Monday, November 28, 2011

A grown man gets a hard-on at Taco Bell

From an interview on with Twitter Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey:

On Twitter, “all of that following, all of that interest expressed, is intent. It’s a signal that you like certain things,” Dorsey says. In “promoted tweets, promoted trends and promoted accounts… you actually see introductions to content, to accounts or to topics that are deeply meaningful to you, because you’ve already expressed interest, you’ve already curated your timeline. And it’s a delightful experience."
Seeing "Promoted" (i.e. bought and paid for by advertisers) tweets in your timeline is delightful? No. Personally I haven't clicked on a single "Promoted" tweet.

I got to that interview after reading this blog post on Percolate, the purpose of which I have not been able to figure out.

Dorsey talked about capturing intent, which has been a big buzzword around marketing Google’s search advertising was coined as an intent miner. As I wrote then:

Twitter’s value is not about intent, in the classic funnel definition, it’s much more about awareness and interest: About exposing you to new products and services you didn’t know you were interested in. 

So Twitter isn't about people communicating with each other, doing journalism, or providing them a platform for expression, according to these geeks. It's "about exposing you to new products and services you didn’t know you were interested in."

Oh really. Isn't that always what the advertising industry says? Commercials are educational because they teach consumers about new products and services? But that's what we have reviews for.

Here's how I inform myself about a new product or service, starting from the moment I become aware of it.
  1. I hear about something while reading an article, usually in a print copy of a newspaper.
  2. If I'm interested, I'll search for more information by searching for reviews of it.
  3. If I'm approaching actually buying the thing, I will go to the company's website and look at the product specifications.
No advertising in it at all. And no tweets, either.

Just before the holiday, I spotted this jaw-dropping review of Taco Bell on a website usually devoted to survivalism and predictions of economic catastrophe. Is it possible that a rational adult could actually write something like:

Let's just start with the obvious thing: the food. It is, of course, wonderful and full of varied textures: crunchy shells, robust meat, cold and fresh lettuce, stringy cheese, and all the fatty stuff that we love because it both satisfies and gives us energy. It arrives quickly, and its ready to eat, mostly with your hands, which is really how we all want to eat.

... But there’s more going on than just fun food. The company obviously puts a great deal of thought into the ethos of the restaurants themselves. The decor gives us things to look at that we don't see anywhere else. The colors are all those we associate with the Southwest, but not in a conventional way. The shapes are geometric and modern, with a daring flare that delights the eye and fires up the imagination. 

The details around the place add to the sense of adventure, but you don’t take note of them individually unless you are looking closely. The backs of the chairs all have a bell shape cut out in the steel. The lighting is not mainly in the ceiling but rather comes from orange hanging glass lamps in the shape of cones, and I was trying to think where I had seen this before. Is it like the knave [sic] of a chapel in a monastery in a Spanish mission territory? Maybe that’s it. I’m unsure but it conjures up something different. 

Hold on here. Perhaps you have already realized this and I’m slow on the take, but the whole Taco Bell experience is suggestive of that Spanish mission sensibility. That’s why the buildings are shaped the way they are. And, obviously, that’s the whole meaning behind the bell, and why it adorns the front entrance of the place. It’s a church bell! It taps into something deep and lasting in our cultural sensibilities, something that shaped our ancestors and their communities, and presents it all anew in our times.

Are you fucking kidding me? This is like something a 16-year-old would write for English class, if he's really hopped up on Adderall that day. But the author is evidently an adult. And it's like three times as long as that!

Maybe that's the kind of person those advertisers are talking about. Wow.

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