Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wired Wasting Away?

Wired Magazine is one of my favorite print publications to digest every month. I look forward to its arrival each month in its protective plastic cocoon, ready to key me in to the latest trends, technology stories and digital culture. This visionary blend of technology and cultural insight means that Wired has a lot in common with Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Unfortunately, I realized today that Wired has MORE in common with Steve than just that. Wired is apparently suffering from a "hormone imbalance" just like Jobs, but is wasting away at a much more alarming rate! This month's issue has easily lost half its weight from just a few months ago. Just look at these page counts:

November 2008 - 256 pages
December 2008 - 236 pages
January 2009 - 128 pages
February 2009 - 116 pages

So what's changed? It's the ads! The new issue is a veritable wasteland for ads. There are still some full page spreads, but they are few and far between. This doesn't bode well for one of my favorite mags. I hope they've called in a doctor and started measures to regain the weight they have lost, and that they can hold on until the recovery sets in. Good luck, Wired!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whopper Sacrifice: Sacrificed

So apparently you can get in trouble for virtual human sacrifices as well as real ones. Just a week after the launch of Whopper Sacrifice, Burger King has been forced to alter a key element of the wildly successful Facebook app. During the last week, the app was used by 82,000 people to delete over 230,000 friendships on Facebook. Sacrificing at least 10 friends secured a coupon for a free Whopper at Burger King.

Facebook has claimed that the app's method of notifying the friends being deleted that they are being sacrificed is a privacy violation and runs counter to the interests of the users. Something about that argument sounds as funky to me as last Wednesday's french fry grease. Facebook may welcome with open arms an application that strengthens the network between its users and prompts increased use and page views, but it looks to me like they don't want anybody influencing their users to cut back at all.

I doubt we've heard the last of this one. You don't mess with the King, and you don't taunt someone who already markets an "Angry Whopper"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whopper Sacrifice - Social Marketing Gets Vicious

OK, this is the most unique social networking campaign I think I've ever seen. Whopper Sacrifice is the latest, greatest thing from Burger King designed to get under our skin and into our consciousness. They've created a Facebook application that bribes consumers to delete 10 of their friends from Facebook in exchange for a free Whopper.

It's a work of evil genius! First, they offer up a Faustian deal, with a tempting free meal weighed against your loyalty to people you've publicly linked yourself to. Then, if you succumb to the temptation, they broadcast your betrayals through your Wall. And once you've sacrificed one, two, five friends, are you really going to stop before you get the burger? No way! You're too far in. The Whopper Sacrifice must continue.

Finally, when you've made your deal with the King [of darkness], can you honestly say that you won't be thinking about what you've done with a slight taste of guilt in your mouth as you eat your free Whopper? And when the deed is done, and the crimson ketchup is all over your hands...

"Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!—One; two: why, then 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky." - William Shakespeare