Dec 31, 2008

2008, The End - 2009, The Beginning...

So another year goes by and we will be waiting for 2009 with good friends and good food. For me, years are like movies... some are good, some are bad, but they all end at some point and the beginning of a new year is like the going into the movies for a new one... would I like it? Yes, no? Would it be sad or funny? How will I remember this one? How will you?

So, here is my good bye to 2008, movie style...

Personally, I can't complain about 2008 but let's face it this year has not been a good one -generally speaking- and it's ending pretty bad. I truly hope 2009 can bring some good news but I have to say that for me, just knowing that next year Bush will be no longer be the President of the US makes it a better year already! In the meantime...

Happy New Year, Folks!

PS: The video was made with Dill Pixels "Nostalgia" photostream at Flickr, where you can find much more "endings". The soundtrack is "Carousel" from Kenneth King, available at YouTube AudioSwap. The editing is mine and the very first I did myself...


Dec 26, 2008

Happy (Belated) Christmas!

WARNING: This video is not for kids! (seriously, it's an online ad for Trojan...)


Dec 23, 2008

Why Women?

Today, in my Kiva group -the Freethinkers group, yay!- someone raised the very valid question of "Why women?". What s/he was asking was in fact why is it that Kiva or the MFI (Micro Finance Institutions) seem to choose more female than male entrepreneurs to help with loans.

The reasons are several and valid but you can summarize them in one sentence: in the kind of environment that MFIs deal with, women have proven to be more responsible plus they tend to "spread" the wealth in ways men don't.

Nevertheless, the question reminded me of a great video done by another group that is trying to raise awareness about how powerful can be to help (with a loan, with a scholarship, you name it) women. I think it would be really difficult to try to explain it better... take a look:

I think the video explains it pretty well but if you want to read more about this specific issue, you can go to their site ( and check the facts. I have to add that no matter who is talking about this "Girl Effect" (Nike Foundation, reaaally?), the effect is very real. I have seen it first hand and believe me, it is amazing.

PS: I have been meaning to add this video to the blog for long time, as I think it is also a great example of how you can do a great presentation with just words if you have a good message... thanks Duboisi for giving me the perfect reason to overcome my procrastination with this posting!


Dec 18, 2008

Yes! Yes, Yes....

Someone -probably someone that shares my main problem with "general knowledge"- found a very nice and polite way to answer those emails with odd questions that family, friends, foes and coworkers tend to send our way...

Until now, emails with questions like "Hey, do you know who sells fuchsia ping pong balls?" or "Do you know what is the average life expectancy in Malasya?" usually put me in that uncomfortable situation where I have to decide if I will answer with a blatant "Why the *&p;^K you don't try Google?" (possible ruining the relationship forever) or if I should actually go to Google, make a search and send them back an answer or a link, feeding the laziness or the techno-ignorance that lead to that question to start with. Let's face it: we may know a bit about almost everything, but no, we don't know the average life expectancy in Malasya, nor we want to use part of our memory to store that information!

Until now. Thanks to "Let me Google it for you" now you have a passive-aggressive way of answering that is at the same time extremely cool AND didactic. How it works? Easy.

Whenever you receive one of those questions instead of going to Google you go to "Let me Google that for you". Enter the question as you would do the search (not literally most of the time) and press "Google Search". Instead of going to the results, you will get a link. Copy that link and send that link back to whoever asked the question. When they click on the link, this is what they will see

Of course what I like the most is the "step by step" indications that are right below the search box, that in case you haven't noticed, end up with:

Aaaah...what a pleasure. Now I got to be mean without being horrible mean!

Make sure you bookmark "Let me Google that for you" to have it handy the next time a dreadful question comes your way! Now if you don't care at all about being "nice" you can always use "Just F****ng Google It"


Dec 15, 2008

Another Brand Alphabet to Play With

After seeing a good share of "Brand Alphabets" online, I decided to make one myself. You may think that there are enough out there (and you are probably right) but what was bothering me is is that they all work with the fonts, not with the iconic part of the logos.

So here is the one I made. Whenever the logo was inside the icon, I erased the logo and left just the image, except in one case that I believe there was a need for a hint. The brands are in alphabetical order and for some letters I have more than one image. A "help" is given by the first column that shows what letters are included in each row. Of course my point is that in some cases, the image, the symbol, the icon is as powerful as the font and sometimes it's even more.

Want to play? Think you can get all of them? (Disclaimer: this is a "US centric" alphabet: at least a couple of images are very known in the USA but not so much in the rest of the world. If you don't get those but you guess all the rest, you are still a very good "brand player"!)

How many did you get right? Any specific image that you think should be replaced with a better option? The solution with all the brand names is at the end of this post and below you will find some other "Brand alphabets" to play with....

So, want to play more? These are several brand alphabets online... the one I like the most is this one, that seems to be one of the newest ones and therefore a little more "techie".

If you jsut can't stop and you still want more, you can also visit the "Retail Alphabet Game" where you can find 5 different editions of a similar game, this time with the fonts too but not the actual "first letter" of the brand name, just a letter that you should be able to recognize.

Think you have a better one? Let me know!

The correct names are (in order): Apple, ATT, Bacardi, CocaCola, Delta Airlines, Disney, Esso, Firefox, Gatorade, Gators, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Jaguar, KFC, Kodak, Lays, Lipton, Mercedes Benz, NBC, Nissan, Omega, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Quantas, Quicktime, ReMax, Sprint, Suzuki, Technorati, USPS, Verizon, Wella, Wendys, Xerox, Yankees, Yoplait, Zippo.


Dec 13, 2008

Whatever You Imagine...

...can be done (at least for TV). When you think about it, it is amazing how far we have come in the realms of FX, CGA or animations in general.

This very funny and odd Argentine commercial for VW is a pretty good example. Have you ever considered how a Fishdog may look like? Check it out:

I guess this is what could be called a real "ugly doggy"..., even though I have to say that I find him terrible cute in a somewhat strange way. Maybe it is the way this "Bass Hound" wags his tail, maybe is his terrified look when he is surrounded by fishermen. I am not sure what it is about him but I would have one of these if I lived near the beach...

Oh yeah the dog is not real, I forgot about that little detail! See what I was saying? The Fishdog may not be real but it surely looks like he is...

Agency/Client: Almap BBDO for Volkswagen Argentina.


Dec 12, 2008

It's Friday, Play at Work!

Totally in tune with the Ted Talk of Tim Brown that I posted some days ago, today I found this oh so cool! video of an office totally made with what you can call "kids' stuff".

Among other things, you will see CMYK crayons, RGB paint dispensers, a wax crayon drawing lamp and a cardboard parquet floor. All of it surrounded by some wonderful music (is it Coldplay?).

I love the little details like the name for the crayons!

The idea behind the installation was to recreate a working design studio that will encourage designers to create... but without computers (except of course the ones made of wax). I guess the experience could be like literally going back to the drawing board!

Found via Smart Emma Portfolio.


Dec 11, 2008

...We Are Getting Old...

Click to enlarge Little by little and step by step ads have become a collector's item; some people collect ads from a specific brand, some others from a specific decade and some others from specific graphic designers.

Advertising has been always the art of the ephemeral but thanks to the time that has passed since the first ad was conceived and designed, we can say that advertising is starting to get old... what is good at least in one sense.

With aging also comes recognition and museums dedicated to the advertising field are more common to find (especially here in the US and in Europe) and just in time to help, the internet came along. So now there are more resources to find old ads or contribute with the ones you have.

A relatively newcomer is an Argentinian website called "Historia de La Publicidad" (Advertising History) where I spent a couple of hours last week uploading part of my collection of old ads from Argentina but as my contributions are not showing yet in the general pool you can see some of them here too.

I was introduced to the founders of the site when visiting Buenos Aires and I was happy "like a dog with two tails" -a Spanish saying- to find out that finally someone is trying to rescue from oblivion those small pieces of "art" that -artistic or not-, are another way of going back in time. Advertising as part of the daily culture is pretty useful to analyze what issues and behaviours were common in a specific moment in time.

For example, take a look at this ad for a product to "gain weight", that promises you can gain around 10 pounds in 35 days... In a time when everything seems to revolve around losing weight it sounds almost like sci-fi but this type of products were pretty common at that time, not only in Latin America but in the US too..., because weight was a symbol of health.

What makes this next one interesting is that it shows a change in target. It is advertising Ovomaltine (a.k.a. Ovaltine) but the target at that time wasn't kids but "aging" people (the positioning is the same though: "A healthy, nutritious drink".)
Ovaltine - Click to enlarge

Last but not least, two classics worldwide: Colgate and Palmolive. The first using a resource common at the time (the comic strip to tell a history), the second "making pictures talk", another common way of advertising in the 30's.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

I will be posting more of my small collection here but if you want to see more oldies, just visit "Historia de la publicidad". When it comes to print ads you don't really need to understand Spanish to enjoy those classic designs; just click at the top, where it says "Grafica" and browse their collection!


Dec 10, 2008

Food Is Precious

I have seen before some of Kali Arulpragasam's weird and bold jewellery designs and until now I wasn't really impressed but then today I came across her summer collection "Hunger"..., and I totally fell inlove with the idea and the execution!

Inspired by the way food is perceived in countries other than in the West, Arulpragasam made beads that molded from staples like corn, beans, rice, lentils and seeds, and has created with that some amazing jewellery.

From huge breastplates to smaller and more delicate pieces this collection has a "je ne sais quois" that I personally didn't find in her previous work...

It may sound like an oxymoron to create gold and silver beads to send a message about poverty, famine and consumption but in her defense we have to point out that a percentage of the sales from this collection will go directly to Oxfam International.

Chic and feminine

Big and bold

This collection is a great example of how you can get inspired by simply looking at things with the eyes of someone else: another person, another culture or another time.

Nature has been and will be the inspiration to create new things -from eco gadgets to great jewelry- but in this case the idea with its simplicity mirrors perfectly what food is for so many: a precious thing to have.

Photography by Jannica Honey

PS: If you want to see the catalog with the whole line it is available in her site, Superfertile but in PDF only.


Dec 5, 2008

It's Friday, Have a Different View!

Everland is a hotel with only one room including a bathroom, a king-size bed and a lounge. The room can be booked for one night only, the mini-bar is fully stocked and included in the price, breakfast is delivered to the door and a record collection with the needed record player is there at our disposal.

It is a hotel like no other, conceived as a project by Swiss artist-duo L/B (Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann). L/B are known for their installations that deal with architecture and space and invite the viewer to get involved and become part of the artwork.

What makes it do different? To start with, it is a hotel that "travels": it has been at Yverdon where it was located on the lake of Neuchatel for 4 months for the Swiss National Exhibition in 2002. After the end of the Expo, the mobile pavilion was sent to Burgdorf and was placed on the factory roof at L/B's studio. Then, from June 2006 until September 2007 the one room hotel was exhibited and run as a Hotel on the roof-deck of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig, Germany.

Since October 2007 until spring 2009, it will be available in Paris, high above the city, with a view on the Eiffel Tower, as it was installed on the roof of Palais de Tokyo.

As you can see in the pictures, it has a view like no other. All Everland guests are in some way partaking in the project (and invited to steal the golden embroidered bath towels). Considering how unique a night in this hotel is, the price is not SO crazy (333 Euros during the week, 444 Euros during the weekends).

Outside and inside it looks a bit 70's but there is something very attractive abut the rooms, maybe the curves, maybe the feeling of being in a very designed space capsule...

View at the Lake
at the Lake
Paris View
View of Paris
A tour inside Everland

If you want to book a night, you can try to make a reservation online. Most nights are already taken but one night per month is auctioned so maybe you can a real different night in Paris. If you can't afford it though, do not get desperate..., you can still visit the hotel during the day!


Dec 3, 2008

Unusual, Intelligent, Creative Gifts

So Thanksgiving and Black Friday are gone and you are still looking for some cool gifts? Not "a gift, any gift" but a really, really, cool and unique gift? Maybe you should refocus your attention and instead of looking for an object you should start thinking about an experience.

Yeah, that's right, an experience. Each time I can that is what I "buy" for my loved ones mostly because things come and go, they aged, they get lost or they break down. Experiences are memories and as such they stay with you literally forever.

Until some years ago though, being able to give an experience as a gift wasn't easy. There was the research part (depending if the other one loves cars, food or traveling you needed to do a lot of research) and then availability. Not just the availability of the gift but also the availability of the one receiving it: can s/he travel on these dates? Would s/he be able to attend this event?

Good news are that things have changed (bless the internet!) and now giving the gift of a unique experience is way more easy. I know it for a fact when a couple of years ago I discovered Xperience Days...

They have a whole spectrum of experiences available and it was through them that my husband (a.k.a. Speedracer) got as a present a training day to drive a Formula 2000 car. Ok, I acknowledge that this particular present may not be in the price range you may be looking for -considering the times being-, but XperienceDays has been growing steadily and now you can find a good number of "experiences" for under $100.

Let me tell you some of the benefits of the service... To start with, you can get a lot of ideas just by browsing their "catalog". Most important so, the price is the same if you buy the present through them or directly at the provider (I know that for a fact, I checked) but through them you have a big advantage: if you want to change the Military Flight Simulator for a Pirate Dinner Cruise or a class on Exotic Dancing, it is pretty easy, so your chances of getting it "right" increase exponentially.

Last but not least there are two more advantages that other gifts do not have: the fact that you may have fun too (some experiences are designed for two people but even in some that are not, like the F2000, you can attend as a spectator as I did and enjoy it from the side); the other one being that you just need to search, point, click... and you have a very unique gift in its way!

These are some pictures of "our" racing day. First, Glenn getting ready for his second lap:

And here, "hippie me" having fun from the side:

There are driving experiences, spa experiences, cooking and golf classes, graduation gifts, engagement gifts and some very unusual things like the "Art of Exotic Dance".

Now I do have to warn you about the one big disadvantage that this kind of gifts may have. Chances are that the one receiving it will be talking about it for the rest of her/his life. So, if you live with them, be prepared to hear from now to eternity about the event!



Dec 1, 2008

Love for All

Today is AIDS' day but I decided that instead of highlighting the ocassion with a -normally depressing- ad about the epidemic, it may be a good idea to feature an ad that celebrates love without prejudices.

Note: If you are a religious zealot, stop reading right now and do NOT press the play button... All others, enjoy!

...of course, is Sweden...