The film Cloverfield, released in 2008 and made with a budget of $25,000,000, made serious bank at the box office gaining seven times its budget and breaking the 100 million dollar barrier. A monster film with a then-new style of presentation – the shaky cam effect – might sound not that different from any other monster film even with the gimmick. But this one’s really different. This movie is one of the first ones to successfully utilize viral marketing.

How did they do it? Well by not showing what the monster look like! That must made many people have an itch to find out what the heck is destroying the Statue of Liberty. The studio even kept knowledge about the film secret even from the online community. This was done partly because monster films generally don’t sell well in America and that viral marketing back then wasn’t as prevalent as today. The sudden appearance of the trailer for the film fueled media speculation over the film’s plot, ranging from the highly plausible (a new Godzilla film) to the highly unlikely (a live-action Voltron, although that would have been totally cool!). The film also drew alternate reality game enthusiasts that followed the viral marketing campaign.

I would seriously love a live-action Voltron movie. Seriously.

Puzzle websites were released to promote the film with pictures from the movie. An official website was eventually created which contained a trailer. A drink named Slusho! served as part of the viral marketing campaign to add to the mythology of the film. Viral websites for Slusho! and a Japanese drilling company named Tagruato were also launched. There are also other websites like Jamieandteddy.com and 1-18-08.com that contain hints at the contents of the movie.

... and eight will send you to Heaven's gate.

I liked how the director of the film described the campaign as “almost like tentacles that grow out of the film and lead, also, to the ideas in that film.” I think that it was a brilliant move to have prospective viewers have a unique experience before watching the film and after. Viral campaigns like these can make the movie-going experience richer.

To all who haven’t seen the movie, this is how the monster looks like:

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Posted by: Justine | September 24, 2010

Matters Of Memetic Proportions

Lol cats. The Star Wars kid. Charlie bit my finger. All your base are belong to us.

I know you have heard of these things before. Maybe you are amused by them or maybe sick of them. They are what you call Internet memes.

It's all about sharing.

The Internet meme is a concept that spreads rapidly via the Internet. It is the spreading of a digital file or a hyperlink from one person to other people using

Internet tools such as blogs, email, social networking sites, instant messaging, forums, and others. They are mostly madeup of jokes, a rumor, a photoshopped or quirky unedited image, a website, a video clip or animation, a weird story and many more that may interest a certain number of people.

An Internet meme can be considered an inside joke that a huge number of people are in on. Who among you know Mamzar the great and his kill now ask later policy? No one? That’s okay. It’s an inside joke so most probably not a lot of people will get it but when they get it, they get it HARD. By the way, a meme is pronounced like cream, not like Bebe (you know, the shirt that stretches up there).

Internet memes may stay in some of the may evolve over time, mostly through parody versions and comments that are funny. Internet memes can come and go as quickly as they spread. They are spread voluntarity so you know that the one sharing actually was into that kind of thing. Memes can be utilized in viral marketing to create buzz for a product or service. Memes are cost-effective and using one can be considered as a sign of internet savvy. “Will it blend?” has been a recurring meme in the Internet for some time now and has been a great help in marketing the blender company.

Two mighty memes combine!

Love them or hate them, as long as there is a funny story to tell and people willing to share them, memes are here to stay and spread.

Puppy Power! Onwards!

Posted by: Justine | August 8, 2010

Awesomesauce: THAT Old Spice Commercial

Watch this:

This is how you market to this generation.

This commercial, originally shown during this year’s Super Bowl, became the most talked about Super Bowl commercial, has been viewed 17 million on times on Youtube, been featured on countless television shows, talked about on many radio shows, been shared countless times on Facebook and other social networking sites, and coaxed women to buy Old Spice so that their men can smell like the man their man can smell like. It’s so viral that even though the commercial has never been aired in our country, many of you who are reading this blog have probably watched and rewatched it before reading this post. This ad has captured my attention than any other ad before it.

The appeal of this ad can be broken down to these: the screaming bravado and manliness of the “man your man can smell like” the fact that the ad is done with just one continuous shot the fact that he seems to do everything so effortlessly the fact that no computer effects have been used except for the tickets turning into diamonds the man’s otherworldly voice who some claimed that if God has a voice, He would sound like him and the huge amount of awesome that these elements make when they are finally combined.

Another thing that I liked about Old Spice’s ad campaign is that they answer to their fans literally and in the most awesome way possible on Youtube: through video responses.

The Man himself answers to the interesting questions of Youtube users through many video responses wearing his signature white towel. It’s just awesome that they actually take time to talk to fans and it shows that social media is the way to go when trying to reach out to the fanbase of a product or brand. This is an example of marketing a product through conversing with the fans of the brand in such a humorous and amusing manner. If other brands would take the time to converse with their customers the world would surely be a cooler (figuratively) place to live in.

And another thing I liked about the ad campaign: they made another one!

Swan Dive!

I actually loved this ad more than the one before it after seeing it because it looks a lot more difficult to do and because of the level of awesome things that the Man did effortlessly (like walking on water, the Swan Dive!, or landing on a motorcycle after swan diving). We can argue about which one is better but we can always be sure of one thing: both are awesome!

Fun fact: This ad campaign actually made me buy Old Spice. And at least one girl loves it. 😀

Posted by: Justine | August 5, 2010

My First Shooter: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

[ Online gaming has exploded in the last few years because of the success of Xbox Live and the proliferation of faster internet connections. Online gaming has become a way for me to keep in touch with my cousins and friends in a way that other forms of social media can’t provide. This blog is about a game that I still play up to now because of its online multiplayer mode and because it is just an awesome game. ]

It was late 2008. I have just acquired a brand new gaming PC. I still have no idea as to what I’m going to play aside from the PC ports of big budget console hands that I wanted to play. Coincidentally, my cousin has a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Since I got nothing else to play, I installed the game. I just installed it just for the sake of having a game on my PC that is not named Solitaire. I wasn’t really fond of the first person shooter genre I remember as a lie, I became nauseated whenever I try to play the very first Unreal Tournament game. It was very different from the console games that I play. Back then, I consider Counter Strike as a mindless shooting game where you just kill and kill (the actions of the players themselves diedo’t do anything much to change my perception). It also didn’t help that I didn’t have a computer and that I only play MMOs in gaming cafes (Ragnarok Online was very big back then). Oh well, back to the present. After successfully installing the game, I immediately started the campaign (I have people only play the multiplayer mode). Of course at first I was easy target for the enemy terrorists since I still haven’t got acquainted with the mouse and keyboard combo and because things were too frantic for me. I wasn’t expecting much but boy, I was in for the ride of my life!

Looks pretty badass to me.

Having no background in somewhat story-focused FPSs, I was pleasantly surprised that a story can be told effectively in-game and without cinematic cutscenes. Having to experience things for yourself is better than a wall of text or a non-interactive cutscene. The story was pretty enthralling and the characters were very memorable, especially Captain Price. Ahhhh, Captain Price, you and your magnificent moustache and your charming British accent. He is the classic example of the battle-hardened old man who can still kick ass.

Such a magnificent mustache, isn't it?

Almost every mission in the campaign was exciting, partly because I have no basis of comparison but mostly because they truly are action-packed. A memorable mission for me was when you get to play as Captain Price in a sniping mission. It was so bloody difficult for someone totally new to the FPS scene (also true for everyone I knew who have played the game) and all because he has to carry his injured superior though an army of radical ultranationalists. But the most memorable scene for me was the mission where you are caught in a nuclear explosion. It was really memorable for me because you did in one of your supposed glory moments -rescuing an injured ally from a downed helicopter- and the events after that wherein you can see everything is destroyed and there is a mushroom cloud in the middle of the city before your eventual death. It was really different because I haven’t played a game before where a playable character dies halfway through the game, it was really a total shock for me. After putting bullets in Zakhaev’s (the leader of the Russian ultranationalists) cranium and finishing the campaign, I was still hungry for more.

I was really surprised when I was suddenly put into a mission after the credits finished rolling. “Mile High Club” was probably the most tense of all the missions in Call of Duty 4 because any mistake can instantly mean game over and there is a very short time limit but I finished it the very first time I tried without dying because I was so pumped up after finishing the campaign. Today, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare still holds a special place in my heart. Even though I got into other shooters like Left 4 Dead, Crysis, Counter Strike: Source, and other big names (heck, I even played Halo 1’s seven year old PC port just to see if it was as good as it was pumped up to be – sadly it didn’t age well), I still go back to Modern Warfare’s campaign and a few rounds of multiplayer here and there. Why? Because it was my first FPS and our “firsts” always hold special places in our hearts.

Oscar Mike! Some other military jargon involving letters from the alphabet! Onwards!

Posted by: Justine | June 26, 2010

Tears, I Have Them: Toy Story 3


15 years ago, I watched the first Toy Story as a kid. Woody was my favorite character and of course I had toys of the cast courtesy of MacDonald’s and their Happy Meals. It was a simple time when playing is the most important thing to a child and responsibilities are in a far off future far far away.
This week, 15 years later, I watched the final chapter in the Toy Story Trilogy, Toy Story 3, with some friends who also watched the other movies as children. Read on as I muse about the film in a spoiler-lite blog.

First thing’s first. “But Justine, what does it have to do with New Social Media?” you may ask. It has everything to do with the film (well, not really)! First off, in the movie, there was a scene wherein a triceratops was using an IM application to chat with another dinosaur in another house. New social media! Andy, the kid in the first two movies who has now grown up, used a cellphone, which is another new social medium! And in real life, social networking sites were used to market the film. Who’s off topic now? (*smirks*)

The film quickly cuts to the chase after establishing the premise that Andy was leaving for college and the toys decided to… well I just can’t go into detail with the story. I want everyone to watch it for themselves. I will just talk about the pervading themes in the movie.

"I'm mouth agape at this movie."

Nostalgia plays heavily in this film. From the opening montage of Andy playing with the toys, I was quickly reminded of the first two movies and how I loved them as a kid. Seeing old friends after a very long time in much better graphics made me long for the days when life was simple and I have no

problems. Those were the times that we cannot take back and experience again.

Seeing childhood friends after a very long time.

Friendship. The whole film generally revolves around how the ragtag group of toys journey through hardships together, putting their friendship above all. It is their friendship that powers them in overcoming obstacles and preserving their group, just like how me and my friends try to always be there for each other through thick and thin. The scene in the movie that started my river of tears was when the toys where about to be melted in a big ball of flame. Everybody was still struggling to escape when suddenly Buzz held Jesse’s hand, assuring her they will be together no matter what without saying a word. Everybody just held hands, even Woody, who was the most adamant that they go back to Andy. This show of resignation to a fate that they don’t ever want to encounter made me cry because I’m going through the same thing right now and I’m just steeling myself for the eventual fallout of what is to come. The film just reached into me unlike most films that I watched recently. Everything just felt genuine even though the characters are made of plastic.

Cowboy and astronaut, best friends forever. (Until the Brokeback Incident)

Moving on. As we grow up, we have to and must learn to outgrow the things that we have when we were younger. Most of us have given up toys and role-playing by ourselves. It’s just a natural part of ourselves. Letting go of something that we loved dearly for long is very difficult as portrayed in the film. Some of the scenes that made me cry was those of Andy letting go of his toys and moving on to college. I was reminded of when I was about to leave for college, when my Mommy cried while saying that “I’m a big boy now.” It’s just too painful to realize that you can’t bring some parts of you that you loved when you go to the “next level”. The end of the movie perfectly demonstrated the heartbreaks of choosing to let go something for someone to move on completely and for another to attain happiness.

"Goodbye, old friends. I need to move on without you."

If anyone has a shadow of a doubt whether to watch this film or not, all I could say to them is that it’s a must-see film, one the best I’ve seen in years. And yes, it featured new social media (albeit briefly). I urge everyone who ever loved a toy when they were young or have held something very dear to them before outgrowing that something to watch Toy Story 3; it is the graceful coda to a symphony of beautiful lights and sounds that always brings the child out of all of us.

Onwards... to infinity and beyond!

10 years ago in the relatively distant past, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, wrote on his views about the future of the Internet in an essay. In the year 2000 AD, the Internet was still in a nascent stage. Geocities was still popular, AOL was king, Yahoo was THE search engine, and people can’t call using the telephone and surf the Internet at the same time. It was during this time that Gates was advocating the spread of internet connections around the globe (in a cynical view: More computers = more OS and other software = more money for Microsoft). Gates said that there will be beneficial and detrimental things that the Internet will bring in the future. How did the Internet progress through the decade? We’ll look into that now. Hop into the DeLorean as I muse about the Good, the Bad, and the Fugly of the Internet through the decade!

Let's go back to the... well, present.

First, let’s check out what I think is the Good that the Internet brought in a span of a decade. The streaming of media is a good example. Sites like Youtube and Last.fm. Youtube fostered the creativity of many people and popularized user-generated content. I’m happy that Youtube was invented because where else can we put the epic videos that we made in Sir Chong’s class for all the world to see? (Don’t go too literal on me, Vimeo.)  Wikipedia is another site that flourished because of user-generated content. It helped in the aggregation of knowledge easier, which in turn helped students like me in research work. Social networking sites are also good examples of the use of the Internet as a means of communicating with people. With the use of Facebook, I was able to turn acquaintances into friends and keep in touch with my old friends who I have not seen in a very long time. I use Facebook as some sort of digital journal because I get to get my thoughts across many people and it also acts as a digital backup of things that I record on my personal journal. Another good thing that flourished in the Internet within the decade is the blog. I use my blog to express my views that cannot be read in a single glance and expound on my thoughts that I think are worthy for discussion. I also like to read the blogs of my classmates because in those blogs, I can read what insight they have about a certain issue that they cannot obviously bring up in a casual conversation for brevity’s sake. These are the good things that the Internet brought within the decade that I use personally and if I would think of a word that best embodies the Good in one word, it would be communication. The Internet made communication easier. Physical barriers are bypassed. We can keep in touch with other people instantaneously without being in the same room. This planet of ours has become a lot less lonely. Good job, Internet.

Bravo Internet, bravo.

Second, let’s check out the Bad. I think that online piracy is one the bad things that the Internet brought with it. With the ever-increasing speed of internet connections available, piracy has become more rampant than ever. This resulted in the entertainment industry losing a ton of money and them taking less risks when it comes to entertainment products. Every successful product gets a sequel or a spin-off; almost nothing new. Of course I can’t cast the first stone when it comes to piracy; I had my fair share of illegal downloads. Almost everyone had. But I have not illegally downloaded anything within a month. I think that that’s a good start. Baby steps, just baby steps.

Shiver me timbers! I miss my blankey!

Another is the proliferation of internet pornography. Every fetish you can think of can be found on the internet; from the common on t.v. foot fetish, to the I-never-thought-there-was-such-a-thing nape fetish. Yes, there are site blocking applications used by concerned people or by parents but the majority of students here in the Philippines rely on internet cafes for internet access and about all of those shops don’t have site-blocking applications. I believe that children can never be 100% safe from internet pornography. As long as their curiosity about the matter is not quelled through proper education, we can never tell how grave access to pornography can affect them. Save them from the horrors of Bicurious George.

This is far safer than the things you would encounter on the internet.

And another is spam. Tell me anyone who enjoys receiving spam. None right?! Sometimes when I get spam in my inbox instead of an important message that I’m waiting for, I feel like whacking the sender on the head with the canned good.

Simply annoying, isn't it?

And last, the Fugly. These are for me the worst things that the Internet brought to the world. One is Internet fraud. Evil people scamming other people of  their hard-earned money through various schemes. I value hard work and honesty so I think that these scammers are pests that need to be culled immediately so that they cannot victimize the many naive people who don’t have a clue about internet security. I have an experience with scamming but only a minor one. The incident happened in Ragnarok Online (I know you played it, yes you do!) where I was scammed in a trade for an item. I got literally nothing in the trade while the scammer got away with my precious item. Totally uncool! From then on, I became more careful with my online accounts so that what I worked hard on will not go to waste again just because of some scammer or hacker.

Another example of the Fugly that the Internet brought with it is cyber bullying. It is a serious problem in other countries where children and teenagers are so affected by these cyber bullyings that they commit suicide. I think that suicide is frankly the most stupid thing that a human being can do. Just because somebody is telling you things that you are not or you think that your problems are to heavy to handle or you believe that your reason for living is gone doesn’t mean that your death is the answer. Living well is the best revenge. Remember: All bullies are compensating for something; most about their southern regions. Remind them about that everyday with a wink, you’ll surely feel better. Although I never personally experienced cyber bullying, I’ve seen people writing inflammatory remarks on other people’s walls on Facebook and people status messaging about their hate for someone (even explicitly stating their names)  for all the world to see. Maybe those are carry-overs from the low brow arguments on Friendster, I really don’t know but I think it’s a form of cyber bullying, especially if the posts are all lies. I hope that Filipinos are more resilient to cyber bullying and that our statistics won’t be the same as America’s.

A cyber(netic) bully... of bad guys!

The last Fugly that the internet brought with it is the prevalent invasion of privacy. Although setting up an account in a social networking site means that you’re giving up somehow some privacy, it doesn’t mean that the sites should use your private information for monetary gain. I think that the recent controversy on Facebook wherein the CEO of Facebook was on record when he stated that the users are dumb for trusting him with their personal information is a good example. Even if he said that before Facebook became big, I think that that lack of concern for privacy can be pretty scary. I have a lot of personal information on Facebook and I don’t like that my information to be sold to advertisers. A related experience: I attended a leadership seminar in UST last year. There was a spokesman for Yahoo Philippines in attendance. He revealed to us that by using the personal information found in our Yahoo accounts and our surfing trends, they can tailor-make
ad spots for advertisers. I think this is a gross disregard for the privacy of their subscribers. I for one found it to be off-putting. They just practically sold my personal information! I hope that this practice is not widespread amongst all the big names on the Internet because where can I put personal information without the fear of it being used? I firmly believe that the trust that I give them should be taken care of with great respect.

"We can see you."

And so we’ve seen the things that I think represent the Good, the Bad, and the Fugly of the Internet. Bill Gates was right, just like the innovations like the radio and the television that came before it, the Internet has has changed our lives. Communication became easier, doing business became faster, education became easier to disseminate. It provided me with a means of escape from reality and also a way to connect effectively with the world. What an oxymoron. Although the Internet brought problems along with it, they are still outweighed by the benefits. After being so accustomed to the Internet, I can’t imagine a life without it. My life was changed by the Internet. For better or worse.

The Great Escape. "Onwards!"

Posted by: Justine | June 16, 2010

You caught me at a good time…

…because I’m now introducing my brand new blog! Isn’t that exciting?! No? Well that doesn’t matter because you’re about to read the most awesome blog known to mankind (if by mankind you mean that there was a nuclear holocaust and I’m the only person left then yes, this is the most awesome blog known to mankind)!

Prepare for awesomeness! (Maybe.)

Oh, I forgot to introduce my self. I’m Justine Raphael T. Vendil, a senior student taking up BA Organizational Communication at the University of the Philippines, Manila. I was born and raised in Bulacan where the air is clean, all the people are asleep by 9pm, and where you can walk the streets without the fear of getting mugged.

I have a wide range of interests, probably born from the fact that I am a wide reader; I always tried to read every piece of literature that we have in our house when I was young but today, not so much (I blame the Internet). I have read our encyclopedia set about ten times over when I was a kid and I find Wikipedia to be quite entertaining if only because of the effort of some people to compile obscure information about the things I’m interested in. My interests mostly focus on videogames, music, and film.

When it comes to music, I definitely classify myself as an Anglophile because I find the British rock music scene to be really interesting because most good British bands strive to differentiate themselves from one another and to continuously reinvent themselves  from album to album. My favorite artists are Keane, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, The Killers, Coldplay, The Last Shadow Puppets, Snow Patrol, The Kooks, Bloc Party, Gorillaz, and Razorlight.

This is the flag that I pledge allegiance to (only in music, of course).

When it comes to movies, I often go for comedy movies because I need a hearty laugh once in a while (something that a paper about Philippine politics doesn’t provide, obviously). I also sometimes go for comic book films because I want to see how my favorite comic book characters translate into another medium (The Dark Knight is the best while his sometimes lover, sometimes enemy Catwoman has the worst adaptation ever).

Holy Terror, Batman! (How can this be unawesome?)

This blog is actually my second blog. I maintain a blog over at Destructoid.com, a videogame blog. In there I write posts about one of my favorite hobbies, videogames,  how they influence my life, and different topics that concern them; be it their soundtracks, their art style, or their validation as an art form. I personally find videogames to be more compelling than movies because of the choices presented in them and how interactive everything can be. Videogames are not just made for kids, a lot of creative minds put a lot of effort in creating games that can be labeled as masterpieces, the latest of which provide an avenue for convergence with other people around the globe through the Internet. I’ll get to that in greater detail next time.

This game both inspired me and helped me get through a tough time. This is no Hannah Montana.

“The world ends with you. If you want to enjoy life, expand your world. You gotta push your horizons out as far as they’ll go.”

– Sanae Hanekoma

This is a quote that I live by. I realized that my worldview is so limited, so rigid. I didn’t take any risks, I was content in staying on the safe side. But the recent happenings in my life changed all of that. I opened up my mind, I became more adventurous, more willing to take risks. Now I always try to enjoy the moment, to be more optimistic about life. This was partly inspired by the game The World Ends With You, a story of a boy who zones out everything and everyone, claiming that all he needs is himself. After an incredible journey, he learned how to open up to others and to enjoy every moment. I was playing that game during a part of my life that eerily resembles how the protagonist started that’s why I was really inspired by it. I can say that I also made a journey (albeit not that incredible) towards loving life and all that it can offer just like the protagonist. My outlook in life has totally changed for the better.

Oh, I almost forgot to explain my blog title! The name Working Class Snob came from the fact that I’m nowhere near being rich but I’m also not dirt poor (yet) and yet I’m very choosy in everything that I would spend time or money into (mostly time) and the fact that I hate bandwagons. One of my friends always tells me that I’m a snob especially when it comes to music (I just said that I’m not a fan of eighties music :)). Maybe I am a little when it comes to music and films, but I’m definitely not a snob to people :).

My long introduction is now over :). I’m looking forward to the coming days and to everybody’s thoughts and I also hope that you would look forward to my blog. Help me keep things interesting with your ideas, I know all of you have something meaningful to say. Let’s help expand each other’s horizons. Anyways, off I go!

Onwards!

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