Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's in a Name?

So say you've got this great new computer backup service....what would you call it? Oh, look! Here's one now!

Hmmm....Carbonite. That sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. Here:

At the end of The Empire Stikes Back, the Empire freezes Han Solo in carbonite and gives him to Boba Fett to deliver to Jaba. There's a product association you want, "Used by tyrants and criminals throughout the Universe!"

Of course, Carbonite isn't just from some long ago, far away galaxy. It exists here on Earth, as an explosive. When early coal miners needed to blow stuff up, Carbonite is what they used. I don't know about you, but when I want to keep my data safe, explosions aren't the first things that come to mind.

Sure, it's a cute, geeky name. But when the images it conjures up are things being delivered to an morbidly-obese criminal overlord, or massive destruction, it makes the tedious process of backing things up to DVD seem like a reasonable alternative.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 4

That Punk would one day be the object of nostalgia would have been anathema to the sweaty, blood-spattered denizens of a late 1970's slam pit. Punk was about irreverence and irrelevance, in direct opposition to two of the core tenets of nostalgia. Still, with two new movies on punk icons hitting the screen, it's hard to deny there is some fond reminiscing going on.

The first, the documentary Let Fury Have the Hour, just reeks of nostalgia. As Bill Green, at make the logo bigger notes, it seems to miss the point that there was no point. It runs the risk of seeing meaning that simply wasn't there. Punk was never about changing the world, it was about changing your world.

The new Ian Dury biopic, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll seems to be more in the spirit of the times.

For a genre intent on breaking the rules, could there be a better front man than a 35-year-old cripple? Is there a better disguise for bitterness than humor? The brilliance of Dury's subversion is that most of it was subliminal. You had to listen between the lines.

I hope to see both films. I really want to like both, but suspect the Dury pic will do a better job of capturing the moment. The danger in looking back at popular culture is that you'll over analyze it. You risk seeing things in a context that did not exist at the time. Let Fury Have the Hour promises a lot of people saying what punk meant to them. The problem is, if you look at put and come away with any deep meaning, you're totally missing the point.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Step One

Just saw the new Domino's spot, and damn. Damn. When most companies say they want to change the brand they change the logo, or the slogan--usually both. For once, a company gets it. If you need to fix the brand, fix the brand.

When was the last time a big company sacked up and admitted the obvious? That the product isn't that good, and you really don't like it? Not only do they admit it, the build their new campaign around it. Damn.

Unfortunately, the web effort that goes along with the campaign is less than inspiring. That's okay. The first step is admitting you have a problem.