Birdcage media? Bizarro, yes. Bad, no.


Newspapers should USE the birdcage metaphor!

DerCuz emailed me a link to this cartoon with the subject line “birdcage media” no doubt to tweak me about the ongoing humiliation of the newspaper industry. Thanks, Cuz. Just in case the whole buggy whip analogy had slipped my mind 🙂

But little known to the Cuzter, is the fact that I have long been dreaming of an advertising campaign, that would most sensibly be created by the Newspaper Association of America (the big corporate papers) or perhaps by the National Newspaper Association, whose 2,500 members represent the smaller print papers, advertising shoppers and even online publications, so long as 25 percent of the content is “news.”

Here’s the idea.

Say the computer in the cartoon above were replaced with a newspaper, and the caption is that one of the birds reads and remarks upon a headline of some newspaper-sponsored investigative piece. The tag line on the advert would be something like: “You can’t do that with the Internet” – a double entendre that, I hope, suggests both the lining of the birdcage and the sponsorship of investigative journalism.

The same concept would work in a 15- or 30-second video spot. Here I see a guy in a white apron behind the counter at a fish stand, getting ready to wrap up a headless albacore (I think it’s the season out here in California). But he pauses cause a headline catches his eye, and this gritty fish monger wipes his hands on his apron and reaches behind it to put on his reading glasses, as the announcer or words flash by: “You can’t do that with the Internet.”

Anyhow that idea has been floating around in my head for the longest while until, thankfully, DerCuz emailed me this cartoon and knocked that concept out of the gray matter and into the blogosphere (thanks, Cuz, cause you realize an idea like this, lodged somewhere in the cerebellum with no outlet could precipitate a cancer of the intellect; either that or it turns into a pearl but I’ll be damned if I’ll let somebody open my skull like an oyster to scoop it out).

Three closing thoughts . . .

First off, even if this cartoon hadn’t have provoked the ad concept, th guy who oughta be upset is Michael Dell. I’ve been watching laptop and desktop prices and wondering: How the hell do those guys make money? And this is before Christmas! Impecunious newspaper guy that I am, I’m waiting for the post-holiday slashdown sales when I not only get the kick ass price but the pleasure of applying accelerated depreciation against my 2007 freelance income. Sweet!

Secondly, I visited the two newspaper association web sites, above, thinking to link this idea to their blogs so the concept might be noticed. However, neither group seems to have a blog, which makes sense. Why would newspaper associations want to create forums to rapidly disseminate and receive ideas about the changes in publishing?

Thirdly, finally and most forcefully, I hope DerCuz realizes that this is not a blog of snark or sarcasm but of high carefully considered and thoughtfully conveyed. Future submissions of a similarly disrespectful nature will be dealt with appropriately. ‘Nuff said?

(P.S. I am conscious of copyright and hope this diplay of work does not infringe upon nor irritate cartoonist Dan Piraro, the hand and consciousness behind