Music to My Ears

http://pitchfork.com/news/54568-the-flaming-lips-releasing-companion-album-to-pink-floyds-the-dark-side-of-the-moon/

At times I get discouraged by the music coming out today. (Mildly pretentious statement, but hey, feelings are feelings.) In a world of “Beleibers” and Gotye, I catch myself thinking the music industry is doomed. (See my infographic on the steady increase and quick decline of music lyric quality over past decades here) Then, something remarkable happens, like the Flaming Lips’ companion album to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, that restores my faith in musicians. It’s artists like the Flaming Lips that haven’t lost sight of the fact that music is art. Sometimes that art means creating something novel that breaks out of any previous creative molds. Other times it means collaborating with fellow artists—whether that entails taking on a project with someone else, making amendments to others’ work, or entirely recreating the work of another artist. There are very few rules here, and true artists recognize this and take advantage of it.

As most people know, Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon syncs up perfectly to the movie The Wizard of Oz (I’ve tried it, it’s pretty cool). The Flaming Lips not only covered the album, but created an entirely new album that matches up with the original Dark Side of the Moon. I find it fascinating to observe one artist’s influence on another, like that of Pink Floyd on the Flaming Lips (and similarly Elliott Smith on Ben Folds–two of my favorite artists). It is these musicians who have not sold out. They are still focused on producing art that they have put thought into—art that has purpose. These musicians celebrate the art of music by learning from and working with other musicians to create something extraordinary.

Some additional musicians who have eased my anxiety about the future of music are found here.

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“A Lot Worth Erasing”

http://www.creativebloq.com/photoshop/eraser-tool-real-life-31411104

 

I’m a big fan of street art. I love the raw form of self-expression and the anonymity that comes with it. I think that this take on the art form is particularly interesting for several reasons.

Street art is all about the artist’s contribution to the city, but Guus Ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier put an interesting spin on street art by doing the “opposite” of contributing. Rather than adding to city walls and objects they are taking away, “erasing” graffiti, images, and even street signs. The quote from the artists saying that there is “a lot worth erasing” sparks some deeper thought as well. With cities’ advertising clutter, walls conquered by graffiti artists, and forests of street signs there is a lot of noise within urban areas across the world. Which messages are worthy? Which ones deserve to stand and which should fall? Which aspects of culture are disgraceful or in poor taste? And what icons promote these distasteful ideas and habits? Beek and Sarier’s work raises a question of worth among the streets of London.

Additionally, I find the merging of the digital and analogue worlds particularly intriguing. Bringing a feature of a digital art platform into a real world setting is a neat idea. Beek and Sarier’s choice to place their eraser art in areas concentrated with designers was a smart idea. I’m sure their imagery and message resonate well with the local audience.

A Quaint, Tiny Town That is (Literally) Unreal

http://themetapicture.com/photographing-a-town-that-never-was/

 

Have you ever seen something so remarkable? Michael Paul Smith’s crafted tiny town is so artfully fashioned down to each and every detail that it is almost impossible to believe that it doesn’t exist on a real-life level. From miniature porch lights to luminous street puddles, no tiny element is overlooked by Smith. Not only has he perfected his craft of constructing this charming, tiny environment, but he is also a skilled photographer. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his photographs of “Elgin Park” is the fact that he uses the real life surrounding scenery to act as the background for the tiny town he has created in his daytime shots. He has learned to position the camera in such a way that the trees around him become the trees growing behind the buildings of “Elgin Park,” and he could not have done a more perfect job. For his night shots, he creates dark, foggy backdrops to set up behind the little buildings and installs lights in the windows of shops and houses. I am in awe of his attention to detail in each of his sets and photos. I am also a big fan of his selfie pictures that feature Smith himself with his tiny masterpieces.

Seeing these images reminded me of my younger years as an interior design enthusiast. When I was in elementary school, I dedicated the vast majority of my free time to meticulously decorating a Barbie house I had been given as a little girl. Never much of a Barbie fan, I focused on setting up tiny furniture and knick knacks—both handmade and handed down to me from my grandma—rather than spending time dressing up the Barbie dolls to play with. Maybe one day I’ll rekindle my appreciation for miniature décor and create my own “Elgin Park.”

Avoiding Humans

http://www.avoidhumans.com/

 

GSD&M has done it again. The wonderfully weird minds of this Austin ad agency have created something brilliant: the Avoid Humans app. Launched at this year’s SXSW festival, this app allows its users to easily seek out the most desolate nearby destinations in order to literally avoid humans. This is an introvert’s dream. Particularly Austinite introverts who wish to evade the monstrous crowds that SXSW inevitably attracts year after year. With the festival expanding more and more each March, allowing for massive corporate takeover to flood all areas of downtown Austin, many Austinites and other SXSW veterans are unhappy with the direction this Austin tradition is heading. GSD&M recognized this and cleverly took advantage of the negative feelings about SXSW boiling up among Austin locals by launching their app at a time when these people would appreciate it most. App launches are of course a regular part of SXSW, but only GSD&M made one targeted at their own local Austinites, following the shared attitude of “Yes, Austin is great, visitors, but please leave immediately and don’t even think about moving here.” This app is humorous and useful for all people, but GSD&M was pretty sharp to keep their locals in mind by launching just in time to help them avoid the massive SXSW herds of humans.

Thinspiration

http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/24/5443760/this-ad-compares-lgs-oled-tv-to-a-magazine-spine

 

What is being advertised?

LG’s OLED TV

 

Why is it being advertised?

To introduce the OLED TV and to offer a size comparison to emphasize the product’s USP

 

Who is the intended target?

Tech-enthusiasts, innovators, early adapters, wealthier demographics

 

What’s the connection between the product’s message and the target’s need?

The product’s message—OLED is the world’s slimmest TV

 

What’s the single most important thing (10 words or less) being communicated in the ad?

The OLED TV is the world’s slimmest TV.

 

How do the visuals support and communicate the single most important thing?

There are hardly any visuals at work here with the exception of typeface and color choice, both of which contribute to the brand’s sleekness. This ad relies almost entirely on copy and placement.

 

How does the copy support and communicate the single most important thing?

The copy simply states the LG’s OLED is the world’s slimmest TV—the single most important message. The reader is rewarded when they make the connection with the ad’s placement.

 

How does the context or media placement communicate the single most important thing?

The media placement is the most creative aspect of this ad. Not only does it break away from traditional print advertising, but it also showcases the product’s USP by connecting the TV’s thinness to that of the magazine’s.

 

Childlike Imagination

http://adage.com/article/see-the-spot/ge-ad-a-child-explain-complex-business/291575/

 

What is being advertised?

GE

 

Why is it being advertised?

To highlight the company’s innovative operations and products and to emphasize GE’s efforts to preserve the enviornment

 

Who is the intended target?

Environmentalists and/or technology enthusiasts

 

What’s the connection between the product’s message and the target’s need?

The ad appeals to both environmentalists and tech enthusiasts by showcasing both GE’s cutting edge technology and interest in the environment.

 

What’s the single most important thing (10 words or less) being communicated in the ad?

GE combines revolutionary, environmentally-friendly products

 

How do the visuals support and communicate the single most important thing?

The art direction of this TV spot is incredible. The visuals support the dreamy  tone of the young girl’s narration. The art direction of this ad is just as imaginative as the operations and products the narrator speaks of.

 

How does the copy support and communicate the single most important thing?

The narration of the young girl is innocent and imaginative, yet the audience can interpret precisely what each product and operation being described is. The choice to explain GE’s company through the voice of a young girl makes the message even more enchanting and unique than any competitor’s ad.

 

How does the context or media placement communicate the single most important thing?

TV allows the audience to visually experience the narration as if they are peering into the young narrator’s mind. A print at would have been effective as well, but the TV spot lets GE highlight multiple products and operations (whereas print could realistically only support one per ad), captivates the audience with striking motion graphics, and allows the audience to actually hear the young girl’s voice, making them connect on a more personal level.

The Phone Call

http://www.gsdm.com/#/work.aspx?subsection=41&project=1

 

What is being advertised?

RadioShack’s store update

 

Why is it being advertised?

To publicly recognize that their stores are outdated, and to inform customers of their new updates

 

Who is the intended target?

Current and potential RadioShack customers

 

What’s the connection between the product’s message and the target’s need?

RadioShack customers and non-customers are turned off by RadioShack’s outdated stores. The ad informs those unimpressed by RadioShack’s out-of-date style that they are aware that they are behind the times, and that they are making a serious effort to improve.

 

What’s the single most important thing (10 words or less) being communicated in the ad?

RadioShack is updating its stores.

 

How do the visuals support and communicate the single most important thing?

The visuals are the most entertaining part of the ad. Seeing all of the 80s icons uniting to tear down the RadioShack store is both hilarious and effective.

 

How does the copy support and communicate the single most important thing?

The line “The 80s called; they want their store back,” is simple yet encompasses the message that RadioShack is trying to send. Wrapping up the ad with “It’s time for a new RadioShack” also supports the message that RadioShack is making a significant change to please its customers.

 

How does the context or media placement communicate the single most important thing?

The media placement was a wise move by RadioShack, as this was a Super Bowl TV spot. Not only did the ad reach a record-breaking number of viewers, but the message reached them on a medium that is relevant to the RadioShack brand. The fact that the majority of the 80s characters were found on TV back in the day also tied in the choice of a TV spot nicely.