Old spice is still great.
Boyhood/Boy Meets World Mashup
Cool little documentary about Subway
So it's a new year and I haven't blogged a bit. Really killing it in 2015. (Provided that "it" is doing fuck all with this blog.) Well here's some lovely internets from the past few weeks. Maybe longer. Who knows anymore.
Incredible solution to the whole stuff-left-in-the-bottom-of-jars problem. (Seriously. It's brilliant.)
I have no idea how this was done.
Parody of McDonald's golden globes ad.
Absolutely perfect radio ad for Lucozade. (via Ant Melder)
Okay. That is quite enough. Goodbye.
For anyone who lives in a city with real problems, let me fill you in on Los Angeles' most recent crisis: rain.
That's right. This week the skies opened up and poured down for hour after hour. Starting in the morning and going well into the night. The entire city was blanketed in an off-putting grey color that's so unbecoming of its usual sun-kissed self. Simply dreadful.
And the people of Los Angeles could not get enough of it. Every conversation held in the city pertained only to the rain. It was truly a remarkable event. Most people chose to hide in their homes or apartments hoping that this was just some bad dream.
But those brave souls who made it to work for this two day torrential downpour risked life and limb to do so. Aided by an app called Waze.
Here's a brief primer on Waze for anyone who doesn't live in a city with the congestion of a coal miner suffering from a sinus infection. Waze is a GPS program that finds you the quickest way to get to your destination. It uses real-time traffic stats from other users to determine these routes. It's a pretty nifty tool. There are only two rules.
First, you have to adhere to Waze's directions absolutely. If you so much as take a right turn that it didn't call for you will be spited by the traffic gods and end up taking an additional 20 minutes to get where you're going. Waze knows. You obey.
Second rule, you have to be a maniac to use it. Or at least willing to drive like one. Most of the time Waze is perfectly reasonable. It has no vested interest in putting you in harm's way. But every so often it'll have you make a maneuver that would make Jason Statham's Transporter's knees quake. Fun things like ask you to cross a busy 6-lane street at an stoplight-less intersection. Or take a left turn into an alleyway only visible under the third moon of the month. Anything to shave a few seconds off your drive time. And if you're thinking you can get around these directions, please refer back to rule number one.
That's Waze in a nutshell. And the way it determines these routes is based off of other drivers using the app. Waze encourages its users to report events on the road. It depends on these reports to keep your drive speedy.
Those reports are what I want to talk about.
During my Tuesday morning commute I got an alert asking me to use caution because someone had reported rain.
"Watch out," it chirped, "rain reported ahead."
I laughed. Because it was funny. Adorable even. The All-Knowing Waze doesn't know how blatantly apparent the rain is.
Then 15 minutes later a second alert popped up. From a different user. And a few minutes and miles later, a third. By this point in time the little alert of "Watch out! Rain reported ahead." was more of a gentle annoyance than pleasant thing I could laugh at.
The day progressed. The rain persisted. Finally it was time to leave work.
That's when the deluge of alerts came in as torrentially as the rain. It seemed I couldn't go a thousand feed without being alerted again.
"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."
"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."
"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."
And so on. What was a pretty funny joke just 10 hours before has turned into a verse from The Devine Comedy. The alerts would not stop. The users of Waze had killed the joke.It had reached saturation but people were trying to get a piece of that action. To feel witty.
They fell prey to me-tooism. They'd flogged the rain to death.
And while my soundtrack of alerts played on I couldn't help but think of how this same phenomenon plagues advertising. People are so eager to jump onto the latest trend or style of joke. To repeat what they've seen. It's the case over and over. Commercials, banners, tweets, print ads, websites start to coalesce and become this homogeneous blob of things that were once interesting and humorous. Because it's really easy to see something that already exists, identity it as funny, and decide to use it. It makes it really, really easy to get out of the office around six and catch that thing that's so hot right now. (That's going to be bastardized by making it into some ad a couple of months down the line)
Sure, this process works but it also undersells the creativity that agencies have in them. It leads to the chief criticism of advertising that there is no creativity in the business of creativity. That we're a collection of recycled YouTube videos and catch phrases picked from existing media. To a certain extent that criticism is irrefutable.
Watch out! Derivative creative work ahead.
LAST GASPS AS THE FINAL PETAL FALLS FROM THE WITHERING ROSE
It's been an inordinate amount of time since I last wrote something for here. I mean really wrote something. While that has absolutely no impact on your life it bums me out. So I'm going to start doing all that jazz again. If for nothing more than it'll help me get thoughts out of my head and into the world wide internet. You didn't need a missive to tell you that but I thought that unless I wrote it here I wouldn't be accountable to do it.
Thanks for still reading, if you still read.
THOSE HUGE STINKY ORCHIDS THAT ONLY BLOOM EVERY SO OFTEN
Why all hipsters look the same. It's science! Or math! Or something. Just watch the video.
Lee Fields absolutely killing a takeaway show.
Building worlds and spinnin tales in Big Hero 6.
The dangers of whooping cough. From the always funny Hush Money.
It's been a while. Which means there's going to be an onslaught of links. But all that means is that you all get tons of interesting stuff so why are you even complaining?
DEEP, DEEP WELLS
The Ad Contrarian's entire series about consumer behavior. Parts one, two, and three. It's an incredible well thought out jab in the eye of a lot of the current theories that drive advertising nonsense. It takes a while to read through all three pieces but I think it's definitely, definitely worth it.
Why good people are difficult. (i.e. Question everything.)
Excellent new Toyota HiLux ad. (via Ant)
Ignorant rap music
Air Sex: The Movie
Documentary about a art forger who did it just to prove he could.
Today I was looking up directions to help people go fuck themselves.
Because, well, I don't have to explain to you because. Just because, okay? Is that okay with you? Fine.
Well I did it by going to Google and typing in the words go and fuck and yourself. Never in a million years imagining anything would come up. Even with Safe Search off.
But good old Google didn't let me down. It yielded this delicious result that I don't think even the leading SEO experts could accomplish.
Nice work AVN. Very nice work.
A TORRENTIAL ONSLAUGHT OF WORDS
Dave Dye interviews Dave Trott. (And if you don't know what that means you need to read it right now.)
David Abbott's 1994 memo that's just as relevant today as when it was written. Except maybe it's more relevant because we don't even have a David Abbott to write stuff like this anymore.
Tim Hortons turns a regular, everyday house into a working coffee shop. The neighbors must be thrilled.
Advertising's not dead. Don't you see, Sam? It can't die. Advertising doesn't exist. It never existed goddamnit.
RAINY DAY MOVIES
Living and working in LA means lots of time spent in a car. Lots of time in a car means lots of time listening to podcasts and public radio. Well that's at least what it means for me. Sometimes there some really good shit that comes up on podcasts. This is one of those times when that happened to be the case.
I was listening to an episode of Marc Maron's WTF. The whole things. (Sometimes people skip the beginning because they're not all that interested in Marc's quips about his life. I enjoy them.) Anyway, it was a good thing I listened to the whole thing because part of the intro was Maron talking to Carol Leifer. She's a writer, stand up, author, actress, speaker, everythinger. You might know her work from a little show called Seinfeld. But I won't hold it against you if you don't know anything about her because I didn't either before this interview. And now I know a lot. And I'm completely fascinated with her and want to buy her new book. (And who said ads don't work?)
Back to the point, during the interview she was talking about the stage in her career where she was set to star the show she created. She was understandably nervous.But the story she told was about Jerry Seinfeld dropping by set and calming her down with a piece of advice. It's something I'm not sure I heard articulated in quite the way he did. (Another example of comedians knowing exactly how to boil universal truths down to the perfect statement.)
He said to her: "There's not just one thing."
Meaning there's no one that that makes someone a someone. It's just another day on another job and you have to try your best. Of course things can pay off handsomely, but it's detrimental to go in expecting everything to be the thing that changes everything.
There have been more than a few times that I felt as though everything was riding on the thing I was working on. I'll get so wrapped up in trying to make something brilliant and unique and transformative that I'll work myself into a lather and end up with diddly. I'll overwhelm myself with the intended result of the thing rather than the thing.
But of course it's not the case that every brief is the brief that's going to do it for you. There's potential everywhere, of course, but chances are that the half-off all board games radio brief isn't going to be the one that really sets the ad world on fire.
One particular example I remember is back when my Lunchables commercial went live. I thought that was going to launch me into super stardom. (It didn't.) But I was thrilled whenever I saw someone tweet about it, write about it, or make a parody of it. For a brief moment I felt like I'd made something that made it into the culture.
And that stuff is like a drug. Every assignement after that I approached like it was the only chance I had to do something big again. Like if it didn't pan out, it meaning relative renown and acclaim and people talking about my work, then the work was a failure. I was convinced everything was The One Thing.
But it wasn't. And it's not. And things are probably better off that way.
TWO SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT
MUTUALLY ASSURED OBLIVIOUSNESS
Rush Hour. (via @Awooooooga)
The NFL had a rough week.
Probably the worst bedside manner I've ever seen.
Smart man on toilets. Well, on stage but talking about toilets.