.... my 2 cents ....
musings on marketing, media, public relations....and life,
by David Reich
Reich Communications, Inc.
Reich Communications, Inc. is a boutique public relations agency in New York City offering full service in a variety of areas, with specializations in business-to-business; advertising, marketing and media firms; transportation safety; non-profits, and select consumer products and services.
For more info, call us at (212) 573-6000, email to david@reichcommunications or text to 914-325-9997.
We are located at 228 East 45th Street, Suite 11-South, New York City 10017
I'm not a horror movie buff, although I may have seen Craven'siconic "Nightmare on Elm Street." But I had a connection to Wes Craven that goes back before he was Wes Craven.
Early in his career, Craven taught humanities at Clarkson College, where I went to school. I never had him for class, but one day between classes he approached me. I was doing a jazz show on radio two nights a week, and he asked if he could co-host with me one night a week.
Craven was maybe 28 at the time...cool, good-looking with a hot wife.
I said of course, and for almost 2 semesters, we co-hosted The Jazz Scene on the college FM station. I liked him, although I was a bit intimidated by his smarts and his caustic wit.
He had good taste and he opened my ears to some musicians I hadn't been familiar with. We had patter on air between cuts, and he often slipped in some funny cracks, probably half of which went over my head. But we had fun listening and sharing music we loved with unseen listeners on campus and beyond in New York's North Country. Sometimes his wife Bonnie would stop in at the studio.
Summer came and went. We returned to school to hear the hot gossip that Prof. Craven had left to go to Hollywood to make films. I lost track of him.
I heard about "Nightmare on Elm Street" and his other Freddy Kruger films, but since I had no interest in those films, I had no clue of who directed them.
It wasn't until his film "Scream" came out in 1996 that I realized it was Wes Craven, my co-host from Clarkson College radio. One of the news shows was doing a piece on the new film and they were interviewing Wes Craven. I was in the other room, but I heard his name mentioned. I ran over to the TV and,sure enough, it was Prof. Craven... nearly 30 years older, but Prof. Craven for sure.
I tried contacting him through his agent, to no avail. But I was saddened to learn of his death at 76 ... too young.
Others have his films to remember him, but I have something really unique. Up in my attic are several reel-to-reel tapes of the shows we did together on radio.
Now if only I could get that old tape recorder working again.
Perhaps appropriate as one of the "dog days of August," the unofficial holiday was started in 2004 by an animal advocate. It's been picked up as a marketing opportunity by several companies that signed on as official sponsors. One is a bit of a stretch, but Autotrader.com is using it to release their list of best cars for dogs. Loew's Hotels is tying in with a "Yappy Hour" event tonight at their Loew's Regency in New York.
Nextdoor, a social media network, used the occasion to release a list of the most popular dog names. The top name this year is Bella, with other most popular names that include Max and Charlie --names of two dogs that I know.
For most of us who are dog owners or dog lovers, it's just another excuse for us to do something special for our pups -- an extra biscuit or toy, or an extra-long snuggle.
I wish I could give a snuggle with my doggie pal Loki, who left us at the beginning of this year. He will always be my puppy-love.
We keep hearing how Print in dying. Newspapers are struggling, that's for sure. And many magazines are not having an easy time.
But tell that to the publishers of 60 new magazines that launched during the first half of 2015, as reported by MediaFinder. That number is down about a third from the 93 new titles during the same period last year, but people are still trying to make a go of new titles.
Of the new launches, five were business-to-business magazines, down from 15 new B2B books a year ago.
The number of magazines that shut down during the first half of the year was 23, which is ten less than a year ago. So there's been a net gain of 37 new magazines so far this year.
Why do people keep trying with new magazines in print? They're costly to print and distribute -- much more so than digital publications with no printing cost and very little distribution expenses.
It probably comes down to advertising. Ads in print generally command much higher rates than their digital counterparts, even when digital can reach many more readers. Many advertisers still prefer the glossy printed page for their ads, especially for products that rely on strong visuals -- food, fashion & beauty, travel, cars. Print still gets a higher ad readership, while research shows most of us totally ignore ads that run in digital media.
Digital does offer some benefits that print doesn't -- mainly, the ability for readers to click through for more info, sales pitches and even place an order and make a purchase. Print can offer that via QR codes, but the process isn't seamless since it requires extra steps and a smartphone.
Launches this year have been mainly specialty titles rather than general-interest books. Most, I'd bet, also have online components. Maybe once they've established themselves in print -- and as the gap between print and online ad readership and rates narrows -- they'll try to convert to digital only. But until that gap is much smaller, there will still be a place for print magazines.
That's good news for newsstands, printing companies and the Post Office.
I remember as a teen hurrying home from school to check the mail, hoping it would contain a large parcel from the Columbia Record Club. Inside would be ten or eleven records that had cost me only a penny (plus shipping and handling). What a deal!
And then, every so often, I'd get another package with more records I had bought at discount prices (plus shipping & handling).
It was a fun and exciting way build a music collection. The ads in magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements had dozens of album cover photos (or tape cassettes, as in the ad at the right), and all you had to do was check the ones you wanted. A whole world of music was right there on the page. And after you got your free records, you only had to buy a few more at full price (plus shipping & handling) in order to qualify for a free record of your choice.
Part of the fun was the anticipation. It usually took 7 - 10 days between placing the order by mail and actually receiving the records. I suppose I paid with a check -- I can't recall. This was before the days of Pay-Pal or online credit card payments.
Members would get a catalogue every few weeks with pictures of all the hot albums of the day. If you didn't respond by a certain date, you'd automatically get the monthly album pick, along with a bill. This was called a negative billing option, which ran into some controversy in the 1990s.
Those memories came back to me today as I read that Columbia House (the current name of the old Columbia Record Club) filed for bankruptcy yesterday. It was formed by CBS Records in 1955 and in its glory days, they probably had a membership in the millions. Today, according to the story in The Wall Street Journal, they are down to about 100,000 members, and they only sell DVDs. No LPs, cassettes or CDs -- no music downloads.
Today's teens have no idea what the Columbia Record Club was. Many probably don't know what a record was. And imagine kids today -- or anyone for that matter -- waiting a week for music. We're used to getting it immediately, for 99 cents or less.
Last night's cable TV schedule included two notable shows.
The first, while termed by most as a political debate, seemed at times more like a much-hyped reality show. It had all the elements of reality shows that we've come to expect -- outbursts and outrageous name-calling by contestants, teasers by the hosts (in this case, moderators posing as journalists) before going to commercial breaks, and above all, the chance to win a really big prize. I have to admit, it was great theater when moderator Megan Kelly went after the rich guy from New York about his flip-flopping on positions and parties.
I caught only the second half of the program, but it was enough to convince me that I am not one of the target voters the candidates are hoping to enthrall. It seems they're looking for Christians who talk to God, believe women should have no choice when it comes to their own bodies, and that this nation built of immigrants should close the door on them -- or at least, build a wall.
A couple of the candidates, even though I don't agree with their position on most issues, did come across as dignified and potential leaders of this great nation. Jeb Bush and John Kasich both presented themselves well, I think.
The hype and the nastiness of some candidates served to make this a bonanza for Fox, which probably drew ratings to rival past presidential rather than party debates.
The other notable TV moment last night was Jon Stewart's final Daily Show.
I've never been a regular follower of the show. I like Stewart, but if I'm up at 11, I'm watching the local news, Charlie Rose or Seinfeld reruns.
Stewart's final piece seemed a perfect balance to the GOP debacle (er, debate) that had just wrapped. Stewart's parting words, before protégé Stephen Colbert introduced Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, were a caution against misinformation -- or in Stewart's words, bullsh*t.