Memo to Biofuel Propagandist Josh Tickell

America is not addicted to oil, Josh. It’s addicted to cars, which are the single most ecologically wasteful invention in world history.

Hence, automobiles are the problem, not fuel, as you wish and claim in your massively wrongheaded and softheaded Sundance-awarded propaganda movie. Biodiesel is hopelessly unworkable as a fuel for our 200-million+ fleet of two-ton mobility boxes. Worse, it is also a terrible, intolerable diversion from addressing the problem of cars-first transportation in the USA.

Despite your awards, by failing to confront cars, you are damaging the Earth, not helping it. And, in the process, as you must know at some level, you are also attacking the billions of desperately poor people who need the land, food, and water that you’re encouraging North American car-sellers to grab for themselves.

Ever wonder why so many apolitical lame-o celebutards are fired up about your bogus pie-in-the-sky?

There’s a reason…Look it up.

TV Watchers: Micro-Managed Profit-Rats

From Advertising Age for November 6, 2008:

As Ratings Fall, Networks Take on Ad-Skipping

With DVR penetration knocking on 30%, much of America now views the ability to skip ads on TV as something approaching a birthright.

While they haven’t had much choice in the matter, the broadcast networks say they’re OK with this, that DVR users watch more TV and disproportionately more shows from ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS, which can’t be bad, right?

But the networks haven’t given up on the dream of a world of must-see advertising and are quietly attempting to take back that right — let’s call it a privilege — on the next generation of digital platforms. Already, the networks have effectively eliminated ad-skipping on broadband and have made that a prerequisite in deals with online distributors such as Hulu, Joost and Veoh, as well as ABC.com’s full-episode player.

ABC is even trying to export the model offline with its latest video-on-demand agreements with Cox Communications and Verizon’s Fios, which allow next-day, on-demand access to shows — with fast-forwarding disabled for the ads. More ABC VOD deals are in the offing, and the network says they’ll all be ad-skip-free.

Love that “let’s call it a privilege” remark! How dare “consumers” think they have a birthright.

But, never fear, you dear, sweet dividend collectors: It’ll take a while, but the necessary work to win back the little piece of lost ground will happen:

Since DVR penetration is likely to hit 50% in the next few years, the business model is looking like an endangered species, unless the networks can figure out how to insert a fresh ad into programming when it’s watched after the fact.

Interestingly, cable operators could hold the key to that hurdle. Cablevision won the right in federal court to introduce a network DVR. Since the content resides on Cablevision’s servers and not on a DVR hard drive, the company could, theoretically, insert a dynamic ad that would make a time-shifted viewer as valuable as a live viewer. Cablevision could also disable ad-skipping altogether, which Time Warner Cable does with its “Start Over” service…

Progress, in fact, is already being made among the rodents:

“We have to be very careful not to overstep our bounds,” said Chris Allen, director-video innovations at Starcom MediaVest. “People won’t accept five- or six-minute [advertising] pods you couldn’t fast-forward, but three or four ads over a one-hour show — they are fairly tolerant of it.”

Ordering Pizza Hut From Your Facebook Page

You know how I’ve been warning you that “social networking” sites like MySpace anf Facebook are Trojan Horses for new and improved marketing campaigns?

I won’t say I told you so…but I told you so.

This just in from Advertising Age:

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) — A number of fast-food chains are reaching across the digital divide to get young consumers to order via Facebook or their iPhones. And they’re building valuable databases of their customers in the process.

Pizza Hut, which recently crossed the $1 billion benchmark in online sales, is launching a Facebook application that allows fans to place orders without leaving their profiles. Although online ordering isn’t new — the chain has offered it in some form since 2001 — Bob Kraut, VP-marketing communications at Pizza Hut, said the bulk of that $1 billion in sales has come in the past 18 months. The chain is also launching text-ordering capabilities and e-gift cards, which can be purchased, exchanged and redeemed online.

Pizza Hut’s not alone: A number of the nation’s biggest fast-food chains are beginning to embrace text and iPhone ordering capabilities, at least as tests. Already for the three months ending in August, food marketers sent almost 1.4 million text-message ads, up 37% from the same period last year, according to ComScore’s M:Metrics data. Consumers seem to want the offers: of all the ad categories using SMS marketing, restaurants had the highest response rates, with 15.5% of consumers responding to the ads.

Subway spokesman Les Winograd said some of the chain’s franchisees have begun to offer ordering via text and iPhone apps. The chain has an unusually open policy that lets individual franchisees experiment with their businesses.

“Some of that is stuff that they’re doing on their own, but they share information,” Mr. Winograd said. “We’re constantly encouraging franchisees to think out of the box and try something new. You never know, it might take off.” (He said adding turkey to the menu was a franchisee experiment in the chain’s early days.)

Lessons learned

McDonald’s experimented with text-message ordering in Chicago last summer, with signs encouraging consumers to text in their late-night orders. Spokeswoman Danya Proud said there were “some very good learnings from this campaign about how to execute future viral campaigns.”

Chipotle is developing an iPhone-ordering application to complement its existing web- and fax-ordering platforms. The chain also lets consumers pay online, place group orders and save ordering information for return visits.

While shifting consumer behavior may be behind the move toward mobile ordering, it’s also lucrative. According to Mr. Kraut, online buyers spend more. “It’s a little more upscale demographic, and a lot of people use credit,” he said.

To attract those customers, Pizza Hut is launching a promotion with eMusic.com that gives customers 75 free downloads in exchange for buying a pizza online. The chain is hoping to boost awareness of its online ordering, up its cool factor and build its customer database.

Younger consumers

Mr. Kraut said the chain uses its database for targeted, sometimes monthly promotions, as well as market research. He declined to disclose the size of the database or how much it’s grown this year.

“We’re seeing that our customers are getting younger and younger,” said Mr. Kraut, adding that the eMusic promotion is a way to bring “people in from other source and offering them something extra.” Pizza Hut has done a variety of online promotions this year, including a partnership with Rockstar Games and its Midnight Club Los Angeles driving game.

Package-food companies aren’t sitting on the sidelines either. Kraft chief marketer Mary Beth West said the company has created an iPhone application for consumers to download recipes and shopping lists in the grocery store.

“Even in the current economy, people don’t have any more time than they had before,” Ms. West said. “They’re trying to get dinner on the table, and this is going to help them do that.”

Things like walking, daydreaming, and cooking, you see, are profit-killers. The ideal is the living-room conveyor belt-served “media chair,” in which people sit all day using and being sold corporate capitalism’s wares.

Big Brother would have 100 wet dreams if he’d ever been able to conceive of such an arrangement.

More Advances in Market Totalitarianism

Even (perhaps especially) in times of economic contraction, big business marketers continue their relentless search for new and improved methods of profitably controlling off-the-job behavior.

Here is a direct quote [via Advertising Age, September 15, 2008] that needs no further explanation:

“Now we have the ability to automate serendipity,” says Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda, the behavioral-marketing firm sold to AOL in 2007 for a reported $275 million. “Consumers may know things they think they want, but they don’t know for sure what they might want.”

“We no longer have to rely on old cultural prophecies as to who is the right consumer for the right message,” Morgan says. “It no longer has to be microsample-based [à la Nielsen or Simmons]. We now have [total-population] data, and that changes everything. With [those] data, you can know essentially everything. You can find out all the things that are nonintuitive or counterintuitive that are excellent predictors. … There’s a lot of power in that.”

A Rare Opportunity

The remarkable conquest of discretionary behavior by commercial television has to rank very high on the list of ruling-class victories in all of that class-divided phase of human history we are taught to call “civilization.”

Think of it: In the United States, we thoughtlessly squander the great bulk of our precious free time coming home and looking at a box that not only puts us into a mild catatonic state and makes us its addicts, but does so in order to implant mental and behavioral prescriptions designed to make the rest of our free time comport with the priorities of our super-rich corporate capitalist overclass.

Stalin, Hitler, and the other state-totalitarians never dared dream of enjoying such a dreamy arrangement.

Well, dear readers, here is something truly rare: In order to substantiate claims of legitimacy, the Federal Communications Commission is traveling the country holding hearings about the upcoming give-away of more parts of the ether to the market-totalitarians.

While I hold no illusion about this being anything other than a series of show trials, I still urge everybody to go out to your local FCC tour stop and let the assholes know what you think about sacrificing our democracy and the Earth so that the sponsors of things like Axe Deodorant Body Spray can keep their “third homes” and private jets.