Friday, October 07, 2005

Project for The New American Century

Here is a wild spot from a group called the Knife Party.

Offers some food for thought about what is going on in the US right now.

The Knife Party look under 'what barry says'

The Pleasure Den Experience

It looks like I’m going to get the chance to shoot a few more ads next month. This is my favourite part of advertising, writing and producing television spots. The three ads we did for WIDHH are still being edited, so the launch date will be pushed back a bit, just in case you were wondering. I spoke with Global, however, and it looks like there is a good chance they will run it as a PSA near December.

I really like shooting on a low budget. It forces you to be resourceful. When we first started shooting in Oz, we had to sit the cameraman in a shopping cart for lack of a dolly, or we would film out of my car, and tell the police we were filming for Adidas not to get shut down while filling the streets with light at 3 am. We used unpaid exotic dancers as talent.

Our first paying client was Jox & Sox, who sold, you guessed it, socks and underwear on a single table in the middle of a mall. The ad went to air and got us the right kind of attention, and soon we were filming on 16mm out of speedboats, driving around in Jaguars, having big screen screenings, and integrating radio and print.

If you have a PC you can see those ads at Pleasure Den Productions (they are saved as wmv files).

I’ll keep you posted about the upcoming shoots as they start fleshing out in the next few weeks.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hockey and Soap

Well, hockey season is back. Vancouver beat Gretzky and his Coyotes in a half-interesting game. A few new rules in effect, but basically the same ol’ good ol’ hockey game. One thing I kept thinking about, however, was that this was 'free entertainment'. Hockey is a very expensive circus to run, and ticket and concession sales aren’t even coming close to covering the player’s salaries alone. The whole thing is run on advertising revenue. Just in a snapshot of a player you will see three prominent logos, Nike (helmets), Reebok (jerseys), and Oakley (visors). Not to mention the equipment. Then there are the billboards, the mandatory commercial breaks, and the 20-minute barrage of ads during the intermissions. All in the hope that we will buy Molson Canadian beer, wash our hair with Fructus, celebrate that hockey is back (what is the point of these ads?), use Extreme deodorant, and drink Coke Zero (which is basically Diet Coke targeted to men). But really, as with any free entertainment, advertisers are footing the bill. It isn’t really all that different from the Roman Coliseum and the Greek plays.

Soap Operas have similar origins. They began as radio plays sponsored by soap companies. It wasn’t until this century that people began taking baths or showers every day. Even 80 years ago such a concept would have been unheard of. Daily shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, hand cream, soaps etc. These are all culturally indoctrinated through a shame model perpetuated by Johnson and Johnson and Proctor and Gamble over fifty years ago through their advertising. Namely, through the socialization imposed by the soap operas.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Vancouver gets greener

Well here’s some good news for everyone involved in the LOHAS community: The City of Vancouver has opted to buy only ethically-produced products, Although 24 Hours doesn’t have a lot of praise for the program “The policy is expected to cost the city almost $500,000 extra per year, plus a $68,000 full-time staff position to oversee the program...and spend $15,000 more a year on coffee.” It is a breath of fresh air for the distributors, manufacturers and suppliers of organic cotton, fair-trade coffee, and hybrid vehicles, not to mention those of us who have little or no interest in smog and the people who have to deal with the consequences of unethical purchases, people that we don’t really ever see, but rumour has it that they are out there somewhere.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Aristotle believed that effective communication incorporated “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.” The three main forms of rhetoric are Ethos, Logos and Pathos.

Ethos is based upon the reputation of the speaker.
Logos is based upon sound logical reasoning.
Pathos is based upon emotional appeal.

People do not make spontaneous decisions based upon facts. Think of the last time you bought shampoo. People are driven by the smaller, unnoticed details that have been tweaked to trigger and affect the subconscious.

Brand reputation is one component. It develops the ethos, as does an actor dressed as a doctor. You can win someone over with pseudo-scientific logic. But it is the emotional appeal that comes from the creative that seals the deal. People want to be spoken to personally, even if it’s nonsense, because in a fast-paced, time-starved, heuristically-driven world, decision making is not about what is right and wrong, but about how it makes you feel.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Public Service Announcement

On Sept 22, 2005 there was a fire at the Richmond Hotel. 2 Women died, and 14 were sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation. 2 of those people were deaf. They were asleep and could not hear the alarms. People often forget that the deaf require specialized emergency equipment, such as flashing lights. At the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing it is possible to get such equipment. In your house, office or building, it is something you should take into consideration. WIDHH is non-profit, so they understand.

We had the director of WIDHH (who is deaf) sign this public service announcement for us on Friday. The shoot went very well – we were able to film all three ads in just over 3 hours. No major setbacks except for the squeaky floor upstairs. We had to constantly run upstairs to tell people who are deaf and hard of hearing to try to be more quiet. But Across Borders Media were great to work with, our unpaid talent did a great job, and the filming went off without a hitch. If all goes well you should be able to see these ads on the Shaw Listings by October 10th. Also, if possible, I am hoping to get this PSA above on CBC.