(excerpt from Time Magazine) Times weren't always so flush in Toontown. In 1997, "George Clooney killed comic-book movies," says Mark Millar, (a Scottish writer who consults for Marvel Comics on more mainstream fare, like Iron Man) Joel Schumacher's joyless Batman & Robin, in which Clooney legendarily donned a bat suit complete with rubber nipples, left fans feeling abused.
Graphic novels--long comic books for grownups--have always had mostly cult appeal. Last year's most successful, the 13th volume in a Japanese manga adventure series--Naruto, by Masashi Kishimoto--sold 80,000 copies, far short of 2007's hottest novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, which sold more than 1.5 million copies. The point of the comics was largely their transgressiveness. "They're the last pirate medium," says Mark Millar. "They're the last medium for a mass audience where you can do anything you want."
At first, it was the family-friendly superheroes who made the leap to multiplexes, with the help of directors like Bryan Singer and Chris Nolan. Slowly, lesser-known comic books got a shot. Some, like Sin City and Hellboy, became modest box-office successes by adhering to the distinctive spirit of their creators. Others, like Road to Perdition and A History of Violence, attracted audiences with sophisticated stories that few people knew were derived from graphic novels.
We are a bit obsessed with networks here at scenarioDNA. Our job is to flesh them out and focus their potential for our clients. A great article in this week's NY Times Magazine by Dalton Conley of NYU's Sociology department touches on the power of networks in relation to the Democrats struggle with articulating their "New New Deal". Dalton identifies the root of the problem as not recognizing the fundamental cultural shift. We live in stark contrast to post-WW2.
(excerpt) Government and big business had an understanding, famously embodied by the line, “What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa.” Employers, in turn, agreed to pay their (male) employees a living wage and provide generous benefits.......Today, by contrast, the most common model of social organization is crosscutting social groups. Less than a quarter of families still fit the traditional nuclear model. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of households with two or more adults have multiple breadwinners.
...perhaps we need to reimagine these nesting dolls and instead think of the social contract along the lines of a computer network or the hub-and-spoke airline network in the U.S. In such “scale free” networks, distance has been collapsed by long links that allow you to skip between any two points in a couple steps. The government’s role is less as a backup provider — in case one link of the nested chain breaks down — and more as honest broker and resource hub across groups. Read more [image Corbis]
Marie and I went to the PSFK mini-event on Friday celebrating Rob Walker's new book Buying In. He brings home some of the key issues connected to what we do here at our little planning shop. The importance of culture - understanding it is key to how brands will need to grow in this new era. He also shared a great impromptu quote that reflects some of my own caution when it comes to some of the technology hyperbole in post-dot-com-thinking...referring to the impact of social networks...
"I wouldn't call adding Obama to your Facebook friends activism exactly"
Culture and people come before technology. This is crucial for brands to understand today. Especially if they want to integrate a digital strategy. The "network" is the people - Facebook is just one facilitator of it. Sometimes we forget that. We need to look for people that are actually doing something. Sometimes the technology makes it far too easy to wash over the real behavior and celebrate the easy and inconsequential. I think the audience did not expect to hear this.
In an article from Knowledge@Wharton referencing a new paper titled "Blockbuster Culture's Next Rise or Fall: The Impact of Recommender Systems on Sales Diversity" by Kartik Hosanagar, Wharton professor of operations and information management, and Dan Fleder, a Wharton doctoral candidate....Recommenders -- (perhaps the best known is Amazon's) -- tend to drive consumers to concentrate their purchases among popular items rather than allow them to explore and buy whatever piques their curiosity
The authors argue that online recommenders "reinforce the
blockbuster nature of media." And they warn that, by deploying standard
designs, online retailers may be recreating the very phenomenon --
circumscribed media purchasing choices -- that some of them have
bragged about helping consumers escape. read more
Our good friend is a book editor. Our good friend was invited to her first book reading on Second Life. Our good friend does not do Second Life. We debriefed her not to hover above the event. We didn’t want anyone flaming out at her. Practice the night before was definitely in order. We think we helped. Maybe not.
Then we got to thinking: here’s an editor from a major publishing house entering Second Life for the first time—Why are publishing houses not more involved with Second Life? For serial-type genres like Manga and graphic novels, Second Life is a natural outlet. The experience begins as immersive.
The audience maps culturally to that kind of media. If a Manga series extended into a Second Life world, readers could develop their own characters and build the title’s mise en scene. If they develop interesting enough characters, those characters could be brought into the print editions of the running series.
We here at scenarioDNA carry a big torch for Paddington Bear who will celebrate his 50th in 2008. Sadly, we read this on Brand Strategy's blog. We hear you, Brand Strategy! Paddington is not the kind of bear who sells out...a fierce hard stare from "Darkest Peru" to those behind this:
"Paddington Bear (for tis he) is renown for his love of marmalade sandwiches...So why is he being used to promote Marmite? Aside from sharing an opening syllable, the two condiments could not be more different...To mix an iconic lover of marmalade with a divisive, savoury brand such as Marmite is both inauthentic and just as plain wrong as putting both in the same sandwich."Read more.
At this year's New York Fashion Week, Elle Macpherson Intimates has a digital installation at 1035 6th Avenue. The installation is activated by human movement, allowing a peep of intimate female portraits. Dressed in Elle Macpherson Intimates, each woman shows off a special quirky skill to a private audience.
Check out the demo video.
"Self Portraits" is the reinvention of the "Intimate Stories" 2005 campaign which captured photographically the idea that everyone has a precious and personal story. The concept, refreshed for 2007 and directed by Gary Freedman of Sydney based creative collective Glue Society, was shot in New York by Australian photographer Max Doyle.
Meanwhile, in London, M-A-C has partnered with BoomBox founder Richard Mortimer to produce a photographic montage due to launch in limited quantity at London Fashion Week.
To celebrate the launch of this BoomBox book, a fleet of 20 M-A-C BoomBox livery black cabs will be circulating London Fashion Week ferrying the international style media to and from shows and hanging at all the best parties.
In case you’re not hip enough to know…BoomBox is a roving London-based dance party that started in June 2006 at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen.
From the 90's power lunch to new the staple of the kid's lunch box - without a doubt sushi has made an impact on how we see food. And how we see how we get food. A new book by Sasha Issenberg, titled The Sushi Economy starts with a concept—namely, that the growth and evolution of sushi mirrors that of global trade. The new sushi reality is the reality of how decisions are made in a global economy. As Issenberg puts it "Fishermen in Gloucester have to study the daily movement of the yen to determine if they go out and fish that day. Chefs in Tokyo are looking to see if the weather in Gloucester is good that day." Decisions are more connected than they have ever been. The story of sushi also shows us how tastes have been packaged and repackaged in this new connected world appealing to the high and low in consumption. From finger food to the highest and rarest in edible fetish.