Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

The folks at MBHQ

365: AIGA Annual Design Exhibition 29

aiga365AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) is extending their annual  365 Annual Design Exhibition 29, which I saw yesterday and highly recommend, until this Friday, Feb. 27th. The annual competition presents the winners in their gallery at 164 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The exhibit can also be viewed on AIGA’s virtual gallery and is published in a “substantial” (their word for a big mo-fo coffee table adornment) book.  The selected works also becomes part of the AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum in Colorado.

AIGA National Design Center, 164 Fifth Avenue at 21st St. Manhattan; Mon. – Thu. 11 AM–6 PM; Fri. 11 AM–5 PM.

Have You Heard About — THE FIBER? Vote For the Most Annoying Local NYC TV Ad!!

We all know them, we all watch them, and worst of all, we all remember them! After all, isn’t that the point? Especially the ones where they repeat a phone number [who can forget the Sheraton commercial decades ago -800-325-3535?]
OK here are my nominees
1) All the Bob’s Furniture ads [the “Bob-o-Pedic” mattress, or the modular sofa bigger than an entire NYC studio apt, with chaise and 2,4, or even 6 cup holders]

2) The Stanley Steemer spot with Toby the dog’s “new trick” [which is cleaning his butt on the new carpet– hey lady, check out the dog’s food!], and the horriffic cry of “Oh God, make him stop—–T-O-B-Y!!]

3) US Window Factory
a) the British guy who says “I don’t even live here, but I’m gonna move here……..”
b) the woman with the white lips outlined in red, 70s-style big disco hair, and the Lawn Guylind twang
“so cawl us; we’ll instawl yaw windahs…”
4) Empire Today 800-588-2300…… see?

5) The Grand Prospect Hall — elaborate violin music, grand staircase, huge crystal chandeliers, so far so good, then the music crescendos, abruptly stops, fade to couple on the spiral steps proclaiming
“We Mek-a Your Drims Kem Troo” in an accent that sounds like a mixture of Eastern European, Russian, and newly-arrived Sicilian”

and finally, who can forget:

6) Optimum Triple Play, complete with bongos, bling, mermaids, and rates to call Puerto Rico, and a number that tattoos on the brain —- 877-393-4-4-4-8!

7) Time Warner’s response — man eating his daily “colon-blow” cereal, when the doorbell rings;
man looks through peephole to see nerd with a comb-over, and murmurs “this should be fun”,
man opens door, and nerd says “Good Morning. [while making elaborate rainbow-colored arc-shaped sweep of his hand] Have you heard about [pause] THE FIBER??”
Man holds up cereal bowl, and says “I think I’m taken care of in that area” uh-LOL?
8) ___________________________________ write in your own

The winning ad agency gets the “noodgie” award, which is a download of a fingernail scratching a chalkboard!

Helvetica: The Movie

Helvetica celebrates the 50th anniversary of this most ubiquitous typeface. From urban spaces to emails, Helvetica presides over our everyday and cultural landscapes, and still elicits strong reactions from designers. According to the Sept. 12 New York Times, “The film’s provocative, lively interviews with graphic designers and theorists . . . assess Helvetica’s impact on human life and thought.. . . you’re guaranteed to spend the next few days scanning the world for Helvetica like a child on a cross-country car trip playing I Spy.”

A free screening of the new documentary film, Helvetica, will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 25 in Memorial Hall on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Director Gary Hustwit will introduce and take questions after the film.

Date:Tuesday, Sept. 25

Venue: Memorial Hall, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Time: 6:00 -8:00 p.m.

The 80-minute film features interviews with, among others, Massimo Vignelli, Matthew Carter, Erik Spiekermann, Hermann Zapf, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Beirut, Paula Scher, Jonathan Barnbrook, David Carson, Leslie Savan, David Carson, Rick Poynor, and Jonathan Hoefler.


I have been hooked on the AMC original series “Madmen” which is about the Madison Avenue advertising business in the early 60s.

One thing that jumps out immediately, is of course that the execs are almost all men, and the only person of color is the elevator operator. But then the cigarette smoke pops out. I was forced to remember my first job in the late-70s as a reservationist for Aeromexico at 500 Fifth Avenue, more than a decade after the setting of “Madmen”. Everybody smoked. The man who sat next to me reeked. He must not have drycleaned his suits too often because he just reeked. I had a woman in front of me who lit a cigarette while the last one was still smoldering in her ashtray. And there were ashtray fights; the smokers accused each other of ashtray theft, or yelled when someone didn’t clean out their ashtray often enough. An accidentally-overturned ashtray could dump mounds of ashes, which then blew in all our faces.

In those days, I ran outside to the front of the building for fresh air. Now, it’s the opposite– the front of the office buildings are polluted with smoke, from far less smokers than there would have been in the 60s or 70s. Sometimes I long for the “good old days” but then I watch “Madmen” and remember running from a smoky office to a grafitti-covered subway car. And I am glad for the present condition of NYC.

Ads, ads, ads

This morning I arrived at JFK after taking a redeye from L.A. Shockingly, I managed to get some sleep on the flight and didn’t feel too horribly exhausted. However, first thing in the morning, there is one thing I do not want to be bombarded with: advertising. Particularly loud Microsoft advertising.

In terminal 9 at JFK, between the check-in/baggage claim area and the gates, you go down a big escalator, through an underground hallway, and then back up another escalator. Sounds inefficient, but it’s because the hallway goes under an active taxiway and was the easiest way to do things. Anyway, of course that space couldn’t go on being all blank, colorless, and ad-free. At first it was just a series of poster ads. Innocuous enough. I’m already used to all the jetways being lined with HSBC ads telling me how much they love individuality. But then, the hallway of advertising got worse – they put in big flat-screen monitors in the walls and started the bombardment of blindingly bright ads, with sound, first for Vista and now for Office 2007. All well and good. I know Microsoft has to make a living just like everybody else. But Jesus H. Christmas Crap, I do not want the Office 2007 theme song blaring at top volume at me as big shiny monitors blare images into my brain at 6 a.m. That shit just makes me want to install Linux on every machine I can get my hands on.

After we left the airport, I noticed that there is now a giant hand holding up a giant Samsung phone at the entrance to JFK. I’m used to billboards, taxi ads, and commercials, but it seems advertising is just getting more and more in-your-face. At this point I’d rather just have good old-fashioned obvious product placement in my TV shows and movies. You know, maybe Bruce Willis could take a break from fighting bad guys to grab a sip of Duff Beer, or something.

What annoying advertising have you noticed around the city lately?

Sure, I like porn…


But don’t you think this is a bit much? I had read about this new-ish American Apparel advertisement on the corner of Houston and Allen, but I hadn’t got a good look at it until this past weekend. On way my to the Astronomer show at Arlene’s Grocery, we idled at this corner for a few minutes so I was able to take it all in. And I do mean ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got absolutely no problem with sexy ads featuring scantily clad ladies, but this crotch shot is so gratuitous that you can see razor bumps and camel toe. This is one of those times I was praying for air-brushing. Thanks for not sharing.

Photo: Thigh Highs [twoblackeyes’ Flickr photostream]

“There is Now a Starbucks in my Pants.”

home_img1_starbucks.jpgThat is one of my favorite George Carlin lines of all time, and I can’t think of a line that is more appropriate for my post today…

It is nothing new to complain about the overkill of the chain store. The first blatant example of over-expansion that I can recall in my 25-year-old life was Benaton. As the small upscale clothing retailer went from a handful of corners with a store to a handful of corners without, society became aware of the problems that accompany these massive chains. Then there was WalMart and KMart. But, as time went by, we became somewhat desensitized to it, and our fears managed to be culled by the promise of low prices and good deals. Plus, here in Gotham, we were fairly insulated to the growth of the “chain” phenomenon because of the prevalence of the local store and neighborhood identity.

R2D2 Mailboxes Hit the Streets

The USPS is wrapping mailboxes in 200 cities nationwide in an R2D2 skin to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars and in anticipation of a related announcement to be made on March 28th (hmmm what could it possibly be? robot mail collection? hmm…uhhh stamps anyone?). The droid mailboxes are in high traffic locations in Manhattan, including near the main post office on 33rd, in Times Square on Broadway, and near the Plaza Hotel. The Post Office press release states that R2-D2 “embodies the trust and dependability for which the Postal Service is so renowned.” Personally I feel that the PO is more like C3PO- technologically advanced in some ways but sort of bumbling and error prone. No word yet on the Darth Vader helmet phone booths.

photo courtesy of WSH1266

Empty Time’s Square at Night – Photos from Laughing Squid


I love these photos posted over at Laughing Squid—on one of the sub-freezing nights last week, Scott Beale went to Times Square in the middle of the night and snapped some great photos. It’s great that the streets are practically empty in these; almost like a post-apocalyptic Time’s Square—like all the ads and billboards survived but there’s not a person to be found.

I much prefer to look at photos of Time’s Square than actually go there, that is for sure.

Photo Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

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