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Archive for February 4th, 2008


The best comment about the SuperBowl’s chronically lame half time show I’ve read yet (from From: johnnynotsid on Buzznet):

Subject: HOW BAD WAS THE SUPERBOWL HALFTIME SHOW?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Tom Petty but good GOD. DO SOMETHING!

WHIP YOUR GUITAR AROUND! HEAD BANG! BREAK YOUR HIP! Do SOMETHING!

Worse even than Macca did. I thought after Prince we’d be doing better but no…… We’re so worried about another bare titty on a Sunday afternoon that we have to get young Santa Claus.

Next time: Get Radiohead (I don’t even like Radiohead) or Smashing Pumpkins (even with Zeitgeist songs) or SOMEONE WHO IS ESTABLISHED BUT DOES NOT NEED GERITOL TO PERFORM!

In Tom Petty’s defense (or Prince’s, or The Stones, or Paul McCartney’s) these guys don’t suck. they’re very, very good… They’re just… you know… not exactly A-list anymore. Or very exciting. This is the Superbowl, man! People want to be dazzled. They want to be entertained. They want to walk away saying “wow! That was incredible!” Well, they aren’t.

The once premier sporting event in the USA has sadly turned into a giant ball of mediocrity wrapped up in a very thin and overpriced wrapper of hype. My question to you is this: What does that say about our society? About Brand USA? About where we’re headed – politically, economically, culturally and creatively? If the Superbowl isn’t a metaphor for a bloated and mediocrity-embracing American culture, I don’t know what is.
Instead of raising the bar every year, why is it that even the quality of the Superbowl experience is suffering? If there is one sporting event we should do right, it’s this one. But we don’t even bother to take pride in that anymore. The Superbowl has turned into just another disposable product: Commoditized, noisy, overpriced and hollow.
Are we really that afraid of glimpsing another janet Jackson nipple? Must we sanitize the US’ greatest sporting event of the year to such a ridiculous extent that the Half Time show’s musical acts have to be in their… um… silver years?
Whomever books these acts should go work for cruise lines and retirement communities, and leave the Superbowl to real professionals.

While you’re pondering the whole metaphor concept I mentioned a few minutes ago, try this concept on for size: Relevance. How relevant are these musical acts? How relevant is the Superbowl anymore? (Not the game itself, but the ads and the show and the rest of the disposable glitter.) Perhaps more importantly, how relevant are we anymore, with our paper plates and our plastic forks and our ready-made Superbowl party platters, so desperate for entertainment that we will sit through the dumbing-down of advertising and the corporate castration of sport? How relevant are we when the Euro is stronger than the Dollar, the best creatives are moving out of the US, and we as a nation seem more concerned about accidentally glimpsing a nipple on TV than homeless families living in a van just down the road? How relevant are we when – as the only superpower left – our economy is crumbling, we have the worst public education system in the western world, our bridges are collapsing, we still don’t believe in Science, and we’re the fattest people on the planet?
We’re acting like a nation of tourists.
Just in case you skipped to the punchline, here it is: “Good enough” just isn’t good enough anymore.
Heck, mediocrity – in advertising, business, product design, politics, education, research, medical care, engineering, infrastructure management, entertainment, foodservice and customer experience, and yes, even your own job – just isn’t cutting it at all. Not in the USA. Particularly not now. We should all be embarrassed by how far we’ve alowed this to get already. It’s time to wake up.
PS: The permalink of this post doesn’t accept comments. Go to the main page and comment from there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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This is Roby. Roby and I have been friends for many years now, despite the fact that he is Italian and I am French. Roby is a pretty kick-ass photographer, graphic designer and all aroundman of fashion, and like me, he spent some time in the military before moving to the US. Unlike me, however, Roby decided to return to military life to take part in the “war on terror.”

If you are a regular reader of the BrandBuilder blog, you are no stranger to any of this. If you’re new, then you’re about to get caught up.

A few years ago, Roby and I came up with the idea of F360 over beer… or coffee… (or possibly both) at the Coffee Underground coffeeshop in Greenville, SC. I was bored at my corporate job and looking for ways to put my strategic and creative skills to better use – and for a broader pool of companies. Roby was also a little non-plussed about where his job was going and was starting to build a nice little portfolio of graphic design and commercial photography, but needed someone to bring copywriting, marketing strategy, and project management skills to the mix. It took a few months for me to finally make the jump and take him up on his offer to join forces with him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just as F360 was starting to really take off, Roby decided to join the Army National Guard and within two years, got his ass shipped out to the Stan – presumably to go hunt down Osama. Roby has been there since October – first in Kabul, and now at some undisclosed location. Looks like mountain passes and whatnot, so I guess his unit is helping local soldiers make sure the bad guys don’t come through their area.

Anyhoo, Roby took his cameras with him, so he shoots photos of his life over there, which is pretty damn cool. The photos posted below are from one of my favorite galleries he’s posted so far… just a few days ago… as he turned 35.

Happy Birthday, Roberto. Now get your ass back to the US so we can have a beer. (You’re still a big wuss for not climbing that hill with your gear, though.) Pffft. Army. Figures. ;D

There’s an accident waiting to happen if I’ve ever seen one.

A gunner’s view.

Roby is running up mountaintops now. WTF?! I can’t believe it! It must be photoshop!

Hmmm… I’d better start training.

Sweet view of the mountains and the valley. Good luck sneaking up on this outpost, you Taliban bastards!

Snack time.

Pajama pants.

The best pose EVER.

Livin’ it large.

Eden?

Gorgeous photos, Roby. Hooah.

The rest of you can go chat about the crappy overpriced commercials shown during the Superbowl. I’m sure by the time you read this post, the interwebs will be a-buzzing with excitement over whose ads scored, whose ads flopped, and how advertising is dead or making a comeback or whatever… *sigh*… Same conversation we have every year. I’ll pass, thanks, and watch the good ones on YouTube later this week, when I feel like the bandwagon has safely passed me by.

Have a great Monday, everyone. 😉

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