Wednesday, 28 April 2010

These guys have balls

The new Diesel campaign, innovatively entitled 'Be Stupid', is a well-crafted example of how a good creative execution can make a stupid idea seem smart. If an advertiser essentially told the potential buyers of a good that they would be, well, stupid if they associated themselves with it, disaster would be more than certain. But, in Diesel's case, their agency of choice, Anomaly, delivered excellent results that carry with it a carefree idea that not only appeals to the target market but also represents the brand itself, since it first had the 'stupid' idea of selling new jeans that looked old.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Warm Sunsets 3.0

Some things never get old. Summer 2010 is only a month away, and the heat is already rising.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Soundtrack for the weekend 6.0

Kind of makes you feel like you want to rob a bank and drive away in a 70's Cadillac convertible.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What's Up Your Ash?

The chaos theory states that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wings can cause a tornado halfway around the world. I don't know what kind of a butterfly caused the volcano to erupt in Iceland (this is a manner of speech, I am not that horrible at Science), but the Eyjafjallajokull volcano seems to have become a butterfly of its own, spreading a very modern species of chaos around the world. The flutter of a butterfly's wings 'cut off' thousands of metallic wings which have remained grounded in various airports around Europe, patiently awaiting further instructions. The crisis seems to have slowly hit Asia, and other continents that are linked to Europe by air:

In a sign of the crisis' impact on Asia's export-driven economies, the Japanese car giant, Nissan, says it is suspending several production lines due to the shortage of parts from Ireland. Honda will also partly halt production. (BBC Website)

Until today, I was only familiar with Iceland due to some of its excellent music exports, but from now on I shall forever remember it as the little country that screwed up the whole world and the vast majority of European airlines. Not that it's really Iceland's fault, but still.

There is still a question that stubbornly refuses to leave my mind, and it is about whether this chaos has not been caused by its source, the 'butterfly' itself, but by the intermediary - humans. Exaggeration, as everyone haply discovered last summer with the oh so morbid (not) spread of swine flu, seems to be embedded in human DNA, as is risk aversion (or else the world would be a mental place). Is Europe exaggerating in insisting that planes are unable to fly? Weren't the test flights enough? Aren't the clear blue skies enough? Aren't the airlines' complaints enough? I am confident they wouldn't be begging to fly if a big bad cloud of ash and debris was up there waiting to swallow their entire fleet and overall existence. I am no expert, but pure logic is telling me that it is not the airport the planes depart from that determines whether they are actually able to fly once they are up in the air. Are those who took the 'lockdown' decision afraid to admit they were not quite right, especially with the impending lawsuits they would be bombarded with by the airlines?

And while the EU remains mainly unresponsive, thousands of travelers remain stranded in foreign countries, or worse, airports, looking for ways to get home. Including my dad.

Has everyone overreacted to a mere flutter of some wings?

Very short and semi-nostalgic morning playlist

Let's go somewhere.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Nice way to start your week 2.0

Funky tune.

Charity case Arsenal

I didn't watch the game yesterday, and am I glad I didn't. I checked the score when it was 0-2 and thought it was all over. That's probably what Wenger's boys thought as well. After one of United's (unfortunately) many wins against us in recent years, Patrice Evra had stated "We are men, they are boys", and his words are resonating loudly in my ears game after game as all our title hopes fade away once again two short steps till the end. Mistakes, in life but also in football in particular, are repeated until learned. If you refuse to learn from your mistakes, they will come back to haunt you. Wenger's biggest mistake has been his stubborn denial of the team's gagging need for transfers. Turning our reserves into starting line-up material has become a tiring and fruitless process. When it does turn fruitful, we sell off the fat of our land to our Champions League competitors in exchange for cash that is stored safely amongst spiderwebs under the title 'Funds', never to see the light of day again.

I am not doubting Arsene Wenger's managerial skills. The man, with the right material, can create wonder teams, like the Invincibles who gave us Arsenal fans so many joys in the past. But, his current behaviour is depriving himself of the needed material to recreate a set of Invincibles, and the team of any titles. What is currently happening is the creation of a vicious circle. If you develop talent into world class players, like Cesc, but you don't provide them with the support they need in the field to play at the top of their game and actually win some silverware at the end of each season, they will leave the team. They will go somewhere else where they can actually win titles, or at least derbies, for that matter, and abandon you with the hope that you will rediscover some raw talent amidst the youngsters that have joined your club to get their best prospects, only to be developed, not win something, and move on to something better. What I'm trying to say, shortly, is that we're not good enough. Sad but true.

Arsenal has become a charity case of many sorts. We have probably, this far, provided Tottenham with a Champions League ticket, Wigan with a Premier League lifeline, and I don't even want to think what will happen when the transfer window opens and all those European vultures start heading towards our few good players.

Mr Wenger needs to splash some cash this summer if we are to compete the way we should be next year. Enough last minute wins, enough sloppy goals, enough embarrassing defeats. Yes, we have been badly struck by injuries, but some positions are still screaming for suitable replacements. Starting with the goalie. Our best season in recent years was, coincidentally, Lehmann's best. Almunia is not good enough. Fabianski? I won't even go there. Who has Flamini been replaced by? Who is good enough to support a fit Robin Van Persie in the box? If we are to keep Vermaelen, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin and RVP, more players of their class need to join the squad. Only then will we contend strongly for the title, and attempt an honorable return to the days of Thierry and his gang, when we weren't praying for other teams to drop points to keep the chase alive but only had to focus on winning our own games to stay at the top.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Soundtrack for the weekend 5.0

'Cause he never gets boring.

Cultural dose of the day #1

YouTube does it again. I am a big fan of technology's ability to break down boundaries and eradicate distances, and this is a great example why. A YouTube user took photographs of every single piece of art in MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) and assembled them into a neat slide show. Spotted in there are the works of Dali, Bacon, Pollock, Van Gogh and Lichtenstein, to name a few.

Wonder what John Berger and people who read him would have to say about this. The Internet has provided the viewers with new ways of seeing, more distanced, less spatially reliant and much less time-consuming. Perspective changes, and so does the spectator. Has the spectator really witnessed and seen the object, if they were separated by a laptop screen? 'Digital Spectators: The LCD Canvas'. I could write an essay on this. Some day.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I'm With Stupid

A marketing professor at NYU Business School accidentally created a viral message. By telling a student to "get his sh*t together", he led to an inspirational t-shirt movement. Read the whole story here. Slogan t-shirts will never die.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Never underestimate the power of 'want'

The first ever thing I was taught about economics is that humans have wants and needs. Needs, you can't live without them. Wants? If you created a product that does not serve any new purpose apart from giving you the chance to, well, do stuff you could already do but on a pretty, touchable tablet, your main aim would be to make people want it, not need it.

And with the iPad, it worked.

300,000 items were sold on day 1, 1 million apps were downloaded, and 250,000 iBooks were downloaded. People want this thing? I will not be too judgmental, because, one day, I might end up wanting one as well. The power of want cannot be underestimated. Combined with impulsive buying, it's something sellers and producers should really focus on. Show people the light (or the shiny, sleek surface of a brand new Apple product) and rub your hands together in greedy satisfaction.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Late Nights 1.0

The day of the crucifixion. Another night of procrastination, the night after the night before (//this morning) and I'm in a massive (uni imposed) typing mood. Feeling strangely at peace. Rediscovering music is one of the biggest blessings of forgetfulness.