Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I finally got in touch with my group for the student run agency today. And apparently our client has a marketing director that is notorious for being hard to reach. Which is almost a good thing, almost a terrible thing. Its wonderful that I wasn't missing information or meetings that I was supposed to have. On the other hand, its awful that we haven't been able to get any work done because our client has made themselves unreachable.

So today, we had to pull together a presentation. With no information. So we got together and did a little research and managed to put together a little something. It wasn't a Prezi like last time, but it was pretty.

We went first again. But we didn't blow them out of the water like last time. Especially because one of the girls jumped the gun on her part and took mine. I didn't really mind because I don't really like public speaking. But, she realized halfway through that she had taken the wrong part and then preceded to awkwardly stumble through mine. It kind of made me cringe internally. Normally she is such a good speaker but, c'est la vie, it happens to us all.

Other than that meeting, and the impromptu one where we made the presentation, I had another meeting in between them. This one was for a paper for Ad research. Basically we divided the work between each group member and that was about it. 2 hours and that was all we got done. To be honest, I really couldn't concentrate because I had so much on my mind and so little energy left. The Starbucks from earlier had completely worn off. So by time that was over I was pretty dead.

Thank goodness its all over now! All the meetings, the presentations, the decisions. All done!


So I wouldn't really call myself a history buff or really nostalgic (technically, I can only be nostalgic for the early 90s since that's all I've experienced...) but, every once and a while I will watch the History Channel or have a yearning to dress up like a woman from the 40s. I think its a love for learning new things. I'm just so curious (sometimes too much for my own good). I like comparing the "then" to the "now" and seeing how things have changed and grown. And I like imagining that I was a part of the "then". I also consider myself an official judge of which is better, "then" or "now".

Which brings me to this:

This is a timeline. Two timelines really, placed conveniently right next to each other. Granted it doesn't show a large time span, it shows two major competitors. On top of that, look at all the cool fonts! And then the graphics, with the fonts and how they fit together! What could be more perfect? (I suppose a longer timeline would actually be a lot more perfect but, hey, beggars can't be choosers.) 

As I actually read the info graphic, I was kind of disappointed though. The author was obviously biased because their descriptions of the Pepsi cans were mostly negative while Coke received mostly rave reviews. I'm wondering if they even chose the best representations of past Pepsi cans in the last 3 years simply because they wanted to pit them poorly against Coke. Whatever their reason, however, I've chosen to enjoy the infographic for the actual graphics, not the info. 

But I want to take a little time to defend Pepsi. To be honest, I am also a Coke fan but, I don't approve of belittling your opponents. 

First of all, the title of this section says it all: the author doesn't like Pepsi. Therefore, their creative decision will always seam negative to them. However, I think it actually might have been a bad idea to create a new can design every 3 weeks for a total of 35 new cans! That so many changes, so much confusion, and copious amounts of money!

Cheap Labor
Although crowd sourcing truly is cheap labor, its a really good idea. They will get consumer input and bring the consumer closer to the brand. 

Worth it?
If its not broke, don't fix it. Pepsi should have listened to that, in my opinion. But, to be honest, I didn't even notice the different in the logo change until I looked closely at this infographic. Maybe its because I'm a Coke person...

Sweet Nostalgia
I am such a big fan of this one! Like I said, I'm interested in historic things like this, they are just so fascinating! So, its no wonder that this can is my favorite of all the Pepsi ones pictured. The font of "Pepsi-Cola" has so much character and texture. And the contrast it makes with the current font of "throwback" looks really nice, in my opinion. I'm such a dork, I would buy that can just to collect it. Or I even might paint that can in guashe so I can hang it on my wall!

 Not fat
I'm actually I big fan of this can. I like the the tall slender look, its very contemporary and stylish. I understand where the complaints were coming from but, I think there is a point where you need to take the design for what it is, simply a product design, not support for eating disorders. 

Nostalgia Redux
To be honest, I'm not quite sure what their throwback brand is. Do they have two types of Pepsi? Did they permanently change the can design to that of a throwback? No matter the answer, as much as I like the throwback idea, I must say I prefer the other throwback. This one just seams to be too busy. I think the previous design had a much cleaner, and therefore, more attractive look.

So now, that I've attempted to defend Pepsi, I think I'll go back to enjoying the infographic for the designs.

Absolut stress

Let me preface with "today is by far the most stressful of my semester". Everything is due today and tomorrow, with a few things sprinkled throughout finals week. But the weight of these two days compared with finals week is highly disproportionate, with most of the weight unexpectedly on the former.

With that in mind, lets continue with advertising. Last semester in my advertising message strategy class we did print ads for the infamous Absolut Vodka. Of course, now I forget what our copy was but, I remember we were targeting an older demographic that could in a world be summarized as cultured. We showed the absolut bottle distorted in front of a dizzying tie-dye pattern. It definitely had something to do with the 60s and turned out quite nice if I do say so myself.

So when I saw their Absolut blank campaign I smiled. It reminded me of that project, for one. For another, I got to see other people's creativity and I was inspired to dream up some new ideas. Unfortunately, I'm lacking a little thing called time at the moment but, I would have like to actually play around on photoshop or InDesign again and create something!

Anyways, the tag line for the campaign is "It all starts with an absolut blank". Kind of a lovely thought, isn't it? The art gallery shows professional bottle decorations and the app gallery shows consumers' masterpieces. At first I didn't realize that there was an app to go along with it. I simply thought that people would send in their work via email or snail mail and maybe it would be displayed on the site. But, when you think about it, an App is the way to go. And having everyone's work displayed is definitely more attractive to consumers than the almost impossible chance of getting published if you're not a professional. Kudos, Absolut. You've succeeded again, as if we expected anything less.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Obvious photoshop editing

So the question is: is there a limit to photoshop? Is there a point where it stops being effective and becomes more of a hindrance? 

The reason I ask is the above picture. This ad caught my eye, so it was successful at capturing the audience's attention. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized how photoshopped it actually was.

I'm willing to bet that the boy is completely healthy, that he was never sitting in a play ground, that the slide wasn't in the playground, and that the playground wasn't in front of a neighbourhood. A part of me hates being critical of an ad with such a good meaning. But, doesn't one person ruin it for everyone? Won't one exaggerated ad gain lack of believability for all?

Or does it?

Let's say the audience has seen this ad and, like me, they start to doubt the validity of the image. Does that mean they won't take the copy or the cause seriously?

The copy reads "Would you care more if it happened on your doorstep? Help children of Niger"

So then, I develop a new hypothesis. For this particular ad, what if their intention was obviousness all along? The copy asks the reader to imagine to bring the situation in Niger into their personal reality, to make the image of starving African children look like something more familiar. Then the photoshopping begins to make a little sense. In order to make this apply to all Frenchmen, as this is a French ad, is to place common French architecture in the background. Whether or not there is a park in front of said building it is certainly believable, with the limited amount of space in Europe, that a park could be just about anywhere. The slide, a necessary element of any good park. And the starving French boy, who really doesn't exist in the first place; it is simply a what if. And the viewer sees all this and understands it for what it is, make-believe. There is no question about their reliability or the existence of a cause. Viewers are still affected by the message.

That applies to only this ad, however. What about other ads that apply to much photoshop, or simply apply it incorrectly? I guess what I'm trying to say is maybe the message means more than the end result of the creative work. Obviously, it pays to have both at top notch and your campaign will be that much more successful with both. But, wouldn't you still be touched by an ad such as the one above. Wouldn't you disregard the photoshopping for observance of the copy. For this ad at least, I know I would!


Monday, November 28, 2011

And we have progress!

I got emails back from both my advertising groups! The ad research group is meeting today and hopefully we'll get it all figured out. And luckily, it seams that our client for the student run ad agency is hard to get in touch with. So, there is nothing really that we can do except wait. I'm ok with that. At least I know that there is nothing I'm forgetting to do!

And I just got back from my Japanese final. I forgot my calculator though. Not something you would think you'd need for a Japanese final. But, its business Japanese and you need to know how to calculate gains and losses and such in Japanese. Of course, math is never as easy on someone else's calculator. To make it more confusing, it only calculated in exponents. Hopefully, I didn't mess up the math that badly, because I think I translated it correctly. And if I did make minor mistakes, I can only hope he likes us enough to give us half credit for effort.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is going to be a random post about nothing in particular. Just an update on the life of a Grady ad student.

First, let me discuss projects. Grady is full of them. Typically, I like them. I love putting what I learned in class to use because I learn better with a hands on approach. However, I seam to chose the section of a course that doesn't give complete/ easy to understand directions to the project. The entire class always ends up really confused and, to make matters worse, the teacher winds up pushing back explanations or in class work time in order to spend more time explaining course material.

So now, I'm left, close to the end of the semester, dangerously close to the due date of my research project, and I'm still mostly confused about what I'm supposed to be doing. Basically, we had Thanksgiving Break to work on said project. And I worked all break. I have had no time to decipher, let alone be productive on it. Our group is gonna meet Sunday and hopefully we can get it worked out.

In addition to that, I have a Japanese final on Monday for which I also haven't had the time to study. And I have extra credit for that class that I have yet to complete. And homework that I haven't even looked at.

Then there's Christmas shopping. Even if I knew what to buy, which I don't, I'd have to find time to go out and make the purchase. And time is one of those things that I'm sorely lacking.

Then, too look way into the future, there's internships that I should be applying for. And an account on linkedin that I should be updating and monitoring. And connections with potential employers that I should be cultivating.

And so the stress mounts.

And so I lose sleep.

And so Thanksgiving Break becomes nonexistent. And the end of the semester continues to come closer.

Without Heinz

We all know the "Got Milk?" ads. This ad for heinz ketchup is similar to that in the respect that something is missing from the image. Instead of suggesting that something is necessary for our lives, Heinz suggests that food would be tasteless with out the vibrant flavor of Heinz ketchup. Though it takes a less direct path than milk in pointing out the necessity of the product, Heinz manages to show us how boring food would be if we didn't have ketchup.

There were a couple of other ads in this campaign but, this one is my favorite because I'm definitely an eggs and ketchup kind of person. This ad makes me wanna stock up on Heinz because cardboard eggs just don't sound tasty.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Give a hand to wildlife

Another post about art. This time its on the body instead of the ground (but still just as breathtakingly stunning). 

Its the ads done for World Wildlife Fund. I realize that they are a little dated but, like I said before, the internet is a wonderful thing. 

At first glance, these ads have nothing to do with giving money to wildlife. The beauty comes when you delve deeper into the image (which you are bound to do), read the text and connect the double entendre. Simply genius; and I love it.

These ads are the product of Saachi & Saatchi Switzerland and body painter Guido Daniele. Its simply astounding how gorgeously Daniele can replicate basically anything onto the body with paint, particularly animals. Its so lifelike that its almost scary. I mean, you can tell that they aren't actually animals but, its hard to believe that they are really hands; especially that they are really hands that haven't been photoshop-ed.

Once you have gotten over the sheer incredibleness of the hand painting, your eyes float up to the logo and copy.

And then the ah-ha moment. Giving a hand to wildlife can be taken as helping wildlife by donating or, as the people in the ad have so kindly done, volunteering your hand to be painted as wildlife for WWF.

Maybe I get too excited about things like this but, when I realized that those were hands painted as animals and made the connection between that and the type, I seriously did a little happy dance. This probably relates back to previous post with my new mantra " Obsessions make my life worse and my work better". I'm so in love with advertising and art (and font) that any and all well-executed piece is really exciting to me.

Photo source

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Obsessions make my life worse and my Work better

The internet is so convenient. You can see so many things that otherwise you would never have gotten the opportunity to see. And, they never go away. You can see records of things long after they have actually disappeared.

This is especially convenient for some of my favorite art; gorilla art. (the kind that takes over our everyday living spaces, not the kind about monkeys). We all already know about the 3D sidewalk art of Julian Beever. But, there are plenty of other people doing miraculous things on sidewalks and the internet gives us the chance to experience them.

For example, I stumbled upon this beautiful piece of penny art.

This spectacular sidewalk mosaic was created by Stefan Sagmeister in 6 days time with 250,000 coins. Unbelievably crazy, isn't it? It looks like something out of a movie, something created by a computer software program; those people aren't really standing next to a coin mosaic, it was definitely computer generated and photoshop-ed in.  Except, no. In actuality, that is real, those coins are actually meticulously placed to form the intricately designed text and floral pattern. And I am simply floored. 

Beyond the sheer magnitude of its difficulty and copious amounts of shiny material, I'm very interested in the font. I love font. Its a strange addiction that I developed from my Intro to Graphic Design class. My teacher is actually a famous type designer, among type designers, and knew every type simply by sight. It was so fascinating and I was introduced to so many historically interesting fonts that I couldn't help but develop a love for them. And it isn't so much the history of the fonts but, the way they look on a page, the way they interact with each other, and their connotations that draw me in and keep me interested. So, when I saw this piece one of the first things I thought was "what is this font?" and "where can I get it."

Honestly, I love it. I love every piece of it; the movement, the material, the font, the message, the photography, the floral design, everything. To top it all off, it applies itself to me and my chosen profession. I'm completely in love with advertising. Sometimes, that makes me the odd ball out in society, or a little overworked and crazy but, I wouldn't have it any other way. And my passion for advertising only feeds my work ethic. I may be crazy and stressed sometimes but, the results of my frantic perfectionism produces pure genius in the end (at least, I like to think its genius). 

Moral of the story: fonts are fascinating, Sagmeister is amazing, and "Obsessions make my life worse and my work better" is my new excuse for any abnormalities I may exhibit. 

Pore Billboards

Next topic: the scum of the skyline- billboards. 

No one really likes driving past them. No one really likes them dotting their precious cities' skylines. They are generally just an eye swore and, to top it all off, not very effective. 

But, every once in a while there are a few clever ones that sneak past the clutter and provide us with a momentary escape. Oddly enough, the escape is from horribly executed advertising to brilliantly perfected creative masterpieces. 

If you can't tell already, I'm definitely a fan of these flamboyant, eye-catching billboards. Below is one that I found recently while surfing the web.  

The billboard is for Ponds and, obviously, extremely attractive. I imagine that if I had seen this ad while I was driving I probably would have caused some accidents for being so enthralled by its ingenuity. There is a man in the center of the billboard for Pete's sake! I seriously sat here, at my computer, for minutes thinking about how they could have pulled off such a feat. To achieve that kind of interaction with the brand, especially with a billboard that people normally pay so little attention to, is quite remarkable.

I'm sure that this particular billboard cost relatively a lot of money but, considering the end result, I think its well worth it.

False advertising

Liars. Untrustworthy. Misleading. Profit before people.

These are a few of the negative connotations of the industry. Unfortunately, those opinions are there for a reason. Once upon a time, advertising was so hyperbolic, it was comical; well, at least it's comical to us now. At the time, however, I'm sure the people weren't so excited to be tricked so blatantly by advertising. 

Although I believe we have moved away from such a realm of lies, even I don't believe every ad that I see. I realize that some people hold different moral standards and rationalize lying to the public in different ways. 

But, when the product is so completely different from the ad, how could you convince yourself for even a second that people accept it? This image, for example, displays the drastic difference between what you see on TV and what you get at the drive thru window. 

Obviously, its disappointing. 

And everyone realizes its happening. People understand that what they order won't look like what they receive. And yet, they keep ordering. There is like some sort of agreement between advertisers and consumers on the topic of fast food. Even if you make it look outrageously better than the real deal, I solemnly swear to continue consumer mass amounts of your burgers, fries, and tacos. 

Maybe its because, as a culture, we just can't get enough of our fast food; we thrive on it. Well, maybe thrive is the wrong word... get along. We get along with our fast food. And with out it, well let's just not think about it!

And yet, that poster still astounds me! Fast food definitely isn't as appealing in real life as it is in advertisements! In fact, if advertisements featured actual images of burgers, fries, and tacos, I would probably never want to eat them again. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Now what....?

So my group hasn't met since our last agency meeting... that was quite a while ago. And now, I'm very worried. I feel like we should have met with our client by now or at least have some idea of what we were working towards since our last meeting. But, as of yet, I know nothing.

I'm very worried about this entire process now. At the beginning, it seemed like such good experience; like such a well-oiled machine. And now, I'm worried that its less structured then I thought originally. And that makes me really disappointed.

To top it all off, this semester is coming to an end. And that means final projects and tests and tons and tons of stress. I'm most definitely not ready for all of that especially because everything happens right after Thanksgiving Break. Needless to say things are about to get messy....