Give the ladies what they want

The marketing geniuses at Neutrogena, realizing how crowded the women’s skin care product sector is, have been selling vibrators. But not just any vibrator, a vibrator that a woman can, with head held high, take through airport security, buy at the drugstore, and leave in plain sight for the kids to find. Brilliant.

It’s the Neutrogena Wave, a sex toy with plausible deniability built-in.

Here’s to wiggle room:

Have physicists discovered the evolutionary laws of language in Google’s library?

Via WSJ:

Can physicists produce insights about language that have eluded linguists and English professors? That possibility was put to the test this week when a team of physicists published a paper drawing on Google’s massive collection of scanned books. They claim to have identified universal laws governing the birth, life course and death of words.

The paper marks an advance in a new field dubbed “Culturomics”: the application of data-crunching to subjects typically considered part of the humanities. Last year a group of social scientists and evolutionary theorists, plus the Google Books team, showed off the kinds of things that could be done with Google’s data, which include the contents of five-million-plus books, dating back to 1800.

Published in Science, that paper gave the best-yet estimate of the true number of words in English—a million, far more than any dictionary has recorded (the 2002 Webster’s Third New International Dictionary has 348,000). More than half of the language, the authors wrote, is “dark matter” that has evaded standard dictionaries.

Read Full Article

Homeless Hotspots. A new low, even for British PR.

This creepy PR salvo consists of turning homeless human beings into walking hotspots at SXSWi, and having them wear t-shirts identifying themselves as such. Much like hailing a cab, you flag down a homeless person and have them stand next to you while you feed your jones for sending pointless texts to you friends via human antennae – texts that probably read, “this is so cool. using homeless dude as as WiFi spot at SXSWi. not going to pay him LOL!”

Yep, they don’t necessarily get paid. There is a suggested donation of 2 dollars per 15 minutes.

Their dehumanization is complete. They are just part of the machinery now – Borgs.

Par for the course from what has become the soulless, self-indulgent juggernaut called SXSWi. This cruel novelty is brought to you by marketing firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty via BBH.

More on the manky, disfigured branch of the evolutionary tree upon which BBH perches its hooves, courtesy of Wired.

Spoon Me

Via Dom Nozzi:

Ben & Jerry created “Yes Pecan!” ice cream flavor for Obama.
They then asked people to fill in the blank for the following:

For George W. they created “_________”.

Here are some of their favorite responses:

– Grape Depression
– Abu Grape
– Cluster Fudge
– Nut’n Accomplished
– Iraqi Road
– Chock ‘n Awe
– WireTapioca
– Impeach Cobbler
– Guantanmallow
– imPeachmint
– Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker… Swirl
– Heck of a Job, Brownie!
– Neocon Politan
– RockyRoad to Fascism
– The Reese’s-cession
– Cookie D’oh!
– The Housing Crunch
– Nougalar Proliferation
– Death by Chocolate… and Torture
– Freedom Vanilla Ice Cream
– Chocolate Chip On My Shoulder
– “You’re Shitting In My Mouth And Calling It A” Sundae
– Credit Crunch
– Mission Pecanplished
– Country Pumpkin
– Chunky Monkey in Chief
– George Bush Doesn’t Care About Dark Chocolate
– WMDelicious
– Chocolate Chimp
– Bloody Sundae
– Caramel Preemptive Stripe
– I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands…with nuts

But who is Dom Nozzi? If it is true that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, then Dom can be summed up by this list of his friends as of 1966.

Of course, you may just want to judge him based on the fact that he maintains a list of his friends from kindergarten.

He is obviously quite mad.


This year’s Bad Sex in Fiction Awards go to:

John Updike’s sex scenes — including a romp with a “Widows of Eastwick” witch in a beachside motel room — won a Lifetime Achievement Award at Britain’s ever- anxiously awaited Bad Sex in Fiction Awards.

Rachel Johnson, the sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson, captured the 16th annual Bad Sex Award itself for a scene in “Shire Hell” that begins with moans and nibbles and works up to screaming and other animal noises.

Previously won by Tom Wolfe, Sebastian Faulks and Norman Mailer, the contest seeks to dishonor the author of the year’s worst sex scene. London’s monthly Literary Review inaugurated the prize in 1993 “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it.”

More, via Bloomberg

Oxymoron of the Decade – “Voluntary Regulation”

Via today’s NY Times:

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a longtime proponent of deregulation, acknowledged on Friday that failures in a voluntary supervision program for Wall Street’s largest investment banks had contributed to the global financial crisis, and he abruptly shut the program down…

…Christopher Cox, the commission chairman, said he agreed that the oversight program was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning.”

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work,” he said in a statement. The program “was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, because investment banks could opt in or out of supervision voluntarily. The fact that investment bank holding companies could withdraw from this voluntary supervision at their discretion diminished the perceived mandate” of the program, and “weakened its effectiveness,” he added.

What the hell, let’s give him the “Moronic Statement of the Decade” award while we are at it, for, one more time:

“The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work”.

The last six months??? How about the last fifty thousand years? Jackass.

Here’s an idea, you know that program whereby the I.R.S. may audit you? Let’s make that voluntary — you know, opt-in / opt-out, whatever works for you.

Or that annoying thingy where the cops pull you over for drunk driving? Same deal, you want out of that program? No sweat, we’ll give you a special decal for your windshield. You know, the “honor” system. Worth a try. Who knows, it could work.

“Who are these guys?” (thanks Paul, for everything)

Landor: The Art of the Steal

Sometimes imitation is flattery, sometimes it demonstrates a complete lack of originality and / or corporate ethics.

Naming and branding parody site Landor has posted an article in which they claim authorship of called “How not to name“, accompanied by a photo of Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor. It is posted on a section of their website that they ironically named “Thinking”.

Here is an except (from point 2, paragraph 3):

This “positivity principle” explains why a scandalous name (Virgin), a slur (Banana Republic), and a small, hairy larva (Caterpillar) are perceived positively.

And here is how this thought was written five years earlier, both on the Igor website and in the Igor Naming Guide:

Unless everyone understands the positioning and the correlation between it and an evocative name, this is the type of feedback that evocative names will generate:

Virgin Airlines

  • Says “we’re new at this”
  • Public wants airlines to be experienced, safe and professional
  • Investors won’t take us seriously
  • Religious people will be offended


  • Tiny, creepy-crawly bug
  • Not macho enough – easy to squash
  • Why not “bull” or “workhorse”?
  • Destroys trees, crops, responsible for famine

Banana Republic

  • Derogatory cultural slur
  • You’ll be picketed by people from small, hot countries

The Landor article “How Not to Name” is written in a format that states popular misconceptions and the debunks them. Here they attack the mistaken idea that focus groups are helpful in choosing company or product names (from point 6, paragraph 1):

As a rule, it’s smart to entrust strategic business decisions to someone who trades an hour of their time for $25 and a few handfuls of M&Ms.

And here is how Steve Manning, co-founder of Igor, expressed the same idea 5 years earlier in an article in Elsevier Food International :

“If you’re trusting the future of your brand to a bunch of people who are willing to give up their time for $45 and a stale sandwich, you’re in trouble.”

Was Mr. Shore of Landor aware of Mr. Maninng’s quote? Of course he was, Mr. Shore was quoted in the very same article as Mr. Manning.

The final insult comes at the end of this “Landor authored” naming article:

© 2007 Landor Associates. All rights reserved.

Reached for comment, Anthony Shore, head of global naming at Landor had this to say.