Posts Tagged ‘AT&T’

There you are, bored on any given weekday night with nothing more to watch than yet another rousing episode of American Idol or House Hunters. While the seemingly endless supply of everyday individuals who think they can carry a tune or afford a 4000+ sq/ft house with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a multi-head shower deeply intrigues me, there are times when I find my attention hungering something with a little more intrigue. Thankfully, locked away within a secret bunker deep inside the innards of an advertising agency, there dwell creative visionaries whose very jobs are to create a vacuum in which we’re all socially sucked in. And I applaud them.

Beginning in November, creative agency BBDO Atlanta unleashed a television ad series starring Beck Bennet and a boisterous variety of adorable kids, answering questions designed to highlight AT&T’s prominent features/services. These commercials don’t hurl facts and figures into your face, nor do they serve up steaming piles of propaganda for your unwanted digestion. Instead, Beck posts a basic question to some articulate adolescents, and their adorable answers create and instant chuckle fest. You forget that AT&T wants you to know about their network speed or sizable download capabilities, and instead just learn that a robot shooting lasers from two eyes instead of one is more powerful, or that fastening a cheetah to grandma’s back might make her faster. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up. But I wish I did.

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The Week Unpeeled

The holiday week seemed to be filled with departures, false starts and failed attempts except for retail shoppers (and not bond shoppers), with a real degree of pessimism creeping into the coverage of the markets, economy and politics.  For example:

  • Gone Fishing: The anything but “super” committee threw in the towel last week and could not come to any agreement on how to cut the US deficit, paving the way for automatic spending cuts to take effect 2013;
  • Gone Missing (Still): The estimated amount of funds still missing from the MF Global bankruptcy is seen now at $1.2 billion, double initial totals;
  • Gone Packing: Yemen’s President President Ali Abdullah Saleh transferred power to his vice president, the fourth Arab leader forced from power, but next steps seemed a little confusing;
  • Gone Shopping: Retailers reported fairly strong sales on Black Friday amid extremely higher-than-usual media coverage and bloody melees;
  • Gone Awry: The AT&T/T-Mobile deal turned sour with head coming from the Justice Department on the megadeal;
  • Gone South: The Dow ended a shortened holiday week down 4.8 percent to 11,231 for one of the worst weeks in a couple months because of both Europe and US debt concerns as markets headed into December, a typically positive month that now looks gloomy;
  • Going, Going But Not Gone: Germany failed to sell about 35 percent of its £5bn 10-year bond offering, raising major concerns about sovereign debt offerings in the weeks ahead and pressuring global markets all week; and
  • Going for Broke: UK taxpayers will underwrite mortgages totalling hundreds of millions of pounds under plans to unblock the housing market and revive the flagging economy. Buyers will be able to borrow up to 95% of their value as part of plans the government says will help get "Britain building again.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon 2.0

It appears we are all closer than we think.  Research released last week claimed that the average number of acquaintances separates two people is 4.74 degrees, not 6.00 degrees, according to scientists at Facebook and the University of Milan, who looked only at Facebook data.  BFFs just got a little easier. CJP

 

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The Week Unpeeled

The end of August ended with a bang on all fronts except the jobs front as the month turned out to be one of the “newsworthiest” in a long time, from the earthquake and hurricane on the East Coast to Murdoch to Jobs to Syria to London riots to S&P downgrades to the debt-ceiling debate to BachmanPerryRomney to wild market rides. Get the pic.  More recently and elsewhere:

  • Bad Labor Day News: The jobs picture dimmed considerably with zero new jobs created in August, the first time in a year when no jobs were added to the economy;
  • Focus now is on President Obama’s speech on jobs, scheduled for Thursday (after PR nightmare scheduling fights with the GOP);
  • Obama appointed Princeton economist Alan Krueger to be head of his Council of Economic Advisor, someone familiar to CJP when he worked with us on developing a proposed index for one-time client Adecco;
  • The US sued to block the $39-billion AT&T/T-Mobile merger (which is being argued about whether it will help or hurt the jobs picture);
  • The US also sued 17 mortgage institutions that sold loans that turned bad to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • WikiLeaks cables were leaked; and
  • For the month, the Dow declined 529 points to end at 11,240 (September is usually the worst week for stocks, so stay tuned).

Tech Blogger to Become Investor

Interesting businesss/journalism/gray area story last week when Michael Arrington of TechCrunch fame announced plans to start a venture-capital fund to invest in Silicon Valley start ups, even ones he and staff may cover as bloggers. The $20-million fund raises obvious questions about conficts of interest. TechCrunch’s somewhat new owner, AOL, said Arrington will take a new role at the site, hire a new managing editor and continue to report to Arrianna Huffington (maybe not to ruin the perfect mashup of reporting lines and names). CJP

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RIM Left in the DarkAfter weeks with an unreadable trackball that countless battery pulls couldn’t seem to fix, desperation set in. It was time to find a new smartphone. While my BlackBerry certainly exceeded its addictive reputation, a recent trip to the AT&T store shed new light on a brand that had once dominated the smartphone industry.

While the thought of parting with my BlackBerry seemed unfathomable at best, every AT&T store I visited had just one model available, the BlackBerry Torch. Although a disappointing trial run proved the phone lacked functionality, even more shocking was the brand’s decision to stray from its forte with a touch screen-slider.

Without an alternative, I turned to Apple’s iPhone.

How could a BlackBerry fanatic purchase a product from its biggest competitor? In the words of my AT&T salesperson, it was time to “get off the sinking ship.”

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