Skip to main content

Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest = first Absolut shillfest?

Oh, here's how Absolut recruited bloggers. Here's an report on the actual event.

As with the borough, the Brooklyn Blogfest sure has changed.

There's a lot of shilling for Absolut Brooklyn before the Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest, which is sponsored by Absolut. And surely there will be more, thanks to Absolut's Brooklyn Stoop Life campaign, where "Bloggers Share Their Love for Brooklyn."

Absolut has generated sponsored blog posts as well as other posts that sure look like they're sponsored, since the bloggers have "been chosen to collaborate with Absolut Vodka, to celebrate Absolut Brooklyn."

Renaming Brooklyn

So let me suggest an update of John Pinamonti's classic Atlantic Yards elegy/fight song, "The Burrow."

Original version:
"It makes me mad/and it's such a pity/they're trying to rename Brooklyn/Forest City"
My update:
"It makes me mad/and for so little loot/they're trying to rename Brooklyn/Absolut"
Absolut accountability

Yes, as I wrote after last year's Blogfest, the disparate blogs of Brooklyn all have their role.

But relatively few people in the “bloggiest place in America” provide what we need most: solid civic information, "holding institutions accountable on a daily basis," to quote author, The Wire creator, and former reporter David Simon.

Still true. Absolut-ly.


  1. Thanks for the link to my video post, Mr. Oder on the "that sure look like they're sponsored" tab. I wonder if you are familiar with my blog beyond this. I'm betting, no. It's, please click around.

    Just to be clear, Absolut DID NOT SPONSOR this video or any other on my blog, no one has. I'm a filmmaker as well as a chef, and my partner and I crank out good quality on our OWN COIN, thank you very much. I have no advertisers and make a SMALL bit of change on YouTube as a content partner. A quick email could have confirmed this, but you only implied otherwise so no need to double check. Forgive the snark, but I'm feeling offended.

    So in full disclosure, I got one bottle of Vodka at the time of shooting, I later received a flip. There is some promise I'll be on their facebook page. Frankly many of my subscribers assumed I was actually getting real money for this. But, true, I did not detail my big windfall. Won't happen again, that's for sure. Always a pleasure to feel community support from fellow bloggers.

  2. Absolut engaged bloggers to promote the new vodka, in part by promising certain goodies. That's what I meant by posts that sure look like they're sponsored, and I take your belated disclosure as a recognition that there was a connection regarding that specific post.

    It doesn't mean you get rich off it. Nor does it mean that your blog isn't valuable. Nor does it mean that your blog is sponsored by Absolut. It's just an example of Absolut's "viral, underground" marketing strategy.

  3. I never ever implied there was NOT a connection to the vodka. I stated in my video that I was working with Absolut. Work means compensation. Which are certain "goodies" in this case. My "belated disclosure" was of the details NOT the connection.

    I'm still not sure what you are trying to establish here.

  4. Heather, I'm sure you think I'm splitting hairs here, but "chosen to work with" and "chosen to collaborate with" is pretty ambiguous.

    You could've won a contest, or lottery, rather than be part of their viral marketing.

    It's a well-done video.

    I'll point to today's post to elaborate my general concerns:

  5. I surely could have been clearer, but that this is in line with Brooklyner or the Barclay's Center? Really, Mr. Oder? I despise both.

    I disagree about contests. They are just another way huge corporations get content, and sometimes quality content, for free. Totally exploitive. Even if every contestant got a free flip, I would not have entered on principal.

    I chose to be part of the viral marketing, your term not mine, in a spirit of community with the Blogfest (I like Louise and what she does) and because saying I was working with Absolut offers my small blog a little credibility in the broader context of YouTube. I NEVER intended to imply there was no compensation or gain for me.

    Now if I said I discovered this wonderful product that I could make Sangria and Barbecue sauce (next video) with no mention of a collaboration or working relationship, that would be some seriously inauthentic viral marketing, but I didn't. I do think intention counts here.

    Obviously, I too, can split hairs. Thanks, hj

  6. Heather,

    Yes, intention counts. I didn't suggest that what any individual blogger did was in line with Brooklyner or the Barclays Center.

    But, as I wrote, I do think that the overall Absolut marketing effort aims (in an underhanded way) at authenticity, just as do the suite-marketers at the arena and those trying to imply that the Brooklyner is located in a brownstone neighborhood.

    The term "viral, underground effort" comes from Absolut's marketing letter.

    I'll stand by what I wrote: "Blogfest organizers should've provided some leadership. And bloggers in general are getting a reminder that even if they don't think of themselves as journalists they may have some ethical responsibilities."

    That doesn't make anyone evil. Nor does it mean they're not well-intentioned. It just means they should think things through.

    There's a lot of celebration at the Blogfest. It's a fun party for a lot of people.

    For years, though, some participants have raised questions as to whether the Blogfest--or another event--would provide an opportunity for bloggers to confront some tough questions about things like commenting, fact-gathering, and conflict-of-interest.

    See Benjamin Kabak's post from May 2008:

  7. You should stand by your statement re ethical responsibilities, it is accurate. However I think the issue was one of disorganization and ignorance and not a matter of being underhanded. I should have been more clear and not made assumptions about my audience's understanding of the situation. I can't pass that buck to anyone.

    And yes, I have lots to say about blogging that hasn't been addressed at Blogfest, I actually backed up what Kuntzman said on the mike at Blogfest 2008. I spoke right after he did.

    But, in defense of Blogfest, as someone who has volunteered and organized more than her fair share, (PTA,SLT,etc) I hesitate to bring it up, lest I'm heading up yet another labor of love. She is putting in the work, not me. I respect that. Thanks for the exchange. Take care, hj


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.


Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in 2017: no new towers, unfilled affordable units, Islanders prepare to leave, project timetable fuzzy

My 2018 preview.

It was another wait-and-see year for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, with one big twist--the beginning of a slow goodbye for the New York Islanders--but continued delays for towers, a lost (mostly) 421-a subsidy for condos, and new skepticism about unfilled not-so-affordable housing units.

So ongoing questions linger regarding the project's pace, affordability, and even future ownership.

In my 2017 preview, I predicted--not exactly going out on a limb--that two and likely three more towers would open, though it would be unclear how fast they'd lease up and sell.

Indeed, we've learned that the middle-income below-market units at 461 Dean (which opened in 2016) and 535 Carlton have leased very slowly, while it's too soon to assess progress for commensurate units at 38 Sixth. (At 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth, middle-income units make up half the "100% affordable" buildings.) Meanwhile, many apartments are up for rent at the 550 Vanderbilt condo buildin…