I was minding my own business this morning while scanning the Santa Cruz Sentinel and I was stopped in my tracks when I read the article by Ryan Nakashima day lighting the new App available on iTunes named 'Viggle' which offers "reward points" for watching TV.
Please tell me that I am not the only knucklehead that finds it chilling that this kind of advertising and marketing has slipped under the radar or should I say slipped through the front door and into your living room through a "smart" phone.
Congratulations Americans we are now rewarded points for logging time in front of the boob-tube (if you own one). 7500 points will get you 5 bucks at..... are you ready for this - Burger King, Starbucks, CVS, and Best Buy.
The marketing executives are geniuses - if you watch enough TV you might actually believe that Burger King food is no longer poisonous and then you will have a need for more caffeine to keep watching to gain more points and the partnering with CVS pharmacies is absolutely a gold mind. It's simple math really, the more you watch the longer you stay on Lipitor - cha ching! Best Buy has the obvious role of selling you your next big screen baby. It all sounds like something I would have thought of as a joke in high school.
Chris Stephenson President of Viggle said, "We're basically allowing people to get rewards for doing something they're doing already and that they love to do". When you are dealing with numbers as large as the daily intake of TV with Americans, the rewards ratio has to be fair to the sponsors.
To earn enough for a latte at Starbucks, one must stare at the Television set every night for three hours for three weeks. It would not be fair to the networks if it was any other way otherwise folks would just clean up on the rewards.
What is odd (sad) to me is that these companies and partnerships are no longer even trying to hide the fact that they are keeping folks numb and plugged into the proverbial American Treadmill. Apps like these have become so widely accepted that if someone questions them they are considered "radical".
The idea behind Viggle according to the folks at Viggle is that if people have an added reason to watch TV, the size of the audience will increase, allowing makers of shows to earn more money from advertisers. The app will also give the company valuable insight into who is watching what.
I am surprised that the smart bastards that came up with this idea didn't name the App Oceania or Orwell just to rub our noses in it. I vote that we push for an App that rewards us for spending time reading, hanging out with friends, cycling, or doing absolutly nothing.....oh wait you can't track those things.
For the record:
I think that the new "bubble" that is growing at a phenomenal rate is the monthly nickle and dimming games that is being played on all of us worker bees (chumps) by the tech world. Mortgages are too risky and have a little too much oversight, but phones, apps, TVs - these are ripe for the picking as kids can now spend money without spending money.
Steel Wül cycle club - Alps not Apps!
What would Jobst do?
How many Viggle points did Jobst earn while pedaling up the Gavia Pass? How did he ever make it to the top with out a "smart" phone tracking his every move. The only way for them to make money off of Jobst would be to offer a cold one at Tom Sullivan's house, Rob Parson's compound, Peter Johnson's shop or at the Corralitos market.