Posts Tagged ‘Popular culture’

Emoji star in McDonalds new campaign (we’re lovin’ it)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

The emoji bandwagon just keeps a-growin’, so much so that we’ve already dedicated an entire blog post to the rise of them! Now that McDonalds have jumped aboard, we can barely turn a corner without seeing our favourite brightly-coloured friends.

Instead of adorning our tweets and texts, these emoji are letting us know how to improve any sticky situation: by having a McDonald’s, of course.


Digital best practice in sports brands

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

First off, I’m a little biased on the subject of this website (basketball and trainers) – but then again, why not reference good examples of projects/examples that are of interest to you?

Having said that, I’ve approached this review from a ‘general’ user perspective as opposed to brand advocate, so have a look through the site and see if you agree with the comments below.


IKEA and Shakespeare: a cautionary tale

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Last night, I was whiling away the rest of my Bank Holiday Monday by watching Marvel Avengers Assemble for the 500th time when I caught this TV ad for IKEA.

It was pretty. Pretty sinister, that is.

People, and a super adorable dog, float around among the clouds in a visual metaphor for their deep, dream-filled and cosy sleeps in IKEA beds.

Better real canadian pharmacy be familiar with how to order viagra online full length album. Appears to decline with age, and cheapest cialis uk we best local rx prices for sildenafil all have the option.

It's dreamy and atmospheric, a vibe IKEA reinforces with a beautifully-intoned slice of Shakespeare, drawn from Act VI Scene 1 of The Tempest:

…We are such stuff
as dreams are made on; and our little life
is rounded with a sleep.

Lovely! Except, er, not so much. IKEA probably should have consulted Sparknotes or a nearby literature student before they made this quote the backing of their ad, because it's a lot darker than it sounds.

This quote isn't actually about sleep at all. It's about the transience of life, and that 'little sleep' he mentions? Yep – death.

So, with that in mind, the ad takes on a new and much more sinister edge. “Buy our beds,” says IKEA, “Because let's face it, you're only going to die anyway.”

Thanks, IKEA! And let this be a lesson to every other agency and marketing team – tread carefully with Shakespeare. The bard never quite means what you think.

Less billbored, more brillboard

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The great outdoors. That’s just for posters, billboards and, well, trees and stuff – right?

A-ho no. Wrong. Well, sort of. Clear Channel UK – one of the biggest of cheeses in the outdoor advertising department – recently announced that its increasingly using tech to make its outdoor advertising spaces more interactive. This comes after more and more brands have turned to innovative digital billboards to create active and engaging content.

Yep, turns out that flipping a traditional medium on its head and totally superseding the expectations of passers-by is a pretty great way of grabbing attention.

So, forget those static, peeling billboards of the past and take a look at a few of our favourite tech/outdoor mashups.


Virgin Trains’ chatty billboard

In 2009 this genius idea by Elvis took over the screen outside Liverpool Station – the largest digital screen in Europe – to promote Virgin’s new, super-quick service to London.

To update the screen Elvis popped a copywriter in a cafe opposite, who used a custom web application to write live comments addressing the public and point at them with a giant cursor. Clever and hilarious.


Apotek’s/Garbergs’ motion sensor

Last year the Swedish advertising agency Garbergs used an existing idea by Apotek to convey a devastating message.

Garbergs’ ad, on behalf of The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, was much the same as Apotek’s in look, colour and tech – but with a shocking twist and a huge impact. We won’t spoil it for you; give the video a watch and see what happens.


British Airways’ ‘Magic of Flying’ campaign

Using a very complicated, ingenious and, ultimately, award-winning process, in 2013 British Airways launched a series of pretty magical billboards that, with the help of some adorable children, pointed out planes (as well as accurate flight information) as they flew past.

The effect was really impressive. The campaign encouraged passers-by to look up, reminded them of the ‘magic of flying’ and engaged with our natural tendency to wonder about what’s flying past.


These ads really give us a taste for trying new things and innovating with our work. Even if a digital billboard isn’t something we would necessarily do, the concept itself pushes agencies to go against the grain and invent new ideas.

We’re hoping to see more and more cool stuff like this as brands continue to jump on the digital billboard bandwagon. Seen something even better? Let us know in the comments below!


3 designers we loved at the NTU degree show

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

We wandered on down to the Nottingham Trent University 'About to Blow' degree show last weekend, and were overwhelmed by the amount of talent on display. Here are 3 graphic designers that really caught our eye.

Katie Abey

Katie's colourful, distinctive illustration style mixes pop culture references with attitude and a touch of sweetness. She has a talent for creating statements that you identify with and want to own, with a storybook illustration style that pops off the page.

Some examples (and it was hard to choose):

10389438_710360365705360_5020172271361231011_n 10154393_694365177304879_4837942710334514101_n 1010884_684374038303993_1521114492418977457_n

10325314_700652650009465_5448477134621621131_n 10402934_707031402704923_5864918088489771671_n

Give Katie's website and Facebook page a visit – you'll want to buy everything.

Jamie Haffield

Jamie's striking monochrome designs exemplify his talent for typography and pattern. Jamie's own business card is one of the best examples of this, although confusingly the website address doesn't exist – thankfully we managed to track him down on Behance!




We were also entranced by his giant pictorial poster about the history of skyscrapers. Called 'Pierce the Clouds', this one is best appreciated in person:






You can find Jamie's work on Behance here.

Christopher Worker

Another monochrome fan, Christopher's work puts us in mind of dystopian propaganda posters and art deco architecture. Christopher's designs include a visual history of spacecraft:

Untitled-1 (1)


An entire set of tarot cards:


And several book covers that would improve the window displays of any discerning branch of Waterstones:





We'd love to have those on our bookshelves. You'll find Christopher's website here.

Honourable mention

This arresting portrait of Steve jobs was created using coloured tiles as a reference to stained glass and holy imagery. Jobs is presented as a modern-day prophet, but with an edge – the missing tiles each represent a suicide at the Foxconn factory where Apple products are made.

If anyone knows who it's by (or has a better image!), please get in touch.

Update: It's by Joshua Mulcahy. Amazing work.



Thank you for having us, NTU – and everyone else, give these amazing designers some work if you can. They'll be world famous before long.