The original location of the iconic and legendary bodybuilding mecca Gold’s Gym is a block away from the sands of Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The painted logotype signage on its facade is faded, and that, coupled with the simple architecture of the building, suggests the gym’s vintage and no-nonsense austerity. This is where Arnold Schwarzenegger trained as a bodybuilder in the 1970s and ’80s before launching his action-film career. A few blocks away stands a much larger and modern Gold’s Gym where the bodybuilding tradition continues.
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.
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.
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.”
For decades mass-market juices and milk were sold in paper-box cartons, but in recent years all sorts of other juices and beverages have been packaged in new, cleverly designed containers as in the example below of beautifully packaged juices and water (the first time we’ve ever seen water in a box carton) at the Butcher’s Daughter restaurant and cafe in New York’s Lower East Side.
This short video titled “This is a Generic Brand Video” was created entirely from stock video to go with the words of Kendra Eash’s clever and funny McSweeney’s Internet Tendency piece of the same title. It’s an amusing, masterful break down of advertising semiotics and visual style.
Among these billboard postings on Broome Street in New York’s Lower East Side is an ad for local classical-music radio station WQXR’s “Month of Mozart” program. As in some of the station’s previous marketing campaigns, the ads make reference to contemporary popular culture and employ a clever pun. In this case, the phrase ” I Am a Deus” references American hip-hop star Kanye West’s recent “I am A God” song and Mozart’s name. “Deus” is the Latin word for God and forms part of Mozart’s middle name, “Amadeus,” which was also the title of a 1984 film about the famous composer.
It lives … The Gucci-branded Fiat 500. We spotted this one in New York City’s East Village on the weekend. The Italian automaker has been doing some interesting things with its re-design and marketing of its classic 500 model (or Cinquecento, as it’s also known). With the launch of the new 500, Fiat embarked on an ambitious ad campaign and push into the U.S. market, which included a series of ads with Jennifer Lopez a couple of years ago. Gucci and Fiat are two massive, distinct Italian brands, but aside from their Italian roots, they’re vastly different: Luxury fashion-lifestyle vs. economy sub-compact cars that historically (before the current, re-designed 500) had a reputation for breaking down often.
A sparkly fresh new wheat-paste street art piece by the artist Raemann on Lafayette Street in NoHo, downtown New City. “Smart Air” is another in series of artworks that depict “bottled air” as a consumer product branded with the logos of popular bottled-water brands, such as Dasani, Perrier, Poland Spring, and, as pictured here, Smart Water.
We were in Paris a few months ago when some ad agency friends in the French capital turned us on to a new and ground-breaking food magazine and restaurants guide that is blowing up in France at the moment. The magazine is called “Fooding,” and it’s providing a fresh approach — in historically conservative culinary France, at least — to how people think and write about restaurants, dining and food. Its timing coincides with a generational and cultural shift in France (a rebellion, some might say) in how food is prepared and presented within the restaurant dining experience. It’s a big deal because classic French cuisine is amazing, but firmly established and thus, until recently, relatively strict, rigid in its ways, hidebound to traditional methods. Though primarily in French, Fooding (or “Le Fooding”) has a lot of reviews translated in English. We really like the look of the magazine, its layout, design, photography, illustrations and graphics, as the photos from the 2013 edition of the guide below show. And we really appreciate the craft and design of an actual printed magazine, especially now, at a time when so many us consume magazine content online or digitally and — seemingly almost as a reaction to that — he art of the the small-run print magazine is showing a resurgence.