Thursday, February 5, 2009

Innovate or Die

When I was a kid growing up in the early 1970s, there was a clear hierarchy in the pre-teen humor magazines. Sure, you could buy Cracked, and I think there were a few other mags out there, but everyone realized that Mad Magazine was the top of the heap.

I hadn't really paid attention to the wild kiddie humor magazine world lately - last I remember, Brooke Shields was interviewing Mad's William Gaines (as Yogi Berra would say, he must have granted that interview before he died).

But then, in the process of writing a Super Bowl-themed post for my Empoprise-MU blog, I ran across a post in The post, written by Clive Bannister and entitled Anti-Rock: The 10 All-Time Worst Choices for Super Bowl Halftime Performer, made it clear that today's Cracked bears little relation to the Cracked magazine of my childhood days.

Then, coincidentally, I ran across this post in Silicon Alley Insider, which linked to this Cracked post by Daniel O'Brien. If you believe O'Brien, the tables have turned.


Hey MAD.

How you doing? Why don’t you sit down, slip off those shoes of yours? Have something cold to drink, maybe snack on a few of these chips. Do you want a back rub, or something? Heating pad?

Foot massage?

You’ve been having kind of a rough time, lately, haven’t you? We feel your pain, really, we do (well, not really; things are actually pretty great over here. But you know what we mean).

I wanted to write sooner, really I did. Back in November, your TV show, (that, evidently, wasn’t already canceled), was canceled. That must’ve been tough. Even though it didn’t have much to do with your brand, it had your name on it, so that must have hurt a little bit....

More here, but this line stood out:

But, rest assured, Cracked is here for you. We used to have a magazine, remember?

So, while Mad Magazine has apparently gone to a quarterly publication, Cracked has ceased printed publication altogether, concentrating instead on the website.

Mad also has its own website, and it doesn't appear to be as pathetic as Cracked makes it out to be. And Mad's website is more kid safe than Cracked's.

But it's important to note that both companies have had to make adjustments over the years - or else they'd both be gone like Crazy and Sick.
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