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Battle of the Brands

Fred Armisen Jangles NYC Payphone

As you might expect, when Late Night band leader Fred Armisen – on behalf of Heineken – started calling a New York City payphone and anonymously inviting those who answered to “come across the street,” only a few agreed.

Per E.J. Schultz‘s write-up in Ad Age, these brave souls as a reward got to join Armisen on stage at the Comedy Cellar comedy club. The teaser clip above precedes Tuesday’s full unveiling of Ringing Payphone at

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Airbnb Logo Makes the Wrong Kind of Headlines

According to BBC News, a seven-member team at London’s DesignStudio worked on the new Airbnb logo for a period of a year.

Surely, during that time, the agency group was not hoping to generate headlines of reaction to “Bélo” like these:

Everyone Thinks Airbnb’s New Logo Looks Like A Vagina (Except Airbnb)

The New Airbnb Logo is a Sexual Rorschach Test for Our Times

Yes, Airbnb’s New Logo Looks Like a Butt. That’s Kind of the Point

Is Airbnb’s New Logo a Vagina? No, But In a Way Yes

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Media Having Fun with The Naked Cowboy

The first sentence of the Associated Press item reads: ‘It’s a natural fit.’

Mimmi Montgomery, for the New York Observer, filed her report about the marketing moves of a Midtown icon under the category-tag Keeping It Tight and a headline that begins: “Fruit of the Loon…

And, per the screen grab below, the New York Post wisely avoided any attempt to wink-reference its iconic “Headless…Topless…” headline with its crowning of an AP-based item.


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Automotive Journalist Still Loves His Mazda Miata

Rumor has it that the details of Mazda’s next-generation Miata will be officially confirmed at the forthcoming New York International Auto Show. And that’s just fine with Tom Voelk.


Back in 1990, the future automotive journalist bought one out of the gate, based on a cover endorsement from Car & Driver magazine. A decade later, when the Seattle-based Voelk needed a second car that could better accommodate full family needs, it sparked a sideline career:

The Ford Focus was bought from an auto writer who prophetically stated “you could easily do car reviews for the TV station you work for.” This was a revelation. My useless command of car knowledge could actually be applied to something. Two weeks later I shot my first review. My automotive writing career had begun.

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‘Dumb Starbucks’ Makes Venti Media Waves

DumbStarbucksLogoWhatever the nature of the bizarre coffee shop that opened Friday at 1802 Hillhurst Avenue in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz district, it’s brewing up – two days later – some very impressive east coast coverage. Following an initial report by LA public radio station KPCC, the “Dumb Starbucks” has today been written up at Gawker, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. With no doubt more such coverage to come before the java-jig is up.

From Luke O’Neil‘s Gawker dispatch:

The odds are that this is some sort of dumb viral marketing stunt or other, and the fact that Dan Harmon of Community and Rainn Wilson were among some of the first to post about it on social media suggests a dumb TV show angle. Further casting suspicion are the dumb store’s dumb disclaimers on their dumb FAQ, where they qualify themselves as a work of parody art in order to circumvent the very, very likely trademark infringement suit they could be subject to.

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Tao Nightclub Targets Next Generation of Drinkers

According to the latest Nightclub & Bar magazine rankings, the top three grossing nightlife establishments in the United States are all located in Vegas. No surprise there.

But even when you’re pulling in between $60 and $70 million annually, there’s no rest for the wicked. Las Vegas Review-Journal business reporter Laura Carroll has the skinny [margarita] on an ingenious campaign devised by third-ranked Tao Nighclub for U.S. and Canadian residents about to turn Nevada legal-drinking age:

Those who soon will be 21 write in to Tao’s website and tell the club their birthday and when they’re coming to Vegas. Tao then will create a birthday party Evite for the guest of honor to post on social media sites.

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For SoCal Porsche Lovers, This is the Only News That Matters

According to UK publication Auto Express, Porsche’s new Macan SUV will get its first preview at this fall’s Los Angeles Auto Show, ahead of a spring 2014 release. Which makes sense, since the U.S. is the auto maker’s number one market and, within that territory, California leads the state pack.

You’ll have to click through to see four exclusive pictures of the Macan. And read here to learn what the name means. The good news is that this SUV has a very reasonable MSRP of around $47,000 U.S. From the Express report:

The Macan will be based on the same modular MLB platform that underpins the Audi Q5, but with greater use of aluminium components. This will mean a weight saving of 130kg over the Q5 – more than the reduction the Audi A3 and other compact VW Group models achieved by adopting the MQB platform.

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Just in Time for Summer: Two New Marilyn Monroe Vintages

In this particular case, decanters are arguably a woman’s best friend. So as to properly pour and let breathe two offerings released this month by St. Helena, CA’s Nova Wines.

Let’s start with the 2012 Norma Jeane. For a suggested retail price of $13, this young Merlot offers an experience “rich in color with a youthful hue. Dark berry flavors and moderate tannins complete the package.”

Also priced well below the millionaire bachelor threshold is the 2012 Sauvignon Blonde (SRP $16). When the cork comes off, the aromas are a “combination of ripe stone fruits with a light herbaceous undercurrent typical of Sauvignon Blanc wines. The flavors are fruity, soft in the mouth with a lingering finish.”

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Bay Area Firm Claims Last Laugh with Jason Gambit

The auctioned switch of one Jason Sadler‘s name to Jason officially took place January 1. A month later, the company that paid $45,000 for these goofy one-year naming rights is claiming victory:

“The money we paid to buy Jason’s last name equates to $900 a week, or $125 a day,” said company president Mike Faith. “That’s incredibly cheap for the $6 million value of [media] coverage we’ve already had on this. We’re calling Jason our Six Million Dollar Man.”

The company, founded in 1997 and specializing in headsets for office telephone systems, says that in addition to stories by outlets like, TechCrunch and The Huffington Post, their investment has triggered close to a quarter million in additional sales. The six-million figure comes via a study commissioned from Universal Information Services.

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San Diego Among NPR Advertising Campaign Test Markets

We pretended briefly this morning to be a “stamp-collecting body surfer” who had just driven by a billboard in San Diego for NPR and followed up by visiting the targeted Web landing spot. Here’s what the website told us when we punched in that info:

Based on our highly scientific RADIOTYPE collaborator, the shows below are just a a few of the things we think you’ll love on KPBS FM 89.5: Weekend Edition Saturday, Here and Now, Travel with Rick Steves, TED Radio Hour, Fresh Air, Marketplace

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