Blogalysis of Tiger Blood (#TigerBlood)

Confused? You’re not alone, but I’ll shed some light on that which I can.

Continuing with past habits of making up words “Blogalysis” can be described as analysis of a topic via blog, which will undoubtedly be composed of mainly superfluous verbiage, obscure digressions, and unsubstantiated opinions, with just a sprinkle of valuable insight hidden among the abstractions. So here goes, official blogalysis, take 1.

If you haven’t been living under the proverbial rock this past week, you have undoubtedly heard the new buzzword(s) “Tiger Blood” referenced within the inane, hyperbolic, drug induced ramblings of Bud Fox AKA Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn AKA Charlie Harper AKA Carlos Irwin Estévez AKA Charlie Sheen (bonus points if you know which of these is his real name). Ok, so the exact nature of said comments is still under debate, with some considering Chuck’s comments as a fully conscious portrayal of an uncensored character that is Charlie Sheen. Personally, I can’t say I completely disagree. But I’m not here to argue the merit of such comments, but to relate the commentator (and possibly explain his meteoric rise to Klout Valhalla) to a recent trend I’ve witnessed catch on in the arena of advertising, as a real world personification of characters increasingly utilized by major brands as advocates to hawk their product in whatever sensational, absurd world it is that they all reside together.

First, some social media stats:
Following my last post, urging loyal adherents to follow me on Twitter (@JDWhittington) and bump up my Klout, I was encouraged to see my score bump up 45% in two weeks. Following repeated rants and being axed from network televisions highest watched show, Sir Charles has seen his Klout rise from ZERO to 93, by my calculations, an increase of approximately infinity %.

I hope by now, my blog notwithstanding, everyone understands how big the Sheenomenon has become. I would contend that this series of events, although Sheenomenal, was not completely unforeSheen (Ok I’m done), and recent trends in advertising may have paved the way for such a character to gain unimaginable popularity in such a short period of time. I will deem this trend: the “Invasion of Caricatures of Oneself” (catchy right?). “Caricature” can be defined as “exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics” (Thanks Merriam and Webster, I love any definition that utilizes the word “ludicrous”). Recently, through the advertisement of countless brands (well at least 6 I can count), we have been exposed to these caricatures as fictitious brand ambassadors, praising the features of their products/services, almost as much as they praise their own well, ludicrous, selves. Here are the case studies:

The Old Spice Man: possibly the most well-known of the genre

Keith Stone: possibly the only “man” who think Keystone is smooth

John Jameson: a less “in your face” approach, making the premise seem almost mythical

Buddy Mignon: a more viral focused effort, as he remains the unnamed crooner in Taco Bell’s commercials

Naomi Price & William Shatner: Priceline has rolled out almost 3 of these characters, including Captain Kirk. This seems to be the only feminine representation

Most Interesting Man in the World: possibly the originator of them all, and probably the spark for Dos Equis being the “most liked” beer brand on Facebook (narrowly edging Bud Light). He doesn’t always drink beer… so don’t trust his opinions on beer

As you witness, these personalities pretty much follow the same model, which is where the Sheen Bean comes in. Same recipe, with a dash of real life existence thrown in! But look even closer, and we see this in more places. Reality TV: with “Jersey Shore” overtaking “The Real World” as MTV’s marquee reality TV show, how much of this is even reality anymore? These aren’t regular, everyday strangers, as the original Real World was advertised, but masquerading fictional caricatures of everything terrible about that stretch of fake beach in New Jersey. Professional Athletics: with athletes like “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” -LeBron James, “I think I’m the best fighter ever. I respect Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. But as of now, I feel I’m the best.” -Floyd Mayweather, and “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon” –Cam Newton when we used to idolize Barry Sanders for his sportsmanship and John Stockton because his doppelganger any goofy soccer dad.

Now, instead of identifying with somewhat “real people” like Jared from Subway, we want to be entertained by a character who really stands out. But only way they can be heard through the noise in an age when any fool with a web-cam and Twitter can make a racket, is by screaming the loudest, and banging together some pots and pans while they’re at it. It’s the same reason we flock to Charlie and his Tiger Blood, Goddesses, ustream rants of self proclaimed genius. It’s different, it’s new, it’s almost refreshing (well not the blood, literally).

So for now, keep it coming Charlie, and whomever else. Not that I necessarily agree with the ideology, or enjoy the content, but simply that I’m cautiously curious as to the precedent this behavior sets; and to what new lengths one will need to go in order to differentiate oneself from this new assembly of caricatures. That is, of course, unless the captain of #TeamSheen himself, actually is insane. (This video is convincing) Although I’ve heard it said… “The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.” And I measure success exclusively by one’s Klout score.

Not just #Winning, #Dominating,

@JDWhittington

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Klouty With a Chance of Tweet-balls (@JDWhittington)

Disclaimer: I will be inserting multiple links and [explanations in brackets] throughout this post, in an effort to provide explanation for concepts which if gone undefined could prove to establish an irreversible air of ageism in said post, only to effectively halve my daily hits (represented by all my parents/aunts/uncles high-school/college friends/frenemies who frequent this blog). Ignore said links and explanations if you are under the age of 35, or know what Foursquare is.

Since the commencement of my four-month project a mere week ago, I’ve been both enraptured with and inundated in the worlds of digital strategy, social media, and mobile platforms. I spend the majority of my non-working time, and a bit of my working time, staying up to date with articles and trends. For someone who fancied himself well versed in such topics previously, I’ve admittedly come a long way since day one. I no longer feel the need to go to websites (really, kind of). If they don’t have an app, most likely, it’s off, or soon to be off my radar. Pretty soon, if useful data isn’t directly beamed into my brain via molecular altering waves, I simply won’t be inconvenienced with gathering it myself.

Is it odd that I follow [subscribe to] Mashable’s Social Media Twitter feed? Or that I get all of my Mashable Mobile news from my Mashable iPhone app? These are simply a few ironic examples, but they represent something that is trending in the real world. Smart phones to outnumber laptops by 2013? Believe it; if not earlier. And just a couple years ago mobile phones passed landlines in volume. IP addresses [your computer’s “internet name”] need to be reformatted to allow for more alpha-numeric possibilities because of the proliferation of web-accessing devices (phones)? Nuts.

But I digress… Through my research (and gentle encouragement of a colleague) I’ve decided it is necessary to join the land of Twitter. Only months ago, I was in the tribe that thought innovations in the Facebook newsfeed, and Google’s development of similar capabilities, would ultimately lead to the squelching of the little blue bird. Alas, it has not uttered its last tweet, and it doesn’t seem like the end is in sight. More people are now integrating these different capabilities instead of choosing one or the other, and people continue to jump @ the chance to integrate it into their business, and personal lives.

If this isn’t enough, there exist multiple measures of a persons social network influence, calculated by engagement in their Facebooking and Twittering activities (Klout being one of the premiere services). Naturally, I thought it might prove and interesting experiment to investigate my own. Having little to no activity thus far on 1/2 judged platforms, my score is less than impressive (20), but could definitely be worse. To give some perspective:

Barack Obama = 88
Ozzy Osbourne = 71
Justin Bieber = 100 (maxed out? really?)
Tiger Woods = 79
Snooki = 44
Snooki’s (hair) Poof = 49

Yes Snooki’s Poof [infamous reality TV star’s rat-nest-esque hair] has more Klout than Snooki [infamous reality TV star]. I would tend to agree

But maybe, one day, with your help, I can have more Klout than Snooki and or her Poof. If you are currently on Twitter, give me a follow (@JDWhittington), and if you’re not (and you’re probably not judging on the frequency of my blog posts being tweeted), you should consider signing up. It’s not going anywhere, and some of the information is actually valuable, or at least entertaining.

The Kolossus of Klout,

@JDWhittington

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Aries to Pisces, Without a Flux Capacitor

I’ve always found myself mildly intrigued with the concept of “the future”. Predicting it, forecasting it, traveling to it; many times for the end result of betting on it (who did you have in the big game by the way? Budwesier sponsors the Steelers (I usually base all wagers on my conditional employment with that company) so I unfortunately went with Big Ben (minus his wing men)). But really, the thought of hypothetical instances yet to take place, some of which inevitable, some improbable, yet others absolute; and the infinite factors which create these distinctions has tugged at my proverbial mind-strings for as long into the anti-future as I can remember. Usually, this theme may not prove blogworthy, however one overarching situation and two specific occurrences have ironically coincided to focus my thoughts in specifically in this temporal direction as of late…

The Overarching Situation
To preface, my past four weeks have been spent in St. Louis rotating through the different support functions housed here at the North American ABI Headquarters, including anything from Legal to Logistics and anything in between. The first few days (as well as quite a few days before them) have also been spent eagerly awaiting our project assignments which begin this February and last for the next four months. Where we would be, and what we would be doing has been quite figuratively up in the air. Naturally, this situation created an overall curiosity for all things future related, and in all likelihood encouraged association of some completely unrelated coincidences… cue segue…

Occurrence One
In one particular presentation form Zone Brewery Support (the department our 12 regional breweries reach out to if they need a bit of, well… support), our presenter was describing measurements of power our different breweries utilize, and upon mention of the word “megawatt” my mind naturally wandered to “gigawatt” and obviously related this to the famous movie quote “1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!” from the great Doctor Emmett Brown.

Ironic? No, probably not, but the mind thinkseth with the mind wantseth to thinkseth about.

Occurrence Two

The most shocking news in recent memory was released earlier last month, in which top astrological scholars have decreed I’ve been living a lie for my first two and half decades of life in assuming I am an Aries. Turns out, I am, in “fact”, a Pisces. So in one fell swoop, I have gone from “adventurous, energetic, courageous, enthusiastic, confident, dynamic and quick-witted” to “sensitive, compassionate, escapist, weak-willed and easily led” and frankly, I feel cheated.

I hereby refuse to accept my new fishy categorization as a matter of principle, and allow for anyone to arbitrarily pick whichever sign of the Zodiac suits their mood at that particular moment, then use that as a guiding light for monumental life decisions at their own discretion, particularly regarding relationships and gambling with retirement funds. Overall, this change has shattered years of built equity and unquestioning trust I have thrust at my daily horoscope, and thus disabled my ability to predict future occurrences based on the movement of extraterrestrial masses, and relate to the 1/12 of the human population who invariably share all the same personality traits as myself based solely on the relative position of the earth at the time of our birth. What the heck is an Ophiucus anyways? Regardless, another inarguable association with the future-state, which further developed my curiosity.

And finally the conclusion. After much anticipation, I have been stationed back in St. Louis for my four month project assignment, working both with the Region 5 (Missouri and some surrounding states) field sales office, along with the Digital Strategy and Marketing departments, on some top secret (not so much) work revolving around our strategy in the digital media space. I’m quite excited for an opportunity to foster my passion for all things internet/social media related, and get some quality blogging action in as well. More details regarding my project to follow in my next arbitrarily timed post. Until then…

Flux capacitor… fluxxing,

Whit

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Vail, Vegas, denVer, The Three V’s…

Since my dear friend ABuc so graciously called me out in his most recent post, promising that I would deliver an explanation for the events that have occurred over the past few weeks of radio silence from the blog-o-sphere, I have decided to placate his request, begrudgingly. In truth, I have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms without an outburst of incessant ramblings in recent memory. So in order to satisfy both my urges, Andrew’s appeal, and my most loyal adherent Riley’s repeated requests for a post, I construct this installment centering around three semi-recent events and maybe an aside or two thrown in.

Event 1- Santa Pub Crawl- Denver, CO

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, and the annual Budweiser Santa Pub Crawl took a stranglehold of the streets of downtown Denver. My roommate and I decided to attend, dressed in full garb of course, and witness the spectacle that lived up to expectations. Thousands of Santas and other Christmas themed characters lined the streets, packed the pubs, and donated a mountain of toys to local children in need.

Mounting toy collection at the first stop on the Santa Pub Crawl amidst a sea of St. Nicks


The "crawlers" begin to inundate unsuspecting pub patrons in holiday cheer and general rabblerousing


This unassuming "Just for Men Gel" Santa asked his identity be protected. Picture taken immediately after being asked "who has two thumbs and likes Budwesier?" (Answer "this guy")

Whoever said Santa like cookies and milk was dead wrong

Event 2- Vail Snow Daze- Vail, CO

A few weeks back I also had the opportunity to travel to Vail for their annual Snow Daze sponsored by who of course, Bud Light. This consists of a week of free concerts outside in Vail Village, featuring Dwight Yoakam, Mix Master Mike, OAR, and Weezer. After a few days of hitting the slopes I had the privilege of attending the Weezer concert on Sunday night, which brought back memories of Guitar Hero and middle school, and made for a bit of an unusual show.

Getting a bit of skiing in at Vail before the concert

Weezer on stage... for "Weezer off stage"... see below

Weezer front-man Rivers Cuomo decides to crawl through the crowd, hop up on top of the Port-o-John and beer some snowballs at crowd-members whilst serenading them with the timeless anthem “Beverly Hills”

After leading curious concert-goers and spotlight-operators on something of a wild goose chase, Rivers settles on the side of the video/sound booth scaffolding to conduct his rendition of the classic “Pork and Beans”

Event 3- Band of Buds 2010- Las Vegas, NV

On advice from my friend and STL roommate Andrew himself, three young GMTs (including Dharma) set out on a journey to the fabled land of Las Vegas (Spanish for “The Vegases”) to see what their fortunes had in store for them at the grand finale of the Budweiser “Band of Buds” competition. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, in which we three young men witnessed groups of friends from around the country, battle for their right to represent the bro-iest group of bros in all the land (as well as a huge chunk of cash with a Rolling Stone Magazine spread). After a scavenger hunt around a few iconic spots in sin city, a “newlyweds” style game show, and cheers-ing some Bud’s in-between, the Inglorious Budsters reigned supreme, and the three GMTs returned to reality with a great appreciation for the coordination involved in pulling off an event of such magnitude, all in the name of our flagship iconic brand.

One stop on the aforementioned “scavenger hunt” in which teams were required to execute tricks with the highly skilled dolphins

Another stop on the hunt, at which my "checking in" on multiple social media platforms sparked curiosity among my family and friends

The finish line was the "Rainman Suite" at Caesar's Palace, which curiously left us all with the inlcination to try our hand at blackjack soon after

The winning "Band" along with some of the celebrity judges

The surprise of the night, the concert following the announcement of the victorious team. The Dan Band (of “Old School” and “The Hangover” fame) graced us with their presence, adroit dance moves, and angelic voices. Here were some of the crowd favorites:

Three anonymous GMTs and one gracious host try their hand at rocking the Rolling Stone's cover

So after a few months of learning the sales side of ABI, with a dash of fun mixed in, I conclude my time in Denver, bid adieu to the Rockies, and head back to St. Louis for a month of rotations at American corporate headquarters and a rendezvous with our neighboring GMTs from America’s hat. It’s been real; it’s been fun…

What happens in Vegas, gets posted on greatamericanblager,

Whit

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THE DECISION: Four > One Loko

To preface this post, please watch this video

Considering everyone else has given their take on the FDA’s recent banning of CBAs (here we go again with TLAs [Three Letter Acronyms]), I figured I’d chime in as well. Also, given the timing of last night’s Cav’s-Heat game, and LeBron’s triumphantly hated on return to his home town, I began to ponder the ironic coincidence of two emotion evoking “decisions”. And hey, what are blogs for if not the propagation of unsubstantiated opinions… other than the dissemination of unsolicited evaluations. However, I choose to take a different approach. I won’t bash Phusion Projects and other manufacturers of these products for the creation of elements detrimental to the human condition, or marketing to underage consumers. I also refuse to preach the ideals of free commerce and the consumers right to choose, while lamenting the reformulation of the perfect pregame potion into a less potent, glorified kool-aid with kick.

My roommate Tyler doing some market research

Instead, I applaud the creators of Four Loko for doing what seems to evade the genius of so many marketing and innovation minds of today; the identification of a gap in consumer desire (however fleeting that gap may be) and the satisfaction of this need with the creation of a perfectly positioned product. The originators of the libation, four Ohio State University grads, took the simple concept of a desire to drink copious amounts alcohol and not fall asleep and proceed to drool on oneself, and offered the simplest of solutions. They have since been rewarded for this effort by producing a product that gained a cult following. The FDA’s “Decision” (which rivaled a similarly infamous “Decision” made by one King LeBron James this past summer [by the way, did you catch that game in Cleveland last night? My favorite sign; “We’re not terribly fond of Lebron” represents direct compliance with the “no vulgar signs” rule, classic]) sparked irrational levels of emotional response, from candlelight vigils to tribute videos featuring songs by the artists formerly known as Puff Daddy.

[Insert blog appropriate non-vulgar Four Loko tribute here. Hint: non-existant]

You know who I feel for the most here? Case Western/Cleveland State University students. Talk about the perfect storm of “decisions”. First LeBron sentences

Looking to get on the FBI's radar?

them to attending NBA games featuring Anderson Varejao for the foreseeable future, then the FDA adds sobriety to injury by prohibiting these students from to crawling into their respective colorful 24 ounce cans to drown their sorrows. There is still hope, however, for those looking to evade the neo-prohibitionist policies of the FDA. Just stop by your friendly neighborhood speakeasy… cough… I mean Craigslist, to snag up some premium priced black market goods. Article describing this phenomenon.

As a final thought, lets investigate the origin of the name “Four Loko”.
1. Four– stemming from the four active ingredients in the beverage (Alcohol, Caffeine, Taurine, Guarana)
2. Loko– a seemingly deliberate misspelling of a common Spanish adjective

Phusion Projects has announced they will begin to distribute the product without the stimulant components, or 3 our of the 4 in Four, BUT HOW!?!?
They have to change the name. They must change the name. They’re going to change the name… right? Without these four ingredients, their nonmenclatural options have been severely limited. “One Loko”? Just “Loko”? What the hell does Loko have to do with it anyways. They may cave to popular media and call it by its oft referenced namesake “Blackout in a Can”. I vote for the latter (concept can proposals are in the process of development).

It’s just like the NBA (again); Lakers moving from Minneapolis to LA, or the Jazz relocating the Utah. These teams couldn’t possibly continue to use names which have absolutely no reference or applicability to their new home cities right!? On second thought, the name may be here to stay.

In the meantime, stick with your Irish coffees, vodka Red Bulls, Jeager bombs, or just visit one of the concept Starbuck’s that now serve wine and beer (until the FDA bans these as well).

Peace, love, and capitalism,

Whit

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Multiple Digressions and Obscure Music References

Hello strangers. It’s been a while. There’s so much to say, yet so little time, which seems to be the case more often than not, but I digress… First of all, congratulations to those exceptional applicants who have been awarded an offer to join the GMTP class for next year in the North American Zone. Once again I urge you to reach out to me with any questions or queries regarding the GMTP, ABI, GTL, or any other associated or unassociated acronyms of which you would enjoy learning my opinion. If any of you decline your offer you will regret it for the rest of your existence. Fact.

My first two weeks of this lovely Early November (not the critially acclaimed emo group) have been spent in the company of a few St. Lunatics (regrettably, not the critically unclaimed hip-hop group). Did you hear Nelly is coming out with a new album by the way? In my not so humble opinion, it’s inconceivable that it will top Country Grammar. Solid gold. Although that duet with Tim McGraw really shook things up back in the day, until its repetitious nature began to ironically mirror its namesake, and eventually the mere thought of the song conjured images of some quasi-puppetted farm-based alternate reality in which songs literally NEVER END (bonus points to anyone who knows the lyrics to the song of which I refer, and who will never forgive me for reminding him/her of this, freaking inception at its worst again)

Wow, think I should digress again.

In the midst of drinking from the proverbial fire hose of sales and marketing presentations those two weeks, we 14 brave young GMTs successfully initiated our transition from the supply side of the business to the commercial end. Although my time in the brewery was invaluable, this wasn’t necessarily an unwelcome transition, if I can use a double negative, which I can, so I will. To accompany the prescribed classroom learning, it was only natural that we take advantage of the numerous opportunities for after-hours research and analysis of our multiple promotions. Most notably, we attended the “Band of Buds” St. Louis region competition, not as a formal “Band” of them, but “Buds” nonetheless. Although after learning the prize for advancement to the subsequent round (all expenses weekend trip to Vegas), plans for forming a de facto band and charming our way into entry/consideration were discussed, and unfortunately ultimately dismissed.

And finally, what is this BLACK MAGIC!

No, not the product one of Professor Flitwick’s practical examinations, but some sweet new tech being developed at AB which greatly facilitates the process of pouring and subsequent imbibing of brews (showcased at the Band of Buds competition).

Fantastic. Stay tuned for next week’s edition, in which I outline my first experiences in Denver working in the commercial side, including dinner, drinks, and general rabble-rousing with the only Belgian Master Chef in North America.

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Mayors and Directors (a whole Board)

I write this post riding quite the endorphin rush, having just met with some of the wealthiest and most influential businesspeople on this planet over breakfast, the Anheuser-Busch InBev Board of Directors. Unbelievable. I’m speechless. Lucky for all of you, I can still type. Talk about practicing what you preach though, when we were promised exposure to senior leadership during recruiting, I definitely didn’t anticipate it to this degree. This being the third time I’ve met with the CEO, and countless other times I’ve spoken with the head of the North American Zone, and interfaced with other top executives. This takes the cake though. I was impressed by how incredibly personable and candid all of them were, not balking at telling us what they really thought, and asking us the tough questions as well. Also pretty encouraging to see that two of them had graduated from the Wharton School (yet not attending homecoming this weekend, unfortunately).

Straight Cash Money, Dharma and Steve (Tyler) lookin good

In other news, last week marked the end of my brewery rotation, which was quite the experience in itself. I learned an incredible amount, had wonderful mentors and managers, and really took to the environment by the end of my stay. Our rotations ended by presenting our culminating projects, in which I was working on optimizing our truck’s outbound shipment weights (the more beer the better) while decreasing “scale-backs” or going over the legal weight as determined by the Department of Transportation. Interesting stuff, and the project consumed my subconscious, evident as I was packing my bags for my trip to STL, and considering their respective weights when stating “I don’t one of them to overgross” (a shipping term for a truck weighing too much on its way out). Overall, incredible learning opportunity, and phenomenal experience.

Can’t say I wasn’t looking forward to a return to St. Louis, however, not only to dive right into commercial training, but to help (re)claim some of my Foursquare Mayorships.

I was quite upset when my mayor title was stripped from the gym at the hotel we stayed at in St. Louis. Not on my watch 'Jon', if that is your real name

My biggest accomplishment to date, stealing the title of brewery mayor from Andrew

Additionally, to stay in the recent Halloween theme, check out the digression of my Shock-Top-O’Lantern into moldy despair

Freshly carved


Hangin in there


Struggling

So here I am, back in St. Louis (after a quick trip this past weekend to Penn for some Homecoming/Halloween action)…

Favre and Jenn Sterger posing for a different kind of photo, spotted at Kappa Sigma at UPenn this weekend


and going through some awesome presentations revolving around our marketing efforts. So if you have any questions about how we target consumers, why we are going to be the “Official Beer of the NFL” next year, why Lance Armstrong is all about Michelob Ultra, or who Vicente Fernández (below) is, let me know. I may or may not be willing and/or able to answer such queries.

The real “most interesting man in the world”

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