Negativity Solutions 4.7
Although the odds of getting offed by a co-worker "gone postal"
are far more remote than those of winning a lotto jackpot, a New
York software company wants your boss to be on the safe side. Stroz
Associates is in the final stages of developing software that will
identify violence-prone employees so that they can "get help" before
they reach for a gun.
The company's software will scan employees' e-mail for telltale
signs of discontent. As
Eric Shaw, a former CIA psychologist working for Stroz, explained
to MSNBC: "For example, if the number of negatives--words like not,
no, never--goes up quickly, that could be an indicator of increased
Nice to know they're thinking of you up in Human Resources.
Adventures in Marketing 5.4
Pedestrians in major cities probably took little notice of a guerrilla
marketing campaign carried out last month by IBM until city officials
and upscale merchants started belly-aching about it. Cryptic messages
consisting of a peace sign, a heart and a grinning penguin were
stenciled on sidewalks in San Francisco, New York, Chicago
Appearing to all the world to be the work of a Phish fan with too
much time on his hands, the message was in fact a logogram for "Peace,
love, and Linux," an advertising slogan for a new IBM operating
system. The symbols were supposed to be done in biodegradable chalk,
which would wash away in the rain, but officials in several cities
complained that they had to be removed by municipal crews. San Francisco
and Chicago are charging IBM for the work.
According to a report by IDGNet, many pedestrians were befuddled
as to what the ads were supposed to convey. Subsequent publicity
has taken care of that, however. Together with its recent corporate
report designed to look like the fashionable literary magazine McSweeney's,
the campaign points to a new marketing imperative at Big Blue: Get
hip with the thinking kids.
It's almost refreshing, then, to see the unvarnished workings of
an R.J. Reynolds marketing campaign dubbed "Project SCUM." According
to SF Weekly, recently discovered documents discuss the company's
campaign to appeal to two kinds of Bay Area smokers: gays in the
Castro district and the down-and-out of the Tenderloin.
The campaign, conducted during the '90s, was uncovered by researcher
Anne Landman among documents released in a liability case. SCUM
is an acronym for "subculture urban marketing," though in the final
document Landman found "SCUM" was crossed out and replaced with