Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Meeting of the Medias

Boldtype...another venture from the folks at Flavourpill that uses the best parts of the e-newsletter trend to drive you to what is possibly man's greatest acheivement...the printed publication.

I'm registered for around a dozen daily e-newsletters...ranging from my daily dose of PSFK to one from International Living that I just can't get rid of.

Boldtype only arrives in my in-box once a month or so, so much like my resolution to purchase an album each week from a band I've never heard, I have been buying at least one book a month from an author i'm not familar with or on a subject that I'm not really interested in. So far, so great.

Check them out at


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is this Us?

Just what we need...another FHM look alike that makes us out to be beer guzzling, panty sniffing assholes.

As part of a project for my pal Piers over at PSFK, I agreed to spend a week or so concentrating on what it means to be a 'modern man'...or my take on my surroundings based on being a modern man.

At first I thought it would be a pretty tame subject, at least for me. I'm a regular sports & beer, I enjoy new music & art, I have style but don't consider myself "stylish", I live in a rather subdued Midwestern city, and I tend to work my ass off for minimal reward.

But the more I dug, the more I read, and the more I realized what has happened to the American man, the more disturbed I became.

Let's face it, white American men have become the world's punchline. From Dubya down to the "Real Men of Genius", we're pretty much the only group of people left on the planet that you're allowed to stereotype without some organized civil liberties kicking your ass.

And the only people we have to blame for our descent to the bottom of the barrel is ourselves. Just check out the mag rack the next time you're grabbing a Big Gulp and some jerky. Our options are slim...we have porn, seudo-porn, gamer rags, the usual sports titles...and then Esquire.

Being in luck, Esquire used their July issue to take measure of the American male...and according to them, it's a trainwreck. Editor David Granger (or is it Gregor...can't tell from my notes) says there is an "ambition & achievement deficit in young American males."

The magazine goes on to tell us we need Regan's Orange Bitters, The Lewis Ice Bag, WMF Loft Boston shakers and a Rosher bar spoon in our liquor cabinet. Oh, and they provide some not so subtle advice on how to wear your cuffs, collars and knots.

Excuse me, but fuck you! Those douche bags doing their best Rob Lowe in those Ray Ban ads aint me or my buddies...and they sure they hell aren't like anyone I know in New York city or any other city for that matter.

So based on our print meida options, we have some guide lines on how to be an asshole...and well, how to be an asshole.

Where does the real man of today emerge? The simple answer is in the middle somewhere...guys that spend Saturday's in "frat mode" and Saturday nights in "club mode." Guys that go from $250 Italian KCs to $10 Old Navy flops in a heartbeat.

It goes deeper than that. My friend Fritz who has spent his life in academia (lucky bastard) had this to say following a short email discussion:

"I don't know, being a "modern man", or an American one, at least, seems all about actively engaging whatever you do and having more than one identity at one time (professional by day, musician/wannabe cook/etc. by night, climber/hiker/biker/etc. on weekends) instead of linear identities like most of our parents' generation (be defined by work for 30+ years, then retire and figure out who you are)."

I found this really interesting in that our parents and our grandparents let their careers define them. As we have become disenchanted with a corporate environment lacking in any sort of commitment, we search for other things to define us...Multiple things. We have balked at institutions telling us what it is to be successful, or even what success is.

Excuse me Esquire, but some of the most influential and successful people I've ever met prefer flip flops and flower prints to Italian silk.

This "image of success" has been driven by Multiple factors, including the Internet, gaming, hip hop, the NBA and the X-Games. Teenagers with an idea can now be millionaires quicker than the square with an MBA.

Unfortunately, for every success, thousands fall behind...way behind. The dream of bypassing "the man" for green pastures is alluring, but dangerous. And young men who don't know when to pull the rip cord can fall far, fast.

So where is the target for young men? There isn't one. The good and the bad of it is that we are each asked to create are own target, and develop our own path. Society has a problem with this because everyone has shifted to the Right. Choices are bad. Rules are good. Stay in line and don't get hurt.

So far I've watched in amazement as men (and woman) have found and created success in thousands of different ways. An old friend from college, sick of the 9 to 5 started a limo company in Kansas City. My brother has spent seven years teaching ski lessons, going on the road for marketing tours, and just recently settled into an automobile marketing venture...all while living life to its fullest.

After thinking about it, the "state of the modern man" isn't a fair question. The question is "how many states of being does the modern man have?"


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of the Modern Man.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Add Budweiser & Judy and I'm Set

Thrillist points us to BAMN, a Jetson's themed eatery where good food is panned at the press of a button. The food looks decent...and if they can work in a beer-by-the-dime tap, some recommended 1-900 numbers and maybe a flat screen, the institution of marriage is not long for this world.


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man.

Mario Killed the Fist Fight

I should have seen it coming ten years ago.

In an effort to "toughen up" my younger brother, who was half my age at 10 years old, I was ragging on his soccer skills...beating him every way from Tuesday...and really giving him no shot at all. Finally, following an embarrassing nutmeg, he turned and said, "Yeah, well, I bet I can beat you at Mortal Combat."

And thus, the right-of-passage when two brothers square off in a physical battle only one can win...but builds character in the other...was killed by Super Mario...and ironically, his brother.

Video games aren't new...but they are far more prevalent today than at any time in history. In my day, getting four quarters to go down to Velvet Freeze and a chance at Tron was a big deal. Today, college kids are forsaking the kegger for all-night Madden-fests.

If video games where limited to teenagers and a few hold-overs from the Dungeon & Dragons days, we wouldn't be discussing this. The fact is, gaming is now a multi-billion dollar business attracting consumers...mainly men...from the ages of 6 to 60. In a recent article, Chuck Klosterman of Esquire compared the gaming revolution to that of Rock n' Roll. It's that important...or so say the gamers.

And maybe so. In the article, Chuck searches for the meaning behind games, and why there are no real critics of gaming...not critics of the hows and whats...but the whys. He says we need to understand the "significance of potentiality". The meaning behind games. In the article, Henry Jenkins of MIT is quoted as saying "Gaming Designers are asking themselves questions about how a game should look and what it should do, but not about what the game is supposed to mean." (more about this later)

My buddy Fritz in Minny shared some insight from Dennis Trinkle, the CIO at Valparaiso University in Indiana. Trinkle argues that video games will become the primary tool which history, values, and culture is communicated. He notes that the verbal, or storytelling culture died with the printing press...and that books lost their primary foothold with the development of television and eventually motion pictures. Now, our children will learn about the Civil War, Middle East conflict, and the do's and don'ts of society (thank you GTA) via a console plugged into the TV. And it's not a terrible thing. Would a middle school student rather read Red Badge of Courage or learn about the battle of Gettysburg via fighting in it while playing a video game? And if they learn...does it matter how? My mother, a teacher of 25 years is feeling ill somewhere.

But, I digress. I could spend a year pointing out all the ups and downs of video games...but for this post, I'm focusing on one. The "pussy factor."

Kids...and thus men...are getting softer because of video games. We're launching a generation of wimps into the world. Men who's understanding of the world resides in fantasy and their ability to use their thumbs.

Despite Chuck's desire to find someone who can pull 'meaning' from video games...The fact is, video games are anti-meaning. It's 100% escapism. It's people fleeing from meaning, consequence and responsibilities. It's people taking a break from their crappy existence to be an NFL star, a car-stealing pimp, a magical warrior or a made-up creature with amazing leaping ability. What does it mean? Nothing.

And without meaning, we have a bunch of guys who's only recourse when "times get tough" is to dive into a world ruled by megabytes. Don't look at McDonalds & Coke as to why we have fat kids...parents should to look to the permanent indentation that their child has left on their living room couch.

But isn't just about kids either.

Men, fellas 18-36, represent the bulk of the gamers, and giving their buying power, they are the target of many new titles. I asked three friends...all 30 years old, all married, all working-stiffs, all in different parts of the States, what they were doing tonight. One was unpacking from a recent trip to Croatia. One was heading to the tavern to drink his fill and play some darts...and the other? Madden, all weekend, all the time.

I personally never got into video games...I don't know if it was athletics or all the hiking and camping I did as a teen...but it's just not something that ever became a part of me. But gaming isn't like a lot of technology...I'm embarrassed that I have no idea how a DVR works...even if I don't watch enough TV to own one. I can't believe when I have to educate peers on their "first iPod". But I have no shame in telling someone that I don't know how to play EA Sports FIFA '07. Just not my thing. But why is it so many others?

I argued to my Madden-loving pal in LA that the overall development of the home...DVRs, home theater systems, Whole Foods, the Internet...has made it so a man can be fully entertained without leaving his home. I also argued that the tennis/golf/raquetball clubs of our fathers are either outdated or outpriced for the regular joe...thus, the only escape comes virtually.

But Ben shot back that while his ability to have four-star food delivered to his door and all his media needs piped into his home via three screens makes living much easier than our folks had still comes down to the three hours he'll spend tonight in suspended reality playing a video game and doing his best John Gruden.

But, back to the point. What does this mean for society? It means I'm interviewing people with the inability to function in the real world. People who have little to no communication skills beyond IMs. It means that 25 people will show up for our agency's NFL Fantasy draft this weekend...but I can't get 11 guys who want to play soccer on Thursday nights. It means I'm seeing people more comfortable in front of a monitor than in front of each other.

It means we are becoming weak. Hey, Chuck...I think I found your meaning.


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Energy Drinks Jump the Shark

I have to say, I'm not a huge energy drink guy...but I think I'm the only one.

I fully understand their purpose...and hell, even a few of them taste good (180 is like Orange Drink from Mickie D' puts me in a happy place). But they have officially jumped the shark with this crap.

God knows I'll be mixing it with new Dill flavored vodka from Smirnoff at the latest hot spot shortly...


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man

BS for Guys

Even though I don't live in Gothem, I do make my way there every now and again, so I try to stay up to speed on what's cool, what's not...cause God forbid I find a restaurant I like in Midtown.

Anway, Urbandaddy is my new hook for what's hot. And not only is it what's's what's hot for guys. It's like Thrillist without the fart jokes.

Check it out at


This post has been written has part of the Carnival of Modern Man.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nice Try CMJ..

...but I was all over North Atlantic...AND Tapes n' Tapes.

Getting my CMJ New Music Monthy is like someone telling me Chirstmas is coming, and will happen between December 1st and December 31st...but if it doesn't, it will at least happen next month.

I disregard the sporatic delivery for the amazing content, the comp CD and my ability to respond to my music-snob pals on the coasts with, "yeah, I've heard about them."

Anyway, NMM is my ambilical cord to the music scene. The Lou is often skipped over by many of the up-and-coming bands, although a glut of good shows just popped up with the arrival of the fall semester at SLU & Wash U (Built to Spill, Futureheads, Wolfmother, Death Cab, Toyko Police Club).

This month however, I was ahead of the curve. In the magazine's "On the Verge" section they highlight the band "The North Atlantic," a trio out of San Diego that recently had its album Wires In The Walls given a proper release. Check them out at

It just so happens that I was up late two weeks ago, doing some work at home and listening to a local indie/college Internet radio station and caught some North Atlantic licks. The next day at lunch I found the album on the Web, and BANG!...I'm in the loop!

It really is the little things.


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sicko in St. Lou

While there was no direct connect between the above "protest" and the new Michael Moore documentary targeting the American healthcare system, the timing seems all too coincidental.

A team of folks...mix of young, old, black, white, rolled up "Truth"-style in front of our building today in downtown St. Louis and created these "crime scenes." The document in the middle noted that the company that owns & manages the building (our shop just leases the space) does not provide proper health insurance for the custodial staff, and that upwards of 200,000 workers in the St. Louis area are employed without medical benefits...of which, 2% will die due to lack of proper medical treatment.

As a marketing agency, we were all a bit jaded by the oft-discussed "Truth" tactics...but for what was obviously a small guerrilla effort, I found it impactful...especailly given the fact that a few suits from the large BlueCross/BlueSheild next door were anxiously taking notice.

Insurance, something no one thinks about until they don't have any or enough...what's your take on the American healthcare situation given the graying of our nation?


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man

Monday, August 21, 2006

EPL is Here!

American football fans haven't had much to cheer about this summer. Watching our lads get pounded in Germany (a litteral term for poor Brian McBride) was a bit disheartening. And the MLS, is well, crap.

So, it's with much joy that the English Premire League kicked off this weekend, with my Toffees (Everton) getting three points on the table vs. the recently upgraded Watford. While the recently un-relegated (not sure if that's the term they use over there) showed good spirit and caught a tough break with a bad call at the end of the game, it was the boys from Goodison Park that got the win.

New comer Andrew Johnson got on the board quickly, hoping to end Everton's drought of scoring from last season. As expected, James Beattie served up that first mark, and Tim Cahill played well, showing his form from his World Cup experience.

We didn't see much from Jolean Lescott or the 18-year-old Nigerian Victor Anichebe, but it's a long season.

On the other side of the pitch, young American defender Jay DeMerit saw his first EPL action. A lot of Yankee eyes will be on him as we begin to look towards 2010 in South Africa.

I didn't see any other matches...but I did see that Man U put a hurting on someone yesterday. Ouch.

I read this was Everton's frist opening home win in 10 years...I guess good things come to those who wait!


This post has been written as part of the Carnival Of Modern Man

Bud Branded Content: BDF

The marketing e-newsletters were all a buzz this morning with news of Anheuser-Busch launching "a new production department" that will create branded sitcoms and spoofs to be used on the Web and on mobile devices (

More over, folks who work for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing shops, production companies and post shops were sheepishly laughing that "A-B can't do this...they'll screw it up and come calling us to fix it."

People "close" to the situation were saying that putting AB creative-guru Jim Schumacker in charge was a sign that AB "meant business."

Actually, people who know anything about A-B were saying, "BFD."

Here's the deal...the real deal. Anheuser-Busch has had an in-house television/broadcast production group in place for a long time. It's called BSN (Busch satellite Network). This group of producers, camera men, editors, etc. spend their days producing original content about upcoming marketing efforts, company news, new products, that is then broadcast to their 500+ wholesalers around the country. It has a complete run of schedule that also includes video highlights from sponsored events as well as presentations from Sr Management.

BSN has been underfunded and misused. The fact that A-B is realizing where the group's value truly lies was only a matter of time. Anheuser-Busch didn't get to their position overnight...and they're not going to jump a marketing trend without considerable research and understanding.

Jim "Schu" Schumacker will do a great job with this group...but my biggest question is planning. While A-B does all their own media buying...I don't think they do their own planning...or any planning at all.

Great content in places where no one cares is useless content. Their ability to get this content in the hands of the elusive 21-27 year-old male is key to the success of this group. Anheuser-Busch has stayed clear of community network sites such as YouTube & MySpace due to the lack of age restraints. Will they drive people to a unique site? Or are partnerships in the works with media mainstays like Sports Illustrated, Maxim and Rolling Stone?

As for competitors who are hoping to gain marketshare from A-Bs plunge into "film making", this will be an interesting play to watch. A-B has consistently led the marketing war, often times out-spending their competition if not out-thinking it. Will this be move that once again pushes A-B back into the forefront of the domestic beer battle, or will this be another distraction like the theme parks, Eagle snacks, etc?

I wouldn't be surpised to see a rash of "partnerships" between spirits companies, brewers and companies that provide exclusive content...let's face it, we usually follow the leader.

Thoughts? Please share...


This post has been written as part of the Carnival of Modern Man

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Death of a Blog

This summer has been a near-death experience for this blog...between work, a recent engagement and more work, I just haven't had the time to spend here that I would like.

On the plus side, there was the last minute trip to Germany for the World Cup (see pic...and for more, visit me on Flickr @, a few events in New York (including my first Hamptons experience) and a promotion.

On the down side, new responsibilities in the office and at home haven't allowed me to explore the Net and comment on all the comings and goings as much as I would have liked to.

So...I'm re-dedicating myself to the blogsphere. Look for more in the coming days and weeks...