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Eye Candy

These two advertising campaigns really caught my eye recently.

VV Suicide Prevention. Help yourself. VV Suicide Prevention. Help yourself. VV Suicide Prevention. Help yourself.

A beautiful execution and a very simple message. I think these are really powerful.

NH Hotels. Where you would like to be.

NH Hotels advertisement was placed on Iberia airline’s headrests. On the back of the headrests you could see illustrations enjoying the different activites offered by NH Hotels: golf, beach, sauna, and spa.

[via Ads of the world & Ad Goodness]

Absurdist Advertising

Recently advertising is taking a turn towards the absurd… well I shouldn’t say recently, advertisers have always pushed the envelope as far as unconventional humor goes, but you typically only saw this approach with smaller brands that were more flexible and willing to take risks.

I’ve posted one print campaign and three separate tv commercials from major brands to exemplify my point.

Orbit Gum:

Beautiful Teeth
Emerald Nuts:

Old Spice:

Hot Pockets:

There are two benefits immediately apparent in this style of marketing:

  1. It is, or can be, dirt cheap.
  2. It is very effective with mellinials (god how I loath that word, but it’s very apropos in this instance)

One warning though, it is much easier to execute this style in video rather than in print.

I would be curious to know what all of you think of this?

Catch ’em by surprise.

Every time Jonathan and I hand out our business cards, a chuckle invariably follows, and we couldn’t be happier.

Billy is fearless, he rides his bike without training wheels

Sally cares about the future, that is why she recycles

We think it is one of the best complements we could ever receive.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!


This past week Jonathan and I were all over the tri-state area of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful sprawling countryside of Southwest Virginia (just gorgeous, can anyone tell what those beautiful, light purple trees are that line 81?)

Of course we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of you at ACRL, despite the fact that by the end of my fourth presentation I was like a walking, smiling library zombie. And, Baltimore, don’t get me started on Charm city! There is a reason why I am obsessed with the Wire; yes, yes I know it is the best show on TV but it also showcases one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S.A-Baltimore Hon!

But the capital city will always be our home base and it was wonderful to be back – the cherry blossoms blossoming and the people hanging out on their stoops. We saw some great billboards in DC that I think line up very well with the concept of value based marketing that I was trying to talk everyone into in my part of the panel “Will it make my teeth whiter?”

Have you seen the VW ads?
Here are some of the new tag lines:


Gol Airlines

Unfortunately, for legal reasons, I had to take down a series of ads that I posted a few days ago, but I found these substitutes, which I really, really like.
They have the same light and warm feeling in their approach, and there is something fresh about these. The photos were taken by Jan von Holleben. Amazing work!

gol_sand.jpg gol_baloon.jpg gol_tarzan.jpg
“If you always dreamed of flying, now you can.
Gol Airlines. Low-fare flights throughout South America.”

Via Ads of the world

Bic Pens – More Joy of Writing

I found this over at Twenty Four while browsing their awesome collection of ads. These ads are apparently fairly old, but still relevant; I love the idea of taking the mundane and making it spectacular.

382-pre-17-02616-bic_waterbroke-x390.jpg 383-pre-17-02706-bic_rocky-x390.jpg 381-pre-17-02612-bic_fire-x390.jpg

A campaign for BIC Pens. A writing experience so good that you’ll take a long time even when you need to communicate an emergency situation. The campaign is an Epica Bronze Winner and was created by Jung Von Matt.

Credits: Creative Director(s): Mathias Stiller, Wolfgang Schneider >> Copywriter(s): Michael Haeussler >> Art Director(s): Michael Janke >> Photographer(s): Daniel Zoubek >> Other(s): Account Supervisor: Frank Lotze, Frauke Schmidt, Henning Gerstner

Awesome Series of Ads – Kodak Rechargeable Batteries

Just when you thought it was dead. Just when you thought it was dead. Just when you thought it was dead.

Although somewhat morbid, these ads illustrate impeccable execution and clarity of concept.

Via AdsoftheWorld

Godawful Series of Ads – Honda Helmets

The best defence is a good defence. Helmet Kiba. Japanese for Feline tooth. Centuries old technology. It's harder to save your honour than your life. Helmet Kame. Japanese for Tortoise. Centuries old technology. There is no guardian angel in Japanese culture. There is no need. Helmet Ken. Japanese for Sword. Centuries old technology.

These ads are an example of why a horrible idea on paper always equates to a horrible outcome, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in this pitch meeting. “Let’s figure out a way to exploit the history of Japanese art for a cheap and ridiculous reason, because, you know, we are Japanese so it’s okay.”
For shame Honda, for shame.

Via AdsoftheWorld

The two faces of annual reports

AU Library Annual Report 2006Annual reports are notoriously hard to compile, but are they worth the outcome?

This year is the second year American University Library has chosen to dive in and make a public annual report. The first year was a trying task juggling the politics and the pain. The second year went a little more smoothly, but was still a huge nightmare (more politics and different pain).

Sounds like more trouble than it’s worth right?
You would think so, but with the right annual report and the right audience, it can be a beautiful thing.

The motivation for producing an annual report is to communicate the core values and worth of the organization to the public. Another great reason is fundraising- annual reports, especially “trophy annual reports” are great fodder for making the institution look grand and worthy of donations.

The design for this annual report was inspired by a botanic field guide, incorporating images from AU Library’s special collections. The style was chosen to fit in with the nature theme that all of AU Library’s administrative level brochures carry.

I’ve attached the PDF of the annual report to this post for review.

American University Library Annual Report 2005-2006

Stark is Good


An article, in the May 7th issue of The New York Times Magazine, called Shelf Improvement discusses the emerging “private label” or “store brand” and its growth in popularity. These store brands used to mimic the look of famous name products, but now a grocery store chain called Publix is taking an opposite strategy.

PD.JF06_Page_08b.jpgI think the ideas celebrated in this article and in the many accolades that Publix designs have garnered are applicable to libraries. These include pieces in Package Design Magazine and Private Label Buyer and an award from the graphic design magazine HOW. Each time I walk into a library I find tons of design clutter. Every brochure looks different from one another. Sometimes there is a mixture of home grown objects and free things that libraries have received from vendors (which are slick, but hardly well designed). My point is there is no clarity, no continuity in any of the designs. It is hard to tell what the library is trying to say, where you are supposed to go etc.

PD.JF06_Page_12a.jpgSome of the design principals that helped Publix win such awards could help us:

  • “Instead of echoing brand-name designs, Publix’s products have their own look: clean, clever and — with lots of white space and simple but crisp typography…”
  • “Cox’s (Tim Cox, director of the company’s in-house creative-service department) department set out to create a style that would “separate itself from what else is happening on the shelf.” If most packaging screams “look at me” with bright, colorful, busy graphics, one response is to go the opposite way, with a spare look.
  • “The aluminum foil boxes… feature little animals (a turtle, a swan, a moose) made of foil. The image changes depending on the message for the category but gives the designers some flexibility, Cox says. “The tinfoil has been very popular,” he adds. “And the intent was for the customer to say, ‘Oh, I get it,‘ and they can stand there and smile. If you can engage with them on that level, it’s a different means of interaction.
An update to this article can be found here: