Mar 27, 2009

It's Friday, Discover Argentina!

You may have never visited Argentina but..., do you know how many times you have seen Buenos Aires, between movies and commercials? Chances are way more than you think!

Buenos Aires (or BA as we call it) it's a magnificent city but also one especially good for shooting commercials. Here is an ad shot there that if you live in the US you have probably seen:

Now, while this previous ad doesn't try to hide the fact that the action takes place outside the USA (the taxis and the buses make that pretty clear), there are countless commercials for the US or the European market that have been shot in a BA but disguising the city.

That is one of the several reasons BA is so often the chosen one to produce commercials: with very little effort it can be disguised as an American city or an European one, depending which neighborhood is selected. Some examples of very well known commercials shot in BA, where the city has been "retouched" (just the signs or the buses) are...

T-Mobile - G1 (Germany)

Not all of them are just music and no words. The latest ads from Discovery Card (like this one, and this one ) have also been shot in BA. Nor all the commercials are shot just in Bs. As. This ad for BMW goes from Tandil to BA and you may remember this other ad from Guinness (one of the most expensive ones commercials so far) that was shot in Salta, Argentina.

You have seen my country in movies too, from obvious titles like "Assassination Tango" or "Evita", to not so obvious like "Seven Years in the Tibet" or "Highlander II".

The thing is that while BA is great because it can be easily disguised as another city, across all the rest of Argentina you can find natural scenarios that are difficult to recreate. If you add to this a cheaper cost of production and the fact that you can also find there excellent production companies and skilled personnel, you clearly have a winner ticket.

Now that I think about it, I may start a new section: "Shot in Argentina". With so many commercials done there, I will not run out from material any time soon!


Mar 25, 2009

Aliens Drowning in Florida

At home we are always joking around the "alien" word. I learnt English, not American, so for a while I was a bit uncomfortable with the fact that people (government included) would refer to me as an alien and not as a foreigner. At the end of the day, alien is used also to denote 'extraterrestrial creatures'. However, as I tend to see the world as a weird place and my views are not exactly the most common ones, I end up accepting such 'title' in its most ample sense.

Nevertheless, I never expected to see signs in the park aimed to life forms from outer space but that was exactly what I encountered at the park near my house in Tamarac, FL.

Thanks god they added the "no swimming"!..., because without words that could be interpreted like "aliens drowning" or "beware, aliens in the lake". I mean..., I am not surprised that someone would come up with such a poor design, what really surprised me is that someone approved such design and more surprising is the fact that someone decided that is was good enough to buy it!


Mar 22, 2009

What Can YOU Invent?

People tend to brag about their 'famous' ancestors no matter how far away in their bloodline that famous/rich/important relative is. It's human, but a bit silly.

Each time someone would tell me that they were related to a famous painter or a royal member, my father would remind me that "if you follow any family tree long enough, you will find a famous person for sure, but also a thief or an assassin".

I always loved that remark because -probability wise- is very accurate. We even played a game naming all the good and bad things you have chances to have in a family tree, adding to the good side a writer, a hero, or a poet. To that list we could also add, easily, "an inventor". Maybe not Thomas Edison, but with so many things that have been invented in the world since we decided to walk straight, chances are we all have an inventor in our family.

But what if you come from a long line of inventors? "Inventor" is not like "lawyer" or "doctor" it may not be so easy to follow into the footsteps of your ancestors. And..., can you invent a kin? Or re-invent a relationship with your parents?

"Inventing Kin", a movie by Fro Rojas and Andy Negrin that will premiere in Miami in April (date TBD) explores some of those questions.

The main character of this film has a legacy of silly inventions, some from her father and some from her grandfather. She is completely decided to add to the family line by creating something but at the same time she is trying to 'invent' some type of connection with her aloof father.

Here, the trailer...

Inventing Kin from gold dickenson productions on Vimeo.

Inventions are the central theme of this film. Important or silly, real or emotional, the search for a creative idea -useful or not- is a common thread in the story. It also reminds us that inventions are created not just for their utility: we invent things to amuse ourselves and/or to avoid being bored and, -a lot of times- to get closer to someone (think poetry or music).

Creativity, emotions and a touch of comedy, "Inventing Kin" definitely seems like a movie to see. The team behind it is not new when it comes to short films; their previous work ("PENCIL FIGHTING: the life and times of team balderdash") won 4 "Best Show Film" awards and some of the crew comes from the advertising world.

Stay tuned, in the next days we will have an exclusive interview with the movie's director (Fro Rojas) and we will have more on "Inventing Kin"!


Mar 20, 2009

It's Friday, Laugh With Elmo and Gervais!

Believe it or not, this year Sesame Street will be 40! To celebrate such occasion they are having some special guests and this is a compilation of outtakes from an episode that will air in November.

Warning: it is Sesame Street and Elmo but mixed with Ricky Gervais and the result is not for kids -but it is, of course, hilarious!

Seems pretty clear that they will probably not air the whole interview, at least not during the official "for kids" program..., but I hope someone in their team is already collecting material to do a "Sesame's Street 40th Birthday DVD" for adults only!



Mar 19, 2009

Sex & Cars

Some friends of mine that live in Singapore decided to spend New Year's Eve in Japan. Because it was a last minute decision, they were having some trouble to find a hotel so they finally settled in one in Kamata's neighborhood to find out later that the place was what they described as an Argentinian "Liniers". For those that have never been in Argentina, let's say is an ok neighborhood if you are not bothered by strip clubs, but you are not near anything interesting and you have nothing to do there as a tourist.

Nevertheless they managed to find a gem, a business in the area named "Ferrari". Now, advertisers and public are equally aware that for various reasons, powerful, expensive cars tend to be associate to sex one way or the other. In this case, this Ferrari business wasn't offering fast cars but, let's say, "fast girls". So far, all good. They can call themselves whatever they want and they are not operating in the same country nor in the same industry of the other Ferrari, the one founded by Enzo.

All good, until you see their logo in all its splendor...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is in fact the Ferrari logo with an 'added bonus'. I am still undecided: was this a stupid idea born out of a total lack of creativity or is it a brilliant one? I mean, it catches your attention, doesn't it?

One way or the other, I found it terribly funny in a childish way. There is no lesson to learn on this one, except maybe that in Japan too cars and sex go together...

PS: If you understand Spanish, you can read more about my friends' New Year's Eve adventures in that neighborhood here and see a full picture of the entrance to the strip club here.

More weird (and bad) logos here.


Mar 17, 2009

St. Patrick Was a Psychopath!

From Leo Burnett, Dublin, this is 'the other's side version' of St. Patrick's story...

Once again, seems we can blame this whole thing on some good marketing and advertising; not surprising but somewhat true saints do have a mouth-to-mouth marketing that few others can get!

Nevertheless if you are not a snake I guess you don't care about the outcome, so go ahead and enjoy the other 'green day'!


Mar 16, 2009

Empowering Imagination

I got this through Twitter (user @unmarketing) and I believe is a very simple -but effective way- of showing how much you can do with "nothing"..., or almost nothing. The same 3 pieces of Lego and a bit of imagination ended up building 47 different things!

Click to enlarge
Seems like an exercise to give to kids and adults alike. If I were still teaching at the University I would try this as an exercise as it seems like a great way to make people realize not only the incredible power of imagination but also that you can do a lot with few resources. Not always "more is better" specially when it comes to imagination!


Mar 13, 2009

It's Friday, Focus on the Good Things

I am not sure I like this movie as a "commercial" but I surely love the general idea and the message in it. So don't take it as a commercial but as a short movie; forget the brand behind it: it's a lesson about life and one that we should remember during good and bad times.

With captions in English, here it is: "Encounter"

Agency: McCann Erickson Madrid, Spain; Creative Director: Leandro Raposo (originally from Argentina)

Yes, life is short. It doesn't seem like it is most of the time but it is. Keep that in mind.

Via Neatorama


Mar 12, 2009


I got this via email and I truly think it needs as much exposure as it can get.

According to the source this has been published in the London Times but doing some research I find out this is the right English source.

It is an obituary for Common Sense and here is how it goes:

"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled some in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 step brothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing."

I can add to the previous list things like the "Do not use red pens to mark tests" idea or the twisted logic of the National Guard to discriminate atheists.

When I was in school, one of the best professors I had used to say: "Ah, common sense, the less 'common' of all senses". That phrase got stuck in my mind forever and sadly it seems he was right once again. If you too wonder what we can do to get it back you may want to see this TED conference.

We definitely need common sense back!

Thanks Brig for passing it along! - Image Credit


Mar 6, 2009

It's Friday, Enhance Your Reality!

Very innovative promo from GE, something that you may want to try by yourself. Check it out:

The GE link to make your own experiment at home is: Choose one of the options, follow the directions and voila! enjoy an amazing experience, thanks to the smart grid!



Mar 5, 2009

Revenge Sweet Revenge...

Just few days ago I was talking about how creativity can be increased by powerful emotions, like passion or anger. If you mix any of those powerful feelings with the talent of a stand-up comedian, the end result can be totally explosive and extremely funny.

This is one of those cases. Tom Mabe is a comedian and a pretty good prankster that decided to have fun at the expense of telemarketers. This is one of his most famous 'conversations' with one of them. I never thought I would ever say this, but for a fraction of a second I even feel pity for the telemarkater...

This proves that a creative revenge is -without any doubt- the sweetest one!

Mabe has two CD's with his best work on answering telemarketers and in fact he became a little more famous some years ago when he "crash the party" at a telemarketer's convention in Washington D.C.

The story goes that hundreds of telemarketing big wigs were at such convention, hoping to get positive press for their industry and ultimately discourage any laws being passed that prohibit telemarketing. Mabe checked into the same hotel the telemarketers were staying, found out what floors they were on, what rooms they were in and started calling the telemarketers in their rooms at 3 a.m., trying to sell them stuff like sleeping pills. Everyone from Paul Harvey to The New York Times called Mabe their newest hero.

Visit his site to hear more of his work and/or buy his CD's... and keep laughing!

Thanks Euge for sending this!


Mar 4, 2009

The 'Blow Me' Toy

I swear I don't know where to start with this one.

I could say that the title of this posting is because the image blew my mind, but that would be lying. It is true though, that when I saw it I was suddenly speechless (what rarely occurs!)

As you may know, I normally try to feature nice things, being those "things" ideas, products or designs. I rather go with things that are pleasant to the eye than with those that are not.

But let's face it: there is a lot to be learnt from BAD ideas or bad designs. In this particular case I am talking about a bad -very bad- execution. Once again, here I go with my mantra: a good idea, bad executed ends up being a bad idea. In this particular case we are not even talking about a good idea but a simple toy..., that went HORRIBLE wrong!

Take a look and judge for yourself...

I wonder how many parents may have bought the product to find later -at home- this little detail... I am not sure I could get around it, I think I would probably tell my kid the toy is broken!

My smart ass husband, on the other hand, swears that Wolverine is smirking and he wonders why...

Thanks Paulo for sending me the link!


Mar 3, 2009

Love and Space

I can't talk too much about this commercial because I just don't want to spoil the surprise. All I can say is that this is a "love story" type of story, with music of Ryuichi Sakamoto, and that it has a very surprising ending.

The product is Japanese, the agency is GT Tokyo. The title: "Love Distance". Just for the record, the numbers in the middle are in milimiters and 1mm = 0.0393 inches (aprox.)

I am sure that if this was a "western" brand, after seeing this commmercial I would remember the name of the brand. Nice, simple, great idea.

Is not so easy to do a good commercial to advertise the "thin" quality of this product, the same way that it is not easy to advertise the XL version of it with taste.