insights, ironies and idiosyncrasies in communication and design

from the wide, wide world and the world wide web

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Snatch Wars.

I don't usually bother with Youtube remixes but this is quality.

Brick Vader, 'London's Lord of the Sith', stars in a mash-up collision of the East End and our favourite galaxy far, far away.

Via Igor.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Real bite.

After the recent furore concerning Middle Eastern/Asian scam work, (covered here by Anibus, here by Scamp and here by the Opinionated Sod) it's great to see some work from the region with real bite produced for a client that actually belongs to an agency.

And not only does this work tie in nicely with our penchant for pink/brown art direction, our continuing Easter chocolate theme and at least one other post featuring work involving teeth, it's also another, er, shining example of boundary-smashing stuff for Colgate.

If this runs, then really hats off to Y&R – for turning you back on interruptive/distractive advertising, putting creative before media buying and for taking on the logistical feat of embedding a piece of communication within the product of another brand. It was worth every gram of fat you put on chewing through however many Haagen-Dazs or Hershey's you did to get to the idea.

Via the consistently enlightening Angus Whines.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sweet design.

Candy for the eyes or aural pleasure in the shape of sexy, sultry, anthropomorphic phone calls featuring the Chocolat Factory product offering telling you how much it wants you?

Either way, instant online gratification is all yours from a bold but tasteful brand that offers more appetizing bites than chocolate body parts.

Ultimately more a functional factory than a steamy site; cute rather than hot – but, of course, less fattening than the real thing.

One product range that deserves the axe.

I've been lobbying clients for the alignment of product and brand communications for some time now, and truly believe that it's often the product that needs tweaking (read: overhauling) as much as the communications. The metamorphosis though must always be based on an authentic, compelling and resonant insight. And with the Axe Dark Temptation it isn't.

My initial instinct was that this range had an odd, er, flavour, and from my cursory check of on online opinions hundreds of others (mainly women) appear to agree; but in real terms the strategy flaw is this: as much as (mainstream) heterosexual men want to be attractive to women, they also want a fragrance that doesn't compromise their own sense of masculine identity.

And if you're a gay man, then the proposition (more chicks) doesn't have any pull at all.

A futher issue is that the product reeks of desperation. Do potential consumer targets also purchase genital-enlargement pills, I wonder?

As an Easter gimmick, I'll give it to you, the Axe chocolate line is certainly more original than some of the Cadbury's Creme That Egg entries, but ultimately the over the middle and long-term a chocolate deodorant is really going to start to smell off.

And I'd usually some credit to an idea that seemed to make perfect sense in the shower but then not in the real world, though I somehow think that wasn't even the case here.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Showing teeth.

Visually strong problem-solution illustration for a dentist by Michael Hane & Remo Caminada.

Via the appropriately titled SeeSaw blog.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Black is the new green.

Google's more cosmetic response to Earth Hour though reeks of greenwash.


Call it purely symbolic, but it still shows some kind of strength to withhold your product offering in the name of environmentalism, as Nat Geo did last week in suspending all programming for exactly 60 minutes during Earth Hour.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

No hope.

I spotted this Japanese brand of cigarettes for sale when on one of my jaunts in Cambodia recently. Hope takes the grand prix for ironic brand names.

Thanks to John Allman for the image.

An untimely departure.

Just as the wise are beginning to accept a need for a full-on toxic flush and just as the rest of us are finding frugality in fending off the temptation to shop, this shamelessly evil monster of a campaign enters into the arena. Never before have I reviled such a piece of marketing. Puma's Hello seemed a bit limp conceptually but was generally fairly harmless, but this beast is both bereft of ideas and guilty of pure and wanton voracity; evil also for its sheer size, garish design and unrivaled ubiquity.

In a world where only the fittest brands will survive, success will ultimately come from participatory, consumer-centred, non-disruptive communications with utility and bite – but in the meantime corporations are preying on the weaknesses of the consumer, seeing them more as a victim than a citizen. One could argue that there's never been a more vital need for money and therefore Visa are offering a valid service, but really in this climate such giants ought to be demonstrating tough love and offering to slash your debt, not wildly offering to increase it. The financial success of any credit operator rides on their ability to get their clients to borrow and get into the red. Their strategy is fundamentally of getting you to lose money. They call it 'money management', but however it's phrased it's tantamount to an increase in credit and therefore an increase in debt. However you look at this stuff, it's untimely and evil.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

She didn't do it.

Usually I leave film criticism to Philip French and others that have made a profession out of it – even though filmmaking is a large part of what I do – but I am, occasionally, forced to comment. And this is one of those occasions.

A big fan of Danny Boyle – and in particular his early trilogy of Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary – I enjoyed his recent Slumdog Millionaire, as clearly much of the world did, sweeping the boards at the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs as it did, but felt the film was marred by a couple of gaping flaws.

Firstly, unless one is Luhrmann, Gilliam or a melodramatic Bollywood director, one has to choose between fantasy or social realism – or risk fusing them awkwardly. (And just because your film is shot in Bombay doesn't make you a Bollywood director.) The naivety and level of education attributed to the protagonist in Slumdog so far exceeds that of a boy with Jamal's slum background his meteoric rise seems just too implausible – no matter how many didactic, life-revealing experiences he has had.

My real contention though with Slumdog is with its title. To give away the outcome of a film in the film name is to have the dénouement unravelled before you've even bought your cinema ticket. And this is exacerbated further by the fact that the film is being toted as 'the feelgood movie of the decade' on posters the world over. If the title didn't give it away, at no point during the movie is anyone unsure as to the conclusion – especially as the film is feelbad until five minutes from the end. In short, calling the film Slumdog Millionaire is tantamount to calling Othello She Didn't Do It.