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The Great Balancing Act

Accolades are a big deal for agencies. They are a major driving factor for a growing agency. Sadly though, many agencies tend to produce work aimed at propelling themselves to the forefront of the industry just for the accolades, rather than taking the time to understand what the client really needs, and whether what they’re producing really works. Take this business card example, for instance, produced by DraftFCB:

Admittedly it’s a clever concept. Certainly lots of Creatives think so as it gained widespread coverage from the likes of Creativity Online, Ads of the World and more. But does it actually work? Here are 3 points of mull over:

  1. They claim that the people were clamouring for the business cards. But are they clamouring for the contact info or the free candy?
  2. The contact information is inside the wrapper. How will you know it contains contact information if you don’t care for the truffle?
  3. So you stick the goodies in your choppers… Are you really going to keep a candy wrapper for the contact info?

Now, take this other business card example, produced by Rethink Canada for Credit Counseling Society:

It’s a clever concept. But even more importantly, it is functional. There is clearly a name, and anyone who lives in Vancouver, where the organization is located in, will no doubt realize that the embossed numbers form the “card holder’s” phone number. Now that is form and function, balanced just right.

May 30, 2012

Martina Lindqvist

The discrepancy between ‘how things are’ and subjective experience has always been a prominent feature of my perception of reality. I have increasingly become interested in exploring this theme in relation to my Finnish background as a means to coming to terms with personal identity and past traumas. My work explores the tension between reality and illusion, personal memory and the event causing it, often using landscapes of past personal events as metaphors for the psychological.

Rågskär Island is a series that looks at these themes in relation to an island, which I have visited almost every summer since I was a child… A few small, wooden cottages are scattered along the shoreline bearing witness to human presence within a space where otherwise there is none… More often than not, these huts stand empty, giving those who visit the island a true sense of loneliness… My experiences on (the loneliness Rågskär offers lay somewhere between liberating and suffocating), and specific memories have over time paradoxically become connected to both positive and negative mindsets. This has shaped my perception of this innocent island into an uncanny and traumatic space where the opposition between real and unreal finally dissolves. It is a place that can only exist in imagination.

Images and text by Martina Lindqvist.

May 13, 2012

Of Puns and Fun

In an effort to deliver fresh ideas, Creative Directors often end up over-thinking ad concepts. But really good ones, like this, follow one of several failsafe formulas: eye-catching image that pique interest, and to-the-point copy that plays off of the image. From the point of view of a reader, this already humorous ad even lets them spin off their own ideas (Mt. Buttmore anyone?). All in all, a solid and cheeky effort from Scholz & Friends.

May 10, 2012

Pieter Hugo

‘After bringing the animal out of the cave,’ said one of the handlers, ‘it will fight, since it’s not familiar with humans. A traditional medicine is administered to its body so it automatically becomes obedient to us. It begins to obey all our commands.’

The animal is subjected to one or two months of training. It must learn to live alongside other animals and humans, and to engage in different kinds of play without becoming violent. In return, the handlers feed the hyenas with scraps purchased from abattoirs (a goat every three days or so helps prevent the animals becoming aggressive). Maintaining good relations with the animals… requires both skill and tact.

The animals are good business. The family has sold traditional potions and charms for many years, but trade increased dramatically after the acquisition of the hyenas and other creatures. ‘We parade the animals on the streets,’ said Mallam Mantari, the owner of a 13-year-old hyena named Mainasara. ‘They can be very funny and the public showers them with money.’

As unemployment and poverty continue to bite in Nigeria, youths in particular must devise inventive ways of making money for survival. ‘I’ve been in this business since childhood,’ said Abdullahi Mohammed. ‘This animal has helped us. The money we make gives us food every day. This runs into a few thousand naira.’

Photographs and text by Pieter Hugo.

May 8, 2012