23 Mar 2006

street habit

i have this weird habit of paying attention to practically everything on the street. which sometimes translates into the more weird habit of observing all sorts of stains, asphalt deviations, shadows and so on in order to make something out of them. i somehow consider this to be a good exercise for my imagination, even though i sometimes get carried away and reach quite outrageous associations. but, after all, this can be regarded as a form of street art itself, can't it? or maybe, better said, street's art?

oldies, but goodies

Internet at my office works awfully, if at all, blogger works awfully, so i've been using the traditional pencil/notebook method a lot lately. Anyway, three bits of news that i was willing to post for a while.
first: some time ago, i learnt from Stefan Liute that Grapefruit finally came to Bucharest as well, about two streets away from where i work. I'm really glad and i wish the guys there good luck.
second, Biz brought daily Dilbert comics in Romania(n), which seemed like a cute initiative to me, since i've been a fan of these comics for a while now. However, only recently have i started to read the Dilbert.blog by Scott Adams, which i find entertaining in the sense in which words and pictures is entertaining.
and finally, third goody, Audiovisual #03 at the Czech center: Famu animations to be presented on the 30th of March. must-go!

21 Mar 2006

about other sorts of details

again, some posting on details. The thing i adore about "The tipping point" is that it presents all sorts of psychological experiments, habit probably derived from Malcolm Gladwell's admitted obsession for psychology. One of these experiments particularly caught my attention because it immediately made me think about some recent TV commercials. A large group of students were recruited for what they were told to be a market research study by a company developing high-tech headphones. Each of them was given a headset and was required to listen to various tracks, dance and move their heads up and down, presumably in order for the company to see how well they worked when the listener was in motion. But there another flick involved, and that was the actual purpose of the experiment. The students also heard a radio editorial arguing that tuition at their university should increase from the current level of $587 to $750. A third of the participants in the experiment were previously asked to nod their heads up and down vigorously when they would hear the radio editorial, another third were instructed to shake their heads from side to side and, finally, the last third was told to stand still. At the end of the test, the students were required to fill in a questionnaire that slipped the question: ”What do you feel would be an appropriate dollar amount for undergraduate tuition per year?”. The students who kept their heads still were unimpressed by the editorial – they indicated something like $582, which was pretty much the same level with the current level. Those who shook their heads from side to side wanted tuition to fall to a level of $467, thus reacting negatively to the increase proposal in the editorial. On the other hand, those who nodded their heads up and down agreed with the proposal in the editorial and suggested an increase of the tuition, even though it meant giving money out of their own pockets. For further details, consult the book directly.

But among others, one of the conclusions of this experiment, as expressed by Gary Wells of the University of Missouri was that “television advertisements would be most effective if the visual display created repetitive vertical movement of the television viewers’ heads.” If we extrapolate, that might mean that television advertisements are less effective if the visual display creates repetitive horizontal movements equal to nodding from side to side in disagreement.

And that made me think about some recent Ariel (please correct me if I’m wrong about the brand) commercials, which consisted of people moving their heads from side to side in order to follow various objects (like a tennis ball etc). I just wonder if and how the results of the previously quoted experiments apply.

now, i am not a psychology or manipulation freak, who only believes in and spots all sorts of subliminal techniques and all that, although i do not dismiss them either. What i do strongly believe in (in case this blog hasn't already made it obvious), however, is that "Little things can make as much of a difference as big things" and that "the subtle circumstances surrounding how we say things may matter more than what we say". Which might mean, as Gladwell further puts it, that "simple physical movements and observations can have a profound effect on how we feel and think", because "Persuasion often works in ways that we do not appreciate. It’s not that smiles and nods are subliminal messages, it’s just that they are incredibly subtle."

20 Mar 2006


i finally got round to visit Marcel Chirnoaga's exhibition at the Bucharest History Museum (i'm making the name up, forgive my ignorance). The exhibited works included pieces from The ship of mad, The labyrinth, The apocalypse, The virtues and the vices and not only and was totally worth my Sunday morning. My favourite work was "Mass Media", but unfortunately i couldn't find its picture and i couldn't take its photo in the museum either. Next stop: Galeria noua, to see CĂLIN DAN - Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.


this is what i see daily when entering my office. honestly, it freaks me each time i look at it.

fudge factory comics

Fudge Factory Comics style.

17 Mar 2006

You lose 1/3 of your life sleeping. time to wake up

These ads were developed by Leo Burnett Lisbon for Heredia coffee. Their message -"You lose 1/3 of your life sleeping. time to wake up."- is transmitted by presenting people long lists of books they've likely never read, although they should have, or places they've likely never been to, although they should have. Which i liked. It reminded me of Jonathan Coe's "House of Sleep". With a special dedication to my sister. via adrants.

15 Mar 2006

"but if u want, touch"

on wireless wizard remote control and other wizards, clearly explained to everybody, and i mean every single body, check out this RCA Colour Television vintage ad from 1961 (on the site until i manage to get fixed some errors which don't allow me to post the video here directly). other vintage commercials here.

a regular day

yesterday we had the presentation for the last pitch of the horrid period we've had lately, so we finally have some days for relaxation. i'm not sure enough relaxation would occur these days anyway, but i am trying. so this post is in accordance with my willingness to relax. ok, i'd better shut up now.
as i was walking with alex, i caught a glimpse of these lines posted on a wall between all sorts of stencils and graffiti. i liked them because they seemed to actually bear a story. i don't know anything about it, i haven't gt the slightest idea how they ended up there, but i simply appreciated their story potential.

then i had a weird lemonde in Green Hours. it was weird cause it contained far more curacao (or something) juice than lemon juice, which made the term "lemonade" the waiter used quite overpromissing.

parks are really sad when there's practically nobody around. children's playgrounds without children giggling seemed lonely in the "loneliness of the long-distance runner" sense. it that makes any sense.

and i noticed this on Eminescu, as i was heading to the office.

the best part of the day however, was that i bought myself some great books, and i found some new interesting comics, and i also found some video tapes featuring Rahan and Tintin. Enough for now, more posting will come as i actually start reading the books.

14 Mar 2006

somewhere over the rainbow

this week's "Masterpiece" discussed the story of the famous "Somewhere over the rainbow", first sung by Judy Garland in "The wizard of Oz", when she was just 16. Apart from the impressive way the song is shown to have been composed, by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Harold Arlen, the broadcast also analyzes the incredible experience provided by the performance of this number at one of a Judy Garland fighting laryngitis during one of her last concerts. As well as the differences between the song versions sung by Garland when she was in her 16s and in her 40s.
The fact that i liked the most is the explanation of the song. It seems that the movie script included the word "grey" for many times in a few pages, in the description of Dorothy's life at the Auntie Em's farm. Now, for those of you who didn't watch the movie or fail to remember the detail, all images introducing Dorothy in Kansas are sepia-coloured. And this lead the composer t the conclusion that the only colours in Dorothy's life were those of the rainbow, if grey surrounded her so intensely. Therefore, it was only natural for her to imagine this wonderful alternative where "the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true" and "where troubles melt like lemondrops", that is "somewhere over the rainbow".

about details

Russell wrote yet another great post about planning. Nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary, since he keeps on doing that. But i'm going to use his words as a pretext, for some things i was excited to find out. Anyway. He says: "Planning is about the density of ideas, the number of ideas, not the quality of ideas. Or at least my version is. (Kind of. Because I think density gets you quality.) And being open to media, or to people, this is why I like cafes, always half-listening, is a crucial source of idea density." The thing is that i simply love doing this. I am crazy about learning something all the time, no matter where i am or how busy i am. I always seem to grab a piece of information or of inspiration, by keeping my mind alert and open all the time; and then, i don't know how this happens, i must be really lucky, but connections appear, like i always connect pieces of a puzzle.
Example: in order to write a few words about "Taxi Driver" on my movie blog, i was reading yesterday the review on filmsite.org. And i came across the following phrase: "A memorable lamenting saxophone score by Bernard Herrmann (his last) accompanies the film. [He provided some of cinema's best-known musical accompaniments, for such films as Alfred Hitchcock's well-known Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960), and for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).] " This appealed to me, since i really appreciated Taxi Driver's soundtrack, not to mention the soundtrack of the other movies listed. I was happy to find out they were the hand of the same person. Especially since i am a great fan of the shower scene, which i consider fantastically achieved from all points of view, especially musically speaking. And then, last night, while i was returning from work, i was listening to a BBC broadcast and they played precisely the shower scene music, saying that the violin sound it involved was a complete inovation from the great Bernard Herrmann. Here's how Wikipedia mentions it: "Herrmann's most recognizable music is from another Hitchcock film, Psycho, specifically the shower scene music. The screeching violin music heard during the scene (a scene which Hitchcock originally suggested have no music at all) is one of the most famous moments from all film scores."
I love details. I always have. And i love planning for allowing me to use all the skills i can.

in case of fire

these instructions were on my door in a Predeal hotel. For some reason, i felt the need to share them.

yet another planner credo

i am currently reading "the tipping point" and i am quite fascinated by the book, but until i finish it and become able to state some personal comments, i wanted to quote Jacques Audiard (yes, i did watch De battre mon coeur s'est arrêté ), when saying: "In essence, my work brings a plus of realism and eliminates the classical story in which you accept the conventions, but don't actually manage to identify yourself with the characters".

spy game

i know this hasn't got anything at all to do with planning. and i really am not into spies and conspirations and stuff. but the thing is that last night i watched a BBC documentary about Robert Hanssen and i was actually impressed by how this guy evolved. The broadcast included not only Hanssen's life story, but also various analyses from FBI profilers and specialists, who concluded that the guy wasn't just seriously disturbed, but beyond his exhibitionism and mental problems, he was a sort of a serial spy. He sold his country with the same urgency and craving which drives the actions of most serial killers. Despite being a very strict Catholic, he simply couldn't help selling national secrets to the soviets, not for the money, but for the thrill of the action itself. And he managed to get away with it for 21 years, despite FBI's and CIA's efforts to find out his identity. Interesting subject, nevertheless.

6 Mar 2006

educational showtime

after Corpse Bride failed to win the Oscar, i had to drown my sorrow in something...and what better thing than to enter "the world of Stainboy"? Aka gain life lessons and social education from psychedelic sick great animated shorts written and directed by Tim Burton. And animated by worthy Flinch Studio. And beware: "You shouldn't play with matches, it's much safer to play with yourself instead".


Ruth McNally Barshaw, one of my favourite illustrators, presents 185 sketchbook pages from a recent 8-day trip to New York City for a conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Everything she noticed along the trip, everything she thought about, stress factors and all the rest...it's all there. i loved it!

via drawn!.

hip, hip, hurrah

i really really wanted this...and the miracle happened!
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: Crash (2004) - Paul Haggis, Cathy Schulman

However, on the other hand, i'm really sorry about Corpse Bride not winning in the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year section, although i was 100% sure Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit would take the Oscar (guess no miracle here). And i am devastated about Good Night, and Good Luck not winning in any single category. I really liked the movie and considered it quite worthy. Ah well...at least George Clooney won for Syriana. And Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line and Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener.
the rest of the results here.

5 Mar 2006

Jim Riswold-hip, self-aware, slightly absurd, and completely original

In his latest post, Luca Vergano presents a very enticing interview with Jim Riswold, a famous copywriter who has worked with Wieden&Kennedy for 21 years, creating memorable work such as "Bo Knows" featuring Bo Jackson, great spots featuring Michael Jordan, the inspired teaming of Jordan and Spike Lee in the Spike and Mike commercials, "Hare Jordan" featuring Bugs Bunny, "I am Not a Role Model" starring Charles Barkley, Lou Reed selling Hondas, "I am Tiger Woods", to name just a few. Everything he says is interesting (how couldn't it be?), but i wanted to mention here three particular things. Four, come to think about it, if i include the aspect which i loved the most, namely that the guy's got a strong background in philosophy (just like me), and that this "eclectic background" helped him a lot, by providing him a particular, different perspective when looking at the world.
First, "I always tried to take an element of something that I was interested in, and mix it with something else to create a hybrid that was different. You know like, what would happen if you put these opposites in a pot together and shook it up and took it out? That's what I tried to do. A lot of it is instinct—no amount of research would have told you, "If you put Bo Jackson with Bo Diddly, the kids are gonna love it." [...]But the idea is, you use it to create something new. And I think that becomes a stronger form of communication because you're creating popular culture, rather than just taking it". It's really important to create something both different, and relevant, yet this is so many times mistaken with creating something new and extravagant, for the sake of shocking, rather than understanding the target.
Second, "I can look at a lot of commercials and say, well, they got that from Seinfeld, and that came from an old SportsCenter commercial, and so on. But that kind of borrowing doesn't really work. Often by the time they produce the commercial on what they thought was hot, the culture has moved beyond it and they just look foolish." This is why W&K Honda commercials appealed to me in the first place. They seemed to be actually willing to transmit something, they seemed to have analysed and understood the people they're trying to talk to, and they seemed to be talking their own language. Express their brand values as attempts to build a powerful relationship with the target, and doing this in their very own original, particular way. And i wasn't working in advertising when i first saw "Cog" and had these thoughts.
Third, "the best advertising comes from people who are willing to make glorious mistakes. Is this new? No, Bernbach was saying the same thing in the '60s, so maybe it just cycles through, and now we're in a period where a lot of people don't want to make mistakes. Nothing will come of that kind of advertising.[...]at the end of the day, whether you are communicating on balloons or skywriting or whatever, it still comes down to this—you have to have a great f---ing idea. People aren't talking about that much, but it remains the constant: You need a great idea that moves people, hits them in their gut."

Book Meme 123.5

i'm not necessarily in a blogger's block, it's just that i spent too many hours at work lately. Which meant that instead of watching movies or going out or reading blogs, i focused almost entirely on reading magazines (especially now, with two new entries: Time Out Bucharest and Altitudini), comics (and i finally bought the first two volumes of the Romanian version of Tintin's Adventures) and watching animated shorts from either You tube or Atom Films. Of course, i gained a lot of information, so to say, as well as all sorts of (crazy) thoughts. But i am too lazy and tired to write about them now, so i will write about later and i will now solve Yaro Starak Book Meme 123.5. Cause i really liked the idea.

Book Meme: 123.5
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
So, here i go:
1. Brand new brand thinking, edited by Merry Baskin and Mark Earls.
2. been there, done that.
3. page 123 only contains two sentences, so i will keep on counting on the next page .
4. "Since the currency of advertising is ideas, we make our contribution by developing ideas that will affect the fortunes of brands."
And now i am tempted to quote the next phrase as well:
"There are two ways a planner can do this:
  • by developing an original and powerful thought through creatve inspiration, imagination or intellect, and sending the brand down that route regardless of where the brand is coming from or going to, with the conviction that the effects will in any event be positive;
  • by following a discipline of thinking, using knowledge gained from research, to explore all potential avenues and identify that with the greatest potential to trigger the creative imagination about what might get the brand there in the most powerful way."
5. eeerr, so that's about it.

3 Mar 2006


good news for the blogosphere: Malcolm Gladwell (whose articles in The New Yorker are extremely thought-provoking for me) has finally started a blog: "What I think I’d like to do is to use this forum to elaborate and comment on and correct and amend things that I have already written. If you look on my website, on the "Blink" page, you’ll see an expanded notes and bibliography, which mostly consists of copies of emails sent to me by readers. Well, I think I’d like to start posting reader comments for everything I write, and this is a perfect place for that.
There are also times when I think I’ve made mistakes, or oversights, and I’d like to use this space to explain myself and set things right
." Daily must-read for me.

drunk driver

The mission was to create a print ad for drunk driving. And Wexley chose to paint this message on parking lots at schools before the prom. I like the idea, and i pray to God that it is powerful enough to make at least some youngsters to pay a little more attention to their drinking. Cause unfortunately, i have my doubts.

1 Mar 2006

one man's drama is another man's melodrama

i came across an interesting short article written by Alfred Hitchcock in 1936 in which he explains his choice of making melodramas. The reason why the article appealed to me so much is the following quote: "So there is the problem - how to combine colour, action, naturalism, the semblance of reality, and situations which will be intriguingly unfamiliar to most of the audience. All these must be blended." I love it, cause it made me feel that, through these words, Hitchcock was able to define in 1936 the essence of creating a powerful ad. And it still seems to me that the more creatives understand and apply these priciples, the more likely they are to appeal to the target and actually connect it with a certain brand. However, i am daily surrounded by so many violations of these common-sense "rules" (i'm not sure they can properly be called rules), that i am not going to develop the subject any further. i'm going to sleep instead. good night!

somebody stop me!

yep...vintage again...this time it's Plan 59: the museum (and gift shop) of mid-century illustration. Also with a blog. But i have an excuse this time: i'm working on a car-related brief :D.

roblogfest 2006

thanks to my favourite fellow creative Cristina, even I, a humble planner, can have a "vote for me icon" (and yes, feel free to sense the Avis touch :D). Anyway, you can vote for either Serial Thoughts or Just another movie blog (please? :D) here, though i know the other blogs are far better and more interesting than this one.