8. Dove, Branding the Correct Way

DFW Logo - Narrow bodyI’ve always been brand loyal to Dove, not only for their products but also for the way they have set themselves up. Dove’s campaign for real beauty is amazing. They have focused on advertising real women and even set up a social mission for their brand. “Dove® is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential—but we need your help.”

In 2004, Dove started the campaign for real beauty. They talked globally with hundreds of women and decided that the definition for true beauty needed to be widened. The commercial-Evolution was produced, showing the transformation of a woman into a model and the unrealistic expectations that are on models (it was shown in 2006).

Some of my favorite ads have been produced by Dove-such as the above, Onslaught. Not only does it convey a powerful message and promote an idea of change, it also is gorgeously produced both visually and graphically.

The current ad from Dove that has caught my eye is their Real Beauty Sketches. They get a sketch artist, who doesn’t see the women, to draw what a woman describes as herself and than a sketch of how a person sees the same woman. This ad goes along with their new campaign-The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem. They target to advertise to the next generation to teach them about real beauty and not what the media perceives as beauty.

Dove is amazing. They’re trying to change a huge problem that many women of all ages, from the young to the old, have either dealt with or are currently struggling. Branding is a journey. You have to shape your brand into something will perceive as real and personal-Dove is doing just that. I know from my own struggles of self-esteem and weight issues that I can relate to what Dove is trying. They have taken something that almost every woman has struggled with and is trying to change; and it’s about time!

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7. Creatvity Sent Straight To Your Door

ImageArtSnacks you gorgeous creative innovators, you! I love these guys-basically they send you a little box every month of art supplies from around the world. This can range from pencils, paint, and pens. The only thing is, you have to subscribe to them on a monthly basis or for a full year. In the United States it’s $20 a month and $30 for international (you can do the math for what would be a yearly subscription). There idea is plain and simple-they send you cool stuff to draw with.

EatSleepDrawI heard about this awesome group off of my own Tumblr page. I follow a blog over there called Eat Sleep Draw. Its a Tumblr blog that posts artists work that the artists themselves send to them. They think of themselves as less than a blog and more like a curated art gallery. Basically if you feel that you want to show the world your art, submit your work to them and they will post it. However, not everything that gets submitted gets posted to the art blog. They get over a thousand submissions a day, so naturally they can’t post everything.

I love both of these tools. I especially use Eat Sleep Draw as a way to inspire creativity. The art that they post ranges from many different types of art. From paintings, sketches, to the abstract, anything is allowed on their blog. This also makes for some killer pieces that vary greatly.

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6. The Future is Now: Augmented Reality


This is Fujitsu Laboratories next generation user interface. By taking a user’s fingers, it can accurately detect what the user is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word. Essentially it is a touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual world.

“This technology measures the shape of real-world objects, and automatically adjusts the coordinate systems for the camera, projector, and real world. In this way, it can coordinate the display with touching, not only for flat surfaces like tables and paper, but also for the curved surfaces of objects such as books” (Diginfo).

ImageThis type of technology is a leading innovation to the possibility of screen-less computers or mobile devices and, hopefully, to technology like the one proposed in the Tom Cruise film Minority Report. It also allows for innovations with how we interact with the physical world.

Fujitsu Laboratories technology is very similar to another type of augmentation reality-based, SixthSense. It takes human gestures and tracks the physical world around us to interact with digital information.

Another interactive augmentation technology that has come up is Aurasma, a augmented reality tool that can animate the world through a smartphone. Think QR Codes but way cooler. Instead of taking you to a site, your smart phone will then place the video over the  image you are looking at in a seamless stream.

This type of technology could be used in so many different ways and in terms of branding or advertising, it could open so many more opportunities and ideas.

5. Why My Job Doesn’t Suck

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No really, I do!

Work culture, it fluctuates from the serious to the casual, to the suit and tie to the answering calls in a cubicle. I work in the lucrative food service industry. Now, don’t go thinking flipping Burgers at Burger King or waitress/hostess at Olive Garden. No, I work for the University of Oregon as a “Food Service Worker 2;” no really that’s my job title. But what comes with an unglamorous job title, comes with some amazing perks and more creative freedom than you would probably believe.

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This is what I’m NOT doing.

The food service industry is generally looked down upon, a high-stress chef position, or seen as a high school job. Well, not only does my job create a tight knit community that acts like a family but, it also is a culture that thrives in it’s own social norms and rules. We have every walk of life that works there; from the old to the young, to the naturally weird or funny to the slightly anal retentive (everyone has one, you know who they are). But I find myself wondering at work sometimes, that many of the jokes that go on behind the “customer service with a smile” scene, if those jokes would be understood the same way (or if people would realize just how raunchy we are at work when we think others can’t here us)? I’m guessing no, because as an insider of this culture, I don’t need to explain how a simple task of flattening 50 chicken tenders gets turned into joke upon joke on what I’m really doing to the chicken (use your imagination, I know you can do it). But what comes with the culture also comes with, and very specifically in my department, a lot of creative freedom.
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I run the Deli case. I make sure that the case is stocked with everything from sandwiches to burritos to salads. But not only do I make sure everything is stocked, I help make the food (there is a special place in hell for me where I will forever be rolling breakfast burritos). I also have to make sure that we aren’t wasting a lot of food. So I have to get creative with leftover food; ‘mind you, we do compost or send food to Food For Lane County after four days. It’s wonderful when I get that, because I get complete creative freedom to do anything I want, and I have made some awesome menu items before (Chicken Buffalo Sandwiches, Pizza Bagels, Muffulettas, Seafood Salad-just a few to name). This is a HUGE reason why I am happy with my job.

The other reason why I seriously love my job is the tuition discount and free food. Sorry, I’m not trying to brag but man I probably wouldn’t have taken the job without these little perks; one perk that cuts my tuition down by 95% and the other saves me money on my groceries. My managers are also super awesome and work my schedule so I can keep taking classes. On top of all this, this is a real job, meaning I get paid vacation leave, sick pay, and union safety (it’s very hard to be fired). But what I can take mostly out of my job besides the innovative and awesome monetary perks, is the fact that I meet and work with some of the coolest people from all walks of life, all while gaining managerial skills. For me, that’s what I get the most out of my job.

So if you’re sitting here reading this thinking, man my job sucks, stop it. Look for the things that give you amazing opportunities for that step into something even better. Look to your coworkers for support and relief at your job. Look inside your own work culture to gain perspective and insight to who you are and where you really want to be and start working towards those goals. Or you could do what my coworkers do and try and make each other laugh, even if you’re having a bad day. Image

4.Corsets, Goggles, and Steam-OH MY!

I consider myself to be a partaker of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) community. I like to tinker, I like to make things, and I especially like receiving gifts that have been hand made (hand-knitted Grandma’s sweaters, count me in!). But what I really consider myself to be a connoisseur of is the Steampunk Culture, or counterculture. But before I go into the aesthetics and beauty that is behind the culture, let me give you a little history (sorry, I’m going to nerd out here).ImageSteampunk is an aesthetic movement and arising subculture that arose from science fiction.The art was initially founded in fiction, but has since been crafted into art, music, graphic novels, film, and home décor. Steampunk as a genre descended from Cyberpunk, which questions scientific optimism prevalent in mainstream science fiction and instead offers a gritty, grimly realistic world in which corporations rule the earth, empowered by the development of communications technology. Steampunk authors realized the same sorts of values could be used to re-imagine the Victorian era, with the empire serving a similar role as corporations” (Steampunkmagazine). Steampunk has been around since the 1980’s with the regularly recognized author, Paul Di Filippo, who coined the term in his short stories. Since then and roughly starting around 2006-07, steampunk has “become an art and craft movement as well as a subculture with its own fashion and music” (Steampunkmagazine).
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So, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering, “Well, this sounds like an art movement more than a culture.” True! Steampunk culture is mostly fixated around aesthetics and beautification to a Victorian style. But, it is a subculture. Many believe it to be a way of life and a way of looking at the world (an anti-mass produced consumerist outlook).
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Steampunk takes the mass produced and makes it unique. It’s a DIY culture in a very unique Victorian meets technology grit. Furthermore, steampunk enthusiasts make these things for the sake of their own self-identification. AND, they post how they make their things on blogs and websites for others to try their hand at. Mostly this culture doesn’t sell their stuff. Unless your name is Insect Lab and you make such unique and cool stuff that it doesn’t matter. I mean who wouldn’t want to own a modded-out beetle fitted with clock gears?Image

Steampunk is more than a mere art movement, it’s a lifestyle, and for many a giant middle finger to the status-quo.Similar to punk’s notion of anti-conformity, steampunk stresses the importance of remaining an individual in a capitalized and mass-marketed society. Steampunk says that as culture grows, this is especially directed towards the U.S., people have a sense of lost values in community, identity, and strength and value in the human condition. Most people buy products which are manufactured in foreign countries and have been processed to the extent that it no longer serves being a unique item, but a mass production of the mainstream society. Steampunk address this in a counterculture movement which destroys the modern day technology to become a vintage style, turn of the nineteenth century artifact that still functions the same as modern technology.
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In this sense modern society can learn from this subculture as it offers solutions and possibilities within frameworks that inspire and support movement towards positivity and progress.

So there you have it in a nut shell. Steampunk, it’s a subculture, an outlook on life, a kick-ass DIY art-form, and creative hobby.

3. Oh PAX

Something very exciting happened to me on Wednesday…I got tickets to PAX Prime (cue music).

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PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo. Similar to your anime-cons and comic-cons, it is a convention that has been held every year since 2004. From panels to concerts to exhibits, PAX runs a 4 day course in Seattle, WA. But what really makes PAX neat is the amount of things there are to do and that it is a convention solely focusing on gaming. This includes handheld consoles, smart phones, computers, and consoles that range from the Wii U to the PS3. It is also a convention to meet artists, designers, and developers; to partake in freeplay and demos of up coming games. They also feature tabletop games and computer hardware and software. You could sit down and listen to panels, go meet-and-greet with some game developers, play a few rounds of “Munchkin,” compete in a tourney of video game prowess, or sit down and freeplay on PCs until 2 in the morning.pax4

So what’s the big deal? I mean, it’s a convention for gaming just like any other expo convention.Pax Prime1
But wait! PAX Prime and PAX East are the two largest gaming events in North America. AND considering when ticket sales went live via Twitter, within 20 minutes of them opening the floodgates, all 4-day passes sold out. Within 6 hours of releasing ticket sales, all single-day passes had sold out. CRAZY! Of course most of these tickets are now being resold for ridiculous amounts of money. I was lucky enough to snag day passes for Friday and Sunday.

So to put it lightly-I’M SO EXCITED! They haven’t put up any information on who is going to be there or what exhibits will be shown. Actually, they’re still taking submissions for panels and speakers. But what I do know is I will be walking up and down that exhibit hall all day, soaking in the culture, games, and awesome costumes that many have worked on for months-and it’s only 139 days away.

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