area, conservative newspapers report 17.4% more unemployment news when the President is a Democrat rather than a Republican, before the closure of a rival newspaper in the same media market. This effect is 12.8% for liberal newspapers. After the closure, these numbers are 3.5% and 1.1%, respectively.

{ Journal of Media Economics | Continue reading }

and { Twitter Language Use Reflects Psychological Differences between Democrats and Republicans }

The face forgives the mirror

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Today, of course everybody knows that “Hardball,” “Rivera Live” and similar shows are nothing but a steady stream of guesses about the future. The Sunday morning talk shows are pure speculation. They have to be. Everybody knows there’s no news on Sunday.

But television is entertainment. Let’s look at the so-called serious media. For example, here is The New York Times for March 6, the day Dick Farson told me I was giving this talk. The column one story for that day concerns Bush’s tariffs on imported steel. Now we read: Mr. Bush’s action “is likely to send the price of steel up sharply, perhaps as much as ten percent…” American consumers “will ultimately bear” higher prices. America’s allies “would almost certainly challenge” the decision. Their legal case “could take years to litigate in Geneva, is likely to hinge” on thus and such.

Also note the vague and hidden speculation. The Allies’ challenge would be “setting the stage for a major trade fight with many of the same countries Mr. Bush is trying to hold together in the fractious coalition against terrorism.” In other words, the story speculates that tariffs may rebound against the fight against terrorism.

By now, under the Faludi Standard I have firmly established that media are hopelessly riddled with speculation, and we can go on to consider its ramifications.

You may read this tariff story and think, what’s the big deal? The story’s not bad. Isn’t it reasonable to talk about effects of current events in this way? I answer, absolutely not. Such speculation is a complete waste of time. It’s useless. It’s bullshit on the front page of the Times.

The reason why it is useless, of course, is that nobody knows what the future holds.

Do we all agree that nobody knows what the future holds? Or do I have to prove it to you? I ask this because there are some well-studied media effects which suggest that simply appearing in media provides credibility. There was a well-known series of excellent studies by Stanford researchers that have shown, for example, that children take media literally. If you show them a bag of popcorn on a television set and ask them what will happen if you turn the TV upside down, the children say the popcorn will fall out of the bag. This result would be amusing if it were confined to children. But the studies show that no one is exempt. All human beings are subject to this media effect, including those of us who think we are self-aware and hip and knowledgeable.

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. […]

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper.

{ Michael Crichton | Continue reading }

‘Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ —T.S. Eliot

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We meta-analyzed the effects of sexual media, violent media, sexual ads, and violent ads on the advertising outcomes of brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions. The meta-analysis included 53 experiments involving 8,489 participants.

Analyses found that brands advertised in violent media content were remembered less often, evaluated less favorably, and less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent, nonsexual media. Brands advertised using sexual ads were evaluated less favorably than brands advertised using nonviolent, nonsexual ads. There were no significant effects of sexual media on memory or buying intentions. There were no significant effects of sexual or violent ads on memory or buying intentions.

As intensity of sexual ad content increased, memory, attitudes, and buying intentions decreased.

When media content and ad content were congruent (e.g., violent ad in a violent program), memory improved and buying intentions increased.

Violence and sex never helped and often hurt ad effectiveness.

{ Psychological Bulletin/American Psychological Association | PDF }

related { Allegation that ad-serving companies deliberately slow down web pages to maximise profit }