Toyota's Better Together: How can I get some of those?

I work alone, so guess who covers the phoning, filing, folding and food-getting? All me.

Normally I don't mind, but this guy made me wonder how much I could get done with four hands instead of two. Then my wondering turned to jealousy as I remembered that I lack the mental capacity to work so fast.

And then I remembered that two-handed people made this brilliant commercial. So in the spirit of gratitude for what I've got, and creativity that inspires average guys like me to keep at it, Happy Thanksgiving!


Gap Holiday Cheer - Happy Whateveryouwannakah!

I have a favorite shirt. It isn't wrinkle-free and yet it doesn't wrinkle. It's seven years old and shows neither wear nor the age of its style. It falls well on me (that's the Spanish translation of "to fit") and works whether tucked or hanging out; with jeans or khakis. It's perfect.

And it's from Gap.

I'm a cheapskate, but my wife has pushed me for years to spend more and buy Gap. After all, it is - in their terms - "the company behind some of the most recognized and respected brands in the apparel industry." I know why it's respected: Anything she's talked me into owning from this company has outlasted similar items from competitors.

But what am I supposed to do with a commercial like this?

Here are my two chief complaints:

1. If this is merely a controversy-pushing, promotional stunt to garner earned media (free public attention)- then it's monkey-trick advertising which I can't respect. Any copy-writer can predict a pot-stirring message, but manipulation of an audience for disingenuous reasons fails in the end.

You make quality clothing, Gap. You've been around since 1969. Show us your wisdom, not childish antics.

2. If this is not a stunt, but rather a corporate statement of belief, then like the teenager who pleases everyone to avoid rejection from anyone, this commercial reveals a cowardly, insecure response to human diversity. We don't have to agree with our neighbors' religious views, but pulling out a generic diversity eraser leads to a cheapened version of reality and a sense of being lost.

Furthermore, a statement of belief like this - in its clumsy pc execution - actually dismantles community. The song lyric, "Do what just feels right" selfishly contradicts the pluralism and diversity Gap is promoting. We can't be selfish and pluralistic simultaneously.

To Gap; to agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky; to Michael Gracey, the spot's director who is Catholic and seemingly a nice guy; and to musician, Pharrell Williams, whose lyrics - according to Anthony Henriques of PopMatters - "are typically inconsequential in a 'saying sh*t just to sound cool' sort of way," and who helped write the Holiday Cheer lyrics:

You can do more respectable work than this. You wish me a "Happy Whateveryouwannakah." Well, I wannabuy your clothes, but I'll refrain until you take a higher road.


Edward Lear's Complete Book of Adsence

Okay, so the following link isn't an entire rewrite of Lear's Complete Book of Nonsense, but it's a start, and a fun one at that. Adfolks, you'll have to check out Graphic Designer, Douglas Bonneville's fine list of limericks.

Here's a teaser:

There once was a graphic designer
Who could not draw a straight liner
Fresh out of school
She thought she was cool
And soon was a cook in a diner!

See some of Doug's more serious portfolio at the Behance Network, or more of Edward Lear's limericks at Aaron Belz' site.


Catholic Charities dinner plate in the mail!

Several years ago, I sponsored a marathon runner through the Catholic Charities Foundation. Ever since then, I've received their mailings. I could have been more earth-minded and asked to be removed from the list, but it's generally creative stuff so I didn't.

Here's the most recent piece, shown in three parts. The first is the #10 envelope-sized item that came in the mail. (Click to enlarge.)

The second is what you see once you release the sticker tabs and unfold the "envelope." It reads, "For a local homeless family, this could be today's only meal."

The third is the flip-side, which says, "You can't have a home cooked meal if you don't have a home."

I know I said I've enjoyed CCF's mailings in the past, but, honestly, it didn't matter who sent this to me - there is no way I could keep myself from opening an intriguing piece like this.

I imagine quite a few readers withdrew the donation envelope and filled it out.


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