CBC Radio One doesn’t normally have advertizing. But since 2005 one of it’s most popular programs has had advertizing as its core subject. Variously called O’Reilly on Advertizing and The Age Of Persuasion it is now called Under The Influence.
The show is a half hour documentary series about the history of advertizing. The host, Terry O’Reilly, is a marketing man and has a business that specializes in radio advertizing. This, along with the often interesting sub-subjects it tackles, makes the show incredibly slick, and fun to listen to.
In fact I’d argue that it is perhaps most accessibly listenable program ever aired on CBC Radio or ever podcast on the internet.
Check out their recent episode titled Movie Marketing, which looks at, among other things, the effect that spoilers in movie trailers have on box office receipts. |MP3|
But you better hurry because if you don’t download it now, before you have to buy it on iTunes later!
Talked about on today’s show:
Frederik Pohl’s blog, differences between Gravy Planet and The Space MerchantsCoca-Cola vs. Yummy Cola, com-pocalypse (a commercial apocalypse), advertizing, conservationists -> connies (or consies) is an analogue for communists -> commies, Tristan Und Isolde, Costa Rica, Chicken Little, Fowler Shocken, 1950s. Jews in “the Science Fiction ghetto”, H.L. Gold, Phlip Klass (William Tenn), Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, the Wikipedia entry for The Space Merchants, a study guide for The Space Merchants, Levittown, Man Plus, The Merchants War, Pohl’s interest in psychiatry, Gateway, structural problems in The Space Merchants, identity theft, a hero’s journey, The Odyssey, katabasis, banana republic, the United Fruit Company, Cuba, U.S. Marines in Columbia, Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders, Jack O’Shea, little people are the perfect astronauts, pilots tend to be small people, the continuing relevance of The Space Merchants, “transformed language”, The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, “the Glaciers didn’t freeze overnight” (Rome wasn’t built in a day), what side do you oil your bread on, pedaling your Cadillac into the future, are there more cars in the U.S.A. than people?, William Gibson, The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed, corporatocracy, Oliver Stone, does Wall Street run the world or is it Madison Avenue?, representative government per capita (per head) or ad valorem (to value), The Marching Morons, dystopia, utopia, citizen vs. consumer, CBC’s The Age Of Persuasion podcast, the effectiveness of advertizing, feminine hygine products, “it has wings”, coffiest vs. Starbucks, Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, how effective is advertizing?, saturation of advertizing vs. the message of advertizing itself, does advertizing work?, who consumes dog food?, soyaburger, Chlorella, algae, soylent red, despite what he says Eric is not a jerk vegetarian, seitan (wheat gluten food), Moby Dick, Mountain Dew in the U.S.A. vs. Mountain Dew in Canada, energy drinks, Jolt Cola, phial vs. vile, Philip K. Dick’s Do Android Dream Of Electric Sheep?, the Penfield Mood Organ, caffeine, Tamahome likes unsweetened chocolate, what did Montezuma drink all day long?, does has the internet lessen the impact of advertizing?, the spillage from penis enhancement, Eric bought a wide cross section of pornography, “genuine spurious placebo”, Boeing “forever new frontiers”, the Dubai Ports controversy, Cisco Systems, I, Robot, Minority Report, gesture recognition, Yelp, Wikileaks: U.S. diplomats pressed Boeing deals, Bombardier, “he came from an old family”, Kennedy, Bush, Heddy and Hester, Hedy Lamarr, Hester Prynne, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, The Stars My Destination, “Eight sir, seven sir, six sir, five sir, four sir, three sir, two sir, one. Tenser, said the Tensor, Tenser said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun.” Rebecca Black’s Friday is a train wreck, Arthur C. Clarke‘s Tales From The White Heart, colonizing your brain, “you haven’t read a book until you’ve talked about it”, is solitary reading a different kind of thing than social reading?, satire, Monty Python’s “The Funniest Joke In The World” sketch, advertizing in books, advertizing in paperback novels, propaganda, recommendation vs. advertizing, making something available vs. thrusting it upon you, metaSFFaudio, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell, Flannery O’Connor with zombies, why SFFaudio doesn’t link to Amazon.com, Morning Joe, Fox News, Scott is now a politician, Douglas Adams, political debate being replaced by sound bites, Jon Stewart vs. Sean Hannity, Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, Will Rogers, communication vs. advertizing, jokes are revelations, brand awareness, why do kids want to see Transformers 3?, Cedar Rapids is a coming of age movie about the nature of friendship, why is there no commercial released audiobook of The Space Merchants?, The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlein, Them!, anti-consumerism (anti-Americanism), tobacco packaging warning messages (are ads), the tobacco industry vs. the anti-tobacco industry, church advertizing, Scientology doesn’t sell the same message as many other religions, L. Ron Hubbard, A.E. van Vogt, Dianetics, the premise of Null-A, Friedrich Nietzsche.
Illustrations from the original serialization of Gravy Planet (aka The Space Merchants) in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine’s July August and September 1952 issues:
Here are another two excellent unabridged audiobook short story offerings from Roy Turnbull…
The first, Accidental Death by Peter Baily, is definitely Science Fiction. It’s about an ill-fated expedition to an alien planet with some friendly, though dangerous, tennis-playing aliens. It speculates on the nature of luck in a first person present tense narrative – which is fun.
The second story, All The World A Grave by C.C. MacApp, is either Fantasy or Science Fiction, depending on your view of human nature. I take it as very apt satirical SF, in the same vein as The Space Merchants – as such, and despite its vintage, it has some very promising economic stimulus ideas for the new Barack Obama administration. Go economy, go!
By Peter Baily; Read by Roy Turnbull
1 |MP3| – Approx. 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Story Spieler Podcast
Provider: Internet Archive
From Astounding Science Fiction February 1959. The most dangerous of weapons is the one you don’t know is loaded.
52: Part 1 and 52: Part 2
By Greg Cox; Performed by a full cast
12 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 12 hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Graphic Audio
Published: February 2008
ISBN: 9781599503684 (part 1), 9781599503691 (part 2)
Themes: / Fantasy / Superheroes / Supervillains / Robots / Time Travel / Crime / Advertising /
The premise of this comic book series translated to graphic novel and then ultimately to audiobook is relatively simple. After a showdown between the Justice League and an assorted gang of supervillains, all the superheroes disappear. Superman, gone. Batman, likewise. Wonder Woman, ditto.
That leaves things wide open for the B-grade villains to wreak havoc and the B-grade heroes to step up and stop them. “52” refers to the weekly events of the year that follows and that are presented in a “real-time” format. We are taken into the story lines of various heroes and sidekicks which are occasionally interwoven.
Supernova and his trusted robot companion Skeets come from the future to capitalize on the lack of heroes by selling advertising rights while fighting crime. Hardboiled former cop Renee Montoya encounters The Question who leads her into an investigation of Intergang activities in Gotham. Black Adam intrigues and frightens the world by attempting to stop crime with such methods as ripping a villain in half on national television. However, his powers can be turned to good when he encounters Isis who immediately points out the error of his methods. And so on.
The adventures unroll and pick up steam in Part I. Naturally, we are left with many cliffhangers and even the stories that seem ended have more to reveal in Part II. Unfortunately Part II is much more muddled than Part I, especially with new villains and heroes suddenly randomly appearing – even sometimes seemingly from out of nowhere. This probably is because the actual comic book featured many more characters and stories than could be contained in this audio offering. In an attempt to keep things on track it may have been necessary to suddenly thrust a new character into the mix. Sadly this merely serves to muddle the stories and leave the listener wondering who all these people are. Also, some of the originally intriguing story lines either seemed to peter-out or take a turn for the worse leaving us not caring. Such was the case in Black Adam’s story. After his family’s story has developed, Isis suddenly acts completely uncharacteristically, sending Black Adam on a destructive spree. Perhaps it was the tendency of the narrative to describe every blow of a fight which made this part of the story suddenly seem to drag. In audio, unlike comic books, we don’t need to hear every “BIFF” or “BAM” to know what is going on. It seems likely again that problem stems from editing the story line to fit onto two CDs instead of mirroring the four graphic novels that were necessary to contain the original comic books.
52 is a full cast recording with sound effects. The recording is really wonderful and the voice talent is spot on in conveying all the emotions and action that we don’t get to see in the original comic book form. Although the 25 actors can be difficult to link to characters at first, the patient listener will soon find identification easy. The cover calls this recording a “movie in your mind” and that is accurate. Everything the listener needs for a full, rich experience is contained inside … except for the clear story line of Part I being continued successfully in Part II.
If you already are a fan of this series then this audiobook is probably worth your money. Otherwise, you will need to be a dedicated fan of superheroes in general to care enough to get to the end of Part II.