Monday, April 14, 2008

Who was smoking the Phillies Blunts? Or, owning the name Zong

From a video:




Although I haven't directly referred to this, I have indirectly referred to this article that I read in TechCrunch:

Loren Feldman’s puppet video show, which parodies a video interview show run by Shel Israel called Global Neighborhoods, has landed an official sponsor, Feldman says. Meanwhile, Global Neighborhoods itself remains sponsorless.

In fact, I even went so far as to suggest a new verb:

I'm continuing my campaign to make "zong" into a verb. New example: "Clinton signed up the superdelegates, but some of them zonged her and went to Obama." Or better still, "After the Andy Kaufman incident, Fridays zonged SNL." (Yes, I'm old.)

The underlying idea (admittedly not well explained) is that a party (such as would receive monetary, power, or other benefits that should have been directed to another party (such as Global Neighborhoods TV).

Well, I really got to watch out about proposing such things, because I've gotten myself in trouble - again.

For starters, let me remind you about the last time I got in trouble.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2005, I wrote a post entitled I'm not as hip as Ludo Cremers, but I'm getting there (or, if you're not going to light it, Phillies is your theatrical choice). I was engaging in my usual extensive theatrical research so that I could portray Mark Twain in a Children's Theatre Experience production of "Big River." (Note, by the way, that this was written before Osco/Savon was acquired by CVS.)

I...moved on to Plan B, which was to find some really cheap cigars. If I were actually going to smoke them, I wouldn't want cheap cigars, but since I was only going to pose with them, they merely had to look good. Enter Savon (around here it's NOT "Osco"). Myopically peering behind the counter, I was looking for some cigars that were big, fat, and cheap....With the help of the friendly Savon counter staff, I chose Phillies Blunts - five big fat cigars for less than four bucks.

I then conducted some extensive research on Phillies Blunts. Or so I thought.

But by Thursday, Annika left a comment on my post that indicated that my research was less than thorough:

Sounds like you may not be hip to this bit of trivia, so i'll let you in on the secret. Phillie Blunts are for pot smokers. That's why they're so cheap and come in all those exotic flavors and why they use the playboy models and hip-hop in their marketing. Not that i would know too much about that. *cough cough*

And eventually I ended up quoting from the poem "My Cat Has Fleas". But that would be too big a digression off of my current topic.

Fast-forward to the weekend, in which Loren Feldman was tweeting away about the company that DID sponsor Shel Israel.

Wonder if SAP is happy with their decision to work with Shel. 11:26 AM April 13, 2008 from web

@aac74 - SAP should not be happy, all press is not good. SAP is associated with an old fool unaware of his surroundings. Yeah thats great. 11:36 AM April 13, 2008 from web in reply to aac74

@aac74 - SAP is associated with Shel Israel, a fool who knows nothing of social media. It's not good for them. Oracle=cool, SAP=old/tired 11:42 AM April 13, 2008 from web in reply to aac74

So this got me wondering - if Feldman is correct and SAP is being hurt by its association with Israel, then is it a net plus or a net minus for Zong to be associated with Feldman?

I was on my mobile phone at the time, so I conducted a Google search on "zong" to see what would turn up. When Google presents search results (either on the mobile platform or on the full platform, image searches are often at the top.

As of now, the top three image results for "zong" display bongs.

Huh? Perhaps the third item on the regular search illustrates the issue:

Welcome to Zong Bongs. We stock a wide range of Bongs, Pipes and related items such as bong shops from a variety of suppliers.

ZongBongs is the right place if you want to get stoned qutoes . We have the gear if you are into ganja oil , hash production , dionysus cannabis , medical uses of marijuana or weed songs . Get a crack pipe today from ZongBongs and then get stoned qutoes .

If your too wrecked to find what you want, or have any other problems please contact one of our friendly staff for assistance (or maybe advice).

It should be noted that this company is, to my knowledge, not associated with's sponsor:

Zong is the only web service that enables you to create and launch mobile services in 10 countries in under 10 minutes and generate revenues from each transaction. Through Zong's intuitive interface, you will create your service in a few clicks, you will then be able to market it to your user base and make money today! Zong is a service of Europe's Mobile Media solutions leader, Echovox, which has direct connections and relationships with over 50 mobile operators.

But just to confuse things, there's another mobile "zong" that isn't associated with Echovox:

China Mobile's (CHL) Pakistan Company held a grand ceremony on April 5 for the release of the company's new brand "ZONG".

Wang Jianzhou, CEO of China Mobile, says that the new brand is not only a brand of the Pakistan branch, but also an international brand for China Mobile.

So when you talk about "zong mobile," you could be talking about one of three things:
  • A European mobile service.

  • An Asian mobile brand.

  • A hippie skipping through a meadow.
So how does the Echovox unit seek to rectify this brand confusion? By sponsoring, which is the very definition of brand confusion.

What was Echovox smoking when they made this decision?

And this video, of course, is the source of the material that I quoted at the beginning of this post.




Or do they?


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