Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Bacon Otaku

June 3, 2009

(originally posted on http://goodewinejourney.wordpress.com)

bacon I tweeted a couple of times today about Bacon, which always gets a ton of response. As I monitor the Twittersphere, the two        foods that come up most often are bacon and cupcakes. Not only are there a plethora of chatter about the two foods, there are also    multiple #bacon bots that follow you and interact with you as soon as you mention this greasy, yet delicious food. I even received  this  recipe that incorporates not one, but both foods (via user @baconinja) It seems that, especially on Twitter, there is a ton of    conversation about and loyalty to these quirky foods. I am still baffled by whether Twitter users are just more into bacon and    cupcakes than the general population, or if my view is just extremely skewed, due to the specifics of both groups (online and offline) that I participate in.

In any case, as a marketer, I always think about what generates buzz and instills loyalty. Bacon and cupcake aficionados are quite staunch fans, and every time I think of them, I can’t help but think about Seth Godin‘s “Purple Cow.” In this book, Seth talks about Otaku, people who are more or less obsessed with a certain product, hobby or topic. Originally, Otaku (of Japanese origin) referred to Anime aficionados, but it has been somewhat adopted outside of that realm. Godin posits that certain foods, such as hot sauce, inspire Otaku-like behavior, while others don’t.

If someone can tell me why bacon and cupcakes inspire such passion (other than being sinfully delicious), I am all ears. I would also love to hear from marketers some success stories on how they built a passionate community around a fairly mundane product or brand.

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 P.S. I feel that wine, especially wine tasting, also inspires loyalty and a lot of passion. Other than the obvious lifestyle benefits of being a  “social lubricant” and enhancing coversations at the dinner table (especially with a really good bottle), people who are good at tasting  wines seem to belong to a close-knit group that is rich in its own traditions and even vocabulary. Wine tasting is an art, and the people  who are good at it, have committed time and resources to learning how to be good at it, and I think that’s where the passion comes from.    For the rest of us, while the fine art of wine tasting is aspirational, enjoying wine is open to all.

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Do You STREB? You Should!

April 15, 2009

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of experiencing the most amazing show I have experienced in a while! I was lucky enough to win free tickets on my friend Mike Davis‘s blog. To enter the contest, all you had to do was sign up for Mike’s YouTube show – he will have more contests, so you should definitely join. Not to mention, Mike rocks!

I had never heard of STREB before, but I had read the description on the web, and was immediately fascinated. I didn’t know what to expect, but all I knew was that it looked like urban Cirque du Soleil. My friend Josephine had seen STREB shows before (Elizabeth Streb, by the way, is the choreographer who has given life to the PopAction genre), and had mentioned to me that it reminds her of a more powerful, and slightly more violent, version of Cirque du Soleil. Josephine had mentioned to me before the show that the dancers would be slamming into each other and into walls, which left me utterly confused. Elizabeth’s bio on the site states that PopAction  ” intertwines the disciplines of dance, athletics, boxing, rodeo, the circus, and Hollywood stunt-work. The result is a bristling, muscle-and-motion vocabulary that combines daring with strict precision in pursuit of the public display of “pure movement”, and I find this the most eloquent and terse description that fits perfectly, so that I couldn’t add anything further.

I find myself reaching for words to describe STREB accurately, because it’s something so extremely original and unprecedented. A group of extremely toned dancers with beautifully muscular bodies, present various dance numbers, in which they use their bodies to tell stories with top-level precision and power. The show starts with dancers slamming into a large plexi glass in the middle of the stage. It sounds bizarre, but looks amazing when two dancers slam into each other from two different sides and look like a mirror image of each other. Josephine and I discussed this number afterwards, and found it very symbolic of our time. We are wanting to make a difference, connect, but are frustrated with external (economic or otherwise) factors. Another favorite number of mine was the trapeze dance against the wall (pictured below), where dancers danced with their feet on the wall, strapped into harnesses.

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It was so beautifully synchronized, and required such precision (and freakishly strong ab muscles!) to pull off in a completely horizontal position.

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Another definite highlight was the “hamster wheel” (pictured below). It starts out with one dancer spinning inside the wheel, making it rotate by walking inside of it at a constant and controlled speed

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To my amazement, more dancers started hooking onto the wheel and doing various pirouettes inside, under, over and every which way.

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What a mind-blowing exhibit of synchronicity, extreme precision and control! One wrong move, and not only do you hurt yourself, but you also hurt your teammates! (none of the dancers were harnessed).

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The entire show was a true tour de force of a human body. In everyday life, perched behind our MacBooks, we forget of what a tremendous instrument we were given (for free!) and what our bodies are really capable of. Everytime that I see something so incredibly powerful and precise, I bow my head in respect and admiration. See below some more examples of the nimble amazingness that is STREB:

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When the show was over, Kim Cullen, the Producing Director of the show, reached out to Josephine and myself to chat about the show and social media. I was extremely happy to hear that STREB was considering integrating social media into their current marketing mix. I just love meeting people who “get it” and are open to these new channels of engaging new consumers, because they realize that this is really the future of communication. This type of performance really lends itself well to the virality of social media, because as each social-media-engaged viewer sees the performance, he / she is going to share it with Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, write and comment on blogposts, post pictures to Flickr, videos to YouTube. Through the power of narrative and experience sharing, the word spreads; and this really was an experience worth spreading. I will definitely be going back to take pictures with my good DSLR camera (Nikon D60), and hopefully a video device (anyone care to lend an HD Flip?) – these iPhone pics, although a good start, do not do it justice

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You can see the rest of my photographs (apologies about the quality; iPhone is not the best at capturing motion) – http://bit.ly/streb

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