‘Finally, I understand the dispassionate meetings I have sat through wondering why English creatives do themselves such mumbling injustice in front of clients, why they can’t just come out and say – this is terrific work, and you’d be a muppet not to buy it. ‘Our instinctive avoidance of earnestness results in a way of conducting business or work-related discussions that the uninitiated foreigner finds quite disturbing: a sort of offhand, dispassionate, detached manner, always giving the impression of being rather underwhelmed by the whole thing, including themselves and the products they were supposed to be trying to sell’. Yes, I found myself nodding vigorously, yes, exactly.’ (via Don’t buy this, it’s probably rubbish. | nazia du bois)
The online apparel retailer in Russia, OTTO, have launched an interactive online campaign that creatively tackles the familiar crisis of having “Nothing to wear!” in an attempt to draw a younger audience.
The protagonist of the campaign is the problem itself, in the shape of a terrible, albeit charming and cute, monster called NOTHINGTOWEAR (МНЕНЕЧЕГОНАДЕТЬ in Russian).
The interactive mock-horror video, starring Anna Kornilova, gives the viewer a choice between two options, such as (OPEN CLOSET) (DO NOT OPEN) and later (CALL BOYFRIEND) (CALL GIRLFRIENDS), allowing the viewer to dictate the plot of the story. Finally, it leads to OTTO’s competition website encouraging the audience to participate with their own videos and photos of handling the monster.
(Published as OTTO release the NOTHINGTOWEAR monster in Russia - Cream Blog, Sandra Mardin)
“Advertising is so powerful that we can describe our lives with it” – that’s how Romanian advertising agency Next explain their campaign Advertising is a part of our life which managed to demonstrate the powerful storytelling potential of brands in intimate everyday situations. Their award-winning ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Refuse’ ad-stories both feature a dialogue which consists of listing brands.
What is most fascinating is that this dialogue doesn’t need translation in an age of global brands, where brandspeak is a common language. And if brands give us a way to tell our stories, from everyday interactions to overviews of life stages, perhaps one day we could even rewrite As You Like It just by listing brand names.
The aim of both this collection and future collections is to effectively make a departure from the notion of a ‘Brand’ or ‘Label’ and to design and develop clothing that looks and feels as if it had been designed by a friend or found somewhere. Design pieces that feel as if they have always been around.
(via VIER5 FASHION DEPARTMENT)
Just got back from Brighton. This compelling All Saints window display pattern made of antique Singer sewing machines struck me as a very clever marketing move; All Saints have taken the vintage sewing trend to a post-modern level reflected in this repetitive, multiplying 3D pattern. The transformation of their window display into a cultural monument of a kind resulted in people constantly stopping to take photos of it, thereby spreading, individually interpreting and eventually redefining All Saints’ brand communication.
A couple of things inspired me to write this post. First, it was the Wellcome gallery exhibition on Dirt that included Anthropometric Modules Made of Human Faeces, then I read a very good article by Louise Jolly on semionaut that talks about the cultural view of ‘naturalness’ taking on a darker edge. Finally, I became aware of the potatoes and carrots covered in soil at the local greengrocer’s, since apparently the dirt helps them retain their nutrients.
So, it looks like we are reverting from the sterilized supermarket reality to ‘naturalness’ through dirt, ugliness, perhaps even decay, like Van Gogh’s sunflowers. As if to compensate for the sanitary surroundings. I’m wondering, then, whether the (visually) ugly is becoming the new attractive? And whether this is the case only of the economically developed and suitably sanitized areas, or a global trend.
via Sandra Pickering (Semiotic Thinking Group)
Since the supermarket fruit and vegetables are associated with ‘plastic’ and ‘artificial’, in the quest for ‘naturalness’ and ‘organic’ consumers begin to prefer the dirt, decay and imperfection, and this is beginning to reflect in advertising.
Ian Addie (Semiotic Thinking Group) has pointed out the Persil washing detergent campaign “Dirt is Good” where the brand is attempting to capitalise on an alternate and positive meaning of “dirt” in the context of personal development. This reminded me of a similar Levi’s campaign Water<Less where the brand encourages us not to wash our jeans in order to save water, and promote their new jeans manufacturing process that uses less water.
There is also a connotation of honesty in dirt reflected in the phrase getting your hands dirty and earning honest money through hard, practical work for e.g; on the other hand, the phrase dirty money is used for illegally obtained income, associated with money laundering and somehow evokes the sanitary world of financial institutions.
While the word ‘dirt’ evokes images of earth, the derived adjective ‘dirty’ almost instantly alludes to sex.
Woody Allen quote via Eric Prince (Semiotic Thinking Group)
The Irish poet Seamus Heaney, as he ‘digs’ with his pen in the Irish bogs, fuses sexual imagery with death and mire, flaxen-haired beauties and tar. A nod to W.B. Yeats’ “terrible beauty” in a way. In fact, Yeats has said “I am still of the opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mind - sex and the dead;” According to Henry Hart, “Death, sex, and a gruesome fusion of the two find a new and startling expression in Seamus Heaney’s North.”
It is as if Eros and Thanatos are coupled through dirt.
The ultimate irony in sanitizing funerals, which mirrors how people sanitize the naturally dirty aspects of life, is parodied in Six Feet Under. In this scene Nate associates the sanitizing with lack of natural emotion, while David associates the dirt with disrespect.
If Seamus Heaney and Yeats sought out purity and beauty in dirt and violence; the contemporary trends are becoming a subversion of that quest, as we seek out the dirt (naturalness) amidst our seemingly pure (artificial, corporate) surroundings.