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What are you reading right here, right now? A sentence? A paragraph? An article? Yes, yes, and yes, but think more globally and generally. In the universe of 21st-century media and marketing, these words on this website, and the image that accompanies them, are content.
And not only here on the Visual Thesaurus: content is all around. As the old dishwashing-liquid ad used to tell us, we’re soaking in it. Blog posts are content. YouTube videos are content. For the cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma, recipes are content. For General Electric and thousands of other companies, Instagram posts are content. White papers, graphs, podcasts, webinars, e-books: all content.
Content is produced by content creators and content providers, some of whom toil in content farms or content factories. It's distributed through content management systems and shaped by content strategists who may report to a chief content officer for whom content marketing is — as the business author Seth Godin put it in 2008 — “the only marketing that’s left.”
The news that Tiny Pretty Things, the 2016 YA novel about ballet students by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, is being made into a 10-episode Netflix series sent me into a free-association reverie.
“Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars.” – Amazon. The sequel (2017) is titled Shiny Broken Pieces.
In these three American cities, at least 32 children and adults were killed by three shooters in a single week, 23 of them within just 13 hours over the weekend of August 3 and 4. While attending a garlic festival. While shopping at Walmart. While socializing in a popular entertainment district.
I’m exhausted and angry—furious, actually—and can’t think of anything original to say about my compatriots’ sick obsession with firearms. So I’ll refer you to a couple of posts from the Fritinancy archives.
On July 27, the 45th president of the United States took to Twitter, as he does, to attack Elijah Cummings, who has represented Maryland’s 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996. The president called Rep. Cummings’s Baltimore district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” He misspelled Cummings’s name “Cumming.” It was unclear whether he knows that a rat is a rodent, or whether he just likes to repeat himself alliteratively.
“Companies change their slogans and catchphrases all the time to keep themselves fresh in customers’ minds. But DiGiorno might be the only one that has kept the same catchphrase, but changed the implication.” (Eater)
“Sometimes I look at license plates for new prefix ideas. Sometimes I borrow from the names of cats or dogs.” How two women in Chicago create all those names for generic prescription drugs. (David Lazarus for Los Angeles Times; via MJF)*
If you’re members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all you need are four: Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
So many candidates! Twenty-five at last count, although by the time I click “publish,” six or seven of them may have thrown in the towel. (Rep. Eric Swalwell, who took part in the first round of televised debates, in June, dropped out earlier this week. His slogan was “Go Big. Be Bold. Do Good,” but three short verbs didn’t sufficiently activate his supporters.)
More than two dozen candidates, but few signs of originality in their messaging. Nine candidates—Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, and Tom Steyer—use only their first names in their logos, a trend that goes back as far as 1948’s “Give ’Em Hell, Harry” and 1952’s “I Like Ike,” but which got a big boost in 2016, with “Jeb!,” “Hillary” and “Bernie” as first-name-basis contenders.
Beyond that major theme, I see a bunch of other trends. Here are my evaluations and letter grades for the 2020 Democratic slogans; you can see all of them, organized alphabetically by candidate name, with their respective logos, on Ballotpedia, the nonprofit “digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.”