Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Advertising

Sunday February 07 2016

On the same day I photoed this stuff, up there in …

image

…, I also photoed white vans, like these ones:

imageimage

“Rimessa a nuovo e posa pavimenti in Legno” is the Italian for having sex for the first time, very elegantly (like they’re performing), on the pavement, in a place called Legno.  No not really, I don’t know what that means.  Something to do with wood flooring.

As for th van on the right, rather black but with a giant white painted piece of seafood on it, well, I like it.  Although I do miss the times when the Wright Brothers didn’t mean that, but meant the first people to fly an airplane and land it, or whatever it was exactly that the original Wright Brothers did.

Here, on the other hand, is a white van of the sort you don’t want to see:

image

Graffiti, badly covered up or badly cleaned up, and then more graffiti.  Not good.  I have never seen a white van that was an graffiti battlefield before.  Graffighting?

So, I’ll cheer myself up with another white van, this time an excellent one, photoed more recently, outside a building site in Westminster:

image

A white van for looking after tower cranes.  White vans don’t get any better than that..

Saturday February 06 2016

Today I have been what passes with me for busy.  By this I do not mean that I have been doing anything along the lines of work, of benefit to others.  Oh no.  But I have been paying attention to a succession of things, all of which involved me not being in much of a state to do anything else.

There was a game of cricket, there was a game of rugger, and a game of football.  England defeated South Africa.  England defeated Scotland.  And Spurs defeated Watford.  So, three for three. And then I went to hear a talk at Christian Michel’s, about The Unconscious, Freudian and post-Freudian.  Freud, it turns out, was right that there is an Unconscious, but wrong about a lot of the details.

On my way home from that talk, I took a photo.  Technically it was very bad photo, because it was taken through the window of a moving tube train.  It is of an advert at a tube station.  But my photo did the job, which was to immortalise here yet another assemblage of London’s Big Things, in an advert:

image

That’s only a bit of the picture, rotated a bit, lightened and contrasted a bit and sharpened a bit.

The advert was for these visitor centres, which sound suspiciously like what used to be called “information desks”.

I see: the Cheesegrater, the Wheel, the BT Tower, Big Ben, the cable car river crossing, the Gherkin, Tower Bridge, the Shard, St Paul’s, and the pointy-topped Canary Wharf tower.  I forgive TfL for plugging the embarrassing Emirates Dangleway.  If they didn’t recommend it, who would?

Because of all that busy-ness, I have no time to put anything else here today.

Tomorrow: Super Bowl!

LATER: AB de Villiers, talking about South Africa now being two down with three to play:

“I can’t help but think, shit we have got to win three games in a row to win this series. Shucks, I mean. But that’s the fact of the matter. In situations like this, whether you are 2-nil up or 2-nil down, you have to take a small step. The next game is important for us. Shucks.”

We all know what shit is, but now learn what a shuck is.

Thursday February 04 2016

The following picture explains (a) why all my cameras must have a zoom lens permanently available, as powerful as is within the bounds of sanity, and (b) why this zoom lens must be instantly usable.  In other words why I will not tolerate faffing about with hand-attached lenses.  Which means that all my cameras have had to be “bridge” cameras rather than DSLRs.  I need wide-angle one moment, and then the next moment, by which I often mean the next second, I may need zoom and tons of it.

Here is the picture, which Antoine Clarke took, Twittered, and then phoned me about because he reckoned I would like it:

image

And I do like it.  A lot.  A lorry, with a panoramic photo-view of London on the side?  What, as people now like to say, ‘s not to like?

But Antoine’s attached Twitter verbiage reads as follows:

What’s a Japanese torpedo bomber doing there?!?

What Japanese torpedo bomber?  The world wants Antoine to zoom in on the Japanese torpedo bomber, to prove that there is indeed a Japanese torpedo bomber present.

I hoped that the photo above would download itself from Twitter, and it did.  Good.  But, it was only 640 pixels wide.  (This Blog is 500 pixels wide.) Not so good.

When I expanded what I took to be the Japanese torpedo bomber, I got this:

image

If you already know that you are looking for a Japanese torpedo bomber, then you will, just about, maybe, see a Japanese torpedo bomber.  But a zoomed in close-up would really have helped.

I know how hard it can be photoing vehicles that are, as it were, zooming past.  Often one shot is the best you can hope for, and equally often not even that.  Yesterday a Wicked Campervan zoomed, as it were, past me, with “DRINK TILL SHE’S PRETTY” written on its arse, and I completely missed photing it.  (But no worries.  I think it was the van in a photo you can find by scrolling down in this grumpy article.)

But something about the exact composition of Antoine’s shot tells me that Antoine’s lorry was stationary, or nearly so.  So, Antoine, is there a bigger version of this shot available, more like 4000x3000 than 640x480?  (4000x3000 being what my Panasonic Lumix FZ200 cranks out.) That would supply some Japanese torpedo bomber detail.  Or is there even a close-up of the Japanese torpedo bomber?

Failing that, does Antoine know what enterprise this lorry was working for?  Maybe they have a website, with photos?

Okay, now I’m being grumpy.  It took me a long time to get into the habit of photoing all the incidental detail around a good photo, for future internetting purposes.  But, with apologies for immediately demanding more when given something nice, … Antoine?

Sunday January 31 2016

This picture of a taxi ticks two BMdotcom boxes.  First, its a black cab which isn’t, either because it just isn’t, or because it is covered in an advert.  In this case, it’s a bit of both:

image

But better, we observe in the advert on the not-black cab two Big Things.  The Big Thing on the left says: London!  And what is actually the much Bigger Thing, on the right, says: New York!  I am collecting imagery that says: London!, and this fits that bill very well, even if it does say: New York! as well.

I quite like the replacement for the Twin Towers, but it seems to me rather bland, in a picture, when you can’t see how very big it is.  Bland being what you do not want in a Big Thing for saying: New York!  But I guess, the Twin Towers having established themselves as the Big Things that formerly said: New York, whatever replaced them was going to have to do that job as soon as it appeared, bland or not.  The Empire State or the Chrysler would no longer do, them having already been dethroned as the sayers of: New York!, by the Twin Towers.

I think it is very telling that in the New York picture there is a clump of skyscrapers rather than just one.  Because New York is not any one skyscraper.  It’s a forest of skyscrapers.  Each individual skyscraper may be rather bland, but what it all adds up to is anything but bland.

But New York is not my town, and that is only me guessing.

Sunday January 24 2016

Earlier this month I came upon a clutch of Boris Bikes.  Boris Bikes used to be sponsored by Barclays Bank, and now, as you can see from the pictures of Boris Bikes that follow, they are sponsored by Santander, but Boris Bikes is what we all call these things.

Here are six of the Boris Bike pictures I took, on January 11th:

image image imageimage image image

Click on each of those to get six, seemingly pretty much identical, big pictures.

But actually, they are not identical pictures. 

I have recently become especially interested not just in the way that London’s Big Things look when I photo them, but in the way that others use these Big Things, or stylised representations of these Big Things, to say “London”.  In an advert for being a tourist in London, for instance.  Or, in this case, as a way to flag up that here are some bikes for hire which will enable you to bike around in London, seeing London.  And how do you make biking around London and seeing London seem more enticing?  You throw in pictures of London’s Big Things.  (You even throw in Big Things if you are advertising for sperm donors.  Had it not been for my recently cultivated alertness to the use of London’s Big Things in adverts, I’d not have bothered to photo that sperm donor advert.)

What I noticed about these bikes, and what got me photoing so many of them in this apparently way too excessive manner, is that each of them has a picture of two London Big Things on them.  I was able to find six different Big Thing duos, hence the above six pictures.

Allow me to save you the bother of looking more closely at the Big Things on these bikes, with some cropped out squares: 

image image imageimage image image

I just used google image searching to see if I could find any other Big Thing duos that I had not photoed on that day out, earlier this month.  I failed.  So far as I can tell, there are just six ways in which these bikes are decorated.

The complete set of Big Thing duos would appear to be: The Shard and Tower Bridge, the Wheel and St Paul’s Cathedral, the Big Olympic Thing and the Tower of London, the Millennium Bridge and Battersea Power Station, the Gherkin and Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Dome.  Ancient and modern, in pairs.  I find this list interesting both for what is included, and for what is not.  I am guessing that these Big Things were not chosen just by a bunch of guys round a table picking them.  I’m guessing that a serious attempt was made to pick Big Things that really do say London to lots of different people.  In particular, this is data about which particular bits of new engineering and architecture have truly been added to the short list of Big Things that are not merely big, but loved.  Although it’s worth adding that the Millennium Bridge is not actually that big.

Even if actually this short list of six ancient Big Things and six modern Big Things actually was put together by a bunch of guys sitting around a table at an advertising agency, in the space of half an hour, well, that’s still data, of a sort.  These are the Big Things that they think say London, to the people they are trying to persuade to hire Boris bikes.

The surprises?  Well, for me, a slightly surprising inclusion is the Big Olympic Thing, and maybe a slightly surprising exclusion is Tate Modern.  Also not included here: the new Wembley Arch.  But by far the biggest surprise here is, I think, the omission of: the BT Tower.

Can anyone think of any other omissions as big as that one?

Of course, it could be that there are Boris bikes out there with the BT Tower on them, or with the Wembley Arch on them, and I just haven’t clocked them.

Friday January 22 2016

You often hear people talking about how buildings which are a lot taller than they are thick are really just penis substitutes.  This advert, which I snapped on the tube earlier this month, makes the connection explicit:

image

Want to know more?  Here.

I have noticed that the junk email I get, and the adverts that interrupt my internet browsing, seem sometimes to be related to stuff I have posted here.  So, I may regret this posting.

Saturday January 02 2016

Well, I think it’s artistry.  It is definitely wrap advertising:

Using what is known as a “conformable vinyl wrapping” material, a high-quality print or protective clear wrap can be molded to almost any and every part of a vehicle. Typically, conformable material is used because it is the easiest to work with, especially on contoured surfaces. Using the proper adhesives when applying the material to the surface of the car is essential, otherwise the wrap can lead to adhesive failure in a few months after the application.

Advancements in plastics have led to new types of vinyl designed specifically for wrap advertising, including vinyl sheets that feature bubble-preventing air channels. Microscopic glass beads are used to prevent an adhesive from functioning until the user is ready (the beads allow the material to be repeatedly lifted and reapplied during the wrapping process, without compromising the longevity of the wrap). The vinyl is heated with a heat gun or torch for the purpose of molding the material around objects.

Yesterday’s posting here was all about hand-painted vehicles.  Here are some photos of some of London’s famed black cabs which have been wrapped with adverts, in the manner described above.  I have concentrated on black cabs which are wrapped all over:

image image imageimage image image

Again, I make no artistic claims for these photos, just for the people who wrapped the black cabs, and above all for the people who worked out how this could be done, in the elegant way that you can observe.

Resulting in all these “black cabs”, like so many of the species these days, not being black at all.

I got talking to the owner of “black” cab 2.2, i.e. the one in the middle of the bottom three, in close up, and he said he gets paid £70 a month.  Which is not enough for anyone to make a living just by riding around inside a 3D advert.  But, enough to make a nice difference.

Friday January 01 2016

Here is what the vans of Wicked Campers (which presumably started up in Australia) look like, photoed by me over the last few months, in Lower Marsh, where they often congregate.

I claim no artistic expression points for these pictures.  They merely show what these entertaining vehicles look like.  All the artistic expression points go to whoever decorated the vans:

image image imageimage image imageimage image imageimage image imageimage image imageimage image image

So far so excellent.  More Wicked Campers van décor to be found here, many of them equally excellent if not more excellent, and equally tasteless and un-PC if not more tasteless and more un-PC.

The Guardian is not amused

So then, I decided to search out the British HQ of Wicked Campers, which wasn’t hard because it is not far from Lower Marsh at all, in very nearby Carlisle Street.

And it looks as if the Guardian’s complaints, and the complaints the Guardian reports and seeks to amplify, may be having an effect.  Wicked Campers HQ was a severe disappointment, at any rate the day I visited, last week.  I found only two more vans, and both were appallingly tasteful, compared to the Wicked Campers norm.  The big clutch of vans above look like there were decorated by expat Aussies who don’t give a shit.  These two vans look like they were done by a British art student who probably reads the damn Guardian, every day.

Picture one here is just a pattern, with no in-your-face verbiage at all.  Pictures two and three are of the same van, opposite sides:

image image image

Ugh!

I really hope I’m wrong, and that Wicked Campers continue to prosper in their classic, tasteless, un-PC form.

Saturday December 26 2015

I did a Samizdata posting earlier today, soliciting help in decyphering a piece of text in a photo.  Earlier this month I photoed this lady holding up a message for the lady she was videoing to read.  Trouble is, the text was in something that looked like it was Russian.

According to Samizdata commenter Alex, the text is Kazakh.  It would appear that the lady being videoed was making a video message for her sister.  I expect further details to follow.

Ah, Kazakhstan.  Known in Britain mostly for being the home of Borat.

As it happens there’s a Borat photo I’ve been meaning to stick up here, of Borat on the back of a bus.  Here is that photo, on the right below, together with another Borat related photo which is one of my all time favourite snaps.  I took this Borats-plural photo, on the left here, in Piccadilly, on March 9th 2007, and it has been shown here already, on the day after it was taken.  The Borat on the bus photo was taken on March 14th, and is being shown here for the first time:

imageimage

Click to see these photos bigger.

When I googled for more serious Kazakhstan information, the most interesting info I found was definitely this.  Blog and learn.

Monday December 14 2015

Yes, number 1.2 here is not taking, he’s making, and I photoed his screen instead of him.  (This would seem to explain the (to me) decidedly off-putting not to say offensive slogan on the back of his costume.)

Although quite late in the day, which was in April of this year, the light is still fairly bright, so no pictures on electrical screens.  Just faces from behind (IYGMM (if you get my meaning)) and faces front on, but with cameras in the way:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

I am well aware that my obsession with photoing strangers photoing is somewhat creepy, this being why nobody ever seems to comment on these postings.  Even to comment is to get too close to the obsession and to risk being thought to share it, or just to reckon it not creepy.  But I happen to believe that willingness to be a bit creepy is a major slice of photoing talent, and I regularly risk this.  Although I do definitely care what people think of me, I care even more about getting good photos.

And I reckon that, what with me having now done so much of this kind of photoing, the best of these photos that I take now are indeed getting to be pretty good.  Of those shown above, I particularly like 1.3, with its intriguing contrast between the manliness of his pock-marked yet handsome face and the girlified phone he is using to take his photo, of his pock-marked yet handsome face, with the four-pointed Parliament tower (actually it is probably Big Ben in his photo) in the background.

The skeleton being photoed by the guy in 2.1, in case you were wondering, is an attack on capitalism, as the Guardian explains.  But if this has to be explained, and it does, then it’s not much of an attack, is it?

I can’t make out what type of camera the guy photoing the skeleton is using.  But of the seven other cameras, four appear to be mobile phones, and the other three to be quite big and quite expensive hobbyist cameras like mine.  Mobile phones would appear to be gobbling up the small, cheap-and-cheerful digital camera market.  All phones are now cameras.  How soon before all cameras are phones?  (See the graphs in this earlier posting here.)

Sunday December 13 2015

Indeed:

image

I’ve been keeping an eye and a camera lens open for White Vans, and they regularly un-disappoint, if you get my drift.

But, does this White Van look like its own website?  Yes, clearly the work of the same designer or designers.  Either that or the White Van decorators were simply told to copy the website.

So, could a White Van actually be a website?  With some kind of touchscreen on it?  Probably not a good idea.

Saturday December 12 2015

One of the things I have had to learn as a blogger is to go ahead with my little photo essays, even if I absolutely know that there are more relevant photos to be found in my archives, which I would love to include if only I could find them quickly.  When that happens, I should just go ahead anyway.  If I later encounter the photos I would like to have included the first time around, fine.  I should do another posting and link back to the first one.

You are probably expecting a photo here, to back up the above point …:

image

… so there is a photo.  It’s a nice photo.  But it doesn’t really make the point above it.  Perhaps, somewhere in my archives, there is a photo which does exactly make that point.  But, it would take too long for me to find it.

Sunday December 06 2015

Ever since I expressed interest in their picture processing programme, which is called Zoner Photo Studio, the Zoner Photo Studio blog/magazine has been sending me news of articles in that blog/magazine.  I don’t mind this.  Often I find these pieces quite interesting.

Like the one in which I read this, for instance:

Loss of detail in red objects is a common problem in digital photographs. Digital cameras’ sensors are more sensitive to the red color channel than the other two (blue and green), and meanwhile overexposure of the red channel can lead to the loss of detail in red objects.

The article then goes on to explain how to deal with this loss of detail in red objects, an explanation that I can live without for the time being.  No, what interested me was the claim that cameras get more excited by red than they do by other colours.

I found myself thinking about this fact, if fact it be, when preparing this set of photos, of photographers, taken exactly a year ago to the day, on December 6th 2014, in Piccadilly Circus.  When doing this, I thought it would be fun to pick out small squares, not with a view to necessarily showing the most important bit of the picture, but in order to make a pleasing collection of squares.  And while doing this, I did indeed feel that I detected exactly this tendency of my camera to see red with great intensity (where there was red to be seen), and also to see pink (where there did not seem to be much in the way of red to be seen at all).

Maybe this is just because people like red, and so the camera-makers deliberately make cameras which particularly see red.  They could tell the cameras not to see so much red, but if they do, people like it less.  If that means that people can’t see so much detail in the red bits of their pictures, well, they don’t care that much. Red is, after all, the colour of Christmas cheer.  When seeing the best in something, we are seeing it through rose coloured spectacles.  Red makes people happy.  Could that be it?

Anyway, here are those pictures.  My camera, when taking them, saw a lot of red, and presumably these other people taking photos were also photoing a lot of red.  See in particular the one where it says Mamma Mia on the screen.  Mamma Mia is in blue letters, but the surrounding colour on the screen has a distinctly pink tinge to it, even though I am pretty sure that the original background was white:

image image image imageimage image image imageimage image image image

Once again, here is a result of a photoshoot that was really quite good, so why didn’t I show this or a similar result at the time?  Well, first, there was really no rush, was there?  It’s not as if people taking pictures in Piccadilly Circus is any sort of revelation.  It wasn’t news.  It could wait.  But why did it, for a whole year?  Well, basically I take far more pictures than I can reasonably show and tell about.  If I thought that just shovelling snaps into Flickr was worth doing, I would do it, but I don’t.  For me, it has to be photoblogging.  But photoblogging takes time.  Also, I like to mix it up, and not just have posting after posting consisting of great masses of photos, taken by clever old me.  So, for me, photoblogging takes even longer.  And the blogging bit tends to get left behind by the photoing.

Over Christmas I intend to stay in quite a lot, basically doing more writing than usual.  And I also intend to do a bit of photoblogging catching up, harking back to sunnier times, last summer, and perhaps also in the more distant past.  Although, as always, I promise nothing.

Saturday December 05 2015

Blatant quota photo, in the form of an interestingly informative vehicle snapped by me earlier this evening:

image

Shame about the superfluous piece of punctuation.

Earlier, my host and his guests were chuckling at a big flag host had in his living room, which said: DONT TREAD ON ME.  For DONT read DON’T.

Shame the apostrophe cannot somehow be transferred from the car to the flag, thereby bringING (see comment) the grammar universe into alignment.

Back to the car: COMERCIAL is missing an M.

None of which should be brought up if he is rescuing you and your vehicle from a predicament.

And, I bet this posting contains a grammar or spelling mistake, because this is one of the subsections of Sod’s Law.  Whenever you sneer at someone else’s grammar or spelling, yours goes wrong.

Monday November 30 2015

Incoming from 6k ...:

image

… which he encountered here.  As is noted in that tweet, Wikipedia has things to tell us about this scheme, as does this posting

This was a 1960s scheme to sell glass, dreamt up by minions of glass superbusiness Pilkington’s.  It was never going to get built, but had it been, it would have been a walk away from where I live, and would have been my route to Vauxhall railway station.

6K is right that this kind of thing, and in particular this kind of bridge, interests me.  See the first picture and the commentary on it in this posting here, July 2015.

Quote (if I don’t regularly quote me, who will?):

… this shows old London Bridge, with all its buildings.  What fun it would be for London to build itself another such bridge.  One of the reasons I so welcome the new Blackfriars Station, on its bridge, is that it sets a precedent for just such a bridge with buildings some time in the future.  This new Ponte Vecchio on Thames probably shouldn’t be in the middle of London, though, because that would spoil a lot of views.  Why not a big bridge of this sort further downstream?  Any decade now …

Indeed.

LATER: Meanwhile, a very different bridge ...:

image

... is to be built across the river, just upstream from the actually existing Vauxhall Bridge. That is the picture the winner of the competition produced.  On the basis of that, among other things, this winner will “design” the new bridge.  Looks to me like he already has designed it.

Also, yet another bridge has been proposed to join Docklands to the other side of the river.