Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Culture, Movies/Film, Music, TV, Web/Digital
I’m sick and tired of people talking about Lady Gaga as if she’s some game-changing avant-garde breath of fresh air. Catchy as it may be, her music is resolutely derivative, but she’s somehow managed to distract everyone with an entrancing combination of hype, clothes, and infuriatingly affected speech–trickery! But wacky costumes do not a groundbreaking artist make. Luckily, I can stop feeling crazy (or can I?), because Michel Gondry agrees.
While the rest of the world treated the premiere of Lady Gaga’s why-does-it-exist video opus, “Telephone” as some sort of major cultural event (why??), Michel Gondry, visionary director of some of the most inventive films and music videos of this generation, declared himself “not interested.” Slam!
Read the exclusive interview on Movieline: Music Video Pioneer Michel Gondry on Lady Gaga: “I’m Not Interested”
In celebration of truly interesting, fun, innovative music videos and the artistry they celebrate–both musical and visual–here’s a couple vintage Gondry…
And one from another of my favorite music video-turned-film directors, Spike Jonze:
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: Branding, Consumer Packaged Goods, Direct, Media Arts, Movies/Film, Packaging, Tie-ins, TV
Almost all the brands advertising during the broadcast of Mad Men go for the same approximate strategy: demonstrate long brand heritage, show old-timey product shots of packaging changes over the years, maybe throw in some footage from vintage commercials, go retro retro retro, and ape the program’s throwback aesthetic and theme almost as if the show’s buttoned-up 60’s vibe is the only thing anyone who loves it cares about. I’m not saying they’re not fun, interesting, beautiful ads–in fact, kudos to BMW, Canada Dry, Clorox, et al. for tailoring the ads so well to their media placement–I’m just saying they all start to look the same one after the other, until you’re thinking, I get it, you’ve been around a long time. You’re hip to what this show’s about. Can we please get back to the story now?
I suppose I don’t envy them–trying to come up with clever, innovative branding to tie in on a show that revolves around clever, innovative branding is a lot of pressure. It’s hard not to be self conscious in that weirdly-meta creative environment, to be sure.
But Clorox rose to the occasion with their Season 2 Mad Men DVD insert. A simple single-sheeter tucked discreetly into the 3D shirt-box-lookalike DVD packaging (a tip of the hat to Mad Men’s consistently clever packaging team–the Season 1 DVD box, shaped like a Zippo lighter, was made of metal) featured an extreme closeup of a crisp white shirt collar like that on the outside of the box–except with a scandalous smear of lipstick, and the cheeky tagline “Getting ad guys out of hot water for generations”–a nod on the notorious womanizers of Mad Men. This simple execution managed to align the brand even better than before with the real reasons people love Mad Men, squeezing in a product benefit (and a little coupon on the back for all those desperate housewives…and househusbands?) while paying oblique homage to the characters and story that make the show great.
I’m thrilled but not terribly surprised to hear that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis collaborated on the score to the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s haunting novel, The Road. I haven’t seen the movie or heard the soundtrack yet, but it seems totally apropos given the fact that when I first read The Road, it was the duo’s impeccable work from The Assassination of Jesse James that mentally scored McCarthy’s stark prose for me—particularly this song:
I guess someone in Hollywood was thinking along the same lines. Cave and Ellis are masters of evoking the barren and haunting—a rather lovely thing indeed.
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: Branding, Humor, Movies/Film, Tie-ins
Stumbled across this great little humor piece about a fictional cookbook based on the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s desolate (and beautiful; much recommended, yall) post-apocalyptic survival novel, The Road. Including indulgent recipes like “Mystery Meat Cooked Over Sterno Flame” and “A Cricket,” and promoted by an editor who expected that it would be “this season’s Julie & Julia,” Cooking on ‘The Road’: Homestyle Recipes From and Inspired by the Film would be funnier (less sad?) if it weren’t totally plausible–I mean, it’d hardly be the first inexplicable and mortifyingly misguided tie-in.
Film site The Auteurs has released their top 10 movie posters of the decade. They have The Savages and Palindromes on there; me, I’m a little illustrated out–chalk it up to oversaturation. (I’ll take retro clever over forced whimsy, though–I love their pick of Woody Allen’s Anything Else). My favorites are the ones that resist the formulaic, the ones that are visually-arresting and unsettling, the ones that are enduring works in their own right, the ones that effortlessly and imaginatively evoke the film’s spirit (I mean, as branding artifiacts, shouldn’t they all?). The truncated close-ups, the larger-than-life, the unafraid-of-white-space, the bold-and-graphic; anything but this nonsense. Or this or this or this. (Seriously, Professor Hollywood’s School of Big Buck$ Postermaking?)
It’s not my list–I’m not even sure exactly what all I’d choose if it were up to me–but I see my sensibilities overlapping with theirs to a large degree. (My personal favorite if not of the decade, then at least of the year, I’ve shared here because it just deserves to be seen: the sublime first poster for Where the Wild Things Are. I was sad not to see it included in the Auteurs list but hey, taste is taste and 10 posters is only so many.) I’ve thrown together my favorites from their list for you to see below. View the rest, and some amazing runners-up at their site.