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Friday, 21 March 2014

Advertising For and With Doctor Who

Allow me a preface: as a student at a liberal arts college, I have to write many papers, etc. that aren't exactly what I'd like to write about. For instance, this is something that I wrote for my Psychological Science class. Our unit for this was Social Psychology (I happen to know that the professor is a huge Tolkien fan, so he probably understands how obsession works...) and the module was persuasion techniques. There is some technical vocab in the piece, so here are some definitions that you might like to know:
When I say that an ad uses central processing, what I mean is that it tells you facts about why you should buy (etc.) a certain thing, and tries to use logos to convince you. Ie, "this new Maserati can travel through space and time!" When I say that an ad uses peripheral processing, it means that the ad creates a distraction of sorts to advertise to you. Ie, perfume/cologne ads with two sexy people about to make out. I kid you not when I say that that is the example the professor gave in class. Hey, its college: we're all adults here, right??

BBC America’s MetroNorth Advert Campaign

These ads are on train in NYC. They are simplistic, which grabs attention because it contrasts with most other Metro North ads. If that’s not the only thing that grabs the attention, “TARDIS and “Time Lord” are not in the vernacular for most New Yorkers (although the number is certainly on the rise!) Since the TARDIS is a space/time transportation apparatus, it actually could get you home 700 years ago, although if you live in NYC where these trains run, you home was marsh land 700 years ago. The new vocabulary sparks curiosity—“what the hell is a TARDIS?” New Yorkers are always looking for the newest, shiniest thing, so maybe a TARDIS is that new Maserati? (I wish) 
These ads are peripheral. Nothing really generally has happened any time I was on a Metro North train (I live just outside NYC). Most ads have interesting pictures and the very small text that is simply not legible from more than maybe four feet away. In a train, you are certainly not running between cars to find a poster that best explains why you should purchase a car, and this is the same. Most (emphasis on the “most”) people just kind of find what television shows they watch, and don’t actively search for it (most of us who watch Doctor Who would actively search for a new series, but then these ads are wasted on us because we don’t need to be advertised to in order for us to watch it; we already do in a quasi-religious manner).

BBC America’s Use of Online Meme Theory

This ad is also peripheral processing. It is meant for to be seen via social media. The official Doctor Who page shared it, and then it counts on people who “like” that page would “like” it  or share it with their friends so It gets more publicity simply because they know the awesomeness that is Doctor Who. The image started on Facebook and also ended up on Twitter and Tumblr. Also I believe I used it for something on my site as well. As an online ad, it plays with the concept of “going viral”. Putting it in the news feeds also is subliminal messaging, as an uninterested person might just scroll by, but still they saw the ad and it reached their processing, making them more likely to notice more Doctor Who ads in the future. If they, the next day, happen to be in a Metro North train and notice more prominently the afore mentioned ads, Doctor Who has successfully entered their minds, and I wish them luck purging it from there—but than again, I don’t suffer from an obsession to Doctor Who. I rather enjoy it.

These last three ads all play on commonly known expression. “My Other Ride is a ________________”,  “If You Lived Here, You’d be Home by Now” and “Trust Your Doctor” are generally not new phrases for people. They take the attention from a known phrase to get your attention and deviate from it to make their advertising point

Using Doctor Who’s Popularity in Other Businesses

This ad is different from the rest yet still refers to Doctor Who. It is a magazine advert for the University of East Anglia, where Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith got his degree in acting. Although UEA has “university” right in the name, it is a business: their product is education. All schools that charge tuition are businesses. This ad could be more for central processing. In general, one does not decide to go to college on a whim, and looks for a good school. It appeals to logos. It states that many well-educated people have gone there, and even one huge actor. Then, it appeals a combination of pathos and logos with the happy, hopeful student, proud to share his place of higher education with 826 distinguished people. There is a major downfall to the ad: if you prefer Tenth Doctor David Tennant over Matt Smith.

Usually, on this package, there would be the Birds Eye fisherman, a figure much like the fisherman on Gorton’s fish products in the US. Here is the joke: In Matt Smith’s first episode, “The Eleventh Hour,” he is having an insatiable craving, ultimately fulfilled by a midnight-snack of fish fingers (basically the UK’s equivalent of fish sticks, but rectangular) accompanied by custard (think vanilla pudding but a little more liquidy). Ever since then, fans have loved to eat the unlikely pairing of food. And I will say from personal experience that it is also quite good. This isn’t quite an ad, but it actually uses a bit of central processing. I know if I were looking for fish fingers and couldn’t decide on which brand, the Eleventh Doctor in the corner would most definitely persuade me to choose that brand. It is also peripheral processing because his being there has undoubtedly grabbed the attention of some fangirl who bought the fish fingers simply because Matt is on them.  As a side note, the people at Birds Eye were a little amusing—they gifted Matt a year’s supply of fish fingers for being on the box, which is extra silly because he’s said in interviews that he really doesn’t care for fish fingers and custard.

All these ads work together: ads like the first three point people in the direction of Doctor Who and then campaigns like the last two use that interest to promote their business.

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

One Year Later

Yes, I am aware that today is the 19th and I actually
started this wonderful blog last year on the 18th.
I will tell you simply what happen: I forgot.

Here is what I have to say about this milestone:

TARDIStyle became more than I possibly ever imagined. In one year, we had 38,721 people from every continent on the planet (except Antarctica, as far as I know) view this site. I simply cannot believe how many people have seen my work, and that is not all. As my loyal readers know, I was published on FBI-Spy, and have no idea how many people have seen that, as well as how many people have seen the posts I managed to have synced to our Tumblr. The 239 our Facebook is a number I would like to see rise, but the 771 people who have followed our Twitter amaze me. I truly love interacting with all of TARDIStyle's amazing fans.

Now, a look to the future. As we all know, the beginning of Peter Capaldi's run as the Doctor is slated for August. That's about five months away, so I can't say that there will be much activity with the blog proper until then. However, that doesn't mean I won't be writing about the good Doctor. An official announcement: this Sunday, I was hired to write for CSO Fanzine. I have decided what I will be writing about, but you'll have to wait until the next issue is published this summer to see what it is! I promise you a good, intellectual article of the type that is the crux of this blog. Also, I am in negotiations with another fanzine, which I will not name until it is official. I am so excited that my writing will be in print; I can't even explain it.

Sooner than the summer, you can expect to see non-Whovian posts. I am listening to "Welcome to Night Vale" and will post about that once I am caught up. Also, I've been audio-booking Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and you can expect to see posts about that soon as well. I'm sure I will also write more about CBS's  Elementary as well. I finished Torchwood: Miracle Day a few weeks ago and owe you guys a post on that as well. You can also look forward to more TARDIStyle Talks on YouTube as I convert the files.

And now, some shameless self-promotion: As always, TARDIStyle is looking for new contributors. If you're interested, please contact me via email, mention or direct message on Twitter, private question on Tumblr, or inbox message via Facebook. We need all types, and no experience is required--just a drive to write well. Please also know that if you are in other fandoms as well, we would love to have you on the team as well--your writing doesn't have to be about Doctor Who! I am especially interested in writers who are not in the USA, but by no means is that a bar on American writers! This is simply for the international exposure. Please contact me if at all interested!!

I am so proud to have had stuck with this blog for a year. I hope to make it last for many more, but I can't do it without readers. If you enjoy TARDIStyle, please tell your friends about it and follow us on our social media accounts (see below). And thank you all so much for the support and love you have given me so far.

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Monday, 3 March 2014

From Pete's World: Elementary (S1E12 through S2E16 "The One Percent Solution")

In my earlier post about CBS' Elementary, not only was I somewhat factually inaccurate, but also had only seen the first half of the first season. Now, I am completely caught up (The last episode to air was "The One Percent Solution"), and I have also read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four,  and the collection of short stories included in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This gives me an increased perspective of what is taken from ACD's work and what is CBS' own creation.

Sherlock producer Sue Vertue
Elementary creator
Robert Dohetry
On the topic of CBS' own creation, I have come across information that is very interesting. When Sue Vertue, producer of BBC Sherlock learned that CBS would also be doing a Sherlock Holmes-based show, she took some interesting actions to assure that there was no copyright infringement from CBS' production on the rights BBC Sherlock has to elements of Sherlock Holmes. As ACD published his stories about over a century ago, and is now since dead, the characters in his stories and their plot is somewhat public domain. However, the way BBC Sherlock (and Elementary, for that matter) presents their characters is under their copyright. In short, Vertue took steps to make sure that CBS was not, in essence, making an American version of Sherlock, which is why the two productions are so incredibly different. I imagine that both productions are walking a very fine line with each other's presences. It has also, I assume, puched Elementary (and to some extent, Sherlock) to think outside the box and get creative with their story lines.

Natalie Dormer as Irene
Now, for plot. If you are looking for a general overview of Elementary, please refer to the earlier Pete's World post here.
The second half of Elementary's first season deals with Moriatry and Irene Adler, and the writers take a very interesting plot-twist. In the first episode of Season 2, we meet two pivotal characters. First is Gareth Lestrade (played by Jon Pertwee's son Sean!!) and the other is Mycroft Holmes.
Sean Pertwee as Lestrade
Yes-there is a Lestrade  and a Gregson. In BBC Sherlock, the characters are combined in to Greg Lestrade. In ADC cannon, there is a Gregson and a Lestrade. It begs the question--why did BBC Sherlock decide to have the characters combined?
Rhys Ifans as Mycroft
Mycroft is a whole separate bundle of joy. He looks old and a little sleazy, and is a successful restaurateur. The Sherlock-Mycroft relationship seems to have more family-based tension in Elementary, while in Sherlock it is more of an all-around stressed relationship.
Also introduced in the first episode of season one is 221b Baker Street. It is where Sherlock lived before he moved to New York.

Now that I have finished a fair amount of ACD canon, I'm resizing a lot of what I said about Elementary's Sherlock being not very based in cannon is predominately false. One thing I specifically remember is that ACD Sherlock practices single stick. However, it is likely that Sherlock got to a lot of classic ADC Sherlock traits before Elementary could get to them.

My hopes for this show are still very high, and I believe it has been renewed for a third and fourth season.

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Introducing Danny Pink

As a more-than-avid fan, I am signed up to receive updates with the BBC concerning Doctor Who. In an email today, some very interesting news has been releases, primarily the announcement that there will be a new reoccurring character in the Twelfth Doctor's first series (slated to start in August)

Anderson as Danny Pink
The character, as you might have inferred from the title of this post, is named Danny Pink. He is played by Samuel Anderson, whose past works include The History Boys, Gavin and Stacey, and Emmerdale. What the BBC has released in this matter is that Danny is a colleague of Clara's at Coal Hill School. Regarding starting work on the show he says:
I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started! [...] It's a quintessential part of British culture and I can't believe I'm part of it. It's an honour to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can't wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo.

Now, steering away from the facts.

Last autumn, commotion in the fandom came about when the programme was called racist. I find it interesting that they have now cast a black actor in a new role. That is all I have to say about that at the present time.

If you've seen some of my other writings, you may know that I am not a fan of how Moffat made the transition (or lack thereof) into the Eleventh Doctor. The "mistakes" he made coloured my entire opinion of the 11 because so much about the show changed with the end of David's run and the start of Matt's, and also with the change of showrunner, all at the same time. With the change to Twelve, there is no change in showrunner (although I really want one soon) and we are, as far as we know, keeping Clara (also to the dismay of many). Introducing a new companion with a new Doctor didn't work last time (I did love the Ponds, nothing on them), and I can only hope that it is played better this time. We do know that filming has already started, but since Doctor Who is not filmed in a linear progression (i.e., episode 4 may be filmed before episode 2) I just can't say with any certainty that Danny will or will not make an appearance in the TARDIS in the first Capaldi episode--or, may he not be on Team TARDIS at all?

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