Open letter season: Here’s mine to Jani Allan

Jani Allan. Until last week, few people my age (and around) knew who she was. My parents recognised her name. They’re in their mid sixties. Allan is 62 so the shoe fits. On the 14th April, 2014 however, Allan entered the Oscar Pistorius fray with an open letter on her blog.

It’s hot topic – Oscar and the trial he’s on for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, so it didn’t take long for what she recorded there to go viral. It was what any blog (including this one) presents: opinion. Hers however leveraged its newsorthiness with the juggernaut allegation that Pistorius has been taking acting lessons for his courtroom appearances in order to deliver a testimony by-design, to both advocates for and against him – Barry Roux and Gerrie Nel respectively.

It’s hot topic because, as is the case with any celebrity, we feel they are ours. His wrong is a wrong to us. He abused his power… he is reckless… he is a monster… whatever. I’m not here to defend Oscar Pistorius. He stopped irritating me a while ago. Jani Allan has taken that place and, I put it to you, she has had you all on.

Wikipedia lists Jani Allan as a South African columnist, broadcaster and animal rights advocate. She became a household name through her work at the Sunday Times (1980 to 1989) and, at the height of her fame in 1987, commissioned a Gallup poll to find “the most admired person in South Africa”.

She won.

Her open letter picks up the story and depicts her as ‘the other woman’ in Eugene Terre’blanche’s life whilst his was falling apart. After much tumult and an assassination attempt on her life, the most admired person in South Africa decided to go west and, from 2001, found a new vocation in the PR and restauranting industries in the States. She also tried her hand at astrology, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

It’s now being said that Jani has returned to the media frame. But… in all fairness – and just like me here – the Internet gives anybody a voice. Ergo, eight full days after her blog went viral, she is still tweeting the clincher from it with links to equally authoritative media leaders like Perez Hilton and UPI.com – under a section called “Odd News”.

Odd. News. Indeed.

Jani Twitter 1

Do you remember 2009’s MTV Awards? Where one Sacha Baron Cohen – dressed as Bruno in just a thong and angel wings – flitted from the ceiling and landed, ass-all-exposed on Eminem’s face? Three years before that, the same actor was stopped by Secret Service personnel at The White House, when he attempted to invite George W. Bush to the screening of his then movie ‘Borat’ in an effort to promote ‘Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’.

It’s called a publicity stunt, aimed to garner fever-pitch interest and do work for your brand that paid or owned media – with the same amount of time – could only dream of achieving. Want a success story? Think Felix Baumgartner’s edge of space jump to earth for Red Bull. Jani Allan’s story? Not so much.

Online, this seasoned journalist is quick to highlight / remind / reprimand re: her viral success and commits to statements like this for her brand:

Jani Twitter 2

We all have. Clearly. But post slumber, have a listen to her speaking to Fox News here.

It was the interviewer’s question at around 04:48 that really woke me up, but it’s her cavalier response that makes me think perhaps she and Oscar got a two-for-one special at this acting coach she knows so well. And “…when the steel horses came down…” – as she puts it – she professes innocent simplicity in her motives and that her open letter was just opinion.

No. No it wasn’t. It was a cheap shot by someone hanging on to the ass-end of their fifteen minutes who has plans to release a memoir. The clincher? Society has handed her the Soap Box she was so angling for and now, apparently, even her opinion on Oscar having a new girlfriend is deemed worthy of the forum?! Who are you Jani Allen, when it comes to adding value to a case that has our nation in a catatonic state? You were the other woman to a man our history is embarrassed to include.

May you have an opinion about Oscar Pistorious? Yes. Is the link between that opinion and your experience with Eugene Terre’blanche tenuous, at best? Yup. Is this a PR stunt to drum up rent-a-crowd interest before your book “Just Jani” (…sigh…) is released? It most definitely is. You could have saved us all the hassle and added a badly lit, homemade sex tape of you and who-cares-who to the carte du jour available already.

If that’s how the righteous, hardworking nobility like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian had to sweat it out to get their genius got, who are you Just Jani to think you can fast track your way to a best seller? I’m not buying it.

And I’m definitely not buying it.

1987 was a lifetime ago. Reinvent yourself Jani which means boldly letting go of that most admired person in South Africa title. Spoiler alert: you’re not it.

I’d think that, with all the stamps in your passport and the lessons that life should have taught you, you’d have gone about this with a lot more wisdom and finesse than you did.

Move along. Nothing more to see here.

 

© Dylan Balkind

 

Concept is dead

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Never mind potholes, rampant crime or corruption, what we really need to expend our energy on is the fact that more and more mediocre pedestrians are being allowed to stumble into roles they have absolutely no clue about. So the scheduling clerk for a bicycle hire shop can become the marketing person for the brand you thought you’d die to work on. And die you will. Bit by bit and a little more each day.
4886172-in-loving-memory-of-words-chiselled-into-a-wooden-bench
Let me introduce you to Sally. Sally loved to colour during her early school days and was ever so good at staying inside the lines. She wasn’t sure what to do after high school so she worked in her father’s corner shop weighing butternut and manning the till. Then her uncle poached her to help run the front office of his car repair shop and in just a few mediocre minutes, she was bored of that too. With her eclectic mix of ‘FMCG and retail expertise’ coupled with being the ‘brand custodian’ for her uncle’s shop, Sally found herself mincing in to the first of many corporates in no time at all.

She hopscotched through half a dozen roles, careful not to stay anywhere long enough to ever actually learn anything of substance, and then – with a stroke of right-place-right-time-luck, and enough bullshit to baffle some very distracted brains – she secured herself the role of making some medium-weight marketing decisions on a brand doing itself proud.

There wasn’t an agency presentation or creative review where the words I don’t get it didn’t waft from her pouting, lip-glossed lips. Imagine how brilliant this imaginative doyenne was for the conceptual prowess of the creatives whose paths she crossed… No challenge was too big as this fierce game changer would design by numbers and rewrite copy at the drop of a hat – no questions asked… So die they did. More and more each day.

Mindless ads

Sure, “mindless ads” have their place. I once bought a fat busting apparatus from one of those if-you-dial-now-but-wait-there’s-more places. With a series of battery operated contractions, it promised to work all the unnecessary lard away from my stomach. It did. I lost so much weight I was kidnapped by a helium balloon at the Rand Easter Show.

People have brains and an imagination and despite popular belief (albeit brand specific), aren’t completely against having to think. Simple doesn’t mean you got smarter. But it may mean Sally gave you a budget of R2.50 with the disproportionate insistence that you address every shopper and consumer group out there. So you did… but at what cost?

The over simplification era

We’re living in an era of over simplification. Brands have a wider cross-section of people to talk to while clients shamelessly play agencies against one another for the work. This reduces the creative mettle by people who then have to spend more time tap dancing through ludicrous demands than being conceptually brilliant… And somewhere between the brief and the output, someone convinces everyone to put all their eggs on the semantics of the big idea and none on the magic of the journey that takes you there. Rest in peace, concept.

As much as agency creatives need to learn about strategy and the tangible differences of our audiences, so marketing professionals should be required (and driven) to have a semblance of creative vision. This way, the creative interpretation of a brief can be viewed at any point in its evolution; to be understood in the context of what informed it.

The movement away from waffling is not what I’m on about. I’m on about the unnecessary over simplification for audiences that aren’t simple. We get told so often to be sure the box is far away from our thinking yet, time and time again, we end up back inside it anyway.

Makes you wonder what our Sally would say to these three examples:

Okay… so concept isn’t completely dead, but it’s definitely looking pale. Something needs to be done soon or our dear friend should get its affairs in order and tie up any loose ends.

Let’s not forget the thinking man’s story… It is the magical vortex of the interpretation of creativity where talkability comes to life.

How’s your Sally?

© Dylan Balkind

Who moved my lobster thermidor?

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“One day, if you play your cards right (or perhaps wrong) you might be a creative director. It is the most thankless, trying and difficult task you’ll ever undertake in your creative career.” – Sir John Hegarty.

Sir-John-Hegarty-1024x1024Experts are kept very busy theorising on Generation X and Y – and no doubt the (sometimes) Zealots that have to coordinate us all. It’s this mish-mash of leadership styles that are really worth the marvel. I was fortunate enough to attend the Heavy Chef event with Michael Jordaan (Wednesday, 22 August) and listened as he welcomed us into his mind for almost an hour. A few basic sums will deduce that the man is no Generation-Y, but has an invested understanding into what makes them tick. And why shouldn’t he? It is the very driving force of the organisation he helms. He is a passionate advocate of the collective spirit of good ideas and their prowess for the benefit of companies, individuals and the world we live in.

Jordaan says corporates still see change as antibodies and that if yours has a culture where the people at the top don’t recognise how little they know, you’ll have no hope of inspiring innovation. Innovation doesn’t live within an autocratic culture. Still, it wouldn’t be fair to blame business owners and managers alone about everything wrong in the organisation. Recognition is defined by how you approach what you do everyday – all up and down the ‘chain of command’. And no matter how easygoing you think you are, we are all averse to change – just ask the IT guy to trade his metal for Madonna and watch him squirm.

The difference between nagging and power

I know I am not alone when I admit I’ve spent several hours (maybe more) hammering my gavel about recognition and engraved statues. It’s part of my immature charm and what makes me such a champ to have around – that, my knack for brutal honesty on what you’re wearing and perhaps just one or two other redeeming qualities. But now consider the men and women who have to manage dozens of different personalities like this, under one roof.

Horrible-Bosses-Film-Poster-Jason-Bateman-Kevin-SpaceyIn my working life (*rubs chin as eyes glaze over of memories past*), I have been told: We don’t do increases or bonuses, you can leave if you want to and will easily be replaced; and I’ve been told not to overestimate my value or believe that I am more than I am. But I’ve also been rewarded for my hard work and my spirit, and I’ve been offered jobs on numerous occasions while still in one. I’ve had some leaders leave me wondering what Darwin Award candidate put them in charge and others who I consider an absolute privilege to have known and learned from. Regardless of my reasons for moving on, it is these I am still in touch with today. You decide whether you’re going to be a good part of the process.

Quality versus quantity

I’ve said this before and will say it again: good copywriters are a dying breed. I can say this because I have faced the challenge of adding new ones to teams, and although I can’t speak for other professions, from what I hear things aren’t always sunny for other roles either. There’s this constant pressure to grab the best of the crop because there are so few of them and so many of the average kind. In a world where Kim Kardashian is the benchmark for success, it is this vapid self-belief that trumps drive in the person who wants it all for nothing. Where’s the innovation in that?

It’s far too easy to take a job, start the job, start looking for another job and all the while deliver some tepid version of what you were hired to do. I once had a client (senior brand manager) ask me where the storyboard for her radio script was. Mmm… yes… you can’t tell me she wakes up everyday, flings herself out of bed and yells to the Universe: “Today I am going to be the best me I can be.” Dealing with quality like this is what Hegarty must mean to be them trying and difficult tasks. And let me tell you something for free, that pretty petal will (somehow) own her own something-or-other one day and will be the person who says to her young assets: “We don’t do increases or bonuses. You can leave if you don’t like it and will easily be replaced.”1 Like Michael Jordaan taught, no one is smarter than everyone, so if you want to be a creative director, best you direct yourself far away from people and places like that.

Be it cheese, lamb or lobster thermidor, it’s going to move, you’re going to have to chase it and if along the way, you have any hope of actually eating any, you have to exert a little patience. Don’t take any advice from me on this one because, as a weapon of mass consumption, I want everything immediately – if not sooner. You can tell how well this has worked for me because I have my own show on Oprah’s network that’s about to take the world by storm. But before that kicks off, I am in full support of each-one-teach-one and think that we should be doing more for advertising and marketing our advertising and marketing industry to kids who are proud to live in the galaxy of their daydreams; people who subscribe to Jordaan’s model of thinking differently and who will take risks and make mistakes. It will take a little sweat, passion and commitment, but so what? Who wants Kim Kardashian’s life anyway?

Job-Descriptions-Creative-Director

1 If you find that moved lobster thermidor, please slap her with it.

© Dylan Balkind

 

Would the real Copywriter please stand up?

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In a world of SEO (dead or not) and the immediacy of content-to-consumer needed, there seems to be more copy needed than Copywriters out there. Never fear, for an article titled How to Get High-Performance Sales Copy Without Hiring a Copywriter hit the blogosphere recently.

Information like this is priceless and will change the future for Laquisha, the envelope filling entrepreneur, Donathan’s Christmas present opening startup or aunty Martha who believes that her smoked haddock air freshener range is going to make a mint. It’s easy, you see? This white paper on our profession by Christina Gillick says that readers make good writers, so if you read a lot, you can do your own Copywriting.

Everyone’s a writer

I arrived at the New Zealand Chiefs Super 15 practice. They asked what I was doing there before I explained that I’d watched a few games on the telly, was a fan of the scrum and always fancied being the guy they throw in the air in the lineout. Naturally, they showed me to my locker right away, kitted me out with my costume and we won the tournament. Hoorah! Anyone can do it, right?

Not really. So would you sit down at the latest iMac complete with state-of-the-art spectroradiometers and design your own corporate identity? Quickly go and read a lot so that you could write you own objective-driven copy or sew yourself a tuxedo for that promotion-to-CEO gala dinner? You could certainly try – everyone loves a guy with a sense of humour.

I can count on my hands the amount of times I have read something and said “Holy shitballs Mom! I wish I’d written that!” – yet it would take you more than a day to count all the people in our industry who are calling themselves writers. Then try vetting them… that should blow your hair back.

I Googled one Christina Gillick and found a lovely picture of her lying under the tree with her laptop, working – obviously. It was titled: “Christina Gillick enjoying the writer’s life at her quiet country home in Texas.” They must do things differently in Texas because, let’s be honest, writing is anything but quiet-time. It’s as deadline-driven as any job and usually involves at least nine other voices in your own head before the first word has hit the page. But I’m down when it comes to helpful tips, so anytime I have to produce any High-Performance Sales Copy, I’m heading for a tree in Texas.

Supply and demand

Bad-Copywriting2Fact is, more and more people are looking for (competent) content generators. However – and whether it comes down to a budget or the urgency pandemic – the entry barrier at many agencies into these roles is not exactly up there with the bar exam. And if you believe that these agency roles are no science, then you may be part of the problem – there’s no avoiding the fact that writing decent, engaging copy is not for everyone.

Someone who kinda sorta maybe enjoyed English in High School isn’t necessarily the right talent for this work. What should be important to agency owners and clients alike is not necessarily finding someone with a Masters in English, but someone who has a natural talent mixed with an undeniable passion for their craft and a body of work that demonstrates such. There’s your candidate.

 

Has Copywriting lost its heart? 

Not entirely. But very often, the diluted skill-set in a room that determines the direction of a brand forgets the importance of stories. We all need stories that prompt us to feel something, and be inspired or motivated by. Whether these are seen on TV, heard on Radio, watched in a taxi or at the rank, interpreted across a series of billboards and reinforced with what we engaged with online once we got to the office, seen in a double page spread, advertorial, blog or TTL campaign – people need something to latch on to. What good is content that popped up first on your search but did absolutely nothing for you after that? And to tell stories by mastering his craft, a writer needs to be able to see something different about the world around him; to understand that the resonant power of writing is in the magic of how 26 letters are arranged together and that there is nothing coincidental about this.

There really are no sneaky tricks, nor are there quick fixes. If you want copy that moves and motivates while delivering on the brief, find a talented, passionate writer that loves to write. That’s all there is to it. Failing that, you could be master of all (none) and use Google to teach you how to do it all yourself. While you’re at it, you can learn how to remove warts, how to design a poster, how to be a good wife, how to become a vampire, how to strategic plan and how to find the best tree to lie under when needing to produce High-Performance Sales Copy.

The list is long, how much time do you have?

Copy1

© Dylan Balkind

Who do you think you are?

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What’s your take on some of the fancy-pants titles doing the rounds on the circuit currently? Happiness Advocate. Social Media Trailblazer. Head Cheese. Digital Dynamo. Copy Cruncher. I can’t decide. I’ve been called a pain in the arse but hey, that’s not on my email signature or the cards in my wallet. Obviously, as a complete stick in the mud and advocate of all things old-school conservative, I find veering from the norm in any shape or form completely ludicrous. That aside – if I were to challenge myself to stretch a little – I’d still have to question the merit of some of these new offerings.

Mad Men (Season 5)Wacom Wunderkind? PowerPoint Prodigy? The list is long. But listen pal, if you’re calling yourself a PowerPoint Prodigy, you need to sit down and face the front. There’s no need for that kind of ostentatious behaviour in a creative industry like ours. These new clever descriptors to describe your business prowess have birthed a tricky trend.

Tricky because not all trends are supposed to stick. Look at Mara Louw on Idols.

In fact, look at Idols.

Your email signature that lists you as the organisation’s Dynamic Paradigm Facilitator is very exciting – to you and maybe one other daffodil on the planet (your Gran). Then you take it to the next level and hit the town talking about it to anyone who will listen. Creepy. It smacks of trying too hard to be cool and we all know what happens when you do that. Well not me, obviously, but most people.

Not convinced?

These are some very real and active titles in the mix right now.

  • “Erection Engineer.” Mm… I plead the fifth.
  • “Mighty Eagle.” Penned for the creator of Angry Birds. *cough*
  • “Swiss Army Knife.” This is a Web Developer. I’m lost. 
  • “Social Media Rockstar.” Because if you believe this to be rocket science, the title matters.
  • “IT Pro Evangelist.” Because it takes a lot of skilled preaching to advise people to reboot.
  • “Director of Intrusion Detection.” If you can guarantee NO rain spiders, sure – have the title.
  • “Kingpin of Financial Trading & …” Yawn… I could do with a manni…

It’s all about context

obn br 2Some titles and name badges are best kept for agency drinks on a Friday. Internal company relations are such a powerful forum for team morale and a great place to boost that wunderkind who genuinely doesn’t expect that he is a wunderkind. It doesn’t mean you have to change his job title, redesign his brand within yours and reprint his business cards (if you’re still doing that). It means that you have a fantastic opportunity to create an internal culture that is unique to those who eat, sleep and breathe the organisation – internally. It doesn’t have to match how you project yourself to your clients based on the services you’re selling. It also tells your team that you know them and that you’ve seen and heard the parts of their personalities that make them unique.

Pass begin. Forget the R200.

Here’s the thing: if you start convincing your impressionable team that these swank new titles are cool, they will start putting them on their CVs. And to move on with something like Erection Engineer is like having a wine-fuelled brainwave at 2am and expecting the ‘artful’ scamp you drew to wow your audience come presentation time. So I’ve heard.

Think about that CV landing on top-shop hot-shot’s desk with the title that got you so excited you actually wet yourself. He/she won’t agree. Promise. It’s like Romy & Michelle’s ‘…we invented post-its…’. It’s awkward and it’s creepy – and so is your dodgy job title.

Director of first impressions

Ergo, don’t take yourself too seriously. There must be a way to keep the spirit light while you keep people thinking but while being clear about the difference between what’s smart versus what’s simply stupid. Unlike one tepid who took all this very seriously and complained to the ASA about Johannesburg calling itself a World Class African City. It wasn’t me. So don’t get me wrong: I do believe in the value of titles. They are important for defining goals, accomplishments and a structure within the organization – even if yours professes to embrace a flat one. If for nothing other than for process-driven deliverables, they certainly have their place. Still, it doesn’t have to be brain science, but if you insist on frolicking with the flowery options of (en)titlement, changing your title as often as your mood swings is easy. Simply log onto bullshitjob.com/title and have a ball.

Dylan Balkind | Director of Chaos

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PS: What do you think of these new titles? Smart? Or stupid?
© Dylan Balkind

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies

Attraction. An innate quality that inspires what moves and motivates both men and women. It is why we drive what we drive, wear what we wear and smell the way we choose to smell. And whether you aim to drop jaws or find yourself having to remember where yours is, the appeal of the preferred sex is responsible for most of the decisions you make. Seriously.

Playboy Deodorant’s reinvented brand launches this week with a new look, a new vibe and a lot more appeal. A lead TV Commercial flights later this week and I’m giving you the first look.

And because attraction doesn’t work if it isn’t edgy, there are two viral executions that explain just what we mean when we talk about The Power of Attraction – and what it means if you just don’t have it.

Don’t axe your chances with the ladies.

Use Playboy Deodorant.

The Power of Attraction.

History 101

If it’s not on Facebook, you can’t expect kids to know about it. So when it comes to lessons of Marie Antoinette, Bruce Lee, Napoleon, Darth Vader, Jesus and even Michael Jackson, there’s no doubt that generation-now needs arresting ways to get it into their heads.

Enter Agency H-57, Milan, with these entertaining summaries of those historical figures. They may not help you pass your exams, but grasp the gist of it and it will be easier to fill in the blanks.






Creativity is on

Frank Capra said that a hunch is your creativity trying to tell you something. More often than not, doubt outweighs confidence and we go with neither. I’m no trained psychologist but I can tell you that we do this time and time again because of our own preconceived notions on how creativity should be allowed to be… well… creative.

Using your creativity is not defined by the agency you get to work at or the type of accounts the executives can score. It’s how you approach the message you are tasked to communicate. It’s about finding what connects you to the product or brand, and then being able to successfully sell that idea to all the others in the agency-client food chain.

Those allegedly ‘cool’ clients are few and far between. And even then, the creatives that get to work on those brands will probably tell you different. There are far more clients in the middle arena supplying everyday goods to a range of income-earners, personalities and gender types. Coming up with a solution for a client’s product that doesn’t hand funky to you on a silver platter makes you better at your job than the guy in the corner office with an expense account.

Case in point: Phonak – one of the world’s leaders in hearing technology. Cooler (and smaller) than a hearing aid, this significantly advanced instrument senses and selectively suppresses multiple noise sources in 20 separate channels. So no matter the setting, you can keep up without missing the goss or the boss’s snide remarks. But, on a scale of one-to-Coca-Cola for creativity? Probably a two or three… As exciting as a brochure for garden sheers, isn’t it?

It isn’t. Not when you take this work for Phonak by Wunderman in Zurich, Switzerland as an example. You are looking at interpretations of what their brainstorm produced as tangible experiences to our ears that shouldn’t be missed – and what they would look like if you dressed them up and allowed them to dance. A trickle of water, the whoosh of fireworks, the laughter of a child, the rustle of paper, the swish of fabric and the twitter of birds. Hear it. Even in the most challenging of listening environments.





We all fall far too easily into the imagine-if headspace; imagine-if I worked on BMW, or imagine-if I had to write website content for the Plaza Hotel in New York City. I’d have to stay there first – naturally. Then… my life would be complete and I would be happy for forever. Try again. The BMW specs you would get closest to would be on a PDF document sent from Germany and the somewhat luckier person tasked with handling the Plaza’s website revamp would send you endless, uncoordinated attachments about the hotel, a sitemap and follow that up with an email five minutes later asking: “Are you done yet?”

This work for Phonak isn’t the only proof that life is on. It is. And if you want to work in this industry, so should your creativity be.

© Dylan Balkind

Credits: Advertising Agency: Wunderman, Zurich, Switzerland; Copywriters: Samuel Textor, Florian Tillmann; Art Directors: Michael Gallmann, Silke Heinzelmann; Photographer: Ted Sabarese; Graphic Designers: Nora Angstmann, Christoph Krummenacher; Chief Creative Officer: Markus Gut; Executive Creative Director: Roger Rüegger; Consultants: Renato Di Rubbo, Rahel Güttler, Sonja Wyss; Strategy: Benedikt Bitzi; Costumes: Ami Goodheart.

Beyond the noise of the media

This work by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, UAE is most appropriate globally, though the irony and timing is surely not lost on us South Africans considering how our Government pledged on the Protection of State Information Bill on 22 November, 2011.

Censorship tells the wrong story – no matter which way you look at it. And now while discussions are deemed necessary beyond the noise of the media, it is exactly that that the 7 billion global citizens should be frightened of.


Nice concept. Great work.

Reporters Without Borders. Advertising Agency: Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, UAE; Executive Creative Director: Steve Hough
Creative Director: Ramzi Moutran; Art Directors: Leonardo Borges, Rafael Rizuto; Copywriter: Sascha Kuntze; Photographer: Atp.

The absence of war

Global conflict is something that armchair activists from all around the world are so disillusioned with. Yet that’s where they sit, complaining about the state of nations north and south while living in some derisory hope that one day they will wake up and all of these problems will have gone away. Just like that. Governments are like personalities though – you’re not going to like all of them all of the time. And if you’ve got a lot to say and nothing to do – try figuring out away to swap those two things around.

Inspiring then when a brand makes such a bold statement as seen in this work by agency Fabrica Italy for Benetton. Putting these bold, mesmerizing images in the spotlight to highlight the Unhate Foundation by drawing attention to the conflict between the Vatican and Al Azhar, North and South Korea, China and the USA, Germany and France, Venezuela and the USA, and Palestine and Isreal – makes you think about what could be possible with a little more kindness in the world.







The juxtaposition of such different imagery is not an entirely new idea but considering the context, I don’t think it’s a problem. A certain unstoppable talent once said that peace is much deeper than the absence of war. Imagine we could all just get along…

Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people. Living life in peace.

© Dylan Balkind

Cool for Coca Cola

I like it because it’s clever and doesn’t shove logos and branding down your throat. Sure, there may be a brand manager somewhere that has wet her panties because the cool side is blue – not red – but that’s how a temperature switch works in a car, see? And, not everything has to be retail porn that spoon-feeds the consumer. The font is unmistakeable and the shape of the bottle says it all. Coca Cola, enjoy.

Nice bold move.
© Dylan Balkind