I always wondered if this actually ever happened. Every time I see the FedEx guy and the UPS guy enter the office at the same time, I expect a melee. I suppose a Coke/Pepsi brawl makes even more sense.At the end of the day, should Coke and Pepsi be upset about this? I mean, these two mooks were so proud of their respective brands that they took to arms. Brands need advocates and evangelists and champions…what about brand gladiators? (P.S. – I hope Coke kicked Pepsi’s ass.)
Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category
I was trolling through the hundreds of Safari bookmarks I have collected over the years, hoping to organize and purge a bit. I came across these two sites, Strange Maps and Radical Cartography. I’m not sure why I bookmarked them in the first place. It may have been as simple as the fact that they’re just plain-old interesting. Who new cartography could be so cool? Now, I’ve seen some good-looking maps, and some that just work better than others. This is something entirely different. These maps provide insight. They transcend simply giving you a sense of size, distance and proximity. They tell stories. They shift perspective. You leave them with a sense not only of place, but of meaning.Take the Hungry Gulf Crocodile, seen above. More than just being a map, it tells you somthing fundamental about that place. The Persian Gulf can be a dangerous place, but risk hazard becaise that’s where the oil is. Granted, it has a distinct Western (American) bias, but that’s fine. This isn’t intended to be journalistic fact, rather op-ed rhetoric. In any event, it makes its point.
After the debacle surrounding the London 2012 logo, it was refreshing to see what a great job Vancouver seems to be doing with its Winter 2010 identity. I’m in “Canada’s San Franciso” this week on a little ethnography project, and there’s Vancouver 2010 merch everywhere. T-shirts, mugs, hats, even little wooden figurines, all featuring the logo. There’s even a countdown clock in Robson Square, where I took the photo you see above.
The beauty of the logo is that it speaks to several things at once. The figure in the logo recalls the style of the native inukshuk rock art and colors hint at the multicultural nature of the city itself. I overheard someone refer to it as “the goalie,” reaffirming the extent to which Canadians are hockey-mad.
Despite its obvious problems (herion and homelessness), Vancouver is just one of those cities that really has its shit together. They’re going to do a wonderful job with the 2010 games.
I’ve been in sunny Calgary for the last week on business. (That actually isn’t sarcasm, it has been sunny and nice.) Anyway, I’ve had some free time to check out Canadian TV, and I have to say, it’s generallly nothing to blog home about. The sports stations cover a lot of Canadian football, the weather is in celsius, and they tend to show only the crappiest American shows (So You Think You Can Dance?).
Thankfully, thedre has been one very pleasant surprise, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. The best way I can describe the program, and its host, is to say that is is a sort of hipster version of Fresh Air. The host is a young, seemingly-cool, definitely smart, Canadian lad. On consecutive nights, I saw him interview Gore Vidal and the Barenaked Ladies with equal verve. Given any guest, theme or topic, Stroumboulopoulos is always looking for the insightful point of view.
Check it out. George Stroumboulopoulos is definitely smarter and more interesting than Anderson Cooper.
Wes Anderson’s new film, The Darjeeling Limited, comes out on September 29th, and I can’t hardly wait. In an world where Transformers, quite possibly the shittiest piece of shit I have ever seen in my adult life, can may a few hundred million dollars, I’m glad there are directors like Wes Anderson. He’s had his ups and downs, but his worst work is still better than 99% of the movies released in American cinemas.
I would rather watch his Amex commercial on a continuous loop for two hours than have to sit through Pirates of the Carribean 3 again.
If nothing else, I’m sure the soudtrack will be awesome.
So, it’s been about a month since I last posted to this blog. The hiatus is mainly due to the fact that I have a new job. About a month back, I started working at a marketing research consultancy called W5. The firm is small, only twelve people. (Fortunately, they seem to be twelve of the smartest people I have ever worked with.) W5 does both qualitative and quantitative work, with a certain knack for in-depth ethnography. Our clients include ad agencies and corporations of all shapes and sizes.
Things are going well – interesting clients, good work, and plenty of travel. I’m on a two ethnographic excursion to Calgary and Vancouver as we speak. Hello, frequent flyer miles.
So, if you’re in the market for the services of a marketing research consultancy, feel free to contact me at my business email. For those of you who may be at the AAAA Account Planning Conference in San Diego, W5 is a sponsor. We will have a table in the registration area. Stop by and say hello.
I can’t say I understand the motivation to get a corporate logo tattooed on your body, especially that of the Microsoft Zune. I’ve watched enough Miami Ink to know that the only worthwhile tattoo is one that tells a story about who you are, where you come from, or what you aspire to be.
I have to wonder – What association is this fellow trying to make between himself and the #4 mp3 player on the market? It is a product that can best be described by comparing it to another product, the iPod. It has no defining quality that makes it iconic, in the marktplace or on your arm. Quite simply, it has no soul.
That said, it is a nice tattoo. If it didn’t have such bland connnotations, it might be really interesting.
Thanks to my favorite music blog, Stereogum, for bringing this to my attention.
I just finished reading Outside Lies Magic, by John R. Stilgoe. Stilgoe is a professor of landscape history at Harvard, and as word has it, his courses are among the most sought after at the university. He must be relatively popular, since I first heard about him via a 60 Minutes profile back in 2004.
This is an amazing little book about the beauty and complexity of the ordinary world. Early in the book, Stilgoe describes himself as an explorer. Not an explorer of faraway places, but of the ones we see every day. His mode of exploration isn’t characterized by focusing on the rarely-seen, but on the oft-overlooked. He takes us through urban neighborhoods, suburban strip-malls and country roads with the intent of instilling within the reader a renewed curiosity about the world around them. The book meanders, but in the best possible way. It reads like a travelogue written by someone so curious and observant that they never felt the need to leave their hometown. You ultimately find that there is tremendous detail and history behind the ordinary environments we float through every day.
Another major theme is un-learning what we assume we know about the world. Stilgoe isn’t trying to educate you concerning matters of history and fact about landscape of the built environment. He is attempting to invigorate your sense of perception and curiosity that has been flattened by television, computer and the automobile.
Discovering bits and pieces of peculiar, idiosyncratic importance in ordinary metropolitan landscape scrapes away the deep veneer of programmed learning that overlies and smothers the self-directed learning of childhood and adolescence.
Anyone whose work involves intellectual curiosity or observation of the human condition (basically, everyone) can benefit from reading this book. At just under two-hundred pages it is a quick read. Thankfully, Outside Lies Magic provides a framework for looking at the world that resonates well beyond its pages.
I’m happy to report that Fresh Air, my favorite NPR production, is now availble as a free podcast. Terry Gross may very well be the single best interviewer I have ever heard. She can take what would be a mundane chat with an entertainer and turn it into a dialogue that tells us something profound about that individual and their approach to their art.
I have to mention that some accuse Terry Gross of “flirting” with her guests on occasion. I think she’s just a genuinely nice person who doesn’t feel the need to browbeat her guests for no reason. She doesn’t throw softballs at guests Like Larry King, but she also doesn’t feel the need to make them cry like Barbara Walters. It’s alway clear that she isn’t the center of the interview. It’s all about the subject.
For evidence of the show’s greatness, download the Fresh Air interview with Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire. She gets more out of them than I would have ever expected.
(Note: A little birdie told me that only the 10 most recent episodes will be avalaible on iTunes. Of course, once you download them, they’re yours.)
What was just another bad logo is now a public health problem. It seems the promotional video for the London 2012 Olympics mark (above) is capable of causing seizures. This logo has turned out to be an absolute PR disaster, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I even heard milquetoast Matt Lauer take a cheap-shot at it on th Today Show.
What worries me is the damage this debacle does for design in general. One of the fundamental problems that faces designers today is their (in)ability to explain their work to laypeople. The running joke is tha “even our parents think we sit in the corner and draw pictures all day.” It’s hard to build value in the eyes of the public around something that seems as simple as a logo.
I’ve already seen the public questioning the nearly $800,000 in fees that Wolff Olins commanded for the logo design and development. There’s actually some jerk on YouTube who has posted a video of themselves redrawing the logo in real time as a way of questioning its cost. What they fail to explain is the weeks and months of constant exploration and iterations that culminated with this logo. As a (reformed) designer, I understand the value of the work that goes into a project like this. To be honest, $800K seems like the “friends and family rate”. If a large, high profile privately-held corporation commissioned the same level of work, it would cost considerabbly more. So, let me be clear: I hat this logo on a gut level, but I understand it rationallly.
For a good overview of the reactions of the graphic design community to the logo check out this post over at SpeakUp. (Warning!!! They do attempt to defend the logo as a piece of design.) Be sure to take a gander at the riot that is going on in the comments section.