Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Brand, The New Media and The Future, Part III

Mythbusters is a brand. The hosts are likable. They build up a reputation for truth. Then, you hit the one episode that you have personal knowledge that what they are saying is lacking -- radios on airplanes -- and then poof, the brand is busted.

The guys took the government-industry point of view that electronic devices would surely interfere with navigational devices and communications gear in the pit resulting in the sudden and fiery of all on board if we flipped on our iPods at the wrong moment. OK, that was a stretch, but no one is carrying powerful FM transmitters or AM sets with huge ferrite antenna bars to throw off the coms. By the way, how do you think the pilots keep up with the scores of games? By turning their nav radios into the AM broadcast band to listen.

Nevertheless, if Virgin America and other breakout airlines can now offer WiFi on the airplane, and new systems to allow use of regular cellphones on board -- wait a minute, what happened to all that interference we were suppose to cause?

So, there it is. Now, replace some of the key elements in my story. Let's say Mythbusters was a politician, or a university, and it sought over time to take its information, its brand, direct to its fans, its supporters, its constituents. Again, as long as the veracity of the brand remains in tact, the institution can continue without impediment.

Who challenges the Mythbusters? Sure, they'll do fan shows and retest their work. Let's switch to another part of the Discovery family. Who's going to buy into Man vs. Wild upon its return to the old flat screen after it was revealed the star wasn't exactly always roughing it as much as it appeared in the show. It was counterbalancing media that outed the story, and for a while, forced the show off the air. Without that coverage, would anyone -- beyond that handful of people with a personal experience perhaps in surviving the Amazon -- have blown Bear's cover?

Enter the new media.

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