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Paste magazine asks: Is Indie Dead?

Illustration by Samuel Bosma (via Paste)

A must-read for anyone who cares about culture: Paste’s Rachael Maddux asks the question: Is Indie Dead? in the cover story for the magazine’s February issue.

In an incisive and far-ranging analysis Maddux grabs for fistfuls of smoke trying to pin a definition on the word, but nevertheless expertly and wittily charts its history, influence, rise, and fall—explaining, among other things, the advertising-music-culture cross-ramifications of a pervasive sensibility built around precisely its non-pervasiveness.

Read the essay to find out just how the democratization of technology, an Internet that eats its young, morphing music industry models, and cultural co-option (co-option?) of scene have worked together to create (and in some ways, kill) one of the most unstoppable and influential forces in pop culture today: the paradoxically elusive and ubiquitous “indie.”


I totally had this idea: Grasshopper DVR-proof commercial
January 26, 2010, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , ,

Grasshopper Still

OK, seriously. I totally had the idea of a DVR-thwarting (nay, DVR-leveraging) commercial that would be created specifically to be played sans-sound and at warp-speed. (As in, when fast forwarded it would actually play at normal speed.) This isn’t exactly the same thing, but it’s pretty close, and I’m actually really excited that it exists.

Virtual phone company Grasshopper created a TV spot that fights ad-skipping by capitalizing on the way audiences behave in the medium. Noting that 70% of viewers fast-forward through ads using their DVR, that those who do ad-skip tend to watch the center of the screen, and that the human brain can process ad images up to 20 times faster than normal, Grasshopper created a spot in which its mascot never moves and stays center-screen, and which uses simple block-printed product highlights so that even fast-forwarders will see a constant visual and get the key points.

As far as ads go, it’s not the most clever, but it’s innovative in its understanding of (and to some degree, subversion of) the medium and audiences’ behavior within it. I’m looking forward to seeing more inventive, artful, and boundary-pushing iterations of the DVR-proof TV spot as real creative visionaries sink their teeth into the concept.

View the commercial here:

Who needs Banksy when you’ve got The Decapitator?
November 30, 2009, 7:59 am
Filed under: Art & Design | Tags: , ,

UK guerrilla artist The Decapitator takes an ax to street ads. Critique on a culture that fetishizes violence? Commentary on consumerism? Rejection of the cult of celebrity? Absurdist satire? Visual whoopee cushion? You decide.

Shakira - The Decapitator

Cage Rage - The Decapitator

KFC - The Decapitator

View more beheaded ads at Buzzfeed.