Here's my summary of interesting things I read (or saw) this last week. Starting off with a couple of political battles for hearts and minds that I thought noteworthy:
1) Limbaugh vs. Steele: U.S. News & World Report
It takes a brave, perhaps crazy, man to take on Rush Limbaugh but that's what new RNC head, Michael Steele decided to do. In a CNN interview, Steele called Limbaugh's talk show "incendiary" and "ugly." Guess what? That provoked a response and eventually Steele backed down and apologized. As the Republican Party regroups and starts to redefine itself, this was a battle between someone thinking about expanding the base vs. someone who caters to a hard core of that base. Perhaps relates to different ways companies are trying to deal with the recession?
2) CNBC/Fox vs. Stewart/Colbert:
On Thursday, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert took on CNBC and Fox as the battle to define and evaluate Obama's economic policy heats up. First, Jon Stewart took on CNBC (and commentators on other networks). In his view, they are trying to sell the idea that: "the stock market is the only rational objective indicator of a commander-in-chief's performance." Then Stephen Colbert included this commentary on Glenn Beck's War Room:
Followed by this parody: The Doom Bunker. Without taking sides, it's interesting to see how the different sides are jostling for position.
3) Recession for Men: Adrian Beiting (via Thought Gadgets)
Meanwhile, the recession provides inspiration for this spoof:
Recession for Men from Adrian Beiting on Vimeo.
4) Timing Poor: Dim Bulb
Jonathan Salem Baskin explores the pros and cons of launching a black card which has a $495/year fee, and is targeted at about 1% of U.S. residents at a time like this. I think that, whatever the business merits, choosing to advertise in mainstream media is a mistake.
5) Shoot the recession: Slate
No. Not through the head. Slate is inviting its readers to submit photographs that represent the economic crisis. "Grim economic times produce indelible images" like this one from the story:
The Flickr page with this and the other photos is here.
6) Materialism And Death Anxiety Lead To Brand Loyalty: Science Daily (via murketing)
Well now I seem to be headed down this gloomy path I may as well continue. "Materialistic people tend to form strong connections to particular product brands when their level of anxiety about death is high, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research," reports Science Daily. Some kind of opportunity there perhaps?
That's it. See you next week for more stories from the world of brand strategy.