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

Thursday September 20 2018

To me, nothing says Abroad quite like a poster, somewhere in Abroad, advertising an English speaking movie, whose English title I already know, with a foreign title that is different, but with all the same star names:

image

La Taupe means The Mole.  I preferred the TV series, but I love this poster.  Photoed by me in Paris in February 2012.

As was this, on the same expedition:

image

In the same directory, I encountered other photos of posters advertising the following movies: Drive (Ryan Gosling), Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage), Underworld (Kate Beckingsale), and Star Wars Episode 1 (whoever).  But in those posters, the titles stayed in their original English.  Why?

Sunday September 09 2018

Photoed by me, this afternoon, just outside Acton Central London Overground station:

image

Time was when I would have completely trusted a blog posting like this one, which says good things about this enterprise.  Now I merely trust this blog posting enough to link to it, and enough to hope that what it says is true.  I’ve no reason to think that it isn’t, apart from the fact it’s on the internet.

I know what you’re thinking.  How can you be sure that I am for real?  I am, but I would say that, wouldn’t i?

Saturday September 08 2018

This morning, I was half attending to the Test Match. And I was switching back and forth between the Cricinfo page that showed the latest few deliveries with written ball-by-ball commentary ("live"), and the version that showed the complete England scorecard ("scorecard").  I was doing this because I was trying to track how the England stand in progress, being accomplished by Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad, compared to other stands in the innings, and also how Buttler’s personal score compared to other personal scores in the England innings.  In the end, the Buttler/Broad stand was the biggest in the England innings, and Buttler was the top individual England scorer.  Following a terrible evening yesterday, England had a very good morning this morning.

But this is not a posting only about cricket, it is mostly a posting about internet advertising, and about what I suspect is deliberate deception in the matter of how effective internet advertising actually is.

I know, I know, if I’m not paying, I’m not watching the product; I am the product.  But I suspect that I, the product, am being lied about.

Every time I performed one of the above switches, from the “live” version of the Cricinfo test match page to the “scorecard” version, a noisy video advert cranked itself up at my new destination.  Silencing such video adverts can be difficult.  You tell them to shut up but they just ignore you and carry on shouting, like they own the site, which they sort of do.  However, I have discovered a way to silence these adverts.  Click on them, and immediately close the window that this click opens.  The advert feels that its job is done, and it stops shouting.  Its job is to get “clicks” to whatever the hell it was advertising.

But what were my clicks?  Were they attempts to learn more about the product in question.  No.  They were simply me getting the advert to shut the hell up.  I paid no attention to the adverts.

How many others have discovered this trick?  I can’t be the only one.  So, you stick your annoying advert on a popular website.  People click on the advert, close the window as soon as it opens, but the people who placed this advert assure the purveyor of the product that the advert got “attention”, from me and all the others who clicked purely to shut the advert up.  Because, look how many people clicked on the noisy bloody advert!  I did it half a dozen times for several different adverts, every time I switched from one version of that Cricinfo page to the other, which I did a lot.  That’s a lot of attention!

No it isn’t.  It is a small amount of contempt, for bad-mannered tradesmen shouting at me in my kitchen.

What’s that you say?  I’m a libertarian?  Yes I am.  So, why am I complaining about capitalism?

Try reading my piece for Samizdata entitled ”The overheating Samsung S24F356 – and thoughts about why there are so many complaints about capitalism”.

That link there hasn’t been shouting at you all the time you’ve been reading this posting.  This is a link with manners.  You can follow this link, in silence.  Or you can ignore it, in silence.  You are welcome.

Thursday September 06 2018

I enjoyed this Twitterxchange. here.

Colin Kaepernick:

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Scott Adams:

I’m pro-Kaepernick (for his effective protest on a real issue) but this is the worst life advice you will ever see. Develop a talent stack instead.

One of the classic career counselling clashes, the one between meaning and process.  There is a distinct whiff of Jordan Peterson in what Kaepernick says, or is said by Nike to be saying.

I’m sort of in between on this one.  I’d say: believe in something and develop a talent stack that achieves it, or failing that, something else worth achieving.  And I’d add that we all end up sacrificing everything in the end, or at least losing it.  We all must die of something.  Let it be of something meaningful or at least having attempted something meaningful.

I’m now catching up with Scott Adams, and in particular, am viewing this.  I like how Adams’s videos to camera begin with a piece of “simultaneous sip” nonsense, because this means that you don’t have to go back to the beginning when you crank one of them up.

Wednesday August 29 2018

I did a posting about a Big Thing Alignment that I saw when I went with Darren to that cricket match at the oval, and I did a posting about how the last ball of that game looked, two days later, on video.

Now for some more photos I took on the day Darren and I went to day 2 of that game between Surrey and Lancashire.

The very first photo I took that day was this:

image

I love how, in the middle of that big photo, we see one of those excellent You Are Here signs that you see all over London, and in many other spots, I don’t doubt, in not-London.  I really like these signs, and constantly photo them, if only to remind me for later of exactly where Here was at that particular moment.

Of this OCS stand, SteelConstruction.org has this to say:

This is a most appropriate use of steel, in a geometrically complex arrangement, which adds drama and visual excitement to a famous venue.

I was hoping that this OCS Stand, would be as open for people to sit in as it was in the above photo photo, because I have yet to experience the views from the top of that stand, surely as dramatic in their own ways as the stand itself. But on the evening when Darren and I were there, the OCS Stand was shut.  Shame.  Memo to self: I will photo these views.  If I have to make a special trip to the Oval just to ask about that, fine, I’ll do it, and keep on doing it, until they let me up there, preferably on a nice day.

Here is that OCS Stand, as it was looking at the second interval of the day, which happened not long after we got there:

image

That photo makes the ground look pretty dark, even though the floodlights were on.  And it does not deceive.  The ground did indeed look dark, to the human eye.

Here is the Pavilion that faces the OCS Stand, which is where we soon moved to:

image

Some like ancient, and dislike modern.  Others dislike ancient, and like modern.  Me?  I like both, and particularly like it when they are near each other, or (as in this case) facing each other, and I can relish the contrast.

One of the particular charms of cricket grounds – this being especially true of the two big London grounds, the Oval and Lord’s – is that they feature both (fairly(at least in style)) ancient, and (very) modern architecture.  In comparison,.I find big stadiums built all in one go very dull.  I went to a football game at Wembley, and if it hadn’t been for the big arch on the top of it, it would have been totally anonymous.  It’s not just the architectural uniformity.  It’s also that in a place like Wembley there are no gaps, and you can’t see anything except the stadium.  You could be anywhere.

Darren and I, what with Darren being a Surrey Member, sat in those
seats at the top, in the middle, and when you look out from there, across at the OCS Stand and to the left and the right of it, you couldn’t be anywhere but London.  Here is another view looking to the right, which includes that earlier Big Thing Alignment and several other random Big Things besides:

image

And here is the view to the left, towards Battersea, where the new US Embassy, just up river from MI6, has detonated a building boom:

image

But forget the US Embassy.  The reason I am showing you the above photo is to tell you how very dark the ground had become.  Forget playing cricket.  How on earth can you even see anything on that cricket pitch?

But seeing things on that pitch soon became very easy.  Quite soon afterwards, observe how very light the ground had become:

image

The floodlights were blasting away in both of those photos, not just in the second one.  Yet, in the first, they were being totally outshone by the paltry remnants of daylight.  Only when daylight had seriously dimmed did the floodlights suddenly start to make their presence felt.  And even then the sky is still quite light, especially down near the horizon.

I have been to the Oval quite a few times, but don’t recall witnessing the extremity of this contrast ever before.  I think it helped that we were looking down on the ground from quite a height, onto the brightness of the ground.  But basically, I’ve never been there when it was properly dark before.

The reason the above photo, especially of the people near me to the left, looks like it was taken with flash is because there is another big clutch of floodlights coming crashing into us from off to the right, very nearby.

Finally, here are a couple of photos I took just after arriving at the ground, through the Hobbes Gate, which is behind the Pavilion, on the far side of the Oval from the river, and from me:

image

One of the more agreeable features of London’s big two cricket grounds - Lord’s especially - is the number of giant photos there are on show, of cricketing heroes present and past.  It was the same when I visited White Hart Lane a while back.

Here is a closer-up snap of the Surrey ladies captain, Natalie Sciver:

image

Sciver lead her team to victory on Bank Holiday Monday in the ladies T20 national tournament.  Her Surrey “Stars” beat “Western Storm” in the one semi-final, and then won the final against Loughborough “Lightning”.  Lizelle Lee got a century for Surrey in the final, but she got good support from Sciver, and Sciver excelled with both bat and ball in the semi-final, which was a lot closer.

I am fond of emphasising how sport has replaced war in the world’s luckier and richer countries.  Long may that trend continue.  What these giant pictures emphasise, or so it feels to me, is the local significance of big sports clubs, and the way that, in terms of how these places feel close up, sport is also busy replacing religion.  This is especially true now that the other great modern challenger of religion in this kind of way, the cinema, is fading back into a merely domestic past-time.  The elaborate imagery.  The regular attendance at an architecturally impressive locale.  The shared agonies and ecstasies of the assembled congregations.  The way that the calendar is carved up into a distinct pattern.  To me, it all feels very religious, and I am certainly not the only one to have noticed this.  (That link took only seconds to find.)

The Church of Cricket is, I quite realise, but a small sect, these days, at any rate in England, compared to the Universal Church of Football.  But the point about sport replacing religion in modern life still stands.

Sunday August 19 2018

Earlier this evening I did some laundretting, and while I was there, this showed up outside:

image

I still photo taxis with adverts on them, and I especially liked this one, advertising this..

It made me think of the last time I went up to the top of the Shard, just over a year ago.

So I took a browse through the photos I took that day, and this time around, this one particularly struck me:

image

That was cropped to confine itself to the one building, and photoshop(clone)ed to resist the dullness of the day and general fogginess of the original.

Part of me wants to say that this is a classic case of the behind-the-scenes bit of a building, a chunk of it that you are not supposed to look at and get all aesthetic about.  It is what it is.

But I actuallly think that this is the facade of the building that the architects of it were most proud.  There is an exuberance about this roof, done in the equipment-as-decoration style, that is utterly lacking in the rest of the building.  The “official” bits of which are about as dull as dullness can get.  They didn’t have the budget to go full Lloyds Building, all over.  But they were able to go crazy on the roof, because the politicians whose job it was to tell them to redo the design more boringly didn’t give the roof any attention.  They thought they were building a machine for studying in, but only on the roof were they able to go mad with “expressing” that machineness.

I reckon they were delighted that the Shard was later put right next to this block of boredom with a great roof, enabling thousands of folks to gaze down on their favourite bit..  Gotcha, boredom police!

Okay, just a thought, and a thought that could well be wrong.  Maybe they really didn’t care how the roof looked.  But take a look through these photos of this mostly very dull slab, mostly taken from street level, of course, and see if you don’t share my suspicions.

Thursday August 02 2018

On August 2nd 2013, exactly five years ago today, there was a clutch of orange umbrellas above Lower Marsh.  (Also (see bottom right), 240 Blackfriars Road was under construction.) I don’t believe I mentioned these umbrellas at the time I photoed them, and now, I can’t google my way to any sort of explanation of them.  But, I think I recall investigating them at the time, and I think they were some kind of advert for an art gallery.  This guy agrees that these umbrellas were indeed there, then, but he doesn’t say anything about them either.

Anyway, here they are, as I photoed them then:

imageimageimage
imageimageimage

The bottom left one looks to me like the head of some kind of oriental feline creature.

Thursday July 12 2018

Photoed by me last Monday, from the train on the way back from Denmark Hill (which is where I also photoed that helipad (better to scroll down to that)):

image

The train being the explanation for that reflection, on the right there.

At the time, of course, I was merely going for that rather splendid Big Thing Alignment, of The Shard with The City Big Thing Cluster.  And at the time, I was merely regretting that it probably wouldn’t come out quite as sharply as I’d have liked, and so it proved.

What I was not going for was a machine in a foreground with the words “REACH FOR THE SK...” on its arm.  Presumably reach for the SKY.  Which is, I think, rather suitable.

Shame I didn’t quite get all of that little slogan, but I got enough for the photo to be worth showing here.

Big Thing Alignment with an appropriate slogan in the foreground
Confessions of a preemptive pessimist
Ruthless boohoo man
More photoers
Flotsametrics
Heroes with photoers
Death Wish avec Bruce Willis
A missed opportunity
Two adverts for the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts
Green Union Jack
Quota taxi covered in quota red flamingos
Worse than bad form
Elina Cerla
Piccadilly in the wet
Photoing the man playing a flaming tuba
Pimlico in Kensington
Naughty old adverts in The Star
Leadenhall Market
Ashes to virtual Ashes
Self storage is a strange expression
The most popular England and Wales birthday date is my birthday date
Dramatic sky over Brixton
Bromley-by-Bow tube to the Twelvetrees Crescent bridge
Eight
Dissing the Walkie Talkie
Rugby v Marlborough at Lord’s today
Wonder women
When advertising doesn’t quite work
A classic car and a modern classic car in Lower Marsh
Why computers are so dumb and so insolent
Animated tube maps
Happiness and other survival techniques
Barcelona photoers 2005
Barcelona Big Things (and Barcelona Big Thing graphics)
Incorporating the little orange light in the design
Another Capital Golf car
Cat proximity awareness
An Underground sermon
To Tottenham (6): The Spurs Shop
You wait for years and then two come along at once
Skull Shaver
Merry Christmas from the Pilot Store (and from me)
To Tottenham (2): Seven Sisters?
Packaging that is too good
Somebody needs to invent electronically changeable paint
What indeed?
Droneverts
The art of taxi advertising
Van – grey but very interesting
Cruise plays along
What does Thames “RIB” Experience mean?
Cats don’t smile
Photoing Tate Modern from the Oval and the Oval from Tate Modern
Deliveroo V sign
When welfare means lavatories
Another fine day at the Oval (1): Vans
Ghostbusters sculpture advert at Waterloo Station
London looking like Dubai
Temporary Oxford Street
WWWhite Van
Horizontal French signs
White vans are becoming very informative
Pizza Express bus
A rubbish lorry posting
South Bank Superheroes
Recent taxis with adverts photos
Barcelona owl
Michael Jennings on Uber (and the Uber logo ruckus)
Out and about with GD1 (8): Non-human creature vans
Big Ben bigger
Black Cat white van
Vans that need to look the part
White vans in Kentish Town
A busy day and a collection of Big Things
A Japanese torpedo bomber that could use some zoom
A Big Thing and a Much Bigger Thing – on a not-black cab
Big Things on Boris Bikes
Big Things having orgasms
Wrap artistry
Wicked Campers: Are they now going respectable?
Borats!
Anonymous guys taking (and making) pictures in Trafalgar Square
White Vans are looking more and more like websites
On going ahead with a posting anyway even if I don’t have all the photos to hand that I would like
Cameras seeing red
For CAR’S read CARS
Fantasy Vauxhall Bridge with lots of glass
A Morris Minor advertising a ping pong night club
Hire Intelligence White Van
Another The Wires! Building in Japan (plus more Dezeenery)
Corbyn – and an advert bus
Taxis with adverts
A day in BMdotcom heaven (3): Adverts
Some quota reflected cranes and a quota white van
Weird wide angle lens effect
Shiny little car
A big Black Cab advert picture for a Samizdata posting
White van reflexology
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Upshot
Interesting vehicles
Zorb football
Pancake White Van
You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
Two Lady covers
Real Photographer - shame about the adverts
Strange London buses
Another horizontal advert for an only slightly more expensive drone
First test against NZ – first day
Adverts for small and cheap drones
A photographer and an advert
A forgotten war
Along the river towards Battersea
Big 4
White Vin Van
White Van
Big cat advert
January newspaper pages
Views from Waterloo Bridge
Proof that there are a lot of French people in Britain just now
A photographer from the I Just Like It directory
A French film poster advertising a British film
In the City with Gus
Scary bunny
Big cat advertises guide dogs
Bond car
Confirming my String prejudices
Oxo Tower with bus advertising The Expendables III
The Not-V2 at London Bridge Station
I see cats
The London Look
Hao Ruan and LYCS Architecture are now world famous
Red arrow?
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
Premier League soccer news
Amusing cats versus important people
Classic Feline Friday quote from Tim Berners-Lee
The Met swoops on the Adams Family
Camel
Photoing the A380 from above – from the ground
Westminster Tube photos
Guangbiao Chen’s incredible business card
Fat bastard!
Dezeen continues to delight
The Times of May 24th 1940
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
The Alex Singleton blog
Savoy cat
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Google Nexus 4 photos
Wedding photography (2): Signs
Remembering a warmer day
The Qur’an is not science – science cannot be ignored
Cleaning lady for hire
It got my attention
Latest C4 logo sculpture
Photographers at Eros and Art in the tube
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
More NFL Fan Rally pictures from last Saturday
The Wheel reflected in a cheeseburger advert
Meaning in sport
Even the Goodyear Blimp is now obsessed with safety
More signs of the times
If you can’t beat them hire them
Another sign of the times
Old school advertising has its uses
Female cows in TV advert shock
And then give up and stay fat
Transport redirect
From pop to purrfume
Trust drunk and disorderly
Adverts on taxis and cars
Rockets are a great improvement on balloons
Advertising aimed entirely at me
Zaltzman on Clarke
Links to this and that
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
Expendable movie news
Exploitation?
I never knew Marmite came in tanker lorries
Does Google now rule the world of computing?
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
Blur
I EAT RUBBISH!
Under a hundred copies
Was it Sweeney?  And what else were they trying to suppress?
Slumponomics
Me and Michael Jennings talk tech trends
Model T parts flatvert
Laptop for emails
Minimum Wage flatvert at Guido’s and Iain Dale’s
Indy Flatverts and a Guido Q&A
Thinking thin at the top
More sign photos
Instapundit turns into Idiot Toys
Two Samizdata comments on the sinking of Brown and on the sinking of the Daily Telegraph
Register for your free pack and five £1-off-coupons
Multipurpose internet-connected rabbit
The Fixed Quantity of Advertising fallacy and the menace of targetted advertising
Acton
Even crazier crisps!
You don’t wait for it – you go looking for it
Random links
If it’s not Art it can be rather fun
Lump art and dinner in sky
Mockery
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
Big head and big something else
Two adverts in the tube
Daddy-o
Cisco – fuck off and die
Here they stand
Classic car thinness
Travis Perkins of Pimlico Road are not good at delivering timber
At Bethnal Green railway station
Obama a loser?
Antoine Clarke on the US Primaries – either Obama will beat McCain or McCain will beat Clinton
Dot matrix printing in the sky
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
Engadget suffers from intermittent giant text disease
When the penny drops
Hear ye hear ye
It’s the decline of old-school advertising that’s really hurting old-school journalism
Smelling the smoke in the Microsoft machine
Revised logo
Real Photographers worship the Logo
Writhing
Irrelevant heart attack adverts
London tricyclists are getting strong
A spring in their step
Dame Edna and Borats in Piccadilly Circus!
A basic part of the domestic cat’s heritage
Micklethwait’s Four Star Theory of the Internet
Screw you Dove – good on you Ruth Kelly – the right to avoid gay adoption
Male cows do not have udders
Spreading the word for free
More ways to use the best pictures
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Grassy car with blog
Interruptive relief?
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
Young People models for Old People
Billion Monkeys photo themselves to make you visit Malta!
The Million Dollar Homepage
Dye hard
Cillit Bang made-up twat
Ouch!
Blowing Smoke all over old school advertising