31 Jan 2006

new yorker cartoons

the entire sad collection of (brand) truths here.

30 Jan 2006

some quick planning thoughts

they're obvious, but it's good to write them down from time to time, while aiming at encompassing a lot of thinking in very few well chosen, relevant words. i liked the way russell davies commented upon the answers of this month's Account Planning School of the Web assignment. Cause he practically used the answers as examples in order to bring into discussion some distinctions that one should bear in mind. such as:
  • the difference between an idea and thinking on the way to ideas.
  • the difference between strategic idea and executional idea.
  • the difference between having an interesting (potentially memorable) idea and bringing it to life (also supporting it with examples meant to support it, show that it is part of a larger thought).
  • the difference between an actual idea and collections of the right kind of words.
  • the difference between statements of the obvious and powerful communication ideas.
the exercise really made a lot of sense in my mind.

29 Jan 2006

top 10 comic books heroes

last night i watched an interesting, but rather disturbing documentary on "Discovery Science" and made a sketch which i intend to reproduce here as it was.

"Top 10 Comic Books Heroes"
  1. Batman - created by Bob Kane in 1939, and Frank Miller also wrote a Batman series at the beginning of the eighties, series entitled "The Dark Knight Returns"
  2. Spider-Man - created by genius Stan Lee, who gets mad when people don't use the hyphen in Spider-Man's name, hyphen which is vital in order to differentiate Spider-Man from Superman (whatever...). The inspiration for the character came to Lee while he was watching a fly crawling on the wall. Spider-Man is said to be the first introspective super-hero, maybe because he is quite an idiot.
  3. X-Men, and especially Wolverine, who (or which) was introduced in '75. We're talking Stan Lee again, and the most important aspect of X-Men probably is that mutants are used as a very imporant social metaphor.
  4. Superman only gets the fourth position, although is undoubtedly the superhero. His creation story started in 1934, in Cleveland, Ohio, but didn't see print until June 1938.
  5. Judge Dredd. I don't like this motorcycle guy who goes on saying "I am the law". But apparently he is very appreciated for his executional side.
  6. Wonder Woman. My second- favourite, but most disturbing of them all, WW was created by William Moulton Marston. Yes, in other words, WW was created by a psychiatrist who also created the lie detector and who admits to have used his knowledge of feminine collective subconscious in order to turn this character into the most famous female superhero of them all.
  7. The Hulk, another Stan Lee baby, is special cause he's the good guy, although a monster.
  8. Witchblade, second female hero in the top
  9. Tintin, drawn and written by Hergé.

Bonus point: it turns out that 73.4% from the total number of struggles take place on a roof.

28 Jan 2006

sundance film festival

i'm a little late with this one, but still. Sundance film festival movies available for free watch here. via time out.

iqads poll

this week's iqads poll question is "Who is the most important character in an advertising agency?
  1. client service
  2. strategic planner
  3. copywriter
  4. art director
  5. DTP"

so go ahead...vote for strategic planners :))

27 Jan 2006

26 Jan 2006

my planning inspiration

the case studies provided by Wieden&Kennedy London have always been my favourite source of inspiration. maybe it's that aspirational side of me, who wants so badly to be able to develop things here in a manner which is very similar to theirs and cannot, due to various...let's call them internal constraints :). however, i know that my day will come, and until then, here is the case study provided by W&K for Run London. Another thrilling planning sample.

Thumb Thing Book Holder

orders here.

25 Jan 2006

brand in my mind

floating logos

via Battle of the Ad Blogs, i found out about Fallon Planning Blog, which is, as the name strikingly suggests, the blog developed by planners at Fallon. In other words, yet another refreshing planning blog to consult daily.

and via Fallon Planning Blog, Matt Siber's Floating Logos project, which includes images inspired by (commercial) signs perched high atop very tall poles in order for people to view them from a very long distance. The poles are digitally removed from the image in order to give the illusion that the signs are disconnected from the ground as they ominously float above people.
As AKI puts it: "Funny how simply removing the poles of megabrand signage introduces a bit of surreality, humor and religious allusion. Our mundane branded landscape becomes hauntingly creepy thru this lens effect."

scissor sisters

for some reason, i've grown to like Scissor Sisters. i enjoy both their music and their videos. and i even like their versions of "Comfortably Numb", although i've never been a fan of covers or remixes of my favourite songs. this adds up to my peculiar musical listening behaviour lately. Plus, i like the fact that the band supports Make Poverty History.

more archives

while i was writing the previous post, i remembered i skipped mentioning here one of my favourite (and most useful) sites. The Internet Archive actually grants, as it claims, universal access to human knowledge, providing an impressive collection of moving images (including great old feature films, shows and so on), texts and audio stuff (including live music). I'm addicted to the site.

brand archives

This very interesting article i came across via brand new argues that company archives serve as institutional records of both successes and failures of the past, just the way public museums help societies hold onto their cultural and historical moments. And this is a big deal, because, just as Christina Fong, an assistant professor in the business school at the University of Washington in Seattle puts it: "Companies that can really leverage from the information stored in their archives can do things like prevent past mistakes and use older ideas. Those types of things can really help them to succeed in the marketplace." The example of Nike is very powerful: they intend to build an archive containing a pair of shoes from every model they've ever made.
going further, gareth kay launches a very interesting theory: if brands are now building physical archives, shouldn't they also be building intellectual archives, especially since people coming and going (mostly from marketing departments) often create continuity gaps? He thinks that planners and strategists can help develop this process by developing "brand story books and videos that really capture the brand rather than the normal practice of a detailed, thick but uninspiring and two dimensional powerpoint deck and brand guidelines book." If only such methods started being implemeted in the agency where i work...
update: russell davies' thoughts on the matter here.

23 Jan 2006


After one of the most beautiful, disputed and dramatic snooker finals i have ever watched, my favourite snooker player of all time, Ronnie O'Sullivan, was unable to triumph over John Higgins, who defeated him with 10-9, thus winning the SAGA Insurance Masters title.

I have to say that there was so much pressure coming from this spectacular show, that there were moments when i simply closed my eyes hoping for Ronnie to win. And he surely seemed he would.
At least, Higgins admits: "Ronnie’s such a fabulous player. At 3-0 down I was thinking I should have just bought a ticket. During the match I was trying to focus on my own game but if you take a step back and watch him he’s fantastic."
While Ronnie took it like a gentleman:"I wasn’t good enough at the end of the day. I found it difficult to get any momentum going. It’s been a fantastic tournament and great to be part of it. It was a tough match all day long. I’m disappointed not to have won, but John made great clearance in the last frame"

21 Jan 2006

good night, and good luck

as stated by gareth kay some time ago, Good Night, And Good Luck is a worthy movie and a powerful tale of integrity and the price of truth. Directed by George Clooney, the black and white picture illustrates the American television and journalism industry during the roaring fifties, its plot being built around the attempt of veteran CBS journalist Edward Murrow to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy. David Strathairn manages a gorgeous performance, and for some reason, the movie reminded me of the masterpiece Citizen Kane.
Another observation would be that Participate.net (Movies have the power to inspire. You have the power to act. Participate!) was inspired by "Good night, And Good Luck" for the Report it Now project, which invites people to take the Media into their own hands.

battle of the ad blogs

brought by Adland @ ad-rag.com, as announced here some time ago, the "Battle of the Ad Blogs" is, as far as i am concerned, a very good opportunity to update my adblogs links database. you can cast your votes here (i did), or you can go through even more ad links for two hundred odd more ad blogs.
Winners will be announced on Adland on Feb 10 2006 and will receive a suave looking battle-tank tee, a Pixies Live Disc, as well as another cool badge, which includes full bragging rights.

20 Jan 2006


When i first heard about Wilt, i immediately thoughts about Antoine from Martin Page's "How i became stupid". Therefore, also following a recommendation coming from chestionabil (or, better said, as a result of my curiousity), i've just finished reading Tom Sharpe's Wilt, which is undoubtedly a very well-built satire, full of funny scenarios and insights. And it was definately
not a mistake - similar to "how i became stupid", the book is really refreshing and relaxing and is for sure worth reading. at least from my point of view.
Overview from Wikipedia: "The novel's title refers to its main character, Henry Wilt. Wilt is a demoralized and professionally under-rated assistant lecturer who teaches literature to uninterested construction apprentices at a community college in the south of England. Years of hen-pecking and harassment by his emotionally unbalanced wife Eva leave Henry Wilt with dreams of killing her. But a string of unfortunate events start the title character on a farcical journey. Along the way he finds humiliation and chaos, which ultimately lead him to discover his own strengths and some level of dignity. And all the while he is pursued by the tenacious police Sergent Flint, whose poor skills of deduction interpret Wilt's often bizarre actions as heinous crimes."

18 Jan 2006

mongoose and prohibition - some thoughts

i developed a research paper on Prohibition for my final exam in Political History and i enjoyed it very much. but apart from learning a lot on the matter, i remembered and included in my paper the following story i am simply crazy about. I've read the story in Jon Steel's "Truth, lies and advertising: The Art of Account Planning" and it went about as follows.
The mongoose hadn’t always in Hawaii; in fact there is just one type of mammal naturally living there, similar to a bat, the rest being brought either intentionally or accidentally, as clandestine passengers on the ships coming from the US or Polynesia. Among the latter, there were the rats, who didn’t encounter any natural enemies on the island. Therefore, their number increased very quickly, and so did the damage they caused to the sugar plantations on the island. Desperate and frustrated, plantation owners started research in order to find a predator able to eliminate the rats. It turned out that the animal they were looking for had to be very resistant as to adapt easily to the new environment, to have the strength necessary in order to stand up to the rats, and the capacity to increase in number very quickly. All these traits drove to the Indian mongoose, which also passed all laboratory tests meant to show that this animal would easily eliminate rats. Mongooses were brought to Hawaii and spread all over the island.
However, it turned out that the damage caused by rats was the same. Reason? Nobody took into consideration one very important aspect: the mongoose was a day predator while rats are night animals. So the mongooses not only failed to eliminate the rat peril, but also started to cause their own damage, by eating hens and chickens and eggs. The experiment resulted into a disaster, despite all tests and research.
It seems to me that this example can be extrapolated and applied to the case of Prohibition in the United States. “The Noble Experiment”, as the national prohibition of manufacture, sell and transport of alcohol between 1920 and 1933 is known, was meant to reduce the rate of crime and corruption, to reduce the burden of taxes coming from prisons and poorhouses, as well as to improve the level of health and hygiene in America, in other words to solve most of the social problems with which the US confronted at the time. However, the results of this experiment classify it as a failure at all levels.
and i'm not going to continue here, but my paper went on with the demonstration. it feels good to develop such papers from time to time...

17 Jan 2006

some ads

the pictures were taken and sent to me by crisser (thank you very much), which explains their good quality :).

computer beginnings

an interesting glimpse of computer history is provided by Kim Moser. Here's how she explains her initiative:

"In the 1980s I wrote dozens of letters to companies asking for more information on their products. Some of them manufactured hardware or wrote software while others were vendors of other companies' products. I kept all the materials they sent me, from catalogs of software to brochures for new products, in a stack which eventually grew to over a foot high with hundreds of sheets of paper. Recently while going through my archives I decided to scan the more interesting stuff and make it available online."

Featuring Apple, Atari, Citibank, Commodore, Fairchild, Odyssey, Osborne, RCA, TCUG, Timex and Ventura.

15 Jan 2006

outdoor thinking

i saw this outdoor and it made think that this is exactly how an outdoor advertising high technology and hyper-evolution in a new car shouldn't look. and i mean the presentation: it looks so old and dirty. and i took the picture on one of the big boulevards. ah well...


Wieden&Kennedy London did it again...the new spot for Honda Civic is out and brilliant. via chestionabil.

14 Jan 2006

the best cookbook of all time ?

in honour of his wife's Nanny, cypher scanned and is now sharing with the world what he thinks might be the best cookbook of all time. "The Ground Meat Cookbook" is a 1950's edition which contains 204 intriguing recipes, as well as advice and an entire section dedicated to 'Rings, Loaves and Molds.'"

a walk in the park

street art


although exploitation movies are rarely taken into consideration when discussing the history of cinema or just movies in general, their sudden development especially as alternatives to the classic Hollywood cinema always determined me to pay some attention to them, probably mostly for their "documentary value". and i know it's not quite a nice connection, but i thought about this the other day when i saw this ad. it just made me laugh and think about the famous "Olga" exploitation series, directed by Joseph Mawra.

13 Jan 2006

what is your dangerous idea?

i've been willing to write about this for a while, but i guess i just got distracted. shame on me!"To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves. " This is what Edge is trying to do, and the results are far more than interesting and thought-provoking, with brilliant specialists from all over the world presenting their concepts, their thoughts, their research-results and debating them. I'm addicted to the site.
What is your dangerous idea? is Edge's "World Question Center" annual question, and there are already lots of strogly argumented answers. Moreover, Russell Davies found the time to go through all thoughts and to offer his own interpretation regarding their application in account planning here.

12 days of advertising

kinda late, but kinda cute song. does it imply that Xmas lasts forever in advertising?


High time for a fitness machine. by Publicis, Zurich. via adverbox.

12 Jan 2006

fork art

a site with pictures of creations illustrating fork art. really cool stuff.

thanks, Ovidiu (via gradina cu doi nuci).

first remixable movie

I caught a glimpse of this brilliant idea. Sanctuary is an experimental sci-fi short due for release early 2006. The project, now in Post Production, is a pilot for an ambitious feature film, as well as a world-premier: the first remixable movie. As explained on brand new: Michela Ledwidge, the project's developer, "will post over nine hours of footage and 90 minutes of dialog and sound effects online early this year that you will be able to remix with the downloadable Switch software, allowing you to play the film as if it were an instrument and upload them on to a community site. The most successful will be included on the DVD realease of the film."

great social guerilla

via digital hive, who got it from AdverBlog, who got it from Houtlog, a great in-store guerilla promotion for Unicef developed in the Belgian fashion retailer C&A. The campaign was created by Publicis Belgium as a fundraising effort for the young victims of the recent terrible earthquake in Pakistan.
Clothes made out of Pakistani newspapers were hung around the store, transmitting the following message: "Is this the only thing homeless Pakistani children will wear this winter? Help them with a gift at the pay desk".

too good to be true

via brand new, striking similarities between the widely praised Virgin Digital campaign and the campaign developed for Stella Artois' film sponsorship earlier in 2005. same type of concept, same type of execution, same shit...

the constant gardener

after having watched tons of movies during the holiday, and after developing a great passion for film noir, i decided to dedicate an entire blog to movies, which i will start as soon as i get up-to-date with my current work.
However, until i do, i have to say that last night i went to see "The Constant Gardener", since i was really curious about this one, both because it's directed by Fernando Meirelles, and because it had a very high IMDB ranking for a new-comer. Anyway, i enjoyed the movie, the directing and the acting. The only thing which disturbed me is the striking resemblance between the plot of this film and the story from the 1996 brilliant thriller "Extreme Measures", directed by Michael Apted, and starring Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman.

9 Jan 2006

latest personal credo :))

i watched 1938's "Porky and Daffy", directed by Robert Clampett, as part of the "Warner Bros at the movies 1938", and i simply loved the following quote from Daffy: "I'm so crazy I don't know this is impossible."

ad picks of the day - BBDO, Fritz and "Simply better"

BBDO is considered Ad Age's agency of the year. Reasons in a comprehensive 12-page report which includes agency reviews and can be downloaded from here (i'm not sure about registration restrictions or later availability).

Second pick would be the "New Fritz" Coke commercial, developed by Wieden&Kennedy Portland. Here's how Ad Age introduces it: "When she took the job last fall, Coca-Cola's new global marketing chief, Mary Minnick, promised to shake up the beverage giant's advertising. In doing so, she also quickly earned the nickname 'Scary Mary.' This is one of the new branding commercials produced under Ms. Minnick's demanding gaze. It's a bit weird in a way that only 14-year-olds can truly appreciate. Which, of course, is probably the point, given that teenagers are among the only people buying the sugar-loaded, caffeine-laced soda pop that older health-minded consumers now tend to avoid. Ms. Minnick's critics are likely to have a field day with the spot's references to Genghis Khan -- who was also a take-no-prisoners sort of manager."

And third, i found out that The American Marketing Association Foundation has recently announced the recipients of its 2005 Berry-AMA Book Prize. And the winners are Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan, with their book "Simply Better". Is this yet another clue for the right path?

8 Jan 2006

"It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis"

This Saturday's NY Times profile is dedicated to Albert Hofmann, aged almost 100, father of LSD, about which he says "LSD spoke to me. He came to me and said, 'You must find me.' He told me, 'Don't give me to the pharmacologist, he won't find anything.' "

The article is very captivating and thought-provoking, and it somehow reminded me of a book about Edison's life which i used to adore as a child. It speaks about the story of LSD discovery, the "bicycle day", Hofmann's "horror trip", "the first planned psychedelic test", as well as testimonies on the acid's effects, all coming from a person who claims that "It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature" and that "LSD should be a controlled substance with the same status as morphine".
"Mr. Hofmann participated in tests in a Sandoz laboratory, but found the experience frightening and realized that the drug should be used only under carefully controlled circumstances. In 1951, he wrote to the German novelist Ernst Junger, who had experimented with mescaline, and proposed that they take LSD together. They each took 0.05 milligrams of pure LSD at Mr. Hofmann's home accompanied by roses, music by Mozart and burning Japanese incense. "That was the first planned psychedelic test," Mr. Hofmann said."
"I know LSD; I don't need to take it anymore. Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley."

is it just me?

as i was walking yesterday, i caught myself wondering about all sorts of stuff and taking pictures of all sorts of things.

anyway, the first thing which should be mentioned (cause i am proud of it) is that i went to Vlad Nanca's "Ups and Downs" photo exhibition, which was both wonderful and relaxing. The only thing i felt sorry about was that he didn't show more photos. However, i took pictures of the H'art Gallery's wall, which is full of inspirational samples of "street art", some of which i had already posted in this blog. The one with the question mark is for some reason my favourite.

Going further, i found this "thing" and please help me figure out what it is. The poster says "Joys for Children", but i kept on looking at it and it just doesn't say anything to me, apart from some nasty concepts which have nothing to do with placing this in a public place. Maybe it's just me. Anyway...

Now i have to say i admire the person who developed the sheet of paper in my next photo. Must be a person who enjoys writing a lot.

What got me really confused however is what stands written on the Romanian Atheneum. And that would be "Christmas for all". Now what's that supposed to mean?

My holiday is over, so from now on i'll try to post some (better) ideas as well, not just pics and my silly observations. hope that works out.

lion in winter

5 Jan 2006

factory photography

I just found another perfect site to feed my lust for photos of interesting old things. The U.S. Steel Gary Works Photograph Collection is a series of more than 2,200 photographs of the Gary Works steel mill and the corporate town of Gary, Indiana. "In images of compelling diversity, historians and the general public can view all aspects of this planned industrial community: the steel mill, the city, and the citizens who lived and worked there".
What i liked even more is that they also provide explanations for each photo, presenting everything from steel-making equipment and working conditions to the leisure activities.

this makes me wonder

3 Jan 2006

Hollywood remake of Mary Poppins. but why?!?

"He has tackled man-eating sharks, extraterrestrials and the horrors of Nazi death camps, and his latest movie charts the 1972 massacre at the Olympic Games in Munich. But Steven Spielberg's next production could be considerably more sugary. The 59-year-old director/producer is apparently eyeing the ever-popular musical Mary Poppins for a Hollywood remake."
whole story here.

who could beat that?

2 Jan 2006


it's been a long holiday. actually i'm still on holiday and this partially explains why my posts lately have almost entirely meant various photos. i am not turning this blog into a photoblog, that's for certain; it's just that with the holiday and free time, i had the chance to walk a lot and observe a lot. and since i enjoy so much playing the observer, and since pics often tell their story very well, the posts turned out the way they did. this is going to change really soon, and the blog will follow its past track. until then, let the photos do the job for me...

some ads


translations - 25 metres back.

1 Jan 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! And may we all have a better year!
PS: These are the first fireworks pictures i ever took.