Monday, April 08, 2024


When I was working at Federal-Mogul (later re-named DR1V after they were aquired by Tenneco -- the reason I left the company), I worked quite a bit on all of the brand websites for things like Wagner Brakes, Fel-Pro gaskets, Champion Sparkplugs, etc. My boss, Jessica, really liked the idea of each of these brands having a "Merch(andise) Store". I didn't necessarily see the point of that for most of the brands but helped get them built out anyway. I always felt that of all of the brands under the Federal-Mogul banner, Champion was the most recognizable. This was proven out when I saw an on-set photo from Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood where Brad Pitt was wearing a Champion t-shirt. I saved out the photo and sent it over to my boss as well as our social media manager.

"I don't know if they needed to get permission for this but I think it's a great opportunity for us to sell some Champion t-shirts!" I wrote to them along with details of the film and its release date. I figured they would take this information and run with it -- coming up with potential tie-ins, a social media calendar, and more. Instead, they did nothing.

I left the company shortly after that (and a few months before the July 26, 2019 release date). I kept tabs on my co-workers for a few weeks after I left (as one is wont to do). I went out to dinner with one of the guys who took over my position and I asked him for an update about the Champion Merch Store. Did they ever do anything to capitalize on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? No. Nothing. They didn't even order extras. The style of the shirt worn by Pitt "mysteriously" sold out by August, 2019 and was never re-stocked.

I don't know when the Merch Store went away but it's not on the Champion website -- which is riddled with broken links and hasn't had its copyright updated since 2022. Looks like all of my hard work wasn't appreciated despite almost literally gift-wrapping a great idea for them. More reasons that I left.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Sick of It

I don't have anything against Karina Longworth or her podcast, You Must Remember This. I've listened to a few dozen hours of the show and apart from Longworth's delivery and over-ennunciation, I think it's a very well-researched and produced show. Am I jealous that Longworth has a staff to do the production and some of the research? Not really. Do I think she got anywhere due to her husband, Rian Johnson? Absolutely not. She's doing something right and I just wish I knew it was.

I spotlight Longworth because You Must Remember This consistently lands on lists of the best movie podcasts available. What prompted me to write this piece is that I recently read The Best New Podcasts of 2024 (so far) by Nicholas Quah from Vulture / New York magazine. Since 2015, Quah has consistently put You Must Remember This on "Best of" lists and that's his perogative. He apparently loves the show, writing about it at least 9 times over the last 9 years (potentially a lot more as not every plug is on Vulture nor is every piece on Vulture tagged "You Must Remember This"). This latest listicle stuck in my craw, however, as the episode Quah named to his "Best Podcast of 2024 (so far)" is "The Hard Hollywood Life of Kim Novak — 10th anniversary restoration" which was a "restoration" of the first episode of You Must Remember This. So, not exactly new.

The episode was (re-)published April 1, 2024. Quah's post was published on April 1, 2024. This seems very odd to me, unless this is some kind of elaborate April Fools joke.

Again, I'm not picking on Longworth or You Must Remember This. I'm not even picking on Quah. I'm complaining that there are a handful of podcasts that consistently fill these listicles which either cannibalize one another or are written by publicists in the employ of these podcasts. These shows are backed by the handful of companies control "big podcast", hosted by celebrities, or a combination of the two. Now, this may be a really bad look for me to complain about the repetition and redundancy of these lists as I've been trying to crack that secret formula of getting on one of them for 13 years. But, the "best new" label for a podcast that hadn't had an episode since October 2023 and whose first episode shows up on the day the listicle is published was just a bridge too far.

Really, it's probably just sour grapesssssss.