Monday, 24 September 2012

George Lois – What’s the big idea?

„“Advertising,“ I replied, „is poison gas. It should bring tears to your eyes. It should unhinge your nervous system. It should knock you out!“ (Lois, 1991, p.4).

„Picasso’s penetrating remark, „Art is the lie that tells the truth“ (...) When advertising is great – when it’s inventive, irreverent, audacious and loaded with chutzpah – it literally becomes a benefit oft he product, and Picasso’s „lie“ becomes the truth. Food tastes better, vlothes feel better, cars drive better.“ (Lois, 1991, p.14).

„Advertising is the art of breaking rules, not the science of making them.“ (Lois, 1991, p.17).

„our great work fell on the deaf ears of a bureaucrat. The Big Idea should be reserved for clients of imagination and chutzpah – who can recognize talent and are determined to milk that talent to its limit.“ (Lois, 1991, p.23).

„Trends can tyrannize, trends are traps.
The fact that others are moving in a certain direction is always proof
Positive, at least to me, that a new direction ist he only direction
Defy trends and don’t be constrained by precedents.
Stay loose.“ (Lois, 1991, p.50).

„People are smart.
I’m convinced this is a minority opinion in the boardrooms of most advertising agencies. (...) it follows as surely as night follows day that bright, witty advertising is verboten because „they“ simply „won’t get it.““ (Lois, 1991, p.59).

„if everything that runs on television has been so thoroughly researched, how come most advertising sucks? And how come most new products bite the dust?“ (Lois, 1991, p.60).

„Intelligent, disarming, fresh, bright work can only be done if you really think people are smart enough and sharp enough to „get it“.“ (Lois, 1991, p.60).

„Conventional wisdom: advertising should be properly „targeted“ so that every dollar spent reaches the ultimate user. Minority dissent: if advertising were a science, that would make sense. (...) When advertising makes a product „famous,“ it makes the whole world aware of what’s out there. „Famous“ advertising reaches the target consumer and the target consumer’s wife (or husband), kids, mother, brother and neighbors. How do you then measure the impact of advertising on the ultimate user? (...) I can say this: in our commercial world, it’s good to be famous. It’s not good tob e invisible.“ (Lois, 1991, p.66).

„Gertrude Stein to Picasso: „I don’t look like that.“ Picasso to Stein: „You will.“ Advertising should never be a mirror. Advertising can be a compass that points ist arrows toward new standard of consumer satisfaction.“ (Lois, 1991, p.69).

„We should portray what we feel in our hearts the product can grow to become. The advertising imagery should be ahead of the product  - literally – not in a way that assails credulity, but in a sensitive way that inspires belief in the product’s benefits and imparts a greater sensitive way that inspires belief in the product’s benefits and imparts a greater sense of purpose to those who produce and sell it.“ (Lois, 1991, p.70).

„We’re keeping the sizzle but adding the steak.“ (Lois, 1991, p.74).

„Safe, conventional work is a ticket to oblivion. Talented work is ipso facto unconventional.“ (Lois, 1991, p.78).

„A source of tension and rage among cretive people is their awareness that everything they do must be approved by the person who pays the bill, the client.“ (Lois, 1991, p.79).

„This is not simply a display of eclecticism for ist own sake; to be in the company of people who are tuned in tot he real world is a powerful reassurance that our work will not be theoretical or „blue sky“.“ (Lois, 1991, p.81).

„The focus during our presentation is never on those audiovisual clutches that telegraph uncertainty, insecurity, or waste.“ (Lois, 1991, p.81).

„Whenever possible I aim for a magical connection with myth and/or popular culture that endows the product with an irresistible aura.“ (Lois, 1991, p.122).

“If 99% of most package goods advertising has been tested, how come 98% o fit sucks?“ (Lois, 1991, p.129).

Why are we advertising? „Advertising that adds value to the product.“ (Lois, 1991, p.141). „By conferring that „added value“ on a product, great advertising makes food taste better, makes cars ride smoother, makes beer taste richer.“ (Lois, 1991, p.141). „Advertising gives one parity product the appearance of being superior to ist peer brands. Appearance, however, often becomes the product’s reality as the brand strives to catch up with ist advertising image, to close the gap between perception and reality.“ (Lois, 1991, p.142).

„the primary „product“ of our business: the advertising.“ (Lois, 1991, p.142).

„I prefer the „seemingly outrageous“. The operative word is seemingly. Advertising should stun momentarily ... it should seem to be outrageous. In that swift interval between the initial shock and the realization that what you are showing is not as outrageous as it seems, you capture the audience.“ (Lois, 1991, p.145).

„Everything I’ve described here is really not outrageous – but all are seemingly so? The „Strategy“ is to get people’s attention by seeming to shock. They then realize quickly that all is not as outrageous as it seems – and they’re ensnared by the unforgettable Big Idea.“ (Lois, 1991, p.157).

„That frequently asked question, „Does humor work in advertising?“ is stupid. Did anyone ever ask, „Does humor work in life?“ (Lois, 1991, p.195).

„Advertising seeks to command attention through inventive imagery; sex is a separate passion, a loose emotional cannon that has no clear direction. (...) It works best in advertising when leavened by humor, which makes it acceptable.“ (Lois, 1991, p.209). „An informed customer is worth much more than an aroused customer.“ (Lois, 1991, p.209).

„Working hard demands that you laugh a lot or you turn into a drone and your work shows it. Advertising is a creative business, but tob e creative, the vital juices must flow unimpeded. I like the phrase loosey-goosey to describe the kind of ambience so essential to mea s I go about my work with gusto and pleasure.“ (Lois, 1991, p.259).„Working under pressure is another reason why having fun us not a luxury but a necessity.“ (Lois, 1991, p.259).

„At the end of each day I’m burned out – and I love that feeling of utter depletion; it is an ecstatic sense of having committed my talents to their absolute limit.“ (Lois, 1991, p.260).

„85% of all advertising is invisible. (...) But none o fit is good enough to stop you in your tracks. 14% of all advertising is terrible – ugly, stupid, patronizing, demeaning. Paradoxically, that’s better than being invisible; at least it might get your attention. The remaining 1% is terrific advertising.“ (Lois, 1991, p.271).

„George, be reckless. (...) We are being paid by our corporate patrons to excite and arouse, not to sedate America.“ (Lois, 1991, p.275).

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Middlemarch George Eliot

This book uses the story of a village and its inhabitants in Victorian England as the background for the theories and philosophies of this time. Thus there is always an intricate connection between big theories and the situation in everyday life they appear in -almost like a clash of big theories with the typically English focus on ‘getting on with it’.

If there is any red threat woven into the book (but it also might simply be the red threat of my life right now) how the desire for power or money, or actually any desire turns easily destructive.

In the beginning a various range of theories, mostly personal, is given:
„the great safeguard of society and of domestic life was, that opinions were not acted on. Sane people did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.7).

„’She says, he is a great soul. – A great bladder for dried peas to rattle in!’ said Mrs. Cadwallader.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.47).

„On the contrary, having the amiable vanity which knits us to those who are fond of us, and discinclines us to those who are indifferent, and also a good grateful nature, the mere idea that a woman had a kindness towards him spun little threads of tenderness from out his heart towards hers.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.50).

„’Why? What do you know against him?’ (...) Sir James paused. He did not usually find it easy to give reasons: it seemed to him strange that people should not know them without being told, since he only felt what was reasonable.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.56).

„Brooke is a very good fellow, but pulpy; he will run into any mould, but he won’t keep shape.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.58).

„But Fielding lived when the days were longer (for time, like money, is measured by our needs.)“ (Eliot, 1994, p.117).

„people were so ridiculous with their illusions, carrying their fools’ caps unawares, thinking their own lies opaque while everybody else’s were transparent, making themselves exceptions to everything, as if when all the world looked yellow under a lamp they alone were rosy.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.261).

„his farming conservatism, which consisted in holding whatever is, is bad, and any change is likely to be worse.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.326).

„He was simply a man whose desires had been stronger than his theoretic beliefs, and who had gradually explained the gratification of his desires into satisfactory with those beliefs.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.510).

Gradually the focus shifts on Romaticism and how it clashes with the English world:

„the gigantic broken revelations of that Imperial and Papal city thrust abruptly on the notions of a girl who had been brought up in English and Swiss Puritanism, fed on meagre Protestant histories and on art chiefly oft he hand-screen sort a girl whose ardent nature turned all her small allowance of knowledge into principles.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.161).

„but I so seldom see just what I want – the idealistic in the real.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.179).

„’I fear you are a heretic about art generally.’ (...) ‚I should like to make life beautiful – I mean everybody’s life. And then all this immense expense of art, that seems somehow to lie outside of life and make it no better for the world, pains one.’ (...) ‚I call that the fanaticism of sympathy. (...) The best piety is to enjoy – when you can. (...) And enjoyment radiates. It is of no use to tra and take care of all the world; that is being taken care of when you feel delight – in art or in anything else.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.182).

And while these theories mostly lead to failure, unhappiness and bankruptcy in the middlemarch, towards the end a solution is being offered:

„’We should not grieve, should we, baby?’ said Celia confidentially tot hat unconscious centre and poise oft he world, who had the most remrkable fists all complete even tot he nails, and hair enough, really, when you took his cap off, to make – you didn’t know what: - in short, he was Buddha in a Western form.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.405).

„I have always been thinking of the different ways in which Christianity is taught. (...) It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.409).

„’I used often to wish I had been something else than a clergymen,’ he said to Lydgate, ‚but perhaps it will be better to try and make as good a clergyman out of myself as I can.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.422).

„It must be remembered that by ‚business’ Caleb never meant money transactions, but the skilful application of labour.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.453).

Caleb „felt himself to be saying something deeply religious. ‚You must be sure of two things: you must love your work, and not be always looking over the edge of it, wanting your play to begin. And the other is, you must not be ashamed of your work, and think it would be more honourable to you to be doing something else. You must have a pride in your own work and in learning it to do well.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.461).

„I believe that people are almost always better than their neighbours think they are.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.603).

„The presence of a noble nature, generous in its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again in their larger quieter masses , and to believe that we too can be seen and judged in the wholeness of our character.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.627).

„he was recovering his old self in consciousness that he was with one who believed in it.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.627).

„With her tendency to over-estimate the good in others.“ (Eliot, 1994, p.656).

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Mario Vegas Llosa – Conversation in the Cathedral 1974

 A young man, Zvalita, son of a rich industrialist, is making a living in Peru in a semi-democratic dictatorship. The book is narrated totally incoherent, mixing narrators, stories, direct and indirect speech, and the order in which things happen. It feels very honest and direct, like I think and experience the world myself.

And the main theme of the book is introduced right in the first sentence: „From the doorway of La Cronica Santiago looks at the Avenida Tacna without love: cars, uneven and faded buildings, the gaudy skeletons of posters floating in the mist, the gray midday. At what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up?“ (Llosa, 1974, p.3).

The book is about the path between being pure and fucking yourself up and how Zavalita deals with it. At university he is involved with the Communist party and therefore is on the brink of getting thrown into jail.

„“Revolution, books, museums,“ Santiago says. „Do you see what it is to be pure?“
„I thought that being pure was living without fucking, son,“ Ambrosio says.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.73). „All the doors open, he thinks, at what moment and why dod they begin to close?“ (Llosa, 1974, p.73).

„yes, yes, the greatest materialist thinker before Marx was Diderot, yes yes, and suddenly the little worm: a lie I don’t believe.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.101).

„“I’d been against the idea of a strike for the same reasons as those expressed by Huaman, an Aprista,“ Santiago said. „But since the section had agreed on a strike, it was up to me to defend it against Huaman. That’s called democratic centralism, Carlitos.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.147).

After getting bailed out of jail by his father Zavalita breaks with Communism (because he probably realizes, that is not an option to survive but also is something pure and idealistic which means trying to model the world after that ideal and thereby causing pain). He also breaks with his family and their money. Not because he doesn’t love them, but because they are tangled int money and politics. While the brea with Communism is lasting the break with his family is incomplete: he is going back and forth, but never returns completely.

Then the book makes a bit of a turn, and Zavalita explains that being pure is not a solution but being fucked up is much better:

„“Because thanks to San Marcos, I fucked myself up,“ Santiago says.
„And in this country a person who doesn’t fuck himself up fucks up other people. O I don’t regret it, Ambrosio.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.144).

So fucking up means also not being a model of anything, not following a model and therefore being alive without trying to shape the world to one’s will. Thus he says for example about his marriage: „“No, I’m happy with it,“ Santiago says. „The only think ist hat I really wasn’t the one who made the decision. It was imposed on me, just like the job, just like everthing that’s ever happened to me. Nothing was ever my doing, it was more like I was their doing.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.486).

And when his father dies he refuses to take any of his inheritance: „“I have,“ Santiago said. „There’s no share for me and, if there is, I don’t want a single penny oft he old man’s money. O.K. Sparky?“ (Llosa, 1974, p.591). And that confuses his brother immensely, because he doesn’t understand how one can do such a thing. „Go ahead, stay with your nuttiness,“ Sparky said, also smiling. „I just want you to know that if you ever need anything ...“
„I know, I know,“ Santigo said. „Now be on your way so I can take a little nap. So long Sparky.“ (Llosa, 1974, p.592).

So the nap, being chosen over the money, is a very interesting embodiment of being fucked up, of avoiding ambition, avoiding politics.