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When The Hound from ‘Game of Thrones’ sold breakfast cereal

00scotrorthronehound.jpg
 
Long before Rory McCann became internationally known as scarred, brooding hardman “The Hound” Sandor Clegane in Game of Thrones, he was the pin-up poster boy for Scotland’s traditional breakfast cereal Scott’s Porage Oats.

“Porage Oats” is a brand of porridge that takes its name from the Scottish word “poray” and the French word “potage”—hence porage. While porridge has long been a Scottish dietary staple, often providing breakfast, lunch and dinner, Scott’s Porage Oats has been household favorite since the late 1800s. A welcome winter-warmer, Scott’s Porage Oats is instantly recognizable with its distinctive packaging of a Highland laddie in kilt and vest putting a shot.
 
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This iconic image was first added to the packaging in 1924, and it has been suggested that the figure was modeled on a soldier from the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, whose barracks were not far from Scott’s oat mills in Edinburgh. According to their website:

This figure of strength, health and vitality has changed only a little over the years as fashion conscious and enthusiastic Marketing Managers have lengthened and shortened his hair, and occasionally, very controversially, his kilt.

With his Sean Conneryesque good looks and powerful build, McCann was the ideal actor to bring this trademark figure to life. In 1999 he was cast as the ever-helpful Highland laddie in a series of adverts.
 

 
What Scotsmen wear under their kilts and more top shelf entertainment, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Lose all your money to an Ellen DeGeneres-themed slot machine


 
Ellen DeGeneres is so very likeable that nobody is going to mind at all that she stands to make a huge wad of moolah from the what can in many cases be presumed to be the problem gambling habits of thousands of lower-income Americans.

When your face is on a device that will be used to vacuum all the spare change out of patrons’ pockets, you can’t exactly hide the fact. Ellen announced the new machines last year on her site. Her website also has a “finder” so you can make your way to the slot machines more easily. There are currently four in the San Francisco area, five in the Los Angeles area, two in the Chicago area, and so on.

“From the first spin of the reels, the famously familiar Ellen theme song emanates from each game and players are transported to the set of their favorite TV hour,” says International Game Technology, which its website identifies as “the industry’s leading manufacturer of gaming machines.” Phil O’Shaughnessy, director of Global Corporate Communications for IGT, said the following:
 

If you think about the show, there are so many icons from the show, be it the red chair, the sunglasses, even the boxer shorts. They really lend themselves nicely to a video slot environment. The other thing is, Ellen’s all about laugh dance play, and we really embrace that concept, realizing that some of the elements, such as “Know or Go” or “Wheel of Riches,” would actually make excellent bonus rounds in a slot environment as well.

 

 
There are actually three Ellen-themed games, “Ellen’s Dance Party,” “Ellen’s Know or Go” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show 12 Days of Giveaways.”

“Casino gambling expert” Al Moe hilariously opines that “the huge Ellen photos are a bit creepy, as her eyes seem to follow you around the slot floor.” However, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday that the new machines are a hit, “drawing crowds”—a representative from some casino indicated that “it’s not unusual to see a crowd standing around the machines, laughing at what transpires while people play,” according to the Chronicle.
 

 
via SFist
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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¡Películas muy locos, ay caramba! The awesomely lurid art of Mexican B-movie lobby cards


 
I don’t think I’m too far out on a limb in assuming that John Cozzoli probably has a completely amazing house. Cozzoli collects 20th Century monster movie ephemera, and he’s the best kind of collector—the kind who shares. He curates the online archive Zombos’ Closet, a vast trove of endearingly cheap thrills, including movie and book reviews, and scans of his collections of cinema pressbooks, goofy paper-cutout Halloween decorations, and his amazing collection of Mexican lobby cards from B-grade films. If you have time to descend into a serious rabbit-hole of marvelous trash-culture nostalgia, visit that site just as soon as you possibly can and revel in its contents. And if that’s not enough for you, Collectors Weekly ran a terrific in-depth interview with Cozzoli in 2012. But for now, enjoy some samples from his lobby card collection. This barely even scratches the surface of what he’s got to offer on his site. I went mostly for lurid horror, but he’s got TONS of luchador movie art, as well.

Cozzoli:There’s a mistaken belief that having a big budget guarantees a good movie: It doesn’t. Many movies with modest budgets have outdone movies with bigger pockets to draw from. I love seeing how creative a director and set designer can be when faced with limited resources to work from. Horror movies were originally A-listers, drawing notable actors and production teams. Over time they switched to B and C status as the studios realized they could still make a profit on a cheap movie. Even the bad movies sometimes show a sparkle of wit or style or dramatic directness that makes them enjoyable to watch.

While many Mexican lobby cards promote American movies, they also made cards for Spanish-language movies, often illustrated with vampires, witches, and mummies; Japanese movies, like those made by Toho Studios; and other non-Spanish-language movies. Really, just about any movie that could be shown in a local theater, foreign or domestic, had cards done for it. If the lobby cards were done for American or other non-Spanish-language movies, the compositions usually derive to some degree from the movie’s poster campaign, so these cards tend to be more, let’s say, sedate, and tone down the sex and mayhem. Spanish-language lobby cards are usually more vibrant and suggestive.

Monster kid and movie historian Professor Kinema (Jim Knusch) was the person who turned me on to these wonderful examples of movie promotion for theaters. It was while perusing his collection of lobby cards and pressbooks that I fell in love with both. One reason I focus on Mexican lobby cards is because at $5 to $10 a pop, they’re a lot cheaper than American cards, making them easier to collect. Additionally, Mexican cards for native Spanish movies are usually more colorful and dynamic, and the Mexican cards come in larger sizes, which make them more interesting and displayable.


 

Devil Bat’s Daughter, 1946
 

She Demons, 1958
 

The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues, 1955
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Taco Bell’s weird-ass Orwell ripoff, complete with totalitarian clowns (yes, you read that right)


 
For their new ad campaign “Routine Republic,” Taco Bell has produced a mini-movie lasting three minutes that steals from ... well, you name it.  Just off the top of my head, it cribs from The Hunger Games, Insane Clown Posse, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm, Divergent, Apple’s “1984” ad campaign, and any number of David Fincher movies.

You’d have to be a semiotics Ph.D. to uncover all the layers of mendacious allusion and outright theft going on here. If nothing else, it’s a contender for the “Protesting Too Much” Hall of Fame. See, the idea is that if you are eating yummy McGriddles from McDonald’s or delectable Croissan’wiches from Burger King for breakfast, you’re a brainwashed drone who needs to be liberated by ... an A.M. Crunchwrap from Taco Bell (which admittedly also sounds yummy). Yes, you read that right: a delicious Croissan’wich and you’re a soulless drone; a delicious A.M. Crunchwrap and you’re a hipsterish free spirit with the ability to cavort in the streets of Prague, perhaps and eventually open an artisanal and/or steampunk moustache wax boutique (I have nothing against hipsters, I’m just reading into the ad). Never mind that the most powerful electron microscope on earth wouldn’t be able to detect any ideological difference between a McGriddle and an A.M. Crunchwrap.

Sticking with the Orwell tip, the commercial repurposes the “four legs good, two legs bad” formulation of Animal Farm into the totalitarian regime’s “circle = good, hexagon = bad.” I could hardly write that with a straight face, it’s so stupid. So that’s right, fealty to a round shape is bad but the one with the six equal sides is good. The ad’s Winston Smith finds his Julia as they wait on line for their Victory Gin, er, a round breakfast sandwich, lock eyes, and escape together to the land of Borat-ish un-corporate-ness. Just to make sure you don’t miss the point, the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” kicks in at the moment of maximum individualism. Because it takes an individual to appreciate the world’s most universally beloved punk band, right?
 

 
Oh yeah, the clowns, I almost forgot. All the authority figures in “Oceania” or whatever have clown makeup on. Because McDonald’s corporate logo is a guy in a clown suit and you know, fuck that guy.

One touch I did like is that the evil kingdom is surrounded by a moat that is actually a drab ball pit, which is mostly associated with McDonald’s Playland. Of course, trying to demonize a wonderful, fun ball pit for children has to rank down there with the worst things any advertiser has ever done, but you know, all’s fair in love and breakfast war.
 
The ad itself, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Separate Cinema’: Unsettling and gorgeous posters from the age of segregated movies
03.20.2015
11:16 am

Topics:
Advertising
Movies
Race

Tags:
posters
segregation


Birthright, 1939. A black Harvard graduate confronts racism.
 
The images on this page come from a remarkable book that came out late last year, Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art, by John Duke Kisch; it’s an incredibly wide-ranging look at the posters of “black cinema” writ large, a category that includes not just the “race films” shown here but also Birth of a Nation, earnest Hollywood dramas, The Jazz Singer, Blaxploitation flicks, South African movies addressing apartheid, breakdancing movies from the 1980s, and much more. The book’s credibility couldn’t be greater, insofar as Henry Louis Gates Jr. supplies the foreword and Spike Lee the afterword.

The posters depicted here tell a tale of true segregation, a “separate but equal” industry, so to speak, that served up gripping melodramas to its chosen audience just as surely as Warner Bros. did for white audiences. The undisputed master of this period is Oscar Micheaux, who directed a couple of these movies. By Kisch’s lights “the most successful early black independent film producer and director,” Micheaux was the son of a Kentucky slave before working as a railway porter and homesteader; around World War I he started directing and producing movies, of which he directed more than 40 before he was done. Kisch describes his basic formula as follows:
 

Micheaux’s features were usually far superior to those made by other independent black studios, largely because he took a familiar Hollywood genre and gave it a distinctive African-American slant. Committed to “racial uplift,” he cast black characters in non-stereotypical roles, as farmers, oil men, explorers, professors, Broadway producers, or Secret Service agents.  … He brought to the screen diverse social issues that faced black America, and also portrayed an ideal world in which blacks were affluent, educated, and cultured. In the 1930s, his films represented a radical departure from Hollywood’s portrayal of African Americans as jesters and servants.

 
In our age, posters like this are simultaneously dazzling and upsetting, almost as taboo as the interracial drama The Exile (below) was in its day. Underlying so much of the rhetoric surrounding the racial situation in America is the understanding that all those bad things belonged to and are limited to the past; the horrors of Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland in 2014 showed everyone that no such assumptions are safe—even as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave (it’s included in the book too) both harks back to these unsettling movies and signals the potential for lasting change. 
 

Bosambo, 1935. British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930’s rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles with gun-runners and slavers with the aid of a loyal native chief.
 

Black Gold, 1928. A town abandons its previous ways of life for the glamour and drama of the oil drilling trade.
 

The Flying Ace, 1926. A veteran World War I fighter pilot returns home a war hero and immediately regains his former job as a railroad company detective.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Sexist nightmares from real casting websites
03.13.2015
08:20 am

Topics:
Advertising
Movies
Sex
Television

Tags:
sexism
acting


 
Two things that almost any amount of media consumption should teach even the most obtuse viewer: (1) Most everyone on TV and in movies is crazy attractive, and (2) Men get the lion’s share of the good parts. Combine those with a soupçon of ageism and you have instantly created a toxic environment in which only sexy, young women are likely to be cast in any given role.

If TV shows and movies are going to end up that way, some or most of those tendencies have to be made explicit during the creation of the product, and casting is one of the primary places that happens. In our world you can’t just say out loud that a woman’s bra measurement matters more than her acting ability, .... but sometimes casting agents do it anyway!

A new Tumblr called Casting Call Woe has smartly decided to shine a spotlight on this odious side of the entertainment industry. Sometimes the sentences are amusing, like the way they try to put a positive spin on “We’re looking for a hot bimbo to play this professor,” but a couple of them are super creepy.
 

 

 

 
More of these groanworthy examples from real casting websites after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Replacements announce new box set with hilarious hand-corrected press release
03.06.2015
08:30 am

Topics:
Advertising
Music

Tags:
The Replacements


 
Oh, how I love this. Apart from writing for DM, I make my living as a copyeditor, so I couldn’t help but appreciate the Replacements’ smart, sassy way of announcing the release of an eight-disc box set—a copyedited press release complete with proofreading markup—they insist that the original was sent to them for review (so they kinda threw Rhino’s publicist under the bus, no?). Not too surprisingly, they found a couple glaring mistakes and more than a few lazy constructions. They also used the occasion to bust out a righteous version of the KISS logo.

Here it is—click on the image to see a larger version:
 

 
The box set is called The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990 and will be released on April 14 via Rhino. The box set will include the band’s seven-album discography, plus 1982’s Stink EP. You can pre-order the box set right now.

The Replacements will soon be hitting a bunch of locations in North America before traveling to Europe in late May. Here are their upcoming tour dates:
 

04-09 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre      
4/10: Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom      
4/13: San Francisco, CA - Masonic        
4/16: Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium      
4/19: Denver, CO - The Fillmore      
4/29: Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theatre      
4/30: Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theatre      
5/2: Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom  
5/3: Detroit, MI - The Fillmore      
5/5: Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE          
5/6: Columbus, OH - LC Pavilion              
5/8: Washington, DC - Echostage        
5/9: Philadelphia, PA - Festival Pier          
5/28: Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound  
5/30: Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso      
6/2: London, England - Roundhouse

 
Below, the video press kit for Pleased to Meet Me:
 

 
Thank you Annie Zaleski!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Leonard Nimoy and a space rock talk cutting-edge home theater, 1981
03.05.2015
09:53 am

Topics:
Advertising
Science/Tech

Tags:
Leonard Nimoy
laserdiscs


 
As most of the world, if not the galaxy knows, Leonard Nimoy passed away last Friday, and his many fans have since been celebrating a truly singular pop culture hero, a completely unmistakable actor who found his ideal role, with which he was forever identified—and who was also by all accounts a decent and much-loved human being. 

Nimoy’s death has resulted in some priceless artifacts making the rounds, such as this awesome pic of Nimoy and Jimi Hendrix hanging out. But for my money you can’t beat this piece of vintage video technology advertising from 1981, a nearly 11-minute clip of space age hucksterism for the new technology of laserdiscs (actually “Laser Video Discs”), with the most credible witness outer space has to offer, Mr. Spock himself. The item in question was the Magnavision VH-8000 laserdisc player, which Wikipedia has called “poorly designed and quite primitive consumer player.” Oh well.


 
Scored to the unmistakable disco strains of the Network Music Ensemble (”The New West” followed by the even more familiar “High Combustion”), the mustachio’d Nimoy’s famously clipped, minimal and yet humane delivery of his “dialogue” with a glowing space rock makes him one of the few actors on earth who could pull this off without making it seem farcical—and it’s still pretty funny as it is. 

It’s a real treat to watch Nimoy feign incredulity at the system’s inclusion of stereophonic sound or the existence of chapters to enable easier scrolling. He’s not just selling the system to us, he’s introducing viewers to a whole new chapter in American entertainment—the living room entertainment system era.


 
And also you get to hear a little bit of ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me” and “Gimme Gimme Gimme.” The video makes you want to spend an evening in your den watching The Electric Horseman, inspecting some Rembrandt masterpieces, or improving your understanding of football strategy, doesn’t it?
 

 
via the NotTimandEric subreddit/Thank you Mark Davis!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘There’s no medicine for regret’: Incredibly misogynist venereal disease posters from WWII
02.26.2015
08:39 am

Topics:
Advertising
Art
Sex

Tags:
propaganda
war
venereal disease


 
Oh, 1940s anti-VD posters, the only place where a girl’s cooch might be worse than Hitler!

During World War II, propaganda was deployed to spark the purchase of war bonds, to get you to STFU, and to spur the collection of scrap metal. Naturally, the sex lives of “our boys” weren’t exempt from such crusades. The U.S. government enlisted the help of artists, designers, and advertising professionals to create what amounts to the first mass campaign about sex; in so doing they created these eye-popping and surprisingly frank posters.

A researcher named Ryan Mungia has published an excellent collection of VD posters entitled Protect Yourself. Mungia came across the posters entirely by accident while researching a book on wartime Hawaii:
 

My objective was to find photographs, but I came across this file folder peeking out of an open cabinet that said “VD Posters” on it. Inside, I found a stash of 35mm slides of these posters, most of which ended up in the book. I guess you could say the subject chose me, since I didn’t set out to make a book on venereal disease, but became interested in the topic because of the graphic nature of the posters.

 
The images come from the National Archives and the National Library of Medicine. As Mungia points out, the images evoke memories of other beloved graphics: “The designs were really reminiscent of film noir or B-movie posters from the ’40s, those pulpy-style poster designs, and they also reminded me of the Works Progress Administration artwork, which I love.” Mungia also said of the posters: “Women are often portrayed in a negative light,” being associated with Hitler or Hirohito in one attention-getting poster.

Those slogans…. “Worst of the Three,” “A Bag of Trouble” ... methinks they protest too much!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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MAD magazine’s most vicious advertising parodies, circa 1960
02.20.2015
07:55 am

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Media
Pop Culture

Tags:
Mad Magazine


 
From 1957 to 2001, Mad magazine ran no outside ads—a highly noteworthy feat. Ideally, advertising income should finance 100% of a magazine’s operating costs, materials, payroll, profit, everything, leaving actual newsstand and subscription revenues as mere icing on the cake (that’s how alt weeklies can pull off free-of-charge distribution—well, that and criminally underpaying their art directors BUT I’M NOT BITTER). Mad‘s model was such a drastic inversion of the usual magazine industry business template that, off the top of my head, I can think of few other long-running rags to pull that off—Cooks Illustrated and Consumer Reports, both of which, if I recall correctly, survive on at least some institutional support, and the horrifying Reader’s Digest, which finally began taking ads in the ‘70s, probably realizing via the success of the era’s televangelists what a goldmine of suckers their elderly right-wing audience could be.

Mad‘s late founding publisher and giant among beautiful freaks William Gaines refused ads for so long because he felt it would compromise the publication’s satirical bent. In this amusing TV segment, Gaines spelled out his rejection of advertising bluntly and succinctly:

We don’t believe in merchandising. We make FUN of people who suck every last dime out of a product, and so we won’t do it.

It made sense—if for example Marlboro was paying the bills, writers might feel abashed to target Marlboro, and as it happens, Mad absolutely savaged the cigarette industry, even going so far, as you’ll see below, as to compare its death toll to Hitler’s. But so if all the revenue came from the readers alone, it was the readers alone who’d be served by the publication, and the writers and artists could freely satirize any entity they wanted to. And so they did—their advertising parodies are legendary, and a Flickr user by the handle of Jasperdo has amassed an excellent collection of them. Most of them are from the late ‘50s to mid-‘60s, coinciding with the advertising industry’s so-called “creative revolution,” so naturally they all appropriate the distinctive feel of that era.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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