The past few days I have been obsessed with change. Not the exciting CHANGE of political campaigns and social justice, but the humble change of our pockets. The various containers on my bedside table where such coinage gets dumped, were over full and I am too lazy/cheap to take it to a bank/coinstar machine for bills. Also, I get satisfaction from spending coins. I love having a few pennies on hand so I can give exact change. When relinquishing all my quarters nightly in one little tin, conveniently adds up to just enough, on laundry day, I feel pride that I don't have to "buy" a roll of quarters from the bodega on the corner (and this feeling is the only thing that keeps me from being irate that our laundry room is oddly devoid of coin changer machines).
I certainly have an appreciation for the monetary value of coins. There was even a semester in college where I lived off of the "couch change" from a roommate who, at the time, was making so much cash as a waiter that he didn't care to even pick up the quarters that practically rained from his pockets when passed out on the couch. And although this weekend, I only had a few instances to use my loot, all of them were so successful on a couple of levels that I have started to value coins for more than their ability to make coffee appear. Here's what happened
Maybe I am a little OCD about the change because, when I clean it from my bag at the end of a day, I immediately sort it into different containers. As I said, quarters have a special place as do pennies and for some reason nickles and dimes hang out together in another jar. I counted and sorted the N&D jar, about 10bux! Still, I went out feeling a little nervous about the responses I would get here and there when I paid by counting out my change at the register. Presumably this would annoy the person behind the counter and at best I'd get groans from people behind me in line, and as this is nyc I wouldn't have been surprised if this enraged someone beyond that. Alas, I was determined to move ahead with my plan and I needed the satisfaction of having emptied the N&D jar.
The first time I pay entirely in dimes. I am at a coffee shop in my neighborhood which is the border between Bushwick and Bed-Stuy. It doesn't get me a second look when I count and place two neat one dollar piles of dimes the bar. Server just says "thanks." and I sit down and enjoy my caffeine. I come here often but not enough to say I am a regular so I don't expect to be known. The folks are pretty friendly but I have to say I have never before gotten a cheery "thanks, see you later!" yelled at me from across the room as I exited from this server or any other, as I did on this day. The only thing I could think of that I did differently, was pay in change. Maybe it endeared me or made me stand out in some way subconsciously. Hm.
That evening I am running late to a party and I need to pick up a bottle of ginger ale on the way. I run into the only place I see open, a Walgreens, and as I get to the register remember the sack of nickels that is all I brought with me. Shit, this lady is going to kill me. I wish there was a bodega open, I feel instinctually they might be cooler about this. I sheepishly tell the 20-something woman across the counter from me, "sorry its going to be a minute just have all this change to count out." She smiles big and says with genuine excitement in her tone "I love doing that!" Whew. We have a brief discussion about how much we both like giving exact change and collecting the change from the bottom of your bag and seeing it add up to dollars. I pay her in nickels and tell her I am so glad she was working tonight. I walk out with my head high, I feel like I am particularly clever and in cool kids club with this Walgreens employee.
Next day, I need to kill time between meetings and stop into a cute little cafe place that appears to serve primarily the college kids from the school buildings directly across the street. I pull out my satchel of change, it is a mix of nickles and dimes. Before I can even apologize for the time it will take me to count it out, the man behind this counter gets super excited and says "YES!". I look up from my task, perplexed but then I realize he commenting on the silver in my palm. "This is what I like to see!" He is absolutely thrilled I randomly stumbled into his cafe and am gifting him with all the nickles and dimes he will need to make change the rest of the afternoon. I am a godsend. His over-the-top response has me laughing. I hand him the sum I owe and say something like "I think its right but you might want to double check". He tells me he doesn't care, as he excitedly transfers the coins into his register drawer. We are both smiling big.
It turns out paying with change can not only buy you a coffee but it can also make you stand out, as a consumer, create a connection over an otherwise anonymous interaction and provide a real service for a small business. Next time I decide (or need) to nickel and dime it, I will do so with pride!
It is not too late to say what you feel.
Every time you let one of those little emoticons slip into your technologically mediated communications you let a little bit of your humanity slip away. An emoticon is an inadequate and irresponsible stand in for real emotions. And more so, it is an insult to the human ability to express.
Each of us, currently has the right to speak about how we feel to each other. And we have a right to transmit that, in most cases, through a variety of text-based medium. Do not take that lightly. Your personal communications are political. There have been times and there are places today, where you must us symbols to stand in for feelings in order to avoid persecution.
The ability to express is not a given politically nor is it a given practically; we must learn it though practice and experimentation.
Consider each emoticon you choose to eliminate, as an exercise in freedom and practice of expression. Practice the written expression of your emotions with abandon! Use language. At a loss for words? Then say that, or explore a thesaurus. Make up language, if the words you find won’t do. Every colon followed by closed parentheses is a missed opportunity for an expression of human joy. Just think about all the deliciously, salty language experiences we miss out on when someone chooses to express themselves with a semi-colon, closed parentheses rather than a full description of their thoughts at that moment.
Emoticons are feelings for computers. And you, as much as, you may like to think otherwise, are not a computer. Fundamental our experience as a humans, is attempting to express feeling, failing or succeeding, and in the process, creating beauty and understanding. Trust that the thoughtful choice of words will mean, as much if not more, than the immediacy of your response, for every emoticon you eliminate from your communications is a small heroic human act.
A series of commercials with the tag-line "Time for some new traditions?" serves up a narcissistic perspective on gifting just in time for the holidays!
At first look, this commercial could be seen as celebrating the wacky creativity of making up fun festive foods, but this is not the case. Several normal-type actors proudly present their off beat edible creations to the camera. Their faces are hopeful and eager to please you. However, by the time the tagline appears at the end of the commercial it is clear that you are supposed to feel sad for these people. And sure enough, the link which popped up after watching this video within a banner ad directed me to Target's website to order entire ready-made holiday meals (link). Read: spare yourself the embarrassment.
The other commercial in this series follow suit.
In this scenario you observe two couples exchanging gifts. Couple 1 gives Couple 2 a Blu Ray player (a little extravagant, no?). In return, with the same eager goofy smiles, couple 2 presents couple 1 with a macrame covered boombox (ok, that actually is awesome!) which the lady of the couple 2 apparently made. Couple 1 exchange awkward glances at each other and try to act polite by saying "this smells like a cat".
The didactic tone of these commercials is reminiscent of a classic 1950's social instruction film. Poor Suzy she dresses sloppy and the other kids say mean things about her, don't be a Sloppy Suzy! Similarly, these commercials serve as a warning that others might be embarrassed FOR you. Should you be tempted to give out crafty crap as gifts or invent recipes, remember your friends and family think that's weird. Make everyone more comfortable and just buy stuff from Target.
set up of these ads is meant to remind the audience of what it feels
like when you have to be gracious and accept a gift that you don't
really like. The implication is that this is always negative experience. But in actuality, it feels equally as great to receive something someone made for you as it does to make something for someone else. These commercials encourage a perspective of childlike narcissism only to play it against the common social anxiety felt about pleasing other people.
On a whole Target's advertising is a cut above. Their stylish and simple Worholian celebrations of commerce are completely transparent and effective, even a pre-Black Friday series featuring the comedic talent of Maria Bamford were fun without being insulting. Target has proved that it is possible to still sell things people without putting out a negative message and I guess, that's why this set of commercials feels cheap and lazy to me.
So yes, Target, it is time for some new traditions... make whatever inventive food and gifts you want to give to your friends and family this holiday season in confidence that they will love you even more for doing so.If you don't have time or inclination to make shit for your friends and family, this holiday season, you should at least support other people who do. Considering making a stop at a local craft fair (Bust Craftacular - Sun Dec 6th in NYC!) or visit the always open online craft fantasia website Etsy.com.
Vampire fantasy is inescapable. Today, confronted by an onslaught of particularly annoying advertising, I got to thinking about the real bloodsuckers and why we are so poorly equipped to resist them.
Yes, real vampires exist and they are way more annoying than the sparkly kind and far less sexy than the interviewed kind, but don't worry, they are equally as needy!
Edward: I have to tell you something. The reason why you are one dimensional, is because I stole your personality from you while you were busy updating your iPod apps in chem lab this morning. sorry.
Bella: That's OK, I never really had that much stake in it to begin with. Can we make out now?
So, while Ed and Bella do that, we can talk about the latest Yahoo! brand campaign.
This ad in particular, has me fired up
Now the internet has a personality. Yours.
On the one hand I applaud it's honesty. Openly stating that your brand has nothing to offer is pretty bold. And it's true. YOU are the product that many media companies now sell to each other. If they can't convince millions of us use their service, they got nothing. Currently, these businesses trade us services and tools for personal data and this works pretty well. But as a long term business plan? How long can this value proposition hold up?
As long as they can convince us that we are the center of the YOUniverse. And so, vampires they must become.
I saw Jonathan Zittrain give this Minds For Sale, talk at the Digital Labor conference last month. He goes through examples of the many ethically questionable deals businesses are making with individuals online all the time. I am interested specifically, in the exploitation of individuals personalities/identities but he essentially covers the same issues and frameworks. Well worth a watch plus Zittrain keeps it entertaining.
Also, it's not because they are vampires that you want to suck face with them, its because they are 16, you creepy pedophiles!
Great quote from David Armano of Logic+Emotion :
"We live in a world where the little things really do matter. Each encounter no matter how brief is a micro interaction which makes a deposit or withdrawal from our rational and emotional subconscious. The sum of these interactions and encounters adds up to how we feel about a particular product, brand or service. Little things. Feelings. They influence our everyday behaviors more than we realize.”
The world is telling me I should start blogging again on a regular basis. So here I go world...
Every Tuesday here will be 7antasy Tuesdays from now on (or as often as I remember). I will share a different marketing tactic I stumble across on my daily wanderings of NY City streets.
Spotted last week upon exiting 2nd Ave F train on Houston Street and 1st Ave.
I felt it was a very bold and innovative promotional move on the part of Monopaly Ent. Let's break it down.
Placement - Anyone coming out of this high foot traffic spot could not possibly miss it in fact I almost collided with it physically. When you come up from the station you are facing this fence about 2.3 paces front of you. There is no advertising competition on this space aside from the occasional dog walker sign and those are usually on much smaller white pieces of paper.
Material and Color - The selection of this vibrant marigold yellow was particularly effective on such a gray day. Also, everyone knows that marigold is the color of choice at Indian weddings and those are always great celebrations that you def want to get invited to. The paper is not exactly poster board but some type of thick craft paper possibly the kind that comes in rolls and is used by kindergarten teachers wrap a chalkboard in to create a springtime mural and that is a nice association to have (although a little bittersweet) because everyone knows that Kindergarten is the last year that school is fun.
Fonts, Kerning and Layout etc.- Handwriting while legible, is not too precise which is good because if it were too even one might think it was actually written by a kindergarten teacher. The words settle in a sort of inverted pyramid shape. The upward slant of the copy along with the slight decrease in font size from left to right gives the whole sign a positive uplifting feeling as if to say 'hey, everybody may be workin' for the weekend but who says you can't go out on a Tuesday? Live it up, tiger!' It also gives the illusion of depth it is as if the words are actually popping out of the page and then receding into space. Note the clever use of 7 for F in the word '7antasy' (thanks Craige for noting this unique spelling). This is just plain weird but the eye is just drawn to it. It's almost a Z and that says excitement! Could be a reference to something internety (you know how they do, r3placing l3tt3rs with numb3rs) or maybe a logo that 7antasy Tuesdays would like to eventually develop for their web presence.
Overall Grade: B+
I am fascinated by the various people who make visits the neighborhood drug dealer who lives on the first floor of Z's appartment building. This woman must be such the old school East Village dealer. Her clientele is so varied. I am truely impressed.
To date I've seen: