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Arrested Development posters prove power of inside jokes

Veiled in constant secrecy, the fourth season of Arrested Development will be released in its entirety online, but is their use of inside jokes a good approach? Given their fan base, no, it’s brilliant.



arrested development

arrested development

Arrested Development advertising intrigues

When marketing a brand, the majority of ad campaigns attempt to appeal to new customers and broaden their audience, but Arrested Development has done just the opposite in promoting the May 26 Netflix-only debut of the entire 15-episode fourth season. The internet will likely be quite slow the weekend of the 26th as Arrested Development fans binge on the entire season after waiting for many, many years to see in its full glory.

TVLine‘s Michael Auselio got a first look at three of the posters to promote the series which will be seen around New York and Los Angeles starting next week. All three posters feature inside jokes from past seasons, references only die hard fans (read: those waiting for May 26th) and continues to raise excitement levels of viewers.




Arrested Development is spoiler-free, so are their ads

Even with no trailer and only few spoilers like the fact that SNL’s Kristen Wiig will appear on the show, as will Isla Fisher, Seth Rogen, Conan O’Brien and others. But not much else has leaked other than the actual stair car being spotted on a flatbed riding down the highway, potentially confirming its presence in the series, but the cast and crew has kept a lid on the series.

The posters continue with the hush-hush theme about the series, and instead of promoting future events to be seen on the show as most shows’ promotional materials do, they refuse to give any hints, rather reference inside jokes fans are already familiar with, but by doing so, the posters have gone viral online, simply fanning the flames of an existing fan base.

Why inside jokes and secrecy are brilliant in this case

Should the show think inside the box and broaden their appeal? Are the posters a mistake, alienating potential fans who have no idea why there is always money in the banana stand or why Tobias blue himself?

Not at all – this series will be enjoyed by old fans, but by the end of May, social networks will be lit up with fans screaming about the show and how amazing it is after having had to wait for so long. Inside jokes can be risky, but for a cult classic that will be a hit the moment viewers tune in to Netflix, it’s the perfect approach, as proven by the web’s reaction to the posters.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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  1. Tinu

    April 11, 2013 at 12:19 am

    You’re right. It’s incredibly brilliant. NO TOUCHING.


    April 16, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I love this “subtle to some’ form of marketing, or as you call it “jokes and secrecy”. You see this in many television sitcoms where they have a secret cameo, with a message that says little to most, but to that particular actors fans base, can trigger an emotion or has some relevance. It’s kind of like a secret club. Whats great about this, is that the rumor buzz created by the people that get it, takes off like wild fire, while the people that don’t get it, start hunting for the answers, which are most of the time leaked by an insider creating additional murmurs. An example of a company that does a great job of creating that underlying message that’s only privy to few, is DreamWorks. If you are a baby boomer, the underlying messages in the Movie Shrek, mean something far different to you than to your child.

    Arrested Development
    Lucille: Get me a vodka rocks.
    Michael: Mom, it’s breakfast.
    Lucille: And a piece of toast.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?



blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.



Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.



Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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