Five things on Friday #49

Things of note for the week ending December 7th, 2012

1. The Hawkeye Initiative
There are tons and tons of completely amazing blog posts pointing out the continual (and not to mention completely and utterly sexist) objectifying of strong female comic book characters today but now –  finally – someone seems to have come up with a way to test whether or not the sketch in question is insulting to women or not.

Ready? It’s this simple –

‘If your female character can be replaced by Hawkeye in the same pose without looking silly or stupid, then it’s acceptable and probably non-sexist. If you can’t, then just forget about it.’

So, what we need then is a blog post that collates said efforts…

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you – The Hawkeye Initiative

An amazing (and hilarious) way to draw attention to a very serious issue.

Good job.

2. McAfee
He’s all over the news (and he got a mention last week too). And, even though the story has developed a lot since it was published, this New York Times piece ‘Hide-and-Seek in Belize‘ is a damn good read.

3. This is not Eros

Piccadilly Circus, London. Home of bright lights, buzzing tourists and this beautiful statue of Eros. Right?

WRONG

Thanks to awesome Serena, I found out this past week that this isn’t Eros at all. This is in fact Anteros, Eros’ twin. Confused? Yeah, you should be.

Let me *cough* Wikipedia *cough* explain

Anteros is the subject of the Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus, London, where he symbolises the selfless philanthropic love of the Earl of Shaftesbury for the poor.

The memorial is sometimes given the name The Angel of Christian Charity and is popularly mistaken for Eros.

Yeah. I know.

Right?

MIND. BLOWN.

(and TFL aren’t helping much either)

4. Dumb Ways to Die
OK, so this has already been seen 30m times but I’ve only just got to it. Yes, it’s super sweet and super brilliant and hey, even you have seen it already, you should watch it again. Because it is SUPER.

5. Matt Muir wins the internet today
This – lifted from Matt’s brilliant (yet sadly, final) blog post for H+K today [EDIT: post now removed – can’t think why] – is quite possibly the best thing I’ve read all week.

“There is a client we have, whose name shall remain nameless, who produces biscuits – you will agree, a fine and noble profession. As part of our work for said client, we were required at one point this summer to work with other agencies in that hideous parody of friendly collaboration that is the ‘loop team’ (you will doubtless have experienced this; various agencies sitting around a table, smiling at each other with the dead-eyed sincerity of sharks or insurance salesman, nodding and making vacuous promises to ‘work collaboratively’ whilst simultaneously imagining violating each and every one of their competitors with a splintered fencepost) in order to promote a NEW THING. The process of promoting said NEW THING would involve the collaborative production of a DECK (why? WHY? WHY DO YOU ALL USE THIS BLOODY WORD?????? Is it because it makes it sound more important or interesting than ‘73 slides of powerpoint that MEANS NOTHING’??? And, as a tangential aside, Powerpoint – WHY? Why do you all persist in taking a medium that was designed primarily for the communication of visual information and not for extensive prose and then MAKING US WRITE BLOODY ESSAYS ON THE SODDING THING???? If it’s more than 100 words of copy, USE WORD. There’s a clue in the name. Christ’s sake) which was to be compiled by us with input from all of our other agency FRIENDS. Fine. Great.

So we receive submissions from other people, and start to look at them. And then this happens. I chance upon a slide which has very obviously taken ‘inspiration’ from the raft of interactive advertising that our industry has become so enamoured with this year – you know the sort of thing I mean; bus stop ads that either smell nice, or dispense free samples; that type of idea. That’s ok. There’s no such thing as a new idea, etc etc etc. I look at the slide. On it is drawn (very nicely, I must say – the agency’s art department was really rather good, so credit to them for that at the very least) a bus stop, with in clear view the advert on the inside panel. Clearly visible is the brand logo (nice and big!), a video screen, and a small, letterbox-type slot. The only other thing on the slide were the following words, and it was these that pretty much pushed me over the professional edge:

“Insert Biscuit To Receive Content”

Let me read that back to you one more time. “INSERT BISCUIT TO RECEIVE CONTENT”. Now, let’s just break down exactly the process that this one line of prose and a (very competent) illustration seem to be suggesting might take place:

  • Consumer prepares to leave house in morning to go to work; consumer grabs biscuit product to snack on to abate feelings of gnawing hunger and existential inadequacy that can often afflict one in the hours before 9am.
  • Consumer walks, whistling, on their path to work
  • Consumer passes bus stop
  • Consumer stops, thinking “Hm, well, you know what? I might be quite hungry, but there’s a video screen on that bus stop that looks like it might offer me the opportunity to watch 30-seconds of poorly made branded ‘content’ [read – advertising] if I give it a biscuit. Hunger be damned!
  • Consumer inserts biscuit
  • Consumer receives content
  • Consumer cries, bitterly, as they realise what they have just done and the sort of awful, dystopian, Blade Runner gone wrong nightmare that they are living through

ON WHAT PLANET, I ASK YOU, CAN RATIONAL MEN AND WOMEN WHO I PRESUME ARE OF REASONABLE INTELLIGENCE ACTUALLY THINK THAT THAT MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL???? WHO CARRIES BISCUITS WITH THEM WHEREVER THEY GO IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MIGHT AT SOME POINT BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRADE THEM IN FOR SOME MOVING PICTURES THAT ARE TALKING TO THEM ABOUT HOW GREAT THEIR LIVES WOULD BE IF THEY HAD MORE BISCUITS??? ARE YOU ALL INSANE???

And for that reason, I’m out.”

This is just one excerpt from Matt’s post today and the whole thing is amazing.

A-MAZ-ING.

And what’s worse, it’s all completely true too.

Matt’s just finished at Hill & Knowlton so, aside from following him at once, one of you should probably go hire him or something.

EDIT 2: The post has been taken down but fortunately for you lot, Google cached it]

———–

Bonuses this week are this piece about Twitter and its [dangerous] contributions to continuous partial attention; the honest trailer for Dark Knight Rises is hilarious; and ‘How a video game saved my life‘ is both moving and inspiring in equal measure.

 

Whatley out.

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