If imitation is the highest form of flattery, consider us deeply flattered. This fan-made recreation of our “Hill” spot for Twinings is super cute.
This Friday Eargoggles installment comes to us from the venerable Tony Barbieri in our NYC office. Enjoy.
A little while back, Usher decided to share one of his new tracks, “Climax,” while making an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Instantly, my ears were alive with the sweet melodies and carefully crafted hooks. I couldn’t help but sing along in falsetto (which to my ears sounded identical). I mentioned to my wife that I would like to hear the rest of the album.
Fast forward to last weekend. My wife had put together a collection of music and podcasts for our 9-hour drive to and from Ohio for a wedding. Unbeknownst to me, she had included the new Usher album. While cruising down highway 80 through Pennsylvania, she took control of the IPod© to switch to the next track. What happened next was magical.
Beyond the Hype
The lead-in track to Usher’s new album has a hype moment in the beginning. What better way to prepare the listener for what is to come then to begin by hyping up the journey they are about to take?
What a journey it turns out to be. The collection of songs Usher has put together here has something for everyone: Club beats, R&B, rock N’ roll, even a bit of indie rock. You can tell he has taken some risks with this album, and to me has succeeded.
One of Usher’s producer’s on this album, Rico Love, said: “What he wanted to do on Looking 4 Myself was explore himself musically. He stepped outside of what was safe and normal. He wanted to make an album that expressed where he was going sonically and not just where he’s been for the past 12 to 15 years. He’s growing, developing, moving, shaking, and being something that’s new, cultural, and that’s affecting people sonically. That’s kind of forcing the people to grow and elevate.”
When interviewed by The Guardian, Usher described his album as a “consistent” and “eclectic” project. He considered his collaboration with producer Diplo was “a risk” and followed by saying:
But hey man, if you take no risk, you stand to gain nothing in life. Dare to be different. I don’t look like you, I don’t walk like you, I don’t dance like you, I don’t move like you or talk like you. That doesn’t make me odd, that makes me who I am.
Whilst talking to MTV, Usher stated that Looking 4 Myself is “the most artistic of an album” he has ever had in history. When questioned by Reuters during an interview regarding the latter quote, and how this project was different, Usher explained that he felt he was near a ‘rebirth’ and that prior to Looking 4 Myself, he felt restricted and conformed to a specific standard. He said to himself, “I gotta go with what I feel and hopefully people will follow me”.
I will follow you Usher. The range of emotion he shares in this album really resonates with me on another level. If this is the path of evolution he plans on taking, soon I don’t think we’ll be able to recognize him as homo sapien.
If I can extrapolate the evolutionary pattern he will follow it will most likely be similar to an Usher + Ridley Scott Alien life form that has perfected the art of creating sound. I don’t think the Engineers could have planned for this.
Prepare to be amazed. The video above comes from Hope Bagozzi, Director of Marketing for McDonald’s Canada. It’s a no-nonsense response to a cringe-worthy customer question: “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?”
The video isn’t amazing because of the process involved in shooting food for advertisements — although that process is pretty interesting. It’s amazing because, quite simply, it’s honest.
How vs Why
Granted, the video is more concerned with how food looks different than why it looks different. By revealing their process, McDonald’s is explaining in detail how each visual effect in a typical hamburger ad is achieved. From syringes full of catsup to Photoshopping an unattractive bit of cheese, we see a hamburger go from zero to hero.
To answer the question of why all of this is necessary would be to delve into human psychology and its relationship to advertising. Bagozzi does come close. In justifying the image retouching process, she explains that they’re “enhancing some color, taking out some of the little accidents that might happen in preparation, which obviously doesn’t show the product in its best possible light.”
In other words: We do things this way to make the product look as good as possible, which — and here’s the unstated part — hopefully makes you want you to buy the product. That’s why.
A Double Standard?
This same basic process is at work in ads for vacuums and sports cars. In fact, most of the time you see those products in ads these days, they’re 100% computer generated. People don’t seem to have a problem with that. (Although now that I’ve mentioned it, I’m sure folks will go rummaging for their pitchforks.)
There’s a certain suspension of disbelief at work when we view most product ads. It’s not reality. It’s Reality Plus. The same goes for film and music. It’s real stuff (mostly) that’s been put in its best possible light and retouched to look/sound as good as possible. (I just put advertising on the same cultural plane as film and music. Those who hadn’t grabbed their pitchforks already are probably grabbing them now.)
Food, however, seems to be exceptional. Maybe it’s because we ingest it through our mouths, but most people don’t like the idea of their burgers being Photoshopped. In actuality, their burgers aren’t being Photoshopped. An image taken in a studio of a burger, which they will never eat, is being Photoshopped. The actual burger they will eat will not, in all likelihood, be Photoshopped. That would be weird and, come to think of it, impossible.
Note: Psyop was not involved in any way in the production of the video above. We simply saw it and thought it was interesting.
While on a shoot in Miami, we recruited some new talent. This guy really knows the area. He has a tendency to flip out, but generally he goes with the flow.
We got two bits of great news during the AICP Show this past Tuesday. FedEx “Enchanted Forest” was Honored in the Animation category and Fage “Plain” was Honored in the Design category.
For those not familiar with the AICP Awards, it’s one of our industry’s highest achievements to be included in the AICP Show, which automatically enters the Honorees in the MoMA’s permanent collection. Psyop’s work has been honored over a dozen times, but that doesn’t reduce the sweetness of this recognition from our industry peers.
Thanks to the judges, curators and to our competitors for pushing us to be our best.
Watch the award-winning spots
Design: Fage “Plain”
Animation: FedEx “Enchanted Forest”
Titles by Blacklist+StudioAKA
We should also share the wonderfully minimalist AICP titles created by Blacklist and StudioAKA.