Previous month:
February 2007
Next month:
April 2007

Posts from March 2007

Death of a Superhero


This week saw the death of two heroes of mine - Jean Baudrillard and Captain America.

Baudrillard was a leading French postmodernist [question: why were all the postmodernists French?] who posited the erosion of meaning due to the excess of representation - in essence the problem we now deal with as clutter.

He came to believe in hyper reality - that things only existed because they were mediated - an idea that resonates with the youth of today - without a digital footprint you don't really exist at all.

The Wachowski brothers attributed the inspiration to The Matrix to his book Simulacra and Simulation - the book is on Neo's bookshelf in the film - although he distanced himself from the movie.

Captain America was the anthropomorphic personification of the American dream - like most superheroes he was a normal, geeky kid plucked out of obscurity and given great power to uphold the values of the truth, justice and liberty for all.

This remixed video, overdubbing a tune from Team America: World Police to some camp footage of the 80's Captain America movie neatly sums up how the American metanarrative has developed in the eyes of the world.

I wonder what Baudillard would have thought of him being killed off.

Post of the Month - Nomination


Hello! I've been nominated for Post of the Month for February for a piece I wrote about Pseudo-Modern Communication, which is lovely.

It's all about how pseudo-modern texts only exist due to the interaction of readers. So Big Brother, for example, is a pseudo-modern text, as it only works if people vote. So all UGC brand communication is pseudo-modern, in that it recognises that:

We can offer people the sense [or illusion] that they are in control of their interaction with the brand and that their interaction is a requisite condition for its existence.

Because they are and it is.

This is quite neat since the Post of the Month idea is also a pseudo-modern text and it requires your input.

So please go and become part of it here and vote with your finger.

They like it and they're shagging


A comment posted about my brother's poetic diatribe on advertising reminded me of Eddie Izzard's Rules of Advertising. The comments concerned the overt vs. concealed influence model of advertising, something that Izzard captured in his own inimtiable style:

So anyway, advertising! Yes, that’s what I brought you here to talk about! Yes, advertising… Because I’ve been looking at it, and I’ve realized that certain people in the advertising area are being paid huge wads of cash in brown bags in order to subtly adjust our minds. Because, in the old days, before the ‘50s, I don’t know, it was much more blatant, adverts were more like, “Come on, there it is! (pointing) Come on! Haven’t got all day, there it is!” And as consumers, we were, “Oh, okay, I didn’t realize! Sorry! Don’t hit me!“ (running towards the product)

Nowadays we have choice, don’t we? We’re much more choosy, and we’re much more aware of what we can buy, so adverts are more subtle, they’re the soft sell, much more like… (humming a tune and pointing discreetly at product) “Oh, look at that! Those two people like it, and they’re shagging…”

Pecha Kucha


Last night I trundled down to the Barbican for a Pecha Kucha evening, part of the Do Something Different Weekend, celebrating 25 years of the Barbican.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation format, mainly for creative work, originally devised by some architects in Japan. The events now happen in 42 cities around the world, at last count.

It's caught on like some kind of intervirus because the format allows each presenter 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide and they can talk about whatever they want.  So you get a flavour of each presenter and then they're gone. No chance to get bored. No death by PowerPoint. And people are talking about something important to them, which is what I assume happens when you ask someone to talk about whatever they want. 

Jatinder, the guy in the picture, spoke about the importance of beauty when protesting oppression and exhorted everyone to listen to Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday as it is the "only song of the modern age".

Like any presentation, Pecha Kucha lives and dies on the presenter and there was an interesting spectrum of styles: some read a speech from a script, some read poetry, one used the epistolary format popular in 18th century novels, and others used the conversational style of the stand-up and each style worked well, which is an good reminder to find your own style when presenting. There no one right way to talk to groups of people and get them to agree with you.

One guy spent spent his 6 minutes and 40 seconds talking about flies. One showed pictures from theatre groups in Brazilian prisons. One seemed to be obsessed by trains and returned at the end for a surprise finale, when he sang a song about being in Milton Keynes.

Although I imagine it's unlikely that client presentations could be done in this way, it did serve to remind you how much information you can communicate in a very short time and with only 20 images [no words] to visually aid you.

i watched an ad

Originally uploaded by erix!

Today TIGS has its first ever guest entry: a poem written by one of my rather brilliant brothers.

Laith doesn't work in the industry [he's doing a PhD in population biology] but I think the poem expresses a clear grasp of some of the issues facing advertising - another reminder, if one were needed, that consumers know exactly what's going on.

For your delectation:

i watched an ad
by Laith Yakob

i watched an ad
it made me smile
i was 10% happier for a while

i watched an ad
it was a bore
far too easy to ignore

i watched an ad
it sold with sex
indistinguishable from the next

i watched an ad
i like the tune
must remember to download it soon

i watched an ad
eliciting guilt
and mourned over the milk it spilt

i watched an ad
"call this number!"
an order i tend to cast asunder

i watched an ad
and like the rest
i denied it its request

there is no ad
that's worked on me
all brands bark up the wrong tree

Drinking with the sphere


Drinking with the 'sphere last night was a great success - completely beyond expectations - there is clearly much latent desire to get drunk with nice people. Yay!

Lots of nice people came and drank. 


Asi and Ant turned up first but that picture didn't come out.

This is Ant and Stu - Stu has a blog that asks people to call him up so he can say individual words of the day to them.


And here's my nude brother Ed:


Caroline and Amelia:


The oddly translucent David:


Rach and Izzy:




And the anonymous Corporate Blawg made an appearance, taking the evening into uncharted professions:


More pics of lovely people drinking and blurry lights here.

Thanks to everyone for coming. The next one may well be in a couple of weeks.