New York, NY (October 29, 2019) – Winners of the 15th Annual Davey Awards have been announced by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. With nearly 3,000 entries from across the U.S. and from around the world, the Davey Awards honors the finest creative work from the best small shops, firms, and companies worldwide.
The Davey Awards is judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 700+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Current membership represents a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms including: Code and Theory, Condé Nast, Disney, GE, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Microsoft, Tinder, MTV, Push., Publicis, Sesame Workshops, The Marketing Store, Your Majesty, Yahoo!, and many others. You can visit www.aiva.org for more information on the Academy and a full list of members. “We are proud to once again showcase the outstanding work that comes from small shops across the globe. The Davey Awards recognize those who utilize flawless execution, groundbreaking technology, and a fresh approach to the thought process to produce top-tier content” noted Derek Howard, Executive Director of the AIVA. He added “On behalf of the Daveys and the Academy, we want to applaud this year’s entrants for their dedication and commitment to their craft. We offer our congratulations once again to those selected as winners as they truly embody the spirit of the award.”
The WC team was recently at the Cannabis Expo at the Javits Center in NYC looking for the latest trends in cannabis products.
As you can imagine, CBD products were offered in every category from beverage (think k-cups) to pet food, to health & beauty products. CBD is mainstream and if companies haven’t at least researched it for their offerings, they’re a bit late to the game.
One trend that did stand out is the use of Terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the fragrant oils found in the resin glands of the cannabis plant. Each strain of cannabis has a different flavor and scent and each Terpene touts its own benefits. Like CBD, Terpenes alone do not have any psychoactive effects.
Terpenes are “essential oils” and are currently used in spa treatments at The Regis and Ritz-Carlton hotels. Malin + Goetz Cannabis candles and body lotions also provide this luxury. Terpenes are also the hottest flavoring agent in cocktails. Check out this recipe for this Tangie Sour. Mixologists rejoice!
The most common Terpenes are:
Myrcene: This Terpene is known for its musky, herbal aroma. Mycrene can be found in mango, citrus fruits, and thyme.
Limonene: Common in citrus, it is highly-energetic and a known antidepressant.
Terpinolene: A smokey or woody aroma that is an antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial and slightly sedative.
Beta-Caryophyllene: Gastroprotective and a strong anti-inflammatory with a woody, peppery taste.
Pinene: Energetic and therapeutic, this terpene is common in pine needles. If you’ve ever walked through a forest and felt “lifted” you’ve experienced this terpenenoid!
Humulene: The main constituent of hops is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and hunger-suppressant.
I recently purchased a Mycene Terpene that I added to my air dispenser with a bit of lavender oil. It’s relaxing, and I promise, my home does not smell like a frat house.
Art and artists and what are they doing and why? I could do that. My 3 year old could do that. Why would anyone do that? Oh, that’s beautiful, that moves me. I love that painting.
But we’re a design house, not a gallery, what does all this have to do with that? Well, I love art and like to note where it influences the world around us. What are artists doing? In one regard, think of Art as philosophy, where every angle is to be investigated before deciding what’s worth more investigation. To that end, artists are able to go all over the place whereas a graphic designer is restrained by project briefs, deadlines and budgets. They don’t have the time to go all over the place, hence it makes sense to let the artists do their thing and then investigate their results for inspiration regarding our visual language.
If you’ve seen The Devil Wear’s Prada, no, I haven’t read it, you may be familiar with the following quote from Miranda Priestly, (Meryl Streep’s take on Anna Wintour as written about by Lauren Weisberger.)
Miranda Priestly: ‘This… stuff’? Oh. OK. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? (I think we need a jacket here.) And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.
Now that’s a snarky take on the path of influence but it happens and it’s out there as attested to by M.C. Escher and Giotto.
A picture is worth a thousand words but if the subject is infinite, how many words do you need to describe it?
Here you see the original Droste Cacao tin from 1904 as designed by Jan Misset. You can see the infinite branding? This recursive imagery is called the Droste Effect.
Perhaps it’s easier to see here, on the Land O Lakes butter. The original was painted in 1928 by Arthur C. Hanson. There have been updates since the original, but the recursive aspect has remained intact, well, until the last re-design where they lost the repetition.
The effect is somewhat implied with the Morton Salt girl, where she adorns the package but she’s holding the package so she must be on the package she’s holding and so on.
Here, Pink Floyd takes some liberties with the Droste Effect through photographic manipulation. The image is repeated for the most part, but with band members changing positions for each successive stage.
But the Droste Effect was in effect before Droste Cacao even entered the marketplace. Here is a 1320 triptych by Giotto. It is one of the earliest known precursors of the Droste Effect or recursive imagery. If you look closely, you’ll see Cardinal Giacomo Gaetani Stefaneschi (center panel, lower left, kneeling in white) offering the triptych itself, the one he’s painted in, to St. Peter. So there was a Droste effect before there was Droste.
MC Escher knew of the Droste Effect and given his propensity for architecture and landscapes, it’s no wonder he would investigate this phenomenon. Try as he may, he was left challenged with the above image, “Print Gallery,” from 1956. You’ll notice that the center has been left blank as Escher, apparently, just couldn’t figure this one out. It could also be that to respectfully etch the remainder of the image it would become too intricate or small to translate when printed. Later on, in 2003, a team of mathematicians at University of Leiden solved the puzzle. You can see how they account for the missing repeat here:
You may not know Escher by name but you’ve seen his work or influences of his work. The movie, Inception, has a scene where Joshua Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page are walking up a staircase. They turn a corner and pass a woman who has just dropped some papers. As they proceed up the staircase and round another corner, the lady is there, still picking up her papers. They are ever-ascending stairs but never going anywhere. This is a cinematic interpretation of “Ascending and Descending,” an Escher piece from 1960.
For the record, these are called Penrose Steps, as discovered by Lionel and Roger Penrose. They were inspired by Escher’s work and almost simultaneously discovered by both Escher and the Penrose’s. That sounds like an Escher word salad so check here for more on this aspect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_stairs
That aside, it was Escher’s work that brought this illusion into the public vernacular. This and other influences of Escher can be seen in movies such as Labyrinth, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and, as mentioned, Inception.
Now I feel like I’ve taken the Penrose Steps, or at least the long way around the barn to wrap this all up. Art influences culture, certainly, but here we’ve seen how art can influence commerce as well. To be fair, rather than coming full circle, this comes full spiral when commerce influences art. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and others may get credit for starting the Pop Art movement of the 1950’s & ‘60’s, but Andy Warhol has certainly been crowned king since he created the Brillo Boxes, Coca-Cola bottles and of course, his Campbell Soup cans.
I can only suppose that the cycle will be complete when the paintings of commerce as art become the artistic labels for commerce but now, we’re entering the realm of the mobius strip…
“Hey, your shoelace is untied,” is the classic April Fool’s joke. This basic concept of setting someone up and then calling them out in front of others has been a source of humor (both good and bad) since humankind started wearing shoes.
Alan Funt made a career of pranks with his TV Show, Candid Camera. It ran in various forms from the late 1940s to the 1980s, verifying the very human appeal of pranksterdom.
Picking up where Candid Camera left off, Johnny Brennan and Kamal Ahmed, better know as The Jerky Boys, made a name for themselves by making and recording raucous prank phone calls. Their homemade tapes made their way onto the Howard Stern Show and eventually brought them enough notoriety to have a series of their own. Their first three albums went Platinum, Platinum and Gold respectively, again proving that we all like a good joke – as long as it’s not on us.
With the onslaught of smart phones and social media it’s become easier than ever to document and share pranks. One of the latest “innocent pranks” that has been making the rounds is the “What The Fluff Challenge.”
It goes like this: you hold a blanket in front of you in a doorway, making certain your dog has a clear view. Give the blanket 3 peek-a-boo lifts to cover you completely before you drop the blanket and duck behind the wall. Hilarity ensues as we witness the bamboozled dog search for its disappeared owner.
It seems inevitable that once something goes viral, marketing teams won’t be far behind in an attempt to capitalize on the trend. But brand pranking, like most things, is all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
On the fun side, much of this Prankvertising is done on April Fools’ Day, when we’ve got a bit of a heads up that practical brand jokes may abound.
Lego jumped on this trend by announcing their Lego VacuSort, a revolutionary brick-sorting vacuum. Hurray! It seemed the days of barefoot Lego pain were gone for good. But alas, to many parents’ dismay, the VacuSort was would not be arriving ever, let alone soon.
Doritos had some fun by promoting Bold water by Doritos. “You’re 60 percent water, make every drop of it bold.”
Pop Tarts even introduced a Limited Edition “Just the Crust” toaster pastry.
Snickers pranked themselves in 2015 when they ditched the name and kept their iconic lettering to retitle their bars, “Cranky, Grouchy, Whiny,” and a handful other adjectives describing how we are when we’re hungry.
Then there was the time, not so long ago, when IHOP changed its logo, and ostensibly its name, to IHOb. International House of Burgers. Whether this was to be an actual name change or intended as a short term joke doesn’t matter. It got people talking, and hopefully considering IHOP/b for more than just breakfast.
This may remind you of the Coca-Cola debacle of 1985 when Coke introduced a new recipe for its cola only to change it back 3 months later. Some believe this was all a planned publicity stunt, but Coke maintains that it was a serious attempt to replace the original. It’s one thing to shake up your brand but another to abandon it, and your audience, completely.
Why Brand Prank? You may as well ask, “Why advertise?” Brand pranking seems like a new tool in an old chest. In this contemporary world, where disruption is often the desired result, it’s easy to see how causing a ruckus might bring some attention to your product or service; if you can make it funny, even better.
We’ve all said something we wish we hadn’t. But as we know, once it’s posted, there’s no taking it back. Pranksters beware: Pranks can go wrong when the audience doesn’t feel like they’re in on the joke, so make certain they don’t feel like the wool has been pulled over their eyes.
For instance, Taco Bell once declared it had bought the Liberty Bell in an effort to take down the national debt. They would call it the Taco Liberty Bell. Not many had connected April 1stwith this announcement in 1996 so The National Park Service received thousands of callers in protest only to learn they had been fooled, pranked. Taco Bell generated some buzz but not everyone found the joke amusing.
The takeaway is that marketers are warping their brands in ways they may not have dreamed of before, such as poking fun at themselves or augmenting their brand entirely.
Consider these points before pranking your own brand:
Does humor align with who you are?
What is the best/worst possible outcome from pranking?
Are there double meanings or slang you may be referencing without knowing it?
Are there current events to play off of or stay away from?
How do you make certain your audience is in on the gag?
What do we do if something goes horribly, horribly wrong?
Perhaps it’s best to only augment your brand for special occasions. Halloween and Christmas see plenty of packaging variations and by now, you’ve most likely heard about International Women’s Day, where McDonald’s turned their golden arch upside down to make a W. Brawny featured a plaid-shirted woman on their paper towel packages declaring, “Strength has no gender,” and Johnny Walker was replaced by Jane.
Just like many tune in for Super Bowl Ads, the brand prank could become an event for fans to watch out for on April Fools’ Day. Or, it could fade into another passé fad. Keep an eye on next years’ Women’s Day: what were once novel statements may lead to a saturation of gender positioning that reeks of marketing opportunism instead of sincerity.
Some of the best/worst marketing pranks of 2018 can be found here.
Keep your eyes out and let us know what pranks you see out there today.