Jay-Z and Droga5 Recreate Reasonable Doubt and We So Get It

September 2, 2009

Readers of this blog know that aside from my love affair with Fleetwood Mac, I am a HUGE Jay-Z fan, and sometimes, with varying degrees of success, I try to find parallels between graphic design and Jay-Z. Lately, Sean Carter,who apparently is a Grizzly Bear fan, has been all over the blogs. His new album, Blueprint 3, though not officially slated for release until September 11th, was leaked earlier this week. Luckily, you don’t need torrents to hear it, because you can stream the entire thing here on MTV.com.

BUT, that’s not the story here. Hov recently teamed up with ad agency, Droga5, on a spot for Rhapsody. In it he recreates, in realtime, the cover art of all his albums. Not only is it an awesome concept, but it’s flawlessly executed. From the first shot of the Reasonable Doubt recreation, I was sold.

Don’t take my word for it though. See for yourself.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky Launches Awesome New Site

June 30, 2009

Advertising hot shop Crispin Porter + Bogusky just launched a beta version of their new site and it is best summed up as twittertubefeed. Never short of great ideas, the folks at CP+B have turned the standard company portfolio site into a full fledged web 2.0 news aggregation/video hub. The genius part is that all the news is about CP+B. Well played CP+B. Well played.


Who and What Are You Working For? Jeff Goodby Ruffles Some Ad Man Feathers

June 24, 2009

There’s a shitstorm of dialogue brewing over on AdAge right now. Earlier today, Adage published an article written by world famous ad man Jeff Goodby, decrying what he sees as a gross trend in the ad world of agencies creating work simply for the sake of receiving awards. He not only finds fault in agencies, but in the award organizations who continuously award what he sees as less than effective, if not outright dubious campaigns.

As one would expect, the comments are pouring in, and it’s not just your usual comment-fodder either. Some of these folks are making truly valid points. See for yourself.

Also, this is a conversation we designers need to have amongst ourselves. Have we also become “connoisseurs of esoterica?”

Adage: Jeff Goodby: We Are Becoming Irrelevant Award Chasers

You Are Being Lied To About Powerade

April 14, 2009

At least PepsiCo thinks so. The soft drink giant has filed a lawsuit against its competitor Coca-Cola’s Powerade, over the sports drink’s new ad campaign. PepsiCo alleges the new campaign which seeks to position Powerade as “the complete sports drink,” and even features half of a Gatorade bottle in the creative is not only diluting the Gatorade brand, but falsely advertising to consumers. Apparently “scientists” have found no evidence to support Powerade’s claim of being the complete sports drink. Scientists? Really?

Read about it here on Adage

Wikipedia: It’s Love

February 9, 2009


Ode To Wikipedia

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
For without you, in this blog, I’d have very little to write.
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee because you refuse to sell ad space.
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as you hold firm in your belief of what is Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion but I’m glad you weren’t around when I was younger cause I’d totally not know a damn thing about proper research. . .

Yeah, it sounded like a good idea in my head. Nevermind the poor excuse for a sonnet. AdAge has a nice little interview with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, in which he discusses why Wikipedia refuses to put ads on their site. I bought this very computer with dirty money(money I made designing banner ads), but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. Or does it?

Link: Wikipedia: Massive Audience But Beggars Profit

People you should know about: Earnest Elmo Calkins, the Father of Modern Advertising (the grandfather of graphic design?)

December 30, 2008

C.L. Barber’s The Commercial Messenger

One of my favorite podcasts is SVA’s MFA Designer As Author: Paul Rand Lecture Series. Each podcast, most of which are lectures by Steven Heller, covers a topic in the history of graphic design. This morning, I watched Earnest Elmo Calkins and the Birth of Commercial Modernism. In it Heller discusses Calkins and how he is responsible for commercial modernism in America, or more precisely the melding of art and advertising to create the early manifestations of the industry that now drives American culture.

Calkins, an ad man, sought to advance the profession of advertising with an almost idealist bent. He believed advertising had the potential to uplift culture. While the goal of advertising is to sell, a result is also an implicit agreement between manufacturer and consumer that what is advertised lives up to its promise. This leads to higher quality products. In a consumerist culture, I guess that could be considered ‘uplifting.’ Calkins also believed in the modernist idea of the amalgamation of art and industry. Apparently his first exposure to the world of art was at the Pratt Institute (*cough* I went there) School of Design Exhibition(source). In the MFA podcast, Heller attributes Calkins interests in art to his visit to The 1925 Exposition of Art and Industrial Products in Paris. It was there that Calkins discovered modern art (Art Deco), and subsequently brought it back to the states and began incorporating the style into advertising.

Modern art reflected the monumental change that was happening in the early 1900s as the world shifted out of the industrial age and into the machine age. The motifs of modern art were reactions as well as celebrations of new distinctly modern phenomena like airplanes, trains, and even motion itself. By advocating this idea of art in industry, Calkins brought this new and exciting art to the masses via advertising. It must be noted though, that Calkins aim wasn’t only to bring together style or art and commerce, but to use the art to alter the perception of goods, which in turn promoted sales. This was done through not only the implementation of the modern style but the style adapted to what we now refer to in the creative process as the concept. This is essentially the birth of the creative team. Calkins employed artists and assigned them briefs which they would then solve using their style. The style reflected the times but also invoked an emotion that could be used to stimulate consumption, thus, the birth of modern advertising.

You could say Earnest Elmo Calkins wrote the book on modern advertising. Actually, he did; it’s called Modern Advertising. Written with partner Ralph Holden, Modern Advertising details the mechanisms of advertising. It is essentially the blueprint for advertising as it has been for almost a century.

I’m still reading through the book as well as learning about Calkins, but I just wanted to bring attention to Earnest Elmo Calkins, as he is partly responsible for our very profession, graphic design.