Sunday, December 18, 2011

On Andrej Pejic Modelling Bras

I love Andrej Pejic, fashion's top crossdressing supermodel. Say what you will about him being the runway's perpetual media stunt- I love him. Not only is he incredibly brave for doing what he's doing, but he's gorgeous. And his build is absolutely perfect for high fashion (considering that all the clothes are made to fit 5"11 models with no hips or chest whatsoever). Whether it's a good thing that a slender man fits the womanswear model body type better than the women is up for debate of course.

Now... (Drumroll please)... Andrej is modelling super push up bras! Dutch retailer HEMA may have struck gold with this campaign idea. Not only is he a beautiful model, but featuring a man in a bra has really started a buzz about the ad in the advertising and fashion communties. Also isn't it clever saying that these push up bras are so effective that they even give a man a bust?? I wonder how these ads would have fared here in North America though... I'm not sure consumers would have been quite as accepting.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On The Beauty of City Design

I love love love picturesque old cities. I love small winding roads and cobblestone. I love uncertain, unplanned meandering rows of houses. I love asymmetry. I love curved and crooked alleys.

The robotic straight grid design of new North American cities is grating on me. Urban planning can be beautiful.

Fortress Bourtange, the Netherlands
Built to be ultimately defensible by cannonballs. The corners and perpendicular walls meant that each wall was covered by fire from the walls next to it.
Also, the star design is amazingly gorgeous.

Bern, Switzerland
Can't you imagine yourself there, walking down the street in the dying sunlight? The way that the rows of houses flow organically, mimicking the shape of the river.... I want to go there so badly!

Mont Saint Michel, France

More of a commune than a city I suppose, with a whopping 42 inhabitants. But I couldn't help but include it here. The way that the 11th century monastery rises above everything... it proves that beautiful design isn't just about the lines of the streets, but about having a wonderful skyline and view as well

I'll continue to add to this beautiful city design list :)

On the Dolphin Jetpack

Before I get back to serious blogging, I'd really like to show you all the Dolphin Jetpack, the coolest thing that I have seen in a long time. I mean, look at it! All I can think about when I watched this video was Iron Man.

And it's only $6600! I mean that's a sizable chunk for a student, but for something like this that's amazing!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On Pancake Pillows!!!

Check out these pancake pillows!! They look so fluffy and fun. I want a stack of them in every corner of the house. You can find them at Unica Home. Mind you, at $600 each, maybe I'd be better off trying to make them myself...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On No Regrets Marketing


So I came across this ad for electronic cigarettes, originally from a Rolling Stones magazine. Obviously it's saying that sleeping with an overweight girl is something you should be ashamed of (but you're a man so you aren't, HAHA!). If you think about it, the issue of obesity in all its forms is almost uniformly cut out of advertising, unless it has to do with making you feel like you should improve (oh those never-ending Jenny Craig commercials). But it's certainly not something that is ever joked about, like the "useless husband" stereotype. Actually, overweight guys are kind of acceptable on TV (I'm thinking King of Queens, According to Jim) but you will NEVER see a fat woman with a handsome guy. I hate that fat, immature husband and smoking wife trope.

Is it clever to associate your product with something that men find stereotypically shameful (as seen in all the TV shows EVER)? Maybe they figure that some guys find electric cigs embarassing anyway, since they're a little less manly than the real thing (you would never see Clint Eastwood with an electronic cigarette clamped between his teeth), so may as well try to make it work for the product. I think the message of the ad is something like "Well sure, you'd normally regret sleeping with a "fat chick" but when all is said and done, you still got laid". The marketers are implying that you should do what  feels good or is good for you (like smoking an electronic cigarette) regardless of what your friends say.

Still. Does this image really make guys interested in the product at all? I don't really think it would. It's going for humour but I don't think it's the right kind.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Breaking the Barrier Between the Outside and Home

Do you think using scare tactics is a great way to get customers? It's definitely a way to get their attention anyway.

Last year ADT, a company selling home security systems, launched a "brilliant" marketing campaign in Santiago, Chile. Spring loaded boxes were folded and slipped under doors then, inside the home, these boxes would spring into shape, appearing as though they had been left behind by someone inside the house. On the front of the box was the statement "Breaking into your apartment is easier than you think" next to the ADT logo.

This was obviously pretty risky, but was it effective? Most home security companies tend to take the same road- advertising like life insurance companies and just trying to be somber enough to get attention. But consumers who don't think they are at risk are pretty likely to just tune out the message. This way at least, there was no getting around the ad, since it was sitting pretty glaringly behind the consumers' front door.

But is it a breach of privacy? Could it have made consumers feel threatened for more than the obvious reason- that they were at risk of burglary? While I do think that this campaign was ingeniously creative, I'd like to make a note that this probably scared a lot of people. If it were me, I'd be frightened at the thought of a company entering my private sphere, although I know they do it in much less obtrusive ways. There's a lack of thought about subtlety here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On Edmonton's Own Ad Scandal

So, the big news here in Edmonton is the below advertisement, from Fluid Hair Salon. It was actually created and launched a year ago, but was only caught by bloggers and made big in the last couple days. Since then, women's rights groups in the city have been up in arms, and it's not hard to see why.

A well-coiffed woman sits on a chair in front of a frightening Dexter-type man, sporting a nasty looking black eye. The caption "Look good in all you do" implies, sort of, that as long as she looks good eventually, with a shiny new necklace, abuse is just fine. It's a risky and dark ad, and I personally don't think that a salon should be touching this subject with a 10 foot pole, but that's just me.

However, up until now I'll admit that I wasn't that interested or insulted by this little controversy. It was a very misled "artsy" ad that never really got big before now, and in a way it actually does some good by bringing needed attention to the issue of domestic violence. 

What actually got me intrigued is that somewhere out there, someone was mad enough to vandalize the salon. Here are a couple pics from CBC:

"This is art that is wrongly named violence; that was violence wrongly named art!"
It's sort of poetic.

On American ROM- Advertising with Nationalism

So, what do you do when you've tied your brand to your country's brand, and your country isn't looking so good at the moment? You trick people into showing their nationalistic side, just like this Romanian chocolate bar:

I agree that this campaign was a great way for Rom to increase awareness of their product, but do you think that sparking outrage this way will give them lasting attention? They gambled with the goodwill of the public, and it seems to have paid off for now...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Genius Design... Why Can't I Think Of These Things???

Yes, there are a TON of these types of invention collection pages swirling around the internet. I just have here a collection of my favourites. :) I'm always amazed when I see ideas for inventions like this - I realize they are such easy answers to things that have bothered me and yet they have somehow never even occurred to me. Like having a velcro place on the wall for your keys, a pair of scissors for your pizza (OF COURSE!) or a cup holder on your bike. I can't count the number of times I've been frustrated by having nowhere to put my drink on my bike. 

AAANNNDD my top 2 favourites....

And you can find tons more at sites like and

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Escalator Marketing

Why escalator marketing you ask? Because it's so easy! Marketing that's dynamic and full of movement gets attention, and escalators are moving anyway, so you may as well just put some stickers on it. Plus, it's definitely under-used and full of creative opportunities. Unfortunately, 99% of this kind of marketing lacks any kind of creativity- mainly just companies making a picture with the front of the steps, or pasting an ad on the side. But here are a few who are being a little more interesting:

From 2008, this guerrilla marketing campaign for Juice Salon was a fun way of using escalator steps- each step had a different hairstyle matching up with a fixed face on the bottom. It's a shame that this idea really couldn't work for a female ad (at least, not a very diverse one), but I know it would still get my attention.

Source: Gabriel Russo on
Awesome idea for advertising for the Simpsons Movie. Unfortunately, a quick poke around the internet shows nobody seems to have actually seen this escalator in person, so I'm not sure if it's just a concept. Either way, it would be fun!

There's something about really big replicas of little things that always entertains me! Maybe I'll do another blog post on it. Oh also, using colours/lines that already exist in the environment (in this case the lines on the escalator steps) is another sure-fire way to get me interested- I think it's something to do with connecting the impossible and unusual with the mundane.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Advertisements Worth Watching

It's time that marketing stopped interrupting people's entertainment, and instead became entertainment.
To stay relevant, marketing has to be something that people are interested in and willing to watch. Some marketers understand that, but most don't.
To illustrate the point I'm including here some of my favourite dramatic and artistic advertisements.

Launched in 2008, Go On Lad is an advertisement by the agency Miles Calcraft Birginshaw Duffy, made for Hovis bread in the UK. It's brilliance comes from its flawless phasing through 122 years of British history, through the gravity of the wars, inspiring speeches from Churchill, the devastation afterward, then each era of Brit fashion. Changing trends, clothing, technology.. it has it all! It is a beautifully made spot.

Balls, a commercial created by director Nicolai Fuglsig for the launch of the BRAVIA brand, did everything it was supposed to do. It captivated with the beauty of 250,000 real rubber balls bouncing down the streets of San Francisco. Plus, the song was perfect- Heartbeats, from José González's debut album Veneer. Some interesting practical points of the whole operation- it took 50,000 balls for the first shot, there was a team of 50 interns that had to gather up the balls for each retake, and there were a serious of golfball nets set up at the ends of the street to catch the extra balls. Yes the commercial was big. Yes it was expensive. And yes, it got the attention that the company needed for it's brand.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Chinese Superheros!

I´m back from my trip up to Piteå, a little town in northern Sweden. Some people there live year-round on lakes and near farms, which seems so idyllic to me. Imagine being able to get up and look out your window at a lake, go out for a swim, then take a shower and drive 30 min to work?

Anyway, before I make a serious post, I have to share something I found on yesterday- chinese superheros!

Here's the original thread here, with some hillariously fantastic comments:
I especially like how the sense of right alliance includes Shrek, the yellow power ranger, and steve mcqueen from Cars.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

On the Peace and Love Festival!!!

Hey! It's been almost a week since I posted! Terrible! But I've been away at the Peace and Love music festival the last 4 days, so that's one excuse anyway. The weather wasn't too hot, which was fantastic (there is nothing worse for me than wandering around for hours in the sun and 35°). 

One thing I have to ask though after the festival is what is it with everyone wearing rubber boots??? I was told that it's a fad... but really?
Boots like this in 25° clear weather. Confusing. Unless of course they were thinking ahead about the alcohol and organic sludge that appeared throughout the festival grounds.....

I came across some fantastic bands at the festival. Here are videos from my top 4 favourites :)

Tikkle Me- Electronic Indie Pop (?)
They make PRECISELY the kind of music I love. I was so excited when I venue hopped and found them!

the Amplifetes- 60's psychedelia electro pop
After Tikkle Me I wandered into a club style venue and found these guys. The singer is all personality isn't he?? I can't help but love someone with that much hair.

the Original High Fives- reggae pop
These guys were playing randomly in a space between venues. They played SO much better than many of the artists on the stages, and certainly deserved a stage of their own. Plus they had a crazy dreadlocked fan-friend that riled the whole crowd into fanatic dancing, and that was fantastic fun.

Crash Nomada- gypsy punk
When I read in the guidebook that there was a gypsy punk band playing, I knew I had to go. Their live performance was so energetic and fun.

The festival was fun, but the best music definitely came from the smaller (or not technically official) venues. Bob Dylan... is getting too old to play his music. I didn't even recognize Knockin' on Heaven's Door until nearly halfway through. Deadmau5 had a great light show... but we left early because he was playing nothing but a monotonous beat. I didn't see the Kings of Leon, but I heard that they're going downhill. The only major artist that I enjoyed was 30 Seconds to Mars, but they still lacked energy for some reason. So, I'm very glad that I did a bit of venue hopping :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Gillette Guerrilla Marketing

 Hey! I survived Midsommar in Sweden, although I can't say I was feeling so hot on Saturday and Sunday. All in all though, this is one holiday that should be imported to Canada :)

On to marketing- here's a new guerrilla marketing campaign by Gillette that I stumbled upon. Thousands of these towels have been set around parks in Germany so far this summer, all with these holes in them to let grass poke through in interesting places. The ad agency (BBDO Proximity) have announced happily that most of them were stolen pretty quickly.

What do you think? Personally I think they're pretty creative, and letting people steal them gets them talking to their friends and showing off their new, unique towels wherever they use them, spreading the reach of the campaign. But also, if they were stolen so quickly, how many people got the chance to see them in the beginning?

I'm a fan of course, because I love guerrilla marketing in all its forms. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Midsommar

It´s Midsummer here in Sweden! It´s as big as Christmas but it seems to be mainly an excuse to drink. Since I´m off to enjoy a midsummer bbq I leave you with another video (cop out I know), but I promise to write a real post soon!

This an IKEA commercial for Germany, making fun of the poor Swedes. Apparently this was banned...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On Marketing Psychology- Are we in control of our decisions?

Dan Ariely- are we in control of our decisions?

Don´t have too much time today, so I leave you with one of my FAVOURITE videos on some marketing/psychology tricks. If you really can´t watch the whole thing, start from 11:10 because that´s where he really begins explaining the inferiority option (aka presenting something that is an inferior option of Object A instantly makes Object A more attractive.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Sweden's Top 10 most Perplexing Quirks

If you really wanted to learn more about the Swedish culture in general, I’m sure you could find a hundred blogs and websites describing how Swedes are humble (in fact, according to their rule jantelagen it is shameful to think you are better than other people), how their companies are flat and managers take suggestions, and how reserved and cold they are. In reality though, I think they’re no colder than Canadians- actually they’re pretty friendly if you breach the barrier and just start chattering.

But anyway! I am not here to talk to you about these useful observations! I am here today to present my observations of the top 10 (so far) most perplexing and/or just plain entertaining Swedish oddities and trends that I've noticed, from a Canadian perspective.

Starting with number 10:

10. Roll-on Deodorant
Everyone uses roll on deodorant here! In Canada I think you can only buy that from your grandmother’s mail order catalogues. It’s sticky and gross and doesn’t work. I’m not a fan, Sweden!

9. Happy socks
Probably the cutest trend in Sweden. It’s dying out a little now, but these happy socks were big, and you can still catch glimpses of pink and purple polka dotted socks beneath the well pressed suit trousers of business people here in Stockholm. I can just imagine how happy my feet would be. But at SEK 72-100 (maybe $15 CAD), my wallet would be sad.

8. Obsession with sun tanning
Swedes are completely, utterly obsessed with suntanning. To be white is considered really aesthetically unappealing (unfortunately for me). The moment any sun shines people flock to open fields in their bikinis and shorts and lay around for hours. No matter if it’s 10˚, they’re out there determined to get a tan or freeze trying. I’ve heard that there are more tanning salons per capita in Sweden than in any other country. The problem is that most people go overboard, and it seems like certain parts of the city are populated by oompaloompas. Like Kissie, the famous Swedish blogger, seen here....
I'm embarrassed for you too Kissie...
7.  Name Days
This isn’t just a Swedish thing- it’s more of a European thing in general. But it’s here too so I’ll include it. Every day of the year has a corresponding first name- The 9th of December is for Anna. Sometimes you’ll get a present from your loved ones, or a cake, but it’s celebrated less often than it used to be. I’ve been asked when my name day is though, which left me seriously confused. If you want to check out the Swedish nameday calendar, go here.

6. Salty candy
WHY? WHY SWEDEN?? These are really awful. Black liquorice candy covered in salt. I don’t mind black liquorice at the right moment, but why, why would I want salty black liquorice? Every time I look at these candies I think “they’ll be better this time. They’re so traditional, I’ve got to learn to like them”. And then afterward I always swear never again.

5. Suspenders
These are pretty insanely popular. And not just among hipsters. I’m inclined to think they are awesome.

4. Strip Clubs
Don’t brag about going to a strip club in Sweden. People think they are shady and shameful, and nobody ever admits having been there. Hence the big problem that the king is in right now (did he go to one? Is he lying? Why do we care?). Anyway, for a country that seems pretty European when it comes to anti-prudishness (oh I’ve seen my share of streakers here), they’re pretty against showing skin for money.

3.  Fika
Actually this is not perplexing, but fantastic. Fika is the national religion here. It is just the two syllables of kaffi (an early version of the word for coffee in Swedish) switched around, and it means coffee break, usually along with something sweet. Swedes are 4th in the world for coffee consumption, following Finland (12 kg/person a year?!?!), Norway and Iceland, and my coworkers drink at least 6 cups a day. The coffee break is holy J

2. Dinner and Champagne Etiquette
I can’t promise this will be accurate, because frankly I don’t understand the Swedish formal dinner etiquette myself. From what I’ve gathered, when you toast you toast with your chest facing your hostess, who must be sitting in a certain place, you look everyone in the eye, then you set your glass down by descending age order. There must be a man to your left (or is that to your right?), when a woman leaves the table every man must stand, clap their hands and do a jig (no not really, but maybe it would fit in?). My theory is that all this evolved from hundreds of years of insufficient dinner entertainment. 500 years ago in Canada I’m pretty sure the entertainment was catching dinner.

2b.  Edit: This was #1 but I simply realised there was something even more shocking.

Number 2.b is that...... THERE’S NO PEANUT BUTTER ANYWHERE!

Why do you think it’s gross? Why? Yes it is pretty much just a fat spread, but so is Nutella! I never realised how much I would miss peanut butter when it was completely gone!

1. but the #1 most perplexing Swedish oddity is....

Swedish caviar in tubes!
This “delicious” pink grainy, salty paste is made of fish eggs, salt… and chemicals I guess. It’s eaten by Everybody, for breakfast on cracker bread.  Fish eggs in a tube are not on my breakfast menu!

Edwin Goei

And that sums up my completely useless list! See you later folks!