Alien Autopsy: William Barker on Schwa, two decades later

Twenty years ago, William Barker’s Schwa artwork revealed a world of alien abductions, stick figure insanity, conspiratorial crazy, and a hyper-branded surveillance state. It’s now more relevant than ever.

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The Internet With a Human Face: Maciej Cegłowski on the things we need to fix


Maciej Cegłowski's latest talk, The Internet With A Human Face, is a perfect companion to both his Our Comrade the Electron and Peter Watts's Scorched Earth Society: A Suicide Bomber's Guide to Online Privacy: a narrative that explains how the Internet of liberation became the Internet of inhuman and total surveillance. Increasingly, I'm heartened by the people who understand that the right debate to have is "How do we make the Internet a better place for human habitation?" and not "Is the Internet good or bad for us?" I'm also heartened to see the growth of the view that aggregated personal data is a kind of immortal toxic waste and that the best way to prevent spills is to not collect it in the first place.

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Unless companies pay, their Facebook updates reach 6 percent of followers

Facebook continues to tighten the screws on the businesses that use the service to market to their customers. Independent research shows that new updates from businesses reach about six percent of the people who follow those businesses. It is rumored that Facebook intends to reduce this number to "between one and two percent" over time. Businesses that want to reach the people who follow them at higher rates will have to pay Facebook to reach them through paid advertisements.

If you're building your business's marketing and customer relations strategy atop Facebook, take note -- and remember that if you have a real website, all your readers see your posts, even if you don't pay Facebook!

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Pow!, the fourth Rice Krispie elf… from space

Snap! Crackle! and Pop! are the embodiment of Rice Krispies cereal. They were born in 1928 when artist Vernon Grant was inspired by a Rice Krispies radio jingle describing how the puffed grains "merrily snap, crackle and pop in a bowl of milk," so he drew the three elves and sent them off to Kellogg's ad agency of record. But for a few short years in the 1950s, there was a fourth elf. A space elf! His name? Pow! If not for the Internet, Pow! would be lost to time. He appeared in two TV commercials. "Pow means power and power's nice! Rice Krispies power from whole grain rice!” said the announcer... "Now Pow doesn't say much...he just goes ahead and does things...like putting power into every...lightweight spoonful of Kellogg's Rice Krispies!"

Smithsonian has the full story: "The Untold Tale of Pow!, the Fourth Rice Krispies Elf."

Devil Baby Attack: scary prank viral marketing video

Funny viral video of a scary prank in NYC promoting the new horror film Devil's Due. (Thanks, Kelly Sparks!)

AirAsia goes Goatse

AirAsia WowChina

An enticing ad spotted by my IFTF colleague Jake Dunagan. Click to see larger.

You Can Do It! Clean the kitchen, that is.

Heather spotted this remarkably sad ad from Swiffer, aping Westinghouse Electric's classic wartime poster, We Can Do It! Adds Jason: "I love the clear tribute to an important historical image done in such a way as to piss on its legacy."

Billboard: "Gay Marriage = Gay Clutter"

Gayclutter

"It's funny cause it's true," says my pal Jason Tester who posted the photo to his Instagram feed @guerrillafutures.

Nintendo claims ownership over gamer fanvids on YouTube

Alan Wexelblat comment on the news that Nintendo has claimed "monetization rights" to fan videos on YouTube that feature tips on playing its games. Some of these videos are incredibly popular, and while their use of Nintendo's creations are often fair use, Nintendo gets to use YouTube's monetization system to advertise on all the videos:

The basic idea is that if someone makes a video of themselves playing a Nintendo game and uploads it to YouTube any ads shown with that video will be of Nintendo's choosing and revenue from it will flow to Nintendo. Ads may appear beside the videos or actually be inserted before and after the video when people go to play it.

The problem here is that "Let's Play" style videos are a pervasive form of information and sharing throughout the industry. I did a quick YouTube search for "let's play" for this blog post and got back over 9.1 million hits. People create these videos to show off their skills, to highlight interesting things they've seen such as game "easter eggs", to provide guides or walk-throughs, or just to share a bit of fun with friends. There are a few professional or semi-professional games writers who use this style of video to promote themselves or their channels, but they are a tiny minority of that nine million.

Nintendo has positioned its action as a gentler approach; rather than trying to ban content related to Nintendo games, they just want to make money off it by changing the video that an individual uploaded. Yeah, um, guys that's not a whole lot better. It also comes across as cheap and lazy - rather than creating content for YouTube that fans and players would want to watch, Nintendo is just taking over other peoples' content.

Nintendo Decides It Can Own Fans' YouTube Content

Apple's man behind the camera

Peter Belanger reveals the technical complexity behind Cupertino's cooly minimalist advertising. [Michael Shane at The Verge]

Allan Sherman's Mad-Man-style comedy song: "When I Was a Lad"

This shuffled into my music player this morning, and delighted me as it ever does: Allan Sherman's When I was a Lad, a lovely bit of Mad Man-style period parody from the album My Son, the Celebrity. You probably know Sherman's work from "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," but it's well worth exploring his whole catalog -- especially since there's a fabulous box set.

When I Was A Lad - Allan Sherman

Memorex, a 50-minute odyssey through the VHS generation

"The sequel to Smash TV's critically acclaimed "Skinemax", Memorex is a 50 minute VJ odyssey, a tribute to an entire generation who grew up with only a TV and a VCR for a babysitter. Sourced from over forty hours of 80s commercials pulled from warped VHS tapes, Memorex is a deep exploration of nostalgia and the fading cultural values of an era of excess. It's a re-contextualization of ads - cultural detritus, the lowest of the low - into something altogether more profound, humorous, and at times, even beautiful." [Vimeo]

The champagne of national unity

According to a survey of 200,000 Americans, Miller High Life is the most bi-partisan of beers. Republicans favor Samuel Adams and, apparently, there are a lot of Democrats drinking Heineken. (Although one might argue that these results are heavily skewed, as the survey did not include either microbrews or microparties. God only knows what the Libertarians are drinking.) There's a chart. Yay, charts! (Via Kevin Zelnio)

New Nike ad features overweight 12-year-old boy

[Video Link]. Wieden+Kennedy's new ad for Nike is provocative stuff. Nike isn't sponsoring the Olympics this year, but the ad is timed accordingly. The star of this spot, Nathan, is 12 years old and lives in London, Ohio. He tells Business Insider he puked in a ditch while filming takes. I like this kid.

What do you think of the new Apple "genius" ads running during Olympics 2012 TV coverage?

The internets are a-flutter with critics of these new Apple ads. I'm not crazy about them. They feel like they're for Best Buy or something, not Apple. I do wish they'd just bring back John Hodgman. (via @nytjim)