Friday, September 02, 2005

My friend the grinch

Buy Nothing Day is just around the corner. I went out to Robson Square last year and stood in the rain for a while and met some interesting people. Eventually we caved in and bought some beer, but for the most part, we were pretty good. Believe me, it is not as easy as you would think to buy nothing in the city.

I've stumbled across the next step (and this is probably old news to most of you).
Buy Nothing Christmas

Strangely enough, an old friend of mine, Nicholas Klassen is behind this endeavour. I figure he'll stumble across this posting eventually what with the wonders of google, so welcome to Enlightening Ideas, Nick. I hope you'll have some rants and raves.

Now, I am not much of a materialistic person myself. After spending over three years drifting around with a backpack and hitchhiking across Europe, Africa, Canada, the US and parts of Mexico, I can tell you a bit of a mantra I had - never own more than you can carry. Now that I have a car, this means I can have a few more things - but I'd bet I can still carry all my clothes - and that's about all I've got. People with vans and busses have it made.

I've worked at a lot of moving companies during my travels, and it always blew my mind that people had to hire other people to move them from place to place, like some kind of bloated whale washed up on a beach.

Ay, we live in materialistic times.

I've heard that fashion drives consumerism more than anything, and it is probably true, but with the Vintage movement still kicking at least all the old clothes aren't ending up in landfills. And all of that cotton production isn't doing too many wonders for the environment. Yes, hemp would make more sense, and yes it puts more CO2 back into the environment than rainforests, and yes most packaging is made from oil, and the landfills are filling up with more and more junk everyday, yes, yes, yes, I know, I know, I know - but nothing for Christmas?? Hmm. It seems almost cruel.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Well, the Social Venture Institute conference in Hollyhock is just around the corner and I'm pretty stoked. It will run from September 7th to 11th, so the blog will be out of commission for a while. While I'm there I will get a chance to meet some other LOHAS folk. I am most interested in meeting the people in the advertising/communications realm actually. There are 7 of us advertising types going from 6 agencies - so I am curious to see where sustainability is going in terms of a communications perspective.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blackspot sneakers

So I finally got my blackspot sneakers from Adbusters. They are mighty fine shoes if I do say so myself. A lot of it just makes sense - old tire tread for grip, made with hemp as opposed to cotton, made under fair conditions in Portugal, and as an owner of the shoe I am also a stockholder in the corporation. The best part is that they are designed by Fluevog - so they have some style as well.

I'm not really that interested in being a part of a counter-culture flag waving movement, so the first thing I did was colour in the ugly white spot on the side and paint over the red spot on the left toe. I also have a hard time buying into blackspot as anything other than a brand in itself. Being in advertising, I can tell you that there is no such thing as an anti-brand.

The only complaints I have is the name 'un-swoosher, and the spots, other than that they are comfortable, lightweight and full of bounce - with good traction - and they have a colour that goes well with almost any pants.

It did take me a year and a half to get them (I originally ordered a pair in June 2004) and it took a lot of emails and phone calls and trips to the bank to clear out visa accounts that were supposed to be closed to finally get them, but I've got them now, and I'm pretty happy with them overall.

That said, I'm happy to give them a plug. This should be the future of manufacturing.

Aren't they beautiful?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Outsourcing a LOHAS agency

It is not uncommon for a company to outsource a side project to a specialty firm to tap into a particular target market. DDB has a kids division, and hot shops such as Crispin Porter and Rethink and the like specialize in introducing previously unheard of products and services to a younger audience.

The punk rock chickens crossing the road to get to a Burger King are about as far away from LOHAS as can be - and although it is hilarious, it doesn't really represent the kind of work we do here at Creative Wonders. So I figured I would leave it up as a contrast, to this ad Creative Wonders link.

Although a Nike ad, this is strongly aligned with a LOHAS theme - that being hinged on spirituality, a belief in reincarnation, and the continuation of the spirit throughout eternity (at least until you get it right). They do a great job of this in this ad - and it does appeal very much to a LOHAS market. Strangely enough, Nike went outside of its normal agency of record, Weiden and Kennedy, to make this ad, which suggests that it is becoming more and more common to seek specialty shops (such as Creative Wonders) to appeal to this target market.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Introducing a new product.

Introductive advertising has to be disruptive. It has to turn everyday conventions on their head and make people stop to take notice. Without a touch of madness and originality, a new product or service will get lost in a bland sea of advertising clutter.

There are some agencies that do an amazing job of this, Crispin Porter + Bogusky being one. Here is an ad that blew my mind the other day called Cross the Road for Burger King. Creative Wonders Link