On the Radar: March 27

Photo credit: Erik Johansson

Photo credit: Erik Johansson

After a bizarre afternoon complete with bomb scares and armed bank robbers, I managed to cobble together some tasty tidbits for y’all. Are you feeling the love?

1. Having run out of options, Microsoft has stooped to differentiating themselves from Apple on the basis of price alone. Next week, they’ll start giving away free toasters with every purchase. Watch this pathetic ad, complete with the money quote: “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.” Actually, you’re not rich enough. Go >>

2. In a shocking turn of events, YouTube has added a Twitter button to its “share” toolbar, making it [gasp!] possible for users to Tweet about their favorite videos. I’m not sure which is more f**ked up—the fact that it took YouTube this long to add a Twitter button or that TechCrunch thinks this is a big deal? Honestly, I have belly button lint that’s more cutting-edge than this. Go, if you must >>

3. JetBlue puts out this “confidential” message to CEOs; results in Genius peeing herself laughing—and provides further evidence that flying is for pigeons. Watch >>

4. “App of the Week,” Shazam, which IMHO is magic. Pure magic. Also, it’s free!

5. Last but certainly not least, I give you a whole new way to experience penis-envy >>

Let the good times roll!


Roughly once a week, I get an email like this one in my inbox:


Normally I don’t even open them — I just hit the “SPAM” button on gmail and move on. But today, curiosity tapped me on the shoulder and I opened this little gem, and thought… WHAT. THE. F**K?!?

Where do these emails come from?

What’s their purpose?

Is it some kind of twisted market research tactic?

Is it just cyber-trash?

Does ANYBODY actually respond to these? They must, right? Or they would cease to continue?

What’s the CTR on these, I wonder? Higher than normal? Lower?

Seriously, folks…. WTF???!!!!?

Now that Curiosity had me going, I decided to dig through my Spam folder to see what other treasures I might find. I found plenty.

First there was this one, which bestowed upon me the good news that some random dead guy left me $30,100,000. Not too shabby.


And this one, in which a clever businessman from Hong Kong hand-picked me to launder a mere $10.6M in exchange for a piece of the action:



Next, we have a dying woman in the Netherlands who wishes to leave me $1,500,000 to help widows and orphans—a career change I wasn’t planning on, but am now reconsidering since it is clearly quite lucrative. I also enjoy that she tells me point blank, “Do take this email as a contribution to fake (Spam)” right in the opening paragraph. Priceless!


I could go on all day with these. My Spam folder is littered with them… right alongside irresistible offers like “Lose Weight Quickly & Naturally!”, “Stay in Your Domicile to Earn 20grand in 30days”, and—my favorite—”Flush out excess pounds from your colon!”

Yes, these are actual subject lines, folks.

Which brings me back to my original question: WTF???

On the Radar: March 2

Better late than never? Better never? Better late?

You decide, because I’m busy!

1. Dave Knox echoes a few of my personal sentiments in this bit about why Brands Should Start Thinking Like Start-Ups >>

2. Josh Bernoff discuss the controversial idea of paying bloggers to post about your brand >>

3. Comedien Louis CK (???) points out the annoying truth about our impatient, entitled state-of-state in this hilarious YouTube video >>

4. iJustine gets married… to her iPhone (Viximo pro-mens included!) >>

5. And the “App of the Week,” iPushups reminds me that I really need to spend more time grunting on the floor.

Till next time…

-The Genius.

On the Radar: Feb 21, 2009

What’s on the Genius’ radar this week?

You know, the usual stuff… Barbies, Cylons, unicorns… and that other marketing crap.

1. Virtual economies appear to be doing better than our actually economy >>

2. Barbie is finally starting to look like a “real woman” >>

3. The new “4 P’s of Marketing” have no “P” in them >>

4. App of the Week: NBC Universal’s Cylon Detector. It’s frakkin’ awesome.

5. Having a bad day? Nothing a little cornification can’t fix >>

On the Radar: Feb 15, 2009

Top 'o the radar this week? iPhone iPhone iPHONE!!!!

Top 'o the radar this week? iPhone iPhone iPHONE!!!! Image courtesy of David Griffith's "Promotions 2.0" presentation available at http://www.slideshare.net/dgriffith/promotions-20-the-future-of-interactive-marketing-1008197

In an effort to be a little more ‘regular’ about this blogging thing, The Genius is experimenting with a weekly “What’s on the radar?” post. This here’s the first. Let me know what you think, ‘k? [as if I care]



  1. Facebook is gaining on MySpace—especially in the  over 30 age group. In fact, Facebook’s over 30 growth is booming at around 24% per category, while their under 30 growth remains stagnant. MySpace continues to dominate in the high school & college age groups. More fascinating data on the Facebook v. MySpace showdown from Techno//Marketer Matt Dickman>>
  2. The iTunes App Store looks to be a $1 Billion cash-cow by the end of 2009, with over 500 million app downloaded already—200 million of which happened over the past 6 weeks. Think Apple execs will stimulate the economy with their 30% cut of that? More on The Little App Store That Could from CNBC’s Jim Goldman >>
  3. Apps of the Week: Drync (because I like to) and AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner (because I’m lazy)
  4. This adorable lesbian makes videos. They’re not about anything. Well… they’re about her. Just talking, basically. About whatever. It’s the kind of YouTube sh*t I would normally roll my eyes at or just… ignore. And yet… I CANT STOP WATCHING!!!!!
  5. About half of 13-19 year-olds say they “would die” without their mobile phones. Oh, the drama!!!! This and more not-to-be-missed data in Harris Interactive’s “Generation Unplugged” report >>

And now… back to normal weekend Genius stuff.

Martini, anyone?

Where the f*%k is The Genius?

Going off-the-grid for a bit. Wish I could say I was heading to Bora Bora or some other remote, tropical island… but the truth is I’ve been kidnapped by small, angry people who have taken away all my high-tech devices and are forcing me to “sing Christmas carols,” “play board games,” “build snowmen” and perform various other bizarre, old-fashioned family rituals.

Completely evil, don’t you agree?

If their sinister plan works, you wont see or hear from The Genius until early next year.

So, until then… be safe. Be smart. And watch out for these guys:

The front-runner for Marketing Genius of the year?

I know everyone and her brother has written about the unbelievably savvy, effective marketing efforts of Team Obama… and as a Genius, I hate to jump on an already-crowded bandwagon. But, the facts are the facts. I must give credit where credit is due.

And so, Team Obama… my hat’s off to you.

Hey, that rhymed! Let’s hug 🙂

Political Genius.



I’ve used more Kleenex on this day than I have since my last cold.

Who knew that election results could make me shed tears of joy?


Rather than bore you with lame attempts to capture my thoughts & sentiments at this moment, I’ll share with you a few of my favorite Victory Day posts.

Enjoy. Keep the faith. Never say “impossible” again!

From Illustrator Patrick Moberg:

From a citizen in Turtle Creek, PA:

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I’ve openly supported Obama since March.  But I didn’t vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods. He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL.  He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole.  He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem.  He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn’t vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross. She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003.  I was her first student.  She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program.  She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation.  Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn’t vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr. Jackson Senior was a Latin professor.  He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown.  Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years.  He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown.  They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn’t vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer. She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members.  She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town’s leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got.  She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn’t vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn’t vote.  Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth.  I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine.  I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly.  But I didn’t vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for – and then decided to let him vote for me.  I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama’s name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine.  But I didn’t cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red “vote” button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama.  I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants…even President.

From The Onion:

Nation Finally Shitty Enough To Make Social Progress

November 5, 2008 | Issue 44•45

WASHINGTON—After emerging victorious from one of the most pivotal elections in history, president-elect Barack Obama will assume the role of commander in chief on Jan. 20, shattering a racial barrier the United States is, at long last, shitty enough to overcome.

And my favorite excerpt from this article:

Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked.

Sad, but true.

Read the full article here >

And last, but hardly least… from Barack Obama, 44th President of these United States:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

This is your victory.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.

I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

Let’s remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too. And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight’s about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see?

What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

More social media “hype”

No time to share much Genius today… too much excitement around the TechCrunch article highlighting Viximo‘s turnkey virtual goods solution as a “massive monetization opportunity” and the growing excitement around the launch of our first iPhone apps.

But I couldn’t resist sharing some fresh data in support of all the recent “social media hype”.

And so… at the risk of further alienating the readers who told me “social media is a crock” earlier this month, called me “warped,” and threatened to bite me (you KNOW who you are!)… I present you with these tasty nuggets:

  • 3/4 of US online adults now use social tools to connect with each other (compared with just 56% in 2007). On average, they spend one hour per week using these tools; however, 19% [and growing] are averaging 7 HOURS PER WEEK. [source: Forrester Research, October 2008]
  • 75% of Fortune 1000 companies with Web sites will have undertaken some kind of online social-networking initiative for marketing or customer relations purposes in the next year. [source: Gartner, October 2008]

But don’t take it from me, take a peek at Shiv Singh‘s (former colleague and current VP, Social Media, Razorfish) presentation deck from the recent Publisher’s Summit, which dives deeper into what marketers should know as the social media landscape shifts [and evolves!] around them.

When you’re done with that, hop over to Pete Kim’s blog (also a former colleague from Razorfish. Coincidence???) where he’s curating The Mother of All Lists of corporate SMM efforts (not to be confused with corporate S&M efforts. That’s a different blog). I suspect that curating this list will become a full-time job for a team of many in the not-too-distant future.

But then, I’ve been drinking “seriously poisoned Kool-Aid.” Ahem.

If you’ve arrived here quite by accident and are feeling cold, confused, and alone, I might suggest you start at the beginning—with a quickie tutorial on just what the f*ck this whole social media thing is (brought to you by Yours Truly).

Or, you could continue to bury your head in the sand. Your choice, tots!

Bloody brilliant!

I’m not a big fan of serial killers—or TV shows that glorify them—but I can & do appreciate a guerrilla marketing campaign that’s totally killer ;). And this one is.

Brought to you by the same Geniuses who used custom-made fountains spitting fake blood to promote last season’s Dexter premier, this display of Dexter-ous marketing featured fake “pop-up” newsstands (in high-traffic spots like Central Park, outside LA’s Kodak Theater, and San Francisco’s Union square) filled with mock issues of major mags like GQ, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker, all featuring Dexter, of course, as the cover Babe, and clever headlines like “Killer Tips” and “He’s Got a Way With Murder”.

To complete the blood-curdling experience, each newsstand carried snacks exclusively wrapped in—what else?—blood-red packaging.

Clever? Yes. But did this [literally] outside-the-box campaign yield equally noticeable results?

Apparently so. Media Bistro reports that the ratings for the show’s season premiere were up 21% over last year’s—making it the most-watched premiere of a drama on the network since 2004.

In a world of media-and-advertising-oversaturation, I’d say that’s a bloody good outcome!