Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Conan O'Brien's American Express Ad: 2 Minutes, $1 Million

Just in case you weren’t clear on this: Conan O’Brien’s new show starts tonight.

Also, Conan O’Brien has embraced the Internet.

With that out of the way, we can now enjoy O’Brien’s latest digital foray. This American Express ad isn’t technically a new-media event, since you’ll start seeing the spot on good old-fashioned TV today. But given that Amex has bought out the front page of YouTube, odds are very high that you’re going to encounter the clip on Google’s site, or somewhere else on the Web:

Worth noting: While the ad is timed to run in conjunction with O’Brien’s debut on TBS, note that there’s no explicit tie-in. The WSJ reports that Amex paid O’Brien–and not TBS owner Time Warner–“more than $1 million” for his services.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work