July Randoms

Some possibly interesting items from the month of July:

  • A follow-up to the Subjective Group Decision Making and Carpets post is coming soon. The choices are narrowed down to two now and I should know what the final decision is in a few days. Such drama.
  • I’m heading down to Portland for WebVisions today. Will be speaking about “Designing for Community Interaction” and participating on another design panel as well on Friday. Come say hi if you’re in the Land of Port.
  • Lord Byron’s new book “Publish and Prosper” is out. If you’re running a business and thinking about maintaining a company blog for it, you should read this book for an overview of the important issues involved with such a thing.
  • Tivo Series 3 boxes are allegedly very close at hand. Comcast, you may have just been spared the gallows. We’ll see.
  • I’m thinking about getting a Slingbox, just for kicks. Anybody ever use one? Is the quality any good?
  • The new season of Reno 911 has begun. Rejoice.
  • I went coldwater diving in a dry suit for the first time last week off of Alki Beach. Not sure I’m going to do that again. There is some beautiful stuff down there, as is evidenced from my friend Calvin’s great photography, but man, it’s just too much gear. My idea of scuba diving is throwing on a shorty, hopping on a boat, and jumping in the 80 degree waters of a tropical island destination.
  • Has anybody else noticed a style of commercial on TV lately where a company will spend the first 25 seconds or so describing the product and then during the last 5 seconds, they will actually repeat a specific line mechanically three times in a row? One I saw yesterday said “Apply directly to the forehead. Apply directly to the forehead. Apply directly to the forehead.” Really weird and disturbing. I’ve seen a few more of these as well, all for different products. They seem to run a lot on cable news channels like MSNBC.
  • This is one of the best user experience design quotes I’ve ever read and it’s not even a user experience design quote.
32 comments on “July Randoms”. Leave your own?
  1. Those repetitive commercials are geared to those who have Tivo, with the ability to fast forward through commercials. Inevitably, you FF too far, so Tivo smartly brings you back about 5-8 seconds. Just in time to get those last seconds of the last commercial.

  2. That’s an excellent quote indeed!
    Who said Nietzsche was dead?

    (PS. Your slingbox link could do with a .com or better yet slingmedia.com, as slingbox.com doesn’t seem to be responding)

    (Editor’s Note: Thanks. Fixed!)

  3. Repetition is a key thing in advertising. One maxim is that people forget 1/3rd of what they hear. It just so happens that if you hear something three times, or better yet four, you are more likely to remember it because the chances are you’ve heard it enough to fill up all of the thirds.

  4. chris sivori says:

    We were just discussing that same commercial last night. Apparently, they’re generating buzz (as evidenced by this post among other things) although probably not to buy their product.

    Put it on your forehead! The slogan of a generation.

  5. Chris says:

    Any chance of you posting your slides from WebVisions after the fact? Is there a podcast?

  6. Devon Shaw says:

    What part of Alki Beach? I did my PADI certification dives there and frequently returned to the Kiddie Pools (by Salty’s), my favorite Seacrest (boat landing) and the Junkyard (at the very end of the beach by the apartments). There’s definitely a lot to be seen down there. We hit Seacrest for a night dive once a few years ago and nailed it right at slack tide… and could see as far as our lights would shine.

    Puget Sound diving is unmistakably one of the most beautiful places to dive, but it comes at the price of dipping into 50 degree water. I did my first fifty dives out here in a 7mm wetsuit before switching to a neoprene drysuit, so I can attest to the value as well as anyone. The Edmonds beach and Tacoma Narrows are great, scenic places to dive, and my personal favorite is Fox Island for drift diving.

    Once you start doing boat dives in the tropics, it makes you spoiled and you begin to frown upon trooping off the beach into cold water. Sissy. :)

  7. Just FYI, the Slingbox doesn’t work on Mac’s. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  8. Mike D. says:

    Michael and Randy: Yep, repetition is always key in advertising, but usually it’s just repeating a certain message a few times during the script. This is literally like a sound byte looped three times at the end of the commercial.

    Chris: I never use slides for presentations unfortunately (or fortunately). I just like talking off the cuff a lot better.

    Devon: It was Cove 2… just between Salty’s and the Fish and Chips place. Right by the West Seattle watercar. And yes, I’m a total sissy. Warm water only!

    Michael: Yep, I would have never considered getting a Slingbox before, but now with Boot Camp and Parallels Desktop, it should work just fine on an Intel Mac. Hopefully, Parallels Desktop will be enough, but I worry about video card reliance.

  9. Scott Smith says:

    I saw that “Apply Directly to your forehead” ad too. A teacher of mine in high school in our video production class taught this as the “rule of three”. Apparently three times is enough to get your point across before getting repetative. I didn’t think anyone would take it literally…

  10. Mike says:

    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead.
    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead.
    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead.

    Sound familiar? I see it almost every day during Wheel of Fortune(don’t ask…). I don’t think they’re targeting DVR’s during ‘The Wheel’. Do people really record Wheel of Fortune to watch at their convenience?

  11. Brian Fox says:

    I’v heard that commercial… its positively strange. You didn’t miss the first part of the commercial either — that is the whole commercial. Stranger yet, sometimes that same company (whatever their name is) advertises “hemorrhoid cream” right after that commercial… they say their slogan 3 times in a row with a picture of the product box — that’s it… its really bizarre.

  12. Mike D. says:

    Josh: Great NPR audio! That is funny shit.

    Brian Fox: Aha, that would explain why I can never mention what happens in the “first part of the commercial”, because there *is* no first part! Right after I see it, I’ve always thought “wow, I must have totally missed what this product actually does” thinking that I just wasn’t paying attention to the first part of the commercial.

  13. Stephen says:

    Glad you brought this up Mike – I was wondering about that commercial too.

    My theory is that this is not some brilliant and intentional viral marketing scheme (I mean everyone IS talking about the product, albeit indirectly), but just a poorly conceived advertisement with poor and undue influences.

    I know everyone here has been in that situation where the boss decides that thing on the page HAS to be 50% bigger, or in this color, or with that nasty powerpoint logo. Every molecule in your body screams no, but you crunch the numbers and decide that it’s better to just go along with it (it’s not going in the portfolio anyway) rather than to spend the extra time educating someone with your expertise who doesn’t give two shits about what you do. In this case, someone there thinks the idea of rubbing the product on your head is so crucial, so they pummell you with this logic (apply directly to the source!).

    What bugs me more are those ads where they say ‘NEED CASH?’, then offers you money for answering a stupid question (What’s another name for a cash machine? Black box? ATM? Pancake?) and charges you a buck to answer by texting on a phone, and subscribes you to a daily messaging service. At least with HEADON, you have to go to the store and buy it.

  14. DL Byron says:

    Best book plug ever! Thanks!

  15. DL Byron says:

    Apply directly to your forehead would be even better, if they spun it around the speakers all 5.1 style ending in a baritone, “directly to your forehead,” out of the subwoofer (or if it was apply directly to her cleavage).

    I’ve been watching the tour de france and they run the same commercials about a million times. Most annoying of all (noted in this thread) is the flowmax boys, then Subway theater, and the fact that Saab is no longer made from Jets.

  16. XINERGY says:

    All quite interesting points. I am very curious now about the Slingbox. Should you acquire one, I would be very interested to know your experience with it.



  17. XINERGY says:

    Oh, and with regards to the commercial… Subliminal no longer works well, apparently. People now have to be clobbered on the head with ads over and over again. =\

  18. Ooops it didn’t take… here is the link to the commercial: HeadOn Commercial

  19. gb says:

    @DL Byron: I am patiently awaiting the arrival of “ChestOn” as well…

    I read somewhere that there is a slinbox client for mac now… probably beta, but I swear I read it on Teh Interweb.

  20. Rex says:

    I’ve got a Slingbox and love it. Quality is remarkably good. But you can occasionally catch me watching The Daily Show on my Treo while driving on 520. Some would say that’s a bad thing.

  21. I know you’ve been battling with the picture quality of Comcast as well as the DVR. Maybe when the Tivo3 comes out you may want to consider Dish. I don’t have it myself, but talk about it has been good on the AVS forums. Bandwidth plays an important role in the quality of the signal, which is why Comcast can vary so much from city to city. This thread in particular shows the higher bit-rate being used by Dish. Hard to tell from still images, but even in an action shot such as the one here from Riddick you can see less pixilation or artifacting in the motion trails.


  22. Ruben says:

    I didn’t have a chance to chime in on the Great Carpet Debate, but it strikes me that the different approaches are are in line with the Interest-Rights-Power frames:

    Interests — Working together to get at the underlying needs & goals of each party. Equivalent to holding many meetings amongst the condo group and offering lots of carpet swatches.
    Rights — Determining the most objective solution by using references that are unbiased, neutral, respected, and/or authoritative. Equivalent to consulting with other associations to determine how they resolved similar issues.
    Power — Unilaterally accomplishing a single objective and overcome resistance. Equivalent to the President declaring “The carpets will be pink…I don’t care what you think.”

    Each has pros and cons. If time is no constraint you want the Interest approach. If time is of the essence you should probably expect the Power approach. There’s a ton more research on group decision-making if you so incline to read up on it; Google “Interest Rights Power” for more. Good luck!

  23. Michael says:

    The “Head On” ad has a meaning that is not readily visible. For those of you that are alert Christians, there is a LOT of evidence out there now that the general population is being conditioned for the coming 666. Read your Bible and you will also see that this “mark” is “to be used on the forhead”. These people are clever, and the “theme of sixes” is also appearing a LOT everywhere. Pay attention to your ordinary groceries/products that you buy. Look at the changes in lettering styles, and in many cases, the outright replacement of a letter with a “6”. For those that want a good example of this, look at “Joy dish soap”. The letter “O” has been replaced with a 6. So, the “conditioning is full speed ahead”. “Head ON” is just another example of it. Christians wake up!!

  24. rstone says:

    I don’t really care what geniuses came up with the commercial, but I am concerned about what I may do to some innocent bystander if I don’t find out what in the h#$% this product does. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

  25. michael says:

    I think that it should be much more concerning as to the fact that this (as I said) is part of a major conditioning for what is known as “the mark of the beast” to come. the “beast” is not some wild animal, but rather something directly related to 666, and will likely be some form of a tattoo used either on/along with a “mark” on the right hand. You (and all Christians) should also know that there are already products being developed for just that (such as VeriPay with Verichip). The “beast” represents a one world government along with a one world religion and economy. I suggest that anyone that is interested in their own future (as well as their familes) look into all of this and the decisions that they will face in the near future. As I said, the “Head On” commercial has a purpose that is not readily visible, but plays an important part in the conditioning for the spoken of “mark”. Also, you might be interested to know that “Head On” is also 6 letters. Said 3 times, your subconcious mind is being “reinforced” with a subliminal message. If you think all of this nonsense, study psychology as well as a True Bible. Your future will depend on it. Ignore it and you will fall into what will come on most of the world.

  26. JesusHatesHeadON says:

    Michael- thanks for the advice. I will avoid any permutations of the number ‘6’ at all costs and advise my friends and family to do so as well. I will study psychology as well as a true bible so I can better understand why the hell I am avoiding the number ‘6’. Thank you for saving my future. Any good christians should avoid head-on because it is bad to be programmed for the apocalypse, mmmkay. Makes perfect sense!

  27. Michael says:

    My, an intellegent one, aren’t you? It is quite obvious that you not only display ignorance about a very serious issue, sounds like you want to throw aside what will become the most important issue in your life. Don’t think so? Well, you will realize that when its’ day comes. That day might not come for a year, 2 years, maybe even longer, but come it will!! And with that attitude, you will be among the first that will come back and say “You were right after all”. It will either be that way, or you will be among those that doesn’t see anything wrong with the New World Order that is already being put into place. Go ahead with your busy life for now, the choice is yours. Wake up, or stay ignorant!! The proof is there, and has been presented. I won’t continue to “debate” you either, as it is not place to convert any ignorants out there. I just present the evidence.

  28. Michael says:

    And by the way… the term “Ignorants” is not the wrong spelling for “ignorance”. The term “Inorants” is to be considered a noun, representing those that ARE ignorant, those that think that sources such as the general media are giving them ONLY facts.
    There is a lot that even the media does not know, and assuming that they would want to tell it all to you as it is anyway. Get out and investigate what I have told you ON YOUR OWN, that is, unless of course you aren’t “too busy” working in a rat race that has already taken you “under the wing” of deception. ;)

  29. Scott's Blog says:

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  30. Embiggening says:

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  31. […] Intellectual Bargain Shopping – Jeffrey Veen presents a very good alternative to the design philosophy that “all users are stupid” (via Mike Davidson) […]

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