Public papercraft ponies

Dry the River - No Rest: 3D paper-crafted horses.jpeg A U.K. ad agency created these 3D papercraft ponies to stand out from the usual flyposted fare. [Ads of the World]

God Watches Mad Men

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One might be tempted to ask: Can God make a signboard so big that even He can't illuminate it? Spotted in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, otherwise known as the Center of the Universe.

I am the photographer, and I approve this use of my image.

Soviet brochure from Expo '58: "Come Visit the USSR! Soviet Women! Sputniks and Rockets!"

Here's a neat bit of paper ephemera: A brochure of the Soviet pavilion at Expo 58, also known as the Brussels World Fair—which was the first World Fair after World War II. The Soviet pavillion brochure includes period-perfect illustrations, a neat map, and promises of love 'n' leisure in the land of the Reds: "Sputniks and Rockets! Soviet Women!"

Scanned and published to Flickr by user Jericl Cat

(via BB Submitterator, via metkere.com)

Vintage-style ads for Facebook, Skype and YouTube

500x_0805_ads_skype.jpg Brazil's Moma ad agency created a set of ads for newfangled tech companies in a mid-century style. [Ads of the World via Gawker]

Jamiroquai: Where's he now? Pimpin' instant ramen in Japan

Well, I suppose we all have to pay the rent. In the Japanese television commercial embedded above, Jamiroquai's Jay Kay sings an alternate version of the band's '90s funkyraver smash hit "Virtual Insanity" in which the lyrics have been changed to praise the noodly goodness of Cup Noodle instant ramen (known in the USA as "Cup Noodles").

Virtual insanity, indeed! Here is the official Cup Noodle campaign site. (via watashi no tokyo, via Gavin Purcell)

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1977 commercial for the IBM5100

This 1970s commercial for the IBM5100 is really funny.

[via AllThingsD]

Awkward Stock Photos

awkwardstockphotos.jpg awkwardstockphotos.com (via William Gibson).

If alien life exists, we have probably weirded it out by now

From Arecibo, to the sound of vaginal contractions, to an ad for Doritos—a short history of Earthlings' attempts to communicate with the cosmos. The vaginal sounds recording reached Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti in the late 1990s. New Scientist says, "It is unclear what sort of reply we should expect."

Pharmaceutical company funds documentary about over-eating

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GlaxoSmithKline is financing a documentary about over-eating, in the hopes that it will boost sales of Alli—their over-the-counter drug that blocks your body from absorbing some of the fat you eat. (Fun game: Read the recent Science Question from a Toddler on poop and see if you can guess what the common side-effects are.)

Glaxo says they won't have control over the content of the film and won't even be pushing to make sure Alli gets mentioned. They simply want to educate Americans about the fact that they eat too much.

The partners say they hope to emulate "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's celebrated 2006 documentary on climate change. It cost an estimated $1.5 million to produce and sold $50 million in tickets worldwide. Ms. Ferdinando summarized the film as "the 'Inconvenient Truth' of mindless eating," with the story taking a "behind-closed-doors, fly-on-the-wall" approach that highlights unhealthy relationships people have with food.

Artistically, the problem I see here is that successful documentaries—and really documentaries in general—are usually about challenging popular perception and either making a case for a viewpoint that's counter to "common-sense" or informing people about a situation that's mostly being ignored. The thesis "Fat People Eat Too Much" does not exactly fit into that mold.

New York Times: Glaxo, diet drug maker, to pay for film on eating

Image courtesy Flickr user yukariryu, via CC

What "Kills 99.9% of germs" really means

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Shocker: Advertising health claims are often misleading. In this case, it looks like most of the products that tout near-perfect germ-killing abilities are getting those results in trials that aren't exactly designed to mimic real-world conditions. When a University of Ottawa microbiologist ran a more realistic demonstration for Canadian schoolchildren, he turned up VERY different results.

Three popular sanitizers killed between 46% and 60% of microbes on the students' hands, far short of 99.99%. Bugs that aren't killed by sanitizers aren't necessarily more dangerous than those that are. But the more that remain, the greater the chance of infection, doctors say.

The ad writers also benefit from regulations that allow them to claim 99.9% effectiveness without actually killing 99.9% of all germs, all the time. Instead, representative samples can stand in, and there's room for do-overs in the lab, if the first test doesn't work.

Wall Street Journal: Kills 99.9% of Germs—Sometimes

Image courtesy Flickr user If you dream it..., via CC

Elevator mural casts you as Adam on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling

Scanned from an unknown source, a mural near the elevator in a plastic surgeon's office that casts the rider in the role of Adam on the Sistine Chapel.

Advertising / Be Born Again (via Geisha Asobi)

James Lipton in hilarious LG ad campaign: "Before You Text, Give it a Ponder"

giveitaponder.jpg These television spots for LG Mobile featuring "Actors Studio" host James Lipton really get the Funny job done. Post with background over at Laughing Squid. The campaign site is here (warning: Flash, auto-load sound). There's an article about the purpose of the campaign here. I'm guessing they were created by the same agency that did "Subservient Chicken" for Burger King? I'm told the agency was Young and Rubicam.

Above, my favorite spot in the "Ponder" campaign, which includes a unicorn reference.

Google puts a stop to tooth-whitening, belly-flattening scumbags

The Big Money reports that Google has made a "minor shift in its policy that has major implications." Instead of banning scammy ads for bogus teeth whiteners and stomach flatteners, Google will now ban the advertiser itself, "effectively neutering the advertiser's ability to shift from one ad and shell site to another."
Think of it like the struggle between the police and a graffiti vandal. Up until now Google has only been erasing the tags after they've been put up. Going forward, they're going to take away his spray cans and put a GPS collar on him, making sure he never does it again. It would be a principled stand by any company, but especially by Google because of its position in the market. I worry, though, that the rest of the industry won't pay attention. On this issue, Google might be a leader without any followers.
Google Does Non-Evil Thing: Bans White Teeth, Flat Stomachs

Just Thinking About the Charmin Bears Makes Me Cringe

According to this story on mental_floss, nothing is more American than Mom, apple pie, and the freedom to wipe your butt with commercially produced toilet paper.

How to avoid ads in Gmail (or not)

Carrie McLaren is a guest blogger at Boing Boing and coauthor of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture. She lives in Brooklyn, the former home of her now defunct Stay Free! magazine.

Someone called Joester is purporting to show us how to block out gmail ads by using magic words in email messages, such as 9/11 or "suicide."  In other words, the ads that appear when your email is catastrophe-free:
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...are gone when the email you receive contains trigger words:
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But it's not as easy as it sounds. Putting the key words in a signature file doesn't work; the ads return. Also, writes Joester:
If the message runs long google turns the ads back on. However, if you add another "sensitive" word they go off again. After extensive testing I've discovered you need 1 catastrophic event or tragedy for every 167 words in the rest of the email.
Questions remain. What are all the trigger words? How do you avoid scaring the people who receive your emails with your seemingly pointless references to incest and gang rape? More importantly, shouldn't this be more accurately described as a method for helping the people who you email who have gmail avoid ads?

Link (via Adlab)