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Dirty Teletext pages from Germany
01.20.2015
12:25 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Science/Tech
Sex

Tags:
sex
Teletext


This lady has an “Apfelpo”—that is, a butt like an apple
 
These images require some clarification. Roughly a decade before the rise of the World Wide Web in 1995, citizens of Germany and Austria (I’m not sure where else) could access through their TV sets a digital mode of information dissemination known as Teletext, a system that had been developed in the U.K. during the 1970s. If you had the right kind of TV with the right kind of remote control—and they weren’t uncommon at all, loads of German speakers know about this—you could switch your TV into an interactive mode where you could dial up certain basic, updated information such as headlines, weather information, sports scores, traffic updates, and even flight departures and arrivals at airports.

Many channels (ZDF, 3sat, etc.) have their own Teletext systems, and by punching in “100” you could get the homepage; other 3-digit numbers would be displayed on the screen for other forms of information, and if you typed in one of those numbers, you would get a page dedicated to this or that story or perhaps a list of cities and temperatures or the like. What was charming about it was that it was pretty resolutely low-bit—the screens would often use a crude form of ASCII art for logos. Furthermore, the system scarcely seemed to change over time—during an era in which incredible resources were being thrown into improving and maximizing browser technologies, poky old Teletext just stayed the same year after year. You could look at a Teletext display from today, and it would look about the same as an equivalent display from 1990. The fact that Europe was so far ahead of the U.S. on such matters was not lost on me, I would sometimes tell Americans, prone to gushing about U.S. tech superiority, about it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in Austria, particularly in the pre-WWW years of 1992 to 1995, when I lived in Vienna full-time (although I didn’t own a TV set), so all of my associations with Teletext are uniformly from that country. Here’s a “normal” Teletext screen from ORF, the Austrian news organization, with headlines (Schlagzeilen) about military helicopters (101), terror arrests in France (127), Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann (115), a demonstration in Leipzig (133), something about the Swiss Franc (117), and Argentina (134).
 

 
Every one of those numbers will lead to a “story” that is parceled out in screens of no more than 12 or 15 lines at a time, and maybe 35 characters across. It’s a little like trying to read a newspaper on a clam phone—it’ll do in a pinch, but not really satisfying. Useful as Teletext may be—and it is useful—it’s also unremittingly boring. Once you find out about the immediate news you were seeking, there’s almost no way to spend more than about 10 minutes fiddling with Teletext on the TV.

I didn’t know until today that there exist XXX pages on Teletext, when some of them popped up on a blog I sometimes look at, text-mode, which is dedicated to ASCII art and anything that has a remote resemblance to pixelated art (certain kinds of weaved tapestries, for instance).

I found these Teletext pages funny, and I thought you might as well. If it’s not entirely obvious, these are ads for phone sex workers
 

I suspect that the numerical string “80085” does not require translation, but for those of you without a calculator, it’s “boobs.”
 

“AV-Spass” = “AV fun,” where “AV” means “Analverkehr” or nevermind…
 

“Dauergeile” means “constantly horny,” “stute” means “mare,” so it’s like you’re boning horny mares. Eesh.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘They tried to make us look like the Clash!’ Van Halen’s rejected first album cover
01.19.2015
03:08 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash
Van Halen


 
Here’s a wonderful story reported by Greg Renoff over at Ultimate Classic Rock. Today we think of Van Halen and the Clash as occupying very distinct places in the hard rock firmament. Influenced by Jamaican reggae, the Clash is all about anger, political resistance, and liberation, while super-noodly arena-rock heroes Van Halen boogies to a decidedly sexier party backbeat. But that wasn’t so clear to the executives trying to figure out how to position Eddie, David Lee and the gang. At the time of Van Halen’s self-titled first album in February 1978, one of the most visible bands in the world was the Clash, whose own self-titled first album had been shaking things up for almost a year. 

It wasn’t like Van Halen was unfamiliar with punk and its cousin, new wave—on the contrary. Punk had long since hit the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and Van Halen had been in lineups at the Whisky à Go Go nightclub with bands like the Mumps, the Dogs, and the Motels. In a meeting with Warner Bros., the first stab at the album cover was presented—and it was a disaster. Not only had the designers misunderstood the band’s name to be Vanhalen, but the downbeat photo—Michael Anthony looks like he’s just eaten a bad Quaalude or something—placed Alex Van Halen in the foreground while natural ham David Lee Roth is practically snoozing in the background.
 

 
It didn’t take long for manager Marshall Berle and the band to reject the cover. As Eddie would later tell Guitar World, “They tried to make us look like the Clash. We said, ‘Fuck this shit!’”

After absorbing Van Halen’s criticisms of the preliminary cover art, Warner Bros. hired photographer Elliot Gilbert to shoot the band onstage at the Whisky, which made for a completely different impression. Eddie is waving his famous Frankenstrat around like he’s Nigel Tufnel or somebody. Add Dave Bhang’s silver, winged VH logo and you had a glitzy, balls-out look that was perfect for the new cocks on the walk. Eddie later said that after the band saw the logo, they “made [Warner Bros.] put it on the album so that it would be clear that we had nothing to do with the punk movement. It was our way of saying ‘Hey we’re just a fucking rock and roll band, don’t try and slot us with the Sex Pistols thing just because it’s becoming popular.’”

Here’s Van Halen on the Clash’s turf, London, at the Hammersmith Odeon on June 1, 1978, playing one of the best tracks off the debut, “Little Dreamer”:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Elvis Costello’s TV commercial for ‘Get Happy!’
01.15.2015
08:24 am

Topics:
Advertising
Music
Television

Tags:
Elvis Costello


 
This is one of those “just press play” posts. This is a funny, slapdash TV commercial from 1980 in which Elvis Costello hawks his record Get Happy! in the style of a K-Tel shill. What more do you need to hear? Enjoy.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘American Psycho’ babble: E-mails from Patrick Bateman


 
In 2000, online marketing of Hollywood movie releases was in its infancy. Does anyone remember the Beast, the online alternate-reality puzzle that was created to promote the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubirck movie A.I.? That was in 2001. A year earlier, Lions Gate Films, tasked with distributing the Mary Harron’s movie American Psycho, created an online advertising campaign in which you could sign up to receive emails from the movie’s psychotic protagonist, Patrick Bateman. The emails were helpfully collected by and have been posted online by a man named Brian Kotek.

The book American Psycho has had a remarkable journey since its incredibly controversial release in 1991. I can’t think of another case in which a book was so shunned by the publishing community—Ellis had always been considered somewhat suspect, a flash in the pan, by New York publishing types, and when his third novel turned out to be a deadpan account of a psycopathic day trader, the New York publishing community, as one, decided they weren’t interested in plumbing the work for irony. The novel was acquired by Simon & Schuster, but the company dropped the project because of “aesthetic differences.” Vintage Books then purchased the rights to the novel and published the book. Essentially, the novel was unjustly treated as …, shall we say, a piece of disgusting pornography when in fact sensitive adults should have been perfectly able to differentiate between that kind of titillation and a more nuanced critique of American capitalism or of the violence of life in America. However IMO the negative perception of Ellis by people in the publishing world, overly eager to serve him his comeuppance, blocked that option.

When the movie was later adapted by Harron, the feminist-identifying (and British) director of I Shot Andy Warhol, that considerably helped resuscitate the book’s image and make it easier to see it as a deliciously nasty jape rather than a soulless exercise in sadism, which it never was in the first place. The movie has become something of a cult item, and Patrick Bateman (particularly for a passage in the book, repeated in the movie, relating his adoring attitude towards Huey Lewis) has become a favorite in memes, to the point that Weird Al Yankovic and Huey Lewis filmed a parody of the American Psycho scene for Funny or Die! in 2013.
 

This image comes from one of the Patrick Bateman emails.
 
The emails were not written by Ellis, but Ellis did approve them, so it’s not a stretch to consider the content of the emails as canon—at the time, they were touted as an “e-quel” to the novel (gag). In the emails we are transported from the heady world of the late 1980s to the year 2000, the present tense for the email recipients, and it turns out that Bateman did indeed marry Jean, his secretary. They have a son (Patrick Jr.) and he would like to get a divorce. Bateman’s attitude in the emails is more or less that of a truth-telling asshole, pretty much what you’d expect of a shallow, aggressive day trader who has literally gotten away with a handful of brutal murders. The emails are quite well written. We’re excerpted two of them here, but you can read ‘em all at this website.
 

Sun 3/26/00 4:45 PM
Subject: 10 Things I Hate

I Hate False Hope.

Don’t tell me everything will be fine when you know in advance that it won’t.

I Hate Bad Service.

You’re an Actor, fine. Go sleep with a Producer, and allow a trained professional to filet my Salmon.

I Hate people who refer to themselves in the third person.

It’s only acceptable if you’re already dead, as in the opening scene of “Sunset Boulevard.”

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

I believe I’ve already touched on that.

I Hate Bad Albee.

Don’t bring up your inner demons to share with the others at the table. We really don’t care to know if you’re afraid of Virginia Woolf. Stay home and freak out. Buy a Chainsaw.

I Hate The Work of Jean Michel Basquiat.

Let’s see what he could do sober.

I Hate Politicians Who Comb Over Their Bald Spots.

If you are going to lie about the state of your own head, how can anybody trust anything you have to say about anything important?

I Hate False Modesty.

Why bother?

I Hate Beggars.

They CAN be choosers, like in choose to get a job.

I Hate Not Being Understood.

Do I make myself clear?

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

All right, that’s 11.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman
bateman@AmPsycho2000.com

 
This next one is a personal favorite of mine because Bateman shows off his music criticism skills, which won him so much favor when he applied them to Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be Square.”
 

Tue 4/4/00 1:21 PM
Subject: The Hills Are Alive

In spite of Rap Artists’ protests to the contrary, music today, for the most part, has lost it’s soul. Actually, “Killed” is a better word, for the call to violence that is such an integral part of today’s music betrays what music was meant to be. From the first caveman who noticed the haunting chant of the wind over an entrance to his cave, all the way to the most contemporary interpretations of techno-pop by artists such as Tangerine Dream, music is meant to glorify life—to be a treat for the soul, an exclamation point, an expression of hope, a celebration. Not an outlet for hate.

The mood and needs of a Society are best expressed by the work of the Artists of the day, who speak for a people better than any politician or pundit.

Bob Dylan expressed the need for self-evaluation during Vietnam. Cole Porter spun fantasies as the world faced depression. Elvis liberated the youth of America born during a time of War. The Beatles were perhaps the world’s first cultural happening, bringing together the children of the world across the boundaries of geography and culture.

Madonna doesn’t just sing about freedom for women. She IS freedom for women. It is fascinating that after the turn of the Millennium, the world has found a renewed appreciation for artists such as Burt Bacharach and Santana, comfort food for the ears.

Meatloaf, if you will, both literally and figuratively.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman

 

Another image from the Patrick Bateman emails.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Sex sells, but can it litigate? Lawyer makes commercial with dirty-talking doll
01.06.2015
02:40 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing

Tags:
lawyers
sex doll


 
The Law Offices of Michael A. Fiumara (specializing in personal injury, criminal defense, juvenile law, family law and education law) want to make it perfectly clear that they do not discriminate against anyone—and that includes dirty-talking “novelty” dolls. In the utterly confusing commercial embedded below Mr. Fiumara has apparently decided that the best possible advertisement for his services would be the R-rated testimony of a “Miss Candy Wolinsky” (I’m guessing on the spelling of her name here, but I don’t anticipate her complaining to my editor) who wants the attorney to take off his clothes so she can “go down” on him.

Unfortunately, Candy appears to be unable to control her voracious sexual appetite in the presence of one of the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America. Fiumara, always the consummate professional, rejects her rather too forward advances and gives her a referral—what a gentleman!

This guy really is a real attorney, so if you’re in Sonoma County, Marin County or North Bay region of California, I think you should hire him. He even respects slatternly potty-mouthed dolls and treats them with courtesy. What more of an endorsement do you need?
 

 
Via Above the Law, h/t to Eric M. Fink

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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At long last, Paul Stanley’s ridiculous Folgers coffee commercial surfaces
12.21.2014
12:39 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Drugs
Food
Music

Tags:
KISS
Paul Stanley
coffee


 
In 2000 Paul Stanley taped a commercial for Folgers coffee that never made it to air—it’s been hotly sought after for video scavengers ever since. Audio of the commercial has been on YouTube since 2008, but not the video. Yesterday, a YouTube user named John DiMaggio uploaded it for all to see. It’s a bizarre commercial set in a big top circus tent that doesn’t play to Stanley’s delirious, voluble strengths—in other words, why is Paul Stanley in this commercial and not Paul Williams? No reason that I can see.

The same year that he shot the commercial, Stanley discussed the commercial in an interview: “Life is strange. I got a call asking if I was interested in singing a Folgers commercial. And, like many other things, I thought, ‘Why not?’ I wasn’t at all concerned with who thinks it is okay or not okay, cool, not cool, rock ‘n’ roll or not. I had a blast doing it, and, like I said, isn’t that what this is all about?”

The word (as related by John DiMaggio) is that “focus groups asked ‘who is the old, creepy guy?’ and the agency pulled it.” Seems plausible enough. The soft-focus business with the trapeze artists reminds me of nothing so much as a Cialis commercial.
 

 
via Ultimate Classic Rock/Thank you Annie Zaleski!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Anti-propaganda street posters tell the truth about the police

001totalpolicingstrike1.jpg
 
A series of posters questioning the London Metropolitan Police’s record on racism, violence and corruption have appeared on advertising hoardings across London. The billposters are the idea of STRIKE! Magazine, which produced them in response to the Metropolitan Police’s own promotional campaign—as the magazine explains:

The Metropolitan Police Force spend ridiculous sums of our money trying to convince us – and themselves – that they’re not violent, racist and corrupt. In 2012 it was £12.6m and in 2013 it was £9.3 – in two weeks alone last year they wasted nearly half a million pounds of public money on pointless poster campaigns. This is from the webpage promoting the local policing pilot scheme:

“Evidence tells us that giving people very local information about police action in their area may increase the confidence they have in police. These boroughs were chosen as places where confidence in policing is lower than average.”

It’s propaganda pure and simple: they want us to forget that they murdered Mark Duggan, an unarmed civilian, and caused the 2011 riots; they’d rather you didn’t talk about being 28 times more likely to be stopped and searched in London if you don’t have white skin; and if the heavily redacted Operation Tiberius report is anything to go by, they definitely don’t want you to know about the 42 corrupt senior Metropolitan Police officers caught literally letting criminals get away with murder. Their entire barrel is rotten, so they want to keep the lid tight shut.

STRIKE! Magazine is a bi-monthly anti-profit, advertisement free newspaper covering politics, philosophy, art, subversion and sedition. The magazine launched the campaign two months ago, but claim they do not know who is behind printing the posters and putting them in bus shelter advertising hoardings.

However, one designer from STRIKE! told Vice UK that he had seen about twenty posters since they first appeared on Saturday December 13th, and was “[e]normously pleased” with them. Photographs of the posters have been shared by many users on Twitter.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Ad of the day: Have a döner kebab with Hitler


 
I really love this commercial for a döner kebab joint somewhere in Germany—it would be nice if I knew which one! Perhaps the clientele they’re looking for knows where it is. Maybe it’s a chain?

The commercial follows the template of the recent Snickers campaign, which plays on the potentiality of low blood sugar to turn you into something like an cranky, ogre-ish version of your normal self—thus a nougat-and-nut candy bar between meals is the only thing that can restore you to your proper self. So a football coach needs a Snickers bar to stop being Robin Williams (RIP) and so forth.

Here some local purveyors of Turkish cuisine appropriate the ultimate symbol of evil, Adolf Hitler, to make the same point. You don’t need to know too much German to understand what’s happening, but I’ll supply some translations anyway—my German isn’t entirely up to the more slangy variants they use, but I’ll do my best. Adolf is riding behind the shotgun seat and being impatient, he says something about going to Stalingrad, in a possible reference to Bruno Ganz’s portrayal of Hitler from Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 movie Downfall that has since become the well-known “Hitler Reacts” viral sensation for the meltdown scene in which Hitler finally realizes that the war is lost.

So anyway, Hitler barks something about Stalingrad, and his buddies have had enough. The guy in the shotgun seat says, “Digga,* we agreed to your request, don’t you notice that?” Hitler slaps him lightly on the cheek with his glove, saying “Don’t you notice that?” Then his buddy in the back seat says, “Olli, what’s with you? Dig in to this döner sandwich, digga.” Adolf says, skeptically, “Why?” Back seat buddy says, “Every time you get hungry, you turn into a real Führer.” Adolf says, “into a Führer?” and they all chime in, “Yeah, into a Führer,” with the driver adding, “It’s true.” Once the döner sandwich has been consumed, Adolf reverts back into his mustachioed self and (I think) lightly protests that it’s not better this way. The text on the bottom says simply, “You’re not you when you are hungry.”

One might be tempted to call this commercial offensive, and certainly it’s a little on the flippant side. But the Turks occupy a marginalized role in Germany, they’re the out-group. So it’s fun to see them (not that I know they’re Turkish, the food is certainly Turkish in origin) appropriating the ultimate symbol of German oppression for their own ends. Don’t be such a Hitler about it! Jeez.

 
via Schlecky Silberstein
 
* Note: Commenters have pointed out that my first rendering was not right. I had initially misheard this as the German word Neger (which is not the N-word, so don’t even, it means “Negro”), which I loosely translated as “nigga.” It’s actually the slang term digga, which loosely translates as “buddy.” My appreciation goes out to the commenters.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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PETA inflicts ‘indecent’ billboard-sized facial on unprepared town
12.09.2014
10:37 am

Topics:
Activism
Advertising
Animals
Sex

Tags:
PETA


 
The cheeky introduction of sex into other subject matter has long been a staple of advertising that seeks to use word of mouth and/or media reverb to make its impact. Everyone enjoys a good chuckle at a banana positioned to resemble a willie, for instance, and why not? It’s all a lot of fun, the banana lobby is happy, and everybody wins. However, sex in advertising can also be a bit of a tightrope walk, as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently learned.

Only one day after it was put up, PETA was ordered to take down an “indecent” billboard poster in Nottingham after a request from the Notts County Football Club. The poster, which was appealing to consumers to stop using dairy products, had been placed just outside the club’s playing arena.
 

 
The billboard read, “Some bodily fluids are bad for you” and a photo of a woman having experienced the, ahem, “aftermath of a sex act,” as one report delicately phrased it.

PETA has defended the billboard by calling it “cheeky,” but some pedestrians disagreed. As a local resident named Richard Brown said, “It’s clear what they are doing but I think it’s a bit naughty. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter and young people aren’t stupid, they can read and it’s not great that they can see things like this that are indecent.”

The billboard was the only one of its type in England;  PETA commented that it used the location because it was “suitable.” Damian Irvine, commercial director at Notts County, said: “Once the content of this advert was identified we informed advertising company Space Outdoors who agreed the content was not in keeping with our community and family-focused values.”

via Arbroath

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Are Tim and Eric running the Totino’s pizza Tumblr?


 
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the two geniuses behind Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and their latest venture Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, both of which have emerged from Adult Swim. It’s safe to say that Tim & Eric have developed one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today, rather as if the Wonder Showzen gang had gotten trapped inside a KMart clothing warehouse with full access to the best video effects the 1980s had to offer.

Their purposefully garish sense of awkwardness is so powerful that it’s spawned a delirious subreddit, r/NotTimAndEric, that’s dedicated to real-life examples of the actual world seeming to imitate Tim & Eric bits. That subreddit has 38,022 readers as of this writing, so it’s not like there is any shortage of that kind of thing. Point being: Tim & Eric are potent.

Tim & Eric made the news last week when their commercial for Totino’s Pizza Rolls (and assorted other Totino’s pizza products) hit the Internet, producing an expectedly awestruck reaction (that commercial is linked below). The clip, called “Pizza Freaks Unite,” is staggering enough, but what you might not know is that, in keeping with their new branding, Totino’s has a full-blown Tumblr in the Tim & Eric style. In the headline I asked if Tim & Eric are actually running the Tumblr, but there’s a journalistic truism that the answer to any question trumpeted by a media outlet is always “No,” because if the fact at issue could be proven, then that would be the headline—i.e. questions are for unproven speculation.

So I don’t necessarily think that Tim & Eric are running the Totino’s Tumblr. However, it is very enjoyable in a similar way to Tim & Eric’s TV work. Even if it’s not true, the Tumblr as well as the Totino’s PR strategy in general seem to indicate that this is a major mainstreaming moment for Tim & Eric’s aesthetic. Tim & Eric’s stuff may be brilliant, but it isn’t exactly The Big Bang Theory—indeed, it could fairly be said that their work might give some (older) portion of the audience a frontal-lobe headache. So it’s a pretty significant moment to see their worldview cross over. It isn’t every day that Andy Kaufman shows up for his first day of work at Taxi, after all. 
 

 

 

 
More Tim and Eric-flavored pizza stuff after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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