Sounds “phoney” to me.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2010 by Speider

Cell phone texting has become a “novel” idea.

One of the biggest novelists these days is a 15-year-old in Japan who wrote a book from her cell phone using her thumbs.

The new type of storytelling is called “keitai” — cell phone novels. Aimed squarely at those who can’t be parted from their mobiles, teens — mostly young women readers and writers — have turned the cell-phone story into the must-read phone book.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the way it works is writers keep to a cell-screen-friendly 1,000-character limit per page and upload from their phones to publishing websites, then get instant feedback on plot twists and helpful fixes on typos. With a million cell-phone books and 6 million users, fans are giving the new craze a ringing endorsement.

The Jane Austen of the text-u-scripts is a 15-year-old who goes by the handle “Bunny”. Her three-volume book “Wolf Boy x Natural Girl” got its start on cell screens but ended up in print. She has sold a whopping 110,000 books so far and raked in over $600,000 in sales. Not bad for a first-time author who hasn’t even taken her high-school entrance exams. The Harlequin-style romance that reads more like notes passed in class has embarrassed the author enough that she continues to go by her alias.

No offense, but you can see why when you read some typical lines: “Miku was in a pink one-piece dress, wearing white heels. She looks mature because her hair is lightly curled. She’s looking straight at me. It’s hard to keep my cool when she’s looking at me like that.”

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People’s favorite food…FREE!

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , on November 14, 2009 by Speider

One of my first jobs in an office taught me that the communal refrigerator isn’t a great test of the honors system. All during my first week, someone helped themselves to my lunch. It was a small office but a question of where my lunch had gone was only met by shrugs from coworkers. Marking the lunch bag with my name didn’t help. Using an old Underdog lunch box didn’t work. It wasn’t by mistake my lunch disappeared. The next week, when my lunch disappeared again, I announced we would all know the culprit in half an hour because I had loaded it with rat poison. A coworker jumped up and screamed and was rushed to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. My lunch was never stolen again because I was fired even though I hadn’t really poisoned my lunch.

There were two things I learned from that episode. Firstly, that the theft of lunch is not a felony, so being caught carries no punishment and, secondly, it’s pretty funny to watch someone who thinks they’ve been poisoned.

There are products to aid the sorry coworker who trusts his/her lunch will be safe from overeating office rats. The Atomic Bowl set, which we’ve spotlighted before, is cute but not enough of a threat to stop those with hunger pangs when it comes to having their second or third lunch.

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I’d like to think that a lunch that appears rotten and infested would deter people but let’s face it, we all have had coworkers who seem to prefer aged foods as long as it’s free. Also spotlighted before, the rotting food lunch bags, pre-printed with mold spots might keep out first level snack snitches but there are diners that serve food less fresh than these bags make your sandwich appear.

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Let’s face facts — there is only two things that will stop a thieving hungry coworker — poisoned…no, that doesn’t work. One is having your own mini fridge in your cubicle, but that is usually against company power regulations and fire laws. The other is your own lockdown cell for your felonious lunch.

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Whatever level of security you need, perpetualkid.com has them all. These products remind us of the evolution in security, forced by the de-evolution of society and the rules that protect our daily bodily fuel. The need and the solution. Another  great innovation! I’d like to think the rumored poisoned sandwich is the next level of innovation and I was just years ahead of my time.

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Happy Birthday…to us!

Posted in The Epitaph on November 1, 2009 by Speider

Our first year in business and we are so happy that things have gone so well. From our happy but odd staff to our satisfied clients and curious blog readers, we thank you for a great year and hope there will be many more!

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(These aren’t the cakes we had but they would have been too cool to eat – we enjoyed my niece’s Halloween cupcakes and leftover bags of candy not given to trick or treaters).

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THAT is a WHOPPER!

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , on October 26, 2009 by Speider

And Burger King figures out another way to stop the burger wars…and your heart with the leventeengybillion calories. The Windows 7 Burger, which had to be approved by some hopefully former employee of Microsoft has got to be more for visual effect because you should only eat one of these as you plummet from the highest building you can, savoring the fat level that might actually kill you before you hit the pavement. Either way, it’s a suicide burger.

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Maybe Microsoft just wants to decimate the foreign markets so Microsoft can take over the world? Too late!

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Food for thought

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by Speider

We’ve said it a million times (well, a few times on this blog) — check into everything you put out there! Packaging with slang that might not read just right in a foreign market, promotions that will go wrong and alienate customers and the ever popular, check your fulfillment capabilities before you attempt to distribute something you promise consumers.

With that said, here’s some more famous blunders that no one checked.

In recent news you may have heard about McDonald’s in Japan giving away 10,000 MP3 players, fully loaded with 10 free songs. Problem is, many of them were also loaded with a Trojan virus that captured user info and sent it to hackers the minute it was plugged into a computer, sending all personal information to those hackers. No one was “lovin’ it!”

Not to be outdone in bad taste, Burger King foolishly ran an ad for their new Texican Burger. “The taste of Texas and a little, spicy Mexican” – and they do mean little. The ad for the new product ran only briefly in Spain and the United Kingdom before the Mexican government demanded it be pulled. Seems they don’t like having their countrymen depicted as three-foot-tall wrestlers who wear the Mexican flag as a cape. Winner of the major “DUH!” award.

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The folks at Pepsi pooped out recently. Pepsi offered to give away 250 pairs of Yankee Stadium opening day tickets. But when the Pepsi reps showed up in Times Square, instead of the 250 pairs of the promised tickets, they showed up with just 100 sets and most were for a game in June. As one would expect, this basically led to a mob scene, with angry fans yelling “Pepsi sucks!” and pouring cans of soda out on the street. Sounds like fans were coked up!

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The Dominos keep falling one after another for Domino’s Pizza. After two moronic employees posted videos of themselves treating customer’s orders like they treated their own careers, causing massive expenditures for spin doctors to revive the brand, Domino’s offered free pizzas to anyone that types in the code “bailout.” Only problem is the promotion hadn’t actually been approved before the code got out and 11,000 free pies were given out. Company reps blamed the error on a computer glitch, or hackers. But Domino’s actually looked pretty good after this one for honoring the giveaway. One of the few companies that take it like a man…with extra cheese!

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Norwegian McDonald’s restaurants had the bright idea to name a burger after a place where millions of people were facing starvation. Reps said the McAfrika Sandwich (there’s trouble brewing there in the name alone) was based on an authentic African recipe (sure it was) but that didn’t stop many in Norway from accusing McDonald’s of extreme insensitivity. McDonald’s considered donating proceeds to famine relief, but ended up allowing relief agencies to place collection boxes in participating restaurants. Stay tuned for the McSwineflu Rib Sandwich!

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A recent online promotion from Carl’s Jr. (also known as Hardee’s in some states) for a free $2.75 “Famous Star” hamburger coupon went a little too viral. 276 winning contestants were texted a passcode and a 48-hour-only URL where they could download their coupon. And as the saying goes, they told two friends…who each told two friends…and so on…and so on. A day later, hundreds of websites were posting the URL and passcode, and the company had to shut down the promotion. Apparently viral isn’t always a good thing.

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It seems a simple process but promotions take research, planning and experts to back it up and tie it together. Here at The AFTERLIFE, we also consult on your ideas to take them further, or hold them back a bit. Our teams are experienced with major national campaigns and initiatives, so why throw away money on an idea that just may need a little tweaking…or major project management?

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Bag this garbage!

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by Speider

We love brilliant thought and the works by this artist, Joshua Allen Harris, is uber-brilliant! Form, function and art for the common man/woman. Inspiring!

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Products with real conviction!

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , , on September 21, 2009 by Speider

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Some Florida minimum-security inmates want to know: Can you handle the heat?

Hot sauce heat, that is — Jail House Fire Hot Sauce, cooked up by inmates at the Hillsborough County Jail and now offered for sale. The idea to make Jail House Fire Hot Sauce came from a Cuban former inmate who thought food in the big house was bland. Allen Boatman, the head of the jail’s horticulture program, remembers what his former trusty said: “We’re growing these peppers. Why don’t we use them?”

Peppers are grown as part of the jail’s horticulture program, which is voluntary and offered only to minimum-security trusties. The inmates learn about growing plants, ornamentals, trees, herbs and vegetables — including more than 1,200 varieties of peppers.

“I thought that was a great idea, so I started doing research on some of the recipes,” says Boatman. The research led to a variety of hot sauces that can be bought for $7 a bottle at the jail in Tampa, Florida, or online at www.jailhousefire.org.

There are three different sauces for sale:

“No Escape” — This is the hottest of the hot, with a warning on the hot sauce’s Web site: “It’s not for the faint of stomach.”

“Smoke” — This is the sauce that inmate Marshall Deline recommends. “It’s not as hot,” Deline says, “it’s more of a smoky flavor.”

“Original” — This is the favorite of customer Bill Bradley, who has used hot sauce on his foods for 49 years. “All three are distinctive,” says Bradley, who considers himself somewhat of a hot sauce expert. “The ‘Smoke’ is a chipotle type, the ‘Original’ has a good bite but has a little bit of a fruity taste. And, of course, the ‘No Escape’ is on fire.”

Coming soon is a fourth sauce: Misdemeanor.

The inmates make no money from this product. The money goes back into an inmate fund that pays for things like the greenhouse where the peppers are grown. The horticulture program pays for itself, says Boatman, so no taxpayer money is used.

So, order your bottle or bottles now before this opportunity ESCAPES you!

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Driving on the sun?

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , , on September 8, 2009 by Speider

Scott Brusaw wants to pave our streets with solar panels. It’s not as crazy as it seems. The plan is to replace asphalt with an integrated network of solar panels that people can drive on. Not only would Solar Roadways replace our current fossil-fuel-intensive asphalt and concrete paved surfaces, but they could essentially replace the power grid itself. Imagine a world without coal-fired power plants, without obnoxious power lines, without smog – a world where the very road you drive on pollution-free supplies everything from on demand power for your electric vehicle and your home to high-speed internet and cable TV service – all with clean “green” energy from the sun. We know, it sounds crazy, but Scott is perfectly sane – we promise. Take a look for yourself at his website.

Watch an interview and video of his brilliant idea.

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May the force – of the wind – be with you.

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , on September 7, 2009 by Speider

A fun new product is a long time coming (30 years, to be exact). Star Wars 3D kites will be the hottest thing in parks and the beach (Hoth ice planets and planets about to be blown to smithereens). For $39.99 you can pilot your own Tie fighter, X-wing or Millennium  Falcon.

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Personally, I think the world needs a Death Star kite or at least balloon. I know that’s what I would be flying proudly – but then again, I have a soft side for the dark side.

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Nobody knows pop culture, new products and innovative thought like The AFTERLIFE! When it comes to your design needs for packaging, products, print or digital, we can supply you with the WOW! FACTOR you need. Drop us a message and we’ll WOW! you with just our reply.

WOW! me

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Cheap Vi@gr@ – the hard truth!

Posted in The Epitaph on August 11, 2009 by Speider

Thank goodness for the spam filter on this blog or there would be 8,696 (the actual number according to our spam filter over the past eight months) comments trying to sell “cheap Vi@gr@” posted for all to see. Usuually they start with “very nice blog!” and then swing into the link for the miracle pill.

Chances are, if you have e-mail, you have gotten one of these spam sales pitches. The headlines have gotten even better. After all, sales usually relies on a good headline to get the consumer to read on. Now, don’t get me wrong – I take Viagra and it’s a wonderful product. Sometimes I take it just to get this one nice pair of pants to fit better. Viagra has many uses but I won’t go into that here. This story is the headlines used to sell meds via spam.

In the US, Viagra is available via prescription only, and will cost around $10 per pill. Pfizer still control the production and distribution of Viagra in the US, so in essence they can control this price to maximise profit and to recoup the cost of development.

However, in certain countries (for instance, India and Mexico), the patent on Sildenafil citrate has expired – meaning that it can be manufactured in these countries very cheaply indeed. Pharmacy websites have sprung up to act as a channel for distribution, likely operating outside of the USA, and charging in the region of $2 per pill – and at nearly a fifth of the cost to the US consumer, this mode of distribution is a very popular way to sell Viagra online.

With this profit comes great competition, however, so off-shore pharmacy sites have resorted to one of the most popular forms of product marketing on the internet – affiliation. With massive profit margins to fall back on, pharmacy companies can easily offer commission rates of around 40% to their affiliates – a very tempting offer to some people.

Affiliation of this nature is ideally suited to spam – the affiliates are legally separate from the online pharmacy, so the pharmacy itself is in no way liable for the illegal bulk email – the onus there falls to the mysterious spammer, likely hid behind false identities and proxy servers. Obviously, for the pharmacy this is ideal – and it provides an ideal opportunity for spammers to make a quick profit.

Click rates for email campaigns are difficult to know exactly – it largely depends on the campaign, the success in evading email filters, and the format of the email itself. However, generally speaking it is very low – reports suggest a typical figure of around 0.02%. Supposing the spammer sends 1 million emails in a day – not an unlikely figure given the ease of sending email – this means the spammer can expect to see 200 clicks through to the online pharmacy store.

Conversion rates are likely to be much higher – I would expect 1% to be a typical figure, but again, this can vary between campaigns. At this figure, then, the spammer can expect to see a handful of orders per million emails. Typical order values are quite high though – price breaks help push the lowest viable purchase to at least $100. If we assume $100 as the average transaction, 40% commission means the spammer will net $80 per million emails sent – all considered, not a bad return.

Of course, there are running costs involved – DSL lines, computers, email lists – but assuming the spammer can send a million emails a day, he/she will earn $29,200 per year – not a bad sum, considering the minimal work involved.

And if you scale up the figures – say the spammer has the capacity to send 5 million emails a day, and the capability to attain the same sort of conversion ratio, then the potential yearly earnings are $146,000 – an impressive amount by any standards.

how-viagra-spam-worksTake a look at what kind of one-liners and which selling techniques are being used by marketers, who harass millions of people every single day with their commercial messages, and who even try to lure women into taking a look at their, to penis enlargement pills dedicated, websites.

This is a selection of the 30 most creative (or weird) email subject lines used by Viagra spammers (well, at least in my inbox).

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Try to sell by using fear:

- A man with a small penis is not a 100% man.

- All jokes aside, yeah you do got a tiny c@ck!

- Will she wait or has she found a bigger d!ck already?

- If you can cover your pen!s with your thumb…

- She might stay with you if your d!ck gets bigger.

Try to sell by using envy or desire:

- The reflection of your size will stay forever in her eyes.

- Bigger pen!s gives you a bunch of benefits!

- The most defiant fillies will strive for riding your new big Italian stallion.

- I have girls that ring me for sex now, its amazing!

- A big pen!s after a small one feels like the sun after rain.

- Make an elephant out of your ant.

- Never be limp again, make your c@ck rock solid!

Try to sell by using confusing language:

- May i ask why you’re so unhappy with your d!c’k?

- Specify How Much You Want Your p3N!ss to Grow

- Your new s’e_xual world is waiting for its leader.

Try to sell by using other techniques:

- Well done; you’ve just found the best kept secret to enlarge your pen!s!

- Yes it gets big, yes it gets strong, yes you can do it.

- Go to the disco and let your love stick glow!

- A real man should have a real pen!s. Here it is!

- Bigger pen!s stimulates more nerve endings in female v@gina.

And the top 10:

10. 21st century is the century for big pen!ses.
Ok, so you’re just advising me to keep up with the modern trends?

9. Prove your manliness! Take ÜberDik and be a man!
I have to give this company some credits for that brilliantly selected brand name…

8. Have you ever heard this, “Gush! Your pen!s is so small!”?
Not to my face. Have you heard anything?

7. Try it now and shock all your friends with your tool.
It would still not be a “Black and Decker.”

6. Nothing can seduce women faster than a big pen!s.
Maybe, but then my personality gets in the way.

5. 25% discount on your penis!
Something like buy 4 extra Inches and only pay for 3?

4. Satisfy all big c@ck lovers with Pen!s Enlarge Patch.
There’s a patch for it? It’s like Windows Vista!

3. Be proud to change your underwear on public.
Isn’t that kind of illegal? Is there a pill to prevent skid marks because that might be embarrassing.

2. Does your Mr. Winkie need upgrading? Our offer will interest you.
Mr. Winkie 2.0? Does it include “hardware?”

1. Men with big pen!ses go to heaven!
Do I have to convert first? What about St. Peter? (now THAT was a good pun!)

There is, of course, much better headlines when professionals put their minds to it. In an urban legens that went around the web a few years ago, the head of a Madison Avenue advertising agency called a spontaneous staff meeting in the middle of a particularly stressful week. When everyone gathered, the boss, who understood the benefits of having fun, told the burnt out staff the purpose of the meeting was to have a quick contest.

The theme was Viagra advertising slogans. The only rule was that they had to use past ad slogans, originally written for other products, that captured the essence of Viagra. Slight variations were acceptable. About seven minutes later, they turned in their suggestions and created a Top Ten List.

The top ten were: 

    10. Viagra, Whaazzzz up! 

    9. Viagra, The quicker pecker upper. 

    8. Viagra, Like a rock! 

    7. Viagra, When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. 

    6. Viagra, Be all that you can be. 

    5. Viagra, Reach out and touch someone. 

    4. Viagra, Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. 

    3. Viagra, home of the whopper! 

    2. Viagra, We bring good things to Life! 

    And the unanimous number one slogan: 

    1. This is your pen!s. This is your pen!s on drugs.
    And then there’s the infamous banned commercials for Viagra:
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Is there a point to this post aside from whining about the amount of spam in the world and then showing crude examples? Of course! Give us a minute and we’ll think of one…
The point is that every product needs professional thought behind the marketing and sales used to reach out to consumers. A bad headline wastes time, effort and money for your ad. So, the next time you think of your copywriting needs, just think of this Viagra post and you’ll think of wieners and hopefully that will remind you of us! At The AFTERLIFE, we believe your product deserves the best headline and marketing plan possible. It’s not that hard…for us!
Yes! I want to get in touch with those AFTERLIFE wieners.

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When animators go hopelessly insane!

Posted in The Epitaph on August 10, 2009 by Speider

Animator, Don Hertzfeldt, probably known to readers for his clever and funny Pop Tart commercials has a dark side (as if we couldn’t tell).

In a film from a few years back, Mr. Hertzfeldt shows some rejected work. Rejected? I’m surprised he wasn’t thrown from an office window for submitting these! But, one has to admire the creative freedom he showed and tried to put forth into a medium that can be too dependent on building off the safety of previous examples, which, means the commercial industry actually moves backwards while consumer’s needs and desires keep moving forward.

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We at The AFTERLIFE celebrate going the next step. Create “WOW!” factor. Amaze, create buzz and make something lesser creatives will copy. That has been our history – creating work others follow. Naturally, we also know what the meaning of going too far. It can be a delicate balance. Live on the edge but don’t fall over it.

Take me to the edge of The AFTERLIFE!

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10 Promotional initiatives that bombed.

Posted in The Epitaph on August 6, 2009 by Speider

Is it that creatives can’t think in terms of marketing or marketing people can’t think in terms of engineering or just that there weren’t enough of the right people invited to the meetings that planned these disasters? In at least one case, Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie promotion, it was not necessarily a bad idea but the overblown reaction cost CN a couple million dollars to clean up the mess…which is less than the commercial air time costs for the PR it received from the nationwide news coverage. Sometimes you just screw up in reverse!

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Not wanting to be sued, we have listed the original story as a link (blame Yahoo!) but it’s a great survey of promotions that negatively effected companies because there was no follow through and bad fulfillment.

http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/107451/10-promotional-stunts-that-horribly-backfired.html?mod=career-leadership

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At The AFTERLIFE we always screw up in reverse! Er, get it right the first time, that is. Carefully listening to the client’s needs and desired results, we plan and execute from beginning to end without glitches, problems or citywide bomb scares. It’s years experience of successful project management and pulling other people’s butts from Hell fires.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to give you heavenly results!

I’m ready for The AFTERLIFE!

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WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE! A rose by any other name might not sell.

Posted in The Epitaph with tags , , , on August 3, 2009 by Speider

A client was bemoaning the addition of two more languages on packaging (English, French and Spanish) for ease of distribution in North and Central America. After assuring them that there were packaging options that could accommodate three (or more) languages without losing the space needed to show the product and still have shelf “UMPH!” I asked if they had done their homework in the literal and figurative translation for the product name. They were dumbfounded. It’s hard and embarrassing to explain, so I presented these examples. The client now has language experts going over all new packaging.

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What does your brand or product name mean in other languages and cultures? It DOES effect sales! (Don’t forget to turn the package upside-down, too. The delicious snack, “doo dads” – using lower case lettering on the front of their packaging – becomes “spap oop” when turned upside-down on the shelf).

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Want to contact The AFTERLIFE?

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Fast-smut

Posted in The Epitaph, Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 by Speider

I don’t understand why Godaddy keeps churning out the ’70s porn commercials but they must work for them. It’s the fast food places that incorporate sexual innuendo (if one can call it innuendo) that confuses me. While ads that get press, such as the many Calivin Klein commercials and print ads, Hardee’s has had it’s share of negative press. The current ad for its new product is just sophmoric.

They have balls, indeed

Not to be outdone, Burger King also has an oral fixation of late. At least Paris Hilton isn’t in this one!

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According to BK sources, the following is the official explanation:

“Burger King Corporation (BKC) values and respects all of its guests. This advertisement is running to support a limited promotion in the Singapore market and is not running in the U.S. or any other markets. It was produced by a locally-based Singapore agency and not by BKC’s U.S. advertising agency of record, Crispin Porter and Bogusky.”

Whew! That’s a relief!

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The power of video games over the youth market

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 by Speider

When this young man’s World of Warcraft subscription is cancelled by his parents, he, well, just look at the power of this highly lucrative market.

Watch the video

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Join the pack with the enchanted “Wolf Shirt!”

Posted in The Epitaph on May 23, 2009 by Speider

Manipulating the web and/or using the web to manipulate polls and votes is in full swing. It was the web that kept Sanjia on American Idol, some say. The following story illustrates another marketing use for the web. Not just front end but also sabotage and viral marketing via the web.

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The story

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Tanning equality

Posted in The Epitaph on May 13, 2009 by Speider

It’s rare that “inclusive” advertising works, much less works well without actually insulting the inclusive group it is aimed at.

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Sikh and tired of persecution – a lesson in diversity innovation.

Posted in The Epitaph on May 9, 2009 by Speider

LONDON (AFP) – Sikh police officers in Britain want the government to develop bullet-proof turbans to allow them to serve as firearms officers without having to remove their headwear, it was reported Friday.

Sikh officers are exempt from a legal obligation to wear crash helmets because of their religion’s requirement to wear a turban, but this means they cannot wear the protective headgear of firearms officers.

Inspector Gian Singh Chahal, vice-chairman of the newly formed British Police Sikh Association, said the Home Office needs to make provisions for Sikhs to recognise their role in the police force, the Guardian reported.

“Sikh officers have been prohibited from becoming firearms officers because our religion does not allow us to remove the turban,” he was quoted as telling the journal Police Review.

“There has been some research done into producing a ballistic material [for turbans].

“We would like to follow any opportunity where we could manufacture a ballistic product, made out of asynthetic fibre, that would ensure a certain degree of protection, so Sikh police officers could take part in these roles.”

capt.photo_1241752594134-1-0File photo shows Indian officers performing Gatka, a traditional Sikh martial art, at Anadpur Saheb Gurudwara in India. Sikh police officers in Britain want the government to develop bullet-proof turbans to allow them to serve as firearms officers without having to remove their headwear, it was reported Friday.

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Time grows short for remaining munchkins.

Posted in The Epitaph on May 8, 2009 by Speider

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving diminutive Munchkins in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz,” died of natural causes on Thursday in Missouri at age 89, a newspaper reported.

Carroll, who stopped growing at a young age, was an entertainer early in life and befriended actress Judy Garland, leading to a role alongside her in classic “The Wizard of Oz,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatchreported.

He was a violin-playing Munchkin Town Crier in the movie, dressed in purple with a yellow flower in his vest. There were dozens of Munchkins in all.

In 2007, Carroll and a few other surviving Munchkins attended a ceremony to dedicate a Munchkin star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Carroll’s given name was Michael Finocchiaro, the Post-Dispatch reported. He died at a caretaker’s home in Crestwood, Missouri, and he lived in the state nearly his entire life, the newspaper said.

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Ear Chair. Ear table, Ear’s the story.

Posted in The Epitaph on May 7, 2009 by Speider

It can be challenging to get a little privacy while plotting a date or the downfall of society itself., but the Ear Chair solves any privacy problems you might have. With its one-of-a-kind design concept, it allows for privacy without having to be behind closed doors.

Dutch company Prooff thought up this concept with the business setting in mind. If you are short on conference rooms or you work in an open-concept workplace, the Ear Chair can fix your woes.

A great solution to the world of cell phone users.

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If it were only an Octo-Mom coin bank!

Posted in The Epitaph on May 7, 2009 by Speider

Whether you can’t get enough of Nadya Suleman or can’t wait until the world forgets about her, Daniel Edwards’ newest sculpture, “String of Babies,” is sure to get you fired up.

Daniel Edwards’ pink rubber sculpture features the head of Nadya Suleman with octopus tentacles extending downward. The tiny heads of all eight of her babies are curled in two larger tentacles, while a large baby bottle stands guard over the scene.

If it were only one of those cheap, plastic coin banks, it could have sold millions (followed by taking the money and investing it very wisely).

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Coke Pushes Pay-for-Performance Model

Posted in The Epitaph on April 29, 2009 by Speider

 

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) — Coca-Cola Co. is trying to start an industrywide movement toward a “value-based” compensation model like one it’s adopted that promises agencies nothing more than recouped costs if they don’t perform — but profit margins as high as 30% if their work hits top targets.

Usually tight-lipped Coke disclosed its plans at the Association of National Advertisers Financial Management Conference in Phoenix on April 20, saying it wanted to nudge the industry into adopting value-based models as a standard practice. If it succeeds, agencies accustomed to being able to book profits long before they deliver work won’t have that sort of certainty anymore.

“We want our agencies to earn their profitability, but it’s not guaranteed,” said Sarah Armstrong, Coke’s director of worldwide media and communication operations, the driver behind the move for Coke, which spends some $3 billion a year on global advertising. “We need them to be profitable and healthy, but they have to earn it through performance.”

Coke’s shift from paying a flat fee based on hours worked began in five markets last year. The model is rolling out in at least 35 more this year and will encompass all of the company’s ad- and media-agency relationships by 2011. The concept of value-based models has been a hot topic in the industry for at least a decade, but few marketers have attempted to apply it. (Procter & Gamble is perhaps the furthest along but uses it on only 12 of its brands.)

Ms. Armstrong took pains to note that the process involved considerable give and take with agencies that were briefed on Coke’s plans and were given opportunities to voice concerns. “There were some pointed questions,” she said. But our agencies read the trades, and they know what P&G did. They knew at some point someone would take this path; they just didn’t know it would be us.”

Put into action
Coke’s agencies include some of the most creative in the media and agency worlds, including Wieden & Kennedy, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Starcom MediaVest Group and Mother, among dozens of others. Some agency executives, speaking privately, said they couldn’t argue with the theory behind the shift, but had concerns about how it might work in practice.

“Look, if you’re talking about getting paid more because you’re adding value to a project, I think that’s terrific,” said a senior executive at one Coke agency that has yet to switch to the new model. “The tricky part is how you define value.”

Traditionally, defining the value of an assignment has been the job of the agency, which tells its client how many people and how much time it’ll need to accomplish a given project. Under its new model, Coke will determine the value of assignments based on a range of factors including the work’s strategic importance, the talent involved and whether other agencies could duplicate the work — if they could, it’s worth less.

After those factors are used to set the value of a project, the agency’s performance and the business results that follow determine what, if anything, the agency deserves to be paid beyond its upfront costs (which, in practice, are sometimes inflated). If all targets are hit, the agency could make as much as 30% on a project; if all targets are missed, the agency won’t make any profit at all.

Supporters of the approach acknowledge that it’s not a perfect approach to measure the value agencies add, but they call it a massive improvement over a status quo that equates hours spent with value delivered. “I’d rather be approximately right than precisely wrong,” said Tim Williams, founder of the agency-compensation consultancy Ignition.

Effort vs. value
Other major marketers present perked up at Ms. Armstrong’s presentation. “It got my juices flowing,” said Keith Levy, VP-marketing at Anheuser-Busch, which slashed agency fees earlier this year. “We agree with Coke that [agency] effort doesn’t necessarily equal value … but it also shows you how much time and effort it takes to get there.”

Though the shift comes amid a brutal economic downturn that has prompted many marketers to slash agency fees to save money, Ms. Armstrong said cost savings had little to do with Coke’s move to a new compensation model. It’s “ironic,” she said, but the shift began in 2006. She declined to comment on whether Coke saw any savings in the five test markets — Australia, China, Germany, the U.K. and the Philippines — in which it deployed the new model last year.

However, cost reductions have been a priority at the company of late. Last summer, CEO Muhtar Kent said Coke would look to save between $400 million and $500 million a year by the end of 2011. Marketing was said to be a primary focus. The company also has been looking to optimize its use of agencies, slashing its global roster by more than half in the past 18 months. Despite that, Coke spent $3 billion on advertising globally last year, a $200 million increase from the previous year.

The new model, in theory, ought to better align the quality of Coke’s advertising with the size of its budget, but the approach is not without its risks. Will Coke’s agencies be willing to take the same creative risks if striking out means they’ll see no profit for their trouble? “That has not been a concern,” Ms. Armstrong said. “I have a fundamental belief that our agencies are competitive enough that they are going to bring their A-games no matter what.”

How Coke’s new compensation system works

BEFORE: Agencies and Coke negotiate in advance how much profit the former will see on a given project.

AFTER: Agency is guaranteed only recouped costs, with any profit coming only if certain targets are met.

BEFORE: Agency decides what Coke should pay for a project based on the time it expects to expend on it.

AFTER: Coke tells agencies how valuable a project is based on strategic importance, whether other agencies could deliver the same outcome, and other factors.

Change at Procter & Gamble

Slowly but surely, Procter & Gamble Co. is moving more brands toward a model that makes a single agency lead contractor over the rest of a brand’s far-flung marketing-services roster, which includes maintaining control over hiring, budgets and payments for other agencies. The system is having a growing impact on what people close to P&G estimate as $900 million to $1 billion in agency fees annually.

So far, it’s only been applied to about a dozen brands in so-called pilots, but that’s up from five a year ago. The new agency deal now covers brands accounting for about 26% of P&G’s $3.1 billion in U.S. measured media spending, as counted by TNS Media Intelligence, including eight of P&G’s 21 billion-dollar brands. “I wouldn’t be surprised if more brands adopt this,” said P&G spokeswoman Martha Depenbrock. It’s not a corporate mandate, she said, but it appears to be working well.

The system fosters better collaboration and holistic-marketing plans, she said, and it’s more cost-effective for P&G and agencies. The “brand agency leader,” or “BAL” model in P&G-acronym parlance, replaces one still used by most P&G brands in which creative agencies are compensated as a percentage of brand sales and other shops mainly get paid fees.

That model saw P&G through some of its highest-growth years earlier in the decade. But its drawbacks include numerous and complex transactions.

People close to the company say the old system penalizes brands that move from plans heavy with TV and print, because creative agencies get paid the same even when digital and other specialty shops get paid more.

Sales-based compensation remains in the BAL model, but it’s a much smaller factor. The BAL gets “value-based” compensation, or fees based on negotiated value of the work to the brand rather than hours worked. That fee increases or decreases based on brand sales and market share and agency evaluations, Ms. Depenbrock said.

Some packaging innovations from Coke:

2005_kiss_cokebottle_sm2005 KISS Gene Simmons, France, Wrapped Coke Bottle!

coke_m5_bottle2005 – Only released in Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and Italy. The bottles are printed with irredescent inks, so they react to blacklights for an added cool factor. The bottles are also half-filled, so they can be mixed with alcohol, making the product “100% nightclub-certified cool.”

xray-coke-bottle-in-rectum2Two nurses from Mercy Walworth Medical Center in Lake Geneva were fired after allegedly posting pictures of a patient’s x-ray on Facebook.  The man had presented himself to the ER with a “sex toy” lodged in his rectum and apparently the nurses found it so amusing that they chose to take pictures using their phones and load them onto their facebook profiles. Not exactly a six-pack Coke was known for!

y1pkgmcy4pe4bb2va3qojsoga-byx8mepfmco0xw7qurzesm2d__9902srqmnwkueaxCoke adds life!

lv_cokeThis enormous Coke bottle used to house a Coca-Cola museum where you could sample dozens of different Coke products from around the world. It’s now a wedding chapel.

1_2Aluminum Coke bottle cans.

holiday-coke-design-12008 Holiday packaging.

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The original patent for the Coke bottle. Simple, elegant and functional. Not much has changed in 94 years!

Coke adds life and The AFTERLIFE adds…life to all your graphic design thirsts. Pick up a bottle, today!


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The Earth is just our TYPE of place!

Posted in The Epitaph on April 26, 2009 by Speider

This Google Maps typography project is from Australian designer Rhett Dashwood. He compiled the alphabet using aerial shots from actual places found in Victoria, Australia on Google Maps.

I have to wonder if the Plains of Nazca were early attempts at the same thing!?

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“Spoil” those office food thefts!

Posted in The Epitaph on April 25, 2009 by Speider

Like many in offices that share one refrigerator, I have eagerly awaited lunch time so I could enjoy the sandwich I brought. Oh, I made great sandwiches and coworkers would marvel at them. In fact, they admired them so much that they started disappearing from the refrigerator. The feeling of anticipation followed by the shock and realization that your lunch is gone is akin to hearing the news of  the attack on Pearl Harbor or stepping on a Viet Cong booby trap of sharpened, poison pungee sticks (they were really good sandwiches!).

After several thefts, I thought I had the solution by announcing that I had poisoned my sandwich and the thief would be dead in half an hour. Unfortunately, even threatening to have poisoned your own sandwich to catch a thief is frowned upon by the HR department, moreso than stealing someone else’s lunch.

Well, lesson learned, but prevention is better than revenge, so here’s a product that deters lunch-felons before their hideous, thieving, yellow teeth have sunken into your 12-grain bread. The Anti-theft Lunch Bags (not a great name, but it works) is now available to those plagued by people who won’t respect the sanctity of your lunch, the group refrigerator honor pact and are probably only still employed due to the Peter Principle.

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The bags are printed to look as if the contents have an unidentified mold. The perfect camouflage, if you know what sits in office refrigerators.

For real fun, try sending this off to school with the kids and hear afterschool tales of their little friends vomiting at the lunch table as junior takes a big bite of mold. Thousands of uses!

 

If that doesn’t work and just looking at the bag, even though you know it’s fake, sickens you, try the Atomic Waste Bowl. Glows strong bones 12 ways!

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Why research is so important!

Posted in The Epitaph on April 25, 2009 by Speider

Listen to the theme music. It’s an age-old racist theme. We won’t even post the words people used to sing to this tune. When will advertisers learn to research what they use to sell their product?

 

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The DOs and DON’Ts of Parenting

Posted in The Epitaph on April 24, 2009 by Speider

I guess I worked for MAD Magazine too long because, at first, I couldn’t really decide if these were a spoof (because, let’s face it, some parents should have been sterilized at birth). I’m still guessing it’s a spoof (?) but in any case, the illustrations and concepting is top notch!

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More Dos and Don’ts

 

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Apple pulls ‘Baby Shaker’ iPhone app after child welfare groups protest

Posted in The Epitaph on April 23, 2009 by Speider

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There are thousands of iPhone apps. There are farting noises, fishing games, endurance tests and even apps that keep track of things and help organize your life (how boring!) but Apple, Inc yanked from its online store today the latest app, a disturbing application called “Baby Shaker” –  which allowed users to silence a screaming infant by shaking their phone.

The 99 cent application, created by a company called Sikalosoft, went on sale in the App Store Monday and  quickly outraged child welfare groups.

“Baby Shaker” features a sketch of a cute baby that quickly dissolves into tears and cries on the iPhone screen. Users then violently shake their phone until the child stops crying –  and red X’s morbidly appear over the baby’s eyes. A description of the application does end with the words “never, never shake a baby.”

But it also sinisterly challenges users to “See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down!”

The question along with why anyone would make such a heinous app, is which moron approved it for the Apple store? Firings will no doubt follow.

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Want to contact The AFTERLIFE? Just go to the SEANCE page with the link on the sidebar. The AFTERLIFE, designs to die for, is just a click away!

 

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4/24/2009 – Apple Apologizes for “Baby Shaker” app.

Facebook Relationship Etiquette

Posted in The Epitaph on April 22, 2009 by Speider

Brilliant script and art direction! Three thumbs up!

 

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The AFTERLIFE Epitaph – April 20th, 2009 #22, Vol. 1

Posted in The Epitaph on April 20, 2009 by Speider

“Being good is not enough when you dream of being great.”

~ Anonymous

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A WHOPPER of bad taste?

Using humor in ads is a delicate balance. Where does one draw the line? Fast food giant Burger King apologized Tuesday for an advertisement featuring a squat Mexican draped in his country’s flag next to a tall American cowboy and said it would change the campaign.

Mexico’s ambassador to Spain said posters released in Europe for Burger King’s new Tex-Mex style Texican whopper,” a cheeseburger with chile and spicy mayonnaise, inappropriately displayed the Mexican flag, whose image is protected under national law.

The ambassador wrote a letter complaining to Burger King and requested the ad campaign be discontinued.

Burger King said the ads were meant to show a mixture of influences from the southwestern United States and Mexico, not to poke fun at Mexican culture, but said it would replace them “as soon as commercially possible.”

Burger King Corporation has made the decision to revise the Texican Whopper advertising creative out of respect for the Mexican culture and its people,” it said in a statement.

“The existing campaign falls fully within the legal parameters of the United Kingdom and Spain where the commercials are being aired and were not intended to offend anyone,” the company added.

A TV version of the ad shows the strapping cowboy and the pint-sized Mexican wrestler — nicknamed “Just a Little Bit” — living together as roommates. At one point, the American lifts up the Mexican to help him put a trophy on a high shelf.

Mexico was involved in another controversial ad campaign last year when Absolut vodka posted billboard ads in Mexico with an early 19th century map showing chunks of the United States as part of Mexico.

The campaign angered many U.S. citizens and was later dropped.

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Also in the news is the Burger King ad for the Spongebob Squarepants toys. Aimed at and airing only at night on adult shows, the re-mix of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back,” the ad is creative and tastefully done (considering the original song). But, as usually happens, parents who allow their children to watch adult programming are complaining about the ad. Who’s crossing the line?

At least people are talking about it and the toys are flying off the counters!

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Domino’s Employees Incite YouTube Brand Scandal – never order a pizza with “the works!”

(Editors note – This was not as viral when it was tagged for this issue. I’m sure by now everyone has seen it. I chose to keep it in for the story as it shows how two moronic employees can cast a business so much. Not only the business, but if the firm suffers and business drops, employees get laid off. A business butterfly effect! As of 4/16/09, there is apparently a felony warrant out for their arrests).

Two Domino’s employees have released a series of YouTube videos in which they playfully molest food products before allegedly passing them on to customers.

In the most recent video posted on YouTube, “Michael” — one member of the duo — inserts cheese into his nose and waves salami over his backside before placing both ingredients on a pair of sandwiches.

“He just put a booger on those sandwiches!” quips “Kristy,” the other employee. “Remember the time when you sneezed?”

Between the time of yesterday’s Advertising Age report and now, views have leapt from 20,000 to 728,816. Comments from YouTube users have ranged from “I eat that crap?” to “pizza hut have done the same thing as well….” — suggesting brand damage may touch industry rivals as well.

The video is just one among a handful that Kristy and Michael have released about their kitchen shenanigans at the pizza chain. The rest have been curated by As Good As You, a blog that covered the incident.

According to spokesman Tim McIntyre of Domino’s, the employees were identified and promptly terminated. (Indeed, the YouTube video that stirred the tempest has been updated with hovering text that reads, “They have been fired.”) The franchise at which they worked has also filed a criminal complaint; Domino’s itself is contemplating civil action for brand defamation.

“Any idiot with a webcam and an internet connection can attempt to undo all that’s right about the brand,” McIntyre snarled.

“In the course of one three-minute video, two idiots can attempt to unravel all of that.” Domino’s currently boasts 125,000 employees worldwide.

The chain is stepping carefully over figurative eggshells to mitigate the damage. McIntyre also shared a letter in which Kristy apologizes for her actions and Michael’s:

“It was all a prank and me nor Michael expected to have this much attention from the videos that were uploaded!” she wrote. “No food was ever sent out to any customer. We would never put something like that on you tube if it were real!! It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!!”

In contemplating the YouTube fiasco, McIntyre observed, “You can be the safest driver, you know […] But there’s going to be that Friday night someone’s drunk and comes from out of nowhere. You can do the best you can, but there’s going to be the equivalent of that drunk driver that hits the innocent victim.”

In the meantime, Domino’s has opted neither to issue a press release nor post any statements online. The chain is reportedly concerned that a strong response” will only raise awareness for the videos that did the damage.

A number of armchair speculators have suggested that Domino’s respond in video form — a tactic employed by Southwest Airlines when, last year, two young girls publicly claimed to have been kicked off a flight for being “too pretty.”

Meanwhile, a representative from digital agency Woods Witty Dealy called the situation “a major shot over the bow of any brand. It’s amateur corporate espionage and it is deadly.”

“How do you defend yourself against a mindless anarchist that does’t seem to care what they destroy, including themselves?”

But at least one pixel pundit made a diplomatic concession in the direction of the two terminated employees. “[The videos give] a realistic view on some of the things that happen when people get bored in a repetitive job,” stated UK-based SEO contractor David Harland via Twitter — implying that, in an age where it’s easy to record and broadcast day-to-day banalities, similar damage control scenarios are just over the horizon.

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Me like english good!

Winston cigarettes used to advertise “Winston taste good like a cigarette should.”

Being brought under scrutiny by American english teachers, they quickly jumped on a campaign of “…AS a cigarette should.” Certainly you see it every day in signs, ads, and even, gasp, news articles. Dangling participles, sentences ended with a preposition and other horrid stabs at our mother tongue. People complain that those under the age of 30 are unable to spell due to texting lenguage and judging by the résumés we receive, it’s very true.

So, we were delighted to see a blog that is dedicated to the lost art of the written word. Njoy!

http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/

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The answer lies not in the stars but in Uranus

This Danish toilet paper dispenser is beyond wrong. Even with my love for foreign advertising ideas, I would never think of this in a million, billion, bamillion years! Trying (very hard) to get across the message that the paper is recycled…well, I just can’t disgust, er discuss this any further.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, then let this out-word count any dictionary.

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Scam ads

This ad, showing a Jesus-figure snapping a picture of a bunch of nuns with the Samsung SL310W camera, was published in Lebanese newspaper Al Mostakbal last week.

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The ad has been called “an attack against Christian symbols” but here’s the kicker — the ad agency FP7 who created it, doesn’t have the Samsung account.
Sunny Hwang, the president of Samsung Electronics Levant, said to Brandrepublic “at no time was Samsung Electronics aware of these advertisements and the company has not approved or commissioned FP7 to create any advertising campaigns.”

At the recent Dubai Lynx Awards, FP7 picked up a gold, a few silvers and even the ad agency of the year award but after this little mishap, the agency (and their work) is being investigated by the award organisers and they might get stripped of all their honors.

Now that it has become almost standard practice for companies to demand spec work from ad agencies, can they truly own the finished ad? I guess you get what you pay for — and don’t get what you don’t pay for!

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Da Bomb!

Taiwanese design duo Owen and Cloud designed this piece as a statement against war, and the result is a one of a kind, striking piece.

Part of the proceeds from sales of A Peaceful Bomb are donated to “Act Now to Stop War & End Racism” (A.N.S.W.E.R.). ($49)

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Live in a pop-up book!

These folding interiors are extremely convenient for those of you who live in cramped living spaces. Not only are these pieces sleek and practical, but they also remind me of a surprise bag or a giant pop-up book. From offices to kitchens, John Lewis and Atelier OPA have created unique pieces of foldable interiors for a more expedient lifestyle.

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Where’s the CEO job?

“Life’s too short for the wrong job,” Isn’t that so true? That’s the tag line for these motivational career ads by German job search site, Jobsintown.de.

The visuals for the guerrilla ads are even more clever than the text! They campaign features a series of machines that perform automated services, each with a decal on them making it appear as if there were someone inside performing the coordinating task. For example, a man inside a coffee vending machine appears to brewing coffee inside the machine.

Other machines include an ATM, a vending machine, a photobooth and a coin-operated washing machine.

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LEGO of life

These suicide scenarios recreated in Lego are really wrong, on every level. However, I have to admire their creativity, although I have no idea where this concept came from.

The attention to detail includes whimsical touches of pools of blood where appropriate, such as in the “wrist slashing” picture.

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Bread Art Project

Where else can you make a lot of dough for loafing?

http://www.breadartproject.com/?utm_campaign=breadartproject&utm_source=adnetwork1&utm_medium=paid-media-OLA

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There are times, as with the Domino’s story (and that singing Scottish lady), where the viral nature of the item is about 12 hours. Weekly publication just doesn’t meet the deadlines to bring you topical stories.

In the past, as with the Marley & Me spoiler, we have made special posts. From this point on, we will no longer stick to a weekly schedule. As it hits us, we will hit you. So check back as often as you wish and see what we’ve found. We guarantee it’ll be the same innovative items, only we won’t sweat getting the kids to bed, doing three loads of wash, doing dishes and making endless peanut butter sandwiches for school lunches AND putting the weekly issue to “bed.”

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

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The AFTERLIFE Epitaph – April 13th, 2009 #21, Vol. 1

Posted in The Epitaph on April 13, 2009 by Speider

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

~T.S. Eliot

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BumpTop 1.0 – 3D Desktop Zen and beta videos

Mixed reviews for this new app. Certainly a great idea for really messing up your desktop!

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Twitter with everything

Kraft is launching a flatbread version of their best-selling DiGiorno pizza brand using the usual television and print outlets. In order to utilize the ever-increasing power of social media, however, they will also be delivering free pizza to tweetups.

PR agency Weber Shandwick has been hired to help reach influential tweeters who are willing to host tweetups prearranged on Twitter. Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are the cities currently being targeted for this promotion. The only thing missing is the Coca-Cola!

“We’ve always been out there with a lot of different media touch points, with a combination of online and offline,” said Tom Moe, director-marketing for Kraft’s DiGiorno brand. “We’re always looking for the newest and most relevant places to be in both areas.”

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Flickr Credit Card Campaigns

As far as credit card interactive campaigns go, the Visa Go website is a pretty solid one. The website’s main page echoes the campaign’s central verb in typography entirely composed of interactive user-submitted Flickr photos.

There are more social networking goodies to be found on the Visa Go website. According to a Visa press release, rich media banner advertisements will show video of Visa users doing things in Buenos Aires, New York and Ho Chi Minh City.

Naturally, Visa has tied in some cross-promotion to its millions of merchants. Both a Google Maps plugin and user-submitted geotagged Flickr photos will yield personalized recommendations on nearby merchants, experiences and activities directly from the Visa Go website.

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Hang on!

The ultimate in morbid neckwear, the Hanging Tie is ideal for employees on the edge who just can’t verbalize their cry for help.

What a great way to let your boss know how you really feel about your job.

It’s probably not a wise gift choice for Wall Street workers in the current gloomy economic climate, though.

A quirky piece of apparel for a CSI, perhaps?

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Festive Sushi Ornaments

It sounds fishy but I’ve seen some odd decorations in my day (working for Hallmark, makers of Keepsake Ornaments, I’ve seen everything from Star Trek ornaments to I Love Lucy ornaments). So why not get raw with the holiday tree?

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Certainly, if you are driven to have sushi ornaments, you are probably a prime candidate for a sushi wedding cake.

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And start everything with a sushi engagement ring.

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Make sure you’re clean and sushi smelling with sushi soap…

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In your sushi shower…

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Give the bridesmaids sushi hats…

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and when it’s all over, rest your weary head on a sushi pillow!

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Trust me, there are more sushi products but this is starting to give me a “haddock!”

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A DYNAMITE idea!

These fire-starter sticks aren’t explosive, but they do a great job of starting a blaze…and get plenty of attention on the hearth. The replica crate is made of finger-jointed cedar for years of use…it’s a fun reminder of a time when you could buy a box of dynamite at your local general store. 

Holds 20 sticks of paraffin and sawdust fire starters, which burn for about 30 minutes each. Just break off a piece to light even stubborn wood. Great for camping, too! (Just bring extra underwear for those who don’t know what these really are).

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Holy Grail!

“He who drinks from the Grail shall be granted eternal paperclips!” Well, not really, but if you’re in search of the Holy Grail… look no further! You can own this polyresin miniature of the coveted artifact as seen in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The paperclip magnet measures 4-inches tall and 2 1/2-inches in diameter. Although a gulp from this cup won’t bring you eternal life, this is a perfect way to keep tabs on your paperclips or push pins. Buy this and the other Indiana Jones desk accessories to organize your desk in true Indy style!

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If it’s good enough for the Ten Commandments, it’s good enough for your business cards! This remarkable replica of the Ark is a must-have for every Indy memorabilia collector. It’s your chance to possess your very own miniaturized Ark of the Covenant… that doubles as a card holder! The unique collectible is finely detailed, from the golden eagles and feathers down the etchings on the Ark. 

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You don’t need to brave the Peruvian jungles and the temple’s deadly traps to stare into the idol’s eyes! Modeled after the idol in Raiders of the Lost Ark and representing the Chachapoyan goddess of fertility, this miniature, gold-toned statue will hold your pens and pencils while attracting the attention of anyone who passes by. Bottomless pit and poison dart shooting indians sold separately.

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If only!

The answer to all the evil born unto the world…latex condoms (Grey Worldwide, Dusseldorf). A rather strong argument but I still get the shivers thinking about it!

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Who was that masked man?

In large population centers in Asia, face masks are not only everyday accessories, they are big business. While many movies and books see the future as a utopian society, Blade Runner and Soylent Green are most probably true visions of the far flung future (2015!).

It’s not so much the need for face masks as the packaging that catches the eye. Can Sponge Bob packaging be far behind? Who lives in a toxic area under the sea…

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Beers to innovation!

First there was light beer, then fruit infused beer, then Zima…well, that didn’t do so well, but now there’s a new entry into the green tea market — Chicago-based Ineeka Inc. has outdone the competition by producing the first certified organic green tea beer named Himalayan Green Tea Bier. Brewed with certified organic hops, barley, green tea, and ginger, this bubbly beverage is sure to have an impact on today’s all-natural food movement.

Now let’s see who has the guts to order one in their local tavern.

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Whether it’s alcohol, raw fish, packaging or stopping the conception of despotic maniacs, The AFTERLIFE offers design and branding that will make you toast your siccess!

CLICK HERE FOR SUCCESS!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

The AFTERLIFE Epitaph – April 6th, 2009 #20, Vol. 1

Posted in The Epitaph on April 6, 2009 by Speider

If the amount of spam we delete from our inbox is any indicator of success, then we rule the internet!

It’s amazing the different kinds of spam we receive. Usually it’s just straight pleas for financial services, cheap Vi@gra or Russian brides (BTW – everyone at The AFTERLIFE is getting married next month) but our favorites are the spam that starts by telling us how great our site is and THEN swinging into the sales pitch.

Why do I bring this up? Because we also specialize in web content writing as well as headlines, catch phrases, ad copy and essays of all types. 

Give me the “write stuff!”

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Quotes from the deceased

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

~ Albert Einstein

(After my stop at the “Trinity” site in New Mexico where the first atomic bomb was tested, I stood at ground zero and I got some great T-shirts for my kids, I thought I owed this issue a quote from Dr. Einstein and thanks for all the radiation!)

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

This week, we would like to give a eulogy to a friend who wrote glowing things about The EPITAPH and made some great suggestions for optimization of this blog. Kevin Skinner is an old cohort from Hallmark Cards and currently a web guru in Detroit (I forget the name of his place — I’m sure I’ll figure it out by the time I’ve posted this draft?). Kevin is certainly within the top three design  and concept geniuses I know and I am excited about making some improvements.

Unfortunately, that also means more spam. Damn you Skinner!

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Success is in the “bag!”

“Classic Star Wars sleeping bag simulates the warmth of a Tauntaun carcass.” Hmmm, some boast! Didn’t Han Solo exclaim, and I thought they smelled bad on the outside?”

Despite that, our hats are off to the guts (sorry!) it took to push through this product. You have to love the happy face on the Tauntaun and the bowels lining. Absolute sick genius!

Built-in embroidered Tauntaun head pillow
Glowing Lightsaber zipper pull
Great for playing pretend “Save Luke from the Wampa” games
Teach your children about the best Star Wars movie ever
Fully Licensed Lucasfilm™ Collectable
Fits children (and small adults)
100% Polyester construction, Machine washable
Exterior Dimensions – 32″ x 60″

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tauntaun-sleepingbag-embed3(There is a rumor that these were only April Fools joke done by the folks at ThinkGeek.com. Too bad — what a GREAT idea!)

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Real, but not as cool as the Tauntaun bag!

According to Icelandic ancient myths, seals are believed to be condemned humans. Designer Prjónsdóttir Vik explains this mythical story on his site to describe the focus of one of his latest products, the Sealpelt.

The Sealpelt is made of 100% Icelandic wool, comes in nine colors. The guts to use one is not included.

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There’s nobody gnome

It’s not that it’s the idea of recycling metal or my innate hatred of lawn flamingos and gnomes, but I love this product! Comes in several different mischievous models.

The Gnome-Be-Gone’s aren’t just interested in getting rid of gnomes in your garden. They’ll also weed out any flamingos that won’t go-go.

Includes 2 Gnome-Be-Gones and 1 resin pink flamingo.

Handmade using recycled components by uber artist Fred Conlon. Fred’s amazingly fun, funky, and always very unique art, has appeared in art galleries, festivals and shows across the country.

Measures approximately 24″ long x 16″ wide. Metal will acquire a rust patina finish with outdoor use.

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(Available from our friends at perpetual kid.com)

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Somethin’ for everyone!

“Labs With Abs” is a picture book with drawings depicting Labrador Retriever dogs in some really steamy scenarios. Artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright sketches these beefy canine studs in stereotypically sexy scenes. 

The moral of this item — anything for dog breeds will be snapped up by fanatic owners!

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Gettin Dong’s attention!

“Dong (clap-clap). Dong (clap-clap)! - (Grandpa tries to wake up Long Duck Dong) Sixteen Candles.

In order to get around the ban of direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs on TV in Korea, Pfizer came up with these interactive ads to promote Viagra pills.

The ads come in the shape of a promotional hand fan with an image of an old or fat man without a penis. In order to use the fan, you have to put your finger in the hole, which gets the message across and ads play value.

Brilliant!

The campaign was created by Cheil Worldwide, Seoul, Korea.

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Tilt-Shift!

Watch for that buzz word. Tilt-shift (which we showed you a month or so ago) is getting a lot of attention these days. Here’s a simple video outlining the process.

Now, when someone suggests it at a brainstorm, you’ll have the knowledge to understand why it’s a really stupid idea — or not!

Check out a really good tilt-shift video!

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iFight!

It’s hard to fight the popularity of the iPhone. Sprint’s  Samsung Instinct just fell too far behind. This new model looks good, but can it iSucceed?

This Samsung Clover is an eco-friendly cell phone design made of recycled materials. Its PLCD back changes colors as the battery level fades, turning from opaque to clear. And LCD and electronic sensor add-ons help you further manage your energy consumption.

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Blown my mind!

Blown Fabric” by Nendo will be shown at La Triennale di Milano for the Tokyo Fiber ‘09 Senseware exhibition at the end of this month. The fabric was created to demonstrate the new possibilities of materials using Japanese synthetics.

“Smash” is a long fiber non-woven polyester that can be formed much like glass-blowing. Because it is plastic, however, lamps and lighting solutions made from it are lighter and shatterproof, with a beautiful soft glow when light passes through.

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HOT ad!

It’s always a delicate balance using this type of humor but when it’s pulled off right, how can you not appreciate it!?

Graham Lee & David Crichton, Toronto, Canada

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Falling like Domino’s

Clever viral-marketing hoax or simple accident? On March 30,Domino’s stores got hit for over 11,000 pies as part of a free medium-pie promotion that didn’t even exist. Or so they thought. Turns out in December, Crispin Porter + Bogusky devised an online promotion using the password “bailout.” It never got the green light from corporate, but no one went back and disabled the code, says Domino’s rep Tim McIntyre. Three months later, he says, a consumer, tinkering with Domino’s online ordering, “randomly” typed in the word and triggered the free coupon. That happened late this past Monday night.

By the time store owners opened Tuesday, their computers were “dinging” with orders. More than half of the 5,000 U.S. stores had at least one redemption. Based on the volume of orders at two particular stores, the company thinks the whole thing started at a college near either Cincinnati or Salt Lake City. Soon, value blogs picked it up, the run on free pizzas spread. The company, which is reimbursing franchisees for the cost of food, disabled the promotion at 11:30 a.m. on March 31, the day before April Fool’s Day. “That was just a quirk of timing. This isn’t a hoax, scam or hacker. It’s an honest-to-goodness mistake,” insists McIntyre. But he admits it’s “reinforced to us the power of viral marketing and the power of the word ‘free’ with ‘pizza.’ ” And in these grim times, it proved cathartic for consumers: “When word got around and people found out that it was a mistaken free promotion, they liked it even more,” he says. “People liked it because they felt, ‘We just stuck it to the man.’ “

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The AFTERLIFE wants to hear from you! Must we do shameless paragraphs of self-promotion? At least send us a note and let us know you’re reading The EPITAPH.

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE

Hello, AFTERLIFE!

 

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 30th, 2009 #19, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on March 31, 2009 by Speider

“Better late than never.” Does that excuse this issue being late?

I’ll file that with, “it’s not the destination  — it’s the journey!”

After a week of Spring Break with my kids in lovely Scottsdale, we had to depart. Giving us three days to drive 1,400 miles, I never dreamed that snow and wind would destroy our SPRING Break! After about 400 miles through a desert blooming with flowers and green mountains, we arrived in Alburquerque to a flashing sign that warned us the highway was closed from the edge of the city to the Texas border. We found a motel and watched the Weather Channel, seeing that Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were also having a wonderful end of days due to snow and wind. I joked we were going to just live in Albuquerque. God didn’t care for that quip.

We awoke to find that the highway was still closed, so genius that I am, I decided to head south and swing through the lower secondary roads. They were closed. Further south we went, through towns with three buildings and two people. I suppose when we found ourselves crossing the “Trinity Site” (the patch of New Mexico desert where they tested the first atomic bomb) it was obvious we were off the beaten path.

We did get to see the “Smokey The Bear” monument, a lava field and the town of Old Lincoln where fans of “Young Guns” were posing for pictures in front of the Tunstil shop. It was time to decide if we should continue east on the small roads and into Texas or swing north, back to highway 40. Opting for a nice, smooth, radiation and lava-free road, we swung north to find the highway was now closed at the Texas border. Yet another night in New Mexico and a 400 mile jaunt to move 200 miles down the road from Albuquerque.

The next morning brought even more problems. The Santa Anna winds were blowing so hard I couldn’t get the car past 50MPH in the headwind and my youngest son’s case of gas made us wonder if opening the windows to brave the wind was a fair exchange. Dusk brought new challenges as the dashboard lights in my car decided to die on the eve of the next day when no Toyota dealer would be open. A pen light served to let me know I wasn’t redlining the engine and when the magic gas-go juice was all gone.

But, as with all travels, there was an end. The diarrhea dried up, we arrived home and slept for many wonderful hours in our own beds and the local car dealership will fix my dashboard lights tomorrow. Next year these will all be fun stories, or therapy will have wiped them from my memory.

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Quotes from the deceased

“It’s at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.”
 ~ Emil Zatopek

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Eulogy for The AFTERLIFE

“The e-mail looks great Jon, as does the blog. It’s interesting to have such long posts rather than 100 individual items. Will look forward to seeing how your comments develop.” – Anthony Pafford, JellyPop

Anthony, we get a lot of e-mail, rather than posts, but our spam filter is catching more and more these days. I guess it’s a form of success!? – JS

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Pod people!

Believe it or not, the modern cargo carrier, loaded on ships by the hundreds of thousands (millions, dare I say without research?), have only been in their present form for about five decades. Well, one of the finest and most innovative uses of recycling and green technology, those old containers are making a splash as housing and building materials.

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While a number of resourceful people have converted shipping containers into make-shift shelters at the margin of society for years, architects and green designers are also increasingly turning to the strong, cheap boxes as source building blocks.

Shipping containers can be readily modified with a range of creature comforts and can be connected and stacked to create modular, efficient spaces for a fraction of the cost, labor, and resources of more conventional materials.

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De Maria Design Redondo Beach House

With its modern lines and appealing spaces, the award-winning Redondo Beach House by De Maria Design, turns heads. The luxury beach-side showpiece was built from eight prefabricated, recycled steel shipping containers, along with some traditional building materials. According to the architects, the modified containers are “nearly indestructible,” as well as resistant to mold, fire, and termites. Seventy percent of the building was efficiently assembled in a shop, saving time, money, and resources.

One of the containers can even sport a pool! The lessons learned from Redondo Beach House are being incorporated into a line of more affordable, accessible designs, soon available as Logical Homes.

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London’s Container City

Conceived by Urban Space Management, London’s Container City first sprang up in the heart of the Docklands in 2001. It took just five months to complete the original 12 work studios, at a height of three stories. Shortly after that a fourth floor of studios and living apartments was added.

Container City was designed to be low cost, as well as environmentally friendly. Recycled materials made up 80% of building supplies. Architect Nicholas Lacey and partners and engineer Buro Happold used component pieces to build up adaptable living and work spaces.

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Container City II

Container City I was a success, and in2002, Urban Space Management added an addition, dubbed Container City II. Reaching five stories high, Container City II is connected to its earlier iteration via walkways. It also boasts an elevator and full disabled access, as well as 22 studios.

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Port-a-Bach

Need some flexibility with security? Need a temporary structure or small vacation home? Going off the grid? The Port-a-Bach system from New Zealand’s Atelier Workshop might be a good fit.

Costing around $55,000, Port-a-Bach sleeps two adults and two children comfortably, in a dwelling that folds up into a fully enclosed steel shell. It comes with large internal storage cupboards and shelves; a stainless steel kitchen; bathroom with shower, sink and composting toilet; bunk beds and dressing room. Fabric screens allow you to shape internal space, as well as shelter the outdoor deck area.

Bach (pronounced Batch) is Kiwi slang for “Bachelor Pad,” and refers to the many small cabins that dot the famously picturesque country.

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Cove Park Artists’ Retreat

Set on 50 acres of gorgeous Scottish countryside, Cove Park is an artist’s retreat designed to stimulate and reinvigorate. Urban Space Management first brought in three repurposed shipping containers in 2001, and the center became so popular that more units have been added.

Doesn’t look like your average shipping box, does it?

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All Terrain Cabin

Canada’s Bark Design Collective built the All Terrain Cabin (ATC) as a showcase for sustainable (and Canadian!) ingenuity. The small home is based on a standard shipping container, and is said to be suitable for a family of four, plus a pet, to live off the grid in comfort and style.

The cabin folds up to look like any old shipping container, and can be sent via rail, truck, ship, airplane, or even helicopter. When you’re ready to rest your bones, the cabin quickly unfolds to 480 square feet of living space, with a range of creature comforts.

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The Ecopod

Another container home designed for on- or off-grid living is the Ecopod. Made from a shipping container, an electric winch is used to raise and lower the heavy deck door (power is supplied by a solar panel). The floor is made from recycled car tires, and the walls have birch paneling (over closed-cell soya foam insulation). The glass is double paned to slow heat transfer.

The Ecopod can be used as a stand alone unit or with other structures. It is designed to minimize environmental impact.

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Adam Kalkin Quik House

Want your own container house? There’s a six-month waiting list for the Quik House by architect Adam Kalkin, who is based in New Jersey. The distinctive Quik House comes in a prefabricated kit, based on recycled shipping containers (in fact a completed house is about 75% recycled materials by weight).

The standard Quik House offers 2,000 square feet, three bedrooms and two and one-half baths, though larger options are also available. The shell assembles within just one day, and all the interior details can be finished within about three months.

The Quik House comes in two colors (orange or natural rust bloom), and the estimated total cost, including shipping and assembly, is $184,000. You can add even greener options such as solar panels, wind turbines, a green roof, and additional insulation (to R-50).

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LiNX Temporary Structures

Dublin-based designer, Richard Barnwall, envisioned this design, dubbed the LiNX as a temporary structure for construction workers. The two-storey model pictured is to be comprised of four 20-foot containers. Such designs offer flexibility and rapid deployment, and may even work for more permanent homes.

daily_green_news-430094226-1237326360Ross Stevens House

Industrial designer Ross Stevens built this distinctive house in Wellington, New Zealand. Repurposed shipping containers form an intriguing contrast to the surrounding hill. In fact, the unique home makes use of the hill itself, expanding interior space beyond the containers.

Parts of the Ross Stevens house are surprisingly spacious and comfortable. There’s even a cool table made from a repurposed door.

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Student Housing Project Keetwonen, Amsterdam

Billed as the largest container city in the world, Amsterdam’s massive Keetwonan Complex houses 1,000 students, many of whom are happy to secure housing in the city’s tight real estate market. Designed by Tempo Housing in 2006, Keetwonen is said to be a roaring success, with units that are well insulated, surprisingly quiet and comfortable.

Each resident enjoys a balcony, bathroom, kitchen, separate sleeping and studying rooms, and large windows. The complex has central heating and high speed Internet, as well as dedicated bike parking.

Keetwonen has proved so popular that its lease has been extended until at least 2016.

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Site-Specific Exhibition

Site-Specific and Buatalah Studio were asked to design a green building exhibition for Baan Lae Suan Fair in Bangkok. They came up with a design for a family of three, made out of four reused shipping containers and prefabricated modules. The home reuses graywater and incorporates spaces for growing food.

For more “green homes”

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Kill me before I try these!

Bubble gum cocktail wieners. There’s nothing that mentions if they are wiener-flavored. I once tried pickle-flavored gum. I’ve been sick to my stomach for many years since.

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I was just kidding!

I’ll try the damn wiener gum but I don’t know if this is just an art piece or a sick (although innovative) way of making a buck from these tough economic times. A one-shot, backward suicide revolver. The AFTERLIFE would like to remind readers that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Makes a perfect gift for your AIG agent.

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Aw! Shoot, that’s cute

These plush guns and war themed stuffies from the French artist and designer James Lassey are innovatively weird.

My only real concern is if anyone were to mistake the rifle for the real thing which, of course, would lead to you having a less than brilliant day.

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His website on doudoupop is well worth checking out for more examples of his dark, macabre and yet funny designs.

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Hard to swallow?

It’s a sexyful, delicious, weird.

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Violenta fashionistas!

Portuguese retailers Clothes in Closets got inspired by that idea that some shoppers can be brutal when it comes to sales. In order to promote their big sales, the result was a shopping bag that comes with built-in badass brass knuckles for handles.

The message is clear—the store has sales that are good enough to get into a fight over.

The creative campaign was created by Leo Burnett (Lisbon, Portugal).

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Wearable websites

If you have a company website, this is the ultimate marketing tool—if you don’t mind total strangers scanning you with their camera phones. When a cell phone scans an “Extended Identity” T-shirts, it will visit the coordinating website. The shirts feature a datamatrix barcode, known as a “tag.” Using a mobile phone camera, a person can take a photo of the tag which is read by software on the phone. From there, it launches a browser and takes you to the website.

The shirt can be customized to link to any website, social networking page, photo, video or music file. That includes Facebook and MySpace, as well as Augme’s own profiles which are designed with mobile-viewing in mind.

In Japan, reading barcodes using a mobile phone camera has been common for a long time. There, people regularly access websites and exchange contact information using printed barcodes that can be found in classified ads, on billboards and business cards. Increasingly, barcode-reading software is being installed on mobiles in Europe and North America. That includes the Nokia N93, N93i, N95 and E90. For phones without built-in barcode reading software, a free download is available at Augme.com. The application lets users find free tag-reading software for particular phones. 

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I see 3D

A company using a technology developed over 10 years ago by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology allows it to make anything from a computer-aided design plan and turn it into a 3D product.

Early this year at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, MetalTec Innovations, a division of Irwin-based ProMetal/Ex One Company, let visitors see what their finished product looked like after it has seemingly been cast in metal.

In this case the unique process is much quicker, doing in about 10 hours what traditional casting methods took from weeks to months to do.

What’s the criteria for being able to make a product? If it can be scanned as a virtual object, it can be made.

Because potential customers have had a hard time figuring out what the technology could do, the company focused on hardware to begin with and has moved into other products as people see their finished work.

Using a revolutionary printing process, artists there are able to take any computer-aided design plan and — in a perfect marriage of art and math — turn it into a solid, three-dimensional product.

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Let there be light!

If you’re like me and thinking tidying up means stuffing everything inside drawers, boxes or toilet tanks, you need Chong Mingliang Sky’s fantastic USB key-holder. The design acknowledges that important things like keys should have a designated place. The holder comes with five matching USB keys, each with its own keychain attachment. Once plugged in, the flame-shaped LED above it lights, giving the appearance of candles from a distance.

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Spruce up your debt maker!

Dress up your credit cards with these self adhesive stickers from Charles & Marie. The stickers don’t cover up your name or credit card number, just the standard art-by-bank portion.

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LEGO (Lethally Edged Gouging Object)

Remember playing with Lego as a kid? You no doubt looked at photos of great Lego houses, cars, and neat contraptions that you desperately wanted to recreate—perhaps you even dreamed of creating your own Lego weapons, too. Now you can build all the neat things you wanted to—it’s time to relive your youth! An automatic Lego gun would have put a whole new spin on kindergarten. A former Lego Manager and former Lego Designer have released an insider how-to book; surely they must be living underground now to avoid the Lego hit teams looking for them.

Two ex LEGO employees, Ulrik Pilegaard (senior designer) and Mike Dooley (Mindstorms boss), have written a book about LEGO hacking. Forbidden LEGO is full of dangerous projects which break the LEGO house rules, from the “High Velocity Automatic Lego Plate Dispenser” to the “Candy Coated Catapult.” In fact, breaking rules and folding non-lego objects into the mix are so important that each project has a “LEGO Rules Broken” list.

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These are the times to “LEGO” of conventional thinking. Innovation is the key to success in the current climate of fear and loathing when it comes to change. So, we say change brings dollars. Make cents?

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE

 Change

Spring has not sprung just yet!

Posted in The Epitaph on March 28, 2009 by Speider

While traveling home, enjoying the desert in bloom, I then hit the high country and, as luck would have it, my kids and I are trapped in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The highway is shut down and it looks like a snowstorm will keep us from getting home for a few days. Looks like the next issue of The AFTERLIFE Epitaph will be late a day or two. It’s the first deadline I’ve ever missed!

Here’s to “Spring Break” taking place while it’s still winter. YEESH!

Someone we DON’T want in The AFTERLIFE (so soon).

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2009 by Speider

I received very distressing news. One of the pioneers of the alternative comics movement is in very serious trouble. S. Clay Wilson, a man who pushed the boundaries and reinforced the first amendment needs help. Read on and please repost this!

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Jonathan,

I have distressing news.

Last November, cartoonist S. Clay Wilson suffered a severe brain injury in a fall.  He spent a week in intensive care and faces a long recovery.  Even with insurance, Wilson’s medical expenses are beyond his ability to pay and have made him and his family paupers.

I’d like your help to raise money for S. Clay Wilson’s medical expenses.

S. Clay Wilson is a major figure in American comics, a founder of the underground comix movement. Wilson is known for aggressively violent and sexually explicit panoramas of “lowlife,” often depicting the wild escapades of pirates and bikers. He was an early contributor to Zap Comix, and Wilson’s artistic audacity has been cited by R. Crumb as a liberating source of inspiration for Crumb’s own work, and I can say as much for myself.

I’d like to give a little back to the bad boy of comics, so I am turning my next 24 hour comic into a benefit for Wilson.

For those of you who may not have heard of it, the premise of the 24 Hour Comic challenge is that an artist attempts to complete 24 pages of comics within 24 hours.

I am soliciting pledges from friends and comics fans for each page I complete, the money to go towards Wilson’s medical expenses.

Contributions are at levels named for S. Clay Wilson characters:

Checkered Demon- $25 a page and over

Star-eyed Stella- $10 – $24.99 a page

Ruby the Dyke- $5- $9.99 a page

Captain Pissgums – Under $5 a page

Your contribution is not tax deductible, but contributors will receive an autographed copy of my completed story.

The 24 Hour Comic Event will be open to the public and will take place at Cosmic Monkey in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, April 11th from 10 am to 10 am Sunday (which just so happens to be Easter).

Read about the 24 Hour Comic event here: http://www.cosmicmonkeycomics.com/

Seven other artists will join me in soliciting pledges for their own 24 Hour Comics: Joshua Kemble, Kevin Cross, Neal Skorpen, Mike Getsiv, Tony Morgan, Josh Fitz and Steven Abrams.

Copic Marker has agreed to donate art materials for the event, including manga-ruled paper.

Anyone interested in pledging can reply by e-mail: davidchelsea(at)comcast(dot)net or write to me:

David Chelsea.
2814 NE 16th avenue
Portland OR 97212

I will contact all sponsors after the event to let them know how many pages I completed and to send them their copies.

Checks can be written to the S. Clay Wilson Special Needs Trust and sent to PO Box 14854 San Francisco CA 94114.

Thank you very much for considering this and helping me celebrate the season of Easter as well as Passover in an inspiring and meaningful way. Please forward this message to anyone who might like to help or simply see what we are up to!

Best wishes,
David Chelsea.

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 16th, 2009 #18, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on March 16, 2009 by Speider

The Epitaph is published every Monday (usually posted Sunday night around 10:00 PM, Central Time) so the unusually high hits today either tell me that people are trying to catch this weeks issue before it is topped by next weeks issue, or people are expecting early publication.

Fear not readers, the next issue will be published on time. The only issue I missed was when I was (1.) traveling and had no internet access, and (2.) when a scorpion bite made my typing finger blow up to the size of a baseball.

As always, we love to hear from readers and special comments e-mailed to The Epitaph stand a very good chance of being included as eulogies. The increasing hits tells us you enjoy the blog but your e-mails and posted comments tells us what you like and why. Drop us an e-mail!

I really, really like you!

By the way…there will be no issue next week as we enjoy Spring Break, trying, where possible, to enjoy a few days off with friends and family. See you in two weeks!

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Quotes from the deceased

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.” 

~ Chinese proverb

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Look at you being all modern and blogy! Nice work!” –  Joshua Jeffryes, Panamedia.com

Yes, but I still type with two fingers, so there’s still a way to go – JS

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Show me da Munny!

If you don’t know what a Munny is, then you probably also don’t know that TV stations will be dropping their analog broadcasts soon. Not ones to bash, but to inform, Munnys are the vinyl figures that have been sweeping pop culture for several years. There are also “do-it-yourself” blank Munnys and, naturally, people get quite creative. Here are just a few of our favorites…

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Check out more great Munnys at:

http://www.kidrobot.com/2008/munny/?p=gallery 

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We’re not joking around!

Nothing says fun and warmth like a ski mask emblazoned to make you look like the cuddly psychopath and Batman nemesis, the Joker.

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So when do they introduce the Texas Chainsaw Massacre “Leatherface” hat?

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Garage sales

Professional garage door provider, Clopay, recently changed their website in order to make it more user-friendly, and also to empower consumers to see what a garage door would look like on their home before they buy it. All you do is upload a photo of your home and try out doors with the online tool to see which one fits the best with your house design flavor or personal desire.

While that’s not the newest use of the meduim, I always dreamed of painting a photo-realistic scene of a messy garage interior on the garage door so it would look like it was open and there were odd things inside like flying saucers, bodies, A-bombs, etc. Well, these murals are quite artistic in their own way.

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Un-real realism!

Some more interesting murals.

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Eye see…or not

A couple of years ago, the U.S. military changed the woodlands camouflage pattern that had been in use since the second world war for something that was proven to “confuse” the human eye. Well, these examples of “urban camouflage” are just as confusing. Great for scaring the Swedish meatballs off of Ikea shoppers!

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When you want to be beaten or called names…

T-Shirts have really gone high tech and a bit romantic with the cool new Proximity Based Dynamic Life Shirts. These Tt-shirts, sold in pairs, have removable animated decals with six nostalgic 8-bit video game styled life hearts on the front that light up individually as the two shirts get closer to each other. You need two people wearing these shirts to make the magic work, so give one to your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. It’s a perfect excuse to get a little closer and be ridiculed by everyone in creation!

(Editor’s note: Great technology but really stupid example. If you can’t think of a better or less embarrassing use, then give us a call and we will!)

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Get the point?

We’ve spotlighted ninja throwing stars and knife handles that do this, but now we’ve found throwing darts that are clothes hangers. Buy them in a set of three. Better yet, buy a dartboard and have these stuck in the wall half a room away!

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AmsterDAMN!

Oh, first it was their legalized pot and prostitution (um, well…) now they want to show you your weight while you wait (no pun intended?) for your pot smoke-filled, prostitute-driven bus. It only works for one person waiting for the bus, on their way to the pot-serving whore house.

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Greenpeace gets down and dirty

Shock ads always seem to drive the point home and these ads from Greenpeace really get the message across. The copy reads, “You and your children can get used to this, but you don’t have to. Say no to nuclear energy.” We would have gone with, “Your grandchildren will see a different world if you don’t do something about it!” Still, very powerful visuals!

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The truth is so much better!

Why is it that late night TV spoofs of commercials would make better commercials than the actual ones?

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We would like to wish our clients, friends, readers and future clients a very fun and safe Spring Break. Naturally, the cell phone will be at my side and ready for business. It’s not work if you love what you do, but how does one make out an invoice for “fun?”

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

 

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 9th, 2009 #17, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on March 9, 2009 by Speider

I received a message about branding  Nebraska. As I told the person, it’s hard to follow “I love New York.”

Nebraska, despite some hip towns, really has an image problem. There weren’t too many things that could be called into play that would convince corporations to relocate there (unless they use, Nebraska – no corporate taxes and slave-labor wages). I pointed out Austin’s motto, “Austin is weird,” which is playful and causes a buzz. My first suggestion is just make outrageous statements to draw attention and cause buzz.

“Nebraska – Where there are hardly any UFO abductions!”
“Nebraska – Were people are kind and friendly because it’s the law!”
“Nebraska – No earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes or other natural disasters to kill you horribly!”
“Nebraska – It was Iowa that killed Buddy Holly, not us!”
“Nebraska – Sure it’s cold, but that means you’ll stay young forever and ever!”
“Nebraska – if a billionaire like Warren Buffet calls it home, then perhaps you could be a billionaire, too!”

“These are great ideas! I really love the humor approach,” he replied. It turns out that the committee wanted “unequaled work ethic” as the state motto. They thought it would draw corporations to relocate.

“Well,” I said, “that’s an outrageous statement, too! I don’t know how they’ll defend it if sued by Texas or Wyoming, claiming THEY have unequaled work ethic.”

That was the last I had heard of that branding initiative. Then a few days ago, on a business trip to Phoenix, I saw an article that wrote about a $160,000 branding for the city that went, “Phoenix – Arizona’s urban heart.” People were not impressed and wrote comments asking which agency had taken the money and run. One reader commented, “to which they should have added, ‘ . . . needs a defibrillator.’ “

Not naming the agency says two things; the state knew they blew $160,000 on a turd and not naming the agency saves a lot of death threats against the agency personnel and, if not a local agency, against the state officials who shoveled money into someone else’s economy.

The downtown partnership’s CEO told The Arizona Republic, “First off, a brand or an image that you are portraying has to reflect the reality, but it’s also aspirational. This is what we are focused on becoming.”

While I somehow doubt Tombstone, Purgatory or even Tuscon will ever top Phoenix as Arizona’s urban center. One person commented that the best selling point would be, “Phoenix – you’ll never shovel snow again!”

There has always been a struggle to brand what may be close to impossible to brand. San Diego, which needs no hype, paid for the slogan: “365 Days of Ahhhhhhh!”

New Jersey supposedly hired a firm to come up with the slogan: “We’ll win you over.” The governor rejected it.

A few years back the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau paid $150,000 for “Live large; Think big.” For that kind of money they should have added, “spend foolishly.”

One expert quoted in The Republic article said that cities trying to re-brand themselves should not play it safe. That’s why the Las Vegas slogan is so successful. He added that any good slogan also must be honest.

Here at The AFTERLIFE, we applaud taking chances, reaching for what will open eyes and cause buzz. But honesty, over all, is the utmost truth. That and the wonder of how many New Yorkers truly “love” New York. I lived there for 42 years and “liked” New York. There was too much to hate.

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Quotes from the deceased

“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“In the entire Afterlife we’ve never seen such innovative, clever designs as Jonathan has gathered here.  It’s nothing short of a miracle!  Signed, Moses (from Palestine), Jesus (of Nazareth) and Mohammed (not the Ali one).  Okay, I’m really Barbara Dale saying it but I swear to God it’s true.” - Barbara Dale, President, Dale Cards, Inc.

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Who nose?

Hip flashlight manufacturer Mag Instrument, Inc. is drawing on the fact that kids will stick anything up their noses in their latest ad campaign. Making light of this strange habit, Maglite is launching the company’s smallest model called Solitaire, with these humorous images of kids with illumination beaming from their nostrils.

Beyond the obvious finger, children have been known to insert candy, small toys, food and even rocks into their nasal cavity, so I wouldn’t put it past them to stick a mini flashlight in their nose. The results can be serious and a trip to the doctor for removal of the object is often necessary.

The ad campaign is by Leagas Delaney of Hamgurg, Germany, so please have your lawyer contact them when you are extricating flashlights from their nasal cavities.

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Are creative people freaks?

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Knuckle down to trouble!

Are you tough? Or maybe you just want to just look tough, without any pain or stigma? Then these tattoos are perfect 4 U! These temporary tattoos adhere to each of your knuckles and offer such classic witticisms as “This Hurt”, “Last Call”, “Babe Mgnt”, “Eye Candy” and “Doll Face”.

You’re bad, and you know it, so let your fingers do the talking. Hopefully they won’t get you into big trouble.

Select from Him or Her.

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and if you want to show your sensitive side, there’s crying men magnets. Magnets individually measure approximately 2 inches wide x 3 inches tall.

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Available at perpetualkid.com

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Quit yer wine-ing!

If you’re looking for a fun wine bottle stopper, check out this cool new Send wine bottle stopper. This silicone bottle stopper instantly transforms a wine bottle into an amusing message in a bottle, while preserving the wine’s flavor and aroma. It’s the perfect gift for any wine lover and would really come in handy if you were ever stranded on a deserted island with an empty bottle of vino.

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The bark is worse than the bite

A strong concept but the wrong placement. The ambient is meant to advertise how many trees are used to make toilet tissue. The problem — it’s placed by a sink and do we really want people to wipe less?

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Please note, bring your own pencil

The old alma mater to many denizens of The AFTERLIFE, the School of Visual Arts, has a campaign urging people to “think.” To that end, lined paper is served up in many forms with the hope people will feel creative and write down something. I f I remember correctly, SVA didn’t offer writing courses, much less cared if students could spell their own names.

Judging from the previous entry in this blog, SVA doesn’t care how many trees are flushed. Judging from this campaign, someone “flushed” their career.

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(Editor’s note: since we started with mottos, SVA used to have one of the greatest; “being good is not enough when you dream of being great.” Why mess with success?)

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Did you miss this one? I sure did

Here’s a really stellar bit of creativity that might have gotten overlooked amid the frenzy of Super Bowl ad gimmicks. To promote its “Smart Grid technology,” GE created a sort of Webcam hologram. Just follow these instructions to make your own “augmented reality,” as seen below. (You’ll need a printer, Webcam and microphone.)


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Hard hitting commercial

Speeder is haunted by the vision of a boy’s corpse. See this once and you will never forget it.

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Bong hitting commercial

It was only a matter of time before these ads started hitting mainstream media.

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Tired of crumby meals?

Clean up table crumbs with this neat little vacuum burger. Lettuce keep a clean table!

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Hybernate

The “Bear” sleeping bag is one of the coolest things to hit the sleeping bag market. It can zip up completely, like a costume or just hit the sack with your head hanging out of the toothy mouth.

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After the opening rant on branding, what can we say except one should never chance a budget, large or small on an agency unless there is truly a great track record of creativity. Now, who might have a great track record with products from Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Lucas Films, American Express, Federated Department Stores and other fortune 100 companies?

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE

Click here to contact an agency with a great track record

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 2nd, 2009 #16, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on March 2, 2009 by Speider

We like to look at our blog stats and see where our readers are finding us and which web sites and blogs have linked to one of our stories. Links have increased and eventually it had to happen…we were linked from an infamous hate group under the guise of a legitimate religious organization. There’s two things we hate here at The AFTERLIFE; one is when readers miss an issue and the other is intolerance.

We won’t even mention the name of this group as we don’t wish to add any hits to their site. We just want them to go away! 

Creativity means having an open mind to all possibilities. Creative people come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and creeds and all genders and sexual orientations. It is not the package that houses the creative mind that matters, it is the ability to create, innovate and generally make the world a better place. We support diversity and wonder why those who have faith that G-d created the universe and is an omnipotent power, think G-d needs their help to harm others on this Earth? 

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Quotes from the deceased

“There aren’t too many people ready to die for racism. They’ll kill for racism but they won’t die for racism.”

~ Florynce R. Kennedy

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Jonathan, I like the Afterlife blog lots!  I’m in no hurry to get to the actual afterlife, though. I like this life even better.  I mean, look at all the cool toys it has!” – Walt Jaschek, Writer, waltnow.com 

Walt, we can wait for you here at The AFTERLIFE. The way things are going, we’ll be too busy processing bank and Wall Street CEOs  – JS

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When the “Tide” turns, embrace the new “Era!”

“If you can’t hide it, embrace it,” is a good life motto. Cool accessory designers, Miss Geschick and Lady Lapsus, must clearly agree, as they have developed a product to embrace this trend.

Their ‘Puke Pet’ brooches give your pesky stain a purpose by simply making it part of your outfit. Simply pop on a ‘Puke Pet’ brooch and you’re ready to rock, stain and all. If you want to make more of a care-free statement, just go for the stain pin and let people stare.

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Get organi
zed!

My father had the pile system. If he needed it, it was in “the pile.” I’m a big believer in the Rubbermaid system (the “pile” is in a rubbermaid bin) and trying to sell my kids on a plastic shoebox for each of their toy collections. Organizers do make a difference and here’s some more gadgets that keep the piles down to files.

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Iiiyee!

These ads for Croma Eye Drops use bloodshot eyes with capillaries shaped like arrows, flames and snakes to relate their message to “Kill the red.” These ads hurt just to look at, but we must admit that they certainly evoke the sensation of red, irritated eyes and the corresponding desperation to get rid of that feeling.

The ads were created by advertising agency Tonic, Dubai, UAE.

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MANIC-quins!

As children growing up in New York, so many of us lived for the annual Christmas displays in the windows of department stores along Fifth Ave. These displays are the stuff of nightmares.

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Zombo mambo

This undead minion is at your full remote control command. Simply press a button on the brain-shaped remote control and he walks and groans – press it again, he stops…hopefully!

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Jones-in’ for gold!

Although this ancient golden fertility idol won’t make you fertile, is far from ancient and is made from durable, gold-colored vinyl rahter than gold, it’s still a cool replica that doubles as a bank for your coins. It’s accurately recreated in every detail using digital scans from the original movie prop and features a coin slot in the back to hold any currencies you may have looted, er aquired during your adventures. Giant rolling, crushing boulder sold separately.

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How much larger can TVs get?

Engineers at Toshiba in Japan are on their way to making OLED TV Wallpaper, which will allow you to wallpaper any wall you choose with a very thin OLED screen.

According to sources at Toshiba, this is how this would work: “The wallpaper uses light that has been redirected by an ultra-fine grating that is fabricated by self-assembled nano particles.” It would seem that the effect might be similar to that of a Fresnel lens like those used in traffic lights, amplifying the intensity without requiring additional energy.”

Well, that sounds simple! Perhaps an application they didn’t consider is endless loops of moving wallpaper patterns when you aren’t watching the TV.

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Brace-lete yourself for more Bluetooth

Here’s another fun Bluetooth gadget, the stainless steel Stainless Steel LCD Vibrating Bluetooth Bracelet.

This funky Bluetooth bracelet is made from stainless steel and features an LCD display that will let you know who is calling you. When will they add a matching pendant and earrings?

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Ears to you!

A promotion for their frequent use earplugs, the 3M company went for a piece that could be used for many, many years. One plug for the month and the other for the day.

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Wha’?

The last issue of the EPITAPH spotlighted the work of Matthew Hawkins (custompapertoys.com) and his 3D paper work. This isn’t Matthew’s work but we have to wonder why they used such a great medium for such a lame message? Maybe it’s just lost in translation. Maybe it’s just poorly written.

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(Ad reads, “Office vultures can be more dangerous than desert ones. Get out of the world you live in. Idea adventure Fiat.”)

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Shopping with character (or Hello Billionaire Kitty!)

Tokyo Character Street opened as part of Tokyo Station’s underground shopping mall in March 2008 and has since served as a center for people who want to buy goods featuring characters from anime and other forms of pop culture. A total of 15 shops operate there, including TV networks’ shops, an Ultraman shop, and a Snoopy store. The Street is regularly packed with young people, families, and travelers and is one of the newest hotspots in town.

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Tokyo Character Street is located on the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station in an underground mall with 100 restaurants and souvenir shops called First Avenue Tokyo Station. The area around Tokyo Station is a business and commercial hub, and the station itself is the starting point for several Shinkansen (bullet train) lines and many other train lines. On weekdays First Avenue is used by commuters, students on school trips, and foreign tourists, while and on weekends and holidays it is visited by many families with children. The underground shopping mall offers a way for people to pass the time until departure, and many travelers wander in and out of the shops as they wait for their train.

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Tokyo Station First Avenue originally had about 10 shops dedicated to character goods, including Snoopy Town Mini and Fuji TV Shop. These shops were relocated to a single, 80-meter-long section, and the number was increased by inviting an five additional outlets to set up shop. The new shopping street thus features a lineup of 15 shops specializing in popular characters like Ultraman and Hello Kitty, as well as merchandise from TV stations.

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According to the consulting firm Character Databank, Inc., the retail market for Japanese character goods in 2005 stood at about ¥1.61 trillion yen ($17.9 billion at 90 yen to the dollar). TV networks know that creating a popular character is one way to improve their business performance, and all of the networks have been putting effort into coming up with a unique mascot and developing lines of goods connected with these figures.

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The Ecch Files

Since we covered useful organizers, what could be better that these truthy file folders. Keeps the office staff laughing and the HR person writing reports about your “attitude.”

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(available at perpetualkid.com)

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Organized. It means you get what you want, when you need it and without budget overruns. The staff at The AFTERLIFE is chosen for their track record in efficiency as well as their talent. Organize your needs by making sure you have The AFTERLIFE at your finger tips. Bookmark this site and put our e-mail into your address book.

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

Click here to contact The AFTERLIFE!

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Feb. 23rd, 2009 #15, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on February 23, 2009 by Speider

It seems The AFTERLIFE Epitaph is gaining quite a few links to the items we cover. We have scooped several large, well-known blogs (obamagab.com is a real surprise!) and are getting some kudos. There is no greater compliment (except the e-mails we receive from readers, naturally) then to have our work linked to other blogs. We’re even getting press releases on new products and services people want included on The Epitaph. When oh when will the graft and other tangible bribes start pouring in?

We hope you enjoy the items we find here and there and consider us your first source of research on new media, technology, trends, products and other absurdities. We always welcome submissions if you see something you feel is worth sharing with our clients and readers. As always, keep those e-mails coming in. Really complimentary messages will be treated as eulogies for all to see.

Ouija link to The AFTERLIFE

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Quotes from the deceased

“Madness is a very healthy sickness. If it were not for my madness, I would have gone insane long ago.”

~ Brother Theodore

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Your Epitaph is wonderfully rich both graphically and in ideas, even as it makes my old brain fuzz over.” – Stan Mack, Cartoonist

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Pulp friction

Here at The AFTERLIFE, we are HUGE fans of die cuts and paper engineering for print projects. There is nothing more captivating than a brochure, flyer or package with shapes and, even better, automation.

Matthew Hawkins, an old cohort from Hallmark Cards, is the master of paper engineering! His company, Custom Paper Toys, is doing gangbusters and it couldn’t happen to a more talented guy. 

The Epitaph is into spotlighting the best of creativity and these pieces, which are art AND fun, show true genius and innovation. Did we mention Matthew is a fan of The Epitaph? Add good taste to his credits!

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Here are some Fathers Day greeting card concepts Matthew did about a year ago when he was still under the employ of Hallmark Cards. They were little pop-out and assemble paper toys. The card fronts looked like product boxes and the insides looked like an old model kit. Unfortunately, they were never produced.
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The car and the grill opened up to reveal a little message. 
©HMK 

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Here is a 3D paper automata he made for the 100 Beasts show at Giant Robot in San Francisco.

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The arms, legs, ears, tails and hats all have the same size tabs so they can be put in any slot and the heads are also interchangeable. 

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 An Ebay/Disney promotion. 

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A papertoy/illustration Matthew did for Newsweek.

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The Obama paper toy.

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Bound for Del Tacos kid’s meals.

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Here is the cover of Matthew’s new book “Urban Paper” from F&W publications. You can order it from Amazon or through Matthew’s blog.

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Landmark decision

Michael Hughes loves to travel and visit the world’s most famous landmarks. He also loves to take creative, quirky pictures in which he replaces these monuments with cheap souvenirs.

Hughes started this hobby back in 1998 and has accumulated a rich collection of over 100 fun images using this blending technique in 200 countries he visited.

From a plastic Eiffel Tower, to a coffee cup showing the Statue of Liberty, and a souvenir fridge magnet of the Golden Gate Bridge. His creativity has no limits.

“I noticed coffee cups from a shop near the Statue of Liberty had the statue printed on, so I poured my drink on the floor, and positioned it in front of the statue,” Michael explained how he discovered this technique.

“Since then, taking the pictures has developed into a hobby and a passion to the point where I have been taking trips recently just to photograph a souvenir next to its landmark.”

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They’ve got it covered

If you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on sunshine without exploding into gamma rays, Swedish manufacturer Bolon offers you the chance to find out; no tricks, no hidden lighting, just their 2009 Twilight collection with its shiny twist.

The radiant, woven vinyl flooring benefits from a unique production process and 50 years of know-how. The cutting edge design is made of a top layer, in this case a special metallic weave, fused with a rear coating, which consists of PVC and an integrated layer of non-woven glass fiber. Balancing classic and modern, the floor creates interesting shades and adds depth to the room, evoking an atmosphere of dusk.

There is, of course, a variety of older but equally fabulous collections, though Twilight stands out for its mysterious impression and shimmering mood. From a more practical point of view, this is probably the end to stumbling on shadow furniture and loose items.

Twilight is a collection of shimmering woven metallic floors that come in three different qualities with different colors and structures. The muted colors provide the floor with a deep and exclusive impression that intensifies the contrasts in the room. Inviting, challenging and full of surprises.  Have you guessed this description was lifted entirely from their web site…except for the busting into gamma rays part?

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Grounded ideas!

Some innovative rugs.

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Tasteless tattoos

There are literally thousands of possible designs for a tattoo, and it seems as though people are always finding new places to put them. The new trend in the world of tattoos is to get permanent ink on your tongue.

The most popular designs for tongue tattoos are moons and stars, tribal and Celtic designs, and patterns that cover the tongue entirely. Although I suspect that some of the tattoos in the gallery may be the product of digital manipulation, the effect of seeing these images is just the same.

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Spotlight on Sprint

Sprint hits us with another animated glow light commercial.

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A small feat

Is it real or a miniature? It’s a few simple Photoshop steps for a unique effect!

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Here’s how to do it…

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You’re un-welcome!

Not only funny, the un-welcome mat keeps you from buying over-priced cookies from adolescent hawkers.

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An art piece and unfortunately not usable as an actual doormat, this political piece by Wendy Cook, is comprised of little, plastic, green army men. It evokes, according to the artist, the plastic grass welcome mats so iconic to American doorsteps.

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Bacon products sizzle!

Nothing makes one want to run to the nearest restroom to floss his/her teeth like the taste of pork. That is exactly what this special bacon-flavored dental floss offers: a mouth-watering, crispy, grease-soaked fried bacon taste for a teeth flossing experience that can only be described as…breakfasty.

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And why stop there? Take that bacon goodness into the shower with bacon soap…

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And dress for success with a bacon scented suit, bacon and egg cufflinks, bacon wallet, load up your bacon briefcase with bacon bandages and finish your day with baconwrapped turkey, a little bacon – maple lollipops or bacon-chocolate bars and bacon flavored vodka!

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Your pet will “tank” you!

Why settle for a regular cat house (hmmm, that didn’t sound right) when you can have the meanest pet on the block? Heavily arm your feline with these uniques paper pet houses which you order from Suck UK and slap together yourself (then go on a job interview with “weapons specialist” added to your resumé). Retailing for the price of 15 British pounds, or roughly $30 USD. You don’t even have to name your cat “Patton,” but it might help!

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As odd as we feel spotlighting bacon-themed products, it goes to show you that there are ideas in every possible thing. How else can you explain fake dog doody?

At The AFTERLIFE, we have a collection of screwball creatives with innovative ideas and a track record of excellence. Think about it and give us a fry…er, try (sorry! Bacon items on the brain).

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

 

 

iPhone gets your iLegs broken!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2009 by Speider

Here at The AFTERLIFE, we’d rather not see our readers and clients too soon, so perhaps we should warn you away from our favorite techno-gadget and the basho-beating you will get from the latest app.

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Las Vegas casino operators are on the lookout for blackjack cheaters using a card-counting iPhoneapplication designed to help players win.

Nevada State gaming control officials have sent warnings to casinos about card-counting software that turns iPhone smart mobile telephones or iPod Touch MP3 players into illegal tools forbeating the odds at blackjack tables.

“Once this program is installed on the phone through the iTuneswebsite it can make counting cards easy,” Nevada gaming control board member Randall Sayre wrote in a February 5 letter to casino operators.

“When the program is used in the ‘Stealth Mode‘ the screen of the phone will remain shut off, and as long as the user knows where the keys are located the program can be run effortlessly without detection.”

Players using the program simply tap a virtual button on the screen each time a card 10 or higher is turned up and tap a different button for lower-value cards.

A mini-software program continually updates a “true count,” which with one peek can provide feedback regarding a player’s chances of winning by getting cards with total values that are closest to 21 points without exceeding that amount.

Nevada officials said they were tipped that players in American Indian-run casinos in Northern California have been using the card-counting software on the popular Apple devices.

It is illegal in Nevada to have or use card-counting gadgets in casinos, but players are allowed to try to keep count in their heads.

So, skip the app and stick with a real live autistic savant!

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Feb. 16th, 2009 #14, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on February 16, 2009 by Speider

The AFTERLIFE Epitaph is published every Monday. Don’t miss and issue or you might have to scroll down a bit!

Happy President’s Day to the guys on the money. Gone but not forgotten. The presidents, I mean…maybe.

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Quotes from the deceased

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

~ Steve Jobs

(Okay, so Jobs is still alive…for now!) – JS

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“I just caught up on the Epitaph.  I had missed a few weeks. You really are an evil genius.” – Robyn M. Feller – Writer, Editor, Researcher, One Smart Feller Editorial Services

Aw, shucks! No one ever used the word, “genius” for me before. -JS

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Zum-thing really great!

Zumbox is an interesting e-mail start-up based on the company’s capability to create an electronic mailbox for every residential physical address in the United States.

The idea is that companies that send our paper statements–banks, utility companies, and so on–can now send those documents electronically. The benefits include lower environmental impact, security, and archivability of the messages. More importantly, service providers already know their customers’ physical addresses. They can start delivering messages to users immediately, instead of trying to gather their customers’ e-mail coordinates.

To sign up for the service, consumers go to Zumbox, enter their physical address, and then wait for a physical letter to arrive with their Zumbox PIN. That closes the loop between online user and home address, and is used to unlock their electronic mailbox.

Billing companies don’t have to wait for consumers to connect to the service before they start using it. The idea is that they just start sending their electronic print runs of bills and such to Zumbox, which then files messages in mailboxes waiting for consumers to activate their accounts.

Once customers sign into an account, they can then–for each biller sending them statements–optionally turn off the paper delivery they’ve been getting. Zumbox can alert users’ preexisting e-mail accounts when they have new statements ready for them.

The consumer advantage over getting regular e-mail from a biller? It’s a central, secure clearinghouse for bills, and it’s archived at the Zumbox site. For the biller, the big advantage, as I said, is setup, since they already know their customers’ physical addresses.

 

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A load of Bushido!

 It is a little known fact that Samurai also carried umbrellas. Much as they later had to disguise their swords as canes, so they disguised their umbrellas as swords. In fact, there was one skilled umbrella maker who all the Samurai relied on for their Sword Handle Umbrellas. His name has been buried in the sands of time, but his plans have been preserved. And now, it is with great pleasure that we offer to you, the “Samurai Sword Handle Umbrella.”

Glide it out of its nylon sheath. Hold it by its space-age plastic handle. Feel the balance. This is the umbrella you never knew you always wanted. No one will mess with you with this slung across your back, and even the rain will shudder when you pull it out. For, apart from looking unbelievably awesome, the “Samurai Sword Handle Umbrella” is a dang fine umbrella. It will keep you dry and the envy of your friends. Precipitation doesn’t stand a chance! 

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See the light

Forget lamps. Forget mood lighting. Forget wall decoration. Forget…uh, I forgot. They only take up space, and sooner or later, you get tired of looking at them. The dutch designer, Jonas Samson, has come up with a better idea. His design, the light emitting wallpaper, solves the question of mood lighting and decoration. The device can also be turned off, so it can look like average wallpaper.

Imagine billboards, bus signs, etc. being made with this technology!?

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A font of knowledge!

The AFTERLIFE is one of those places where we try to collect every font in creation. We’ve seen it all, or so we thought. Here’s a few we didn’t expect.

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Fans of political figures and those who wish to forge checks for Harry Truman’s account will be happy to know there is also a new line of presidential handwriting fonts. Politician identity theft just got a whole lot easier!

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And now, fans of the old fontographer application, there’s a free app for creating fonts you can get online. check out http://fontstruct.fontshop.com/

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USB-spectin’ more jump drives?

Well, then why settle for just a regular 2GB storage device when it also has built in mini Post It notes, and can store up to 100 mini Post It sheets.

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Yes, play with your food!

Everybody remembers Wooly Willy (sometimes known as Dapper Dan) – that bald little fellow with all the iron filings that you could drag into really bad hairdos!

Well Dan is now in a new home on a Food Face plate, made from hotel-quality, food-safe, high-fire ceramics. So now you can play with your food and give Willy/Dan a whole new look. Bring on the mash-potatoes and peas…the possibilities are endless! Just be careful with the sausages…there may be kids around.

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Owies get some ZOWIE!

The major change in bandages over the past few decades have only been in the material from which they are made and the addition of licensed characters to make them more badges of honor to kids (and some adults…or so I hear, ahem!)

Well move over little pink strips! Available here and there on the web, there are some great, die-cut bandages that will make even the sanest person start cutting themselves on purpose (not just screwed up teenagers!).

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(A note to AFTERLIFE staff: as of tomorrow, there will be no more Exacto knive allowed in the office).

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Don’t bug me!

People will stop and do a double take when you pass by wearing these ear buds! So what if people think you have flies crawling out of your ears? Why listen to good music with the same ordinary, boring ear buds that everyone else uses? Stand out! Put the “STINK” in diSTINCtive!

Compatible with devices with a standard 3.5 mm headphone socket. Works with MP3 Players, PDA, Portable gaming systems and laptop computers.

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When it’s time to ring in a new era

If you’ve ever felt that watches are just too chunky for your delicate wrists, then this is a concept you will be looking out for: the Digitus ring. Designed by Charles Windlin, this smart piece of jewelry incorporates 1710 micro-spheres consisting of part magnetic and part decorative material.

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The Digitus ring can thus be turned towards any direction and still display the time to its delighted holder. Additional data that may be generated on the innovative display include personal calendar information or even the artsy pattern of your preference. Imagine your company logo and message programed into this ring!

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This book is a scam!

We’ve all gotten the pleas from Africa that we can get millions of dollars by working with some attorney who represents some dead family that left their money to someone with our name (for the life of me, I don’t know what family would share the name The AFTERLIFE, but apparently there are LOTS of them!)

The book “Cry for Help: 36 Scam email messages from Africa,” by Henning Wagenbreth, documents several horror stories experienced by people who had bad enough judgment to fall for such scams.

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Wagenbreth adds illustrations to 36 of his favourite e-mail hoaxes, thereby turning them into rather twisted works of art!

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Bjork-ing up the wrong tree.

While the headline has nothing to do with this story about a Swedish direct mail campaign, I had to do it because I might never get a chance for a Swedish pun ever again.

When Swedish real estate firm, Christer Magnusson opened a new office outside Stockholm and wanted to spread the word around the neighborhood, they help an open house “Welcome” party.

By placingt actual sized welcome mats with the information printed on the other side in front of neighbor’s doors, they garnered  a 30% attendance among neighbors at the open house. 

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Book ‘em, Dan-o!

If you’re like me, you have way too many books and precious little room. Well, now those symbols of a dying medium can serve a better purpose than just impressing people who believe you are a voracious reader.

Some author who can afford three names has given bibliophiles (tome-maniacs?) some ideas for those stacks of bound paper. If that doesn’t do it, there are pieces of mounting hardware and furniture to help you out.

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Interactive ads are very touching!

Everyone loves to play, so interactive ads have gained momentum over the past couple of years. There’s some great and odd stuff out there.

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Created by Kara Grey of the Tequila Advertising Agency in New Zealand, this innovative billboard for Pedigree pet foods allows people to play with a virtual puppy while they are waiting for their bus.

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The brainchild of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, a number of UK bus shelters have been transformed into interactive gaming stations which invite travelers to bash as many digital falling eggs as they can in 20 seconds, in order to release their creamy goop.

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Remember how fun it was writing on casts when the class jocks (or klutzes) busted their arms? This billboard ad for Sharpie permanent markers builds on that fascination by encouraging people to write on the giant white e-cast. 

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This ad for Korea University’s Institute of Foreign Languages is a hoot! I love the fun and clever approach they use to get people to register and learn a new language. By pulling out the tongue-shaped lier, potential students can see themselves learning a foreign language. The tagline reads, “Get the native tongue.” 

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MAD Magazine never had a fold in like this (if they did, they might not be cutting back to a quarterly publishing schedule from monthly). Wonderbra grabbed the center spread and by pulling the attached strings, it give you a demonstration of how the bra model, well, you know. Probably not a great idea for advertising Viagra, but there are some other uses I can imagine.

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Tattoos that can save your life

Yes, a gang tattoo might save your life if you have to stroll through Bloods territory to and from work, but, at least in this case, Draper Laboratories of Massachusetts has developed a color-changing nanoparticle tattoo ink that can help diabetes patients monitor their glucose levels.

Heather Clark, a scientist at Draper, says that the nanoparticle tattoo wouldn’t have to be terribly large to be effective for diabetes patients: “It doesn’t have to be a large, over-the-shoulder kind of tattoo. It would only have to be a few millimeters in size and wouldn’t have to go as deep as a normal tattoo.”

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Get the bloody message across

Public bathrooms are becoming an increasingly popular target for advertising. The latest is a guerrilla bathroom campaign to promote the second season of Dexter on the FX channel in Portugal. The campaign uses a blood-red dye in urinals to produce a blood-like flush. The campaign catches people off-guard (literally with their pants down) and stays true to Dexter’s trademark of excessive blood and gore.

This is probably not the venue for introducing the new Coke-a-Cola flavor.

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There are many unique ways to get your message across and make it stick in people’s minds. Every day, new technology has some application and even good ol’ imagination can create something wonderful in the place of bells and whistles. 

Here at The AFTERLIFE, we pride ourselves on using whatever is available and within your budget. Whatever it is you can afford, we promise more bang for your buck.

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

Yes, bang my buck!

A Random Thing

Posted in The Epitaph on February 11, 2009 by Speider

It may seem that we’re shilling for despair.com but the truth is, we are shilling for our own services by highlighting how success is obtained by quick action and jumping on opportunities! With that said, the fabulously branded and smart people at Despair have done it again! A week after their Christian Bale shirt hit the net, now they have a slap in the face to, er, Facebook.

Denizens of the social network have been treated to the viral question, “25 random thoughts,” in which they are supposed to spill out their inner thoughts, dreams, secrets and dirty laundry (we just put our dirty laundry and inner hopes into a hamper). To those who are bothered by this question comes…

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“”I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW 1 RANDOM THING ABOUT YOU. “

Brilliant because it’s true!

http://site.despair.com/1randomthing/

And, yet another truthful secret yearning for Facebook users…

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http://site.despair.com/ignore/

Get ‘em while people can still understand the joke, which won’t be as long as our “Disenchanted Muggles for Voldemort” 2008 election material lasted. At least we had several months of success with that one!

voldemort-poster ©WB

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Feb. 9th, 2009 #13, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on February 9, 2009 by Speider

Lucky number 13! Thirteen issues of The EPITAPH, a couple of news flashes and we seem to be highly successful with readers. We are enthusiastic by the response and thank everyone for their kind and supportive messages.

On an odd note, we get some other blogs that link to ours and we always welcome that. In the last issue, a Barak Obama site linked in to our story about the anti-Obama placards we spotlighted for their graphic excellence and then they quickly broke the link. Probably not the thing their readers wanted to see. 

Again, we here at The AFTERLIFE take no political sides. The articles appeared because the graphics were excellent and that’s what we do here; spotlight excellence (unless we are tearing down pure dreck!). Republican, democrat, libertarian or whatever, commrades, we make no political distinctions, nor will we ever because no matter what political stance you take, we are all future worm food together. There’s unity for you!

Well, without delay, on to the stuff you asked for…and some you didn’t!

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Quotes from the deceased

“Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.”

~ H. L. Mencken

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Eulogy to the AFTERLIFE

“It’s a great blog. I’d even buy it as a coffee table book!” – R.J. Matson – Editorial Cartoonist, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

We need 102 issues before that happens, but it’s nice to know there’s ONE customer waiting patiently. – JS

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3D is more than my grandmother’s old apartment!

That’s pretty much the only joke we can make for this item. A Japanese camera maker has developed the world’s first compact digital camera featuring a three-dimensional image system that allows three-dimensional still and moving images to be viewed with the naked eye. The system comprises three elements: a 3-D digital camera which captures an image exactly as your eyes see it, a 3-D digital photo frame, and 3-D prints. It is planned for release in 2009, taking digital cameras into a new era.

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D Viewer Technology. ©FUJIFILM Corporation

This company uses a newly developed image processor, RP (Real Photo) Processor 3D, in the new system, with which it has succeeded in reducing this lag to less than 0.001 second. The processor also approximately synchronizes photo conditions on the right and left, including focus, brightness, and hue. Another problem with previous technologies was the difficultly of accurately crossing the center lines of the right and left lenses near the object being photographed, but this problem has been overcome with the use of the newly developed FinePix Real 3D Lens System.

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With people, be color blind, otherwise it DOES matter!

Have you ever wondered why you seem to be hungrier at the counter of a fast food joint, more than you were when you walked in? Or why you eat so fast while you are there?

The importance of colors and their effects on the human mind have been of interest to scientists for some time. It’s been proven that colors have a great impact on our emotions and the way we react in various situations. Many doctors choose office colors that will relax their patients, and restaurant owners choose colors that make customers feel at home and hungry. Bright colors generally cause people to feel happier and earth tones make us feel more at ease and comfortable. A new study shows that two colors, blue and red, produce very different thinking capabilities.

If you’re doing something that requires more creative thinking, then blue would be the color to paint the walls in your office or to have as a background on your laptop. If, on the other hand, you need to be more accurate and detail-oriented, choose red.

The same may be said for the color of products and the packaging in which they sit on retail shelves. So don’t just stand behind a designer, directing colors that you remember being the color in grandma’s curtains; choose colors that affect moods and make consumers excited at the prospect of owning the product or reading the ad. Get it?

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If a new study is any guide, the color red can make people’s work more accurate, and blue can make people more creative. In the study, published Thursday on the Web site of the journal Science, researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted tests with 600 people to determine whether cognitive performance varied when people saw red or blue. Participants performed tasks with words or images displayed against red, blue or neutral backgrounds on computer screens.

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If there’s a satellite, then what’s the regular strength?

Google Maps is quickly becoming the go-to way to get around. iPhone users already use the application to receive GPS driving and walking directions, and the implementation of Google Latitude makes your every move publicly visible.

There are a number of other Google Maps discoveries that are a little less mainstream. How about roof advertising especially designed for Google Maps users? Or gathering a group of friends and enacting a series of silly scenarios to be immortalized on Google Maps’ Street View feature?

By changing a few numbers in the Google Maps URL, you can unlock a super close zoom option!  Only a few areas have been mapped for super close zoom, but in those areas you can identify the little people, see animals, etc.  As “Big Brother” as this may sound, we always say, use the technology to your advantage!

In order to unlock the super close zoom, you need to do the following: 
1. Using the satelite view, find a location that might be mapped with a lot of detail. 
2. Zoom in all the way 
3. Click “link to this page”, which is at the top right 
4. Replace the number after the “z” parameter in the URL.  The higher the number, the closer the zoom.  Most of the super close zoom areas are mapped between 20 and 23.

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Marketing that’s driven

The Hyundai Genesis Super Bowl 2009 commercials were undeniably badass, partly due to Rhys Millen’s drifting and partly due to the return of The Smashing Pumpkins for the ad’s soundtrack. Hyundai is prolonging the buzz around these ads by giving away an exclusive free download of the track on its site.

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The Smashing Pumpkins song used in the Hyundai Genesis Super Bowl commercials is called “FOL,” and it’s exclusive to users who register for free at the Hyundai site…at least, until the pirates get a hold of it. Heh-heh! I mean Aaaarh!

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USB another great thing!

These high tech wristbands look like the popular wristbands that are sold to benefit charities. Pop them apart, however, and you’ll find a flash drive that can be used in your computer’s USB port. They come in eight colors and six drive capacities. Want them customized? You can add a logo and even a preloaded file.

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Jones-in’ for love?

While we may have shaken a disapproving finger at the Jones Company for their shameful Obama Soda, we don’t hold grudges when it comes to great ideas.

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This Valentine’s Day, snuggle up with your sweetheart and get a little sugar baby, um pure cane sugar that is, with the tasty new Love Potion #6 ($30) from the folks at Jones Soda. Forget the flowers and candy, because this romantic brew can be customized with your very own photo and personal message right on the bottle to express your love. This gift includes a 12 pack of Love Potion #6 Soda, Love Potion #6 Lip Balm and a Jones Soda Poster. It’ll definitely cast quite the love spell and is even endorsed by Cupid, I think. 

http://www.myjones.com/valentines/

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3D isn’t just my grandm…oh, we used that joke already.

Don’t give your Valentine a regular, boring old two-dimensional card, when you can give them one these cool new 3D Valentine cards ($3). Simply write your romantic message anywhere on this card covered in red and blue hearts and when your sweetheart opens the card and puts on the included 3D glasses, they will see your note floating above a sea of hearts!

Just look at the well thought out message they used in their ad! Keep in mind one of the services at The AFTERLIFE is writing. Next time, give us a call!

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And for the love of hate…

Some people, believe it or not, are not exactly fans of Valentine’s Day and wish Hallmark would blow up, killing every writer in the place. At The AFTERLIFE, we say, “don’t saddle us with those no-talent hacks!”

While we might suggest you sit down with your sweetheart the weekend before Valentine’s Day and watch “Blood Diamond” so she wouldn’t dare expect or even mention wanting diamond jewelry, there are many websites and gifts for the anti-valentine people out there. You know who you are.

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Black roses in a coffin shaped box. A bit scary, even for us!

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Broken Heart Knife Holder.

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The “Knife Throwing” block

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My personal favorite (because I have two of them), The Ex Knife Holder

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Just in case you CAN’T “get over it!”

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If you can’t” get over it,” then do it yourself!

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And help your friends who can’t “get over it!”

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And, just in case…

If the “Blood Diamond” viewing only makes her more insistent on a lump of compressed carbon, then try  a graceful porcelain mug that adorns you with a sparkling “diamond” ring when you pick it up. But wait, here’s the BEST part – it’s packed the 2 Carat Cup in an elegant over-size jewelry box, so when you present it as a gift, all you see is the ring!

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White porcelain with gold or silver colored glaze and Swarovski rhinestone, individually boxed.

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An idea that really stinks!

Well, it helps things that stink. Or…well you can imagine. The paper has color changing ink that reacts to odors. Use on food packaging to tell if it’s spoiled. Diapers to see if it’s changing time. Blogs that run out of truly innovative ideas and need to spotlight items like these!

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Scarier than Valentine’s Day

These ads for the Sci-Fi Channel use a very clever twist on the old movie posters that warn that “The aliens are coming!” These posters reverse the roles, instead warning that “The humans are coming!”

Great use of the vintage-looking images, complete with worn-out creases. The ads were created by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Milan, Italy.

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The shizzle dizzle shiatsu

An odd ambient from advertising agency, Fields in Brazil, the message is “Relax with Shiatsu” (the Japanese massage art of walking on one’s back). While ambient adversing is a great way to gain attention, this one just makes our backs hurt at the mere thought.

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We love our clients as if they were our own valentines! Why not think of making a date with us and see how love grows? The angels at The AFTERLIFE wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day and remind you that the design firms you use now are cheating on you and you should dump them right away. We will love you forever!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

Find true love here!

 

Bale out!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2009 by Speider

That was quick! It didn’t take the folks at Despair.com long to get this product on the web.

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http://site.despair.com/christianbale/

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To much, too soon?

Perhaps the Super Bowl was the cutoff date for any moratorium on these jokes?

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The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Feb. 2nd, 2009 – #12, Vol 1.

Posted in The Epitaph on February 2, 2009 by Speider

Today is the American celebration named “Groundhog Day” (it’s also National Buy a Newspaper Day! Don’t you hate when two major holidays land on the same day!?) On February 2nd, a large rodent called a groundhog, which seems to serve no purpose in the food chain, is reportedly some kind of witch’s tool that comes out once a year, on February 2nd, much like my 58 year-old cousin who still lives with my aunt and uncle, and if he sees his shadow (the groundhog, that is), there is supposed to be six more weeks of winter. This is also used to gauge the bonus level of American automobile industry CEOs.

But, more importantly, tomorrow, February 3rd, is the 50th anniversary of the day the music died. Here at The AFTERLIFE, we have enjoyed the company of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson since the plane that carried them crashed into a snow-covered field near Clear Lake, Iowa. 

Music Buddy Holly

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Quotes from the deceased

“Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.” 
~ Lord Byron

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Eulogy to the afterlife

“Wow…what an effort. You’re research seems detailed and complete…who knew all this stuff existed!” – Bob Bishop, Bishop Partners, LLC.

We did! – JS

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  So, who says there’s a Richard Dawkins?

Professor Richard Dawkins, the author of non-fiction book ‘The God Delusion,” poses for photographers in front of a London bus featuring the atheist advertisement with the slogan ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life’ in London, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. The campaign supported by professor Dawkins and the British Humanist Association is a response to evangelical Christian advertisements running on buses in June 2008. For the campaign 800 buses featuring the slogan are running across the country and 1000 advertisements are posted on the London underground railway system.

BRITAIN ATHEIST ADVERTISEMENT

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Not available at your local Walmart

A model wears a creation by British fashion designer John Galliano as part of his men’s Fall-Winter 2009/2010 collection, in Paris, Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. Can you picture yourself in this outfit?

APTOPIX FRANCE FASHION

Perhaps a giant pretzel is more your speed for meeting the guys at the local sports bar? The phallic part at the bottom is a real “chic magnet!”

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RIP T-shirt Hell

Tired of complaints and hate letters, the owner of the web site, tshirthell.com has thrown in the towel, shirt…er, whatever, and is closing as of February 10th. Innovative and cutting edge designs that are sure to offend are the hallmark of this eight year-old firm. It’s a shame that the products will no longer be available but a tragedy that the first amendment takes another hit from a few individuals who seem unable to just click a different link and not view the site and products that offend them so much.

The site offers 15% off for the next week…if you trust they won’t take your cash and tell you to go to…well, you know.

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Color me pink…or whatever!

I knew a creative director who once scanned some Easter-color M&Ms for a spring line. This ingenious gadget design allows you to select colors from real life and achieve the more lively feel you were hoping for. Its built-in scanner captures the shade, the internal chip processes the information. Now Home Depot isn’t the only place you can capture that perfect color for all your design needs!

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Paperless business cards

Move over, unwanted phone books and out-of-date business cards: There’s a new way to disseminate your contact information, and it’s called the .tel domain. By purchasing a .tel domain, you can create a digital version of all of the ways to contact you, accessible via an easy-to-remember Web address.

The .tel domains aren’t available for average Joes and Janes yet, however. According to TreeHugger, applications are only being accepted from trademarked businesses as of right now; on February 3, advance registrations will be accepted, and on March 23, domains will be available for everyone.

What are the benefits of a .tel domain? Unlike business cards, updating information like titles, phone numbers and companies is a snap. And unlike phone books, your directory listing is easily accessible, even on the go.

The question is: how do you tell people where your information can be viewed? I suppose you…need…a…business, er, card.

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A graphic message

Not that we get into politics here because everyone ends up six feet under anyway, but we have to admire the graphics on these placards. Not the usual handwritten, misspelled messages. Just look at the craftsmanship of the horns on President Obama. The color balance. The hellish flames behind him. The upside-down flag is another brilliant touch that adds a certain “umph!” to the message.

The “God hates all nations” placard is an eye-popping usage of bold type, with great contrasting colors. These folks really had their act together and instead of going the cheap route by getting together one evening and hand-painting a bunch of signs, they obviously knew the value of a professional job and the results it can garner.

Always use a professional is the lesson here!

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Cereal killer!

Under the “why didn’t I think of that dept.” comes Cereality. The unique franchise servers up cereal, both old favorites and new mixes of old favorites and add-alongs. Brilliantly branded, the stores have state of the art “bowls” and take-out packaging. The link, below is a must visit. Truly impressive!

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http://www.cereality.com/comp.php

By the same token, I remember when Peanut Butter & Co. was opened in lower Manhattan in 1998. “Hmmmm?!” I thought. “An interesting idea, but will it last?”

Well, owner and founder, Lee Zalban is a smart man. Over ten years he knew to expand and diversify just enough to keep the same PB experience, but to offer other venues on the theme.

Obviously doing very well, he grew up, unlike “Peter Pan” and didn’t have to “Skippy” town in a “JIF!” I know, I know. A business selling peanut butter sandwiches? Sounds nuts!

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http://www.ilovepeanutbutter.com/

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The breast solution?

Everyone is tired of those Enzyte commercials. They keep saying it enhances a “certain part of the male anatomy” (can they be legally libel if your feet swell?). Besides, it doesn’t work…I’m told. Well, there’s something for the ladies, too! A Bulgarian company has invented a beer that contains breast-enhancing stimulants proven to increase your cup size.

Boza beer was only available in Bulgaria—until recent custom changes that is.

“European men have been flocking to Bulgaria, buying Boza, and taking it home to their wives and girlfriends for a little experiment in alcoholic augmentation,” Styledash reports.

While the Bulagarians are drinking their boobs bigger, the Japanese are upping their cups with cookies. The “FCup” cookie is selling like, er, hotcakes in Japan. Please, God! Don’t let the kids raid the cookie jar when mom’s not looking!

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Monster of an idea!

Monster.com has always had a great cutting edge to branding (what business entity would use an actual monster as a mascot?) and the new commercials are more of the same. Faced with a huge unemployment rate, the job site uses humor, which I have always said is the basis for an entertaining ad, ever since I was a young firebrand being dismissed from a Creative director’s office for suggesting humor be used in a car ad. Guess who was right?

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Star attraction!

A few issues back, we highlighted magnetic ninja throwing stars that appear to be embedded in your refrigerator or other metallic surface. Now there’s the same thing for pin boards. Use them in your office and co-workers will start being nice to you. VERY nice!

Try pinning a raise request to your boss’ pin board and we’ll bet you have double that in no time and the boss will probably avoid your gaze until retirement.

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What’s old is ewww! again

I fully admit to wearing a fanny pack years ago. I wore it on my fanny and not turned to the front like some geek. They were great! When you need to tote a lot of extra stuff (and it was before cell phones needed an extra pocket, besides wallet, keys, etc.). Peer pressure and passing snickers led me to use it solely for the intended purpose of biking.

Well, with spring comes the new fashions and the fanny back is back and more rugged than ever! Expect to see these all over the place…until the snickers start again and people give them to Goodwill.

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Permanent wrong choices

I once went to check into a motel and the young lady at the front desk had a fresh tattoo across her throat that said “Satanic” with a heart dotting the “i”. It was disturbing those who were checking in and several people turned and left but not before confronting the manager. Checking out the next day, the young lady was now wearing a scarf around her neck. I went to speak with the manager about it and was told that it was the young lady’s first job and she was so excited getting it, that she celebrated by getting the tattoo. The manager put up with it because the young lady was her niece. They were both gone the next time I stayed at that motel.

There’s an example of a foolish choice that will forever steer her career…right down the drain. Well, here’s some more foolish ink that either will separate the tattooed owners from society or make them regret it very soon down the road.

Literary?

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Eye-brow catching?

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The new babysitter is here!

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The orange prison jump suit tells the whole story of his choices in life!

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Yikes!

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Express bus to H…E…double toothpicks

We don’t like to second guess why people do the things they do. I mean, perhaps we don’t see why decisions are made, but…we know what we like and there was little to like as far as commercials go during the Super Bowl last night. We do have to save at least one seat on the bus to Hell for whomever was responsible for the GoDaddy commercials. Boys and girls (and I’m sure both were responsible), sex doesn’t necessarily sell (look at the PETA ad that was rejected). Clever. informative, entertaining. Those sell. Use some clever sex, informative sex or entertaining sex and you might have something, but those commercials will go down in history as some of the worst in broadcast history.

We would go on about this, but GoDaddy might consider it “water cooler talk” and feel empowered. 

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Trends can be short lived and why invest in that? The idea of a Satanic throat tattoo seems like a great idea when you’re 18 but pretty soon it’s evident that it was a waste of money. Here, at The AFTERLIFE, we consider long range goals and effectiveness of branding, ads, packaging and tattoos. So why gamble your creative budget with guys who will be wearing orange prison jump suits? Contact us for some great ideas that you won’t want to laser out tomorrow!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

I want to contact The AFTERLIFE!

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Jan. 26th, 2009 – #11, Vol 1.

Posted in The Epitaph on January 26, 2009 by Speider

Many thanks to those who are avid readers of The EPITAPH. The number of hits has more than doubled in the last month! We are pleased to bring you items gleaned from the living and hope it sparks creative though for your business and personal lives.

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Quotes from the deceased

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.”

~ Dorothy Parker

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Another good one! You always dig up the best stuff!” – Matthew Hawkins, custompapertoys.com

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Monster Zero attacks Japan!

What starts in Japan is not far from our own markets. Well, a trip to a Japanese supermarket or convenience store these days reveals a prominence of items displaying the numeral “0” on their packaging. They are calling shoppers’ attention to the fact that the products are sugar-, calorie-, or fat-free – and sometimes all three. These “zero-type” foods and drinks, as they have been dubbed, have struck a chord among a rapidly expanding legion of health-conscious consumers, from middle-aged men who want to trim inches from their waistlines to young women who wish to stay slim. Developing foods that satisfy both taste buds and the desire to cut calories is not easy, but beverage and food makers are now marketing an array of new products to meet the burgeoning demand.

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Huge New Market
In an effort to clamp down on metabolic syndrome, which increases the likelihood of cardiovascular and other lifestyle-related diseases, medical checkups since April 2008 have routinely included measurements of the waistline, in addition to such traditional items as cholesterol and fat content, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. This has had the effect of making people more conscious about their weight and helped to ignite a boom in “zero” foods and drinks.

The “zero” products are particularly appealing to those who do not want to give up drinking alcohol or soft drinks but, at the same time, want to hold down their caloric intake. Canned happoshu (a beer-like, low-malt beverage)chuhai (sparkling beverages with a shochu, or distilled liquor, base), and coffee free of sweeteners were launched one after another and rang up unexpectedly strong sales, creating a massive new market for these zero-type drinks.

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And delicious Swedish Meatballs!

Ikea has always led the pack with brilliant, innovative ideas and advertising (and good food in their stores!). Here’s the latest…

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Blinded by the light

As you know, we like to spotlight really fun ideas that are incredibly stupid…and this is no exception!

A fun multi-colored computer keyboard that changes colors with each keystroke, like a retro disco floor. This rainbow keyboard comes with the option of staying in its preset hue, or changing with each keystroke. Luxeed’s USB keyboards are available in a white backlit version (KRW 118,800 / $127 USD) 
and a sleek black back lit version (KRW 125,600 / $134 USD), where the keys stay black and only the letters change colors.

I would imagine you would have about ten minutes of typing before you were struck by a splitting headache or convulsions. There’s a reason disco is dead.

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Less of a mind-burner, for the Scrabbleoids out there is the Scrabble Tile keyboard, made from real tiles!

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LEGO my…

This gigantic Lego bricks is actually a hard drive designed by the world-famous designer Ora-Ïto. It works with the standard USB2.0 interface and come in different colors and capacities, a white 160GB model, a red 250GB, the blue color 300GB, and lastly another red model that can hold 500GB of data.

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This playful 10,000 Year Desktop Calendar features three blocks (yellow, red, white) that you can assemble and rearrange as you desire. Giving your numerous fun possibilities to spice up your desk. Each brick measures 80mm cube.

The Lego Brick Inspired 10,000 Year Desktop Calendar sells for $27

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La Cambre Architecture (founded in 1927) is the most famous architecture school in Belgium. The school wanted new business cards that reflect their focus on “creation” and “practice”, so they commissioned the Leo Burnett, Belgium ad agency which came up with these creative business cards.

Creative director Jean-Paul Lefebvre and art director Marie-laure Cliquennois created the card design in the shape of a Lego brick with the contact information printed on the sides of the brick.

It is a fun card that reflects the “imagination” and “construction” nature of the school.

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Although they are unofficial imitations, these “lego” block MP3 players look like an over sized version of the real thing. The manufacturer creatively used the bumps (isn’t there an actual name for those, by the way?) as control knobs, and they come in a range of classic LEGO colors: red, blue, green, yellow, and white. The included Li-ion battery can be fully charged in six hours via a USB cable connected to your computer while you manage your files.

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Here’s a first: a LEGO-inspired sofa that features interlocking, rubber pieces that allow you to easily change its configuration. One potential negative, it’s priced at $466.

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Class up your LEGO ring with a little Bling.  The Forever Young Ring No.1 adds a shiney stone to an already cute design.

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LEGO is selling a new ice tray that pops little LEGO brick of ice.  This means you can build your own LEGO ice sculpture.  The $10 LEGO ice cube tray is made out of silicone, dishwasher safe and capable of making up to 10 ice bricks.

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Sometimes, you just have to say “fork it!” Available through Perpetualkid.com, the Lego utensils build a balanced diet.

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Oh, Baby!

Outtakes from the etrade baby commercials to air on Super Bowl Sunday…

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Nearer my drink to thee

I guess enough time has passed to make fun of the worst maritime disaster in the history of shipping, so why not enjoy a cold drink, cooled by the ill-fated Titanic?!

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Obama-nation!

Is it any wonder people will jump on the Obama bandwagon? “Orange you glad for change” Cola by the Jones Soda Company is the latest example of poor taste (although I’m sure it tastes delicious) from corporate America. At least we never saw 9-11 7-Up!

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Deadly honest!

Black Death Vodka may not have steered people away from alcohol

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and while Death brand cigarettes were embraced by smokers as the “hippest” packaging for cancer sticks,

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perhaps the I (heart) Cancer portable ashtray may give smokers second thoughts. Nah! It’s just too cool.

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Just your type!

Having done my share of pop-up cards for Hallmark, this book uses the technology extremely well.

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“Butter” packaging ideas

I am a huge fan of spray butter. It’s a great invention and by using it, I believe I have shaved off enough minutes per application to add several years of leisure time to my life. Well, the next generation of butter application not only saves time, it can also be a delicious alternative to Chapstick!

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Can’t stand your iPhone?

If you own and iPhone, you know the problem. If you don’t own an iPhone, skip to the next story. Well, now that those miserable idiots who are  far beneath us are reading the next story, we all know the problem with trying to spend quality time watching things on our iPhones. There’s a DYI solution…

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If a bunch of number 2 pencils is not number 1 with you, then try this little gizmo…

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The iFlyz holder is a must have for the iPhone. Hey! Let’s have one more laugh at the expense of those non-iPhone owners now reading the next story. Ha-ha!

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Got you covered!

Uh-oh! I told the non-iPhone owners to skip to the next story and it’s about the new Go-go iPhone cover. The cover allows the Apple symbol to show through for a hilarious effect…if you own an iPhone. Yeah. This is embarrassing.

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Happy meal…drink…whatever!

A cool design of cup and saucer just makes you so happy, you will forget you don’t own an iPhone!

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When the automobile was first introduced and gained popularity, manufacturers of horse-drawn accessories refused to look to the future and went out of business. There was an employee who worked for a manufacturer of saddles and buggy whips who suggested the company retool to manufacture leather automobile seats. He was immediately fired and probably starved to death. Executives at that firm then followed his advice and the rest is history.

In these uncertain times, it pays to look to the future. iPhone applications and accessories are just one huge market. At The AFTERLIFE, we pride ourselves in the concepting and design of products, packaging, ads and other initiatives for success. Why not contact us to see what we can do for your buggy whips?!

Just go to the SEANCE page to contact us or just CLICK HERE!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity

The AFTERLIFE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Jan. 19th, 2009 #10, Vol. 1

Posted in The Epitaph on January 19, 2009 by Speider

 

A very happy and thoughtful MLK Day to all. His vision and persistence remind us all in these uncertain times, that we cannot be complaisant. We must struggle and fight and keep reaching for what may seem impossible, rather than improbable. We must accept the darkest times before we see the light, but that time will come. Like our fathers and mothers and their parents before them, we will overcome the fear and the terror. We will subdue the beast that claws at us so our children will not know that fear and they will live in the light, faces to the sun, and smile.

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Quotes from the deceased

“I have a dream.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

(For full speech text and video, CLICK HERE)

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Super Cool!” – Russell Calabrese, Director – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

A man of few words and many talents! But we do have a ten word minimum on all eulogies, so please allow the editing:

“Super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super Cool!”

Why thank you, Russell! Oh, how you do go on! – JS

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P.S. – the dog is dead and so is the bird

After making a budgerigar brassiere from the feathers of two deceased pets, Sydney-based artist Emily Valentine Bullock began creating these dogs using plumage from dead birds.

Her collection features bizarre creations such as a Loridoodle and a pair of Budgie Chihuahuas.

Over the last ten years, the artist has developed her technique fashioning these colorful canines from feathers from various sources including road kill, cat kill and dead pets.

The artist has recently moved to a new source of feathers: the Indian Mynah bird, which she traps in a special cage before gassing them with a car exhaust.

While the use of these feathers may be controversial, the Indian Mynah bird is a registered pest in Australia.

“In my work I wish to discuss how attitudes to wearing animals and birds parts have changed. Is this just because of fashion, or has society become more caring of animals? I wish to stimulate the viewer with the uncomfortable nature of the feather, to question our callousness treatment of animals and birds, and ask how we sub-consciously classify animals – pet or pest, valued or worthless, beautiful or plain and why.”

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iYum!

The ever-escalating iPhone mania still surprises me, but I do love this amazingly well-executed iPhone cake. All the features and icons look so much like the real deal. It is so cute I could just eat it. I guess that is the point.

The other hardware cakes are amazing too. The laptop and Helio cake are terrific and your dentist will appreciate you using these delectable items. They are so over-the-top it is hilarious. It’s enough to inspire me to put my apron on and get baking! Almost enough.

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Nick and Danielle Bilton’s clever iPhone cupcakes took first prize at the Cupcake Design Competition on September 15. The design competition was a part of Ignite NYC. These images, as captured by Bre Pettis, show an astoundingly realistic iteration of the famous home screen of the iPhone.

These iPhone cupcakes have all 12 buttons reproduced in 100% edible form. Delicious but don’t use your fingers to press the buttons!

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Dollbama

I should actually say, “the Action-Figure-In-Chief.”

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Modeled after the now famous design of some hack who just ran a photo through the Photoshop posterize filter, these are available from Jail Break Toys.

Sold out for now, more will hit the internet site. Get yours before the new president starts making progress and prices, er, drop?!

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Set phasers on…stupid!

As if there weren’t enough useless merchandise for those with no lives, living in their parent’s basement; now comes the Kilngon Alphabet Keyboard.

$65 buys this item, but can one put a price on being the first one on your block to own this? Or, the only one on your block to own this?

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GUTsy recall!

If you own a “I heart guts – Plush Uterus,” please be aware of a recall. It seems young children can choke on the ovaries. I can’t say that’s ironic, but it’s something!

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Burger virgins and Burger sluts!

Burger King recently ran their “Burger Virgin” campaign in which they gave Whoppers and McDonald’s Big Macs to test subjects around the world who had never tasted a burger (or had clogged arteries, strokes or suffered from obesity). While BK thought it would create a buzz of discussion, pop jokes and self-administered tests, it is reported that it all flopped as no one truly believed these subjects could differentiate a Whopper from a cow pie sandwich on two planks of wood.

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Two thumbs down for BK, who should have used at least the humor Quizno’s used several years ago in their competition with Subway (test subjects were offered Subway sandwiches brimming with cash vs. a plain Quizno’s sandwich, Quizno’s sandwiches were placed in a guillotine while testers report “wouldn’t touch Quizno’s sandwich!”).

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Kudos for Arby’s and their porny commercial where the man lies on the bed, shouting to the wife who insists she is only fulfilling his birthday wishes and appears from the bathroom dressed as a Arby’s counterperson, holding her man’s favorite meal. After dinner treats are, of course, left to your imagination.

 

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Who? Why? Because!

I fully admit to being a Dr. Who fan. I have a Dalek on my desk and…well, it gets boring from this point, but the newest MUST HAVE for fans of the Dr. is the Dalek Cell Phone Charm.

Just hang one off your jacket, computer bag, navel ring, etc., and any time you get a call on your cell phone, your very own imprisoned Dalek will spin around and little lights will flash near its base. It’s just that simple. So, anytime you have to leave your cell phone on “silent,” just watch your Dalek to see if you have an incoming call. Then answer, “ex-term-in-ate!”

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The Epitaph sinks to a new low

Yes, it’s pretty randy, but as so many wrote us to say how much they enjoyed the “Jump Drive issue,” we just had to include these jump drives.

The dogs have a peculiar naughtiness whenever they spy a free USB port. They…well…they sort of, kind of, um… “go to town,” if you will and they won’t stop until you um…separate them from the source of their affections.

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I dream of sushi

And if you do, too, then why not enjoy the latest piece of the plush craze and get a sushi pillow?!

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These Sushi pillows are hand made in the USA (a real rarity these days) by people who really really like Sushi.

Choose the delightful Shrimp Nigiri… or go for the delicious Salmon. There’s even a giant green Edamame for you to cuddle up with. But be warned, the chopsticks are the size of a truck!

 

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Go fuji yourself!

Japanese is a very hard language for foreigners to learn. One wrong inflection and you are telling people to set themselves on fire instead of asking for the restroom. That’s why this tome is perfect for those about to visit the land of the rising sun.

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Apparently there’s a lot you can say in Japanese using just your hands, nose, arms, and other forms of suggestive “body” language. This whimsical look at Japan’s “language of no language” introduces 70 gestures that will help you hurl insults, flirt, agree, excuse yourself, cross the street, and even make promises…wordlessly!

Some are deadly, some practical, some wacky, but all are genuine and used today on the streets of Japan, at home, and in manga and anime. Finally, a way to tell someone at a loud party, “Hey! Your underwear is showing!” in four easy hand motions! 70 Japanese Gestures is an excellent instruction book for students of Japanese, language teachers, business negotiators, and cross-cultural observers. Fully indexed and illustrated.

 

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More sabotage!

Personally, I love sabotage marketing. It’s the practice of using an existing ad (usually a billboard and using it to build on your message). It’s pretty much impossible to get a publication to agree to help you do it (but it can be done slyly and effectively) but billboards are another story.

Here’s some fun examples:

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Tomorrow, Barak Obama is sworn in as our next president. So far, he has shown innovative use of the internet for fundraising and initiative and forethought in how to deal with the problems we face as a nation and a member of a world community. We here at The AFTERLIFE believe bold innovation is the key to boosting your product and services. Contact us to discuss new ways of pushing you forward in these times of struggle and we’ll find new ways for you to succeed!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Jan. 12th, 2009 #9, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on January 12, 2009 by Speider

Need a reminder to read each new issue published on Monday? Follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/the_afterlife) or use the RSS feed icon on the sidebar. Or, use a ouija board.

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(Print, cut out, run with scissors)

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Quotes From the Deceased

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.” 
~ Hunter S. Thompson

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Your new “Afterlife” blog is so AWESOME!!! It’s delightful to read about your innovation searches again. I had missed the quirky things you find and especially the funny writing. You have a amazing eye for researching this stuff.”

Ann Schleihs, Designer/Art Director – Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Glad you like the new blog. I miss doing the !NNOVATION Lounge for Hallmark, but everything must pass on and The AFTERLIFE Epitaph is available to all; Hallmark, American Greetings, Recycled Greetings, Nobleworks, etc. and people who don’t make or even like greeting cards! – JS

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Deplane dreamland

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The latest innovation for weary travelers has arrived. The next time you fly through Munich and happen to be at Terminal 2, head towards gate H32 and you will see two very interesting-looking cabins with colorful walls and bright touch screens.

The nap cabins (Napcabs) are private mini hotel rooms that were developed by five students for the 2007 Innovation Competition held by the Technical University of Munich.. For 15 Euros per hour (minimum purchase of 30 Euros/2 hours), you can have this travel oasis all to yourself while you wait for the next flight. Close the door behind you and you will immediately shut out the outside world from disturbing your alone time. A comfortable bed awaits you here, along with a mini work station containing two power outlets and a LAN cable to hook up your laptop to the internet.

Another touchscreen inside offers you a number of options. Two options: ‘Relax Yourself’ and ‘Activate Yourself’ immediately alter the room’s atmosphere according to your choice. A hidden mood lighting system by German giant Osram softly changes colours, while a Bach compilation begins to play in the background. Other options on the touch screen allow you to check the status of your flight, listen to music, or watch movies.

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You can relax, take your clothes off, and take a nap. Use the touch screen to set an alarm to wake you up and birds begin to chirp at the appointed hour, alerting you that it’s time to get up and catch your flight. The walls serve to block most of the noises around you, with the only noticeable outside activity being the sound of other tired travelers, who have been lured to your cabin, and are mindlessly going through the touch screen outside your cabin before noticing the flashing “Occupied” sign.

It’s my guess that the Napcabs are used for more, er, intimate purposes, too. If they are ever put into airports at Denver or Mexico City, you can join the “mile high club” without ever setting foot on a plane!

These are somewhat akin to the Japanese capsule hotels.

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If you are travelling to Tokyo on a budget, think about these “morgue drawer-like” capsules.

http://travellingboard.net/hotels/capsule-inn-akihabara-welcome-to-tokyo/

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A steamy, er, iSteamy application

If you have an iPhone, you need to download this fun and FREE new application called the iSteam Application. Once the app is installed, simply blow into the iPhone’s microphone and the whole screen becomes a foggy dripping wet haze that you can draw or write messages on. As you draw or tilt the iPhone, little water droplets actually form and slide down the screen and it even makes that irritating squeaking rubbing sound as you clear away the steam as well. Just shake the iPhone to clear the screen and you can start over. It’s like you dropped your expensive phone into the toilet…which…never…happens. Right?

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Hit ‘em where it hurts!

The Cuore is Daihatsu’s most fuel efficient model. To catch driver’s attention, they installed minature gas pumps near Daihatsu dealerships. The flyers in the mini-pumps deliver the message about savings on gas fill-ups and direct them to the nearest dealership to take a test drive.

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AAAAAAAAAAA!

Ad for Niche – Toys for adults. I know the advertising and movie world makes it look like only supermodels inhabit the planet, but this is too far in the other direction. Don’t remind me of my blind dates!  I’d be afraid to go because I might meet her. 

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The freakiest ad ever seen!

Saatchi & Saatchi Toronto is responsible for this freak-fest.

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Simple and VERY effective!

From IMIP in Brazil (via agency Ampla) comes a print campaign that poses men, women and children next to trash cans. It creates a message that makes you think hard about donating your organs.

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Brain storms!

This ad campaign from Rethink in Vancouver for D&M Publishers, an independent publishing house in Canada uses simple imagery. I’m all for simple and direct…which is why I’m divorced but that’s a story that would fill volumes!

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iTime wasters

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Personally, I use Facebook and Twitter to waste my time but these are as cool as they are weird. iPhone apps that are totally useless, which is why they’re so great!

Rimshot & Crickets – free

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It might be called Rimshot & Crickets, but my favorite sound in this obnoxious package is the immortal “Sad Trombone.” What boring meeting can’t be livened up by a sad trombone? “Jim, sales figures are down for the year.” Wah-wah-wahaha. “We’re going to have to let you go.” Wah-wah-wahaha. “I can’t come into work today, because a have the plague.” Wah-wah-wahaha. Classic stuff.

Amateur Surgeon – $4.99

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Not much is weirder than this hack-‘em-open game from TV network Adult Swim. It stars a young pizza delivery boy with a taste for backroom surgical shenanigans, and a range of tools that includes a pizza cutter and a stapler. Just be warned; in accordance with a new iTunes policy, the considerable quantity of cyber blood being splashed about mean this one’s for the over-17s only.

Ocarina – $0.99

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Wunerful, wunerful and thenkya, boys! Guitar Hero, eat your heart out. Ocarina offers iPhone owners a real electronic musical instrument to learn. Play by blowing into the microphone, create tunes with your fingers. Iit’s surprising quite how lifelike it feels. You can even record your creations and share them with your friends…who may stop being your friends soon after.

Weird Laws of the World – $0.99

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Did you know that it is illegal to carry a rabid dog in a taxicab in the City of London, but they can serve you “Spotted Dick?” No? Now you do; and you also know that you need to bone up on your weird laws trivia. This app lets you do just that, delivering a new weird law to your phone every day, ready for you to bore your friends with. Sounds like my ex’s ambulance-chasing attorney could use this app, along with a degree from a better Caribbean law school. But I digress.

Drunk Dialer – $0.99

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Do you enjoy a drink or two or eight? Do you also have a contact list full of your exes? You need this application. It prevents you from making those oh-so-embarrassing boozy, late-night calls to former partners you’d rather forget, by replacing the phone’s dial pad with one that requires you to hold the phone still to use. If you’re swaying, you’re out of luck. If you stand outside their window, singing off key, you’re on your own!

Soul Trapper – $7.99

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No, it’s not my ex-wife. She costs much much more than $7.99 (add several zeros on the end). Part adventure, part audio book, this imaginative and lengthy game will take you on a journey through the spirit world. The story is about a series of hauntings in Los Angeles that uses narration and audio games to lead you from one chapter to the next, and it sports some decent voice acting to boot.

RjDj Album – $2.99

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Are you ready for something really weird? Again, it has nothing to do with my ex. RjDj uses both microphone and headphones to thrust you into a world where background noise takes on dimensions you’ve never thought possible; like my ex’s screaming and whining…but I digress. RjDj will make your even the most boring of commutes fascinating.

Virtual Zippo Lighter – free

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Anti-smoking laws have neutered those epic lighters-in-the-air moments at rock concerts. Fight back with Virtual Zippo Lighter, an authentic recreation of the Zippo experience on your iPhone. You can choose your lighter style, tap the flame, and even blow into the mic to make it sputter.

Theremin – $0.99

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Ever heard of a theremin? Created by a Russian inventor who gave his name to the device (his last name is Merman), it’s a non-contact electronic musical instrument; you play it by waving your arms at it. Although it sounds comically doofus, its otherworldly tones made it a staple of movie soundtracks, and now you can try it on your iPhone. No, it doesn’t work quite the same way, but by waving your iPhone in just the right way, you can generate quite a passable imitation of what’s perhaps the weirdest of all instruments.

Cartoonizeme – $0.99

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Is your iPhone photo roll full of boring shots of your friends and family? Please don’t write in and tell us or e-mail them! Cartoonizeme lets you liven them up with a few choice edits: a moustache here, a pair of comedy glasses there, an obnoxious birthday message in a garish font to finish up. No Photoshop or good taste required.

Hold On! – free

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How long can you press a button? Who really cares! But, for those of you who do because this app is free, Hold On! lets you find out: there’s nothing else to do except hold down a big button. Why would anybody want to do such a thing? No idea, but if you were looking for Most Useful iPhone Apps, you came to the wrong place. Perhaps the weirdest thing about it is that Apple has it listed in the “Productivity” category. Weird!

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Will the iPhone lose out to the LG 3G Watch Phone?

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I don’t carry a watch anymore and the same goes for a growing number of people. The time is right on my phone. But you have to pull it out and look at it. That’s the idea behind the LG’s long-anticipated, 3G-capable watch phone, set for release this year—but just in Europe.

LG’s Touch Watch Phone (a.k.a., the LG-GD910) is apparently still in testing, it is, however, slated to go on sale “sometime” this year.   

That’s the good news. The bad news? The LG-GD910 (no pricing details yet) is only going retail in Europe, leaving North American Dick Tracy fans in the lurch, at least for now.
That said, on with the details: LG claims that the 13.9mm-thick GD910 boasts a curved tempered glass face and “high quality” metal casing—so no, we’re not talking a black plastic calculator watch with a zillion buttons.

The 1.43-inch touch display is icon-based and Flash-powered, and under the hood is quad-band GSM for world calling and 7.2Mbps HSDPA for video telephone over the built-in camera.

Other features: Voice commands, either with or without a Bluetooth headset; text-to-speech for reading text messages to you aloud; a music player (I’m guessing video wouldn’t be too satisfying on the 1.43-inch screen), a built-in speaker, and stereo Bluetooth support.

OK, so LG’s Touch Watch Phone doesn’t sound terribly practical; still, I can’t wait to get my hands (er, wrist) on it and try it on for size.

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Heartbreaking because I didn’t think of it!

We’ve given kudos to the folks at Despair.com before, but their latest initiative is pure brilliance! Here it is in their own words:

When cruelty and holidays collide, the weak-willed find solace in self-pity and comfort foods. And now, Despair Inc. is pleased to announce that we’ve combined BOTH into a radical new offering. 

Introducing Bittersweets® – The Valentine’s Candy for the Rest of Us. 

Like the ubiquitous candy conversation hearts, Bittersweets® are made of flavored, chalky-tasting sugar and sport a message on their face. But unlike other candy hearts, ours are stamped with bitter musings and mockeries perfectly suited to the dejected spirits of those who will spend the holiday alone, or wishing they were.

Messages recalling an almost forgotten, unbearably painful memory of being dumped. Or perhaps of a dysfunctional, psychotic ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or of that cruel-hearted girl (or boy) in elementary school who rejected your valentine solicitations, informing you that Jake (or Holly) was “so totally way hotter.” 

Now available in THREE unique collections- “Dejected”, “Dysfunctional”, and “Dumped”- with each featuring up to 37 unique sayings each! 

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“Dejected” sayings include: 

I MISS MY EX | PEAKED AT 17 | MAIL ORDER | TABLE FOR 1
I CRY ON Q | U C MY BLOG? | LOSS LEADER | A FINE WHINE 
MOMMY ISSUES | DIGNITY FREE | DORK MAGNET | PURE NAUSEA
WE HAD PLANS | MAIL ORDER | SETTLE 4LESS | I’M HOT INSIDE

“Dysfunctional” sayings include: 

ANNULMENT | I BEEN CREEPIN | HE CAN LISTEN | GAME ON TV
CALL A 900# | P.S. I LUV ME | DO MY DISHES | BOOTY INFL8N 
PAROLE IS UP! | AWFUL INLAWS | SUB PRIME | I WANT HALF
RETURN 2 PIT | NO FIX 4 DUMB | RATHER DRINK | MUTUAL DISGUST

“Dumped” sayings include: 

I GOT SOBER | HE FIT U FAT | U LEFT SEATUP | USED U 4 FUN 
JUST A FRIEND | BACK 2 KENNEL | DORKA PHOBIC | U HAVE A BLOG
RUSSIAN BRIDE | CELEB8 THX2U | DOG IS CUTER | TRADIN YOU IN
FORGET WE MET | KISS A FROG | SHE IS 22! | HE HAS A JOB 

Truly, Bittersweets® are the perfect gift for you OR for someone you love, especially if that special someone is one who doesn’t want to hurt your feelings but just doesn’t feel that way about you but still wants to be friends so they can torment you with stories about their crushes on someone who doesn’t appreciate them like you do, can’t love them like you can, and actually takes pleasure in corralling a herd of fawning “just friends” behind themselves as they indulge in one self-destructive relationship after another, with no hope of ever finding true love, despite an army of souls eager to lavish it upon them. 

(You know what we’re talking about) 

Supplies are limited. But the pain that accompanies them may not be. 

CLICK HERE for Despair

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iTie…i,i,i,i,i!

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Here’s their pitch…

Welcome to The iTie – iTies are made from the highest quality 100% pure silk.

The iTie is changing the way people wear neckties, one tie at a time!  The patented design features a hidden pocket on the back of the necktie which attaches to two buttons on the wearer’s dress shirt keeping the tie in perfect position.  In the concealed pocket, one can store:

Business Cards/Credit Cards/Money
iPod or MP3 Player – Speaker wires can be concealed and worn under the dress shirt with ear pieces coming out of the shirt’s collar.
Lighter/Cigarettes
Building Access Card/Work ID’s
Personal items
Chewing Gum/Breath Mints
Pens
Or anything else you can think of that will fit!

A larger version of the iTie pocket will be available for The iPhone/Blackberry/and other larger devices.

Okay, personal observation time. I never wear a tie clip because the pulling of the shirt and tie is a pain in the neck…literally! Add the weight of an iPod or the bulk of a pack of cigarettes (like no one will notice that bulge in your tie) and you will look like people who wear those umbrella rain hats (practical, yes, but just too freaky to wear).

Sometimes there are just innovations, like the electric spaghetti turning fork, that have to be put away. Judge for yourself…http://www.theitie.com/

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iPlay

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The iBoxer is a coin-operated amusement machine with an iPhone-style design intended for use in modern clubs and pubs. It has a little punching bag where you can vent all your alcohol-induced anger. The machine looks like a really large iPhone with a bitten logo, obviously based on Apple’s design. The machine only comes in black or white and is generated tremendous buzz, sparking interest to play with the newest technological innovations.

The Kriss-Sport iBoxer is fully weatherproof and is equipped with high-quality stereo MP3 sound-system, wide demo program (music plus illuminations), an OLED back-light and LED lighting which makes for low-power consumption (only 35W). The iBoxer can be equipped with a coin acceptor, bill acceptor or an SMS payment acceptor, and additional ticket dispenser.

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I keep telling clients that anything that has to do with cell phones or cell phone technology is the key to success. The cell phone is the future in communications, information, internet, retail, entertainment, social expression and…talking to others!  We here at The AFTERLIFE love to work with this technology to create new and different initiatives for our clients. Get in touch with us and let’s see what we can do for you! 

Just use the ouija board in the SEANCE section to send us a good, old fashioned e-mail.

And with the last of the iThings stories…iDone with this issue!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE 

The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Jan. 5th, 2009 #8, Vol.1

Posted in The Epitaph on January 5, 2009 by Speider

Welcome to another year of life! The feedback on The EPITAPH has been great and we appreciate the messages of kudos and death threats alike. Please feel free to post a comment right on the blog. We are going to add a couple of old things that people say they missed about the editor’s ultra-successful blog for Hallmark Cards (The !NNOVATION Lounge). Read on, Macduff and enjoy the latest innovation and trends for the living.

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Quotes From the Deceased

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

~ Albert Einstein

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Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“Kudos to The AFTERLIFE. The world beyond never looked so fun. I thought it was just a tunnel with blinding lights with fuzzy figures calling out to you. You have shown that it is a world of creative and colorful commerce. I hope they take credit cards there, ’cause they don’t in this world.”

David Erwin, Executive Creative Director, Licensing & Brand Management  – DC Comics (A Warner Bros. Entertainment Company)

Thanks, David! You are a man of class and taste, but apparently you don’t receive the credit you deserve. You can always cash in on your superior creative abilities in The AFTERLIFE! Hope to work with you again in 2009 (and beyond!) ~ JS

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In Memorium

For the first issue of 2009, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer a list of the movers and shakers who passed on in 2008. For them, we include a passage from the also late, Matthew Arnold’s Memorial Verses. A little passage I plan on including on my tombstone should my family refuse to have a parking meter in place that reads, “EXPIRED.”

His eye plunged down the weltering strife,
The turmoil of expiring life—
He said: The end is everywhere,
Art still has truth, take refuge there!
And he was happy, if to know
Causes of things, and far below
His feet to see the lurid flow
Of terror, and insane distress,
And headlong fate, be happiness.

New AFTERLIFE residents

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Tattoo, Three or More!

If you’re like me, you have one, or two or a dozen tattoos. THIS is the most incredible tattoo art I have ever seen. I’m not talking about beautifully colored and rendered dragons or Sailor Jerry work…I’m talking incredible use of the medium and design.

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Give This Toy the Finger!

Tuttuki Bako (manufactured by Bandai) is the latest virtual toy from Japan. While the Tamogatchi was a pet you pushed buttons to play with, this toy uses your finger. Insert your index finger into the hole and watch as the LCD screen mimics the finger movements. No matter what, I’m not sticking my finger into any toy that doesn’t explain the functions and ramifications with english instructions!

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Flat Burger without the Fat

The Origami Burger is a great way to lose weight! You’ll probably just go insane trying to fold and glue the snacks included. It must be popular as the on-line retailer is out of stock.

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Set includes sheets of printed sixteen, 6″x 6″ pieces of origami paper to make two burgers, a soda, a carton of fries and a tray. Illustrated instructions are easy to follow even if you don’t understand Japanese…because you don’t have to stick your finger into it, as with Tuttuki bako!

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Watch the Birdie!

Even James Bond would be amazed at a normal-sized watch that can record eight hours of color video with sound! Just plug your watch into your computer via USB and download your recordings. Retailing for $199.99, imagine video proof of your abusive boss going on at you behind closed doors, that obnoxious HR person or the person cheating on your best friend.

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Available HERE!

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Cheat Death!

Not that we here at The AFTERLIFE support this sort of thing, but in the Cheating Death quiz, you’ll try to match up the famous corpse with the object that might have prevented his or her death.

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Take the quiz!

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The Obama Generation?

Who knows why people do what they do? Pepsi recently redesigned a logo older and more recognizable than you or I. The question is (not the “new Coke,” “Classic Coke” thing) but is this design made to mimic the Obama logo? Will Pepsi redesign in four or eight years? What is this supposed to mean anyway? Well, in an all out effort to hype, er, make the public aware of its new logo and celebrate the “next generation’s” apparent positive outlook for the coming year, Pepsi has unleashed itself upon Times Square with a week-long promotional extravaganza.

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Here’s a really disturbing video!

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Do uLike iArt?

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Disney artist Stef Kardos aims to dispel any myths that the iPhone isn’t a legitimate art tool with this digital collection of ‘iPhone Sketches.’

 

Using only the Brushes iPhone app, Kardos has created a stunning digital portfolio of sunsets, pop art and portraits. All of the artwork is posted to Kardos’ Flickr page. If you’re unfamiliar with how the Brushes iPhone app works, check out a demo above created by David Onze, another user.

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The “END” product

Only in Asia would you find such a gadget. The “fart silencer” is inserted where the sun don’t shine and will mute the sound of any flatulent emission (it looks like it would make a whistle sound like one of those toy turbine rings). Wearers can also insert a cotton ball dipped in “any pleasing scent” to mask any odiferous emanations. What is it they eat in Asia that causes such intestinal problems? Even with this product, I think I can still say, “I haven’t seen it all!”

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Got creativity?

Pulled from the air after only a few days, this is the funniest milk commercial ever! Considering a generation of Monty Python and SNL viewers are consumers, why was this considered “not appropriate?”

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iSponge Dockpants

The “eyes” have it with this creative iPod dock with speaker eyeballs. Available at Toys ‘r’ Us.

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Worth a 1000 words

Simplicity has always been the best word in print ads. These ads for Careerbuilder get the “job” done!

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Not my “type” of ad

Aside from the product being rather odd…as well as everything in it being odd, who would have approved of the double headline in this old ad? Luckily, the executive who approved this is probably dead by now. Unfortunately, this is The AFTERLIFE!

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It’s not that we’re against odd. Many oddities have great attention draw but there’s creative “odd” and foolish “odd.” Years of experience has taught our creative staff the difference and we strive to create an odd that people will talk about. An odd that will draw attention. An odd that will be viral and appear on blogs and e-mails across the world. All we ask is that you allow us to play the “odds.” Oddly enough, you’ll come up a winner!

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity
The AFTERLIFE

Seance to The AFTERLIFE


RIP Marley

Posted in The Epitaph on December 30, 2008 by Speider

This is too good to wait for the next issue…

It seems vandals in Los Angeles are tagging posters and billboards of the new Marley & Me movie with the climatic end. Not having seen the film (or really wanting to see it), I personally don’t care.

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Naturally, I wouldn’t have liked this for some films and would prefer it for most as it would save me the cost of a ticket and the small fortune a large popcorn and soda costs, but is it a coordinated attack by vandals or sabotage marketing from the studio itself or a rival producer vying for ticket dollars?

Keep in mind that the spoilers for the final Harry Potter book (T-shirts and such reading, “Hermione dies on Privet Drive”) were wrong. Oh, I spoiled that for you? You had plenty of time to read the book. All bets are off after a month of the release.

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Posted in The Epitaph on December 29, 2008 by Speider

This just in; we can look forward to McDonald’s coming out with the Night at the Museum Happy Meals sometime around Memorial Day for the opening of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (click here to see the trailer). Looks like another fun film, but what child will want a Ben Stiller action figure?

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