Category Archives: Visual Literacy

Airmen, Fly Girls and Shark teeth

noseart ran

Going beyond simple lettering and pictures, airplane nose art was a form of power, good luck, ownership and a blushing reminder of home for the crews.  

The practice of embellishing personalized insignias and decorations on military fighter aircraft was said to have originated with Italian and German pilots with the first recorded piece of nose art being a sea monster painted on the nose of an Italian flying boat in 1913. The idea must have taken on because around that time, the Swedish pioneering aviator, “the flying Baron” Carl Cederström purchased a Donnet-Lévêque sea-biplane for his flying school, Scandinavian Aviatik AB and similarly applied a fish-scaled motif to the craft. Cederström named it “Flygfisken” (Flying Fish).

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Audrey Hepburn advertises Galaxy chocolate bars, 20 years after her death.

Audrey Hepburn has come back to life to flog chocolate. She’s not the first posthumous saleswoman, reports Simon Usborne.

Simon Usborne of The Independent writes “A fictional, yellow celebrity perhaps best summed up the weird lot of the famous dead person. “You  celebrities need to realise that the public owns you for life,” Homer Simpson said. “And after you’re dead, you’ll all be in commercials dancing with vacuum cleaners.”

Simpson was referring to Fred Astaire (d.1987) whose controversial, computer-assisted number with a Dirt Devil in 1997 was authorised by his widow but led his daughter to say she was “saddened that after his wonderful career he was sold to the devil”.

Now Audrey Hepburn has become the latest face to be disinterred for promotional purposes, returning to the screen 20 years after her death to advertise a chocolate bar.

A minute-long spot for Galaxy entitled “Choose Silk Chauffeur”, revealed during ITV1’s Mr Selfridge, places a young Hepburn on a bus in traffic on the Amalfi Coast in the 1950s. A Galaxy bar tempts her from her handbag. She makes eyes with a hot man in an open-top, swiftly swapping vehicles before tucking in as they speed away.

This time, Hepburn’s sons, who control her estate, authorised the use of her image,  for which they will have received a fee. Sean Ferrer and Luca Dotti say their mother would be “proud” of her new role, adding in a press release that she “often spoke about her love of chocolate and how it lifted her spirit”.

Galaxy Chocolate, a Mars Chocolate brand, teamed up with ad agency AMV BBDO and production company Framestore, to recreate Hepburn in their newest  and impressive commercial. Set on Italy’s Amalfi Coast; circa 1950’s, we find the  beauty stuck in a bus and desirous of her chocolate. According to Framestore, the production process was arduous and included discovering a Hepburn double, and utilising VFX techniques to form a Computer-Generated Audrey.

Commented Flavia Barbat, Branding Magazine: “The icon’s eyes and smile are said to have been most difficult and, although the Framestore team hoped to utilize real eyes (for which the actress’s similarities were cast), they ended up rebuilding all of Hepburn’s face.”

As for the smile, CG VFX Supervisor, Simon French, states:

“It is amazing how unique and recognizable a person’s smile is. When you see it in this detail, it really needs to look perfect.”

Remarkable execution aside, I am wondering if the visual effects of the commercial will overshadow Galaxy’s branding purposes. Although the aesthetic success of the commercial will bring it all of the publicity it requires, I hope that viewers are capable of comprehending the interaction between the chocolate brand and Hepburn’s legacy. Hepburn is of a Golden Age, a time period that oozes sensuality and luxury, while chocolate consumption is trademarked with parallel descriptors. Beneath the fantastic spectacle of the commercial lies a powerful and well-developed partnership between the one-of-a-kind beauty and Galaxy’s promoted rich, rare taste. After all, the video concludes with the question: Why have cotton when you can have silk?”

For today’s Millenial generation, too young to know her work, seeing a posthumous gamine Hepburn might indeed renew a love of a screen icon of the past. But what’s next after chocolates? Washing detergents… vacuum cleaners?

A more morbid question is raised when Usborne asks, “As the words of the younger Astaire show, the image rights and posthumous  fortunes of the departed can lay legal and ethical minefields for brands, and raise the morbid question: who owns dead people?”

When there’s money to be made, may the dead never rest in peace.


Absolutely Absolut

 

The old maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t change it” holds true for Absolut vodka. Since 1980, the vodka manufacturer has been running essentially the same print advertising campaign where the ads in the campaign make sly reference to Absolut’s distinctive stubby neck and see-through label bottle with tongue-in-cheek variations to the two word tagline.

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Unchanged melody…

John Lewis ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ new TV commercial sets out to prove that what’s really important in life doesn’t change either.

Says the publicity blurb: “The advert is the story of two people falling in love. On the left side of the screen we see the girl’s side of the story. She lives in 1925, the year that John Lewis made its life long commitment to Never Knowingly Undersold. On the right side of the screen we see the boy’s side of the story. He lives in the present day.

By bringing their two worlds together as one, we show that falling in love, and embarking on a relationship, is a universal story which will keep being replayed throughout time. While many aspects of our lives today are very different to almost a century ago, the really important things haven’t changed at all.”

Awww… shucks, that’s so sweeet. But its a clever concept, one that broaches the parameters of time and space and love. Now for some strange reason, I have a sudden craving to see the movie “Back to the Future” again.

The soundtrack is a cover of the INXS song, Never Tear Us Apart, re-recorded by Paloma Faith.


Titanic, the Artifact Exhibition, Art&Science Museum, Singapore

 

A century after it sank after colliding with an iceberg, claiming more than 1,500 lives, the dramatic story of the Titanic – the world’s largest ship at that time  -  continues to fascinate people around the world. On April 15, 1912, the great ship sank and all that’s left is the wretched wreckage at the bottom of the Atlantic; a debris field stretching about a mile long with items from the period. But her dramatic story continues to fascinate people of all ages, throughout the years, and have been told in countless ways in books, movies and TV specials.

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A Moving Masterpiece: The Song Dynasty As Living Art,

Possibly the world's largest and longest digital Chinese scroll painting!

Last week I went to the largest art exhibition Singapore has ever seen. Spanning 10,000 sq m, the exhibition titled A Moving Masterpiece: The Song Dynasty As Living Art, makes it Singapore’s largest ever art show.

It has, as its centerpiece, the 128 m by 6.5m animated reproduction of Qing Ming Shang He Tu, which was the hit of the China Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo last year. The digital painting, which features moving and talking characters, has travelled to Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei, delighting over 10 million people. It makes its debut outside Greater China in Singapore.  The exhibition boasts educational and interactive elements, created especially to enhance the visitor’s experience.

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Dreams and Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing and Photography from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris at the National Museum of Singapore

A similar view of the site, 2008. Wikipedia

Titled Dreams and Reality: Masterpieces of Painting, Drawing and Photography from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, this mega-exhibition from the collection of the world renowned Musée d’Orsay, features over 140 Salon, Realists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists paintings, photographs and drawings from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. Slated to run at the National Museum of Singapore from October 26 2011 to February 5 2012, visitors will see works from the likes of the greatest Realist, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters: Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Edgar Degas, to name but a few.

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Ridley Scott’s Hovis ‘Bike’ advert 1973 (Britain’s favourite TV ad)


Hovis ad depicting the last 122 years of British history


YourSingapore logo – Virtual depiction of Singapore

After 7 years, Singapore Tourism Board has quietly dropped the much maligned ‘Uniquely Singapore’ slogan.

In its place is ‘YourSingapore’ –  a logo some found bland, non-controversial, with no meaning at all; others however delighted in its visual cliché animated version finding it engaging and literally, more dynamic. Looking past the typography, the morphing clump of imagery makes a contour of Singapore’s shape and as seen in the video above, is sublimely cool.

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Beautiful Communication

 


Double-take

 

DDB Worldwide, Singapore’s new double-take print ads of Breast Cancer Foundation of Singapore suggest that perhaps women should focus on health and have their breasts checked rather than obsess about their big butts, pimples and bad hair days. As breast cancer can strike at any age (just under 7% of all breast cancer cases occur in women under 40 years old.), women of every age should be aware of their personal risk factors for breast cancer.

Created at Republic Studios, illustrator Andy Yang Soo painted a model’s body with Kryolan body paint and Daler Rowney Expression angled brushes and sponges while photographer Allan Ng took the attention-grabbing photographs.

Commented illustrator Andy Yang: “Interesting project I was involved in recently. Painting on a LIVE MODEL, graphic style! Interesting paint that doesn’t dry but the challenge is to paint on contoured body skin. It’s tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s ok. Sketch and idea was confirmed on paper with the creative team. 3 day schedule locked down at Republic Studios because each piece took about half day to complete which includes touch ups on the body paint and photography. This job was really smooth sailing because the creative team really knew what they wanted. Special thanks to the team at DDB Singapore, Republic Studios and the model. This is one of those jobs that you need a team to pull off.”

Organization of Illustrators Council – Singapore Illustrators and Illustration

 


The BUG is back!



Singapore – Where Worlds Meet

This ‘Where Worlds Meet’ spot is produced by Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific and shot in high-definition across the modern landscape of Singapore. Tthe concept of the “shiny red dot” takes symbolic centre-stage in the lives of 10 iconic Singaporean personalities.

The spot precedes the 6-part series titled “Living Cities – Singapore”, centred around the themes of Liveability, Heritage, Sustainability, Responsibility, Creativity and Vibrancy. The series started airing mid-December 2010.


Sagmeister and the Making of “Here For Good”


Cai Guo Qiang: Head On

Head On - An exhibition by Cai Guo-Qiang at the National Museum of Singapore

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Standard Chartered Bank – Here for Good Campaign – Long Run 60 seconds


Standard Chartered Bank – Here for Good Campaign – Progress 60 seconds


Standard Chartered Bank ‘Here for Good’ TVC

Stefan Sagmeister TVC for Standard Chartered Bank.

Client: Standard Chartered Bank
Title: Footprint
Agency: TBWA\Singapore
Production Company: Passion Pictures Malaysia
Director: Stefan Sagmeister

Creative at Large: John Merrifield
Creative: KC Chong, Reggie Ocampo, Eddie Azadi, James Holman
Creative agency: TBWA\Singapore

Released in March 2010


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