Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Tilt-Shift Perspective

It’s not been that tough a day, has it?

Career Builder Superbowl Ad by olivermermet on YouTube.

Tiny things will always bug. But put in perspective, got just right, the world can seem miniature.

I stumbled onto tilt-shift photography yesterday and found some expert examples at Smashing Magazine.


The photo below is by Vincent Laforet. I can’t find a credit for the one above, but original source was here.


Uneven waters in the Tilt-shift Miniature Fakes Flickr Pool. Which goes to show this isn’t an easy technique to pull off.

Although, weirdly, it’s not dissimilar to techniques in macro photography. And these pictures offer a different perspective altogether. Information-heavy, eyeball-to-eyeball but equally unreal.


Has anyone tried their hand at either tilt-shift or macro photography?

And did you see David Bergman’s 1,474-megapixel photo of Obama’s inauguration?

Previous photography:

Long exposures in St. Petersburg

Composites create imaginary buildings

Fog and light in rural Georgia

All Hail The Arranger?

James Joyce is dead. The mischievous Arranger lives.

In 2009, ever more epic feats of creativity will be determined by the Arranger. Not a single mind scripting, drawing, sculpting, painting. But allowing things to happen. Then ordering them.

What the hell am I talking about? Here comes the three-way…

1. Mobilise

Fifty People, One Question: London by Crush + Lovely on Vimeo.

One kind of Arranger starts by mobilising. E.g. ask a single question to 50 people. Record what happens and arrange it. This is close to a notion of the meme but retains editorial control.

Think Sleeveface. Or even the new Saatchi & Saatchi spot for T-Mobile.

2. Scavenge


“One (Two, Three, Four)” by Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström, 2009.

The Scavenger Arranger does a similar thing in reverse. He/ she is more of an archivist. It’s a retrospective arrangement.

You have an idea then set out to aggregate the material. Here Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström found four different videos of kids playing Metallica on YouTube. Then they arranged and syncopated.

In adland, the Nokia Comes With Music campaign is a prime example. Idea first – track names spell out a message – then find the track names to achieve it.

3. Anatomise

Little Girl Loves Aphex Twin by IDMWEIGHTSIDM on YouTube.

The microscopic approach. The Anatomist Arranger will take a single passage in time, or a single event, then pull it apart. There’s an obvious analogy with remixing.

No new content is initiated or created. But the existing material re-spliced. Collagists like Cutup Collective fit this mould. And in some ways, it’s where those 1920s modernists – and Dadaists – began.

Is the Creative dead? Should we all hail the Arranger?

Update #1:

Iain at Crackunit has written at an extensive post on ‘mass collaboration’ advertising. Follow the debate on ‘Life Is For Connectedly Sharing Better.’

Update #2:

Read a section in Wikinomics last night that sums up this phenomenon far better than I did:

“… we are moving from the concept of emergence as a consequence of raw self-organization – the idea that the independent agents acting together unwittingly create some new thing (so-called “order for free”) – to a recognition that self-organization can also be encouraged and even orchestrated…” (p.44)

The Choice of Machete


Who wrote the book on jungle survival and is it a website yet?

This could be the deepest recession in 70 years. I’m 26. I’ve worked in advertising for 17 months.

Nothing was clear when I entered the jungle. Tribalism ruled. Now everyone’s desperate for daylight.

Machete by Jules Suzdaltsev on Vimeo.

Those with the new weapons vaunt them. Those with the old craft and guile still hack so precisely.

But when the machete lies still, what sounds does the jungle make? How does it feel? Light slats through the canopy and life teems between your toes.


Vong Phaophanit, “What Falls to the Ground But Can’t Be Eaten”, Tate Britain.

I’ve never understood the debate – and the tribalism. This is a weird juncture in the history of advertising. That much was clear from the fringe.

At the same time that everyone talks about interaction and experience, tribes can barely look each other in the eye. So completely they miss those slats of light. They’d barely notice the weather.

Saxso Funny by rafaelci9 on YouTube.

The choice of machete is a pointless debate. You could hack all day – online, in print, on TV, even on the radio. You’re still hacking.

I don’t think we’ll be Amazon-deep in the jungle forever.

But we could build something while we’re there. Sit down and interact. Put the machetes away, switch the laptops off. Imagine the clearing we want then make it together.

Creativity sees connections where they didn’t previously exist.


The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand.

(What’s the connection with advertising? Take a look at their website.)

Threadless Bestee Awards

Last day of polling in the 2008 Bestee Awards at Threadless.

It’s like the Oscars. Except real people vote. And the best nominees can win.


I really dig Bye Bye Apocalypse by Budi Satria Kwan (above). Although my favourite this year is Foam Monster in Emotional Reunion with Severed Limb by Aled Lewis (below).


Is there a Lifetime Achievement Award for t-shirt design? Who’d compete with Milton Glaser for that crown?


It’s Another Op Attack

A few weeks ago I wrote about Manolo Guerrero’s Optica Normal typeface.

If you wish you had a ‘refresh’ button for your eyes you could add this Dioptical font to your bank. (Found on Michael Surtees’ DesignNotes.)


House 42 applied an optical trick to the Escaptionist Fonstruct font.

And DesignNotes couples it with a seriously heavy bit of RGB animation. Flectchowns is not for the epileptic -so  please read the warning.


Intense stuff. It wouldn’t be fair to leave your eyeballs high and dry like that.

So for the cold bath after the heat, here’s the latest collab between Eltono and MOMO on the ‘Makers’ series. Much gentler, equally geometric and, once again, quite beautiful. Watch it here.


Where’s the Best Before?

Cracking concept by JWT London and some off-smelling comments on Ads of the World. One wit asks what topping the birds will add from their park tree perch.


It’s obviously a tasty bit of work, whatever the weather. And the KitKat is a structurally sound snack.

But how long does an Oreo stay good once it’s touched the floor? It feels like a pretty sturdy biscuit. Though I wouldn’t fancy it under a winter boot. Bad news for 6emeia’s mural and any 30ft-tall painted snackers.


These are all hazards of the ambient trade. Passers by will sit on your work. Stand on it. Maybe – in the absolute worse case scenario – take a good long look at it.

But you can beat nature at it’s own game.

The Glue Society saw the future of their outdoor ice cream. It was summer, it was Sydney, and it was a sticky mess of syrup goop. So they melted the van.


Makes me wonder what became of that Havaiana tree

It bloomed in South African spring. Must be summer there now. I hope it still looks so fresh and radiant.


Previous ambient:

Balloon graffiti from D.BILLY

Cuprocking from UPROCK

Cleanvertising from São Paulo via San Francisco and back to London

How to Shoot a Promo

The El Paso Police Department got it dead right with this 1992 promo.

“This is coming to you from El Paso PD and the homies from the hood.”

By starring in it themselves and using the medium of rap, they must have dissuaded hundreds from a life of gang-banging. Possibly thousands. (Hilarious link via Minivegas.)

Easy to forget in all this how a police promo could go wrong. Unless…

Let the public shoot it on their mobile phones. Spontaneously. While you’re killing an unarmed civilian on a public subway platform. (CAUTION: this video is not for the squirmish – and will leave you confused and angry.)

The BART police shooting of Oscar Grant on New Year’s day has triggered another sad episode in US race relations.

Since the video started circulating on YouTube, there have been riots in Oakland. Apparently with little coverage in the national media. Now that sounds familiar.


This photo comes from a Flickr collection by Thomas Hawk. Very few pictures around at the moment, from what I can tell.

If the national media keeps their back turned on this one I’m sure the public can do the promo for them. And they won’t like it.

More on the 2009 Oakland riots:

‘Pigs Go Home’: New America Media

Report from the Oakland Riots: Vibe

Video of the Oscar Grant protest

Yes You Can vs. I’m a PC

This is Post 101 on think demux. It felt apt, in the spirit of Orwell, to address “the worst thing in the world” – or at least the worst thing in advertising.

Which of these global campaigns makes the bile swell to your throat?

1. Pepsi – Yes You Can

So Pepsi have seen a bandwagon and smacked their heads trying to leap on the back of it. They didn’t just ape Obama’s logo – but stole his slogans too.

Pepsi is, of course, the Choice of the New Generation. So there’s an argument this isn’t off -brand. But it seems a long, long way from their innovative ads of the past. The piggybacking is shameless.


2. Microsoft Windows – I’m A PC

Just when Apple were beginning to damage themselves with their ‘I’m a Mac’ campaign – Windows limped back into the arena.

It wasn’t just the sluggishness of the response, but the lack of invention. They tried to answer back at the Mac – on the terms of the original insult. Would The Onion‘s spoof have made a better comeback?

Cast your vote.

Related articles:

Ikea and the world of Fauxbama

Did Obama steal the Pepsi logo?

Midnight On A Moonless Night


I don’t know what’s got into me. Maybe it’s the Twin Peaks reload. Or last week’s mist and frostbite. But these photos give me tingles.


Will Govus is a prodigy. Going by the last interview I could find he’s still only 17.

Blessed with an incredible eye and the thick fog of rural north Georgia, he shoots with a Yashica 124 TLR – and shoots beautifully. (As you’ll see from his Flickr.)


He says: “I try to only shoot at night when its at least somewhat foggy. I think it adds a great deal to the atmosphere. So when the conditions are right I usually just walk around my town listening to my ipod until I find an image. I prefer to walk instead of drive around since I seem to notice more when I walk.”


A selection of interviews with Will Govus:

Fecal Face

Internet Jogging

Too Much Chocolate

Kings, Virgins… Hipsters

Wow. Two campaigns that put a meat cleaver down the middle of it, back to back. Same agency, same brand. Same technique?


Crispin Porter + Bogusky‘s latest work for Burger King is Fire Meets Desire. It flips the truth that burgers make you stink by peddling a seductive new fragrance.

“The Whopper sandwich is America’s favorite burger. Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.”


This website takes that truth out for a walk, a spot of dinner and a greasy finger by the fire. Hit the interactive Flame spray and you disperse the sappy clichés of romanticism, obliterating and channel-surfing with one click.

You can buy the fragrance from Ricky’s. Or eBay. Needless to say.


And what hasn’t been said about the previous campaign?

Whopper Virgins took Z-Boy director Stacy Peralta to Thailand, Romania and Greenland in search of “the hamburger illiterate” for a culturally blind test (see YouTube commentary below).


If we are staring into an abyss the good news is it appears to be bottomless.

Ferocious right on-ers have bashed the campaign’s off-ness, fans have whooped, fence-sitters (like this one?) have done what they always do best. The people have spoken. To one another. Just Google Whopper Virgins and take a straw poll.

If Fire Meets Desire takes a bite out of Lynx/ Axe’s global campaigns, then Whopper Virgins has a deep swig of the Pepsi Challenge. In both bursts of advertising cannibalism, the taste is ironic.

But first thing’s first. These campaigns are exceptional – in advertising terms. They’ve taken the bench and given it a mark. No doubt. Why did that bother me?


These Burger King campaigns reminded of something pretty rare: a great article on Adbusters. From Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

“Lovers of apathy and irony, hipsters are connected through a global network of blogs and shops that push forth a global vision of fashion-informed aesthetics. Loosely associated with some form of creative output, they attend art parties, take lo-fi pictures with analog cameras, ride their bikes to night clubs and sweat it up at nouveau disco-coke parties.”


Is this the 2.0 advertising creative par excellence?

Or did the creatives at Crispin Porter + Bogusky get at an uglier brand truth with Whopper Virgins?

“If you don’t have shit, you don’t know one shit from another.”

With that statement, even a hipster could be proud or some shit.

More burger related:

Delete 10 Facebook friends and get a free Whopper

Facebook deletes Burger King application

Nike Air Big Max