Weely Lily (Abbreviated week edition)

Thanks to a few dudes in 1776, this was a shortened week for some of us in the US. But the internet does not sleep! That means there was plenty of great stuff going on online. I've culled all of that and the best is here for you RIGHT NOW.

Mark Denton's "A view from the top" on Brand Republic. It's cheeky. It's irreverent. It embodies the personality that's so strong in all of Mr. Denton's work. (via)

Speaking of Mark Denton's work, here's a bit of a retrospective he did 25 years after starting his first agency. Again, it's a great look at someone who has bent adland to his whims. Really lovely work. (via)

Nice thoughts about Craft awards on Scamp's blog. And a great discussion about them in the comments. 

Simply not the best by Dave Trott. A supremely thought-provoking piece about doers, talkers, and celebrity. Neatly sums up a lot of problems about the ad industry today. And maybe, just maybe, a diagnosis of why most work is so bad now and why people go nuts over something that has even a glimmer of promise.

"I remember I had to do a portrait of the Fuhrer, you know, giving a speech, and put a stein of beer on this thing. Well, the Fuhrer didn't drink, but still, you know, nobody ever objected. The thing is, no matter what tyranny, you can always get away, maybe not with murder, but with a few other things. And your mind is always free. Nobody can take away your mind." - Tomi Ungerer--children's book author, former art director, artist--on NPR.

Futurama co-creator David X. Cohen's AMA on reddit.

Stewart Lee takes the piss out of social media.

The infuriatingly funny Shelby Fero. Infuriating because she's 19, hilarious, driven, and a working TV writer.
If you want a kick in the ass, listen to her on this episode of This Feels Terrible and follow her on twitter.

WATCH IT: Animals Eating Animals

Animal, one of those culture blogs the kids are so fond of these days, came out with a food-centric video series last fall. They called it Animals Eating Animals. 

It was surprisingly good to watch. Surprising because I'm not usually a huge fan of Animal's content. Suppose I'm not really the target market.

As a series it's not perfect. Even though they're going to different places it doesn't seem like there's any growth. There's no real message other than "look at these cool/interesting places we ate food at!" Which would be fine in a world that doesn't have Bourdain's excellent output. 

But our world does have Bourdain. So we have come to expect more from our food shows. At least I have. And Animals Eating Animals fails on there.

That said, perfection isn't necessarily the expectation of a free web series. Certainly not a web series about two regular--if not hipstery--guys checking out different restaurants in New York City.

Over all the series is well shot, well edited, well scored. The editing and graphics make me happy because they're in that style that's in-vogue but hasen't been too overused, yet.

So if you have a little under an hour to kill it would make an excellent series to watch.

(Oh, and I wouldn't advise watching them if you're hungry. That's just not smart.)

"There was flour everywhere." (Half baked thoughts about the French Bread Lobby)

"French turning away from the baguette"

There's something comical about the notion of the "French Bread Lobby." Something comical even in the name. (Though it's not that surprising something like this exists. Of course it exists. It's France.)

But here's my mental picture of what this lobby looks like:

A bunch of dudes, in suits, scurrying around and fretting about Q3 declines in baguette consumption.

Some sort of bakers' stock exchange nestled in the catacombs of Paris.

One of those same dudes, Marcell, sitting in a bar somewhere, suit completely covered in flour talking about how he's ruined. The whole company is ruined. And it's all the fault of these young kids.

Or an actual concerned French hotel lobby constructed completely out of bread. The lobby is self-aware and knows of its own demise. A very sad tale indeed.

WEEKLYLY LINKLYLY (I probably had too much coffeeee)

Some Fucking [Good] Writing Tips

Rory Sutherland on how to save marketing. Honest to goodness thinking about the topic. Not just hot air. (People who don't believe marketing should be saved will not like this one. But read it and take the opposite advice to try to tank marketing.

The Art of Letting Go, The Liberation of Magic, and The Conflict Between Digital Immediacy and Effectiveness. All by W+K Amsterdam's Head of Planning, Martin Weigel. It'll take you a while to get through it all but it's all worth reading. And hey, it's the weekend. Do you really have anything better to do? (Liberation of Magic is, in my opinion, a piece that should be made into a little black book and given to every client and ad person the moment they walk into marketing. It's that important. It's that good. It's that beneficial to understanding the role that marketing can play in growing business.)

Newsweek piece about Rick Rubin. The man behind, but certainly not the face of, modern music as we know it.

For those interested in movie trailers.

Creating worlds for yourself, by George Tannenbaum.

Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame, talks with David Chang, of restaurant fame, about all sorts of juicy stuff. This will probably end up being a separate post, too.

Stephen Fry on language. And why most people are missing the point when they get all uppity about it. (Link via Renji)

Turn in your badge...and your gun!

Speaking of guns and badges, this guy is the next Pete Stacker. He takes tweets and stuff from Reddit and turns it into short clips like this:

Serial Great Advice For Writers (or generally creative people)

The wonderful people at Film Courage have been making videos with brilliant advice since 2008. It centers around the film industry (as should be expected from the name) but, like most things, the advice is applicable to many other creative fields. These two videos have fantastic advice from Richard Walter, a UCLA screenwriting professor. It was the first time I'd come across him, but his advice has led students to write The Office, Fringe, The Terminal, Carlitos Way(!), and The Simpsons. His advice is good. He doesn't coddle, but his realism is oddly comforting.
If you enjoy these, you can watch thousands of other Film Courage videos on their YouTube page.

Inside The Clutter Factory

“We’re always looking for new mediums and places that have not been used before — it’s an effort to get over the clutter,” Mr. de Echevarria said.

“But,” he added, “I guess we end up creating more clutter.”

The New York Times recently ran an article about the ubiquity of advertising. The total "duh" summation of the article: advertising is all around us. 

Though there were a few nonsense quotes in the piece, it was a good reminder of what advertising is up against from within its own ranks. (This is before comparing it to literally every form of superior media including, but not limited to; internet videos, TV shows, books, magazines, bits of paper littered on the ground, "true" art, etc.)

The problem is that advertising is the only thing that has permission to go everywhere. Someone puts up a piece of graffiti on a wall, it might come down. Someone puts a horrible advertisement on a wall, it stays up as long as the owner of that space keeps cashing checks. This is well tread ground (since Banksy's missive about advertising has been thrust in our face no less than a hundred thousand times) but the point still hasn't permeated the staid environments of agencies and businesses. Somehow.

This is despite the fact that we have the most potential to do something noticeable. We are simultaneously more visible and more willing to produce wallpaper than any other medium.

More money goes into advertising than anything else. Hell, blockbuster films now how marketing budgets that outweigh the costs of production. Myspace is spending roughly 2/3rds of their acquisition price on their marketing push. And my coffee cup comes with an ad for T-Mobile on it every so often. Most, if not all of it, is complete shit.

It's squandered potential. Squandered equity.

I understand the degree of difficulty it takes to get anything through the modern advertising process. The layers of approval, of thinking,  re-thinking, un-thinking, and re-thinking again. But I also look at the very small pile of good work that gets produced and applaud it. Study it. Wonder how that got sold around the same time the terrible commercial for Competitor Brand did. 

There's no clear solution to how to make this happen. Make marketers stop wasting the space, the gift of exposure we're given. But that doesn't mean we should stop trying.

Distorting Reality

"Stop doing that."
"It's the force."
"I know...but I want the doors to close."
You've won when you convince people they're living in an alternate reality. Or at least that the action they're seeing is the actual action. This guy  did that brilliantly.