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]

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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.

Five things on Friday #36

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

1. Naked Beer
The above packaging design is a response to a stunningly simple question: why hide what good beer looks like? Well, Timur Salikhov decided that ‘Naked Beer’ should be the answer. I love this.

2. What’s up with The Avengers Boxset?

I had a proper moan about this last week —

However, all is not what it seems. While the UK does quite often get short shrift when it comes to the repackaging of DVD/Blu-Ray releases, this time around it seems that Marvel/Disney have come a cropper by not actually getting the case’s reproduction rights.

Turns out while Disney had permission to use the case in The Avengers, they do not have permission to create replicas. Damn. If you’ve pre-ordered this particular boxset, you may be waiting some time…

Update: Screenrant is reporting that this set is is going to be released next year but with a slightly different (and lawyer friendly) design.

3. Les Twins

4. Hansel & Gretel
It looks like B-Movie popcorn fodder of the highest caliber, but I don’t care. The pitch is quite cool and, as a result, I’m surprisingly up for this. Bring it on.

5. Skateboarding in the 60s
This set of photographs, capturing the pick up of the skateboard in the 60s, had me beaming from ear to ear.
Go check ’em out.

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Bonuses this week: Iain has a great idea on how to launch the new Nokia Lumia 920 PureView (inspired by yours truly); Jonathan MacDonald’s ‘Notes from the left field‘ really is quite the remarkable read; and The Next Web’s insight on how Samsung treats the bloggers on its blogger program is one hell of an eye-opener.

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Five things on Friday #19

Five things of note for the week ending Friday May 11th, 2012

1. Back to the Future Business Card of WIN
Tom Wilson played ‘Biff‘ in the Back to the Future films. Apparently, he carries a business card that he gives to fans to answer all those BTTF questions in one.

Perfect.

2. Some (more) decent lengthy articles
First up, ‘Frequent fliers who flew too much‘ is a brilliant read about unlimited first-class tickets that used to be available from American Airlines.

“Creative uses seemed limitless. When bond broker Willard May of Round Rock, Texas, was forced into retirement after a run-in with federal securities regulators in the early 1990s, he turned to his trusty AAirpass to generate income. Using his companion ticket, he began shuttling a Dallas couple back and forth to Europe for $2,000 a month.”

You can see why they stopped it. Have a read.

Next, I’m halfway through this fantastic interview with Joss Whedon. He directed, amongst a whole host of other things, The Avengers. And he is awesome.

Finally, Kathryn Schulz on ‘Internal Time‘ is proving to be a fantastic read. Purely because I never thought I’d ever read the line ‘Modern human beings are not much like mimosas’. Check it.

3. 100,000 LED Lights Illuminate a Japanese River

4. Retro-active Foursquare tracking
For some reason (and this is proper geeky) I love the idea that you can track your check-ins with GCal. Use case: ‘Had a meeting with Robbie the other week at that cool place on Wardour St., what was it called?’ – which means I now have a 4sq layer in my Google Calendar.

So simple.

Via.

5. Useful Apps / Plug-ins
Attachments.me is a great Chrome plug-in for searching through Gmail attachments. It’s proved to be an absolute life-saver lately. And their CEO, Jesse Miller, is a thoroughly nice chap too.

Build apps in iOS? Take a look at Alau.me. It’s like bit.ly, but for app download tracking.

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Bonuses –  Stunning Star Wars toy photography (click) and Avengers Concept Art (below) have both made my day today. Until next time…

‘Aftermath’ – click to embiggen

Five things on Friday #17

Five things of note for the week ending Friday April 27th.

1. Iron Man

Iron Man Wallpaper Mondo

This art work (from Mondo) is superb. I like, a lot. Speaking of which…

2. Avengers Assemble!
It’s out this week. I’ve seen it. It’s awesome. You should see it too.
(and yes, of course I’m going to review it – at some point)

3. New Music
Two tracks of note (from the week before in fact, that I didn’t get time to blog this week) are X-Factor reject, Aiden Grimshaw’s first single – ‘Is this love?

And this awesome Gonzo 70’s-style remix of Adele vs Liquid Gold – ‘Rollin’ in the Deep

4. Prometheus
Pretty much a weekly feature at the moment…

…but tickets have just gone on sale here in the UK (if you know where to look) and I’ve got mine booked in — Bring it on.

5. John Cleese on Creativity
30mins of brilliance. Watch it.

Bonuses: Stunning dear-shaped electrical pylons – no, seriously; a couple of trailers for Cronenberg’s latest – Cosmopolis; and some breath-taking images of android-augmented women – which have to be seen to be believed.

5 things on Friday #6

Five [and a bit] things of general awesomeness from last week.

  1. Singin’ in the Rain.
    On a whim, I managed to get a couple of stalls tickets to this recently opened West End musical…. and I was not disappointed. Beautiful, fun and very, very wet – Singin’ in the Rain was definitely the highlight of the week. If you’re looking for a show to see in London, then see this.
    .
  2. New Avengers Trailer!
    Do I need to say any more? No, I didn’t think so.
    .
  3. One kick ass lasagne.
    Many, many cheeses. I’ll be making that bad boy again. Oh yes.
    .
  4. Not at MWC.
    Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest mobile telecommunications conference and it happens every year around February time in Barcelona. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a fair few times over the years, however this year (like last year) I won’t be making it over so instead (like last year), Dan and I are throwing a mobile-focused get together in London town. If you’re around, you should come along!
    .
  5. CALM: Campaign Against Living Miserably.
    Suicide is one of the biggest killers of young men in the UK today and this charity has been set up to combat that fairly horrific statistic. I met one of the founders this week and well, I doubt very much this’ll be the last time I blog about the subject (it certainly isn’t the first). For the time being however, please check out Thirty One – a new album of specially curated music from Manchester artists, and the best thing?
    All profits go directly to CALM. Hop to it.

Bonuses: something I spent a lot of time working on last year was finally unveiled, Bonfire.IM became my favourite browser plug-in of all time and the Creative Social (although was somewhat disappointing in the main) yielded the discovery of the AMAZING Bear71