NSFW fonts

Some fonts best left for late night viewing.

It's the Effing Typeface.

TV reinterpreted in print

Exergian has some brilliantly executed print to promote some brilliantly executed television. See for yourself. It's gorgeous, it's tasty, and it's perfect.

It's never to early to start.

Start shilling that is.

Snack food manufacturers in England are in the throes of what is termed "stealth marketing" to children. The premise is that the kids become brand ambassadors and perform specific tasks, from postering to commenting on social media to direct endorsements during recess. In return the kids get 25 quid, free food, prizes, social prestige, and the fun-filled sensation of childhood obesity. It's a win / win all around.

The idea of empowering the actual consumer of the products is nothing new, but when the consumer is easily influenced, and doesn't have the requisite skills to make an informed decision, is it more like exploitation? Sure, teens will shovel fast food and sugar into themselves, but when you're going after 8 and 9 year olds in a medium where there is no advertising standards watchdog, don't you think its gone too far?

Funnily enough, the British government doesn't think so. They've embraced the idea and are using it to promote healthy eating. Yes, that sound was two truckloads of irony colliding head-on.

It was awful, it was offensive, it worked.

EA has been promoting their new videogame, Dante's Inferno. But instead of giving out demo copies, or contra merch or even paying bloggers to shill for them, they've decided to take the left-hand path.

At a recent industry trade show anti-EA protesters were out in full force, carrying placards that included such wonderful missives as "EA = electronic Antichrist". Makes you think that Christian groups are against the game right? Not so fast there. Turns out that EA hired the protesters to generate some publicity. They got caught, and made a lot of Christians angry. Whoops.

Then, because too much controversy is never enough, EA promoted the new game at Comic-Con. They invited people to "commit acts of lust" by taking photos of themselves with the EA booth-babes. Winner gets a date with two models, a limo for the night and hopefully a poke in the eye with a very sharp stick. In a biblical demonstration of irony, the supposed randomly chosen winner turned out to be a writer from GayGamer.

And on it goes. Really. They're doing more. Because if there's one thing boneheaded publicity does well, it's generate press. Ever wonder what it's like to screw up so badly that you actually go in a complete circle around to success?

Amazonian consumers have sense of humour

Amazon is big. Really, really big. So big in fact that it's huge. And part of the problem when you're that massive is keeping all your web pages under control. Especially when just about anyone can log in and write reviews on them.

Why yes, I do work in an augmented building

Don't you?

Tokyo is saturated with billboards and electronic outdoor advertising, but the N Building has taken the concept, married it to augmented reality and upped the bar for out-of-home display.

In essence, the entire facade of the building is a QR code. Users with a custom iPhone app will be able to scan the building's front and interact with the merchants, extract relevant data and generally know everything they need to know. Augmented reality and architecture, it's cool.

N Building from Alexander Reeder on Vimeo.

When Steve Jobs gives you lemons

You make fun of the total lack of Flash support on his company's portable devices. No Farmville, no Hulu.com, no CNN and no...Bang Brothers?

No, the other colour, no, the other one...

Ever see a colour you like? Ever had to describe it after? Yeah, almost impossible. Sure you could take a picture of it with the camera on your phone but odds are you'll wind up with something in a different shade. Until now...

The brain trust at Benjamin Moore has an app for that. The ben color capture app allows you to match the colour you see to a shade on the Benji Moore database. It's not quite a substitute for myPANTONE but it's a neat direction. Now if they'd come up with a font recognizer...

Putting paid to corruption

Corruption is everywhere to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately in India, corruption is pervasive and affects the poorest people the hardest. 5th Pillar, an Indian NGO, has come up with a unique way to protest corruption and give people a voice. It's called the zero rupee note, and is, in essence, a transferable protest sign. Much like Iranian dissidents defacing their country's currency to protest the dictator, this note allows for a widespread and distributed protest without having to openly demonstrate.

It's a very interesting way to promote something, and a great way to give a voice to people who deserve one.

There's a saying about that...

Health care advertising can be rather dry and staid sometimes. Promotional items are usually pens, pads, boring stuff. Then there's this calendar for health provider AOK.

It's refillable, and brilliant.

I wonder if I can do the same kind of thing for Frito-Lay?

Play like a big league groundskeeper

Major League Baseball has a very devoted core fan base. They buy the merch, watch the games in person or on TV, they visit stadiums just to say they've been there. And now they can feel the same grass underfoot when they hang out in their own backyard.

Scotts Miracle Gro is partnering with MLB to provide the same grass seed used at Fenway, Wrigley Field and more. It will be the same blend of seeds and fertilizers and will feature branding from the respective club and will be certified by the head groundkeeper from the that club's field.

Kinda brilliant. Shame the Jays use artificial turf. Mind you, I'm sure you could brand that stuff and sell it as mousepads or car mats or some such thing.

* Please note that this post was written without the express written consent of Major League Baseball and may be subject to blackouts in certain markets. Contact your local authorities for details. Oakes & Mowat are not responsible for facepalms or groans from the overuse of the phrase "Field of Dreams" and the like.

Got tank?

Carlton Draught from Australia has come up with a novel spot. A spot that a lot of people would love to have pitched and sold to their beer client. It involves a tank. Those crazy Aussies.

A spot of the old ultra violence then?

This would make for an interesting concept to pitch to your clients: new research shows that adverts in violent video games are subject to better recall than ads in more non-violent video games.

Here's the article from the MIT Technology Review.

Now I'm off to find a way to work some Laura Ashley ads into Grand Theft Auto.

KFC sues self over advertising, creates black hole in space time continuum

Crispy or grilled? That is the question.

One part of KFC, the KFC National Council and Advertising Cooperative is suing another part of KFC, the YUM! Brands Kentucky Fried Chicken unit over the promotion of grilled over crispy chicken. Franchisees see the advertising as biased towards grilled chicken and are fearful over slumping sales due to consumer perception of crispy chicken being unhealthy.

The National Council and Advertising Cooperative who designs the marketing programs for the most popular chicken restaurant on the planet contends that Roger Eaton the president and chief concept officer for KFC is promoting grilled chicken over the more well known crispy offering.

So, the whole things comes down to who gets to call the marketing shots, but in the end, it's all about the chicken. Delicious crispy grilled deep fried breaded broiled flame kissed sauteed seared roasted barbequed chicken. Of course that's assuming that KFC is still in the chicken biz and isn't going to evolve into a never-ending loop of litigation.

Mind you KFC has had some pretty weird things associated with it in the past so them playing chicken about the chicken isn't that far fetched.

Someone in Redmond got a sense of humour

And a budget.

It's made in China, but it's not made in China

In an effort to boost their image and encourage more rampant consumption China has embarked on a new campaign to promote China to the world.

"Made in China, made with the world" is what they're trying to tell everyone. Sure the iPod is assembled in China, but the code and the concept are pure American. Yes we flat pack those groovy Ikea shelves, but the design is direct from the forests of Sweden.

In essence, China is only the enabler. We're the ones who keep asking them to give us more. And there's definitely no lead in the toys, or sulfuric acid in the drywall, or poison in the pet food, or exotic animals in the herbal medicines. Uh uh, no way. That's all in the past. The message now? If China screws up, it's your fault too. Because we're all in this together.

Given that almost everything mass produced comes from China, it seems kind of redundant to specify that it's from China...

So that's what my friends taste like

Facebook flavoured vitamin water.

Yes. It's true.

In cahoots with Coca Cola, the brain trust at Facebook has come up with the pinnacle of branding. They've created a flavour to associate with their brand. Apparently Facebook tastes like Black Cherry and Lime. Good. We needed that. It's another indication of how social media is advancing.

Sign number 451 of the impending apocalypse.

It ain't Reefer Madness

But it's a film about drugs all right.

Glaxo has a new drug, possibly developed in answer to Huey Lewis' demand for one. However, this is probably not the drug that was hoped for. It's called Alli, it's an over the counter weight-loss pill that counts amongst its myriad side effects "an urgent need to defecate". Remember those snack foods with Olestra in them and the fun trips to the bathroom those necessitated? Now you can do that all day, every day.

To help promote this wonder drug, Glaxo is funding a film. A film about obesity. Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon are amongst the people backing this potential magnum opus. In the words of those involved “This won’t be a marketing tool at all,” said Robin Bronk, the Creative Coalition’s executive director, adding that working with Glaxo on the project is “a natural progression of our mission to develop educational projects.”

So, there you have it. The drug is good for you and you don't need to exercise; Glaxo has your best interests at heart; and anyone funding a film that obliquely promotes their product is not engaging in marketing, but in education. Just wait till the armed forces starts sponsoring war movies and Virgin Mobile starts a sitcom that revolves around texting.

Now, who am I going to get to star in my debut, funded by the makers of Slap Chop and Shamwow?

When you design like Paul Rand,

your name speaks for itself.

Who is Paul Rand you ask? Well, in short, he's the designer who came up with some of the more iconic logos of the past few decades.