prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Archive for November, 2013

Keg-Stands, Casual Sex and Scare Tactics: The Selling of Obamacare

Posted by prof e on November 20, 2013

got_insuranceA new set of advertisements intended to get young people to sign up for Obamacare have been released online. Produced by  The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado, these ads are designed to be an antidote to conservative ads designed to scare young people away.

Rather than pay airtime or insertion rates, these ads are designed to generate social media buzz which, they hope, will drive traffic to the website. One way to create buzz is to push the envelope. The tactic has been used many times before. You might remember the Superbowl ads that were “too hot” for broadcast TV. Recently Kmart has been raising some eyebrows with a series of TV spots for the retailer. One recently played on the phrase “ship my pants” and another features an unusual performance of Jingle Bells.

What the Obamacare ads are attempting to do is to attract young healthy customers…the very demographic that is needed to fund medical care for the poor and elderly. Here’s a link to a video from HuffPo that provides running commentary on whether the approach will work with Millennials. What do you think? Are these ads effective and will they convince young people to sign up?


Posted in advertising, interactive media, new media, politics, PR, social media, websites | 43 Comments »

Swimming in the Deep End

Posted by prof e on November 17, 2013

Time magazine: The Secret WebTime magazine’s cover story this past week was about a part of the internet that remains hidden to most of us. Estimated to be 500 times larger than the “Surface Web,” the “Deep Web” has legitimate uses, e.g. confidentiality for journalists and their sources, anonymity for undercover police operations, a safe haven for political dissidents, and a place for ordinary citizens to store information safe from nosy busybodies. While Google, Facebook and a host of other internet companies continue to harvest and exploit our user-data for commercial gain, the Deep Web provides a counterbalance; freedom from the prying eyes of corporate and governmental operatives.

But this safe haven also provides cover for those who traffic in illegal drugs, weapons, fake IDs, child porn, and other forms of contraband. Secrecy and anonymity in the hands of criminals and evildoers yields potential for the worst kinds of behavior.

The technology that makes this possible is powerful encryption software (Tor) and untraceable digital currency (Bitcoin). The combination of these two technologies makes it possible to operate with complete anonymity and privacy–with virtually no chance of being identified by law enforcement officials.

The recent arrest of Ross Ulbricht, the person accused of operating the illegal drug trading website Silk Road, was only possible because Ulbricht carelessly interacted in the “Surface Web” where his actions were noted by FBI operatives.

Speculation abounds as to the future for nefarious activity online but odds are pretty high that the closing of Silk Road will lead to a virtual Hydra. In case you have forgotten your Greek mythology, Hydra was a serpent monster with many heads. The tricky part was that it grew two new heads each time one was cut off. According to an article at The Daily Dot, “The Deep Web won’t die. It’s just going to plunge even deeper.”

Here’s a short video that explains more about the Deep Web. Try not to be too distracted by the voice-over that sounds like it came from a 1970’s episode of The Twilight Zone.

Posted in global media, interactive media, new media, politics, websites | 15 Comments »