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Posts Tagged ‘David Carr’

SXSW Sunday Party Wrap: Barbarians, Bands and CNN

If there’s one wish to be granted at SXSW, it’s to be in multiple places at once. With parties scattered throughout downtown Austin, it’s logistically impossible to hit a majority of them up, but we gave it a valiant effort nonetheless. First up was an early evening event being thrown by Draftfcb to promoted the agency’s new group Tumblr weblog called Firestarter. Aptly enough, the soiree took place at a bar way out on West 6th Street called Molotov. While the DJ downstairs dropped beats with Super Mario Bros gameplay serving as a backdrop, the real schmoozing and boozing took place on the rooftop deck. There was a very summer-esque vibe as”Fire girls” roamed the grounds while staffers passed out Firestarter t-shirts as well as pairs of peculiar Kanye West-like glasses (below). The sun hadn’t even set, but it was time to move on.

After literally devouring a pig (along with veggies) and getting some downtime at a dinner thrown by my former colleague’s agency, Skinny, it was time to hit up some of Sunday’s most hyped events including CNNMoney’s party at the CNN Grill, where the network/site’s “stars” including Ali Velshi hobnobbed with guests including Angry Birds co-creator Juhana Kotlainen, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow, Twitter’s Erica Anderson and David Carr from The New York Times. Patron was served along with delicacies like yellowfin tuna Cru and a chap named David All became the random winner of a brand new iPad2 by checking into the party on Gowalla.

The media mingling, though, had to give way to the music as yours truly was most excited for the Barbarian Group/StumbleUpon party way up the hill at the Mohawk. Bands including headliners No Age and actor Michael Cera‘s project, Mister Heavenly, were tapped to play in the outdoor patio. From what we hear, Cera is just as awkward in real life as he is playing the same character in every movie as he was quite shy about photo opps at the party (though here’s a blurry pic of him soundchecking). After getting through the tiny VIP entrance and chatting it up briefly with Barbarian co-head Rick Webb and Contagious editor Nick Parish, it was time to check out No Age and the three-piece didn’t disappoint. It was intense punk, rock, emo and almost new-wave at times, but well worth the claustrophobia and hike all the way across town. But with old age creeping in, it was time to leave, skip the Vimeo party and head to the hotel and crash.It was only 10pm…yeesh, one more day to go…

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Moral/Ethical Question: Are Advertisers Responsible, in Part, for Big Media Craziness?

This weekend, I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, because it promised to be awesome if only for the signs. And despite leaving at 6am only to get there halfway through (thanks, MapQuest) it was still worth the trip. Infotainment, as you all well know, is the only way to get a message into Americans’ brains anymore. And besides, 3 million people can’t be wrong (can they?) about the need for some chillage on the media front.

Cutting to the chase, Jon Stewart gave the final remarks, setting his sights directly on the forehead of 24-hour media. David Carr summarized the message by noting, “(Stewart’s) barrage against the news media Saturday stemmed from the fact that, on this day, attacking the message would have been bad manners, so he stuck with the messengers,” because ultimately  they seeks to gain the most from irresponsible messaging (even if they don’t see it that way*).

Or is it? Certainly, the 24-hour news channels are capable of grabbing eyeballs (about 5 million on a given night, says Carr). But as we all know, as the eyes go away, so do the advertisers. And in the case of all-day-news, there are tons ofresponsiblebrands supporting them. So, what if the advertisers went away first?

Typically, brands won’t leave unless something big happens. But if Stewart and Colbert were successful at anything Saturday, it was showing just how screwed up the situation is – we just don’t notice it until they puts things in perspective with a knock-down-punch-out montage of screamy craziness.

Asking brands to pass over the 24-hour news media for media buys is naive, at best, because these channels offer unprecedented accuracy in demographic breakdowns. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that (as Stewart points out), it isn’t just the media who are to blame. We have only ourselves to blame, and when it comes to redirecting our attention, the remote control is our only tool.

*The irony in this post is not lost on me.

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