One of my favourite things to do during down-time is take personality quizzes that aggrandize me in some show-offable way. What movie are you? Which Sex and the City Character are You Most Like? Rate Your Dating Style!
And given how many MySpace bulletins composed of Q & A's with self-excusing titles like "soooo b0red!" or "stolen from sheila" I get in a day, it's clear I'm not alone in this inclination.
Which is why this quiz on TakeTakeTake.ca was so exciting: "What's Toronto's Take on You?" It was like, oh snap, I never realized my city would have an opinion about where I belong in its gleaming array of subcultures and whatnot.
Pre-roll. Post-roll. Overlays. As YouTube and other video services attempt to further monetize their offerings, each iteration is jusy as annoying as the previous one. Well, here's another. It might not be quite as annoying (if done right) as some of the other forms as long as you are fine with advertisements appearing in videos where, otherwise, a picture might be hung or a blank wall stands.
Adidas is out with a few new video clips they hope will go viral. They feature Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard kicking balls at clay pigeons, Togolese footballer playing a video game with his shoe, Real Madrid footballer Arjen Robbenwatching his shoes get a mysterious tune up and German footballer Michael Ballack kicking balls at, well, watch and find out.
- Tom Messner on web two-dot-oh: "TV was still social medium in 1965 as people gathered around it; nobody gathers around the Internet unless you think that everyone is gathering around it at any time." Read more up-close with Hustle Knockin'. (V-via.)
- Twitter waves $500 million in Facebook stock off the table.
- Montreal-based Sid Lee opens doors where we all wish we could: in Amsterdam!
- "Oh, haven't you heard of Glah-day?" Someone finally speaks out about those Godforsaken Glade Scented Candles ads.
- George Parker will host your Second Life wedding if you promise to pass him some dirt on Enfatico.
- Google lets you customize search results.
- Planning to die? Don't forget to switch on the webcam.
- Shepard Fairey discusses his work and his design agency, Studio Number One, in a video interview.
The holidays -- shopping, senile relatives, stuffing with raisins and endless variations on the nativity -- aren't for everyone. This Leo Burnett ad for McDonald's depicts just such a guy.
The scene: charades by the Christmas tree with extended family. After an over-obvious movie mime (chest-pounding, monkey noises) that wins him "Brokeback Mountain...?", he acts out the first two words of The Great Escape, then leaps into a secret tunnel that looks like it's been dug with gravy spoons. Off to McD's he goes.
The UK-based ad promotes McDonald's "festive menu," which launches Wednesday. A spokesperson told the Guardian it's "strictly a turkey-free zone" to give customers "a haven to escape from some of the stressful Christmas activities, like shopping."
Guess that makes sense. Nothing soothes the consumption-distressed soul like chicken ... McNuggets.
This past Saturday night, YouTube held its YouTube Live event sponsored by Virgin, Flip, Lionsgate and Guitar Hero. The event, broadcast live from Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, included performances from Tay Zonday, will.i.am, Katy Perry, Joe Satriani, Bo Burnham, Michael, Buckley, Lisa Nova, Beardyman and many more. It was a geek fest to end all geek fests. But where was LonelyGirl16? Gary Brolsma? Syncsta (Barbie Girl, What is Love, Numa Numa, Ballroom Blitz Celebrate)? Tron? And all those other YouTube geeks?
Memorable moments from 41 ads, nicely choreographed to the tune of One Spring Away. Yeah, the gorilla's in there, plus bits from Sony's Bravia spots and Gap's Khaki Swing.
Steve is jealous because, in less sober times, we've bounced this same idea back and forth: "Hey, what if we mashed up a bunch of ads to, like ... a song...?"
But it takes a fine hand to elevate advertising -- coolly thrashed by jaded pundits -- to the soft-focused realm of scrapbook-worthy human experience. The Band From does it better than we could have.
For United Way, Publicis/Toronto gives us "Youth" and "Homelessness." Each introduces you to someone in dire straits: a homeless guy in his alley, staring despondently at passers-by; and a nervy new gangbanger.
Both look markedly stressed. Then each grabs hold of some part of themselves -- the homeless guy his torn jacket, the street kid his head -- and suddenly their skin peels off.*
Within the homeless man lies a clean-cut Joe with a uniform on. He steps easily out of his poverty-ridden skin -- kinda like the crazy sorceress whose ugliness "melted away" at the beginning of Disney's Beauty and the Beast -- and joins the sea of active, busy people on the streets.
Same deal with the kid. He grabs his head, peels off his hoodie-ensconced bad-ass self, and reemerges in -- lo! -- a baby blue soccer uniform.
"What you're really giving is a way out," each spot concludes, referring slyly to the donation you are now morally obligated to make.
I like the idea of being able to shake off your past and join the sunshiny stat-quo. But if the spots are appealing, it's because they oversimplify a taxing inner journey that can take years -- and plenty of sorrows -- to complete. Well, that's advertising for you.
Dear Bank of America and Microsoft,
Your recent upgrade to the new state of the art ATMs which, among other things, can accept check and cash deposits without an envelope has been, shall we say, less than pleasant. Apart from all the disconcerting noises and beeps they make, did you really have to assign the Windows XP Ding sound to the machines which plays every time a button on the touchscreen is pushed? Hello?? That's the same sound everyone in the world hears when they mis-click or make an error on their PC.
Don't you think choosing that sound to represent common function on the ATM was, well, pretty stupid? Not to mention incredibly disconcerting to the person using the ATM? Do you really want everyone to think they are making an error every time they push a button? Was this some sick joke your programmers decided to play on the unsuspecting public? Would it really have been that difficult to have pick something else from the hundreds of other less disconcerting system sound God forbid, create a new one?
The last thing I want to feel when I'm using an ATM is that I'm making a mistake or, worse, it's making a mistake. Which brings me to my next topic...