Saturday, March 31, 2012

FEMEN invite the women of Islam to get naked with them

FEMEN are in Paris, demonstrating for Muslim women around the world to demand sexual freedom and equal rights.

     Allah made me naked from FemenFrance on Vimeo.

The demonstration, themed "Allah created me naked" includes slogans such as "Muslim women let's get naked", "Nudity is freedom", "I am a woman, not an object", "Naked war" and "Naked truth". (They also hold signs in Ukrainian, French and Arabic.)

While their hearts are all in the right place, the show of solidarity also reminds me of this cartoon:

The question being whether sexual freedom depends on sexual display. I'm sure the women of FEMEN would agree that the choice of dress or undress is every person's individual choice — as long as they are not being coerced or brainwashed.

On the other hand, women from more oppressive religious Muslim societies who choose the route of nude expression, such as Golshifteh Farahani or Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (who is name-checked in body paint), face disapproval, banishment, and even physical harm.

What do you think of this message and tactic?

You can see and read more about the demonstration (in Ukranian) at FEMEN's Livejournal.

Do vegetarians buy BBQs?

Of course some do. You can do amazing things with grilled vegetables and mushrooms.

But this flyer, from a local distributor for, seems to be betting not only that its potential customers are not vegetarians, but also that they hate PETA.

Now, I am not a vegetarian and I do dislike PETA's marketing tactics and extremism. This brand is probably making a smart strategic move by targeting guys (let's face it) who eat lots of meat and like to feel obnoxious about it. Canadian Tire and Home Depot can't do this, because they have to appeal to everyone. These guys can afford to be assholes.

By the way, if the "mashed potatoes" gag seems familiar it's because this billboard has been floating around the internet forever:

But if you're going to wear that statement around, you might as well get the original.

The most beautiful pregnancy video you will see today

Ivan from Ads of The World shared this beautiful video on Google+:

It's been done before, but some things never get old.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The most F'd album cover you will see today #FdAdFriday

On Facebook, my old friend Omar shared one of those great lists of "world's worst album covers" that are always going around.

Most of them were known to me. But this one was new:

Not only is the title beyond awful in what it seems to be joking about, but the song titles are also full of painful puns:

  • "My Pussy Belongs To Daddy"
  • "Sadie's Still Got The Rag On"
  • "I Want A Man To Gimme Some Luck"
  • "I Tried It Everywhere"
  • "She Sits Among The Cabbages And Peas" (my favourite title)
  • "Don't Give Me No Goose For Christmas"
  • "He Forgot His Rubbers"
  • "Hey Mister Ice Man!"
  • "Things Are Soft For Grandma, Since Grandpa's Eighty-Four"
  • "Tony's Got Hot Nuts
It's a real album. Even more surprisingly, it was released in 1957!

It's even on YouTube:

This is where it shows its age. The music is jazzy, the lyrics are comical burlesque sung by Faye Richmonde (who doesn't seem to be remembered anywhere online except on download sites). And from context, I gather "Daddy" is an old-school term of endearment to her lover - whew!

I even found a copy of the album at an auction site. The description is kind of amusing, given the content:
"Smutty tunes with a nudie cover! Faye Richmond, Saul T. Peter, Angelina, and Miss Dee, accompanied by the Men Of Passion. Tunes include "She Sits Among The Cabbages And Peas", "Tony's Got Hot Nuts", "Sadie's Still Got The Rag On", and the title track. Adults only XXX. Cover shows a little handling wear on edges, and had a little color run w it looks like it was damp or wet in the bottom corner, record looks like near mint."
Here are a couple more tracks:

So there you have it: what appeared at first to be some kind of shock album ends up as evidence that our grandparents were just as perverted as we are. They just had the good sense to keep this stuff private.

Breasts exploited in the name of cancer (again) #FdAdFriday

The technology is interesting, if it actually works as intended.

Poster before thermoactivation.

"Breast lumps are often discovered by womens partners. As a part of communication launching Breast Unit Prague (clinique for preventing and curing breast cancer) we produced this poster targeting men in male areas. When they placed their hands on the poster a pair of breasts would appear. Headline: ‘Touch them to ensure that they don’t disappear.’"

Poster thermoactivated.
While cause marketers like "Coppafeel,"  "Feel Your Boobies" and "Self Chec" promote self-screening for lumps in humorous and playfully sexy ways, this one seems more lecherous and objectifying. (Even though the creative team of Tereza Sverakova, Lauren van Aswegen and Igor Paleta seems to include at least one women.) And I don't know what it's like on the streets of Prague, but I wouldn't want to be seen feeling up a poster in public. Especially not a cancer campaign.

Ummm... what "thermoactivated" that line below the hands?
Let's hope this ad wasn't literally "F'd"...

Campaign by Leagas Delaney Prague, Czech Republic
Via I Believe in Advertising

Coke's latest ad tactic too dirty for New Orleans #FdAdFriday

Adland put me on to a New Orleans blog called NOLAFemmes, in which Coca-Cola is accused of defacing the city's Historic French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé with illegally stencilled road ads.

Blogger Lunanola writes:

"It is my opinion that the City of New Orleans is being pimped out promoted at an unprecedented level (to a degree that gives rise to what could be described as “neighborhood fatigue”). Such heavy promotion rarely occurs without unintended consequences: for example, illegal, ugly, and damaging guerrilla marketing campaigns. This kind of defacement is unconscionable and must be addressed immediately...  
Stated simply, the most significant difference between historic beauty and hazardous decay is cumulative, uninterrupted neglect. The continued degradation of the historic heart of New Orleans cannot remain unaddressed, particularly if one considers that our amazing city will be in an ever-increasing spotlight while hosting the 2013 Super Bowl and celebrating its 300th Anniversary in 2018."
I like the comment by Adland's kidsleepy better:

"It doesn't take much effort to realize why the woman would be upset. But I'll just go ahead and add more reasons to the list. Like: the lines suck. There is no idea here. And the advertising is a complete wank fest. 
If law-breaking is involved don't you think it would be worth the effort to, oh, I don't know, do something creative and smart and even conceptually relevant to the media 'buy?'"
I would just add that they should leave the outlaw marketing to real activists, and go back to exploiting polar bears and Santa Claus.

Absurdly violent condom ads #FdAdFriday

These have to be some of the most absurdly macho condom ads I have seen. By a sausage party of a creative team at TBWA Buenos Aires, Argentina, they seem to imply that men thing they have a mighty warrior in their pants. But it doesn't seem sexy at all to me, and can't possibly be an attractive image for women.

It's about technique, guys, not brute strength. Mine's a lover, not a fighter.

Via Ads of The World

The least appetizing cookbook title ever #FdAdFriday

The BBC explains:
"Cooking With Poo is written by Bangkok chef Saiyuud Diwong whose nickname is Poo - which is Thai for 'crab. 
She runs a cookery school for locals and tourists in the city's largest slum, alongside the charitable organisation that published the book."
Well, that's a relief.

Saiyuud Diwong's book won this year's Diagram Prize for oddest book title of the year.

The NRA Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt #FdAdFriday

As the United States comes to grips with all the issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin shooting — racism, vigilanteism, guns, and even the victim's fashion choices — the National Rifle Association has recently introduced a new product to its online store:

You see, the victim was wearing a hoodie. And the shooter had a concealed carry gun permit. So naturally, the answer to America's social woes is to ensure all hoodie wearers are armed, too. It'll be like the wild west, but more suburban.

Their description:
"We want concealed carry to fit around your lifestyle – not the other way around. That’s why we developed the NRAstore™ exclusive Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt. It’s the only garment of its kind we know of! Made from a pre-shrunk, heavyweight 50% cotton / 50% polyester blend, we’ve taken a standard 9 oz. fleece sweatshirt design and added a full-body polyester lining for added warmth, durability, wind resistance and weight distribution. Inside the sweatshirt you’ll find left and right concealment pockets. The included Velcro®-backed holster and double mag pouch can be repositioned inside the pockets for optimum draw. Ideal for carrying your favorite compact to mid-size pistol, the NRA Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt gives you an extra tactical edge, because its unstructured, casual design appears incapable of concealing a heavy firearm – but it does so with ease! Includes drawstring hood, cotton/spandex ribbed cuffs and waistband, two front pouch pockets and a discreet black zipper. Includes one Velcro® holster and one Velcro® mag pouch. Colors: Black, Navy. Made in USA"

Ass kebabs #FdAdFriday

What is it with the obsession with asses in Brazil? They have somehow merged it with their love of barbecue in a bizarre pastiche of animal snuff and food porn.

Personally, I would rather not thing about an animal with an arrow up its bum when considering where to get some meat on a stick. But maybe that's just me.

Via Ads of The World

The lamest teen magazine of all time #FdAdFriday

First of all, do teens even read print magazines anymore?

Second, how cool is this?

No, this couldn't possibly be an indoctrination project by adults. I mean, teens totally idolize the United States' first black President... Ronald Reagan?!?

And speaking of black Presidents, there's also a handy guide to caricaturing President Obama:

And a warning about the morally corrosive forces of liberal media bias and gay-friendly TV shows:

I can hardly wait until the next issue, in which I hope they will tackle the big issues like evolutionism and slutty sluts who want free birth control so they can make our children into sluts.

Via Buzzfeed

Finally! Someone gives a shit for your Tweets... #FdAdFriday

I'm not sure many Tweets are even worth that. But for a fairly hefty fee, Shitter will print your Twitter feed on toilet paper. The perfect gift for the social media hack who has everything, I guess.

Respibien makes your chest "better" #FdAdFriday

At least, I assume that's the pun at play in these Spanish ads for a decongestant product. Ho ho ho. It is to laugh...
Do you thing these could count as false advertising?

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Today, Buzzfeed published an amusing post about how the word "porn" is used on Pinterest (a social scrapbooking site where people gather favourite online images) to describe anything they like looking at.

And not just the trendy term "food porn" either:

"Fishing Gear Porn"

"Word Porn"

"Real Estate Porn"
What I found particularly amusing about this (besides the fact that someone innocently called their board "dog porn") is that this morning Jezebel had a post about the actual Pinterest of Porn, called "Snatchly". (The link is safe — it goes to a signup page.)

Worlds are colliding. Or, rather, "words".

But let's just hope this overuse of the p-word doesn't end in tragedy, when an innocent sweet tooth in need of some delicious Pudding Porn ends up instead conjuring up two girls and a cup over on the wrong network.

"Barrista! There are bugs in my vegan smoothie!"

At least they spelled "flavour" the proper way.

I don't know why vegans even bother with fast food. Remember when everyone was outraged by beef tallow in McDonald's fries? More recently, there was concern over hidden bacon in Chipotle's pinto beans.

Part of the problem is that there are two divergent customer demands: on one hand, people want junk food made with as many "natural" ingredients as possible; on the other are personal food restrictions based on religion, philosophy or allergy.

The latest big brand to be torn by this tension is Starbucks.

Via Tumblr

Jezebel explains that after "customers insisted that Starbucks start to use natural ingredients whenever possible," the coffee chain started using cochineal extract instead of chemical dye to make its strawberry soy smoothies pinker. (They also add lycopene, the pigment from tomatoes.)

Cochineal extract is certainly natural. To make it, you grind up a bunch of these guys:

Via this blog
The resulting pigment, known as carmine, has many industrial uses. And it's common in food.

Wikipedia says:

"Carmine is used as a food dye in many different products such as juices, ice cream, yogurt, and candy, and as a dye in cosmetic products such as eyeshadow and lipstick. Although principally a red dye, it is found in many foods that are shades of red, pink, and purple. As a food dye it has been known to cause severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock in some people. 
Food products containing carmine-based dye may be a concern for people allergic to carmine, or people choosing not to consume any or certain animals, such as vegetarians, vegans, and followers of religions with dietary law (e.g., kashrut in Judaism and halaal in Islam)."

The true nature of the ingredient went viral in the veggie community when a vegan Starbucks employee leaked it to This Dish is Veg. There was soon a petition up at which so far has 2,427 signatures.

Starbucks isn't budging yet, though. Corporate spokesman Jim Olson told, “We certainly respect and understand the interest this is getting, but it is a very common ingredient in foods and juices and beverages.”

There's actually a very simple solution to this problem: leave out the dye, and expect customers to accept a paler pink smoothie. Hell, I make my own for breakfast all the time. Strawberries add their own "natural" colour. It just isn't the bright pink that people seem to think they want.

Do you think that such a thing is possible?

Wes Anderson makes an ad from the wonderful mind of a child

Every PD day at school (a school day when teachers do professional development sans students) I bring my son to the agency. As a result, he has grown up helping his dad make ads. Usually they're about environmental issues. And sometimes he comes up with the most marvellous ideas, like saving money on energy bills by having a tank full of electric eels generating electricity in your basement.

Wes Anderson, McCann Worldgroup and Sony took the amazing resource of unfettered childish imagination a step further when they produced a high-budget TV ad written and narrated by an 8-year-old actor from Long Island named Jake Ryan:

According to AdWeek, Wes Anderson discovered Jake and his magical concept after holding interview sessions in New York, Los Angeles and London, and asking more than 75 kids what they thought goes on inside Xperia phones.

As professional adult creatives, we can only dream of recapturing the absolutely wonderful and unexpected ideas kids have every day. (I guess that's why there are so many substance abuse issues in the industry.) After watching this, I'm starting to wonder if we should hire my little guy full-time.

Full credits at AdWeek.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hillbilly Food Porn

Ohhhhhhh baby....
If you are a foodie who eats meat (and who does not consider pork "unclean") I dare you to watch this ~10 minute documentary without getting ravenously hungry.

CURED from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

Allan Benton is a man who loves some good preserved pig. And he brings that love to the family bacon and country ham business he inherited in Madisonville, Tennessee.

My favourite part is when he makes the bacon-fried potatoes and ramps (ail des bois) in the open air. I have to try that when the rare wild delicacy shows up in the farmer's market here. But sadly, his pork products do not ship outside the United States.

Via The Aggregate

Courtney Stodden for PETA

Oh. My. God.

So this happened:

PETA's description: "In this video that Courtney and her dog, Bazaar, shot for PETA, the teen newlywed shares how eating cruelty-free has helped her save animals' lives, protect the environment, and get a figure that the shutterbugs can't get enough of."

I swore I would stop blogging about this teenage trainwreck of a manufactured celebrity. But then she had to go and do a PSA! So this is actually kind of relevant.

I'm not sure why PETA chose her, beside the fact that she claims to be a vegetarian and craves attention. She's not exactly good at the "speaking" part of the whole "spokesperson" thing. But at least she kept more clothes on here than in most of her public photoshoots. Which is kind of ironic for a PETA ad.

How to Handle a Sex Pest

When I saw this video (and the title "How to Handle a Sex Pest") on the Viral Videos Facebook page, I assumed it was a social marketimng message about sexual harassment. I was wrong.

No, this "choose your own adventure" interactive YouTube is actually a promotional video for Elsie, a British pop singer I had not heard of until this morning.

The video is disturbing, but not in the way you would expect. The options to get rid of the "sex pest" are pretty violent (see above) and the viewer gets an opportunity to let the guy "get revenge" at the end.

The explanation:
"Every girl out there knows this guy -- the horny, crotch-thrusting dancer who just won't leave you alone in the club. They see a bit of booty and think they can touch. Watch Elsie go on the attack and show how us girls WISH we could deal with sex pests."
It's as if it's all a game. Not a violation of personal space, not harassment, unwanted sexual touching or even assault. Just a bit of fun.

And this is, of course, just a video. But every message matters. And it can make things better or worse.

Which do you think this is? Harmless fun, or bad idea?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ziggy Street

It's certainly one of my favourite album covers.  Shot by photographer Brian Ward in January 1972 photographer Brian Ward outside a fur distribution company called "K. West" at 23 Heddon Street, London. According to The Ziggy Stardust Companion, the entire shoot was done in black and white, then colourized in those saturated tones. (You can see some outtakes here.)

"To be played at maximum volume."

The side street has apparently changed quite a bit in 40 years. But just this week, the Crown Estate mounted a "Blue Plaque" at the site to commemorate its historical significance.

Unveiled by the dude from Spandau Ballet. Remember them?
Now that David Bowie is seemingly retired, I hope this kind of thing doesn't make him feel too old.

But then again, he's the one who said we only had five years...

Thanks to Mark B for the tip.

Would a Freddy Mercury, by any other name, have sung as sweetly?

What's in a name? According to India's Albert Dali "Naming Consultants", everything.

Focussing on the naming aspect of branding, they say they do "Name Researching, Name Crafting, Name Auditing, Domain Booking, Trademarking and even Name Numerology[?]" Which are all important things to get right, in this day and age.

But back to Freddy. How much did his success really depend on his Nom de Glam? In his case probably quite a lot.

The other three examples of famous name changes in this campaign (found on Ads of The World) are Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Mortenson/Baker), George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), and Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret). For the first two, the name change was simply to invoke the personal brand they wanted to express, while Le Corbusier just wanted to sound cool. But what about Freddy?

Born in Zanzibar, ફારોખ બલ્સારા‌ (Farrokh Bulsara) was the son of Indian Parsis — descendants of Iranian Zoroastrians who long ago settled in India. He took on the "Mercury" name around the time he named Queen. (I asume he had been going by "Freddie" for some time, as he had been living in England since age 17.)

Today, I find Freddie Mercury's ethnic and religious background fascinating. As a child in the 70s, I had no idea he was anything but ethnically British. Then again, as a prepubescent boy I didn't even know he was bi. (The '70s were like that.) While his sexuality should have been obvious, I think his ethnicity was played fairly low-key.

Which makes me wonder: would British, American, and other "Western" fans have been as entranced by a man named Farrokh Bulsara? By a name that is strange and foreign to their ears? Could he have been all that and kept his original identity? And is it evidence of perceived racism?

We'll never know. The name Mercury was his choice, and the man was going through a pretty serious identity crisis at the time. But I also wonder if he could have made a go at it, with more attention to his "exotic" background, in the 21st century.

Whoa. This dumb little ad made me think way too much. Occupational hazard.

Meet Gregory McCreeperson, McDonald's voice of wisdom

This is Gregory. He is the new face of McDonald's Extra Value Menu.

He is also creepy as hell.

Gregory (who has his own section on the McDonald's web site) looks like he's supposed to represent wisdom and experience, and they expect young guys to appreciate the irony of this frumpy old man giving unsolicited advice on life and love.

But the Burger Business blog sees him differently: "If he looks familiar, it may be because he looks like the weary, burned-out history teacher we all had in high school. If you were especially unlucky he also was your counselor who never really knew your name. "

It's also interesting to note than Spanish-speaking Americans are spared Gregory's advice: