Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Future, maybe.

My friend at dinner recently: "How are you guys going to survive when everyone has DVR? I never know what movies are playing anymore because, like, I fast forward through everything. And I watch A LOT of TV."

It's a valid question. One I asked to the board when they stopped by in March. Seems to be that a convergance of technologies is going to save us, Internet on the TV, TV on the Internet, all that.

Anyway, here's a video of a stopgap measure that TBS has begun running. A pox on their viewers, but it does the job.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another good music videos

Some interesting design ideas working in this one.

We should all be getting Vice.

Jordan was right.

See the other 18. One of them is not safe for work.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

At least watch the whole thing once.

Rock and roll is like surrealist film: a little of it is good for you from time to time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Good Design Doesn't Need a Headline

Just a caption.

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

Friday, April 11, 2008

La Resistance

It's interesting to watch smart, young people use their talents and intelligence in opposition to your own. When you're working hard, you never view yourself as the evil empire, but I guess that's who my peers and I aspire to work for. The kids at the Anti-Advertising Agency are the resistance, pushing back against our creative shilling. The work they're doing is really cool, and I respect it on a lot of levels. Everyone should check this out, regardless of which side you're on.

The lead image is from their "you don't need it" sticker campaign, which supplies consumers with... well, I'm sure you can figure it out.

Other cool work they've done includes Advertising=Graffiti and a bus stop campaign. It's all guerrilla and it's all pretty good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Straight Tastemakin'

Quick post to draw everyone's attention to Just upload your songs and post away; all of a sudden, everyone can listen to the mix you made to score with that chick that works at Trader Joe's. Most of the mixes I've heard thus far have really, really good choices on them, so they're totally worth hearing. Another iteration of web 2.0 that doesn't suck. The pundits may have declared it prematurely pase.

I'll make one of these later. Check back then.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yes We Can (do without serifs)

Mainstream press coverage of typefaces at the today. Jesse already posted a terrific evaluational of the candidates' design styles, but the article has some juicy bits for anyone interested in communication. Plus, the phrase "Brigadoon of branding" appears, so that's pretty awesome.

Monday, March 31, 2008

No, not "Al Green." It's "Al: Green."

Gawker has posted Martin's debut spot for The Alliance for Climate Protection, calling it "Gore-like in its earnestness." It works for me, though, since I like earnest advertising. I think the idea of playing on America's patriotic, me-first, our-way-or-the-highway sensibilities is smart, but I wish the ad had been a little more Obaman in its gravity. The chilled out "oooweeooo" soundtrack makes me worried that it will be drowned out by this year's "TOYOTATHON" or "LOBSTERFEST" ads.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Opposite of a List (I guess)

A while back, I posted a list of my favorite albums from the past year. While it gave a nice gaze into my musical preferences, I think sometimes a single choice is a stronger signifier than a ranging compilation.

So if you lack the time or care, here's one song that effectively summarizes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Welcome to the Brandcenter Community Theatre.

Throughout high school and college, I never participated in the drama programs of either institution. The kids that did typically kept to themselves, close knit, if a touch odd.

Being in the copywriting track at the Brandcenter has given me a new appreciation of those kids. I didn't know it when I arrived, but I was actually joining a bizarre Vaudevillian ensemble. Almost every day for the last seven months, I've marched on stage and delivered a series of ludicrous jokes, tropes, stanzas, lines, voices and characters. That's what makes school so interesting, and, I think, why forming strong friendships has been so easy. If our work was delivered in a vacuum, simply emailed in PDF form to our professors, we'd miss out on the squirmy, uncomfortable hours filled by performances worthy of the Globe. Or at least a community theatre.

Honestly. Who goes in front of 50 people, looks them in the eye, takes a breath and emotes, "Tiffany's: addict her to you."

I do. My peers do. And man, it makes you want to drink together.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Jeeves is real

A friend showed me an interesting alternative to Google last night. Cha Cha is something of an internet butler service, where you're connected via chat box to an actual human being who does the searching for you. This allows you to watch YouTube or get a snack while they cull the digital profusion for relevant results. While I'm not sure it's totally practical, the idea that someone is out there doing my bidding is a good feeling. And it is useful on some level. While writing this blogpost, my lackey Dorene found me several helpful pages about the history of the Tiffany diamond company. Thanks Dorene!

As a young person twisted by the realities of who else is using the internet, I can only imagine what these poor search guides must deal with. How many times can you possibly be asked to find violent Tony the Tiger slash fiction before you want to move to a fishery in the Maldives?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On a new found respect:

Have to give it up for the art directors. The designers. The printers. The architects. To anyone who makes a living crafting layouts and images into something you can physically hold and page through: you have my respect. It is hard. I finished cobbling together my minibook today, and it has been an exhausting, emotionally oscillating experience. My arms are tired. My bones are tired. It's had tremendous benefits, though. I'll never look at printmaking the same way again. And, as with all creative endeavors, I grew as a person.

Now we find out if I've grown into someone that deserves an internship. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

To the creative directors reading my blog:

It's internship season. I know you've been reading my blog, thinking to yourself "When am I going to get a shot at this kid?" The time has come. I'm accepting offers. True, I haven't provided any samples, or even mentioned the fact that I've been making fake ads for the past six months. But let's look at the facts:

1.) I'm a publicity machine.

2.) I like pretty girls.

3.) I like good music.

4.) I'm really into NPR and PBS.

5.) I can make something out of nothing.

If those aren't reasons enough to contact me, then I don't know what else to say. I'm going to post this and then start pushing the refresh button in Mail. I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Huh. Looks familiar.

The University of What's Next - Portfolio Magazine

I'm linking this article in Portfolio for two reasons: one, its the most indepth approximation of what goes on here. There are a few pieces of misguided publicity-speak (we're not permitted to use the showers), but on the whole the article does a good job. And that's the second reason I'm linking it: it's the most brazenly positive review of the school I've seen. I'm attributing this to the fact that the writer knows Mark Fenske personally.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Man of Culture #1

While I started this blog with a singular purpose, I've found I really enjoy using it for taste-making (read: sharing the slices of pop culture I've been enjoying.) In an effort to pretend like I'm running a serious publication, I'm going to codify these posts under the "A Man of Culture" heading. Consider this the first official one. I suppose my Top Ten Albums post was #0.

That brings me to Bon Iver (pronounced "bone hee-vair.") An intentional misspelling of the French for "Good Winter", Justin Vernon's one-man psych folk project is persuasive enough to make months of cold cabin-dwelling sound haunting and irresistible.

Take a listen to his recent live performance in Washington, DC. You probably won't regret it.

Bon Iver - Live

Friday, February 22, 2008

From the ashes come Lions

It's no secret that the American automotive industry is having a tough couple decades. SUVs and trucks were saving graces during the 90s, but with eco-guilt becoming a force to be reckoned with, I'm not sure how they're going stay competitive in the next 20 years. Honestly, ask yourself: what would it take to save Ford and GM? What scenario can you envision in which their future will start improving?

Catastrophes of this scale have opportunity written all over them. Brilliant creative alone won't bring these companies back, but GM and Ford are two clients for whom great work could be the difference between life and death. It doesn't even have to be particularly edgy; it just needs to effectively redefine the brands of Chevy and Ford as something other than "greedy", "environmentally dispassionate" and "of poor construction" in the minds of my generation.

I'm not in love with mega-agency Campbell Ewald, but I appreciate what they're trying to do.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Like something out of a dystopian sci-fi...

Quick post to let everyone know about Piclens, a powerful Firefox plugin that I added a few days ago. It lets you scroll through photo sites in a fully immersive environment, exposing your mind to a staggering visual zeitgeist. Invaluable for finding stock photos, but when teamed with a dramatic soundtrack it can be a little frightening. Or maybe I'm just having a fragile day.

Anyway, thanks to whoever scrawled about it on the downstairs whiteboard.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Had a little Super Bowl party at our house. Reporter and photographer were nice enough to show up. No big deal. It's about ads.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Favorites Among the Favorites

I've decided to heed Jake and J.D.'s call and post my favorite pieces from this year's CA Annual. It's wildly different from both of theirs. I think between us we've mentioned every piece in the book. Which isn't a bad thing.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, my choices:

Horton Crossbows/Factory Design Labs/p. 7
Orkin/Rethink/p. 43
Apple Beer/Richter7/p. 50
Mini-Oreo/Draftfcb/p. 21
Bud Light/DDB/p. 72
McDonalds/Leo Burnett/p. 52
Guinness/BBDO/p. 82
WWF/BBDO Guerra Ortega/p. 106
Public Radio International/Mono/p. 17
Nike/Cole & Weber United/p. 62

"The internet is responsible for the greatest generation gap since Rock and Roll."

This week PBS's Frontline examines what it means to be part of the first generation to come of age in the internet era. While it confronts some of the normal scaremongering we've heard before regarding teens and the internet, the most powerful observations are those concerning the generation gap between baby boomers and their children. It drives home the point that there are millions of Americans for whom Facebook, YouTube and Blogs are just words that may or may not carry any real meaning. While we take a wired world for granted, huge portions of our target market (and the people that control our jobs, countries, etc) have no idea what the fuck is going on. None at all.

I consider this essential viewing for anyone with aspirations of working in marketing. If you actually take a moment to think about the title quote of this post, you should be clamoring to see this film.

Preview is in the player above. The full film is available to watch online here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I think this commercial is just about the greatest thing that has ever been on television. It kicks the moon landing's ass."

The above quote comes from an inspiring segment of NPR's always sublime This American Life, in which the story behind Weiden's famous "Freestyle" is finally told. Originally aired in 2001, the piece proves that sometimes - sometimes - advertising can transcend its original purpose (selling) and move in to the realm of genuine art. The segment is great even if you don't give a damn about advertising, but for myself (and I think a lot of others as well) it's really, really encouraging.

Hear what I'm talking about in the player above.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2007

The title says it all. I know this is a blog about advertising, but good advertising needs good taste. You don't hear a lot of Nickelback in ads, do you? Without further ado, the 10 albums I liked the most this year. I've done them 1-10 so that you don't have to scroll down to see what my number one choice is. I know that's what everyone does.

1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
I'm aware that putting Radiohead atop any kind of best-of list is cliche. I don't care. Earnest and afraid, warm and meticulous, the piece organically describes what it was to be alive in 2007.

2. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
A lot of music is described as literate. This is the only artist that I actually wanted to talk about books with. Neither happy nor sad, Bird bests his previous release with erudition that inspires.

3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
The rockingest album on this list. Husky electric guitar and tambourines mesh with gruff vocals and appropriate underproduction to great effect. From its cover art to the last note, it's an album that will make you want to stay in the city no matter how crappy your studio apartment its.

4. Daft Punk - Alive 2007
How many artists can layer a bunch of their songs on top of each other and make new, better songs? How many artists don robot helmets and perform atop a seraphic neon pyramid? Only one. Only Daft Punk.

5. Handsome Furs - Plague Park
With bizarre lyrics moaned over almost-catchy guitar/synth hooks, Plague Park is like a good piece of performance art: commercially nonviable in a beautiful way.

6. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
The princes of Nu-Rave make good on their promising eps with a rip-roaring full length. For best results, this album should be put on repeat and played at a thunderous volume. For worst results, try and force yourself to stay still while listening to it.

7. Feist - The Reminder
With a voice that breaks hearts and sells iPods, Leslie Feist had a huge year. You're probably already familiar her quicker singles, so make a point to try some of the slow songs (I prefer So Sorry) for a sexy ache in your chest.

8. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Simple neo-folk that (perhaps unfortunately) eschews the melodrama of their previous release. The Stage Names forces consideration of just what it means to make your living being in a band, something that most of us will never really know.

9. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Get your rucksack. Put some sweaters and maps in it. I hope you like the Old Country. Indie-wunderkid Zach Condon entices us further east with a mix of ukulele, trumpet and accordion.

10. Clap Your hands and Say yeah - Some Loud Thunder
"Creative" guitar lines. Unconventional vocals that sound like they're in Italian (they're not). This is not an easy album to listen to, but it's absolutely worth the work. Nowhere else this year were the complexities of adult life refocused in such childish, fantastical ways.