Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Bellow - Seize the day.

“When it came to concealing his troubles Tommy Wilhelm was not less capable than the next fellow.” (Bellow, 1956, p.3).

“He liked to wear good clothes, but once he had put it on, each article appeared o go its own way.” (Bellow, 1956, p.6).

“He had put forth plenty of effort, but that was not the same as working hard, was it?” (Bellow, 1956, p.7).

“And then, when he was best aware of the risks and knew a hundred reasons against going and had made himself sick with fear, he left home. (…) Ten such decisions made up the history of his life. He had decided that it would be a bad mistake to go to Hollywood, and then he went.” (Bellow, 1956, p.23).

“In any moment of quiet, when sheer fatigue prevented him from struggling, he was apt to feel this mysterious weight, this growth or collection of nameless things which it was the business of his life to carry about.” (Bellow, 1956, p.39).

“And Wilhelm though, Once a guy starts to slip, he figures he might as well be a clunk. A real big clunk. He even takes pride in it.” (Bellow, 1956, p.47).

“Don’t talk to me about being free. A rich man may be free on an income of a million net. A poor man may be free because nobody cares what he does. Bu a fellow in my position has to sweat out until he drops dead.” (Bellow, 1956, p.49).

“the business of life, the real business – to carry his peculiar burden, to feel shame and impotence, to taste these quelled tears – the only important business, the highest business was done. Maybe the making of mistakes expressed the very purpose of his life and the essence of being here.” (Bellow, 1956, p.56).

Monday, 27 December 2010

Arden . Whatever you think, think the opposite.

“It’s not because you are making the wrong decisions, it’s because you are making he right ones. We try to make sensible decisions based on the facts in front of us. The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else.” (Arden).

“Even if we want to be timid and play it safe, we should pause for a moment to imagine what we might be missing.” (Arden, p.27).

“Whatever decision you make is the only one you could make. Oherwise you would make a different one. Everything we do w choose. So what is there to regret? You are the person you chose to be.” (Arden).

“Experience. He knows the downside, what happens if it goes wrong, which makes him more cautious. The young player is either ignorant or reckless o caution. That is is his edge.” (Arden, p.44).

“Too many people spend too much time to perfect something before the actually do it. Instead of waiting for perfection, run whith what you’ve got and fix it as you go.” (Arden, p.53).

“If you want to be interesting be interested. (…) In an interview it is better to listen carefully to what the interviewers have tosay than put on a show of your own brilliance.” (Arden, p.59).

“The effort of coming to terms with things you don’t understand makes them all the more valuable to you when you graps them.” (Arden, p.85).

“Even a bad idea executed is better than a good idea undone. The longer it is used, the better the idea is considered to be. That is why the wheel is reckoned to be the best idea ever.” (Arden, p.90).

“Select only things to steal from that speaks directly to our soul. If you do this, yourwork (and theft) will be authentic.” (Arden, p.94).

Philip Roth - Nemesis

Book by Roth that uses the story around the polio epidemic around 1940s in New Jersey to deal with the topic of freedom, but much more interesting thatn Franzen.

This is a book about what an medical epidemic (polio) does to people, and how people deal with the situation, even before they are stricken. The book shows in detail how we make our lives hell, if we assume that everything is based on cause and effect and hence desperately search for someone responsible even for the worst things in life. And make him responsible. Similarly to Girard’s scapegoat theory, the responsible party in this book starts from the Italians, moves on to the Jews, a mentally challenged kid etc. Yet, the worst is still to come and at the end, as he runs out of options the main character has no other choice but to make himself responsible for taking the virus to a summer camp and punishes himself for the rest of his life. Being stuck in a wheelchair due to polio he again tries to take responsibility once more and leaves his fiancé, so she can find someone ‘better’ – despite her wanting no one else but him.

“”I love you too.” It was difficult to tell her that because he ahd disciplined himself – sensible, he thought – not to pine for her too much while she was away.” (Roth, 2010, p.32).

“Why did Alan get polio? (…) Can there be a cleaner household than this one? Can there be a woman who keeps more spotless house than my wife? (…) Could there be a boy who looked after his room and his clothes and himself any better than Alan did? Everything he did, he did right the first time, And always happy.Always with a joke. So why did he die?” (Roth, 2010, p.46-7

After hearing that one kid died: “Mr. Cantor rushed down the basement hall o the washroom that was used by the playground bys, and, a the mercy of his grief, with no idea what to do with his misery, he grabbed the janitor’s mop, a bucked of water, and a gallon can of disinfectant and swabbed the entire floor, profusely sweating while he worked.” (Roth, 2010, p.62).

The father of his girlfriend, a well respected Doctor in the beighbourhood, gives him advise to show the kids not to fear the polio: “I’m against frightening of Jews, period. That was Europe, that’s why Jews fled. This is America. The less fearthe better. Fear unmans us. Fear degrades us. Fostering less fear – that’s your job and mine.” (Roth, 2010, p.106).

“But now that he was no longer a child he was capable of understanding why things couldn’t be otherwise was because of God.” (Roth, 2010, p.126).

On diving or the obsession with sports in general: “He filled his lungs with the harmless clean air of the Pocono Mountains, then bounded three steps forward, took off, and, in control of every inch of his body throughout the blind fligjht, did a simple swan dive into water he could see only the instant before his arms broke neatly through and he plumbed the cold purity of the lake to its depths.” (Roth, 2010, p.157).

“He has to convert tragedy into guilt. He has to find a necessity for what happens. There is an epidemic and he needs a reason for it. He has to ask why. Why? Why? (…) This is nothing more than stupid hubris, not the hubris of will or desire, but the hubris of fantasical childish religious interpretation” (Roth, 2010, p.265).

“Such a person is condemmed. Nothing he does matches the ideal in him. He never knows where his responsibility ends. (…) Such a person’s greates triumph is sparing his beloved from having a crippled husband, and his heroism consists of denying his deepest desire by relinquishing her.” (Roth, 2010, p.273).

Die Familie Schneider - Gregor Schneider

This is the book about an art exhibition that I, unfortunately failed to go.

„Die Familie Schneider was open by appointment only. (…)From the outside, 14 and 16 Walden Street looked the same, down to the white net curtains in the ground floor windows. One visitor entered 14 Walden Street alone, whilst the other visitor entered next door the same time. After a eriod of up to ten minutes or so inside the house, the visitors exchanged keys and went into thesecond house for a further period. At no time was there ever more than one visitor in each house.” (Lingwood, p.114).
“It is not easy to describe the heightening of sensation, the existential anxiety, which many visitors felt as they put the key in the door and crossed the threshold from the street to the inside. (…) The house brought on conflicting feelings of attraction and repulsion, of wanting to go further in, and wanting to get out” (Lingwood, p.114).

“Stepping into the second house brought on the perplexing realisation that it was an exact double of the first. The entrance hall and stairs had the same brown carpet, the same wallpaper, the same yellow light (…) the same middle-aged woman washing dishes in the kitchen and the same naked man in the bathroom and the same small figure with legs protruding from underthe black garbage bag in the corner of the cream bedroom that you had just seen un the other house.” (Lingwood, p.114).

“Seeing all this for the second time offered the opportunity for a different register of experience – less an immediate psychological challenge, more of a philosophical enquiry about memory and experience. The visitor was compelled to try and match what he or she was seeing with what they remembered just having seen. As GregorSchneider noted”The visitor by necessity observes himself. He is beside himself. He walks through the house next to himself.”” (Lingwood, p.115).

“The identical inhabitants in each house made no attempt to interact with or acknowledge in any way the presence of the visitor. They did not speak, even when spoken to.” (Lingwood, p.115).

“The rooms, already small, had been made slightly smaller to the specifications of the artist. Probably this was imperceptible to the hunan eye, but the body somhow knew that the proportions of the rooms were not quite right.” (Lingwood, p.115).

“Die Familie Schneider was all interior to an almost suffocating degree. Being inside, it felt as if there was no outside, But on being outside, the visitor realised how little access t ohat was going on inside the really had.” (Lingwood, p.115).

Andrew O’Hagan
“One doesn’t feel with the family Schneider that one is seeing ghosts – no, one feels that one is a ghost oneself, haunting these people in the middle of their heartbreaking routines.” (O’Hagan, p.157).

“Connecting the routines, you find yourself embarrassed, for what is more embarrassing than being a spectator to the incidentals of other people’s loneliness? Standing there, eyeing the green soap, I thought what a prison we make of the objects that surround us.” (O’Hagan, p.158).

“I swear there was something murderous in those houses. From the gloss paint-work, the locked doors, the efforts at comfort which only vonveyed discomfort – coal fires, convector heaters, a gas fire, and central heating, in each of the houses – one felt that there was something in the atmosphere that was bots terrible familiar and deeply grotesque.” (O’Hagan, p.159).

“The power of the piece is to make you create narratives for these images to occupy.” (O’Hagan, p.159).

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

John Kay - Obliquity

In obliquity John Kay argues that most goals are achieved not by directly aiming to achieve them, but by aiming at something else.

“Obliquity describes the process of achieving complex objectives indirectly. In general, oblique approaches recognise that complex objectives tend to be imprecisely defined and contain many elements that are not necessarily or obviously compatible with each other (Kay, 2010, p. 4).

For example happiness is not achieved by trying to be happy, but by doing something that one enjoys for its own sake. Similarly, quoting the book “Built to Last”, Kay argues that the most profitable companies are not the most profitoriented ones, but the ones with a purpose.

Accordingly he argues against conscious design and for adoption to the complex environment and trial and error: “Adaptation is smarter than you are.” (Kay, 2010, p. 140).

“In obliquity we learn about the structure of a problem by the process of solving it. (…) Whenfaced with a task that daunts you, a project that you find difficult, begin by doing something” (Kay, 2010, p. 175).

Can't say I enjoyed the book very much, but it does look sleek and elegant.

The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy,Gentleman – Laurence Stern

This is a fascinating book about writing a book and the impossibility of trying to capture the world or one’s own thoughts. The more one thinks and wants to explain the more happens and the more there is to write.

For example Mr. Shandy wrote a book how to educate his son Tristram: “Tristra-paedia: at which (as I said) he was three years and something more, indefatigably at work, and at last, had scarcely completed, by his own reckoning, one half of his undertaking: the misfortune was, that I was all that time totally neglected and abandoned to my mother; and what was almost as bad, by the very delay, the first part of the work, upon which my father had spend the most of his pains, was rendered entirely useless, - every day a page or two became of no consequence” (Stern, 1759, p.338).

Yet, “digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine; - they are the life, the soul of reading; --- take them out of this book for instance, -- you might as well take the book along with them; - one cold eternal winter would reign in every page of it.” (Stern, 1759, p.64).

Without struggling against this impossibility to write Sterne simply gets on with writing and makes the impossibility the topic of his writing. And most importantly makes fun about how easy it is to write despite the theoretical impossibility to write.

“That of all the several ways of beginning a book which are now in practice throughout the known world, I am confident my own way of doing it is the best – I’m sure it is the most religious – for I begin with writing the first sentence – and trusting to Almighty God for the second” (Stern, 1759, p.490).

“Amen: said my mother, piano.
Amen; cried my father, fortissimo.” (Stern, 1759, p.558).

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Adland - A global History of Advertising - Mark Tungate

Promising title but the book was not that exciting. The history of England and the USA are very interesting, whereas it seems that the other countries either do not have that much of an exciting history, or the author did not care that much (I can speak for Germany only, where the former seems to be the case). Anyways, here are a couple of nice quotes nevertheless:

“Leo (Burnett) told staff he wanted his name to be removed ‘when you spend more time trying to make money and less time making advertising – our type of advertising” (Tungate, 2007, p.75).

BMP’s Webster had a special approach of creating iconic characters for his campaigns instead of using celebrities: “but if you create you’re your own characters, as we did, people associate them with the product” (Tungate, 2007, p.92).

Maurice Levy: “If they think I’m the best person to run this agency, I’m at the wrong agency.” (Tungate, 2007, p.123).

“One thing is certain: advertising is not going away. As long as somebody has something to sell, adland will always have a place on the map.” (Tungate, 2007, p.268).

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Rene Girard - The Scapegoat

Girard argues that human history is based on the scapegoat principle: there is unrest in society, borders and differences have been abandonded and thus mimetic violence spreads. Someone, just anyone, is sacrificed, no matter whether he is guilty or not. Just by everybody believing in his guilt in causing the unrest, will solve the problems. And since the scapegoat solved the problem, he is declared sacred with hindsight. That is mythology.

The more societies still believe in this principle and havenot uncovered its injustice the more primitive they are. To Girard the bible is not a myth among others, because the passion uncovers this principle by taking the side of the victims for the first time. “reject sacred ambivalence in order to restore the victim in his humanity and reveal the arbitrary nature of the violence that strikes him” (Girard, 1986, p.104). Thus the bible doesn’t even use the term ‘scapegoat’ but the term ‘lamb of god’which clearly indicated innocence (Girard, 1986, p.117).

“The victim of the Psalms is disturbing, it is true, and even annoying compared with an Oedipus who has the good taste to join in the wonderful classic harmony” (Girard, 1986, p.104).

Moreover, the victim breaks the cycle of mimetic violence by claiming: “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”

“If it is by the spirit of god that I cast out demons, the soon there will be no more demons or expulsions for the kingdom of violence and expuslion will rapidly be destroyed. (…) Instead of casting it out he (Jesus) is himself cast out, thereby revealing to men the mystery of expulsion” (Girard, 1986, p.190).

Mark Twain - The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The best book I have ever read about morality:

“They went off, and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, because I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it warn’t no use for me to try to learn to do right (…) Then I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on, - s’pose you’d a done right and give Jim up: would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I’d feel bad – I’d feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what’s the use you learning to do right, when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was stuck. I couldn’t answer that. So I reckoned I wouldn’t bother no more about it, but after this always do whichever come handiest at the time.” (Twain, 1884).

“’Well,’ says Buck, ‘a feud is this way.A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in – and by-and-by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.” (Twain, 1884, p.167).

„So we poked along back home, and I warn’t feeling so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow – though I hadn’t done nothing. But that’s always the way; it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.” (Twain, 1884, p.302).

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Jonathan Franzen - Freedom

This book is actually not that good looking. And it is a classic ‘high-concept’ book and the concept is obviously freedom, our hunt for it and the attempts to maintain it.

“Where did the self-pity come from? The inordinate volume of it? By almost any standard, she led a luxurious life. She had all day to figure out some decent and satisfyingwayto live, and yet all she ever seemed to get for all her choices and all her freedom was more miserable.” (Franzen, 2010, p.181).

“People came to this country for either money or freedom. If you don’t have money, you cling to your freedom all the more angrily. Even if smoking kills you, even if you can’t afford to feed your kids, evenif our kids are getting shot down by maniacs with assault rifles. You may be poor, but the one thing noboday can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.” (Franzen, 2010, p.361).

The book shows how this leads to avoiding and doubting any commitment and the constant urge to try out more options in life. Thereby we are never happy with the life we are leading. This simply concept is then blown up with stories from theBerglund family over 500 pages.

Towards the end, the book presents a solution as simple as the problem posed: commitment.

“There is, after all, a kind of happiness in unhappiness, if it’s the right unhappiness. Gene no longer had to fear a big disappointment in the future in the future, because he’d already accomplished it; he’d cleared that hurdle.” (Franzen, 2010, p.447).

This solution then leads to a simple, rather dull Hollywood happy ending. If we all commit ourselves to something, anything, preferably private, everyone’s home will be a great place.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

George Lois - The Art of Advertising

A book full of good, raw and in-your-face US advertising.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Henry David Thoreau - Walden

Very interesting book, cumulating in the great sentence:

“He that does not eat need not work” (Thoreau, 1854, p.144).

“When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced” (Thoreau, 1854, p.9).

“In accumulating property for ourselves or for posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident” (Thoreau, 1854, p.64).

“He that does not eat need not work” (Thoreau, 1854, p.144).

James Webb Young - How to become an Advertising Man

A couple of very clear definitions and thoughts that seem much more elegant than much of the literature written afterwards:

“The “PROPOSITION” which any advertisement makes to its reader or viewer the quid pro quo – the benefit he will receive for what you ask him to do. It consists of the promise of that benefit plus the reason why you can fulfill it.” (Young, 1963, p.19).

“What you must say here (with the message) is something carefully clculated to touch an exposed nerve of your prospect’s self interest” (Young, 1963, p.30).

“You must make (…)clear the relationshop between what you have to offer and the prospect’s wants, needs, or existing desires” (Young, 1963, p.30).

“So you will work like a beaver to talk his language (…) to ring true with his life as it is or as he hopes it will be” (Young, 1963, p.31).

Moreover Young is not afraid of explaining why advertising is a good thing – not that you have to agree with him, but it is a very interesting thought:

“To use advertising to overcome inertia is to use it as an external force to overcome some state of rest in man (…) By overcoming inertia there is produced a greater release of the energies of men – the true source of wealth of nations” (Young, 1963, p.65).

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov

Long time no book. The reason is not, though, that I have been lazy, but only because the last book was a rather long one. That is also the reason why it looks so battered, which I like a lot. It has been with me for a while and it shows it. Didn’t understand much of it, though it seems there is lots of Rene Girard’s theory of sacrificing and the sacred in here.

I simply copied the passages I found the most striking.

“And since man is not strong enough to get by without the miracle, he creates new miracles for himself, his own now, and bows down before the miracle, of the quack and the witchcraft of the peasant woman” (Dostoyevsky, 1880, p.333).

“each person being guilty for all creatures and for all things, as well as his own sins” (Dostoyevsky, 1880, p.392). This is what the scapegoat does, and this is what Dimitry will do, being punished for a crime, he did not commit, but accepting the punishment. And by this process the scapegoat can become sacred.

“Bear in mind particularly that you can be no man’s judge. For a criminal can have no judge upon the erth until that judge himself has perceived that he is every bit as much a criminal as the man who stands before him, and that for the crime of the man who stands before him he himself may well be more guilty than anyone else. Only when he grasps this may he become a judge.” (Dostoyevsky, 1880, p.415).

“The human race fails to accepts its prophets and does them to death, but men love their martyrs and honour those whom they have martyred. (…)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Modern Art – 1880 to present – the museum of modern art. (John Elderfield, ed.)

I got this one ages ago when I actually visited MoMa in New York. The MoMa itself is a horrible experience, ways too crowded and somehow very sterile and less fun than the Tate Modern in London for example. Thus I left quickly, bought this book, so I have a chance to catch up on all.

And it turned out to be very interesting: “Basically, art is making meaning. In a sense, it’s philosophy made concrete.” (Duchamp). And as theorists artists seem to be very good at writing aphorisms: fun little theory sniplets. Here you go:

For Picasso “Cubism was a kind of deliverance. It obliged him consistently to forgo the refuge of virtuosity.“

“Leger argued that art must acknowledge its time not through the naturalistic representation of contemporary subject matter (“visual realism”) but by transforming that subject matter through explicitly pictorial devices – “a realism of conception”.

For Duchamp “there is a brief to be made as an artist against certain forms, because those forms constitute fixed meanings. Ready-mades that are naturalized as the language of art are not seen, in fact, as ready-made”

“The style he (Malevich) called Suprematism, which eliminated all references to the world of visible reality, leaving only the purely pictorial elements” (Elderfield, 2004, p.200).

Mondrian “felt that naturalistic forms in painting were limited forms by the very definition of their specific references (…) He wanted to destroy the particular form”” (Elderfield, 2004, p.206).

Surrealism is a “pure psychic automatism, by which one intends to express verbally, in writing or by any other method the real functioning of the mind. Dictation by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, and beyond any aesthetic or moral preoccupation”.

Magritte said “My painting have no reducible meaning; they are a meaning” (Elderfield, 2004, p.221).

On Rothko: “We no longer look at a painting as we did in the nineteenth century, we are meant to enter it, to sink into its atmosphere of mist light or to draw it around us like a coat – or a skin.” (Elderfield, 2004, p.311).

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Advertising Works 15 - Laurence Green

Another one. Very interesting fort wo case studies: Felix, because it shows that it sometimes pays off to sticking to an old camapign and not trying to disrupt the marketand for the foreword by Laurence Green, where he shows that creativity doesn’t have to be in the advertising but often is in the product innovation, or in general more upstream on the client side.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger

Another book about Satan: not as good as ‘the confidence man’ but still fun. In this book, Satan is an Angel. Yet he has no respect for Man:

“No brute ever does a cruel thing – that is the monopoly with the Moral Sense. (…) A sense whose function it is to distinguish between right or wrong, with liberty to choose which one of them he will do. Now what advantage can he get out of that? (…) There shouldn’t be any wrong; and without the moral sense there wouldn’t be any.” (Twain, 1922, pp.50-51).

Being an Angel, Satan tries to help Man. Yet, since to Satan Man’s life is a complete disaster, he helps by killing people or making them insane:

Yet towards the end, the book takes a surprising turn: it is not all black. The misery is just proof that the world doesn’t exist: ““Nothing exists save empty space – and you!” “I!” “And you are not you – you have no body, no bones, you are but thought (…) Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that you universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange because they are so frankly and hysterically insane – like all dreams: God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones” (Twain, 1922, p.139).

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hemut Krone. The book.

Not much to say about this book. Rather than quotes I should put scans of his best ads here. And from the amount of post it you can see I will take plenty of scans. Hence, just a couple of quotes from the guy who did VW, Avis and Polaroid:

“Our mission is to sell products. We should not attempt to make advertising.” (Challis, 2004, p.252).

Something interesting on logos “I’ve spent my whole life fighting logos. Logos say I’m an ad. Turn the page.” (Challis, 2004, p.63).

On the Avis strategy: “Hertz had 75% of the rental car market and Avis, just ahead of contenders three on down, held second place with ten to eleven percent.Avis was going to take on Hertz, and polarize the market by differentiating itself from all the other little players” (Challis, 2004, p.112).

And how VW and Avis worked: “In another way, and in a harder style, another American nerve. He’d done it with Koenig in ‘Think small’ and ‘Lemon.’ – challenging two of the fundamental wisdoms of US boosterism. Now he had done it again, on being second.” (Challis, 2004, p.115).

Friday, 2 July 2010

Philip Roth - Zuckerman Bound

4 books about writing and the relationship of the writer to his subjects: from exploitation, love, stealing up to himself.

“You are a bastard. (…) To you everything is disposable. Everything is exposable. (…) To you it’s all fun and games. But that isn’t the way it is for the rest of us.” (Roth, 1979, p.257).

The books are about how people react to Zuckerman writing about them and finding their lives made public, how they remove themselves from him in order to avoid being written about.

This way he loses his subject and is thrown onto himself – which makes him ill.

Yet, it turns out, the trouble is less the lack of any subject, but the constant search for the right one, and the constant doubt whether it is good enough:

“The burden isn’t thateverything has to be a book. It’s that everything can be a book”.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

How to make it as an advertising creative - Simon Veksner

No, I don't want to amke it as a creative, but they are my main target audience for briefings. So it helps understanding what gets them going.

David Droga in the foreword: “We’re still storytellers, but it’s not about a story that starts and finishes within 30 seconds of a TV ad anymore. Our job now is more about instigating a story, and letting it go. We can create momentum. Our work doesn’t have to be as disposable as before.”

I think this one is interesting, because it goes beyond simply telling us advertising people to let go and let consumers do our job with shitty UGC. Yet, if we are in the business of storytelling, the question simply is, how to tell a story, with the participation of your target audience?

Another interesting one, for everyone planning to get hired by an agency: "Ask yourself “What protion of that agency’s creative output would get you hired at that agency?”"

And a classic Ogilvy: “Get rid of the dogs who spread gloom!"

Rabbit, Run - John Updike

“I once did soething right. I played first-rate basketball. I really did. And after you’re first rate atsomething, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate. And that little thing Janice and I had going, boy, it was really second-rate.”

“”I do feel, I guess, that somewhere behind all this” – he gestures outward at the scenery; they are passing the housing development this side of the golf course, half-wood half-brick one-and-a-half-stories in little flat bulldozed yards containing tricycles and spindly three-year-old trees, the un-grandest landscape in the world-“ there’s something that wants me to find it.”

”That’s what you have, Harry: life.”

“Funny, how what makes you move is so simple and the field you must move in is so crowded. His legs take strength from the distinction, scissor along evenly. Goddness lies inside, there is nothing outside, those things he was trying to balance have no weight. (…) I don’T know he kept telling Ruth; he doesn’t know, what to do, where to go, what will happen, the thought that he doesn’t know what to do, where to go, what will happen, the thought that he doesn’t know seems to make him infinitely small and impossible to capture. Its smallness fills him like a vastness.”

Friday, 4 June 2010

Advertisin Works 17 - Neil Dawson (ed.)

There is not much to say about these books: if you are an account planner in advertising you will love them, if not, don’t bother. It proves the way advertising and ideas work in the most rigorous ways I ever came across. After reading them you can never read an Effie again, without having to laugh out loud and feeling ashamed.

This one is interesting because it got the detailed case of the ‘try something new today’-campaign by Sainsbury and the long term analysis of Audi advertising in the UK. Moreover the authors raise the question, that despite having elaborate measures for how TV advertising works, not many people try to show the distinctive contribution of media decision and the contribution of digital media.

Most importantly: on the CD accompanying this book, I finally got the great old Audi ad ‘If you want to be at the pool before the Germans’

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe

Looks like a very good book about one group of hippies in California in the late 1960:
“The incredible postwar American electro-pastel surge intho the suburbs.” (Wolfe, 1971, p.38). “

This group uses LSD to help them expanding perception: “He compared the brain to a reducing valve.” “We’re shut off from our own world”

But they recognize that LSD gives them the experience, opens the door, but they also have to come back. So they try to overcome acid: “Beyond acid. They have made the trip now, clodes the circle, all of them, and they either emerge as Superheroes, closing the door behind them and soaring through the hole in the sapling sky, or just lollygag in the loop-the-loop of the lag” (Wolfe, 1971, p.289).

Friday, 21 May 2010

A very bold and brash looking book.

The look certainly fits the content. Bullmore argues that fame is of value for brands, without giving a precise explanation. The best explanation I can come up with from ‘More Bull More’, is that being famous beyond the target group allows a brand to become social currency everyone can relate to and that everyone understands.

“Being around, being well known, being salient, being contemporary – in any market – are vital preconditions for sustained competitive success.”

Moreover Bullmore gives the best explanation why just boasting about a brand is not enough:

“And since my informant (...) has been relentlessly laudatory about Giles, my only available contribution is one of challenge and rejection.”

Sunday, 16 May 2010

and the hippos were boiled in their tanks - Burroughs and Kerouac

Two writers' perspective on one event. And the book luckily does not try to make the usual attempt of opposing those perspectives or make them contradict.

"And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say "I don't take any shit!" and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him."