Nazis against Nazis

3 12 2014

Now this is a brilliant bit of double-think.

Every year, the small town of Wunsiedel in Germany is over-run by neo-Nazi marchers. This year, the town fought back in a respectful, clever way. They basically organised a sponsored walk to raise funds for “EXIT-Deutschland” – an organisation to help neo-Nazis safely leave the far right. The thing was… they didn’t tell the marchers.

As the march progressed, road markings thanked their efforts, told them how much money they’d raised, and generally encouraged their progress. The town even offered them bananas to encourage them on to the final fund-raising total at the marches finish. €10000 in total.

Nazis Have Never Been About The Funny, But This Time The Fools Are Hilarious.

A similar clever idea was when EXIT-Deutschland handed out “Trojan horse” T-shirts at the Rock Für Deutschland festival run by Germany’s right wing NPD party. They handed out what appeared to be hardcore T-shirts (message: Hardcore Rebels. National and Free.) Members of Exit Deutschland dressed up as Nazis and passed 250 of their shirts to festival visitors. Once the guys came home after the Festival and washed their shirts the shirt revealed a different message: “Was dein t-shirt, kan kannst du auch” (If your T-shirt can do it, so can you.), and the message “We’ll help you break with right-wing extremism”, and a contact number for Exit Deutschland. Now THAT is clever…

Abby Normal

20 10 2014

Ever seen “Young Frankenstein” with Gene Wilder?

Classic spoof of the Gothic horror genre.

The monster’s brain is wrongly selected and shall we say is less than optimal.

These Belgian organ donor ads riff off the idea. Classic dark humour…

More at Ads of the World.

Are you sure you slept with a woman?

18 09 2014


How on Earth did I miss this one? Those witty Aussies do it again. A practical solution for those times a lady wishes she were a man. Just for a moment.

WhizBiz — About Us.


Marketing and what we put in our mouths

13 09 2014

I work in marketing. The Betty Crocker example at the beginning of this video was used by myself only the other day as an example of how “knowing your market” can make a huge difference to a product’s success.

“Kate Cooper” the marketing consultant is in fact an actress, but the information in the talk she gives is real, and the audience had no idea what they were in for. So their reactions and facial expressions are also real.

The third marketing tool – the “killer” secret weapon – is also very real. It’s not true for just food, but food is one product we should all make active choices about to a much higher degree than we do.

If you need more persuasion… read the novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. She defines the trilogy not as Science Fiction (“talking squids in outer space”) but Speculative Fiction (“a work that employs the means already to hand and that takes place on Planet Earth”).

eTalks – The Secrets of Food Marketing – YouTube.

The message isn’t that eating meat is inherently a bad thing. It is that the powerful desire for making money (a totally artificial human construct) coupled with the wilful gullibility of the general population lead to some pretty horrific results. A theme taken up and run with in Atwood’s trilogy.

I use the website to track the books I read and learn of books I might like to read. I have read several books relating to the history of a single narrow subject. For example Salt and Cotton. Goodreads therefore suggested I might like a similar book, related to Twinkies. It seems the author was shocked to read that several of the ingredients (at least the ones the manufacturer is forced to divulge by law on the label) begin life as various mineral rocks or even petrochemicals. I have a natural aversion to highly processed foods for just this reason, though do freely admit the lure of Salt Sugar Fat can be a powerful one. - Twinkie, Deconstructed

As a high school student in the UK, I took an elective course on “pollution”. The first case study was about Alcan (now part of Rio Tinto) and their Aluminium mines in my now adopted country of Canada. No shocking surprise there. Pollution was rife (this is ~1980), with images of huge lurid, toxic tailing ponds. And this was before the Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley disaster! If you doubt the impact of even the most “sensitive” mining operation, try a google search of images of Highland Valley Copper. And they’re one of the best managed operations – particularly with respect to reclamation. Owned by Teck, if you cared. I hadn’t seen fluids that bright since messing with Copper Sulphate in high school!

The second example was colourants and brighteners in frozen peas. Naturally “blanched” frozen peas just “don’t look right”, whereas peas soaked in chemicals look “how people expect”… like they do on the (plastic) packaging. This was an early wake-up call to me as a teenager. It also helped me look at pollution in a different light. Much of it was wilfully accepted as “normal”. The UK and the EU have had reasonably broad food labelling in place for many years now (I’ll pass over how the French managed to get frogs defined as “fish” to allow their farmers to claim fishery subsidies for their odd food tastes.). The regulation of additives is way more stringent than here in Canada (where I am still horrified to find lurid blue sweets and “energy drinks” with dubious substances being consumed by future diabetic kids). But it’s still far from perfect.

We eat 2.5kg of food additives a year, on average. And it’s totally OK, because the manufacturers are now forced to tell us… but we buy it anyway. Wilful ignorance. I was once taught that a market gets the suppliers it deserves… in the same way as a democracy gets the government it deserves. If you want cheap food… you’ll get it. Just don’t expect high quality.

I recently read about a Chipotle fast food restaurant in the US being closed down when the staff all walked out demanding a “fair wage”. The author of the piece pointed out what the food prices would need to be to support those higher wages. And in a job market where the positions could be filled for even LESS than Chipotle were currently paying, the protest seemed ill advised at best. Pointless at worst. The US (and let’s be fair – the West in general) has come to expect easy access to cheap consumer goods – including food. Few, if any, questions asked. If we cared more about working conditions and food quality… we wouldn’t complain about the price necessary to provide that. These things need to be in equilibrium.

The same teacher also took us for Organic Chemistry lessons. When learning about nickel as a catalyst for various chemical reactions, he calmly mentioned that when he was a youngster, it wasn’t uncommon to find bits of the metal in your margarine. It was, after all, a manufactured chemical product. The metals were used to allow the various hydrogenated bonds to form and allow the liquid oils to form more of the fatty consistency we choose to put on our bread. It’s not actually a petro-chemical as some would have you believe, but pretty much any animal or plant oil can be used as a starting point. Again – best not to ask too many questions…

Wikipedia: Margarine

As an adult, I now work for Océ, part of Canon, and involved in digital printing and the graphic arts. Océ though used to make food dye – as long ago as 1865 in fact. Specifically the types of yellow dye you add to the pale creamy white (think: lard) factory-manufactured chemicals formed by metal catalysts, in order to make it look more, er, natural! Like butter substitutes “should” look.

Sleep well tonight, won’t you? And when you pour your cereal in your bowl tomorrow, forget reading the newspaper. Read the box! It really will be educational.

Did Apple Just Rip Off OK Go’s Music Video?

10 09 2014

Hell yes!

I went to see OK GO live in Vancouver a few weeks back. Their music is great, but their video work and live performance is amazing. Such innovative visuals. Remember the treadmills? They even managed to do a 3D optical illusion live in the theatre… for the entire audience!

Check out the piece on Mashable: Did Apple Just Rip Off OK Go’s Music Video?.

Basically Apple approached OK GO to do a piece for the recent iPhone 6 launch. Discussions went nowhere, so Apple just ripped off their style and video anyway…. classy!

OK GO video (Thanks youtube):

Apple video (Thanks again youtube):

For Ocean Pollution Awareness: Used Condoms, Cigarette Butts ‘Sold’ At Markets –

11 06 2013

Every year, the local Sea Scouts help with World Oceans Day, and provide safety boat cover for the local divers who collect debris from our local shoreline. Families and youngsters comb the sands and collect “foreign” items that shouldn’t be there. Then the fun starts – under the guidance of Vancouver Aquarium all the various items are logged and categorised. Condoms, cigarette butts, you name it, we find it.

Sometimes there are pleasant discoveries too. One year a wallet was recovered and returned to its owner. Sometimes there are poignant finds… like well-loved dollies who met a watery end.

Saatchi & Saatchi in LA worked with the Surfrider Foundation to help raise awareness with a pretty unsubtle reminder of how we’re polluting our food sources.

For Ocean Pollution Awareness: Used Condoms, Cigarette Butts ‘Sold’ At Markets –

How do you think Superman shaves?

29 05 2013

An interesting little Gillette marketing piece to tie in with the new Superman film.

Thought-Provoking Theories Explain How The Invincible Superman Shaves –

In the trailer he’s all scruff and ruggedness. Later he’s clean shaven.

Superman… with scruff

How can it be so?!



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