Tag Archives: movies

guest blogging

PopTok: usa tus películas favoritas para enviar un mensaje

Ya no tendrás que escribir “Hasta la vista, Baby!” o “Groovy!” en tus mensajes. Gracias a PopTok, podrás utilizar un video clip de tu escena favorita para transmitir tu mensaje.


PopTok, respaldada por Mickey Schulhof (anterior jefe ejecutivo de Sony America) y Jerusalem Venture Partners, y dirigida por Scott Kauffman, ex-Yahoo!, piensa ofrecer su servicio a las productoras y distribuidoras de películas como una herramienta de promoción de sus bibliotecas de contenido. Ya han firmado acuerdos con CBS, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, SonyBMG, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers y Warner Music.

El servicio funciona con la mayoría de los sistemas de mensajería instantánea y una versión para Mac está por salir.

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Aaron Brazell

Lessons from Wall*E

Normally, I would not do movie reviews on this site. I would generally use aaronbrazell.com which is much more of a personal site than this. However, there are quite a lot of lessons and hidden agenda items (good and bad) in Wall*E that I think are applicable.

If you’re afraid of spoilers, you might not want to read further, however I will do my best not to offer spoilers, per se and instead talk about the principles behind the messages because that is where I feel the importance is.

From the get go, it was apparent to me that Wall*E was an environmentally oriented flick. We’re introduced to a desolate earth that struck me as very much similar to the one we saw in I am Legend. Bonus points to the astute viewers that catch the I am Legend hat tip in the movie.

To me, it was apparent that the desolation of earth was a result of human irresponsibility and that Al Gore probably was lurking somewhere ready to hand out carbon credits. While that message certainly existed, it was the message of personal responsibility that struck me much more direct between the eyeballs.

In the movie, we get the sense that a pseudo-governmental organization has morphed humanity into a dependent culture that is given everything. It is pampered, fed, smothered and by and large turned into a welfare culture where the human race has lost the ability to care for itself or even see any problem with their state. They have been turned into automatons, beholden to the whims of the BnL Corporation.

The heroics of the movie revolve around, among other things, the ability of the human race to take responsibilities for their own actions and rise above the societal norms inbred into them, challenging the status quo and ultimately their race.

Without getting too political, the metaphor I saw was comparative, in many ways, to current western culture that is increasingly liberalized, and increasingly fed the doctrine of government dependence. Rely on government-subsidized social security. We need to pass a law that does blah. The Constitution is a living document requiring federal judges to tell us what it means for us today. Get my riff?

Another strong metaphor I saw, is applicable for those of us in social media – and really any kind of new media, whether it’s politics, science or sports. Those that follow the dotted lines are doomed to exist in a narrow and unproductive world that never changes!

Throughout the movie, robots followed the dictates of lines painted on the ground. They never left those lines because those lines provided guidance. Those lines provides meaning. Those lines provided safety.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have more rambos that challenged the status quo, said what they meant and meant what they said? They didn’t follow the dictates of Techmeme or those perceived as A-listers? I mentioned yesterday that confidence is a sexy attribute and stepping outside the lines demonstrates confidence that will take you somewhere.

As a sidenote, yet related issue, this mommy blogger needs to quit worrying about a so-called A-list blogger and be confident in herself. Those that are considered A-list, including myself, often are not (also including myself). No one can do your job better than you. Own it and forget about the rest.

I highly encourage people to see this movie. Besides the fact that Pixar always makes great movies, it’s a wonderful movie for kids and adults alike and if you go with an open mind, you’re going to be challenged.

Aaron Brazell

Marketing 101: How Cloverfield Failed to Deliver on Expectations

Earlier this evening, I joined several other social media type folks down in D.C. for a first night showing of Cloverfield, the film that was so secretive it didn’t have a name other than 01182008 until sometime last month. The film trailers were released on the internet sometime last year and bloggers, and movie folks started buzzing about what the heck the moview as about.

The trailer did not give any information. Nothing since Snakes on the Plane made the net buzz, quite the way early trailers of Cloverfield did. And this is where things went wrong.

You see, the viral marketing of this movie was phenomenal. Give people something curious enough to talk about and they will. Grip them with camcorder shots of NYC being destroyed by something, and then let them start discussing among themselves. Give people a compelling reason to show the trailer to a friend, and you’ve got money in the bank.

Not so fast.

All Cloverfield’s marketing campaign did was drum up expectations and, as any political candidate will tell you in this election season, it’s important to moderate expectations in case of failure. Cloverfield did not.

Spoiler alert.

The movie starts out odd enough with the screen shrunk to less than a quarter of its size, causing viewers to think there was something wrong with the theatre. This quickly adjusted as we are introduced to a cast of characters that are all friends. Well, except Rob and Beth who apparently have been shacking up a bit. Rob is going away to Japan to take a new position with a company there and his friends are throwing a surprise party for him.

Beth shows up looking like she’s looking for a best gown waiting to have a wardrobe malfunction award with her new loverboy, Travis. The rumors spread among the friends causing an uneasy Beth to leave the party. Then the drama begins.

Some kind of “earthquake” occurs, the power goes out, people pile into the street where the Statue of Liberty’s head comes flying in some miles from New York Harbor into the streets. Right.

Fast forward a bit.

Some kind of freak monster of the Godzilla variety appears to be ravaging the streets of New York. Little spawn creatures a la Gears of War bite people and that does something really gross that I can’t identify. Because, you know there’s these crazy monsters out there that love to ravage New York and all.

Rob tells his friends that he knows what he’s doing and he’s going to go find Beth who is in some Columbus Circle apartment high rise. Again, the movie never explains how Beth and Travis manage to get from Lower Manhattan to 59th St/Columbus Circle in a matter of minutes, but then again, the story probably isn’t meant to be believable.

The movie is a little difficult to handle. It takes all the horror film stereotypes (Don’t walk toward the light, girls running around in the midst of chaos looking fantastically beautiful and, oh… nice heels!). Anyone seeing it should definitely get the back row as well, unless you like motion sickness (the film is all filmed by a camcorder).

Then of course, there was the end (or lack thereof). IT was such a horrible ending that everyone in the theatre stayed in their seats certain that there would be an encore after the credits. J.J. Abrams couldn’t even give us that.

There are so many unfinished storylines. So many questions. An incomplete plot and, oh yeah, it cost me $10.75. I should have paid $5 because I only got half the movie.

Spoiler end.

Bottom line is that the movie left everyone with high expectations. In the end, our money was stolen as expectations were not fulfilled. We were used for our bully pulpit and were not repaid.

The good part was that I saw the first trailer for the new Star Trek movie. That looks hot.

0.5 stars.

Aaron Brazell, Hall of Fame

Everything I Needed to Know about PR I learned from Office Space

The funniest movie I ever saw is a late 90s geek favorite film Office Space. I know you all have seen it. And if not – put the kids to bed and go watch it now. Really. It’s not only funny, but it might just be the one thing that PR folks need to not be laughed at by social media people. Trust me on this. And to prove my point, I shared these thoughts this past weekend with some really great PR people that are trying to do it effectively in Boston.

You Must Engage the Community

Stan, Chotchkie’s Manager: “Joanna.”
Joanna: “Yeah?”
Stan, Chotchkie’s Manager: “We need to talk. Do you know what this is about?”
Joanna: “My, uh, flair?”
Stan, Chotchkie’s Manager: “Yeah. Or, uh, your lack of flair. Because, uh, I’m counting and I only see 15 pieces. Let me ask you a question, Joanna. What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?”
Joanna: “Huh. What do I thin– Um, you know what, Stan? If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?”
Stan, Chotchkie’s Manager: “Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.”
Joanna: “Yeah. You know what? Yeah, I do. I do wanna express myself. Okay? And I don’t need 37 pieces of flair to do it. (She flips him off) Alright? There’s my flair. Okay? And this is me expressing myself. Okay? (She starts flipping everyone off) There it is. I hate this job! I hate this g*ddamn job, and I don’t need it!”

[listen – Language included, NSFW]

A lot of PR folks these days seem to have the idea that social media is where it’s at amd that they need us to be effective. They are absolutely correct. They know how many pieces of flair are minimum and many PR agencies do a very good job of meeting the minimum standard. They are out there in Technorati and on the blogs finding out what people are saying about their client. Some agencies even have “proprietary market research” software which checks these conversation out for them and spit out nicely collated reports for the board meetings.

However, there are conversations happening that are impossible to index and in some cases even know about while doing “social media drive bys”. They wouldn’t miss these conversations if they were engaged in the community. By engagement, I mean participating.

As a PR person, you have a 9-5 job or whatever it is. How much conversation are you having on your own time just because you love the community? If your answer is not much, you’re only wearing the minimum pieces of flair.

You Don’t Want to Gamble Your Decisions

Michael: “You think the Pet Rock was a really great idea?”
Smykowski: “Sure it was. The guy made a million dollars. You know, I had an idea like that once, a long time ago.”
Peter: “Really, what was it, Tom?”
Smykowski: “Well, alright. It was a ‘jump to conclusions’ mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor and would have different conclusions written on it that you could jump to.”
Michael: “That is the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life, Tom.”
Samir: “Yes. Yes, it’s horrible, this idea.”


The hardest thing for someone who is a relative outsider to a community to do is to break into the community. That’s why it’s important, especially for PR folks, to be smart about how they pitch bloggers, podcasters and other members of the social media. It is far less likely that your client or company will be accepted, for instance, if you blanket social mediaites with press releases and “your message” without taking the time to build community and relationship with them first.

I get half a dozen unsolicited press releases every week and I have yet to offer a bit of coverage for any of them. Without relationship and community, PR messages are likely to fall on deaf ears. Measure your approach. Don’t gamble it away with a “Jump to Conclusions Mat”.

Engage Conversation by Listening First

Peter: “We have to swear to God, Allah, that nobody knows about this but us. Alright? No family members, no girlfriends, nobody.”
Samir: “Of course.”
Michael: “Agreed.”
Lawrence: [from the next apartment through the wall] “Don’t worry, man! I won’t tell anyone either!”
Michael: “What the f*ck is that?”
Peter: “No, don’t worry about him. He’s cool.”

[listen -NSFW]

There’s a tremendous amount of conversation happening everywhere on the net. Notably, blogs are a great place for interaction between companies and customers. Instinctively, PR companies can be a little gun shy about unmetered conversation as it relates to their company. However, this is the essence of transparency, trust and consumer confidence.

Listening is a skill that seems to have gotten lost a lot of the times. My dad uses to tell me that God gave me two ears so I could listen twice as much as I talk. Unfortunately, in todays ad-driven, PR-protectionism market, consumers are told exactly what to believe and traditional mindsets insinuate that we should be realy darn happy that we’ve been “informed”.

People are not stupid, though, and we are capable of making our own rationally (or perhaps irrationally) derived thoughts. Folks in the PR industry should come into the grass-roots mediasphere with the intent that they want to listen and by doing so, earn the trust of those that they are listening to.

Buy In!

Peter: “The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care.”
Bob Porter: “Don’t– Don’t care?”
Peter: “It’s a problem of motivation, alright. Now, if I work my a*s off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see a dime. So where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob. I have eight different bosses right now.”
Bob Slydell: “I beg your pardon?”
Peter: “Eight bosses.”
Bob Slydell: “Eight?”
Peter: “Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motvation is not to be hassled. That and the fear losing my job. But you know, Bob, that’ll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.”


There’s something about complete “buy in” that is reassuring and noticeable. This principle may apply to marketers more than PR folks, but the reality is that honest communication is noticeable and dishonest communication is even more noticeable.

The stereotypical picture is of a slick used car salesman who will sell you a lemon without thinking twice. Unfortunately for the used car salesman, they’ve been made and everyone knows not to trust them before they go in. Particularly savvy customers still go in but with the knowledge of cars and places to look to find out if a car is a lemon before he buys it.

Social media people are naturally cynical of anyone telling them what to believe or think. We don’t like it with the press. We bicker among ourselves when someone slings a little mud. We’re certainly not going to let a PR person pitch us on something that is obviously not bought into by the PR rep. Unfortunately for you guys, we generall can tell. The people who don’t buy in are the ones who are not engaging (#1), who are making drive-by choices (#2) and who don’t want to take the time to get the heartbeat of the community (#3).

Speak Smartly

Milton: “I-I said I don’t care if they lay me off, either. Because, I told– I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time then I’m– I’m quitting– I’m going to quit. And I told Dom too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year. And I used to be over by the window and I could see the squirrels and they were married. But then they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler. But I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler.”
Peter: “Okay, Milton.”
Milton: “And, oh, no, it’s not okay because if they make me– if they– If they take my stapler then I’ll– I’ll have to– I’ll set the building on fire.”
Peter: “Okay’ well, that sounds, uh, that sounds great. Uh, I’ll talk to you later, alright? Bye.”


Ah, good old Milton. How could I write an article about Office Space and not mention Milton? :-) Well, as it turns out, Milton too can teach PR folks something about social media. Even though you can’t understand him, Milton has demonstrated why it’s important to speak the language of the audience you are trying to reach. Remember that bloggers may or may not be your target audience. We get bombarded by people wanting us to promote events and get togethers and computers and cameras. The problem is that since you’re not speaking our language, you don’t live in our world – you simply drive through – we are not likely to understand you and you are not likely to speak our language.

Before the building burns down, stop and listen to the folks you are pitching. Don’t just read an About page, but read the blog. Even if you don’t understand it. I’m much more likely to lend opportunities to people who have read my blog and have interacted with me via comment or email.

Most PR is still back a few years trying to catch up. Some PR doesn’t have any concept of social media and, successful or not, are losing time and money because they aren’t engaging the social media centers. If you can follow the Rules of Office Space, you will have a huge lead on competitors and have gained the trust and resperct of those of us operating everyday in the social sense.