thinglets: Why Today's Print Advertising is Dead To Me In Ten Pics Or Less... Okay Ten!

The answer is simple. Print ads used to be weird while trying to normal; this made them surreal and, by default, intriguing. Often not for their content, but instead through sheer disbelief.

Now print ads are trying to be weird... and that's just real. You can't beat disturbing obliviousness... of course, you can just disbelieve all of this and think of this as a fucked up old ads post.

And I couldn't skip this one. Surreal for content alone.

thinglets: Tasting the Awesome!

I don't know that, if I was ever the owner of a major restaurant chain, I would ever want to ask my customers to come and "Taste the Awesome". If I'm offering something for a limited time, does that mean that the awesome hasn't existed in my eateries before, and that soon it won't anymore.

If the former, I would think it may a slap in the face to my loyal customers who have been frequenting the establishments for years, sucking down greaseball chunks of cow carcass adorned with "American" cheese that is far more suited to being garish than garnish. It's giving the ultimate FU! to all the fine folks who've been telling their friends for years how "awesome" my restaurant was and then pulling out the rug of sinewy lettuce and watching them fall on the ketchup-stained floor while I sit back in some corporate office with my feet up on a desk adorned with a WalMart frame containing a holiday portrait of my wife and 1.8 children wearing clothes from the GAP and Old Navy laughing gleefully to myself watching porn on the web after office hours thinking of drinking myself into a stupor and taking a long walk off a short overpass.

If the latter, it's a flailing testament to your organization's lack of ability to conceive of anything to capture the hearts and minds of the shuffling automatons that are one thread removed from just repeatedly bumping into the plate glass like a moth to a porch light until they summon up millennia of evolutionary Jungian percepts to grasp the handle of the door and pull while you raise a cold Miller Genuine Daft with your marketing team at putting another one over on the folks who thought that your regular burger/double burger/double cheeseburger/quarter pounder with cheese/triple cheeseburger and applewood smoked bacon artery hardening confection wasn't good enough... of course it wasn't good enough. If it was good enough, there would be no room for awesome.

But it's only for a limited time! Crap! You mean I'll never be able to savour the bourbon soaked ketchup sauce and sponge-nion rings that make up this colossus of awesomeness? I better hop in practical yet affordable sports utility vehicle and buy one of these right away, because someday when I write my novel, I'll never be able to complete this chapter on my life unless I can say I tasted the awesome. In fact, that's what I'm going to name that chapter of the autobiography. It's going rest somewhere between "Where's the Beef" and "Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun". The title of the entire book will be called Had it MY Way! I'll be the most awesomest writer in the world!

thinglets: Fecal Fountains of Soda Found

"A team of microbiologists from Hollins University found that 48% of the sodas they tested from fast food soda fountains had coliform bacteria..." - via

How does one play the PR on this? Maybe offer a Fecal Lite or Cherry Fecal? How about Dr. Fecal or Soda Plop? Surely the grand experts of advertising spin must be able to pull us out of this smelling like roses.

I've got it! Pay a scientist to say that fecal matter increases sexual potency, then offer it in pill form to the discriminating markets in Japan that pay thousands for dehydrated powdered whale penis.

lovehate: In Defense of a 24 Hour Culture

Oh sure, I don't need a hamburger with a side of onion rings and a soft serve chocolate sundae at four in the morning, but I might WANT them. I might also need a new printer cartridge at 5am to print out a term paper that's due at 9. Perhaps I'd simply like to buy some stamps so that I could send a parcel to a friend in Spain, but need to do it during the "witching hour" because the contents of the package are under a Wiccan curse.

I applaud the fact that some of the businesses in my city are starting to respect the nighthawk and cater to the nighthawk's needs. Before continuing, I'll give credit to the convenience stores which started the tradition a couple of decades ago. Yours was truly the stuff of inspiration. But while your wares have expanded beyond what I thought was originally possible, there are only so many Ultra XL Chalices of Soda I can down in a lifetime. Also, the snack cake/refried beef torpedo conundrum is just too confusing to plan for.

There's one entire chain of supermarkets that's now open 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Of course that's incredibly useful if I'm feeling industrious and would like to actually shop, but often the late night craving is for something where I don't have to get out of the car. Somewhere there has to be a supermarket with a drive-thru that stocks only the essentials. I completely understand that a loudspeaker shout out for a hummus and a rotisserie chicken at 5am isn't going to cut it at a drive-thru window, but surely they can have some pop, chips, milk, and bread on hand so I don't have to by a week-old loaf at the Kwik-E-Mart.

In my 20s there used to be a 24 hour Taco Bell drive-thru near my house... OHHHH! Burritos at Dawn! (strangely enough, once considered by Sergio Leone as a sequel to A Fistful of Dollars). Now McDonalds has taken up the torch around this area, but Mickey D's is the last fast food place I want to consider. C'mon Wendy's, Harvey's, Subway, Dairy Queen! Get off your asses or the Nighthawk Alliance will start a daytime boycott... which is easy because we're not awake.

I've seen those Discovery Channel docs on Japan's crazy vending machine malls, where one can buy ANYTHING out of a vending machine. Why don't we have these places in North America? They'd be easy to staff. But I don't want some cheap-ass version of the Vendomart. I want to be able to buy ANYTHING. New car - check. New laptop - check. Hand-woven Armenian Bathmat - check. Homemade Perogies stuffed with Goat Cheese and Bacon - check. I'll travel to get there too. Just put two in every city and someone will be raking in my cash. They could also be at the hub of local hotels. When I pull into a town at 2am and am reduced to gas station culinary escapades, I get upset.

And that's another thing. Why do I have to look high and low in some towns to find a 24 hour gas station - it's the 21st frakkin' century! Would you rather I went back to a cart and left horseshit all over your streets?

If a casino can stay open 24 hours a day, with video surveillance, adequate staffing and ample well-lit parking, surely I should be able to find somewhere in any major town or city to buy a mosquito coil, a piece of sandpaper and a can of varsol to explore my McGyver-esque fantasies in a children's playground area... wait... maybe I've said too much... I should get home before the sun comes up.

thinglets: Evolution of Logos

We all take logos and design for granted and, quite frankly, I think we should. What I mean is that a logo should be like a referee in a hockey game, you know their doing their best when you don't even notice they're around.

By clicking the link under the picture above you'll be able to see the evolution of some 40 different corporate logos. I find SONY one of the most interesting merely because of their decided lack of major change over the past century. Almost all of the change in the SONY logo revolves around either slight squashing or elongation of the standard font. The great thing is that you know there's probably months of debate going into every proportional change to that font. The intense considerations that often go into the most miniscule tweaks to a logo makes them one of the ultimate forms of craft.

Know your audience and represent your entire brand in a scalable symbol that can be reproduced from one inch wide to a billboard.