Wednesday, April 7, 2010
(Their two-year mission: to explore strange new methods of communication)
Every year, students in the Creative Communications program (which I have almost completed) showcase their design skills, journalistic chops, advertising savvy, and showmanship, in a one-day magazine trade show.
This year the Class of 2011 put on an outstanding show. I was extremely impressed by the level of enthusiasm, the quality of presentation, and the big ideas which made the event so much fun.
Set a course for Awesome: Engage!
As an Advertising Major, I tended to flip past a lot of the articles and go straight to the ads (just being honest), and there were dozens of examples of well-written copy and clever concepts.
Here are a few of the magazine ads that really stood out from the crowd, in no particular order:
PRAIRIE ORGANIC VODKA
I really liked the simplicity of this one. It looks like a real ad, and seems like it would appeal to the kind of audience who would want an organic vodka.
I have a couple of issues with the copy, but I love the hand-made illustration for this one.
It really sells the sunny/folksy vibe I always get from Vita Health. So I think this represents the client well, and understands what appeals to the target audience.
CITY OF WINNIPEG
Glenda Ollero (design) Kiran Dhillan (copy)
Slogan on this one could use some work, "The city with something for everyone," could apply to almost any city. But a really great, eye-catching design is what sells this; images are imperative when marketing a destination. I could easily see this ad in a travel magazine.
I also like the subliminal emphasis on WIN.
WENDY MAHR JEWELRY
This ad made me want to purchase and consume a chocolate pendant, which is outside of my normal range of behaviour. Ergo, success!
THE WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Love it. Great design, great idea. Reminds me of an ad campaign that ran a few years ago, which featured cropped images which suggested one story, and then a reveal of the full image which completely changed the story. I wish I could remember who the ad was for...
Anyways, very inspired work. Well done.
MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP
Another visually arresting ad by Tiffany Lachuta.
"You're responsible for the environment. It's where all your greatest adventures happen." "Mountain Equipment Co-Op wants to help you reduce your carbon footprint, while walking your own path."
Great message, great copy, great photo, great design.
Similar to Glenda and Kiran's Winnipeg ad, this has solid layout, and great images.
So there you have it. There were lots of good ads, and these are just a sample.
No winner, no prizes; just the satisfaction of a job well done, and the prestige of appearing on my blog... Let me know which ads you like the best!
Congratulations to everyone on another fantastic magazine trade show.
And let me just say: May the Force be with you.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Every so often the topic of sad movies comes up, and inevitably I recommend the same few films.
I've wept at the conclusion of quite a few films. Schindler's List, Life is Beautiful, and a few other well known pictures. The end of The Iron Giant is particularly devastating. I even get a bit upset at the end of Scrooge.
My list is comprised of movies that kind of fly under the radar; films that not many people I know have seen or even heard of.
I've seen Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru come up on a few people's lists. It's not a tearjerker in the traditional sense, but leaves you with such a life-affirming joy you can't help but get misty-eyed.
Absolutley fantastic movie, originally recommended to me by my friend Sean. Takashi Shimura, who appeared in many of Kurosawa's films, turns in one of his finest performances.
Another great Kurosawa film, Madadayo is paced very slowly, but one of the final scenes really chokes me up.
The IMDB synopsis:
This film tells the story of professor Uehida Hyakken-sama (1889-1971), in Gotemba, around the forties. He was a university professor until an air raid, when he left to become a writer and has to live in a hut. His mood has hardly changed, not by the change nor by time. Every year his students celebrate his birthday, issuing the question "Mahda kai?" (not yet?), just to hear Uehida-san's answer "Madada yo!" (No, not yet!), in a ritual of self affirmation.
I know of only two people who've ever seen or heard of Don McKellar's Last Night. Curiously enough, a friend of mine mentioned seeing it on TV last week. I still remembering seeing it at the Towne Theatre when it was released, and holding my breath for the last two incredible minutes.
For those itnerested, the entire film has been posted on YouTube.
DANCER IN THE DARK
How can a musical starring Bjork be the most upsetting film ever made? I'm not sure how it happened, but man, this film isn't just depressing, it's traumatizing. Among fans of indie cinema and foreign films, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark comes up as #1 on a lot of "saddest movie" lists.
I've seen a few other movies by von Trier, and they've all been intriguing and well made, but I think this has been his best work so far.
MY FLESH AND BLOOD
To be fair, this is a documentary. But honest to god, you will never see anything so simultaneously uplifting and emotionally scarring. After watching this, you'll want to call everyone you ever loved and tell them how much they mean to you.
I can say with only mild hyperbole:
If the end of this film does not upset you, you are borderline inhuman.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
(Warning: Mildly NSFW, if your employer is particularly prudish)
I really like this because it lampoons those ridiculous ads for household cleaners featuring cartoonish mascots. Who was the guy who came up with the of idea associating fun and cartoons with cleaning products?
The other reason this works so well, is that the message connects perfectly with the joke. We're made to feel uncomfortable, and unsafe - exactly the point that the spot is trying to get across.
The interesting thing here, is the ad directs you to peopleagainstdirty.com, a site which provides information on the hidden dangers of household cleaners. It seems like this is some kind of grassroots, environmental group, but in fact, the site is sponsored by method environmental cleaning products. So really, this is just one company subversively criticizing other companies that make the same products, which is nothing new.
Still, great ad. Very funny, very creepy, very effective.
Thanks to my friend Greg for the link.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
If you're anything like me, you hate reading and prefer to distract yourself with nice pictures of things. If so, you should be made aware of the Boston Globe's, The Big Picture.
They recently featured an amazing photo-essay on Shanghai's preparations for Expo 2010.
Remember Expo? Yeah, they still have it.
All children love emotionless automatons with faces of polished obsidian.
Anyways, I was thoroughly impressed with some of the incredible architecture soon to be on display in Shanghai. These tiny pics don't do the buildings justice, so check out the article!
Below are the Polish pavillion to the left, which playfully references the floral patterns and graphic motifs of Polish folk-art. And the Luxembourg pavillion to the right, which references some kind of Kafkaesque nightmare world. Well done Luxembourg.
Apparently Edmonton is bidding to host Expo 2017.
I was going to say something derogatory about Edmonton, but then I remembered I live in Winnipeg.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I would like to apologize to Kirsten Goldstone and Julie Prejet for forgetting to mention the Creative Communications Film Festival coming up on Tuesday March 23 @ 6 p.m. The event is open to all second-year students, and to first-year students who have completed their montages for Dean Cooper's class early. The event will be held in the Great-West Life Lecture Theatre.
For more information, visit the IPP Facebook Group, or contact Kirsten or Julie.I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining what the IPPs are.
Writing for the IPPs
As part of my introduction, I tried to explain the first two days in under two minutes. I spent a lot of time making a specific reference to EVERY project presented, and I think the bit fell a bit flat because it was trying to cram too much in. Anyways, if you're curious, you can read it below.
Thank you again to Melanie Fatourus and Rose Dominguez for inviting me to host. And kudos again to Amanda Lefly and Mitchell Clinton for doing an outstanding job on Days 1 & 2.
The Independent Professional Project Presentations Day 3, March 12, 2010
Fellow students, Instructors, Industry Luminaries, friends and family, graduates,
It is under the divine providence of John Pura that we assemble here again today, for the
third and final day of the 2010 Independent Professional Project Presentations. It’s a half-day today. I got the half day to host. That’s alright, because today, we’ve condensed the excellence down into thirteen outstanding presentations, in the same way that 2X Ultra Tide is two-times concentrated, Day of Three of the IPPP’s are triple-distilled for maximum life-changing incredibleness.
To review for those who may not have attended the first two days:
Day one was: acronyms, lycanthropy, fabulousness, immigration, and headbutting, followed by chills, thrills, Jill, foxy men, equine abuse, and some punks playing their music too loud in a dilapidated church.
After lunch it was a hockey hero, a humble heroine, a happy hellraiser, a heavenly healer, an alliterative idiot, and an alluring Francophone. And the rest of the day was delicious, potable, musical, cinematic, engaging and Epic.
Day Two began with a better world full of toys, bears, brooms, travel bugs, dance dance kentonlarsen, flying discs, personal struggle, mini-cre-comm for kids, the BIG SOUND OF MITCHELL CLINTON, and gratuitous booty shaking.
After lunch we went crazy, but then bettered ourselves, and rocked the after-party; there was a major calamity, we listened to a choir of one, and moved more Nickel than the Mint. And finally, we closed out the day with human dignity, rhyming masturbation, a Woodcock, a peepshow, a gluttonous bear, and a double order of starch.
But remember, today: three times better.
I have purchased a fresh coconut cream pie this morning at yonder Safeway, which is cooling on a windowsill back stage. Barring, theft by hobo, I hope that it will serve as a deterrent for presentations going over their allotted timeslot.
We would like to thank the following outstanding organizations for their sponsorship; Industry Images, Edward Carrier, 94.3 Curve FM, and the Winnipeg Free Press.
We’d also like to thank the Park Theatre for hosting us over the past few days.
We ask that unless you are one of the five designated students who’ll be live Tweeting this morning, that you please shut off your cellular electric personal mobile telephone devices.
For a written transcript of this morning’s program, please send $5 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Klara Labady, care of
Metaphorically speaking, our first presenter pretty much knocked it out of the literary park on her first time at “bat”. Originally titled, “Better than Twilight,” a rather pretentious title I talked her out of at the Gemini Writer’s retreat, “Merilee” as it’s now know is the tale of a young Greek woman living in Scotland who is bitten by some sort of supernatural creature… possibly a mummy. Penning her first novel in just one summer, she is the kind of writer I hope to grow up to be some day.
I must warn you, this presentation does contain scenes of supernatural awesomeness.
Here she is, Creative Communications’ own Queen of Screams – Jenette Martens!
Our next presenter is a four-time Creative Communications Media Award winner, and my second favourite person from Carman. The town, not the opera.
“Bewitching” does not begin to describe this young woman who judging by the title of her project, a radio documentary about Wicca, likes puns almost as much as I do.
I must warn you, this presentation does contain audio of prestidigitation and powers which some consider to be… unnatural.
Here to put a spell on you, the enchanting, Terri Stevens.
Some of you may know our next presenter.
I first met him in Journalism 1, when he became my very first interview subject.
An excerpt from that interview “He exudes a confident but decidedly oddball demeanor, reminding one of a character from a Hunter S. Thompson novel. The tall, lanky and bespectacled Gemini swivels in his chair as he describes his chaotic life as of late, Led Zepplin emblazoned across his black t-shirt, a metal hammer pendant and iPod headphones slung around his 22-year-old-neck. He runs his hand through a mop of curly brown hair, revealing fresh stitches on the end of his pinky finger.
Steve Vogelsang’s comments:
“You raise too many questions and leave too many stories untold.”
Here to fill in the blanks, is The Sultan of Selkirk, the self ascribed Prince of the Universe, a man I am extremely happy to call my friend.
I must warn you, this presentation does contain Thorsten Blondal.
To radically change direction, our next presenter is one of the most charming and amiable young women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. A labour of love, and of heartache, her project is an audio documentary telling the stories of veterans of the Second World War, titled, “I Will Always Remember.”
Here to share it with us, the lovely, Laurie McDougall
Continuing the emotional rollercoaster, our next presenter is also one of the most charming and amiable young women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He/she and I share a common belief in changing our world for the better through the power and majesty of comedic dinner theatre.
I must warn you, this presentation does contain crossdressing.
The divine Miss David Turnbull.
Our next presenter is a journalism student who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time just two days ago. And I’m happy to report, she’s a super lady with an awesome vegetarian cookbook to share with us.
I must warn you, this presentation is completely gluten-free. If at any time you feel queasy or gluten-deficient, please visit the medical stations outside for a large glass of barley.
Please welcome, the excellent first-impression making, Erin Bend.
Daria Lysenko & Kamila Konieczny
In Creative Communications, there is only one acronym bigger than the IPP, and that’s the CCMA. Our next two presenters are the masterminds behind the Marker Social and have been working tirelessly to make sure we get the best introduction to
I must warn you, this presentation is the best one of all.
Two women I would be delighted to accept a Creative Communications Media Award from: Daria Lysenko and Kameela Konieczny.
Our next presenter spent a year delving into the gritty world of vigilante justice, a subject near and dear to me own heart. Ever since I was a puny nerd of 13, I’ve been fascinated by costumed heroes. And now as a portly nerd of 32, my love affair with the medium has never faded. I’ve been reading spoiler-filled reviews of this movie on the internet for months, and if it’s as good as they say it is on Aint-it-Cool-News I’m probably going to download it this weekend.
I must warn you, this presentation contains graphic images of men in spandex.
Presenting: The Astounding, Spectacular, Amazing, and Uncanny, Ashlee Espenell!
Our next presenter has produced a video documentary about a
I feel like the boy who cried wolf, but I must warn you, this presentation actually does contain some images of war, and if you are particularly sensitive you may wish to sit this one out. But I think you should stay, because it’s timely and important.
I thought of something funny: The future Mrs. Cole Schapansky, Courtney Rutherford.
While I consider my bromance with Thorsten Blondal extremely special, our next presenter was my original Cre Comm crush. Early mornings in the cafeteria, sharing his copy of the Sun, discussing the events of the day, I with my Timmy’s, and he with his precocious grin. It was a magical time to be alive. Anyways, he did a project about basketball or something.
I must warn you, this presentation may contain pyrotechnics and a live elephant.
The Man, the Legend, D-Stu: Mr. Dustin Stewart
Our next presenter made a video documentary about mustaches.
That’s a *video* doc, not an *audio* doc. So if you came here today to listen to the soothing sounds of gently rustling facial hair, you have questionable priorities.
I must warn you, this presentation will change the way you watch Magnum P.I.
And now: Joel Marcoux
Meryl DeLeon & Shayna Wiwierski
Our next presenters decided not to do “an” event, but rather “the event.” Rock the Ribbon, a fashion extravaganza in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, was by all accounts, unbelievable.
I must warn you, this presentation may cause an uncontrollable urge to dance and/or shop.
You will be hard pressed to find two more fabulous human beings than Meryl DeLeon & Shayna Wiwierski.
In first year, I knew this man only by his last name. But you know, the more I get to know him, the more I get to like him. He has focused his considerable media production-fu and produced some videos with musical accompaniment for a local youth group of some sort.
I must warn you, this presentation will tear a hole in the fabric of space and time, repair the hole, and celebrate the repairing of the hole with everyone cool who has ever lived. There is also some salty language.
One last enormous round of applause to welcome Trevor Gill.
An update to the out-of-home teaser campaign that confused a goodly chunk of Winnipeg was unveiled this past week.
As it happens, it *was* for Birchwood Automotive Group.
I still think the single flaming log with the .ca extension was a bad idea.
I think a .com or .ca or whatever address is, on its own, a kind of call to action.
You're unconsciously asking people to visit a website, but leaving them guessing about where to go.
I guess you can make the arguement that it was meant to be a teaser, but I don't think it could obviously be interpreted that way. This wasn't the Cloverfield campaign, ominously depicting a headless Statue of Liberty and a date. That generated buzz. The log generated confusion.
Anyways, the new Birchwood site looks good.
Mystery solved. I am now going for coffee and a Scooby Snack.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I've been seeing this out-of-home treatment around town in the past few weeks:
And I've been wondering; what the hell is this for?
I went to the trouble of doing some investigating online, and here's what I've found so far.
Flaminglog.ca, log.ca, and logonfire.ca don’t exist as domains.
Firelog.ca is just a placeholder site, which offers to find you useful things such as a job, naughty girls, free movie downloads, or hard hats (?)
Fireplace.ca is just ads for fireplaces, with a confusing picture of a woman looking depressed in front of a fireplace.
Why so serious?
Fire.ca redirects to
There’s also http://www.log-on.ca/ which employs some very good looking stock photo people.
Hearth.ca is another placeholder/marketing site.
Finally, burninglog.ca is the website for a business which actually sells fireplaces, stoves, patio furniture, and pools. But it’s in
In case anyone was wondering, http://confusingbillboard.ca/ could not be found.
Visually arresting image: 4/5
Easy to understand copy: 0/5
Appeals to target audience: 0/5
Call to action: 0/5
Piques interest: 2/5
Brand recognition: 0/5
I hope this is a teaser for a much larger and engaging campaign.