Archive for December, 2005

Not-So-Swell Cell

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Went to switch plans at the cell company yesterday, and took the chance to air one of my long-standing complaints: despite being shown as in the home area on all the maps, there’s a big (~40-50mi) swath of I-80 outside Chicago that always puts my phone in “roaming” mode.

When I asked the salesperson to explain, she said to ignore the message, that I’m not going to be charged roaming. Which is great: now I know that the display that’s supposed to mean “Warning! You’ll pay more money if you call now!” is unreliable.

Then she suggested I update my phone’s tower definitions. “I do what now?” I asked. Dial xxx (some three-digit star code which I’ve already forgotten; think it’s 228), she said. I did, and was greeted with a recording and some Muzak whilst my phone was being updated. While this was happening, the rep advised me to do this every three months but only from my home area, lest my phone be flashed with some other carrier’s data.

So I got all that done, she did some keying around to change the plan, and we were out of there… only to discover, today, that in the process voicemail had been deactivated: my greeting obliterated, my PIN unrecognized.

I know it’s cliché to bitch about the cell carriers, but this still astounds me. We’re talking about a closed system, in which they control the hardware, the software, the transactions, everything. Done right, this sort of thing gives you an iPod+iTunes-level experience. Yet here I’m expected to dial some arbitrary phone number every 3 months, to complete a process which, despite the fact the phone has been locked by the carrier, is too stupid to know my home network? Indeed, a simple billing change can blow my (non-integrated) voicemail out of the water?

No wonder Mossberg calls them the Soviet ministries.

That Answers That

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

A few months ago, I noted that Google Earth obscured the White House roof as well as those of the adjoining buildings. Later, the blurred images where replaced, and the tops can now be seen.

The Times has the story today:

For a brief period, photos of the White House and adjacent buildings that the United States Geological Survey provided to Google Earth showed up with certain details obscured, because the government had decided that showing details like rooftop helicopter landing pads was a security risk. Google has since replaced those images with unaltered photographs of the area taken by Sanborn, a mapping and imagery company, further illustrating the difficulty of trying to control such information.

The Vice President’s Residence/Naval Observatory is still blursville, however…

Peeling Back PRI’s Mask

Monday, December 19th, 2005

After discovering the Pacific Research Institute’s existence (and heavy hand) in the “Spectator” story, I wanted to find out more about where the group gets their cash. Easier said than done.

Since PRI is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, it’s possible to review their financial statement (known as a Form 990) with a service such as GuideStar. But since they’re not classified as a private foundation, they don’t have to file the Form 990-PF variant which actually lists contributors.

It’s possible to find out where some of the money comes from by scouring the records of public corporations. For example, lists almost a quarter-million in contributions from ExxonMobil for PRI’s climate change programs. They also have an amazing/scary Flash tool that allows you to see the major “thinktanks” that get Exxon cash and shows how the key players are interconnected.

But you’re not getting the full story, because many of these organizations — themselves fronts for corporate machinations — are just fronts for other groups. For example, I selected one ExxonSecret-listed group at random, “United for Jobs.” (The site described them as a PRI “coalition partner,” whatever that means.)

A peek at the United for Jobs site shows that the group’s main issues are energy prices, carbon caps, CAFE standards, and mercury, an impressively narrow focuses for a site that’s all about jobs. And who’s “United”, anyway? A click on the mammoth “Take Action” banner hints at the answer: you’ll be dumped into a form letter decrying the proposed tax on windfall oil profits (and taxes in general.)

That’s getting closer to the story, but there’s more to learn. Where is this group based? The site gives an address of 1920 L Street NW, Suite 200, DC. Using the Amazon Yellow Pages trick from before, I punched in that address to see what else might call that building home. Amazon returned a few groups that shared the suite number, including the “Small Business Survival Committee” and the “Islamic Institute.” The real occupant, though, was what I assume to be “United’s” creator: Americans for Tax Reform.

ATR is a whole other rats’ nest, so I’ll leave it at that. But suffice to say it’s no easy matter to discover who’s really pulling the strings…

Because They Don’t Respect Customers, Of Course

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

Riddle me this: suppose you’re responsible for the documentation for a particular computer network card. (Like so many of your fellow companies, you think of “documentation” as “one small printed sheet and a CD.”) Suddenly it’s brought to your attention that the included page is wrong. What do you do?

  • Ignore it. Let tech support deal with it. You’ve had the sheets printed, after all.
  • Pull the sheets and replace them with a corrected version.
  • Run off a “correction” addendum and tuck that in with the original.

The makers of a NIC I recently installed opted for the last option (click to enlarge):
Two sheets, side by side

While an addendum might be smart in the case of a printed manual, it’s absolutely mystifying in this case, where instead of replacing the small, black and white quarter-page, they opted to double the number of sheets involved. Yet they didn’t even do that right: check the larger version and you’ll see that none of the three diagrams match.

Why didn’t they just replace the wrong sheet with a new one? They’ve even assigned a part number to the second sheet, so clearly they have to manage stocks of these pages as well. How is this a good decision? Most importantly, why do they think it’s an acceptable experience for the customer, who has to spend the time and cognitive energy trying to figure out just what the hell is going on?

Pawlenty of “Dead Canadians”

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Two years ago, when Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) was pushing for a drug plan that involved importing drugs from Canada, his critics brought up the issue of tainted drugs. Pawlenty’s memorable answer: “My first response to that is show me the dead Canadians. Where are the dead Canadians?”

A few months ago, the (sleazy) “American Spectator” published an article that picked up the question:

There are now dead Canadians. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police this month charged Abadir Nasr, former owner of King West Pharmacy in Hamilton, Ontario, with selling counterfeit Norvasc. Five people who filled their heart medication prescriptions at the pharmacy died of heart attack or stroke. At press time yesterday evening, Gov. Pawlenty’s office did not have a comment.

That’s from “Unsafe at Any Dose”, a “Spectator” article reprinted on (tagline: “Think your drugs are from Canada? Think again.”) The site comes courtesy of PhRMA, the same pharma lobbying group of thriller novel fame.

The “Spectator” article makes a few good points, but a healthy dose of context is lacking. For example, author David Holman notes that “Drug reimportation is a sovereignty question. Americans would surrender quality control and market forces to the countries from which we import.” Very true. But to take this argument to its logical conclusion, we must of course argue that Canada’s healthcare system is significantly inferior to our own, with demonstrably weaker drug safety regulation and enforcement.

That may very well be true, but again Holman’s evidence is weak. He notes that “experts convened on Capitol Hill Tuesday by the Pacific Research Institute and the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest detailed how foreign drug markets are compromised by counterfeit medicines.” He neglects to mention that PRI and CMPI are in fact the same organization, with donors which include Philip Morris, Pfizer, and… PhRMA. (Not to mention the Sarah Scaife Foundation, controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife, who backs the “Spectator.” Nice and neat, eh?)

I trust that in their Capitol Hill testimony, the Pfizer/PhRMA/PRI experts also mentioned that counterfeiting is a serious and growing problem in the United States as well. In 2001, CBS reported “at least 66 deaths and hundreds of severe reactions” to a counterfeit antibiotic (see “Faking It: Counterfeit Drugs on the Rise“) In an extensive 2003 story, Chemical & Engineering News examines the shady practices used by some of the 7,000 secondary drug wholesalers in America.

So our house is far from in order, a fact to which Holman devotes a scant 8 word clause: “Though counterfeit drugs aren’t absent in the U.S., our market cannot very well bear opening the floodgates.” Perhaps he’s operating on orders from the global Pharmaceutical Security Institute, whose rep said this last December:

“It is necessary to keep fake drug information confidential for commercial reasons…to avoid media leaks and to prevent the possibility of rival drug companies taking unfair commercial advantage of a victim company.” He explained, “At the outset, we [the PSI] were against having data online that anyone could interrogate…If a patient came to harm as a result of a counterfeit product, the company’s good reputation is in danger of disappearing, together with a loss of confidence in the products… The one thing we were trying very hard to do was to keep it [data] out of the hands of the commercial people in any of the companies…The importance of meeting sales’ targets is such that you can even find cut-throat competition between different operating divisions of the same company, let alone between two companies competing in the same market with similar drugs.”

Lovely. So, to recap: Holman would prefer we tar Canada, Niger and every other country with the same “counterfeit” and “lax” brushes, while essentially ignoring the same problem in the States. Coincidentally, both positions are precisely how the drug industry likes it.

Oh, hold on. I missed one. Holman also quotes an author who argues that drugs are cheaper in Canada because Americans pay for the R&D in the first place:

The industry can price its products according to basic economics in the American marketplace, financing overall production. “Drug companies can tolerate price controls in developed countries like Canada as long as the prices cover marginal costs, and the country represents a small share of the market,” Pipes writes.

That book, by the way, is Miracle Cure: How to Solve America’s Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn’t the Answer by Sally C. Pipes.

Its publisher? None other than the very same PhRMA-backed Pacific Research Institute. Another fact Holman neglects to mention. Surprise, surprise.

Update [4:15a]: This 2003 Canadian Medical Association Journal article, which predates the Norvasc fatalities, strikes back at the PhRMA line with two themes: 1) “to my knowledge there has not been a single counterfeit issue within Canada” — if true, this year’s 5 dead Canadians really might have been the first and only — and 2) “there’s a larger potential for a US citizen to be exposed to counterfeit drugs by purchasing them within the United States than by getting them from Canada.” Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if both of these were actually true, but since this guy works for the “Canadian International Pharmacy Association,” his interest is as vested as our friends at PRI.

Oh, “Canada”!

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

The PhRMA misadventures reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to cover for nigh on six months, this little Glaxo ad (click for big!):

Let’s unpack this, starting from the bottom:

  • The drugs were junk. Not much to say here. (The FDA’s test results and the accompanying press release are online.)
  • The credit card was processed in St. Kitts. Suspicious, but doesn’t really tell us much. After all, VeriSign, the $6B company that controls .com, hawks this very service (see FAQ: I am a U.S. merchant interested in processing offshore in Bermuda, can I do this? Hint: Yes.)
  • The Web server is in China. Easily the weakest argument of the bunch. My site is hosted in California; the domain lives at a Canadian registrar. Can you spot some technical difference between this North American-based offering and, say, The Modest Mr. Pech‘s, which is hosted in Hong Kong on an IP that reverse-resolves to a Bulgarian-registered hostname? Thought not. That’s the whole point. The Internet is the Internet.
  • It’s not clear where they’re “based.” Fair enough on the evasiveness, but what does “based” really mean these days? GSK itself says they’re “[h]eadquartered in the UK and with operations based in the US.” So I guess their HQ isn’t a base.
  • The postmark and return address didn’t match. Ever receive an Amazon package that wasn’t shipped from Washington? Spooky!

Now hold on, John, you might be saying. Yes, each of these things could have a legitimate explanation, but how likely is it that all of them would come together? Aren’t you cherry-picking comparisons?

Certainly! But at least I admit it. GSK, on the other hand, buries the single most important fact of this entire ad: all of these events were set in motion [a]fter receiving a spam e-mail….

If they’d run an ad with a headline such as: “With Spam, What You Don’t Know Might Kill You” I wouldn’t even bat an eye. That would be alarmist yet honest. In fact, they could even use one of their own lines: “Where did all these medicines really come from? And what exactly is in them?”

But no. While there are real problems with ordering drugs online from any source (including domestic), the drug companies prefer to shoehorn the message into their chosen narrative: we can’t trust Canada.

Product Placement III

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

OK, we’ve discussed product placement in TV shows, TV news, newspapers, and (awhile ago) movies. What are we missing?

Would you believe books?

According to Slate, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America commissioned an entire novel, The Spivak Conspiracy, with a rather arresting plot line: Croatian Muslims attack the U.S… through poisoned drugs sold to Americans via Canadian pharmacies (see “Truth is Stranger Than Phiction.”)

The audacity of the move is breathtaking. First PhRMA budgets $300k for the book on the quiet. They got nabbed, so we don’t know what the plan from there might have been, but we can guess: after they arranged a nice print run, it would be time to trot out the surrogates on cable news to gravely intone that “the novel has a clever premise, a danger that’s all too real.” It wouldn’t be necessary for people to actually buy the book (or even read it) so long as they could keep repeating “Canada = tainted drugs” as many times as possible. (In this respect, the terror hook is also clever.)

If by some freak event the book actually was popular, the PhRMA’s no-doubt wet dream scenario then comes into play: a movie. (Tom Cruise battles Goran Visnjic in devious plot to import tainted Ritalin to harm America’s children! Featuring Jim Carrey as the wacky Canadian pharamacist who learns never to trust foreigners.)

Except the writers had another idea:

In the end, Spivak and Chrystyn turned down the money, rewrote the book, and retitled it The Karasik Conspiracy. The thriller is due out next month. We’ve read part of an early draft, and we can’t recommend it as great literature. But the book has an instructive new bad guy: A large pharmaceutical company, so far unnamed, has poisoned Canadian-sold drugs—and then tried to make it look like a bunch of terrorists were behind the plot.

Can’t say I’d read that one, either, but good for them.

I Retouch Myself?

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

Every once in awhile, when I’m on a site that has those little “personals” headshots, I play a little game that may indelicately be called “Spot the Homo,” in which I’ll click through to see if a particular smiling boy is a member of the Team.

Such was the case today, when I was on Londonist and encountered this fellow on their home page:
Dude with shiny forehead and glasses

I guessed wrong with him, as you can tell by the “With a: Woman” line (not to be confused with the charming Britishism further down: “Fags: Never”.)

So why do I even mention this? Because if you take a look at this bloke’s profession, you’ll find it’s “Fashion Photo Retoucher.” Fair enough; someone needs to make sure that Lindsay Lohan looks less like, as B puts it, “an emaciated monkey.”

But with that in mind, take a look at this photo again. Is it not terrible? He seems like a good looking guy, yet here there’s one red eye and one blown out by the flash, an uncomfortable shine to the forehead, greasy hair, and let’s not forget the random chick down in the corner (seems to me there’s nothing but downside to including another woman in a personals photo.)

Why would a professional retoucher choose this photo to represent himself? It’s like saying this woman‘s a cosmetologist…

Motorola Grand Classics

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Motorola has commissioned an excellent animation to promote their sponsorship of a film festival or some damn thing. The title is “Great Classics”, and it moves sequentially through several decades and numerous classics.

Go watch it, then see how many references you can spot. I thought I saw (in order):

  • Misc. zoetrope strip.
  • Steamboat Willie (1928) [can’t be — too new]
  • Misc. Chaplin film
  • Metropolis (1927) [per Josh]
  • Fantasia (1940)
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • The Man with the Golden Arm (1955)
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • The Great Escape (1963) [?]
  • The Graduate (1967)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Tron (1982)
  • The Terminator (1984) [?]
  • Fatal Attraction (1987) [per Judy]
  • Gladiator (2000)
  • Lost in Translation (2003)

I’m getting the sequence all messed up in the early ones — I’m thinking maybe Frankenstein? Metropolis? And I’m not sure about Fantasia, and there’s some musical right in around there, and the reaching-arms opening title is JUST outside my conscious. But post-Graduate, I think I’m a lock, save for what the whole jumping-from-the-pot-to-the-dinner-table is invoking.

Thoughts? Additions? Corrections?

Update [Sat, 1:30a]: Josh has found an image that supports the Metropolis theory, and my mom says the cooked rabbit is right out of Fatal Attraction. She also thinks the musical is likely An American in Paris or similar.


Thursday, December 8th, 2005

I made a passing reference to VNRs in my last post and linked to the Wikipedia. One of the descriptions I’ve always enjoyed is from the novel Slick, by author Daniel Price (of the late It’s written from the perspective of a PR flack:

The video news release (VNR) is the dirty little secret that all flacks and hacks share. It’s do-it-yourself coverage. Using my own crew, my own script, even my own voice, I serve as the on-the-scene (but never seen) reporter. When all is said and done, I’ve got a professional-looking two-minute news piece, the kind you see every night at eleven. From there we use a portable uplink to shoot the whole thing into space. The final step is faxing notice to all the newsrooms…

For the budget-conscious news director, this is manna from heaven. It takes just minutes for Graphics to add their custom network overlays and Sound to dub a local reporter’s voice over mine. Presto. The station runs the piece as their own. There’s no legal requirement to cite the source, and that’s just the way we like it. The producers often mix it up a little to cover their tracks. That’s what a B-roll is for. It’s a no-frills collection fof relevant interviews and visual clips, a media LEGO set they can put together any way they want. It’s a great system. On a slow news day, a thirty-minute show can squeeze in a good seven to eight minutes of VNRs, as compared to five or six minutes of real news. It’s pretty easy to tell the two apart. That fire in Century City? News. The new laser technique to remove wrinkles? VNR. If it promotes a product or company, it’s a VNR. If the reporter never appears in any of the on-scene footage, that’s because it ain’t his story. It came from outer space.

Product Placement (II) Revisited

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

NewsUSA CEO Rick Smith e-mailed me this morning, wanting to respond to Tuesday’s post. Because I believe his original intention was to leave a comment (there were two attempts in the logs — not sure why they failed, actually) and also because he left an identical note on another site (right down to the truncated ellipsis after “by you”) I’ll quote his message here:

Thank you for mentioning our free service to editors and webmasters who may not have the budgets to buy copy, yet want great consumer editorial for their readers.
The Editor Rewards program was slightly mischaracterized by you..let me clarify…
We have over 4,000 newspapers using our free service and 18 years history.
This year the 2 national clipping services merged..we felt we would allocate the $2/clipping to reward editors that are using us to send copies of those missing tearsheets…
I doubt $2 would get any editor to run copy that doesn’t help serve his readers. Our copy is in Associated Press Style and color photos and free.

Rick Smith
NewsUSA, Inc.
[contact information snipped]

Before I respond, I’d like to also quote from “E-Media Tidbits”, a Poynter Institute newsletter to which I subscribe:

The report suggests that there’s a serious plagiarism problem among some Chinese reporters. It cites an example as told by a media worker: “A while ago, there was a big traffic-related story in Xinyuan. Our newspaper dispatched three reporters to gather news. But all three were too lazy to go. When the newspaper director pressed them for their reports, the three reporters sent in identical reports” (based on what they found online)!

Of course, there are hard-working journalists, looking for the truth, but for the audiences it is very hard to tell the difference between a truth and a fabrication. — 7 Dec 05

First, from what I understand, the $2 isn’t cash, it’s 250 prize points, only useful if you advance in their affinity system — by publishing more articles. Mr. Smith seems to think my quarrel is with the $2 reward for sending in a clipping; it’s not. My problem is that I recognize that their is an ever-shrinking number of professional newspaper reporters, and as a result the pressure put on them and their editors can only increase, making “easy out” options like NewsUSA (or online sourcing) more tempting.

Is that so bad? I think so. Mr. Smith takes pains to note that his copy is professional, written in AP style with art provided, and thus can be of use to publishers who “want great consumer editorial.” It sounds like a win-win for those on tight budgets, but it’s time for a reality check: most press releases are, in fact, well-written in AP style. Why don’t companies just use them? Why do people pay Mr. Smith? Cui bono?

Obviously there’s a difference between a press release and news. By masquerading as any other article, NewsUSA features take advantage of the prestige and trust of the organization that runs them. In doing so, they make print press just a little bit more like the B-roll/VNR hell that is television news, and a little bit less like the “I saw it, I checked it, I vouch for it” print media we know.

And trust.

Crazy Commercials

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Tonight I watched some of that crap TV that’s sucked me in. And yeah, it was not so great, but it was the commercials that really left me scratching my head, including:

  1. MetLife car insurance. Right after boasting you get “full replacement cost” for your car, they’re noting there’s no “depreciation deductible.” Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but the replacement cost of your vehicle will go down each year because of depreciation. So isn’t that already priced in to your benefit — by definition?
  2. Canon Digital Rebel XT. Quick, what’s the official truck of the NFL? Give up? I have no idea, either — and I couldn’t care less. Why do companies continue to spend money on these deals? Unless it’s some sort of cross-promotional requirement with the NFL, I’m baffled as to why companies like Canon would use their own commercials to boast they’re the “official camera of the NFL.” Really, who cares? Is there any research that says being the “official” anything converts sales? (Other than jerseys and such, of course.)
  3. Tide Coldwater. Tide makes a big deal about how you could save “up to $63 a year” in energy costs by washing your clothes in cold instead of hot. They even have a savings calculator to help you estimate how much! Except how about this math: Tide’s $63/yr figure is based on 7 loads/wk. So that’s 7×52 = 364 loads/yr. A 50 fl. oz regular Tide goes for $6 (the cold water version may be more) and lasts for 16 loads. So you’ll need 364/16 =~ 23 bottles ($138.) Compare this to something like All “Small & Mighty”, which is a more concentrated liquid. The same $6 gets you enough for 32 loads, so you can do your 364 loads with ~12 bottles for $72. That’s a savings of $66 — more than Tide’s “up to” $63.

See, this is why I shouldn’t watch TV.

An Internet Moment

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

The Internet gives so very many things, but one area where it’s weak is context — or so it seems. For example, today I was doing a little research on a site that interested me, and I wondered: who’s behind this? How big is their operation? As we all know, it’s easy to create a facade online.

So I dug into the site a little bit. The traffic numbers were pretty good. The site had plenty of inbound links. The domain was registered with a “Care of” address, but the site itself provided this Chicago address: 3540 N. Southport Ave, with an (office? suite? apartment?) number. Not being too familiar with Southport Av., I pulled up Google Maps in satellite view. Assuming the geocoding was correct, 3540 was a pretty big building. That would make sense, given the additional number, but what type was it?

I plugged the same address into Amazon’s A9 Yellow Pages, and I had my answer: 3540 is a UPS Store, and in fact was a former Mailboxes, Etc., home of P.O. box-style mail drops.

Of course, I could have reached the same conclusion by simpling Googling the address, but that’s the beauty of it: just sitting here on my lazy ass, I have all sorts of resources at my fingertips, and I barely have to move to get ’em.

Product Placement Pt. II

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

So TV shows like “The Contender” are the product placement champs? Not if you ask the folks over at NewsUSA. NewsUSA, a “feature placement” service, offers editors “copyright free” material for newspapers, radio stations, and the Web. Media outlets are free to use the material and edit it however they wish — with one small caveat: the sponsor’s name should be retained.

Now, these are not those faux-article ads that run with a small “Advertisement” label. These are articles intended to be run as regular features, including stories such as “7 Tips on Preventing Identity Theft.” That’s a NewsUSA sample article, also available in bottom-tier papers as news.

The problem is, it’s not all papers like the Moneysaver Lewis-Clark Edition. If NewsUSA’s FAQ is to be believed, they’ve placed stories in major outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and the company’s client list certainly has some major organizations.

Now NewsUSA is looking to take things to the next level with an “editor rewards program“: in addition to saving the time of actually assigning a writer to a story, those editors who use NewsUSA will now earns points for portable DVD players, gas grills and even major kitchen appliances.

If this sort of thing catches on, we can all look forward to news stories such as “Movies Delivered to Your Door” (pdf), a piece examining movies-by-mail which manages to omit any mention of Netflix, by far the largest company in the business. I suppose if Netflix (or Green Cine) don’t like it, they’ll just have to buy their own articles.

Product Placement Pt. I

Monday, December 5th, 2005

No time for a clever title, my brain’s still trying to process this one:

Low-Rated Reality Show Had High-Rated Product Placements (StudioBrief)
The shortlived reality series “The Contender” was the champ when it came to product placements during the first nine months of this year, according to Nielsen Research’s Place Views. According to the measuring service, the NBC reality series (which reportedly cost $2 million per episode to produce but attracted only a small audience) recorded 7,514 product placements between its premiere in February and its finale in May. By contrast, the second-place holder, Fox’s “American Idol,” presented 3,497 product placements. The WB’s “What I Like About You” ranked third with 2,544, followed by ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” with 2,480 and CBS’s “King of Queens” with 2,139.

Now I’ve never seen “The Contender”, so maybe it’s really obvious if you’ve watched the show, but how is that possible? From what I can tell, the show had 17 episodes during its run. I’m pretty sure it was an hour long, so that’s:
17 x 42.5 min x 60 sec/min = 43,350 sec / 7,514 placements = 5.77 sec/placement

Now, of course that’s an average, and no doubt they counted the same product over and over. But still, I wonder about the methodolgy: does each “scene” with a product count as a new placement? Each camera angle? Each person using it? How on Earth do they count these things?

More importantly, what do advertisers actually expect to get out of this arrangement? If you only get a fraction of over 7,000 appearances, is that really better than just buying a damn commercial?