Behind the Internet of Things

Nothing excites the MSM like capitalist techno-fantasies. The so-called “internet of things” is one such orgasmic delusion. But, in our our market totalitarian society, where profit is priority #1 by a wide mile and marketing is the main cultural engine, what, really, is this “internet of things,” to the extent it’s anything at all?

robot factory The latest issue of Advertising Age reveals the extremely sordid and predictable truth: It’s yet another way of making a still-unconquered dimension of personal life into a big business marketing platform:

The Internet of Things has promised to turn our everyday interactions with stuff into data for logistical and marketing applications.

But now that more and more corporations, including Diageo and Mondelez, have tested actual web-connected products in the market, the industry is approaching the next stage of connected appliances and food packaging. That means figuring out where all that information will go and how it will be used. IoT platform company Evrythng sees a home for data generated by connected thermostats, bottles of booze, designer handbags and washing machines in first-party marketing databases. The firm is partnering with Trueffect, a digital ad firm specializing in first-party data targeting, to work towards devising ways marketers can use data gathered when consumers use their products. The firms hope to directly communicate with those consumers and, yes, perhaps target ad messages to them.

Interestingly, one of the first to deploy the new data-scraping method is corporate booze peddler Diageo:

The spirits brand introduced its “Smart Bottles” of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which feature electronic sensors, at the Mobile World Congress in March in Barcelona. In addition to helping the firm track whether bottles have been opened and where they are in the supply chain, they could be used for targeted marketing. “For instance, Diageo could upload promotional offers while the bottle is in the shop but change that information to cocktail recipes when the sensors show the bottle has been opened at home,” noted the company in a press statement.

All this is the other side of the ongoing, but virtually undiscussed in the mainstream, second robot revolution, by the way. That, in turn, is capitalism 101 at this point, a fact unmentionable in this society, despite its dire consequences.

The Future of the Book

book cover Today marks the publication of Find Me I’m Yours, a novel with not only a run-on sentence for a title, but corporate capitalist product placements throughout. One would be very hard-pressed to find a more fitting example of the thrust of this market totalitarian culture.

The entire project is unabashedly, intentionally, 110% a marketing ploy. It consists, according to The New York Times, of the “book” in question, plus 33 associated websites “intended to host sponsored content,” all created and managed by a crew of 35 writers and internet engineers. So far, the main sponsor of the operation is “the Cumberland Packing Corporation, the Brooklyn-based company that makes Sweet’N Low.”

What did Cumberland buy? Here’s a sample, as recounted by the NYT:

The heroine of “Find Me I’m Yours,” a new novel by Hillary Carlip, is a quirky young woman named Mags who works at an online bridal magazine and is searching for love in Los Angeles.

But the story also has another, less obvious protagonist: Sweet’N Low, the artificial sweetener.

Sweet’N Low appears several times in the 356-page story, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. In one scene, Mags, a Sweet’N Low devotee, shows off her nails, which she has painted to resemble the product’s pink packets. In another, she gets teased by a co-worker for putting Sweet’N Low in her coffee.

“Hellooo, isn’t it bad for you?” the friend asks. Mags replies that she has researched the claims online and found studies showing that the product is safe: “They fed lab rats twenty-five hundred packets of Sweet’N Low a day … And still the F.D.A. or E.P.A., or whatevs agency, couldn’t connect the dots from any kind of cancer in humans to my party in a packet.”

authors The author of this epochal prose is the former Gong Show champion and self-promoting “artist” known as Hillary Carlip. Lest you have the “Hillary” name and the teeny-bopper mentation fool you, cast eyes upon the great laureate author, who stands pictured at on the left in the photo at right with her business partner. Not exactly, as the Gong Show reference tips, a spring hen.

This project, pathetic and insubstantial as it is, is so completely disgusting, so utterly whorish, TCT finds itself, for once, unable to decide which snippets to select as proof of its revulsion. Just look for yourself!

It’s all being proffered, of course, as “a new business model for publishers.” Apparently, this kind of putrid sheepshit is what will pass for “books,” while the print-literacy-hating profit ranching system finishes ridding itself of the problem of potentially informed masses.

Feel free to drop a little offering of your own on this one.

Forbearance as Subsidy

Why doesn’t the IRS allow everybody to file their tax returns online for free? The answer, of course, is the same as in the case of the lack of regulation of cable and internet access: Forbearance from obvious and efficient public answers allows economic waste/corporate profit ranching. By keeping the IRS from running its own e-file system, the overclass is able to sell the simple software needed for that task at high, annually repeated prices.

Meanwhile, Leslie Savan, who advises BBM critics to “follow the flattery,” must be laughing herself silly watching the insipid, truth-concealing pitches of the resulting rip-offs:

Aside from the sickening spectacle of watching the self-same corporate oligopoly that lobbied to block simple reason flatter its victims for remaining ignorant of such basic realities, one has to ask: Why not just fill out the paper forms? TurboTax costs at least $50. A stamp is now 49¢.  How amazingly dumb is it to prefer the former to the latter?

The Future of Schools

In market-totalitarian America, everything must serve the overclass, and increasingly so. Hence, the latest marketing platform? The institution known as school. Per Ad Age:

Kleenex (an ecocidal marketing/waste endeavor of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.) had approached Studiocom with an interesting challenge: create a back-to-school push promoting the brand’s “stronger, more absorbent tissues.” Problem was, “No one cares when a brand says something like this,” said Creative Director Todd Slutzky. “It’s basically a meaningless statement like ‘new and improved.'” So the Studiocom team decided to put the brand to the ultimate test–in the hands of some science savvy kids. The agency went out to the top 100 science elementary and middle schools around the U.S. and asked them to come up with creative ideas to test the strength of the new tissues.

Ten of the schools took part, each backed by $5,000 funding from Kleenex. The Studiocom team then captured the most creative and compelling “Xperiments” on film.

Here’s the smarm and teacher prostitution that “positions” this appalling trick:

Gosh, I wonder how Kleenexes would do in a strength test against the cloth handkerchieves they are designed to obscure. Science anybody?

Gender Reveal Parties

My colleague informed me today that “gender reveal parties” are a big new thing among expecting parents.

Just when you think you’re inured to the march of commercialism, commodification, and the resulting culture of narcissistic idiocy and waste, along comes such a thing and knocks you off your chair once again.

These things are, of course, sponsored. Parents magazine is a property of the Meredith Corporation media (read: marketing) conglomerate. Babies R Us has obvious interests in pushing them. The corporate morning lifestyle “news” shows are onboard, too.

One wonders which is more essential to the trend, the rank, implanted stupidity or the self-indulgence.

The brainlessness shows itself in the very name of the trend. What’s revealed in an ultrasound (among other, far more important things like the existence of arms, legs, brain, etc.) is SEX, not gender. Sex is your tackle. Gender is what you’re trained to do about that equipment after you are born.

Meanwhile, as for the advancing tendency to treat child-raising as just another “consumer” experience, this quote says it all:

“The first one, we found out the sex when we had the ultrasound, the second we waited until she was born and the third we had a gender reveal,” said Ms. Wageman, a stay-at-home mom. “I couldn’t say which was best because they were all such unique experiences.”

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