Sunday, April 02, 2006

Weekend roundup! Wheeeeee!

Does Friday's lunch hour count as the weekend? Let's say it does. So, the crew from the advertising agency came over to videotape my response to some ad campaigns they had mocked up. As you may recall, I spent an hour with them a few weeks ago, explaining why I like to program computers (it's similar to solving puzzles) and what computer programmers are like (suave). The marketing guys took this information and used it to build a few ad campaigns for a new piece of software that they want to market to web programmers.

The first set of ads they showed me were somewhat run of the mill. The most amusing part was one ad where they tried to list a bunch of things that a computer programmer would do with his last days on earth (for reasons not worth explaining here). The list included geeky things like:
  • Finish level 25 of that new first person shooter video game
This is probably not far off the mark. However, there were other items on the list such as this one:
  • Archive the data on my computer hard drive
What?? If I have 24 hours left on earth, I won't be doing the dishes, flossing, or making extra copies of my computer documents and porn. I only know one person who would spend his final hours making backups, and he's not a programmer.

The next ad campaign had a bunch of word puzzles in it. The idea was that programmers would study the puzzles, and then type the answer into a field in the ad. The marketing guys stared at me eagerly while I took this in. They asked if this type of puzzle would be cool enough for me to send along to my programmer friends.

There were three major things wrong with this concept. First, it was a word puzzle. Although there are computer programmers who are word nerds (and I'm probably one), it's not the type of puzzle that compels us like programming compels us. Second, it's pretty damn rare for any web savvy person to click on interactive ads. We've all done this once and only once, maybe by clicking on a moving target or trying to win an iPod. Then we felt dirty, cleaned our mouse, and never clicked on another interactive ad again.

Third, did these people really just ask me if I wanted to send an ad to my friends? No! Not if I want to keep my friends. My friends, like my wife, barely put up with me now. If I start sending them advertisements, it's all over.

The last set of ads encouraged the user with taglines like:
  • This ad is broken. Click here to fix the code.
  • You can change this ad. Play with the code by clicking here.
These grabbed me. They had a great combination of programmer-friendly words: play, fix, code. The idea was that you could actually click over to a page that would put you into a simple little programming environment that would let you modify or fix the ad.

This is the best ad concept targeted at programmers that I have ever seen. I warned them that if they actually let us modify the ads, they should be prepared for the filthiest, obscenity-filled, porn-fantasy ads they could imagine. Aside from that, I thought it was brilliant. Programmers love to tinker with code.

I couldn't believe they came up with this after asking all those silly questions a few weeks ago.

Geez, all these words so far about my weekend and I'm only up to Friday at 1:00pm? Crikey. Let's go faster now.

Saturday was April Fool's Day. This is a sucky day when you have a six year-old in the house. We kept having conversations like this:

Daisy: Daddy, I'm thirsty. Can I have some juice?
Me: Sure.
Daisy: GOTCHA! April Fool's! I'm not thirsty!!
Me: Ah, very clever.
Daisy: (cackling) Did you really think I was thirsty?
Me: I did.
Daisy: Oh, I totally got you! I'm not thirsty AT ALL!
Me: (putting juice away) Ok.
Daisy: April Fool's again! I really AM thirsty now!
Me: Oh, ho ho. I sure am enjoying this.
Daisy: You really thought I wasn't thirsty?? I'm TOTALLY thirsty.
Me: I can't imagine what I was thinking.
Daisy: So, may I please have some juice?
Me: No.

Saturday night was our monthly poker game. The most amusing part was when Pablo invented a new game, as he does from time to time. This one was called Rusty Trombone and featured phallic references. Additionally, completely out of left field, all cards with prime numbers on them were wild cards, but they could only be used as other prime numbers. So, a 3 could be a 2, 3, 5 or 7 for example.

What Pablo had done here was sheer genius. He combined, poker, sexual imagery, and math, all in one tidy little game. It was one chocolate chip cookie short of being perfection. I giggled throughout the hand.

Not much happened on Sunday. We did take a nice trip to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. I saw many butterflies.


The Tart said...

May I pleazzzze have some juice?

More details on the card game, natch!
Sugar cookies, too pleazzzzzzzze.

Sugar duster smooch,
The Tart

Mike said...

Tart, no juice for you! You can, however, have all the sugar cookies I encounter. They ain't a bad cookie, but without the chocolate chips, what's the point?

As for the card game, what more is there to say? I think I lost that particular hard, but I was the evening's big winner.