Heroin Stamps

Elliott and Peter went to the White Box Gallery today to look at The Heroin Stamp Project, an exhibit of discarded heroin bags that reveal branding and marketing trends in the street-level drug trade. Upon these small packets are crudely stamped logos, often co-opted from the corporate ad sphere (Nike, Warner Bros., and Daily News were some of the borrowed logos), and others that feature original names and designs reflecting the dangerous allure of their contents (Candyman, Game Over, Last Temptation).

White Box has gone out of their way to avoid sensationalizing heroin use by pasting HIV and drug statistics all over their walls, which only slightly diminishes the show’s overall impact. They’ve made photographic enlargements of a few of the bags (which sell for aprox. $1800, another layer of co-opting and re-contextualizing), but the packets themselves are more intriguing without embellishment. As artifacts they provide a window to the dark side, a slight hint of what you might see if you traded in your will to live. No Pain, No Exit, Time Bomb, Game Over: unlike cigarette and alcohol advertising, these brands don’t hide the fact that they’re trafficking in pleasure and death. (In fact, the two may be inextricably linked, as in “la petite mort.”) Is the crowned skull “Forever King”?

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Tastemakers Love Cats

The formula was simple:  a picture of a cat + quirky misspelled caption = web millionz.

I’m not sure the success of the site I Can Haz Cheeseburger could have been anticipated. But there is no denying the charm of the user-submitted funny felines. NYT featured this cat empire and all its glorious spin-offs proving that we are not alone at marveling at their success. Much like good television, the web brains behind Cheeseburger Networks took what was working and created like-minded sites to follow up their funny cats. These sites attract those bored at work trapped in cubicles. Not surprisingly there are millions of them (us).

While most of their sites feature cute animals, they are also the creators of the hilarious Fail blog, which is a user-generated spin-off that captures, well, failures. Let’s just be honest, there is nothing funnier than failing.

Here’s to hoping that Cheeseburger Networks keeps doing just the opposite of that.

Nostalgic for New Clothes

Great article in the NYT about fashion harkening back to a “simpler time.” If marketers are trying to woo us with a faux ease, then our wallets graciously accept. We agree to be a bit more carefree, a bit more summer, sporting shoes we wore as children. We at Phearcreative personally love the resurgence of Keds, Sperry topsiders, and flirty swimsuits. We fully support any fashion that makes us feel like we are rich, on a boat, with a gimlet in hand and not a care in the world. We recognize your crafty ways at getting us to spend dollars and ultimately, we thank you for helping us combat the stress of everyday life.

The Collect presents Alberta Cross

Alberta Cross joins the list of impressive artists to share their time and their music at the Collect.

Band frontman Petter Ericson Stakee and keyboardist Alec Higgins had a great time at the Collect.  They played some standards together (Check out the full length versions of Song Free Blues and John Lennon Cover Steel and Glass on our youtube channel)

Enjoy as we catch up about tour, fashion, and World Cup soccer.

Brands Buy Street Cred When They Break New Artists

AdAge recently posted a story about how big brands aren’t spending big bucks on big names anymore, but rather scouting ‘up and coming’ talent, and breaking new artists. Smart move! The benefits that a brands get from breaking new artists are plentiful. For one, these ‘up and comers’ have often earned a loyal and passionate fan base through their own online efforts. The relationships created between artists and their fans are founded on credibility, passion, and attraction, and therefore are much deeper and more devoted relationships than those created from, say, a billboard or banner ad. Also, even with new artists, fan bases can often be in the hundreds of thousands, so if the brand helps create new and compelling content around that artist they are essentially purchasing a large and devoted following. Finally, if a brand picks up an artist before they blow up, they get to ride the crest of that wave with the artist, as is the case with Coca Cola and K’Naan. Everything the artist does to promote themselves has the secondary benefit of promoting the brand at the same time. phearcreative recently did a project with Yahoo! called Sound Decisions based on this very concept. Check out our work with one of our featured artists Ryan Leslie here