Category Archives: Media & Advertising

FAKE NEWS? YOU CAN’T MAKE UP THIS HEADLINE!

God bless the New York Post. Love it or hate or both, as many New Yorkers do, amusing, pun-filled headlines like the one pictured above are almost a tradition at the Post. Journalists and editors dream of news stories that might warrant such a funny yet legitimate headline.

In this case, “Bezos Exposes Pecker” is a brilliant double entendre. Amazon co-founder and CEO Jeff Bezos literally exposed his … er, “pecker” when he took a selfie of his … er, “junk” (a.k.a., a “dick pic”). The photo was allegedly from his cellphone and leaked to the National Enquirer, whose owner is named — and here is where the stars really aligned for the Post — David Pecker.

Bezos then publicly revealed that the Enquirer allegedly tried to blackmail him, using the release of the dick pic as leverage. In doing so, Bezos literally exposed David Pecker’s alleged scheme. He exposed Pecker.

Fakes news? No, You can’t make this stuff up. It’s real news. And real funny.

PRINTED MATTER: THE RETURN OF THE AWESOME CRAPPY ‘ZINE

“Can’t Steal Our Vibe” is a lo-fi, black-and-white ‘zine published by Lone Wolfs (sic) Objets de Surf, a surf brand and shop in Venice, Los Angeles, as well as a music production company and studio.

CSOV is more of an art zine than a surf mag and has virtually nothing intrinsically to do with the act of surfing itself or the “sport.” It’s more a mirror reflection and by-product of surf culture and Venice Beach, with endearing surf illustrations and photos and a brief Q&A with former surf-pro and Venice resident Brad Gerlach. 

It has no real articles or substantive text in the usual sense, but instead relies more on images and artwork. The overall effect is one of an aesthetic and a vibe, which makes its title all the more apt.

“Can’t Steal Our Vibe” comes off as a vapid, hasty and lazy throw-away of a magazine produced with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, great if inscrutable style, and zero fucks given. Its got the intellectual nutrition value of a Twizzler. But it’s a Twizzler we want to keep chewing over and over and over again. 

CAPITALISM 101: ICYMI … EVERY AD IS A TIDE AD!

In case you missed it, one of the best — if not the best — TV commercial from the broadcast of last weekend’s 2018 Super Bowl was this ad for Tide laundry detergent. It’s already being talked about as one of the best ever and an “instant classic.” There are a few more companion ads for this Tide spot that aired throughout the Super Bowl. For example this Old Spice hijack by Tide and these too. All brilliantly conceived and executed.

CAPITALISM 101: STRANGER THINGS APPAREL SPOTTED IN THE WILD

Have you binge watched season two of Stranger Things? If you have then you know how good it is. Some are saying it’s better than season one. Go figure.

We admit we’ve already seen all of season two of the Netflix original series. It lives up to the hype. Yes, that’s right, savvy reader, it’s still “critically acclaimed”! 

Given its critical and popular success, there’s probably going to be a third season. (Netflix doesn’t share viewer numbers and the show is commercial-free so in audience and dollars terms we don’t really know how successful it is.)

But no matter. As long as current subscribers don’t cancel there Netflix accounts, it’s as a good as a hit. Continue reading

DEAD PRINT MEDIA: THE NEW ISSUE OF APARTAMENTO MAGAZINE ARRIVES AND WE’RE GIDDY

There are few things in life that make us positively giddy with excitement. These few things are …

  • Good waves and the promise of good surfing;
  • A quad-shot espresso in a cup filled to the top with ice first thing on a hot, humid morning, preferably near a beach with good waves and the promise of good surfing;
  • Experiencing a bold, massive-scaled and amazing art installation, preferably after quad-shot espresso, good waves, good surfing, etc.;
  • Boarding a plane bound for a foreign country, especially after seeing amazing artwork, quad-shot espresso, good waves, surfing blah blah blah;
  • And … seeing a new, freshly printed issue of Apartamento magazine sitting neatly on the table at HQ.

The smell of the magazine’s thick, expensive paper stock can practically be sensed from a few meters away, which is like foreplay to thumbing through its pages.

Print media dead? Dying maybe, but not dead. In some cases, print media is positively thriving. For a few years now we’ve been in a new golden age of  excellent independent print magazines. For for some magazines, the content is such that it is best experienced in print.

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最近は楽しいものがいくつかあります。私たちがApartamento誌の新版を見ると、とても幸せになれます。この雑誌はインテリアインテリア、アート、デザインに関するもので、美しいものです。内容は英語ですが、スペインとイタリアの編集者やデザイナーが作成しています。

The Horror: Cash for Ukeleles

Smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far, far away from any significantly large land mass or continent sit the Hawaiian Islands. This archipelago is a well-known paradise full of lush flora, beautiful beaches, dramatic mountain ranges, gorgeous waterfalls, volcanic landscapes and a warm, balmy climate where the water and air temperature are roughly equal year around. For better or worse, it’s a tourist mecca, but still a genuine paradise nonetheless.

Yet there’s a darker side.

It’s often overlooked that Hawaii is home to over a million people! A MILLION people hunkered down on a few small islands in the middle of the Pacific. That’s a million-plus humans planted on the most remote islands in the world! Most of these people are on the island of Oahu and its modern capital city Honolulu. There you’ll find all the features of a large metroplis — Freeways, skyscrapers, multi-level luxury shopping malls, and hipster-run third-wave coffee shops serving creative and obscure espresso-based beverages!

And like almost any major city there are homeless, crime, and some strata of economic misfortune. The last may be most visibly measured in the number of pawn shops in a city, easily spotted in the evening by cheap neon signage that cut right to the chase of the transaction terms.  

It’s a telling sign of contemporary Hawaiian culture when the pawn shop specifically says it offers cash for ukeleles, like the one pictured here in the Kaimuki neighborhood of Honolulu.

The iconic ukelele is Hawaii’s major modern contribution to the world of music and has become a symbol of its culture, even though it was invented in the 1800s and inspired by a Portuguese stringed instrument. Which makes it all the more poignant that there’s probably a person somewhere in Hawaii who is at this moment contemplating pawning their beloved uke so they can pay an unexpected medical bill or make their car payment. That neon sign, and the financial distress it implies, is in stark contrast to every popular image of America’s 50th state.

It’s paradise. But not for everyone, it seems.

New Issue of International Hipster Design-Porn Mag “Apartamento” Arrives!

We love Apartamento magazine. And so should you. The new issue of this mag devoted to “everyday interiors” and design/designers just arrived at our local purveyor of printed matter and it looks gooooooooood!

Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit

Last week, we stumbled upon this vintage copy of Yoko Ono’s influential 1964 conceptual-art book “Grapefruit.” It was in a display case arranged with various jewelry, accessories and other small objet at General Store in Venice, Los Angeles. The cool-as-fuck book cover has a black-and-white photo of Ono and titles in a lower-case serif typography of a style that has  re-surfaced in recent years in the indie magazine and graphic design worlds. The book itself is not so much an artwork as it is a collection of instructions for creating specific performance art pieces and media, a legit artificat from art’s Fluxus movement of the 1960s in downtown New York, where Ono established herself as a leading figure.

Surf Photography Books

On a recent visit to the Arcana bookstore in Culver City, in Los Angeles, we checked out some beautiful coffee-table books on surfing and surf photography. Among these was a book titled “Surfing San Onofre to Point Dume: 1936-1942.” It’s a collection of sepia-toned photos by Don James documenting his surfing experience and his surfer friends and their lifestyle in Southern California during the pre-World War II era and early war years. The photos reveal what the surfing life was like in its first idyllic golden age when the Hawaiian “sport of kings” was still novel and taking root in California.

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これらのクールで美しい本は、サーフィン撮影に関するものです。 これらの本は、ロサンゼルスのカルバーシティにある有名なアルカナ書店で見つけました。

“Cold Open”

This beautiful old-school graffiti art is on a corrugated metal fence next to the Venice Beach offices of an advertising agency called Cold Open. Check out this short time-lapse video documenting the painting of this graffiti artwork.

Wes Anderson Directed a Christmas Commercial for H&M

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Auteur film director Wes Anderson has produced an amusing short Christmas film (see below) as long-form commercial for the global Swedish clothing retailer H&M. It’s called “Come Together” and stars Adrien Brody as the conductor of a train carrying passengers through a winter holiday storm. The four-minute film is an exercise in branded content for H&M. Aside from a logo “bug,” branding itself and commercial messaging has been kept to a minimum at the end of the video. “Come Together” is quintessential Anderson in terms of style, editing, production design and cinematography, and it is as visually charming as anything we’ve seen from the director. Anderson has directed commercials for other brands in the past and you can see some of them online at AdWeek.

Funny Anti-Trump Guerrilla Ad Campaign in New York

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AdWeek is reporting on a series of funny anti-Trump outdoor ads have been popping up on bus-stop billboards around New York City the past week. These cheeky, hilarious ads riff on well-known films and popular fiction such as Dr. Strangelove, Thelma and Louise, The Shining, Humpty Dumpy, and Dumb and Dumber. The campaign amounts to an unpaid exercise in creative guerrilla activist-marketing. The ads were created by three friends, each of whom work for different advertising agency. See more more images on Adweek.

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“I Take Care of My Beaches” Sticker … Rincon, California

We stumbled upon this “I Take Care of My Beaches” message on a sticker-bombed pole at the Rincon Beach parking lot near Santa Barbara, California. The sticker’s message is positive and encourage visitors to keep the the coast clean. The message itself can be read as a bit of a cheeky pun, playing off hip-hop culture’s lyrical tropes where usually the word “beaches” would be “bitches.”

“But First, Coffee” Curb … Silver Lake, Los Angeles

The curb in front of the Alfred Coffee in Silver Lake, Los Angeles has been cheekily employed as signage, and as such a clever branding device that bears the cafe’s slogan in stenciled white-on-black paint: “But First, Coffee.” Whether this guerrilla marketing tactic is legal is unknown. (We suspect it isn’t legal and they didn’t ask the city for permission.) In the extreme car culture of L.A., where people are especially attuned to the meanings of the city’s various color-coded curb markings, finding free, legal street parking can be frustrating. Alfred Coffee brings a welcomed touch of levity to the experience, as well as a reminder of our caffeinated priorities.

One more note … On the sidewalk is a purple stencil street art that riffs on graphic designer Milton Glaser’s iconic “I Heart NY” logo concept, but the graphical quality with this street stencil is muddled and it isn’t clear what the message is. But the “heart” part of the visual trope looks a lot like the face of legendary film actor Jack Nicholson as he appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

A Visit from Apartamento Magazine Editor Omar Sosa … Los Angeles

We recently attended a small talk with the co-founder and editor of Apartamento magazine, Omar Sosa. The talk was at one of the creative marketing companies run by mega-global advertising agency TBWA in Los Angeles. Sosa (pictured at right in the photo above) with Emilien Crespo, the talk moderator at the agency, spoke at length about how he and his designer friends started Apartamento in Barcelona in 2008 and how the magazine has grown and developed a devoted, almost cult-like, global readership.

We’ve been picking up copies of Apartamento since the first time we spotted it on the rack at the McNally-Jackson Bookstore in New York City way back in 2009. Part of what sets the magazine apart is its documentation of what it calls “everyday interiors.” Rather than showing slick images of pristine, carefully-staged, aspirational living spaces in the tradition of many commercial “shelter” mags, Apartmento shows the spaces of various creators in their cluttered, lived-in, natural glory and in a more intimate photographic style.

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Obama “History” Street Art Sticker … Venice, Los Angeles

In 2008 street artist and designer Shepard Fairey created a colorful poster depicting then U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama with a single-word message “Hope” written on it. The image had a graphic, illustrative quality and was based on a press photo of the candidate. The poster was an instant classic of graphic design and became an important piece of the Obama campaign’s visual communications arsenal. Obama’s winning of the 2008 election sealed the poster’s iconic status. Eight years later, in the final year of Obama’s presidency, we stumbled upon an updated version of the same poster image on a rubbish bin in Venice, Los Angeles. Now the same iconic image is rendered in black-and-white version and instead of “Hope,” the word “History” is written across the bottom. The phrase “dustbin of history” comes to mind. Is the fact that the sticker is on a garbage bin a political statement?


Japanese Summer “Hanabi”-Themed Billboard Ad For Coca-Cola … Tokyo

Japan has a long-established, globally recognized and highly-developed sense of aesthetics, especially when it come to design and graphic communications like advertising. This large indoor billboard poster for Coca-Cola at Ark Hills Tokyo references the Japanese summer tradition of hanabi (massive fireworks displays) as beautiful flat, abstract graphics.

Design … Surfer Magazine’s New Logo and Format

Surfer magazine has boldly introduced its new, artsier design and wider format with this stark black-and-white cover illustration in a style reminiscent of late children’s book creator Maurice Sendak. The illustration is inspired by the theme of this month’s issue, “addiction” (as in, “addicted to surfing”).