Computer, execute sequence Weekly Linkly One Oh Seven Dot Nine Slash.

ONES

The last true (American) hermit goes to jail.

The almost unknown art of Miles Davis

Herzog on creativity.

There are no easy answers.

ZEROS


I don't even know. But I love it.


Hush Money's Pull Ups


Crazy cool projection mapping in a Mexican graveyard.

Incomplete stories.

I'm thinking about stories. Even after the hubub over Stefan Sagmeister's missive "You are Not a Storyteller" has died down. Not because I think advertising people or even most people should consider themselves storytellers. God no. No God, no. I think people claiming to be storytellers are just searching to make themselves feel better about whatever they actually do.

It also seems that so called "storytellers" don't have a clue of what makes a good story. They haven't studied the shapes of stories, or the structure of stories, or even the essential aspects of story. Rather they throw out these lovely tales about how things just keep getting better because x, y, and z. (X, Y, and Z usually being some set of circumstances brought on by a product.) They are usually stories without conflict, devoid of lessons, and only completely self serving. Which means they're bad stories. So even if these people who claim they are storyteller are storytellers they're bad storytellers at best.

As for advertising it's closer to sketch than storytelling. Because sketch is all about heightening until you reach a point where you can't heighten any more. There doesn't have to be an arc. No one has to learn anything. Hell, as long as you haven't wasted people's time it's a good sketch. There are nuances, yes, and sketch is traditionally comedy but I think there's a bit of humor in any good ad, even if that humor comes from the relatability of some situation.

I learned that lesson while working on a Claussen Pickles commercial. We'd sold this spot that was all about a penguin going to the refrigerated section to find Claussens. Rather than try to make that the best spot I possibly could by realizing it was a nice little trek by a funny animal I tried really, really hard (way too hard to be honest) to fit it into a story. It didn't need to be a story as much as it needed to be funny and adorable. that would have been enough. But in my desire to make a piece of advertising something it wasn't the whole thing crumbled in my hands. (An expensive lesson to learn on someone else's dime.) 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I learned that trying to make something good (whatever that means) far outpaces trying to be something because you're insecure about what you actually are.


Throw your butts three times to the right, it's time for the Weekly Linkly.

So Robin Williams died this week and there was an outpouring of amazing writing about him and depression. There's going to be a bunch of those in this post so skip it if you're averse to reading about those kinds of things.

BUTTS ON PARADE

BUTTS IN STORAGE


Pipe Guy can play house music with a shoe.


How to do a great magic card trick and make lots of friends.


Racist Chinese Food.


Amazing cake decorating machine.


Yelling in sleep.

Happy Belated Weekly Linkly, Jake Winthrop.

PRESENTS

  • The Process People from The Ad Contrarian. It's one of the best things about advertising I've read in months.

CAKES

  • Nershfest. It's a music festival but it's digital. It's also really well designed.
  • Edgar Wright's blog. Which I didn't know existed until last week. My shame about this is at unprecedented levels.

CANDLES



The best commuter bike. Maybe of all time. It's Denny.


Rick Fulcher cracks up Will Arnett


Hellman's Jar-BQ (for sad lonely people like myself)


David Lynch Nail polish ad


Shy Boys: IRL

Can't a point just be a point?

The other day I heard an interview with Edan Lepuck on NPR. She was talking about her new novel California.  I haven't read it. But it's about a world with dwindling resources and I've been working on some clients involved in those issues so I thought it would be interesting to listen to.

It's a good interview but one answer in particular made me really happy. The host asked a question about her book fit into the Cli-fi genre. (That's the one that all this apocalyptic weather fiction has come out of with the express purpose of making people wake up to the terrors of climate change.) Here's Edan's response:

"I didn't set out to make any kind of message when I was writing it. That seems to didactic. I really was thinking on the pure, emotional, thematic story level."

She went on to explain that while the book might make people think about scarcity or the potential for scarcity of resources that wasn't some pointed argument she was trying to make.

I found this really refreshing. Not because I think art with a point is a bad thing (pointless art is sometimes nothing more than a bird's nest full of shiny objects) but because I think that art doesn't have to be this grand things that's trying to change the world. It might be but it doesn't have to be.

So many people seem caught up on doing something with a secondary purpose. Having some grand mission that everything flows into a changes the world in some way some person deemed necessary. And with this extreme rise in cause-based stuff we just get a pile of garbage that we're supposed to support and love because it's for a cause.

And that's fine for some people. Some of that stuff is rather good. But I don't think there's enough people willing to admit the bullshit people assign to their work is bullshit. 

Or at least that things do not have to do anything beyond be an affecting piece of fiction that entertains the viewer (viewer being a very loose term for whoever is interacting with whatever was made). 

I understand the impulse to big yourself up. To latch onto a cause because you worry that you're not interesting enough, or likable enough, or palatable enough on your own. I've fallen into that trap myself. But all that leads to is being a person who co-opted a cause because you really haven't looked hard enough into your soul to express what's important to you.

These are broad generalizations but it's what I've seen in my own life and in the mountains of drivel that show up on the internet every day.

This problem has also infected marketing to a point where companies feel the need to hide their company-ness behind a cause.

I don't believe for a second that a corporation really cares about any of the causes they're co-opting. They wouldn't co-opt those causes unless they were really, really good for business. 

Capitalism is a flawed system and if there's not anything in it for the company then they're not going to invest in it. These cause efforts are often done to un-do some of the bad or make companies look better.

 It all go back to companies being ashamed that they are companies and the people in marketing departments and agencies fostering their own shame about shilling product. There may be a way to marry these two outlooks (like the way Toms and Patagonia have put them firmly at the center of their business). But it seems for most companies there's still an inauthenticity to anyone trying to co-opt a cause. 

If it develops organically or really changes things systemically within a company that is a very great thing. But if it's sending clean water to a village in Africa already flush with clean water because that's what media and the account people told you you could do then what a fucking waste. 

You might as well done something that isn't detrimental and does entertain people. Like Edan did. But what do I know?

We may have lost the war but they let us keep our weekly links.

Poughkeepsie, New York - After two long weeks of struggle and effort the other guys have emerged victorious. However they've left us with this mess of links to clean up. The Ad Caulk team of editors believe them to be of some importance and have decided to share them with our readers. Please send war stories for an upcoming piece to blabbermouths@adcaulk.com.

SPOILS

REPARATIONS


Dan Harmon at the Banff World Media Festival


If Humans Said The Stuff Other Humans Say (what happens at 0:41 will SHOCK you)


Smart releases the really big city car.


You are not a storyteller - Stefan Sagmesiter


Deadmau5 and Rob Ford get coffee.

Angry Fried Chicken

On my drive to work this morning something at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen caught my eye. It wasn't the succulent golden-fried birds. Or the smattering of delicious sides. 

No, it was a sign for their Tuesday special: two pieces of chicken for $1.29.

$1.29 for two pieces of chicken is almost less than nothing. That's an astoundingly low price for sustenance and a week's worth of saturated fat.

Then my mind turned on me and made me think about the chickens that go into $1.29 chicken deal. Not in the Food Inc. sense, rather the thinking what would happen if a chicken found out its leg and thigh were being sold for such a small amount of money. Here's how that played out:

A one legged chicken, Eunice, hobbles past Popeye's one day and gazes up at the sign. She squints her tiny beady eyes, straining to read the sign. Then she opens her beak and shouts.

"129! One dollar and twenty nine cents? Are you kidding me? I mean are you people even serious right now? Can you really be so dense to think this is what my life adds up to? Just shy of six bucks?

This is an affront to me. An affront to my family. Hell, it's an affront to chicken kind! That was my leg! The thing I use for mobility. Now I use this stupid cane and some human gets to gorge himself on my body party for less than a bottle of Coca Cola. Look, I don't mind being used. I don't even mind the idea of being eaten. 

My sister's dead but at least those humans had the decency to sell her at Balthazar for 74 bucks! You might as well give away my leg if you're going to insult me like this. At least then I would feel like I became charity rather than some low-rent meat. You all make me sick."

Eunice then spits on the ground, turns on her heel, and continues mumbling to herself as she hobbles down Jefferson street. 

This ordeal hasn't made me a vegetarian but I'm never going to get Eunice out of my head whenever I see how cheap chicken is at Popeye's and all fried chicken joints across this great nation.

Alright Scouts, here's a little knot we call the weekly linkly. Watch close.

EAGLE SCOUT

MERIT BADGES

SCOUT'S HONOR


Funny guy pretends to be R&B singer it works. Bening the Weeknd w/ @BenBiznuh


Russell Brand talking about commercials (via Ben Kay)


Cuphead E3 trailer. It's a game that looks like a goddamn 1930s cartoon!


Lettuce plant.


Deep Frequency


Your hipster surrealist music video of the week: Technicolor Yawn.


The terrible thing of Alpha-9.


Alan Moore: His Heavy Heart

Do you like being told what to do?

Or, why do marketers think shouting at people will convince them to buy product?

We know that when someone instructs us to do something we will do everything in our power not to do it. That instruction leads to resentment. That's why people hate so much of literature. Because it was forced upon them rather than discovered. It was an assignment long before it could become something they love.

Which makes me think about the way most ads talk to people. For some reason companies are convinced that the way to get customers is to instruct people into using their products. As though we've ever been able to successfully bully people into using product.

Telling someone to buy, buy, buy is as effective as telling a toddler not to play with his/her food except these toddlers have no relations to you. They probably don't even like you. Probably resent you. 

And barking in their face that they need to do something is so backward and misguided it hurts to think anyone could have ever thought it was a good idea. 

This method worked for the fascists and the nazis in the short run but that doesn't make it a good idea or an effective way to advertise to people. And unless some company is willing to rule by force then that's probably not an option.

So what we have left is charm and wit and intelligence and humanity. The same things that have worked for advertising in the past. And while those might run counter to how a company would like to talk about itself, it's what's necessary.

Just wish marketing departments would get that.