Archives For March 2010

Every six weeks, we feature an artist’s work in our lobby, and have a reception for the artist. Here’s Heather Densen talking about her oil paintings. Coming up in April, Madison photographer Nick Berard.


Leo Sidran is a great cat. He’s played some great jazz drums all over the world, played a lot of guitar and has written a bunch of great pop music. Here he is on piano with the fabu Joy Dragland in Japan, doing a really great song from their Joy and the Boy duet. It’s always made me want to take a bath, then get dirty, then take another bath. For the last several years, Leo’s been in New York scoring music for ads.

Here’s his latest ad score, a really nice piece for Visa, promoting the 2010 World Cup. He recorded it with the Agape Children’s Choir in Waterfall, South Africa. Many of the children of this orphanage lost their parents to AIDS.

It’s an ad from famous sons. Leo’s dad is a really great dude, Ben Sidran. He played in Madison with Boz Skaggs and Steve Miller in the `60’s  (he wrote this tune but that’s not him on keys), has toured internationally as a jazz pianist, is a jazz thinkologist, and has most recently done a fantastic album, jazz versions of Bob Dylan tunes.

The ad’s director is Jake Scott, son of Ridley Scott who directed Alien, Blade Runner, and “1984“, one of the best TV ads ever.

Way to go Leo.

Interesting. For decades, the Miss Chiquita banana spokesdancer was Chiquita’s, and therefore all of Bananaworld’s main brand icon. But over time, she’s been losing her crown in favor of a sticker. Huh.

I remember when the California Milk Advisory Board (the Got Milk brand) first put “Got Milk?” stickers on bananas. It was a brilliant move. Especially considering it was such an inexpensive and minor tactic (even though the stickers are still put on by hand, and have been for over 40 yeas). It worked because that minor media vehicle – a sticker – was such a powerful brand icon.

So back in November, Chiquita seemed to have put Miss Chiquita on the compost pile, as it’s debuted a cool new series of stickers, and a communications campaign that promotes them.

Art director DJ Neff was assigned to “make bananas cool.” So he ate many bananas and worked with his creative partner to create some ideas. They created a bunch (ha-ha-ha, a bunch, oh hee-hee) of great stuff. They made 25 new banana stickers. The outtakes were great too. There are lots of online components as well, including their Facebook page which now has 15,000 fans.

Check out this great interview with Neff at He’s been at Deutsch and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. He’s tagged Philadelphia for an AIDS awareness campaign. He seems like a driven guy. Here’s his website.

Here’s another link to the designs.

And here is a fantastic collection with ka-zillions of Chiquita stickers from all over the world.

Way to go Chiquita. And way to go Neff. I don’t think you made bananas cool. I think you made them cooler.

Check out these Dutch children’s book covers from 1810 to 1950. Beautiful illustration and type. But also, strangely nightmarish. Here’s the motherlode of 650 book covers. Enjoy. Or be terrified.

Love this advice. Healthy stuff.

A new TV ad for Tropicana Canada from BBDO Canada packs a big punch.

On January 8th, a production crew brought the sun to Inuvik, a town in the Artic Circle, in wayyyyyyyyy northern Canada.

What a brilliant idea.

The Northern News Service wrote prior to the shoot, “For the commercial, the company will bring in a 15,000 pound helium balloon equipped with 40,000 to 70,000 watts of electricity all the way from France. After being released, it will hover above the park emitting a soft orange light which is meant to mimic the sun.”

The orb was kept floating, and intermittently lit, for two days.

This was a good thing. Inuvik, with its 9,000 residents, gets about 30 consecutive days of total darkness around that time of year. As I write this today, their high temp was -7F. The average temperature for the year is 14F. Um. That’s very cold. And very dark. Extended periods of very cold darkness must be a huge bummer.

The idea was brilliant because of what it brought to Inuvik.

Altruism and goodwill came to town, as the locals got paid, and will get paid residuals. Money from the crew was spent in town. Plus, a town of that size getting a fun jolt in the dead of winter is a great boost.

Optimism that the winter blahs are about to end came to town. Optimism in winter is a remarkably powerful human joy experienced from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole.

The experience brought many levels of surprise, one the most powerful human experiences. Look for the shot of the girl looking out the school window. I bet she never forgets that moment.

And hey, Tropicana is trying to sell some orange juice here. So yeah, altruism, optimism and surprise are blatantly on the wrapping paper of Tropicana’s orange juice gift to Inuvik.

My guess is that Minute Maid orange juice won’t sell very well up there for the next 20 years or so.

(The beautiful Pink Moon-ish music track is called The Great Escape from Patrick Watson.)

So we had a jam-packed conference room at KW2 last Wednesday night. About 55 Ad2 Madison folks came to see a presentation I created to help younger folks (aged 18 – 32) in the communications business. They said it was record attendance, which is why it got somewhat toasty in there.

They were great. They had some good questions and feedback.

I could have been their father. That was curious. But hell, I still feel young enough to be them, so I had the benefit of having two perspectives.

We had pizza. Local brew. Hippie cookies. And, I believe, a good time.

Here are the 12 tips for the Pre-Old to have more awesomeness:
01.  Pick mentors.
02.  Work your ass off.
03.  Ask questions. Lots.
04.  Don’t be an a-hole.
05.  Invent ideas and things. Lots.
06.  Be positive. Lots.
07.  Don’t be sloppy.
08.  Know confidence, abhor cockiness.
09.  Say please and thank you.
10.  Shut up `n play yer guitar.
11.  Help the other guy.
12.  Have fun.

Thanks Ad2. Hope you got some good out of it.