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Can a Creative Circus Grad Save the U.S. Postal Service?

Skyler Dobin is a man on a mission. The recent Creative Circus grad/JWT Atlanta intern is (like many, we think) bemoaning the state of the United States Postal Service, which has been bleeding billions and could go bankrupt by year’s end without government intervention. Fearing the end is nigh (or at least the end of Saturday delivery, as well as hundreds of thousands of layoffs, etc.), Dobin and his art directing partner Jennifer Fisher are stepping into action.

The two have come up with their own ad campaign concept that urges people to send more hand-written letters and includes print, OOH and even a Facebook component which lets you design and purchase stamps. The “Save the Stamp: Keep the USPS Alive” effort has been ongoing for some time, and while the USPS has yet to really embrace it (aren’t they still in the midst of their $100 million review?), Dobin and Fisher have talked to agency officials, who assure that they are getting the campaign into the right hands (which is always reassuring and totally heartfelt). In addition, the pair has gotten the attention of/kudos from U.S. senators. Dobin has since returned to NYC and is looking for a copywriting gig while his USPS-saving effort progresses.

 

Trailer Park Plays its Part in ‘Human Centipede’ Promotion (Let’s Say NSFW)

Since Best Picture Oscar contender Human Centipede 2: The Full Sequence has seen limited release (and now it’s unbanned in Britain!), why not kick off this work week with a new poster from Trailer Park division Art Machine, which takes the film’s title rather literally (and no, it’s not based on the film’s premise).Peep it after the jump and see what you think.

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Carmichael Lynch CD Designs TIME Cover

From Carmichael Lynch CD Brock Davis comes this striking front cover for the October 10th issue of TIME, which hit newsstands next week. Last Friday, TIME asked Davis to submit artwork for their issue about America’s great spending divide, and Davis’ winning concept features an image of the magazine torn in half.

Given limited time to submit his concept, Davis apparently had to get creative for designing said cover. As his Minneapolis-based agency describes in its announce, “Davis had only a day to shoot and composite the entire image. In order to shoot a stack of cash, he had to get creative. He cut down 2,500 sheets of copy paper to resemble a stack of hundred dollar bills. Being resourceful he hammered down some of his son’s chalk to create a powder and mixed it until the hue matched. Davis then took his wife’s makeup brush and dusted the powder over the stack of fake money. Now Davis had the shot he needed and took an X-acto knife and made the slice across the TIME cover. To create the visual depth of the center split, he glued multiple magazines together and sliced and frayed their edges and lit them from the side to give it some dimension and shadow.”

We also like that it can be seen as a subtle comment on the value of print magazines these days. A hat tip to Davis for what’s sure to be the most visually stunning cover of TIME we’ve seen in a long while. Watch TIME‘s managing editor Richard Stengel reveal the cover on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after the jump.
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Today’s Ad Ripoff: OHL vs. Erik Johansson

International construction company OHL just released the above image as part of a new print campaign from agency Kastner & Partners, Mexico. As we can see, Joe construction worker blankets a dirt road with a sturdy new concrete highway that runs adjacent to the school/prison/housing projects off in the background. It’s a cute spot, but not one we’d really bat too much of an eye at. That is, until we received an anonymous tip accusing OHL and Kaster & Partners of foul play.

It was in this anonymous tip that we were whisked away to the portfolio of Swedish photographer and retoucher, Erik Johansson. It would seem that someone out there in ad world who knows Johansson thinks that Kastner & Partners is guilty of an advertising ripoff, noting that Johansson has a very similar photo serving as the lead image on his portfolio site (below). Basically, tipsters wondered why Johansson wasn’t in the Kastner credits.

 

So, dear readers, we leave this in your hands. Are OHL and Kastner & Partners guilty of an ad ripoff, or is the whole “the road is a blanket” concept played-out? Maybe this is a sign that if the concept wasn’t played-out before, it certainly is now.

Aloe Blacc, Mother NY Go Downtown with Tanqueray

Aloe Blacc‘s soulful R&B/hip-hop hybrid landed him an early bit fame when his track “I Need a Dollar” was featured as the theme song for HBO’s series How to Make it in America. And, with Tanqueray sponsoring the vocalist’s new music video for, “Tonight Downtown,” Blacc might finally break through to a mainstream audience, or at least those who like to drink their gin in smokey bars.

After winning Tanqueray from W+K back in December, Mother NY has done little for the brand in the vein of full-scale campaigns. But with a four-minute music video, an interactive version that lets users download “Tonight Downtown” and submit their own remixes, as well as a stylish new print campaign featuring actors Michael Pitt and Idris Elba and model/Jack White’s ex-wife Karen Elson (after the jump), it would seem that the agency has spent the last nine months ramping up a re-introduction to the Diageo brand using the slogan, “Tonight We Tanqueray.”

It’s a far cry from W+K’s “Resist Simple” campaign from two years ago, but will start-studded launch events be enough to make Tanqueray the gin of choice for young professionals ready for a night on the town?

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Wednesday Comparison: CMYK 50th Cover Heavily Inspired by Student Work?

A tipster sent us a link to an image this morning that’s essentially a side-by-side comparison between student work that was submitted as part of a 2010 CMYK competition and the cover of CMYK‘s 50th issue, which came out about nine months later. Take a gander:

The work on the left was created by Miami Ad School students Alexis Budejen (art director) and Mindy Hoblack (copywriter). We checked with CMYK on the matter, and to their credit, they quickly replied and told us that they’re checking in with the mag’s designers who were behind the 50th issue cover to see what’s up. While we await their word, we’ll continue wondering whether this is either amazing coincidence or that the students’ work legitimately played into the cover. Check out the full-size image after the jump.

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The Hyundai Sonata Joins the LA Dodgers Lineup

The 2011 MLB season as not been kind to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Forget for a moment that the historic franchise is currently in the midst of a $150 million bankruptcy financing plan. Forget too that many of the Dodgers financial woes stem from a messy divorce between the team’s owner and its CEO. Now consider that more than halfway through the season, the Dodgers are tied for dead last in the NL West, 14.5 games back from first place and defending World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. Yeah, and you thought the Cubs were in bad shape.

Despite a dismal year, Hyundai is attempting to restore a sense of pride in Dodgers fans with a new print campaign. Created by Hyundai’s in-house, Huntington Beach-based shop Innocean, the ads line up Hyundai vehicles’ stats with those of the team, taking on a vintage feel representative of happier times in the City of Angels. The agency’s ECD Jeff Spiegel explains that the campaign seeks to make a “true connection” to the Dodger faithful, saying “Because statistics are a huge part of baseball, we created a series of posters around numbers that were meaningful to Hyundai and matched them up with numbers that would be meaningful, insightful or just plain fun to Dodgers fans.” Supplementing the campaign are vintage-style trading cards that link the Hyundai car lineup to the Dodgers. If you can’t celebrate your ball club, you might as well celebrate their sponsors, right?

Are These the Coolest Business Cards in the Industry?

 

Before we discuss the merits of business cards, let’s recall a conversation from the classic 2000 film, American Psycho: “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark.”

As savvy connoisseur/serial killer Patrick Bateman knows, business cards can define a man. We can only imagine how he would have reacted when he heard about Hashable (now in beta testing), a social media platform for professionals which actually allows users to virtually share their business cards over their smartphones.

But, before this catches on (or doesn’t), we’re going to take a brief look at some of today’s best (and most creative) business cards from the advertising and marketing industry. Inspired by experiential agency MKTG’s super-minimalist design that recalls its website, we have this PDF that shows odd and creative business cards from around the industry. Do you prefer Y&R’s “business in front, party in back” approach (above), David&Goliath’s “me against the world” editions or Live Nation’s pseudo-ticket stubs (after the jump)? What other designs have you seen in the industry that really stand out? Feel free to post some of your favorite examples in the comments section. For further inspiration, check out 50 more here.

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Adweek’s Michael Wolff Talks NYT Paywall, the State of News Corp

In part two of our Media Beat discussion with Adweek editorial director Michael Wolff, the media vet discusses his thoughts on the New York Times paywall, saying among other things, if it doesn’t work, then “the Times is imperiled.” Of course, what discussion with Wolff wouldn’t include the topic of News Corp and its chief Rupert Murdoch, who our interviewee profiled in his 2008 book, The Man Who Owns the News. In this clip, Wolff offers his theories on what the future holds for the gigantic media entity.

Part 1: Adweek’s Michael Wolff: ‘We Really Bring Together Buyer and Seller’

Stay tuned for part three with Michael Wolff tomorrow. In the meantime, you can also watch this video on mediabistro.com’s YouTube channel.

Adweek’s Michael Wolff: ‘We Really Bring Together Buyer and Seller’

Though our time with Adweek editorial director Michael Wolff together came to a rather interesting end, the veteran journalist had plenty to say during our three-part Media Beat chat. In this first installment, Wolff, who took over the editorial reins at AdWeekMedia last October, discusses the relaunch of Adweek, its current role/purpose in the industry and the trade’s relationship with parent company, Prometheus Global Media. Regarding the revamp of Adweek, Wolff says, “It was a very necessary, obvious and even inevitable thing that had to happen.”

Stay tuned for part two with Michael Wolff tomorrow. In the meantime, you can also watch this video on mediabistro.com’s YouTube channel.

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