Archive for April, 2008

Nerd jokes have become the official mainstream humor. Recently, MIT had it’s first ROFLCon where you could find who’s who of the Internet and accidents masters of the viral world.

In a previous post, I sort of lamented about the silliness of Internet memes and was hoping it will evolve beyond the trivial. But it seems unlikely to happen. Or rather, even if we have intelligent virals going around, we will also have tons of fun and silly odd ball stuff dominating the Internet.

Or how else would you explain this list.

This made me think about the origin of LOLanguage. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much information regarding that, and even Wikipedia cites a vague source – Usenet.

Abbreviating phrases is an old phenomena and it doesn’t surprise anyone as to how LOL predominantly stands for Laughing Out Loud. But what’s surprising is the tremendous sub culture it has created.

At the ROFLCon, the men behind the I Can Haz Cheezburger had some interesting things to say, some highlights:

Cats attract girls to the internet. lolcode contributors are 80% male. I can has cheezburger submitters are about ~%60 female.

Cheez has a staff of 8 people.

LOLCats doesn’t help you get dates. {Shocker, I know!}.

Lastly, as I always suspected, LOLanguage started with SMS / Text Messaging.

I started thinking about this and had a slightly nagging feeling for a while now…I kinda felt I have somehow read this funny/silly LOLs before, but I just couldn’t put my finger to it…till I went all the way back to Dickens’ world in The Pickwick Papers. Without further ado, here’s Samuel Weller with his colorful metaphor when he finds someone has marked their coach with Pickwick’s name and Moses before it,

“…vich I call addin’ insult to injury, as the parrot said ven they not only took him from his native land, but made him talk the English Language arterwards.”

That, ladies and gentleman is the world’s first LOL*.

*As far as i know, Of course.

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Earlier I posted about a simple and beautiful one page / double column website. And now I stumbled up on this website for Massive Cube, an interactive design and development company, that is anything but simple and regardless, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

It seems to be that Massive Cube is probably a new kid on the block as they don’t seem to have much diversity in terms on work. Also their work for clients seems remarkably similar to their own website – a classic rookie thing. And that’s alright. But I would suggest one thing though, if you are going to call yourself an award winning interactive shop, clicking on your portfolio for a website shouldn’t lead one to a jpg file instead.

Anyway, it’s a fun website and I am sure we all could spend some time in it for kicks.

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This is the kind of thing an agency starts with good intentions and ends up doing something remarkably boneheaded. Of all the things an ad agency can do to improve it’s creative offerings, client relations, operational efficiency and over all culture – setting a dress code seems like the wrong choice. Ad agencies, amongst all people, should know about finding superficial solutions to deeper problems.

Understandably, this has created quite an outrage. Here’s George Parker. And here’s The Kaiser making an interesting contrast and comparison with the movie “Die Welle”

UPDATE: Stumbled across this speech…a must watch for the people who created the above poster.

UP-UPDATE: Turns out, this is a spoof by the agency itself. The thing is, what made bloggers go mad is that Leo Burnett, the ancient dinosaur that it is now, is perfectly capable of doing something like this. Okay, seriously, this is quite a good one folks.

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From Publicis NY comes this latest work for Pepto Bismol. It’s refreshing to find something creative in this category.


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Lever House has a new installation by Richard Dupont…nine naked men Duponts in the lobby and you can get the perfect view only from one angle. It’s a full body scan of him from General Dynamics, on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This is what he had to say…

“The viewer walks around the figures and gets all these different perspectives as the surfaces change. That’s one way the distortions are interesting, because no two perspectives are the same. A lot of people see them and think they’re flat, then realize they’re objects—that’s a hard thing for the brain to process immediately. But it’s not just retinal, it’s also physiological: There’s a queasiness, an anxiety caused by the brain not being able to understand the two things at once.”

Here is a video and interview with the curator of the Lever House.

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The first one is a new (I think) commercial for Mitsubishi Canada, agency unknown. If you know who did this, please post the credits in the comments. This is a pretty smart spot, considering that we’ve seen the same devices used in car and other commercials for a while, and yet these guys have managed to give robots a playful personality.

This one is Discovery Channel talking to its nerdy audience who get pumped up by dead Egyptian kings, dirty jobs, nature and esoteric science stuff….just kidding. Good work by 72 and Sunny. It’s tough to have an all encompassing message like ‘I love the world’ and still not sound cheesy. I think this also works because when was the last time you used the words ‘Love’ and ‘World’ without any negative connotation?

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“A meme can be just about any form of non-genetic information transmitted from person to person: a word, a song, an attitude, a religious belief, a mealtime ritual, an engineering concept.” – Robert Wright, NONZERO – The Logic Of Human Destiny.

Ever since Britain’s World’s angriest atheist invented the idea/phrase meme in 1976 (Yes, it’s been that long!), many people have confused the hell out of me. But it really didn’t have much relevance to advertising till the Internet became home to the hoi polloi.

First amongst meme’s were usually odd stuff, funny photos and jokes that got forwarded endlessly. And some emails with a plea for help. All of which, I am sure, you can’t blame it on ad agencies or their clients. And then things started evolving changing. Lists like THIS can truly show you what it’s all about and also overwhelm you with loads of bullshit.

And that brings me to my main point. Which is, what’s the point of all this?

While adverts have been memes for a very long time, when it comes to Internet meme’s, it has been awful with rare exceptions, here’s looking at you Subservient Chicken and Gorilla Drummer. Every cliché has also been overused when it comes to Internet Online Interactive Viral Digital Web 2.0 Web Plus marketing and advertising and still I get a queasy feeling that we are still on the Interstate and the nearest town is miles away. How many of you are familiar (or even just heard of) with ALL the items on this list? And these are the phenomena.

I also think, memes are quite different from viral advertising. Like Richard Brodie, I consider memes to be building blocks and if brands can be that ‘basic building blocks of our minds and culture’ then we can see some boundaries pushed to a higher plane. This actually happens when it comes to spoofs…for instance:

It’s funny, thoughtful and ironical.

When was the last time we saw an ad signed off by a client that adopts a tone of its consumers? To be fair, it’s easier to throw stones than build a window. There have been instances when big corporations invite consumers to create adverts with some success. That I consider a positive first step, even if it’s a critic or a spoof.

I don’t presume to have any answers to the title questions, except that we do have a long way to go.

A good non advertising meme  is Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle.

Now imagine that being your brand!

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Yeoh Guan Hong’s website, Super*Nature is a beauty to behold. It’s smart, elegant and the user doesn’t have to navigate across 23 pages to understand what the artist is all about. You can do it in just one page.

With all the cliche’s in creating a website having been exploited beyond belief – simplicity and navigational ease might be more important that anything else. And with the ever expanding screen real estate, the possibilities of sticking to one page double/triple frame websites might be worth looking into. Think about it – when you are looking for information, would you rather prefer staying on one split screen or  wander through a zillion pages and keep hitting the back arrow?

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BBH has just released a new Audi ad, and it’s fantastic!

The ad, shot in Budapest by Paul Hunter and performed by Hungarian gymnasts , is smart and powerful and it’s soooo Audi. It’s pointless to nitpick specifics in an ad as beautiful as this, as adverts like these needs to be consumed as a whole, kinda like doing a shot.

The thing I like the best about this is that after Honda did the ‘Cog’ and set the bar so high, it became impossible for anyone to create a car advert that uses the parts as a device. Even an non-auto advertiser like Guinness tried and failed, with the whole village gathering to build a pint glass or something. Man that sucked.

Anyways, this ranks right up there with Playstation’s Mountain and Honda’s Cog in my book.

More details can be found here.

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As the AFP release says, this Dragon Blood tree can be seen “on the virtually untouched Yemeni Island of Socotra, a site of global importance for biodiversity conservation, located in the northwestern Indian Ocean, some 350km south of the Arabian Peninsula”

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Hulu is being seen as the future of television. Currently, it’s available only for US audience, maybe you could try plugging in an US zip code and try your luck. Because this is seriously cool shit.

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It’s not often, we I spend time wondering how some of the most famous logos symbols came about. Recently, I stumbled up on the thought process and design origins of the Peace symbol. Here goes…

“Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The “Ban the Bomb” symbol was born.

He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore – or flag-signalling – alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.

The sign was quickly adopted by CND.

Holtom later explained that the design was “to mean a human being in despair” with arms outstretched downwards.”


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Click on the image to watch this nice short film.

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The Edge

Via. Click here for more super cool photos.

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Design Barcode, aka D-Barcode, has some spectacular stuff…

These captured my fancy because of it’s simplicity and the limitless possibilities of playing around with something that is so omnipresent.

It is also a bit nostalgic to me because back in ’99, when the Internet had only one name, I did a design poster for an online retailer who was having a sale on a regional fire festival.

Apologies for knocking off the brand name…it is hardly important and I am not even sure they are still in business.

Source: As usual, I was lost in the Internet when the magic of links bought me to Dark Roast Blend and these creative designs with bar  codes. Click on the link for more.

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