J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.

How to manage playlists on the go in iOS 7: Buy Swhipy

Swhipy screen shot  (By J. Barrineau)

Swhipy screen shot
(By J. Barrineau)

After several frustrating months of not being able to manage my iPhone’s playlists on the go, I have found a $2 solution that allows me to create playlists from playlists: Swhipy by JYPApps. It’s an understated app that’s worth every damn cent and then some, and it’s as close to being what I would consider a New Year miracle.

My joyful purchase was all part of an effort to manage my large music library — MUSIC THAT I HAVE PAID FOR — following my switch to an iPhone 5S (64GB) with iOS 7. When I discovered the loss of functionality in the iOS 7 Music app, I turned to the Apple discussion forums, where other dismayed music enthusiasts were also registering their puzzlement and complaints. Based on several users’ recommendations, I also downloaded Ecoute ($2.99) and Lagu (free). These are interesting alternatives to the abomination that is the Music app, but they didn’t do what I needed them to do, which is build playlists from other playlists on the go. (Side note: Ecoute is the app for you if you’re suffering through the Music app’s disastrous sorting issues. Meanwhile, Lagu is interesting because of its “queue” feature, but there’s something missing. If you try to save a playlist, you’re prompted to type a title for the playlist, but the keyboard doesn’t appear. Oh well, it’s free.)

It’s no secret that Apple shit the bed with the release of iOS 7 — I will NOT call it an “upgrade” — but the changes to the Music app were particularly painful for music lovers. (Editor’s note: I have understated this on purpose because it’s not as though we’ve been fed alive to starving dogs or anything.) I realize this is a “first world problem” of the first degree. It’s also a pocketbook issue: Consumers who have paid for their music should have the right to manage their music on their terms.  And this isn’t a learning curve, as some bloggers would suggest. No, I’m talking about a loss of functionality and flaccid user experience that underscore Apple’s blatant disregard for its loyal customers who built the megadynasty that is iTunes. I mean, really: Would we have bought so much music if they hadn’t made it so easy to enjoy?

Why Apple would remove so much functionality from its native app is baffling. And yeah, I’ve read about the efforts for a “more simplistic” design — and that’s just bullshit. It’s one thing to simplify an icon; it’s another to simplify an application to the point of frustrating the user with radical limitations. There’s nothing simple about plumbing the depths of a gazillion-song library to find JUST ONE SONG. And, finally, if this sick-making overhaul is part of some coked-up marketing scheme to drive me to iTunes Radio, then that’s just evil.


Toyota Venza girl angry about Triscuits

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.
Our heroine from the Toyota Venza commercial can be seen in the new Triscuits commercial.

That’s all I have to say about that right now because I have to go to dinner.

Like this commercial? Hate it?


Tell me why! (No registration required.)


Like the ad? Show Allyn Rachel the love on her Facebook page.

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RELATED: Toyota Venza Girl plugs eBay


EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl on Yahoo!


EARLIER: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial


EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’


RELATED: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook


Nielsen: Top U.S. Web Brands in 2011

Nielsen reports that Google is still the top web brand in 2011, followed by Facebook, which is where Americans spend the most time online. According to Nielsen’s Q3 social media report,  Facebook users spent 53.5 billion minutes on the site in May 2011. (I bet I work with some of those Facebook enthusiasts.) It is also the top social networking site through mobile devices: 46,500,000 unique audience members.


Toyota Venza girl does an ad for McRib

This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

UPDATE 8-12-12:Toyota Venza girl is angry about Triscuits.


UPDATE 11-03-2011: Like the ad?
Show Allyn Rachel the love on her Facebook page.


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I think I’m going to change the name of this blog to the Allyn Rachel & Other Stuff Blog. She’s all you people want to read about this year!

J’s Pages commenter Sarahbelle tipped me off that the “Toyota Venza girl” is also featured in the new commercial for the McRib, another bewildering food marketing success.

The McRib ad is a clever bid for mobile users, much like the new eBay ads. In the McRib spot, newlyweds Rachel and a Steve Zahn lookalike are about to embark on their honeymoon when he gets a text that the McRib is back! (“I’m gonna miss it!”)


I married a 14-year-old!


~ Allyn Rachel,
as McRib Bride

The ad does a great job of showing that all the characters have obeyed McDonald’s call-to-action for mobile users: “Get the word out: McRib is back!”

And it’s worth noting the spot fails to answer the question: What the hell is a McRib?

At the time of this writing, this HD version had 379 views, the SD version 2,546. There were 8 likes, 1 dislikes and 7 comments.

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See more of Allyn Rachel’s work on YouTube, Twitter, this blog and other Web 2.0 outlets.

UPDATE 10-27-2011: Allyn Rachel on Twitter


EARLIER:Toyota Venza Girl on MSN


EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl on Yahoo!


EARLIER: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial


EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’


1 Comment

When trivial became good again: On iPods, 9/11, and Steve Jobs

iPod Classic by Aaron Logan

In 2011, it’s hard sometimes to remember there was life before Facebook or iPhones. It’s hard to remember that one had to sit down at a computer and log into an email account rather than having the messages delivered to a smartphone in a pocket. It’s hard to remember the once-coveted music compact discs and their portable players, and it’s nearly impossible to remember music was once played by a moving stylus on a plastic disk with grooves. And although new names make headlines every day, a look at the past decade’s nearly frenzied embrace of technology shows the influence, the reach of Steve Jobs.

Although I had used Apples and Macs at school and work for years, Apple gave me my first real taste of truly personal tech in 2001. Shortly after 9/11, the news service where I worked received two supercool-looking gadgets from Apple they wanted us to test drive and write about. It was called an iPod, and its 5GB hard drive held “1,000 songs in your pocket.” (A 1,000 songs?!! Really?!!) I got to take one home and play with it — and I played with it for hours, which turned into days.  After my test drive, I was able to pre-order one. I was one of the first people in America to own an iPod. It’s probably my greatest achievement.
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Amazon’s new Fire heats up tablet race

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) unveiled the Kindle Fire on Wednesday, a 7-inch tablet that The Wall Street Journal says could be Apple’s “biggest” challenger to the almighty iPad.  Kindle, Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Fire; courtesy of Amazon Press RoomMuch like iPad’s Android competitors, the Kindle Fire’s price is sure to compel consumers to give it a second look: It’s priced at an attractive $199; the cheapest iPad2 is $499.

The Kindle Fire was just part of Amazon’s growing Kindle family: Also announced were a lighter, cheaper Kindle ($79), the Kindle Touch ($99) and the Kindle Touch 3G ($149). Read the full news release about the Kindle family here.

The Amazon Kindle Fire at a glance:

  • Weight: 14.6 ounces (413 grams)
  • Size: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm)
  • 1024 x 600P resolution at 169PPI
  • 8GB on-board memory
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
  • Full charge in approx. 4 hours
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard
  • USB 2.0 port (micro-B connector)
  • Warranty and service: 1 year limited
  • Supported formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8

EARLIER: Acer Iconia A500: A honey-sweet alternative to iPad? ~J’s Pages, May 26

EARLIER: A honey-sweet alternative to the Xoom? ~ J’s Pages, April 9

1 Comment

eBay polishes its new act in ‘Salon’ commercial

ED’S NOTE: The commentary here reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No products, services or agencies are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

Not long after I wrote about the Toyota Venza Girl in the eBay “Blue Jeans” commercial, I caught another ad from the “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay” campaign. Even after I write about an advertising strategy, I like to find commercials “in the wild.” I have a very short attention span, and if a TV ad catches my attention as I’m studying/doing laundry/cleaning/blogging while half-watching a show I recorded, that tells me other people are likely to be noticing, too.
(Post continues after video.)


She was here once. She had toes like a sloth.


~ Snarky pedicurist on tabloid celebrity in eBay commercial

This time, we the consumer get to eavesdrop on 20somethings as they get their weekly mani/pedis in “Salon,” a 30-second spot with an ADHD-inspired script that shows how quickly we can fall in love with those “amazing shoes” we see in US Weekly or Talentless Bimbos Daily or whatever rag we’re force-fed while strapped to a chair at a salon. Our heroine — the targeted “shopping enthusiast” — uses her eBay app to find “this heel” that is “so fabulous!” (“Mine! Look at that!”) She was fast with the swipe, and no sooner had we found out Maui’s mom built a yacht lake house for her pug, our mobile shopper had purchased what was on her mind: the amazing shoes she saw just seconds ago in the tabloid.

For readers who didn’t catch the last post, the “When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay” campaign” is designed to expand the ecommerce giant’s footprint in mobile commerce, a daunting task for a company seen primarily as an auction marketplace. With the “Buy It New. Buy It Now” call to action, eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) urges shoppers to take advantage of the 62% of 200 million live listings that are “fixed price,” and the 70% of those products that are new. (Like the new jeans that actress Allyn Rachel orders in the “Blue Jeans” commercial.)

According to the press release announcing the campaign, eBay is targeting the “shopping enthusiasts,” the category of shopper who are most likely to shop using mobile devices. The first step in reaching those shoppers is through legacy media: Six 30-second TV commercials began airing Sept. 14 on national cable network shows including Top GearSportsCenter,Tosh.0The Daily Show with Jon StewartTop Chef and The Rachel Zoe Project — about the time Googlers started hitting this site looking for more information about the actress in the “Blue Jeans” ad.

At the time of this writing, this “Salon” clip (uploaded Sept. 13, 2011, on YouTube) had 12,336 views, 39 likes and 36 dislikes. A fan’s comments tipped me off to the name of the woman playing the “shopping enthusiast.” She is Kestrin Pantera, an actress, producer and voice-over artist who has a band and studies at the Groundlings. You can read more about her on IMDB.

About the eBay YouTube Channel
(As of Sept. 26, 2011)

  • Channel Views: 185,968
  • Total Upload Views: 1,724,434
  • Joined: Oct. 30, 2005
  • Subscribers: 1,272

AGENCY: Venables Bell & Partners, the folks who convinced us that Slim Jims are “mantastic!”

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EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl in eBay ‘Blue Jeans’ ad


EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’