Thursday, November 30, 2006

On Color / Off Color: Green Backs

Have you noticed that greenback are looking a bit orange in the latest designs. Take a look next time you're peeling off those bills.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Little... yellow... different.

Via AdFreak

The Rapture - "whoo! alright - yeah... uh huh"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Google Curation: Leather Mask

"Leather mask" is one of those phrases that, when types into Google Images instantly currates an interesting gallery of images. I was writing my post on Brio toys and the zipper-mouthed Squiddo had me playing "where have we seen that (zippers on mouths) before?" The gap between plush toys and S&M masks was just to irresistable not to try and traverse.

I couldn't find the perfect leather mask to juxtapose against Squiddo, but I did find these gems in the assortment served up by Google.

Toys (for kids) for parents

Dont get me wrong, I really dig the design of Brio's toys, I just wouldn't if I was still a child. Miss Snickerdoodle nailed it when she said to me "they look like toys designed for the parents not for the kids". You know the parental type, hell bent on choreographing their children's lives to fit their unrealistic fantasies of an idealized life.

Squiddo is a good case in point. Charming little toy (with a zip up mouth) that holds a cute train set that looks really, really boring to play with. It would be nice to think that your infant is going to sit serenely moving those little trains around that little track, but the truth is, they will probably use one to smash the others before hurling them all into the kitty litter.

The Brio site is well designed. Nice use of flash and video.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sense of Smell: Miller Harris

I read in the "Luxury Index" issue of Time Magazine that London based perfumer Miller Harris is offering customers the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of their own custom fragrance. $10,000.

I contacted a NY perfumer about helping me to create a fragrance called "Napalm in the Morning". He never returned my emails.

My other idea for a scent is called "Chloroform". (It'll knock you out!... fa real.)

Beach Sand as Media

Using beach as media, an amusing idea. What I like most about it is that it goes away as the space gets used for other things more important to us all. (Relaxing in the sun with a rum drink and ogling barley dressed flesh being way up on the list.) What if all advertising degraded so beautifully?

What is shocking to me is that the photography on Beach 'n Billboard may be the worst pictures EVER taken on a beach. How the F-bomb do you do that?

Screen Online

I just stumbled upon ScreenOnline and as it is "The Definitative Guide to Britian's Film and TV History" (a very well done, comprehensive site), discovered lots of cool thing I had little or no familiarity with.

There is a great feature on the Brother Quay.

An interactive feature on Free Cinema hosted by Malcolm McDowell. "Free Cinema" was a pivotal but under-recognised documenatary film movement of the late 1950s.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

How many dolts to screw in a bolt?

Media dolts that is, to do things like place banner ads without embarassing their agency and client? Almost all considering that for most people in media, media is their second job. Their first is usually reading FHM Magazine or trying to find a husband. When they do get around to throwing some attention at their jobs in media, they do so by selling crappy ideas "by the yard".

I've been cringing, for months, at the Bank of America and HSBC banner ad's that ALWAYS appear ganged together on Reuters pages. Higher Standards? not in media placement.

AdAge article: MediaShelly Lazarus Wants Media Back at the Table.

Thierry Mugler's Perfume Interpretations

Sherman Foundation Holidy Gift Guide #4.

As part of the marketing agenda for the new film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” you’d be right to expect an olfactory-related product tie-in. What you might not have anticipated is a coffret, or box, from Thierry Mugler Parfums, housing more than a dozen aromas, including a few whiffs of unpleasantry.

The film, opening Dec. 27, is based on the international best-selling book about a young 18th-century French perfumer who becomes a serial murderer to create the perfect scent.

The Thierry Mugler coffret — U.S. consumers will be able to buy it later this week for about $700 through the company's Web site — contains 15 odors, 14 of them tied to key portions of the book that are also highlighted in the film.

Maybe you could get that someone special the book instead.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thinking Man's Porn: 50's Style

The "Thinking Man's Porn", my reverse euphemism for documentary film. (I once heard pornography described as "intimacy without responsibility", I think the same can be said of documentary film.)


A is For Atom.

Sherman Foundation Holiday Gift Guide 3: Remote Control Helicopters

What's cooler that remote control helicopters you can fly indoors? Having dogfights with remote control helicopters that you can fly indoors! Don't let holiday stress turn the family gathering into the kind of chaos we read about from Downtown Baghdad, settle your scores in the skies. Let 'em know that "Death from above" will be served before dessert this year.

Indoor Micro Mosquito is the high-end model available at Radioshack, $70, but there are some cheaper models at the $40 pricepoint.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Shovel

The Shovel, (this link will take you to the iTunes Store) a film I worked on last year is now available on iTunes. My credits include art direction and still photography.

2006 Tribecas Film Festival winner for Best Narrative Short.

My previous post on The Shovel.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sherman Foundation Holiday Gift Guide 2

For the deviant aristocrat in your life I highly recommend Stubbs & Wooton slippers.

I am a proud owner of a pair. These are mine.

Mine are the best but I like some of the new designs as well. They have a store on Lexington, uptown.

George Barris

I've always been a huge fan of the art direction of the original Batman TV series. One element of that show is the iconic Batmobile. I was just made aware of the fact that the Batmobile and almost every unique car concept from television shows and motion pictures has been the work of a single man, George Barris (and his brother and the company he founded).

His car designs include the Batmobile. The Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy, The Munsters (Munster Koach), The Monkees (Monkeemobile), The Dukes of Hazzard (General Lee), Mannix (Roadster), Starsky and Hutch (Ford Torino), Power Rangers (Rad-Bug, Turbo Vehicles, and SPD Cars) and KITT from Knight Rider KITT.

I need to rememer to write a post about the fact that academic design snobery has always looked down upon design that is highly narrative. I actually think that narrative design (as well as design as character and product brands with associated characters) is the most overlooked and underrated area of design and design education. So few people understand character design and the "theater" of design these days.

Visualization Tools

The New York Times has launched a new Market Snapshot Visualization Tool.

Smart Money's classic, Map of the Market

Newsmap. Nick Z, Thank for the tip off . This is dope.

New York Magazine's DIY Approval Matrix. A daily interactive feature that allows you to map trends along highbrow/lowbrow and brilliant/dispicable axes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Creative and Non-Creative Consuming

I have a Thanksgiving holiday quick pick for creative consumption. Jones Soda Company has a limited edition Turkey & Gravey Soda. Green pea, dinner roll, sweet potato and antacid flavor, are part of the company's $10 to $15 "holiday pack".

Never put Mentos in a Jones Soda

Monday, November 20, 2006

Post-Disco Sound

This is a bit of a folllow-up to Sparse Arrangements. The move away from the (no snare drum, kick pattern with clap, no bassline) minimalism towards the big horn post-disco sound has begun. We are going to start seeing things that are a throw back to early MJ stuff, the production style of "Off The Wall", songs like Heartbreak Hotel. Or so say the kids that would know way better than I. Thanks for the tip Drew. I don't even remember this track.

Palette Cleanser

Meltdown: Michael Richards

Michael Richards is the latest celebrity to have a total meltdown. An apology is not sufficient in this one.

All this time we thought that you could do harm to others and destroy lives by wishing ill, by creating likenesses and pushing pins into them. As it turns out the best way to destroy a human life is to give them recording and motion picture contracts, bestow them with celebrity status and have humankind globally unite and transfer massive amounts of conferred value and social status to them. Angelina, Brad, given your combined energies... if my calculations are correct... ouch, it's gonna leave a hole in the earth when it strikes you. Madonna, I saw that your concert video is being aired on regular old TV... you haven't got long sweetheart. (And you can't hide by disguising yourself as a Brit.)

See Also: ...Actors, Prostitutes and Lepers.

Lindsay Lohan continues to go sans panties despite the constant publication of photos of her private parts, Relentless shock and awe.

David Cross & Johnny Marr

I nearly crapped my pants when I realized that it is comedian David Cross (Arrested Development) covering the Ethan Chandler (Bank of America) version of U2's ONE. When I saw that Johnny Marr on guitar (guitar player for The Smiths one of my all-time favorite bands) I did crap my pants. The world gets weirder and weirder evey day.

All posts related to this story can be found by clicking "one bank" below.


This faux subliminal in a print ad for Axe Lab appears to contain a real subliminal. Looks like a pair of baby arms holding apples in the lower middle portion of the ad. Pointing towards the hips of the female-reindeer sex objects.

Yet another fun site from Axe for the Axe Lab frangrance.

I've covered other pieces from Axe. Click the retro-sexism label below.

Click "display "behavior" in the labels for more on the subject of anthropomorphized sexual display.

Over the past year I have been pioneering the use of subliminals in blogs and email messages, click here to see an example.

Legal response to the Bank of America cover of the U2 Song ONE

The New York Time's reported on Universal's (U2's record label) legal response to the Bank of America cover.

Lyrics Celebrating Bank Merger Impress Only Copyright Lawyer

You can find links to the video by clicking the "one bank" label below.

Know what would be cool? Bank of America hosting talent contests in some of their branches. It would demonstrate a sense of humor and ability to roll with the punches of the crazy, new media world we live in.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sherman Foundation Holiday Gift Guide 1

For the art lover in your life.

Tableware for the End of the World and Ceramic Firearms by Charles Kraft. Via Nixta.

These are available and on sale at a gallery on Lex in the Lennox Hill area of Manhattan. I would love a combined "monkeyDawg" beast. HMSQ, can you provide a proper definition of MoneyDawg?

See my post regarding the redefinition of Holidays Holiday Mash-ups.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sparse Arrangements & the Voice as Instrument

I was talking with Drew and he pointed out how sparse many pop music arrangements have become. Usher's "Yeah!: absolutely NOTHING in the mix - no snare - no bassline - no pads, Just a HUGE synth lead, kick drum and claps. Beyonce's tracks are like that too - Naughty Girl, Baby Boy... it's like a 4 minute intro. Seems to work though. Wanna know another famous song missing a bassline? When Doves Cry - Prince.

Somehow they do work and manage to create a full sound. One of the reasons the Fergie track Fergilicious works is the use of voice. Notice how many ways her voice is used, the number of backing vocal and call/response parts.

I've noticed that with great actors, you can turn the sound off and just watch or turn the picture off and just listen to. They usually have great/interesting voices (Walken, Brando, Pacino).

Freddie Mercury had a great instrument of a voice. "Another One Bites the Dust" is minimal in its arrangement but listen to the way Freddy plays his voice over it. Freddie was a god.

Smacks of...

Peanut Butter? I saw this lip balm for sale at a Duane Reade. I'm struggling with the idea of having the lingering taste of peanut butter on my lips as a soothing balm.

This page has a range of interesting balm flavors.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I got got to

by Universal's (U2's lable) lawyers, so I had to pull that magic bank video. You can find it on YouTube.

But here are some other guys covering it.

Come on people, rise up and sing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Man Mom

These Man-Mom spots for Combos are great.

"What your mom would feed you if your mom were a man."

Big shout out to friend of The foundation and fuzzy man-peach, Mike Lanzi.

While I am doing family oriented content here is Stupid

There is some good stuff in the Retro-Sexism category. Click below.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Diet Charity. Full, self-satisfying validation without any of the sacrifice.

Oprah Winfrey recently gave more than 300 audience members $1,000 debit cards sponsored by Bank of America, with the stipulation that they donate the money to a charitable cause.

It's the latest incarnation of this new form of charity that I have come to call "Diet Charity". It requires little or nothing of consumer's participation. Marketing budget dollars are shifted to allow people who have no intention of doing anything for other people to do nothing for other people except feel good about themselves.

On some level these work like pyramid schemes. Bank of America get's the most notoriety for being "charitable". Oprah second and the recipients of the charity cards third.

The rest of us can fell good about knowing that all those douple-dip ATM charges are helping other people to feel good about themselves.

I wonder if there is a way for recipients of Oprah's Charity Cards to fashion them into some kind of annoying, socially obvious object to let the rest of us what great people they are? Yellow bracelets, red tshirts.... the lucky charms of diet charity.

Digital Life

Yesterday, I worked a Digital Life press event with my good friend Andrew.

He is VP of Marketing at DLO. If you don't have a DLO HomeDock Delux to hook your iPod up to your home theater system, you need to.

All the girls working the event were dressed like Princess Lea. Weird.

Some young actor was working for a company with product offerings focused on children's fitness. They had him dressed as superkid fitness literacy??? (or some shit like that).

Here he is, adjusting himself and sucking down a Heineken.

Two words...... off brand.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sneaky Digital Maneuvers

In my infamous post on the Snickers' Word Campaign I pointed out that Snickers and their agency had failed to purchase the urls and keywords for the neologisms coined for the ads. It would have been great to see a competitor buy those up and do something with them. Butterfinger could have put up sites with Bart Simpson mooning visitors and shouting "Hey Snickers, eat my shorts!". That would have been on-brand and hilarious, though I'm not sure that the legal teams would have gone along with it. If they were trademarked words, that could have become an issue. I hope that they weren't so lazy they didn't bother to do that, but hey, you never know.

Here is an example of a sneaky digital maneuver I just discovered. Type "hold everything" into Google. The result that pops up in the #1 position is a link to West Elm's website. Hold Everything's site comes up at #3. (It doesn't happen when you type "holdeverything" as a single word.)

I'm surprised you don't see more things like this in the digital space. There is a ton of wiggle-room to do so but most people still don't see the angles well enough to leverage them and most agencies shy away from anything too strategically aggressive or uncharted legally.

A few months back I posted about the video that Motorola is suspected of making and posting on YouTube. In it, a woman snaps one of Samsung’s Ultra Edition mobile phones in half to show how flimsy it is. Did that one go too far? I'm still not sure.

Bank of America, MBNA "One Bank" video

The video I posted last week of the Bank of America and MBNA song "One Bank" (click here to watch it) made it all the way to VH1's "Best Week Ever" and "The Soup" on E. That didnt take long.

Here are the lyrics for you.

is it even better
now that we are the same
two great companies come together now
mbna is boa

now it's one bank
one card
one name that is known all over the world
one spirit
we get to share it
leading us all to higher standards

do you like the cowboys
or your university
do you like the yankees
or is nascar more your speed
well its your choice
your right to pick a card that shows
your heart and your pride

we are one with affinity
and we will carry each other
carry each other

have you come to meet ????
have you come to meet liam mcgee
have you heard about michelle shephard
she is leading the team in the northeast

and we've got bank one on the run
what's in your wallet? it is not capital one's us
so which card are you?
integration has never had us feeling so good
and we will make lots of money
forever i can sing ... about trust, teamwork and doing the right thing
we will live out our core values
while the competition crawls
cause they want what we have got
but it is only here at bank of america

one bank
one card
one name that is known all over the world
one heart filled with spirit
we feel it
we share it

one bank working everyday
to bring higher standards
higher standards
we are one
we are one
we are one bank

The range of comments I've received is phenomenal.

Let's not ignore VISA. My observations on Visa's new "Life Takes Visa" Campaign: Paradox in Advertising.

The American Look

The definitive Populuxe film on 1950s automotive, industrial, interior and architectural design. This documentary really embodies the essence of this (50s) period. From the thinmgs freatures and the way it is shot to the music score it is a fantastic piece of refence.

In 3 parts.

Thanks Optimal Zen, for switching me on.

O.Z. describes the use of language in the narration as "corkscrew english". For example: "wonderful possessions of new grace and glamour are offered the american people" vs. "we offer. americans wonderful possessions of new grace and glamour."

I found a further ref ro "corkscrew english: here.

George Bernard Shaw once said, "In literature, the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language; the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it." In today's world, if literary pretense is diminishing-- because no one's reading the classics anymore-- it is being replaced by a hybrid, awkward approach to language. Apparently, too many writers are watching too much television-- specifically talk shows, cop shows, reality shows, and advertising. They have allowed terms like "perp" and "proceeded" replace the terms "the guy/man/woman" and "walked/jogged/trod/ran/strode" that should have been used; and advertising descriptions, e.g., "a refreshing drink," have sometimes replaced descriptions based on real observation and appropriate to the context. It's no wonder that, as Katharine Hepburn said in The Philadelphia Story, "all that… corkscrew English" shows up.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Escalating Impact

I was just listening to an NPR news story: Britain's MI5 Warns of 30 Possible Terrorist Attacks. The associations of Britain, MI5, and Bond came to mind and some thoughts crossed it, could this be a pump for the movie release next week? could you safely do something like blow up a building to create an impactful media event for something like a movie release? My thoughts were just mental meanderings, not serious proposals.

What's interesting is that citicisisms by some of MI5's disclosure about possible attacks were framed as an attempt by the organization to increase it's budgets. It has, like it or not, become second nature for us to look instantly for other angles whenever we are presented with a story and it has become accepted that framing and manipulation to gain competitive advantage are part of life.

It's getting tougher and tougher for people in industries that create awareness and arrest attention to get the job done. Everyone is in on the act and some of them are using more powerful tools.

Speaking of Bond...

The new film, Casino Royale, featuring Daniel Craig opens this week!!! (All you Clive Owen fans can bite it. He's a wuss) Layer Cake, although not a great movie, but good, sold me on Daniel Craig.

I've really dig the Chris Cornell title track "You Know My Name". Here is a link to an NPR story on the Bond movie tilte tracks.