Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf #1 (Titan, December 2021)

Doctor Who fen also have a plethora of transmedia options available to them. Regardless of whether it's the ongoing television show -- with Jodie Whittaker's stint as the 13th Doctor coming to an end this year -- earlier series streaming on Pluto TV, the monthly magazine, Big Finish's audio dramas, media tie-in novels, or the comic books published by Titan Comics, Doctor Who fen have plenty of outlets to choose from. DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF is a fine recent example of non-TV approaches to the Doctor Who franchise. DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF #1 (Titan, December 2021) features the Eighth Doctor (modeled after Paul McGann) and Eleventh Doctor (modeled after Matt Smith, who recently starred in the excellent LAST NIGHT IN SOHO), Rose Tyler, and a human regeneration of the Tenth Doctor (modeled after David Tennant). So it's a bit of a mash up -- written by Jody Houser and drawn by Roberta Ingranata -- sure to please fen of multiple Doctors and seasons. The gambit of the series is that Tyler is stuck in an alternate timeline, happily married to a human regeneration of the Tenth Doctor (named John Smith) -- and a mother. After having an intense vision, she disappears and wakes up on an unknown shore. Meanwhile, Empress Rose, "glorified as the Bad Wolf Empress" in an alternate timeline and in need of assistance, sends D'Pau to find the Doctor. The Eighth Doctor arrives in the Tardis in 20th century London, where he encounters a group of Sontarans. "That's not right," he says, before leaving and meeting Tyler, whom he doesn't remember because "things in my life can happen in an odd sort of order." The Eleventh Doctor, then, is on holiday, where he also sees a group of Sontarans about to engage in battle -- and is found by D'Pau, to be brought to Empress Rose. There's a lot going on, and it's all setting up the storyline, but there's plenty to work with: a case of mistaken identity, disappearing armies, old friends meeting anew, and a world in danger. To be honest, DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF would be a bit of a mess of a read if the characters weren't so familiar and the new pairings -- a human regeneration of the Tenth Doctor, father to Tyler's child? -- so much fun. It'll be even more of a hoot when the two Doctors come together, as portrayed on David Buisan's cover. The issue ends with a Reader's Guide offering thumbnails of collections featuring the Ninth through Thirteenth Doctors. There's plenty to dive in to; why not start with DOCTOR WHO: EMPIRE OF THE WOLF?

Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter #5 (Dynamite, November 2021)

Fen of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs have been able to enjoy quite a number of ERB-related comic book series and titles thanks to Dynamite Entertainment in recent years. The recent DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER series that publishing company's penchant for tie-in series that build on and expand ERB's writing. DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER #5 (Dynamite, November 2021) is no exception. Written by skilled tie-in scribe Dan Abnett and drawn by Alessandro Miracolo, the series pairs Carter and Thoris rather than positions them against each other. The issue opens with a bang, "sociopathic mastermind" Rotak Gall conferring with "primordial entities from outside time known as the Longhorn" via ancient arcanotech. The two-page spread featuring the sheer scale of the Longborn reminded this reader of Jack Kirby character design, even if not artwork. The gist of the story is that the Longhorn seek to colonize Barsoom and are manipulating Gall, an expert in cloning, to procure host bodies. Meanwhile, Carter and Thoris are searching for Gall in his palace -- a veritable maze in time, with each chamber located in a different age of the locale -- to obtain the key needed to get out. They encounter what might be a Tyrannosaurus Rex, portrayed on a delightful full page, as Gall embodies the Longhorn in two of his standard clone bodies, which begin to decay more quickly than expected, rather than Carter's hardier body (due to his superhuman genetics). Carter and Thoris battle the dinosaur over the course of several pages before encountering a new clone of Gall, who wants vengeance after his betrayal at the hands of the Longborn. Carter presses the attack to the Longborn, and the issue ends with him realizing that he, himself has also been cloned -- setting up the events of the next edition. Abnett's writing doesn't quite capture the tenor and tone of ERB's original stories, but that's not the point here: Continued adventures of much-loved characters. Miracolo's artwork is well done, and the issue is worth getting for the two-page spread of the Longborn in their original form, as well as the dinosaur. This issue of DEJAH THORIS VERUS JOHN CARTER also includes house ads for Dynamite's VAMPIRELLA/DRACULA: UNHOLY, EVIL ERNIE, and SHEENA: QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE series, giving the reader a sense of what else the publisher has in the works. Recommended for ERB fans.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Deep Beyond #10 (Image, November 2021)

If you enjoy aquatic and kaiju-adjacent stories such as THE SHAPE OF WATER and CLOVERFIELD, be sure to check out the Image comics series DEEP BEYOND. I recently read DEEP BEYOND #10 (Image, November 2021), and the storyline -- even though it's near the end of its 12-issue run -- is quite promising. Written by Mirka Andolfo and David Goy, and drawn by Andrea Broccardo, DEEP BEYOND details a world in which there's a deadly contagion, monsters, various factions and autonomous groups as people try to reconstitute a working society, an underwater element (though much of the tale takes place on terra firma), and perhaps even clandestine aliens. The primary conflict is between the Trans-Colonial Council, the newly reformed government, and the Defeatists -- deemed by some terrorists -- who don't want to live underneath protective domes. (But whose politics are otherwise unclear.) The issue largely focuses on a character named Clover, ex-girlfriend of Trent, who now leads the rebel forces and is infected, his life sustained by machines. With a group of friends, rescued by an older man in a submarine, she intends to locate the mysterious B-34 Colony, determine whether the Council is hiding amphibious aliens and a gateway to another world, and rescue her friend Paul -- as well as one of the aliens. Highlights of DEEP BEYOND include the threat of monstrous creatures -- of which the reader sees only glimpses in this ish -- the contagion, which was probably explained in previous issues; and the high technology, some of it alien. But this late in the series, those aspects mostly serve as window dressing as the storyline comes near its conclusion. The writing is impressive -- the comic book is chock full of ideas -- and Broccardo's artwork ably captures the utopian and dystopian aspects of the emergent society. DEEP BEYOND is a good read. The first six issues were collected in a trade paperback last September, and the second volume is expected in March 2022. I'd expect it's a great read all in a row, if not just in longer spans.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Nostalgia

(Digest, 52pp, $6)

This wonderfully thoughtful and intense fanzine was published in 2018 by Orange, Calif., native Adrian H. (@asphaltpearls, perhaps) to focus on his intense My Chemical Romance fandom a decade prior in 2008. 

A handy "Nutrition Facts" panel on the back cover suggests that the contents address the band's cultural impact and what made them special, plus leather jackets and boas, fan forums and masculinity—and that the zine includes discussion of poetry... and revenge.

It's all true. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Seven Best Marketing Research Blogs

I’ve been blogging since 2001. It’ll be 20 years this June. (Can you believe it? Here’s my first ever blog post.) I can even remember Evan giving me a Blogger T-shirt out of the trunk of his car while parked on the streets of San Francisco. More recently, much of my online activity has migrated to social media and my email newsletter—you can learn more about my emerging personal media model here—but I’ve been trying to blog more actively lately. And I’ve been trying to blog with more professional intent and purpose.

Regardless, I am woefully unaware of the state of blogging or social media in terms of marketing research and marketing researchers. I’ve kept both practices (my professional work and my online activity) relatively separate over the years somehow. And I’d like to learn more about who’s worth following and reading. We’ll start with marketing research bloggers.

Here are what I currently consider the seven best marketing research blogs:

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Question of the Week

What are the most important aspects of online marketing?

I’ve been giving thought to my own online presence lately, and the different aspects and parts of that which contribute to increasing attention and interest. The following can probably be applied to marketing yourself as an individual—your personal presence—as well as online marketing more generally for companies and organizations.

The primary difference might very well be budget and scale, though the model itself might prove useful regardless of whether you’re considering this personally or professionally. Some of this you can do with funding, and some of it you can even do for free just as an individual. 

Regardless, here’s how I break it down:

Values and Principles

Since the beginning of the year, I've been digging into the DeMartini Value Determination Process and reading Dr. John DeMartini's book The Values Factor. I haven't finished completing all the exercises in the book yet, but I have gone through his process a few times since 2017, and it's been useful in determining and identifying what I consider most important. That, in turn, is helpful, too, as I set priorities, make goals, and decide where to spend my time and energy.

If you haven't gone through a similar exercise, you might find it useful, as well. I'm sharing my results here, so you can see some of what you might expect to accomplish, as well.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Current

I recently wrote The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Current: 50 Ways to Stay Up to Date and Well Informed, a 20-page guide to what I read and recommend to keep on top of current events, societal trends, and other driving forces in general topics.

For a limited time, this Ultimate Guide is available to Media Dieticians for a discounted rate of $5. If you'd like me to send you a copy, PayPal me $5, and I'll smuggle you the essentials.

If you've ever been curious about what's on my reading list, informing this blog, my social media activity, and the weekly newsletter, the Guide is an inside look at what's on my reading list.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Labor Manual

 


Audio only

Script below...

An Industry Hero

All of us have heroes, people who inspire us and help drive us to become the very best people and professionals we can be. Sometimes we’re not even aware who those heroes are, people we’ve encountered, who exhibit a quality, practice, or characteristic that impressed us—and which we’ve adopted and picked up on our own. Sometimes we know exactly who they are, and why we admire them and aspire to be more like them. That could be a family member, a colleague or co-worker, someone in our industry or trade, or someone larger still.

When thinking about who I admire in my industry—or in this case, an industry adjacent to mine—the first person who came to mind was a woman I’ve never even met. That surprised me. Since about 2006, when I started working at DoubleClick, I’ve known the name of Leslie Laredo and have been aware of the work of her company, the Laredo Group. If she comes across this post, she’ll be surprised. I don’t expect her to know me, either. In fact, I’m slightly conflicted writing this, but I think it highlights that inspiration and role models can come from unexpected places—and from people we might know just by reputation or other people’s perspectives.

The Laredo Group, which Laredo founded in 1996, is a sales and account management training, and digital media training company that concentrates on the sales of advertising and marketing technology, as well as the sales and purchase of digital media. That includes mobile, programmatic, social, and video media. The company also assesses and analyzes sales performance skills and attitude to help sales teams and organizations benchmark their performance and potential. And it provides instructional design services for new hire on-boarding training, compliance and certification, internal product training, talent development, and sales training.

I was surprised to learn that they don’t yet offer marketing or sales research training, which seems a logical outgrowth of that focus. Laredo and the company don’t make the news often, but when I think about online media sales and marketing training, I think of the Laredo Group first. And I’ve never been a client.

Given that limited exposure, I’m impressed and inspired by a couple of things.

Monday, March 08, 2021

The Difference Between Market Research and Marketing Research

 

I recently came across this interesting infographic, a Venn diagram considering the differences and similarities between market research and marketing research. It accompanies a July 2020 post titled "Market Research vs Marketing Research: What’s the Difference?" on the site My Market Research Methods, which might not have been updated since last October. 

Regardless of the site's currency, this diagram interested me. People often use "market research" and "marketing research" interchangeably. If you read "Market Research Guy"'s post—which I won't summarize here—he makes a compelling case: They're distinct but related practices.

What's missing here, however, is a circle for Product Development Research, perhaps. (That could also include User Experience Research as a subset.) And I'm thinking about the placement of market segmentation. If you also think about it in terms of audience research, that could inform marketing, as well as product development. And if you also think about it in terms of audience segmentation, that might even more squarely—or roundly?—overlap with marketing research.

Or is market the same as audience? I would say not. Let's discuss!

What do you think about this representation? Anything you'd change? Anything you'd add? 

If we were to add Product Development Research, what might that encompass?

Friday, March 05, 2021

Guest Post: The Intimacy of Audio

This post is a guest post by Scott Monty, who offers executive coaching, advisory, and speaking services through Scott Monty Strategies. Thank you, Scott, for participating in the Media Diet conversation!

"Daddy, tell me a story."

It's a refrain repeated in many languages all over the world—a timeless routine that signals the winding down of the bedtime routine. It happens in our house, even after our kids have been old enough to read on their own.

What's the first story you remember?

Odds are it's a fairy tale or a nursery rhyme, or perhaps a Dr. Seuss book.

Whatever personal reminiscence springs to the forefront of your brain ("mileage will vary," as we used to say in the auto business), I'll guarantee you one thing: it's a story you heard. That is, it's a story that someone once told you or read to you.

And it might not have been relegated to bedtime, either. Perhaps it was around a campfire, over a Sunday dinner, or at a family gathering, where the same yarns are repeated year after year.

The stories we tell define who we are. We develop a culture based on the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and our culture is formed via a certain collective memory.

The Thaayorre of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia, are historically an oral people, passing down their traditions via the spoken language. And they believe intellect and memory reside in the ear.

So it makes perfect sense that our strongest memories of early stories are from what we heard rather than what we read.

The ancient poet Homer is believed to have been blind and unable to write even something as simple as his own name. Yet he composed "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," foundational poems in the Western canon. Those two epic poems were first shared orally, suggesting that considerable portions of the 27,803 lines were memorized by rhapsodists who performed them regularly.

The main liturgical rite of the Catholic mass for centuries was sung in Gregorian chant. Before congregants were able to read widely, the religion assured its survival by sharing the oral tradition that is so intertwined with the image of Benedictine monks. Even today, post-Vatican II, there are still some vestiges left of those chants.

***

“Language is the armory of the human mind and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.”—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1817

***

Beyond singing, though, how powerful the spoken word is. While the printing press gets credit for a revolution of religion, industry, and education, humans have thrived on language to carry our traditions along.

Historians might bristle at the notion of a historical record sustained solely viva voce, with something as loose and malleable as language, but the inescapable fact is we are an oral—and aural—people.

That is bolstered by the latest trends and supporting technologies. When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod in 2001, he said you could have "1,000 songs in your pocket." That appealed to our love of music and all that is audio.

Fast forward to the present day, when Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study tells us more than one out of three Americans listen to podcasts, 62 percent of us over the age of 12 use some sort of audio assistant, and podcasts reach more than 100 million Americans every month.

Audio news such as Joe Rogan’s podcast going exclusive with Spotify for $100 million, and Amazon pushing into the local podcast market (where we rely on local news, sports, weather, and advertising), and the rise of social audio apps such as Clubhouse are additional signs that audio is booming.

Whether it’s asking Siri a question, telling Alexa to add something to a shopping list, or dictating a voice-to-text reply, we're using our voices to speak to our digital companions, not just each other.

The oral (and aural) tradition is alive and well.

***

“The gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance and it may well some day become the foundation of a common citizenship.”—Winston Churchill, 1943

***

This wide-open medium stands before us, easily conquered with microphones and hosting services that are affordable and accessible. It's like a modern-day Gold Rush, with prospectors storming the general stores for supplies and heading into the wilderness to mine a vein.

Similar to the California Gold Rush that burst into the national consciousness in 1849 and peaked by 1852, we might stand on the edge of a podcasting rush. How long before we become oversaturated with audio content?

With podcast familiarity at more than 70 percent (again, according to Edison Research), it's the perfect opportunity for brands to create content for the medium.

Stories work because they affect us at a deeply personal level. And yes, we can craft words on a printed page to tell a story, but we run the risk of a speed reader or hyper-scroller who breezes past an important point we're trying to make.

But audio? With audio, we have a chance to arrest their attention. To say the same thing to everyone and to have everyone hear it the same. To form a common bond through the same language.

The Most Intimate Form of Communication

What has always struck me is how personal podcasts are. Whether we're listening at our desks, on a walk, while we're gardening, or while we commute, it's a medium in which someone is speaking directly into our ears.

That is a level of intimacy that isn't afforded by other media.

Podcasting content speaks directly to us, just as we do to our children when we tell them bedtime stories.

It's entirely possible that our future oral tradition will include the phrase, "Alexa, tell me a story."

***

Scott Monty is a 15-year veteran of podcasting and a strategic communications advisor, after serving as Ford Motor Company's first executive responsible for digital communications and social media. He writes the Timeless & Timely newsletter, where the past enlightens the present.