Came across something quite interesting on the web today:

Steven Levitt (NY Times & Bestselling Author) blogs about blind wine tasting where considerable evidence suggests that – with exception to industry expects – cheap price wines often rate equal or higher than their more expensive substitutes.

To me this phenomenon is not uncommon – that your own taste/opinion may be adversly affected by your prior perceptions or expections of that which you are about to consume

To take a case in point i was once eating a smoked ham sandwich whilst reading the ingredients only to find the phrase ‘made from reformed ham’ in the small print. After reading this each bite I took became slightly worse until i eventually chose to bin what was left.

Apparently this is whats known as neuroeconomic phenomena, something Levitt admits to being ‘generally skeptical’ of. I dont blame him as any attempt to combine disciplines (in this case economics, psychology & neuroscience) generally tends to lead to confusing results from psuedoscientific methods. That said, there really is no reason why best practice cannot produce credible findings.

Of course in my opinion the key point to take from this story (& what attracted my interest) is the following except:

‘you can bring an $8 bottle of wine to a party and explain that it tastes better than the $28 bottle you would have bought. If the host of the party is an economist, you can tape a $10 bill to the bottle for an even split of the joint surplus.’

Now if that isn’t sound advice for the credit-crunching middle classes then i dont know what is!


Marketing, Advertising, PR. All these “creative industries” seem to have one thing in common to me – a relentless pursuit of the next-big-thing.

Its no suprise then to find that the web is a buzz with talk of marketing 2.0 – the application of the marketing principle in the brave new world of social participative media – a quick google search of the term generates over 1 billion results which comes to roughly 1/7 of the traffic for marketing as a whole. Now I dont know the specific ins-and-outs of the relevant algorithms but that sure seems impressive to me.

Of course as a marketing intern & recent convert to the notion that blogging represents more then just a ‘fad’ you might expect this post to be ravingly optimistic about the new possibilities this so called ‘information revoloution’ will most likely bring to the industry.

Dont get me wrong, im excited, but im hardly preaching from the rooftops just yet. Heres why…

The other day i came across the concept of creating customer evangelists – a lesser known element in the marketing mix related to conventional word-of-mouth recommendation but thrown into the spotlight by the proliferation of corporate blogging.

The idea is simple – customers who are truely thrilled with the experience of a product or service often (naturally) come to see themselves as a part of the brand itself thereby spearheading PR and WOM advertising free-of-charge. Customer evangelism strategies therby seek to stimulate this process as a component within a marketing mix.

Its a fascinating idea which in my opinion (when you look through the details) has some real weight behind it as a marketing 2.0 device. But in my opinion grand theft evangelismo (i.e. easy£) is only going to work whilst it remains an intelligently designed niche as opposed to generally accepted mainstream marketing.

After all it rarely pay to be smart. It pays to be smarter then the competition.

Innovation –> edge –> ££


So here’s a good question to ask…

 Would you rather be:

A Cowboy

or An Indian?

Now think carefully about this one…because I seem to remember someone at school trying to convince me that the answer to this simple question would indicate deep and unconscious aspects of your actual/desired sexuality.


Looking back I guess (for guys) cowboy was the standard machismo choice but maybe Brokeback Mountain has changed things since then. Either way I hadn’t really thought about it until the other day when the boss drops a copy of the Times on my desk.


“There’s an article in here that you’ll probably find interesting”


Sadly it wasn’t a cowboy or indian quiz, apparently that’s too low brow for the broadsheets. What it did discuss thought is the analogous concept of Digital Natives & Digital Immigrants – an idea first proposed by Marc Prensky (2001) which has been gathering currency in the mainstream ever since.


So here’s the idea: Digital Natives refer to a generation who have grown up exposed to digital technologies (like video games, email, the web, mp3 players etc) wheras immigrants on the other hand have grown up in pre-digital or analogue age (TV, VCR, Walkmans, Radio) and have merely had to adapt to the digital revolution rather then be born immersed of it.


Why is this significant? Because Prensky believes that this so called ‘digital divide’ is causing a great deal of tension between immigrant teachers/parents and their native students/children as much like the Cowboys and Indians of the past each group is failing to understand the other.


Now the Times runs the article here which picks up on this very point and at first I found the metaphor rather compelling – particularly noting examples of a thick digital immigrant accent such as printing out emails or editing word documents by hand


But with a little thought and online research it’s easy to see the flaws in Prensky’s analysis. It’s simply too crude to suggest that digital literacy can be solely attributed to generational differences alone. Also whilst the native/immigrant dichotomy is a memorable one most commentators disagree that it can be analytically helpful (even if the hype does make the mainstream media)


So can categorizing someone a digital immigrant or native really tell you something more about them? Or is the distinction itself as ludicrous as cowboy or indian sexuality?





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Can you picture this scene?


19, m, uk sitting at the bar in his local Starbucks scribbling  down some thoughts onto a cheap paper pad. 


Large latte, miserable weather, long day. 


Sound familiar?


Its a scene that you should see repeated up and down the country by what i like to label coffeehouse journalists – those who spend disproportionate amounts of disposable income and free time ordering latte after latte drafting out thoughts for their latest blog posting.


The thing is I really didn’t believe I was one until today… after all I had coffee with friends, for a reason, from time to time and I certainly wasn’t reading the Starbucks Gossip, and thinking to myself ‘maybe i could have a go at writing a blog of my own one of these days?’


But i guess that’s the way it’s going…I used to be just your regular coffee-loving student with a facebook account but now im getting hooked on the web 2.0 buzz and I feel the need to start a blog, get a diigo account, and start sharing, collaborating & networking whatever I get up to.


So this post isn’t really about my love for optimistically priced coffee drinks; I just needed a place to start blogging and seeing as I settled upon the idea at my local Starbucks it seems as good a starting point as any to begin on…


…or maybe I’m just craving that next caffeine buzz?