The best advertising you’ll see this Super Bowl day is this one for Barack Obama

[Note: This post is an observation and opinion piece about political advertising and is not any sort of endorsement. Disclosure: I have not stated anywhere publicly who I will vote (actually, “voted” as I did so early) for in the Tuesday presidential primary in Tennessee. And while I voted for a candidate, I have not made any contributions to any campaign and will remain undecided about November until the parties have selected their candidates. Note: See update at the end of this post.]

When I was a kid in the 1960s, every candidate for office had a campaign jingle. JFK’s campaign had one and, well, while it was a little before my time, perhaps the most famous early TV political campaign jingle was the one called, I Like Ike. Like commercial jingles for consumer products, the campaign jingle has been replaced with theme songs borrowed from pop or country repertoires of “classic hits.” But every campaign still has a song. And music is a part of every campaign stop of every candidate.

It’s rare, however, to witness the birth of a new genre of presidential political campaign advertising music. (And by “advertising,” I’m not referring to the narrow interpretation of advertising that would limit it to :30 or :60 second spots.) But that’s what we’re getting this weekend. With this video below, I think we’re witnessing a new genre of campaign song: One that blends the passion and striped down message and cadance of sixties protest-movement grassroots folk songs with “cause-jingles” of the 70’s (“Look for the Union Label”) and the slickly-produced commercial anthems that accompanied such 1980s events as “Live-aid.”

The result is this anthem which is perhaps some of the most brilliant use of music in a presidential campaign I’ve ever heard or seen (see embedded video.)

I can understand why a Clinton-supporter like my friend, Jeff Jarvis would want to dismiss this video as “only (underscoring) the notion that Obama’s campaign is the most rhetorical of the bunch: speeches and slogans so neat they can fit in 4/4 time.” That’s the equivalent of when your parents told you that rock music would turn your brain into mush. To me, it only underscores how remarkably rare it is to witness a break-through idea in the use of new media in politics. This is not “user-generated” or “amateur” media — the people who conceived, created, produced and appear on it are all pros at the top of their game. However, I predict that within the next 24 hours, you’ll see the beginnings of a flood of mashup versions in which college students and singer-songwriters and others will produce their own versions. And that’s when we’ll start to understand what this music is really about.

Another “break-through” aspect of this music video must also be its financing. While the producers claim not to know whether or not the Obama campaign even knows about it, the value it brings to the campaign will sky-rocket. It’s a little like the off-books value of “an endorsement,” except in this case, the endorsement is in the form of something that has the value of those Mastercard ads: Priceless.

More about the video: ABC News: Stars Come Out for Obama Music Video.

Update: I have seen some blog posts saying the ad is from Moveon.org. The video does not have any information on it regarding that organization as a source — which it must disclose. Obviously, the financing of the production — if by Moveon.org — would be covered under the laws pertaining to 527 Groups. I’ve looked on the Moveon.org site and they, indeed, have endorsed Obama and are promoting the video — but there’s nothing there about them creating the video. While I’m no fan of Moveon.org, I still think this ad is amazing — sorta like when I enjoy an Oliver Stone movie.

Update II: S-town Mike (thanks) provided in a comment below, an e-mail from Moveon.org that promotes the video, but indicates it was neither funded or produced by the organization. Rather it echos what the ABC News piece above reports: it was conceived and produced will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and film director Jesse Dylan, son of Bob Dylan.

Update III: When I said, “within the next 24 hours, you’ll see the beginnings of a flood of mashup versions in which college students and singer-songwriters and others will produce their own versions. And that’s when we’ll start to understand what this music is really about,” this is what I meant. I’m sure we’ll see it done a lot better — and a lot worse. And after seeing this, I can also predict it will be subject to some really hilarious parodies, as well.

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How to make money if you are a TV Guide subscriber in NY or LA

Last month, TVNewser echo’d — and I tweeted — what turned out to be a false rumor about TV Guide. The magazine is still coming out in print despite how believable it sounded when the rumor suggested there is no reason to have a TV Guide print version when TV Guide now exists on the TV.

However, beyond such conventional wisdom, there are things you can do with magazine subscribers that you can’t do with people who just click around on the web or channel surf on cable.

From MediaWeek, here’s an interesting magazine-delivered promotion:

“ABC Entertainment and TV Guide are teaming up to give the magazine’s readers a Grey’s Anatomy hospital gown to promote the return of the show this season on Thursday, Sept. 27. The ABC branded-gown will be poly-bagged in the Sept. 24 issue of TV Guide, which will be mailed to subscribers in the New York and Los Angeles markets to coincide with the season four premiere of the show.”

Talk about delivering value. If only TV Guide subscribers in two markets receive the gowns, then, ABC and the magazine are handing out winning lottery tickets. A certain percentage of readers — over 50%, I guess — will instantly throw away the gown. Others will hang onto it and throw it away within a few days.

However, a few smart subscribers will not touch it — will not even open the polybag — and will sell it on eBay. As I’ve explained on this blog Grey’s Anatomy has one of the most “conversational” fan-bases in existence. And, since these collectible gowns are being distributed to a small segment of viewers, the after-market value of them will sky-rocket.

However, don’t open the polybag if you want to sell it on eBay. If you don’t, I feel certain you can receive a price worth many years of whatever you paid for that subscription through the Publisher’s Clearing House.

The Internet is dead and boring, so Mark Cuban is going to take up ballroom dancing

I have no idea whether these two items are related. However, yesterday, billionaire blogger Mark Cuban used a hyperbolic subject line to discuss his belief that the Internet has reached a state of “utility,” and is no longer where creative breakthroughs can take place. He says more bandwidth is needed for the really cool stuff. And by cool stuff, I guess he means the High Def content he’s creating. Anyway, today, SI.com is reporting that Cuban is going to be a cast member of the next series of “Dancing with the Stars,” starting next month. He’s a great two-stepper, I hear.

Later: I’ve just read a few of the reactions to Cuban’s “boring” post and must say that his title is what people are reacting to, not the point he’s trying to make. There are a lot of good things that are happening because developers are focusing on the “utility” part of the Internet — doing cools things that help make the web work for us better. I don’t disagree with his substance, I just don’t get how he can label what’s taking place “dead and boring.” By the way, the funniest comment I’ve read in response to Cuban’s post was from Howard Lindzon on this Fred Wilson post: “Substitute ‘Dallas mavericks’ for Internet.”

(Thanks, Hudge, who wonders if Cuban will go after the Dancing with the Stars judges like he goes after NBA officiating.)

Facebook is to MySpace what reading a blog post is to reading an article about what was in a blog post

When Danah Boyd wrote her blog post and related essay, Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace,” I thought it was well-crafted and provided a thought-provoking, nuanced insight into a complex, but important online and cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately, by the time it made it into this Forbes.com article, it seems like tripe.

Harry Potter and the Pot of Gold

He’s certainly old enough to go without me, but the 16-year-old allowed me to tag along on what has become a bi-annual tradition since he was in about the fourth grade: the midnight release of a Harry Potter book. As this is the final such release party — and something likely never to be replicated — I wanted to capture a bit of it on video. The 20-year-old is out of the country and I’m sure took part in something similar, but it was kind of sad for her not to be here. As you’ll see in the video, we did catch up with her (and our) best friend forever, who, along with my son, are perhaps the most over-the-top experts in Harry Potter trivia I know. Between the two of them, they’ve probably read or listened to each book dozens of times.

Speaking of my son, it is now about 3:00 p.m. CDT on Saturday and he has finished reading the book (the first of several times, no doubt). Without any spoilers, he says he can’t properly provide a review. He does say most of the back-stories are resolved and, well, I can’t say much more than that.




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