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Showing posts from December, 2008

Mick Jagger loves to polka

Ruler of the Known Universe

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Kids have a way of inventing things from the most mundane materials. My daughter Zoë bent a flexible plastic ruler across her eyes and immediately became a super hero.

Life doesn't have to be complicated, does it?

New Year resolve: Make the most of simple things. Have fun.

Architectural Vernacular

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I found this house on my new favourite website Lost at e minor. I like the house, floating on a lake appeals to me. I like its simplicity too. But most of all I like the curious language that architects use to describe their work. Oddly tortured. Reminded me of the Dizzy Gillespie quote: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." - Not entirely relevant, but amusing all the same. I was also reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with prominent New Zealand architect Pip Cheshire about building a house on a site at Piha, on the hill, sweeping vista of the Tasman Sea. We chatted for about an hour at my home in Herne Bay. Somehow the topic became Greek mythology. It was amusing, but in the end baffling. We never proceeded (though I did buy a house designed by him in Milford, on Auckland's North Shore many years later and it seemed remarkably like the sketches I had made to explain my idea. However, architects, they're a strange lot.

Mr Cheshire has…

Damn Your Eyes Robin Williams!....

I only know a few jokes. Or rather, there are only a few I know well enough to feel confident uttering in public. Usually I mask my lack of humour talent with an accent, I do a decent turn in Irish, can be convincing in an undefined eastern European (which may or may not be Latvian - I can neither confirm, not deny), which sometimes invades my Pakistani.

So, imagine my shock and outrage when I see Robin Williams stealing my joke and telling it badly and in the worst Scottish accent since Dick van Dyke did a cockney turn in Mary Poppins. Seriously, does he really not know that Bono is Irish?

For all that, a spot of light relief for New Year's Eve day (only let down by its lame end and some comedic larceny,... oh and the curious fact that it seems designed for an American audience on an English stage)

Anthony Hopkins - leviathon

I just saw this ad for Greenpeace on TV.

Let me reiterate my view on Japanese 'scientific' whaling (a term as logical as scientific pedophilia): whilst I admire Greenpeace and Sea Shepard's stance and action (moreso Sea Shepard), but I recommend a more no-nonsense approach to ending whaling - Grab the little shits by their economic nuts.

Here is what to do. Write to Toyota in your home town. Tell them you will not consider buying one of their vehicles, not even a Prius - especially not a Prius - until Toyota in Japan apply the burner to the whaling industry.

Why pick on Toyota? It's an old British marines technique, worked well in the Boxer rebellion (though the Poms were in the wrong) - bad guys assemble, even though you are heavily outnumbered you stand on the parapet and in your best David Niven accent say (no need to shout): "This crown disperses or we shoot the chap, front row in red silk pajama top and kungfu slippers...then we will shoot you - fella on second …

Rocks rock

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Before:



After:



I find it quite relaxing to scrape away the bits of rock that don't look like spirals. From time to time I drop small carvings on the beach. Keep an eye out. It's a little thrill. (The one pictured is the biggest I've made. Usually they are smaller - the only tool permitted are shells - it's a stone age thing.)

Simple pleasures.

Monique Rhodes & Jen Cloher rock

I have written often about my talented friend Monique Rhodes. Here is a clip from her appearance on Good Morning TV, here in New Zealand.



OK, now visit her site and order a copy of her debut album Awakening. If it's good enough for the Dalai llama then it's good enough for you. Also available on iTunes. Monique has been touring with the Kiwi icon Shona Laing to receptive audiences up and down the country. It is inspiring to have talented friends.

I met one of Monique's friends at her birthday bash last year, Jen Cloher, also a musician, based in Melbourne, Australia. Yesterday I heard her music for the first time. It was strange how it happened. Her picture popped up on my facebook page, on the right hand side, the real estate the Facebook people reserve to pester us with 'relevant' stuff, gleaned from the data we enter on the our profiles. So, I recognised Jen and was interested enough to follow the link down the rabbit hole. Ended up on her site. Listened to free t…

Simplicity in advertising

The other day I wrote about the bizarre trend towards creating ads that are elaborate pieces of film for products and brands where the sponsor scarcely gets a mention.

Over on Brand DNA I noticed there was a simultaneous thread on a similar note - also in reference to a VW ad. (I left the following comment:

Volkswagen seem to be have lost sight of something - maybe the car industry has hit the wall when it comes to innovation - they have nothing to say about their products because there is nothing that truly differentiates them from those of their competitors. The result is puffery - which, ultimately, this ad resorts to.

Interesting that the creative solution doesn't seem to be the product of any sort of planning insight either - where does the consumer fit into the equation?

I was fooling around the other day with another VW ad, purportedly one of 'The World's Best Ads', where nothing at all was said about the product and the connection at the end was so tenuous that I …

Joe Cocker - Come together - Across the Universe

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Pig-turesque

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I am a tiger, in the Chinese horoscope's zodiac. My western ego likes that. Tiger. Has a certain ring to it, don't you think? But, in truth, all signs (should one indulge in such diversions) each have their own characteristics, both good and bad.

I thought this was the year of the pig, but I have been set straight by an anonymous commenter (I wish anonymous benefactor's were as forthcoming).

To westerners pigs are fat, dirty animals with a propensity for over-eating. Jews and Muslims, alike, don't eat them and Christians distrust anything with cloven hoof. All slightly nutty points of view to us aetheists and bacon lovers.

In the Chinese zodiac pigs are: Hardworking, Giving, Willing, Helpful, Materialistic, Gullible, Oblivious, Obstinate. If you are born in the year of the pig then you are, reputedly, a compassionate soul who simply wants to keep the peace.

I was chatting with a friend about the Chinese astrological characters when I remembered that some time ago, I bega…

Is your advertising a dog's breakfast?

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One the curious conventions of the traditional advertising agency model of storytelling is the 'boom boom'/pull the rug out from under your feet gag. You know the kind of thing, indulge the creative team their fanatasy for 28 seconds, then make sure the client gets a big logo at the end.

This ad is a classic example. Or at least it was until I took the liberty of changing the ending. I'm guessing most people would have no idea what the product originally advertised was.

I love clever effects and direction as much as the next person but I do think that ads have a job to do. Here's a couple of pointers from a book I had gathering dust on a shelf Winning With the P&G 99
:

"Lessons for effective television advertising

Lesson 88 : Link the brand to the story of the commercial

Look for opportunities to link the brand to the commercial, so that the story of the commercial-and the benefit of the brand-will not be confused with any other brand.

Introducing the brand early in…

Catwoman runs runs out of lives

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Eartha Kitt, whose seductive voice propelled her to fame, died of cancer on Christmas Day at age 81. Appropriately enough, one of Kitt's biggest hits was a Christmas song, her 1953 tune "Santa Baby." Kitt was perhaps best known for her TV career, where she played Catwoman in the cheeky 1960s Batman series.She was nominated for Tony, Emmy, and Grammy awards during her long career.Via The Daily Beast

I have always had a soft spot for the campy old Batman's catwoman. I think, as a kid she opened a sort of Pandora's Box, the lid of which I have never been able to reseal. Exotic, strange, incredible voice. Easily qualifies as The One & Only. Of her performances I like 'I wanna be evil' for its sly, racy lines - which, in the context of the era in which they were sung must have been unimaginably provocative (so much so the sheet music was 'beeped'. It is hard to imagine today when almost anything goes.

I've posed for pictures with Iv'ry Soap,
I…

AdWeek's marketing and media innovations 08

Adweek magazine have announced their pick of the top media and marketing innovations for the last year.
Some of my favourites (not necessarily in any order):

SnapTell

Consumers take a snap of a participating ad from their cell phone and send pxt to SnapTell. The company's image recognition software detects the campaign and sends information, prizes, offers etc to the customer. It's a way of making static, legacy media interactive. I am not sure how the image detection actually works (maybe they use a mechanical Turk system?), but I can easily see plenty of interesting applications. Also a nice way for static media owners to add value to advertisers.

Oh, Snap! Magazine Ads Get Interactive
With the print ad business in freefall, a few publishers aim to make their ad pages a more engaging, truly interactive experience, taking advantage of the exploding popularity of Web-enabled mobile devices. Technology from Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile marketing company SnapTell enables brands to …

Mes amie, des poesie, bonsoir

Contemplation
by Bradford Shank

It is good
To put the world together
now and then
Into an unbroken piece
And to contemplate it whole.
If done in sincerity
This form of prayer
Dims the cutting lines
Of past abstraction
Permitting us to carve out
New fragments
Of greater utility
And beauty.
Or
If you like it better
We can reverse the analogy
And recommend the periodic destruction
Of our verbal maps
Our outward habits
Our ingrown attitudes
So that
Out of this rubble
We may build
A new world
Better suited
To a growing need
And finer discrimination.

Via Idea Achitect Jeffrey Cufaude

Hey Dad, this sounds familiar!

My daughter, The One & Only Zoe often digs me in the ribs in the movies. Because I do nod off. Not so long ago we went to see High School Musical 3. This time she didn't have to do the nudge. I heard something in the recess (if you'll pardon the pun) of my mind: This track: Right Here, Right Now:



Is almost identical to this track from Rent, the musical; No Day But Today:



Though, to be fair, Rent owes a little more to La Boheme than Disney would consider decent (check out the Mickey Mouse amendments to copyright laws - according to the brilliant Prof Larry Lessig).

Is it any irony that Disney made HSM3?

To wit I say: Hey Dad! Wake up!

You know you're in trouble when...

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It could happen.

It may be 10,000 miles from the pole, but, hey:...

Well, anyway,...it could happen.

Worried yet

Concrete Proof

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Work shuts down for a couple of weeks at BrandWorld tommorow. A friend has loaned me a Canon G9 camera - which I have been lusting after since Mr Gillies showed me the work he has accomplished with his - so I am going to have a crack at observing my world in pictures.

The first impression is one I took by accident of the floor of the office.

Polaroid ends production

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The Polaroid company is ending manufacture of its iconic film, invented by company founder Edwin Land. Though the technology changed dramatically from its first appearance in 1948 it created distinctive, iconic images.

I guess the end will come with wails of regret and loss from people who abandonded Polaroids long ago and took up digital photography. But such is the way of the world.

I remember having endless hours of fun messing about with Polaroids. The SX-70 film could be manipulated when the chemicals within the plastic envelope were still moist. I must dig out some from my big trunk of unsorted, unlabelled or tagged photos holiday fun, perhaps.

Heads up from Russell Davies

Pick of '08 - Charlie Parr

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Charlie Parr was one of the best 'finds' of 2008. His style of blues is unlike the sort I usually listen to - apparently it is 'Piedmont' style

The Piedmont blues (also known as Piedmont fingerstyle or East Coast blues) is a type of blues music characterized by a fingerpicking approach on the guitar in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger, occasionally others. The result is comparable in sound to piano ragtime or later stride. The Piedmont style is differentiated from other styles (particularly the Mississippi Delta style) by its ragtime-based rhythms which lessened its impact on later electric band blues or rock 'n' roll, but it was directly influential on rockabilly and the folk revival scene. It was an extremely popular form of African-American dance music for many decades in the first half of the 20th century.(ex Wikipedia)



Get thee to an iTu…

Social Proof

Further to my previous post, referring to marketing via social media being like colonialism, just moments after clicking the Publish Post button I received an email from Claire pointing out this video. The Prime Minister of New Zealand (and minister of tourism) waxing lyrical about New Zealand as a destination. The word that comes to mind is execrable.

Touting via YouTube with fake 'user generated content' doesn't work for me.

Though here I am spreading the word to both of you.

By the way, John, get some speech therapy.

Social Media Like Colonialism?

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Here's an interesting take on using social media to market brands from the excellent ExitCreative blog:

Us trying to market to people with social media seems a LOT like Colonialism

Most efforts to market things socially (whether they be the idea of a nation or the idea of a brand) involve a hegemonic force (the marketer) trying to commandeer the resources of a small society (on- or off-line, these are consumers). This sounds a lot like colonialism to me. We try, from our ivory tower, to figure out what “consumers” will like, or at least tolerate, and then we try to blast our messages out to them in the hopes they will be converted to our belief system. Sounds a lot like the efforts to convert African nations to Christian religions to me. Certainly not as problematic, but it illustrates a point.

In my experience marketers have always been somewhat deluded about how receptive people are to marketing messages. As a creative in ad agencies I was trained in stealth techniques, premised on…

Happily ever after...

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One of the cliches of the brand business over the past ten year has been to emphasise the importance of storytelling. The form of the story has tended to be governed less by the audience and more by the medium through which it is told - the medium is the message I suppose. (Alternate director's cut ending: Or the other way around.)

In an article in the Telegraph Sam Leith, Literary editor responds to concerns about the end of Story telling in the era of Twitter and Grand Theft Auto but reaches a less than gloomy conclusion:

Changing technologies have affected the means by which stories are told. You can follow the story of a person's life pointillistically through a Twitter feed or voyeuristically through a webcam.

You can read a self-contained novel; one with an alternate ending; or a choose-your-own adventure book.

You can steer petty criminal Niko Bellic through the nodes of GTA4's restricted but ingenious video game structure; or follow the endlessly overlapping plot arcs …

Shining a harsh light on modern society

"My question is the following statement..."



Classic observation of the cult of Apple by the Simpsons (who might have elements of cultism themselves, doh!).

Via Brand DNA

Sexist Ad Trends That Refuse to Die...

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Ok, let's play 'Name that perversion":

Exhibit A



Exhibit B



Exhibit C



Exhibit D


Exhibit E


Answers:

(a) Bondage
(b) Rape
(c) Sluts
(d) girl-on-girl action
(e) ...can't bring myself to say on a family blog

According to the Huffington Post's Alex Leo advertising 'continues to use stereotypes and violence to prey on our most vile desires'.

In my experience advertisers are a pretty conservative bunch. But it is hard to deny the evidence is um, compelling.

Read the full story here on Alternet; see if you got Exhibit 'E' right.

The intersection of pleasure and meaning

"Researchers have studied people all over the world to find out how things like money, attitude, culture, memory, health, altruism, and our day-to-day habits affect our well-being. The emerging field of positive psychology is bursting with new findings that suggest your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. Here are 10 scientifically proven strategies for getting happy.

1. Savor Everyday Moments

Pause now and then to smell a rose or watch children at play. Study participants who took time to “savor” ordinary events that they normally hurried through, or to think back on pleasant moments from their day, “showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression,”.

2. Avoid Comparisons

While keeping up with the Joneses is part of American culture, comparing ourselves with others can be damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, focusing on our own personal achievement leads to greater satis…

Slippery slope

What?... banks profligate architects of their own demise?...never!

Thanks BBH for executing a perfectly generic idea. I reckon that Barclays could mitigate the costs by licensing all but the last 3 seconds to almost any other brand. You could also change the music with no consequence to the concept..."slip sliding away'...

Via Adbroad

Squidood

Do you ever get the some people aren't really individuals, but clusters of people all rolled into to one. They seem to accomplish so much that it impossible that, for them, there are only 24 hours in a day?

I was just reading Seth Godin's blog on my Sage RSS feeder. The guy is amazing. He pumps out books and blogs, he invents Internet businesses like Squidoo... he's a polymath and still finds the time to shave his head every day. I have trouble shaving my spartan beard everyday and by 3.30 n the afternoon I am usually ready for a nap.

It was Seth's post on the subject of Squidoo itself that caught my attention. Squidoo facilities people who want to share their expertise or interest in a subject. I have registered a few lenses myself, but haven't really had the time or inclination to make then half as useful as they should be. As utility is one of the cornerstones of the good web there doesn't seem much point in putting stuff online that serves no purpose. Even T…

A re-orderly mind

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Some people will tell you that you can tell a lot about someone from the relative order of their desktop. This is mine. Mildly chaotic. I suppose I am a case in point to illustrate the truth in the idea. I suppose I have never been a neatnik. I remember visiting the offices of Brian Richards, a brand consultant - design firm. It was a crisp, white Kubrick fantasy. Employees were forbidden from keeping personal items on their desks. When they went home at night desks had to be clear. Imagine the discipline that would take.

I like to be surrounded by stimulus, call them distractions if you will. The creative process involves joining existing things together in new ways. For that to happen you have to have plenty of raw material. I have been reading George Lois' latest book George Lois on His Creation of the Big Idea to review for Idealog magazine
Lois is something of an advertising legend, though his work designing conceptual covers for Esquire magazine is his most memorable work. Loi…

Everyday masterpieces

The other day my buddy Ollie, the great writer and director asked me a question about blogging. I'll spare you the interim but the upshot was that I referred him to a book that my son Taylor is reading (I know, 16 years old and voluntarily reading a book - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree) - the book is Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident.

Tonight Taylor suggested I check out the Fiat ads (I've talked about the cinquecento before) which star the author of the book. He's becoming quite the culture vulture, my son.

Books in a bind

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Just yesterday I was browsing in my favourite bookstore - Unity Books, on Auckland's High Street. As you can see from the Google Maps Street View image it has none of the vestiges of a chain store. More like an Aladdin's cave where staff actvely curate the content - if for no other reason than they don't have room to stock everything.

I love books and feel more grounded when I have them around me. In trut, burdened by their wieght is probably more accurate. So it was interestng to me to read that the big three book publishers in the United States are facing a gloomy future. If they have a future at all. According to Good Magazine, in turn responding to an op-ed article in the New York Times:

Major publishing houses follow American automakers into financial abyss

One would think that when those catchwords of the season, “massive layoffs” and “drastic restructuring,” came to book publishing, the media would come up with a more original, literate nomenclature than “Black Wednesd…

I am doodling but I am listening too

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Had a meeting today. Boring as batshit.
Nothing for it but to draw hot rods.
Oh, by the way - the thing in the sky? Christmas decoration. Well, you had to ask.

Why TV was invented.

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It is fashionable to predict the end of TV. I'm not so sure. I found this old book on the Internet Archive called Ideal Home Life which is, by its own account 'chock full of practicial suggestions for home happiness'. Sound promising? No, it's nothing like that. The content includes 'Plays for little people'. Hmmm,…can't wait to watch those.

I will never complain about reruns of Friends again.

Barnardos - Break the Cycle

This ad for Barnardos (UK), the children's charity is very powerful.

A reminder that drama and filmic technique can be provocative and motivating.

More thinking about social media

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The InterwebsView SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: mediasocial)

Nice presentation about media (I've dropped the social handle because I think at some point the new way simply becomes the way. Media is media).

I completely agree with some of the thoughts, especially about avoiding the temptation to reinvent the wheel. In a meeting with a web company recently they suggested that the solution, or part of it it at least, was to build and iPhone app. I heard alarm bells. Not only was the target audience for the product older and unlikely to to be early adopters of technology but the market penetration of the iPhone in the New Zealand market (which is tiny itself) is tiny. The urge to 'create' is often skewed (If all you have is a hammer - every problem looks like a nail). My recommendation to colleagues was that we avoid spending money on a project that will deliver few returns and cost a considerable amount in cash and time. No fun, but what the heck - there…

Rising to the Phoenix

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Over on the Brand DNA blog Stan has prodded me into having a discussion about the Phoenix Organic brand.

Well, I have a couple of thoughts:

1. Phoenix used to be a nice little brand here in New Zealand. Now it is owned by Charlie's the loss making juice maker that spends all its money on marketing while it waits to be bought by Coca Cola (a la 42 below / Bacardi).

In the beverages category there is nothing that really differentiates other than advertising - if we are to be be honest - so I would expect nothing less than nice ads. It is the price of admission.

2. The message doesn't grab me because I like science. In fact when I think about Coke what I like is that I know exactly where it has been and that, wherever I go, it will always taste the same. Disgusting and I don't know why I like it, but the same. Everywhere.

Sadly the same cannot be said of organics. Or rather, happily the same cannot be said of organics. They have a funky aura. Ugly pitted fruit and vegetables tha…

The perfect Christmas gift

I was looking at a little laughing Buddha figure in a shop yesterday. I couldn't remember ever seeing a laughing Christ. Which is a shame. Why is that? Was Jesus an unhappy person. Is Santa a happiness substitute - a stand-in at the party of the year?

Hello Kitty Hospital des

Only in Japan. Though I think it looks quite jolly.

Maybe branded hospitals would be a good idea in New Zealand. Perhaps then they would be clean, reliable, trustworthy and cost efficient for a change?

Via

as is this - the Swimming Pool Car. (how many miles per gallon?)

Good News

I have been thinking about creating an advertising format with a virtual presenter, so I was amused to find the Good News Segments. I shall redouble my efforts forthwith.

Anti-Social media

In the New York Times an article by David Carr offers an explanation of why the recession has occurred so brutally swiftly. Because we have learned about it far more quickly than ever before in history.

"Every modern recession includes a media séance about how horrible things are and how much worse they will be," David Carr writes in today's New York Times, "but there have never been so many ways for the fear to leak in. The same digital dynamics that drove the irrational exuberance—and marketed the loans to help it happen—are now driving the downside in unprecedented ways." In any given morning, Carr braves televisions in taxi cabs and elevators, news tickers in Times Square, email alerts, online advertisements, and instant messages that all feed the fear. "This recession got deeper faster because we knew more bad stuff quickly,…"

“There are studies on bank runs, and it shows that people who know others who have taken their money out of the bank are m…

Linear thinking

I love simplicity. Doesn't get much simpler than this.

Via Good

Spec-ification

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I saw Deborah Hill-Cone's photo (centre) attached to her column in the New Zealand Herald. I thought a waggish picture editor had drawn on the specs as an April Fool joke that had gone on too long. Looking closely the glasses frame is, indeed, real. Comical, but real. It would seem that Ms Hill-Cone has made a bid to have signature glasses. Comedian George Burns and architect Robert Johnson also wore heavy, round glasses frames. For a while there Hill-Cone's co-columnist in Unlimited magazine Mike Hutecheson was seen sporting a mad pair of the same style.

Thinking of acquiring a set myself. Kidding, of course.

Interesting to think about how many people are famous for their glasses:
Elton John, John Lennon, The Guy in Blur, Dame Edna Everage, Roy Orbison come quickly to mind - but there could be others...I'm sure of it. I wonder if the growing use of Lasik surgery will end this noble (or daft) tradition.

World Sweet World

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I picked up a new New Zealand magazine today. A small format publication that seems to be about sustainability, design, crafts and the comunities that sprout up around them.

It is a slender volume but comes with a hefty cover price (an over-sized $8 for 64 Oversize A5 pages). The stock is a nice satin matt and the layout is the attractive, modern generic genre (I actually thought I saw the hand of Adrian Clapperton, designer of Idealog, Inspire and (the other)Good).

But don't get me wrong - I like World Sweet World. It has a nice tone and pitch. Though the banner is a little kooky.

It's a Phylis Morrison

Walt Disney had a lung removed when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1966. He was a heavy smoker. Died the same year.

In 1951 Disney made this short film, starring Goofy as a nicotene addicted guy trying to give up. If you ever wondered how many ways smoking is disgusting then the short is a perfect primer, though it neatly avoids referring to post coital cigarettes.

The Disney company banned the Goofy movie from being broadcast.

Is the sky really falling?

Drink driving is something of a problem in New Zealand, as it is in most countries. But the problem has an inherent problem of its own.

"Road safety officials admit their multi-million dollar awareness campaigns aren't working.

Despite the Government ploughing $3.3 million into anti-drink-driving campaigns this year alone, the number of offenders is skyrocketing and is now at record levels." NZ Herald

The problem with expecting advertising campaigns to make a difference to the incidence of drink driving is fundamental. The campaigns are designed to change attitudes to drink driving. If you set the wrong objective you will nullify the outcome. Changes in attitude I have written about this before.

The problem is that the pious, 'thou shalt not drink and drive' message works for people who don't drink and drive - it reinforces their behaviour. It has no effect on those who do and so, therefore, is a waste of a stupendous amount of money.

On the matter of the co…

Health Halo has horns (and possibly cloven hoofs).

I have never been sold on the idea of good food versus bad food.
In fact you can have my special diet for free.
Eat less. Be more active.
I read with interest an article in the New York Times about the 'Health Halo' effect amongst Americans that skews their behavior towards food.

Experiments showed that putting a “low fat” label on food caused everyone, especially overweight people, to underestimate its calories, to eat bigger helpings and to indulge in other foods.

The researchers found that customers at McDonald’s were more accurate at estimating the calories in their meal than were customers at Subway, apparently because of the health halo created by advertisements like one showing that a Subway sandwich had a third the fat of a Big Mac. The health halo from Subway also affected what else people chose to eat, Dr. Chandon and Dr. Wansink reported last year after giving people a chance to order either a Big Mac or a 12-inch Italian sandwich from Subway. Even though the Subwa…

Majestic performance

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I saw this street performer in Auckland City yesterday. My daughter and I were heading to the Westpac Bank to open her first account. The large piggy bank (from the BNZ) could take no more - it was completely stuffed with coins.

I admired the artistry of her costume and stoic performance in the heat. Though quite sheltered it was hot and quite humid. Zoë added a gold coin to her coffer provoking her to move into a graceful, regal pose.

Glancing across the square I could see her companion, a matching gold cavalier, having a rest and a cigarette across the concourse. It was a slightly surreal moment. I didn't have a camera with me so missed the photo opportunity. Maybe the performers will be there again on Monday. I hope so. It's the little things...

On the subject of the little things: credit to Stephanie, at Westpac, who entertained Zoë while we opened the account and helped count her coins into bags and deposit them. It was a positive experience for Z. She was happy to exchange…

Floating Baboons

I hear tell of a new kind of ad agency - one that strips away the layers of overhead and leaves behind just the personnel who create, hands-on, the product: the planners, the writers and designers and the producers. In my mind that sounds something like the Utopian ideal I dreamed of in the early nineties when I first hung out my own shingle.
I had begun to feel that layers of middle management had little real function than to create paperwork - writing call reports that clients either didn't want or wouldn't read. The reason for their existance was because they exisited. At one point I thought it was because someone had to manage the 'relationship' with the clients - be there to take them to lunch - that kind of thing. I began to realise that client's had less and less time to spend idling away in restaurants. A new generation of marketing management had arrived who were expected to accomplish much more with fewer and fewer resources. The trappings of agency life h…

Fatboy Slim's boat

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Summer is here. I am waiting for my invitation to go sailing on Fatboy Slim's. Obviously not holding my breath.

I'm guessing sailing boats must be having a resurgence of popularity. Sustainably powered luxury.

You can charter it. I'm free in June.

Via Coolhunting

It takes all sorts…I guess…

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Somethings just don't 'make my pants want to get up and dance'. I am sure that the women in the pictures are happy with how they look, even if they don't look happy. What is it that makes people want to become part of subcultures like body building?

When I was a kid I felt high levels of affinity with the punk scene. For a short time I had a Mohican haircut - not the impressive spiky kind popularised by tourist photos in London in the early 80s - more yer Joe Strummer in Rock the Kasbah - not flash. But, for a time I thought it was cool. I would hitch hike across the Auckland Harbour Bridge to attend classes. Some people would stop just to talk to the freak without hair - after I shaved off the strip. In those days voluntary baldness was far less common than it is today.

The search for identity is a strong driver, whether you are a punk, a bodybuilder or a lawn bowler. We all want to fit in and stand out in some way.

Sometimes brands fulfill that tug too. It is well doc…