Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oh well.

So I didn't win the $260 mega million this time, someone in the heartland of Ohio did. At least this means an end to all the hoopla and a return to your normal $10-15 million jackpots. Whew, that was crazy there. I actually had to figure out how to use those little scan sheets and interact with the clerk from 7-11. That might be the biggest lesson out of it all, don't ask them anything. They can make you feel idiotic and superior at the same time.

I was also struck by something completely unexpected, as I was pouring over an email real estate listing for condo units nearby. There are advertisements in my email, which is no different than anyone else. I, however, actually used one, and found that something that some agency has placed through Google adwords will help me. Now that is truly groundbreaking. It's certainly better than the first banner ad.

Of course, our lives will be full of ads soon, and our senses are able to filter most out, but when they are text-based, nearby similar content, and most importantly relevant, then they have a chance. Like basketball fans who wave their Thunderstix in a random, unsynchronized pattern at a free throw shooter, it is all visual white noise. It easily goes away, like magazine ads, billboards, and especially big flashing Flash movies all over. The lesson is that being different is key. Recently, IKEA has hired a more liberal ad agency over other Danish firms, Welcome to Orange County is relatively unknown, but seems to have a grasp on a younger, more modern/aware demographic. Also, a good idea in advertising is KFC (the chicken place) giving free food to anyone who cares enough to tape their commercial and play it backwards. How much is your time worth?

Anyway, the ad that inspired me was pointing to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (they call it the BRA) and their below-market housing system right alongside my email listings for overpriced Boston housing. It is a city program that helps people like myself get into housing and build equity, but we are prohibited from selling at a significant gain. I think the tradeoff is acceptable, as I may be able to afford something that I couldn't otherwise, and may be somewhat insulated from bad market fluctuations. Thanks Google ads! You just saved me $90k!