Monday, 19 April 2010

London Burlesque Week

Tomorrow is the opening night of London Burlesque Week, a global event that will feature everything from traditional 1940s burlesque (Annette Betty) to a Jesus Christ striptease (Paco Fish). As burlesque king Chaz Royal, the festival's founder says, "I have everything from mambo performers to outer space, underwater and winter themes. We'll take you on a round-the-world tour in 120 minutes."

I'm really intrigued to see how burlesque is interpreted globally and to see how burlesque is evolving. Now Topshop does spanking paddles and Dita Von Teese is the face of Wonderbra, burlesque has become arguably mainstream. Where will it go next I wonder?

The recession has had something of a positive effect on the burlesque scene, with audiences who would normally go to the theatre and musicals, opting for a more affordable alternative in burlesque and cabaret. And likewise, at the other end of the market, people are demanding more of an experience when they go out. I think entertainment is becoming more about highs (burlesque, rollerdiscos) and lows (old man pubs, poker nites in).

I think what things like London Burlesque Festival, along with La Clique (West End burlesque show) and Volupte (1940s supper club) and its ilk are doing successfully is packaging up burlesque as a big nite out, proper entertainment you can charge money for, as opposed to an underground club nite that always feels a bit pricey compared to the pub.

Burlesque is no longer being treated as just striptease but is fusing with cabaret, theatre, comedy, and circus. As it mainstreams (or becomes more accessible), it's becoming a broader form of entertainment and what I think is interesting, is that it's being treated more laterally. I think this is what could be a good opportunity for brands who want to get involved.

Will be reporting back later in the week on Burlesque Week.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Eroticised Athleticism

I've been thinking about this idea of 'eroticised athleticism' for a while, if that term doesn't sound overly wanky. If noughties aesthetics were defined by size zero culture, then my thinking is that with the onset of obesity, the food crisis, and an ageing population, combined with the impact of the recession, fantastic science (think functional foods and body augmentation) and the 2012"youth Olympics", the cult of thin is becoming less desirable and the superhuman, augmented physique of the athlete, the emerging global aesthetic.

Early signs of this include the success of David Gandy (the muscly hunk from the D&G Light Blue perfume ad) who is the world’s most successful male model right now. According to fan Mario Testino, Gandy’s body “radiates health and positivity”, which is exactly right for the times.

Fashion is driving this trend by giving sport an image makeover and sex appeal, and no brand has done more than bodycon temple American Apparel (Gucci's sci-fi athletic dresses this season really capture this trend too) .

Sports aesthetics are crucial to sports participation, according to the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation, which reports that 23% of women say PE at school put them off sport for life and ugly and uncomfortable PE kits are the main culprit. The World Health Organisation’s new stance on tackling the obesity epidemic supports the athletic trend, stating that we should focus less on restricting diet, and more on promoting exercise as a counterbalance.

A report by The Future Laboratory, looking back at the world in 2020, brings to life this prediction. It reads: “After Gareth Pugh invited South African Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius down his 2020 spring/summer catwalk and People magazine dubbed a bionic Madonna the most beautiful woman alive, superhuman became the new aesthetic. Skinny was out, athletic was in. This had its roots in the ‘bodycon’ effect of the 2012 Olympics and the backlash against skinny models. Teenage girls started to lift weights rather than puke up their lunch. Kate Moss developed a six-pack and revealed her ultimate beauty secret to be high-protein egg whites. Anabolic steroids were the heroin chic of the 2020 fashion industry. Plastic surgeons and personal fitness trainers were the aesthetes and pop stars of the day.”

Read more about all this here

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

John Lewis Snow Sleepover

Another reason why i adore John Lewis, here. More than 100 people - including 54 staff, 30 customers, and 20 children - spent the night in the John Lewis High Wycombe store when they became stranded by the snow. John Lewis provided food and bedding for everyone. Lovely.

This reminds me a bit of the Ikea Nap Hotel, but obviously John Lewis haven't turned this act of generosity into a marketing campaign.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush

Recently discovered this cleverly lovely ad for Colgate by Y&R Thailand. Colgate had found that sampling toothpaste to children wasn't all that effective. So the brand decided to give away samples of something children would be guaranteed to lap up - lollies, ice cream and candy floss instead. Once the sweets are eaten up, the stick carrying them is revealed to be toothbrush-shaped with a secret message: "Don't Forget" and the Colgate logo.

I really like the use of packaging to carry the advertising message and the element of surprise and reveal to make a boring health message appeal to children.


Anthony Burrill

my creative beau recently introduced me to this typographic artist Anthony Burrill. now one of my favourite artists. he works a lot in advertising. and he has a show coming up in January.

Friday, 10 July 2009

intern gold

My blog has been embarrassingly neglected, but i have a good excuse, a new exciting job at mother as a strategist and working on a v conceptual insight project.

i really need an intern to help me. my starlet +1. i'm hankering after someone who matches all of this please:

*Super researcher
*Terribly well-organised and happy and on-it with the admin
*A doer, makes stuff happen
*A self-starter, always finds a job to do, doesn't need their hand held
*Really well-informed when it comes to digital and ideally, an early adopter
*Insightful, curious, natural trends and ideas person
*Strategic thinker or at least interest in strategy & basic advertising knowledge
*Properly nice, aims to please, humble

what i don't want:
*a conventional young planner - i'd much rather have a researcher or digital person
*someone who just wants to get in at mother

if the top bit is you or anyone you know, please email a) your cv b) short cover letter about yourself and why you think you'd be a good strategic and cultural insight intern, and c) some fresh thoughts/ideas about data visualisation, insight, advertising as cultural content to