Terms and cultural meaning not fluid at The Australian. The Oz op-ed section has published some dumb stuff in its time, but for sheer mouth-breathing stupidity you couldn’t go past Oliver Marc Harwich’s article today, which discovers that whacko, Kevin Rudd’s hero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was a neo-liberal. How do that? Well, a bunch of German economists and thinkers in the 30s, whose work would later evolve into the “social market” movement — in which it is argued that the market must be accompanied by state planning, collective economic sectors, and a strong welfare net — called themselves “neo-liberals”.

The fact that the term ceased to be used for that philosophy, and was then revived in the 70s and 80s, to cover an entirely different philosophy — in which it is argued that market relations should dominate just about every sphere of social collective life — appears to be of no import. Hey dimwit — terms change their meaning, slowly or quickly. Lenin’s party used to be called “the social democrats”. “Conservatism” now (ie neo-liberalism + social conservatism) has little in common with the aristocratic conservatism of a de Maistre, or Oakeshott. Etc. A pretty pathetic gotcha, as these things go. Apparently there’s a whole book of it from the CIS, who appears to be coping with the new era no better than most conservative (classical liberal? neo-conservative neo-liberal? etc) outfits. — Guy Rundle

Stuff Kerri-Anne doesn’t get. The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that chat queen Kerri-Anne Kennerly (that’s @QUEENKAK in the Twitterverse) had bumped Stuff White People Like author Christian Lander from her show this week because KAK didn’t “get it”. Fair enough, KAK’s pretty ghetto. But Crikey understands Lander isn’t the only guest that’s been booted from the show this week.

On Sunday, this article appeared in the Fairfax Sunday Life magazine on the topic of “cougars”, that is, older women who seek out younger men.

The author, Doug Hendrie, was all teed up to appear on KAK’s Monday show, according to Fairfax insiders, who had worded up her producers prior to publication. But nothing has been heard since. What could possibly have prompted the rejection?

Amusingly, KAK has been the subject of a tongue-in-cheek whispering campaign this week run by Australian journalist Caroline Overington, claiming the very-married KAK had been “photographed” with a younger man — the exact same “cougar” phenomenon explored by Hendrie. Overington appeared on Monday’s show, seemingly in Hendrie’s place. Could KAK have been avoiding a “cougar” discussion because Overington was about to out her as one of the pack?

Unlikely. While Overington is no stranger to loose electronic communication, she appears to have been bizarrely promoting an upcoming Chaser episode involving KAK in an unholy trist on the ABC’s Ultimo rooftop.

Hendrie, it seems, may have been usurped not by scandal, but by the savvy marketing department at the ABC and its willing accomplice at the Oz. — Andrew Crook

LG Electronics Australia (LG) today advised the Cronulla Sharks that it would not be renewing its sponsorship after this season. LG has been a sponsor of the Sharks for the past nine years and the deal was always due to end in 2009. “We have had a successful association with rugby league and the Sharks but we no longer see the benefits of an ongoing sponsorship given the evolution of our brand. This deal was due to finish this year and we will not be renewing it”, said Marketing Director for LG Electronics David Brand. “While the recent controversies around the NRL, and the Sharks in particular, were certainly a significant element in our decision we also considered the direction of our company and where we want to take the LG brand”. LG will not be making any further comment on this issue. — The Full Story

The art of the online teaser paragraph is to get people to click through to the full article. Occasionally it has the opposite effect, as warning. Praise be then to the sub at the Oz whose adept cutting allowed us to escape without spending the day getting a whole bunch of images out of our head:

L-plated sex drive

THE WRY SIDE: Emma Tom YOUNG women who want to have casual sex – maybe even casual sex with footballers – could learn a lot from the guy who taught me how to r…

New British Strongbow advertisement channels Braveheart with Victoria Bitter tagline.

Here is a new advertisement for Strongbow cider:


Here is the Braveheart scene to which they’re paying tribute:


This is what The Guardian says :

The cider brand Strongbow is to launch a Braveheart-style TV advertising campaign that aims to tap into the disillusionment the public feel towards institutions such as banks and profligate MPs.

The campaign, which uses imagery and language reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s 1995 movie, aims to ally the Strongbow brand with the UK’s working classes, featuring hordes of “undervalued” roofers, gas fitters and road workers.

Strongbow’s new campaign, by the ad agency St Luke’s, introduces a new strapline for the brand, “Hard earned”, to push the idea that it is a tipple for those who have really deserved it after a day at work.

Hard earned? Thirst perhaps? Hmmm. The Guardian piece goes on to emphasise how the new campaign is a product of dedicated market research in the UK, exploring the disenfranchisement and existential struggle faced by that nation’s working class in an atmosphere of political unaccountability and corruption. Heavy stuff.

Strongbow is owned by Scottish & Newcastle, the UK company that acquired the Fosters brand in Europe in 2006. The Fosters Group owns Victoria Bitter, who have been using the slogan “hard earned thirst” since the 1970s, saturating their adverstisements with images of hard working tradies. This 1996 advertisement is pretty familiar:


And here’s one from 30 years ago:


A British advertisement inspired by a film starring an Australian, using a tagline from an Australian product…

The Strongbow ad also reminds us of this one, starring similar hordes of unwashed barbarian men, this time in New Zealand:


Braveheart inspired too? The big beer ad was from Carlton, also owned by Fosters. So here we have two key Fosters Group alcohol ad themes: war and tradies combined beautifully to build a campaign for Strongbow. And this took how much market research? — Eleri Harris

Story of the day. From the Townsville Bulletin comes a tale even more compelling than the plight of the Beer Mat Mum — the kidnapping of an inflatable clown.

Why journalists deserve low pay. Journalists like to think of their work in moral or even sacred terms. With each new layoff or paper closing, they tell themselves that no business model could adequately compensate the holy work of enriching democratic society, speaking truth to power, and comforting the afflicted. Actually, journalists deserve low pay. Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren’t creating much value these days. Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, twittering, or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models. — Christian Science Monitor

Twitter won’t save journalism or kill it. Twitter’s immediacy, its brevity, its reach and the social connections it offers have drawn millions of users, but each attraction turns out to contain the seeds of eventual discontent. First, let’s think about the immediacy. When that US Airways 737 landed in the Hudson in January, for instance, twitterers posted photos and updates even as the rescue boats went to work, providing up-to-date information to readers around the globe. But for every news event or public moment shared on Twitter, we endure hundreds of updates about someone’s breakfast. The flip side of immediacy is narcissism and lack of reflection. — McClatchy

Google: NYT frenemy. “Google is one of those companies that we generally refer to as a frenemy,” said New York Times executive editor Bill Keller at his semi-annual newsroom question-and-answer session, informally called Throw Stuff at Bill. The Times is still about six weeks away from choosing a pay model for its Web site — either a “meter system” or a mini-donation system from readers — and in both cases the masthead and executives are concerned with how they can protect their high traffic numbers, which translates into digital advertising revenues (which, as we reported, Mr. Keller said is “a lot” of money and that he believes “substantially more” than what The Wall Street Journal receives through its subscription-based pay model). — New York Observer

Taking online-ad measurement beyond the click . There is no one answer to how to best measure online advertising. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that in an era defined by deeper and better analysis of online data — the Google-ification of online advertising — many marketers are betting on a familiar-looking model: Do the ads move those more-traditional metrics, such as consideration and intent to purchase? The value of using a click to measure online-advertising effectiveness has come under a lot of fire from a lot of different quarters. Those against it note that it does nothing to recognize any prior online or offline marketing activity that might also have contributed to the consumer’s click. — Advertising Age

Out of the blue, a lifeline is tossed to Canwest Global Communications. The company said in a statement on its website early today that it had arranged up to $C175 million in new financing. “These facilities are intended to provide Canwest with sufficient credit availability to operate its business in the ordinary course as it continues its work to effect a recapitalization transaction,” the company said in the release. The company said some of its current subordinated noteholders have agreed to buy $C100 million of senior secured notes in two Canwest Global subsidiaries, Canwest Media Inc. and Canwest Television Limited Partnership, while, CIT Business Credit Canada Inc. has agreed to provide a $C75-million credit line to Canwest Media.

Canwest’s current noteholders have also agreed to the postponement on repayment of their debt until June 15. Canwest plans to use the funds from the new cash to pay off a current senior line of credit of $C112 million and to finance its purchases of programs in the upfronts and screenings in New York and Los Angeles this week and weekend. Paying off the loan from the banks gets them out of the way and leaves Canwest free to talk to the holders of more than $C700 million of notes.

The US TV Networks, CBS, NBC, Fox, CBS and production houses like Warner hold previews of their so-called Fall line ups in New York and get advertising revenue commitments from US buying groups and advertisers; they then hold screenings in los Angeles (starting later today) for overseas production contract holders, such as Canwest, plus the Seven, Nine and Ten Networks for Australia.

Canwest now has until June 15 to reach an agreement-in-principle with its noteholders on a recapitalization, and until July 15 to come up with a definitive agreement. The $C175-million of new money gives CanWest a few months of operating funds while it negotiates a final deal with its banks, bondholders and potential new investors.

“These facilities are intended to provide CanWest with sufficient credit availability to operate its business in the ordinary course as it continues its work to effect a recapitalization transaction,” CanWest said in a press release.

The money should provide about a quarter of operating capital to finance the company’s newspaper and TV businesses. It’s clear that without the cash, it couldn’t have made program purchases this week. But as usual the new cash has come at a terrible cost: Canwest is paying 12% for the $100-million it is getting from existing bond holders, that’s 50% more than 8% interest rate on the outstanding loans and recognition of the fraught state Canwest remains in, hovering on the edge of bankruptcy. — Glenn Dyer

Peter Fray

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