Cervix with a smile

Few products inspire the level of passion and affection that iPod lovers lavish upon their Pods. But the tango between man and music machine has been a frustrating dance of unrequited love, until now. Yes, the great day has arrived. For the girl that just wants to have fun, the relationship can now be consummated, thanks to those randy Brits at iBuzz.

But where would one store an iPod equipped with iBuzz? In in its natural habitat, of course.

Insert your own innuendo here, we are up to are ears in it as it is. Via Strange New Products.

The Maguffin’s are coming!

Maguffin, the ultimate object of desire, is the name of the new webstore / catalog from Igor. It’s a collection of the most interesting objects from around the world. Send an email to ” join at igorinternational dot com ” to be the first dork on your block to get the catalog!

Supercharged name

Slowboy Racing is a truly great name. Their name demonstrates confidence and powerfully conveys that they must be good and they must be fast to have the huevos to call themselves Slowboy. From PittsburghLive.com:

Mike Huml of Blairsville founded his Indiana-based company, Slowboy Racing, in January 2002, looking to turn his hobby–working on race cars–into a full-time business.

Since then, his venture into modifying and providing parts for turbocharged vehicles has far surpassed his initial goal. It currently generates annual sales of nearly $5 million, both foreign and domestic, while providing work for 22 full-time employees…

…According to Huml, the ironic name was inspired by his younger brother, when the family was participating in a drag race and a friend teased Nick II, calling him “Slowboy.”

Though the unusual name choice was not well-received by his wife or his advisers at IUP, Huml stuck to his guns and has not regretted the decision. The name has proven memorable with both current and potential clients. It has gained the company recognition both on the racing circuit and at an annual after-market auto trade show in Las Vegas.

Their use of irony makes the name infinitely more memorable, engaging and effective than had they gone the usual route of Rocket Racing, Greased Lighting, Lightspeed, Full Tilt, Motor Mouth, Hell Bent, Rat Race or Like a Chicken On A June Bug Racing, etc. Actually that last one’s not bad.

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Signs of life at Landor?

Landor has started redirecting links to their site that contain unfavorable commentary. Here is but one example.

Who knew they had it in ’em?

UPDATE 4.22.06 : Aaaargh! Landor has stopped the redirects, allowing the links from this post through. And this one. Too bad, they were actually demonstrating some humanity via humor. Until early this morning, they were redirecting our links to them to this page. They were poking fun at us for once and full points to them for that.

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There goes the plumbing

Jennifer Rice is moving in with Igor next Monday. It’ll be just like the Brady Bunch around here, except not as funny or as deep. Or as hip. Or as socially relevant. Or as in tune with the current zeitgeist. But certainly as genuine.

However, all is not lost. Remember back in August of 2005? Of course not. In any event, every month Fast Company picks a topic and then names what it erroneously believes to be the best three blogs on that topic. Last August that topic was branding. Of the three top blogs, one was ours and one was Jennifer’s. So now anyyone interested in branding can waste two – thirds of their time reading the blogs that emanate from this office.

They’re magically lubricious!

Lucky CharmsThere are few convergences within the Julian calendar that portend a force majeure with the same vicious accuracy as when St. Patrick’s Day falls both on a Friday and during Lent. Corned beef and cabbage — or fish? Madonna or whore? Three days of amateurish drinking and lewdity, fueled and volumized by the guilt of Lent. Lock up the cat.

But it’s Monday morning now and my people are hung-over and remorseful. That’s right, they’re lashing out. Fellow Irish descendant Bobby McMahon has written what is labeled a satirical piece in today’s Breeze, but it’s gone right over my head:

Besides his mother and the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Irishman’s wife is the most important woman in his life, and I couldn’t ask for a better mate than me lovely wife Mary. She’s a fiery redhead with good birthing hips and skin as pale as the moonlight, which I think has more to do with her rarely leaving the house than her Gaelic blood. Ya see, between the cooking and the cleaning and the pregnancy, there just isn’t a chance for her to go a’walking through the foggy meadow and get some sun on her face, making her skin whiter than the banshee. Tell ye the truth, I don’t think I’ve bought her shoes in the last 20 years, but then again, it’s not that far of a walk from the bedroom to the kitchen, so I don’t expect her to be complaining much.

Beats me. Full article here.

National Beaver Day — Igor draft

Frank and Gordon, the two animated beavers who first appeared as “spokesanimals” for Bell Canada in a series of tv spots during the Super Bowl, and more recently during the Winter Olympics, are just the latest anthropomorphic characters used in advertising by Canadian telecom companies.

FIDO: Brand began in 1996 with dogs from the outset, under the theme, You are the Master. Most popular ad campaign was ’97-’98 dog and owner look-alikes. Current campaign features mammoth pawprints in the snow and a giant canine, reminiscent of King Kong. Ad agency originating the campaign is Bos of Montreal.

TELUS: Started with a nature campaign in 1997 under the ClearNet wireless brand, which Telus acquired in 2000. A series of animals, insects, flowers and plants have been featured under the theme of The Future is Friendly. Call their animals “spokescritters.” Ad agency that originally developed the campaign is Taxi of Toronto. Current campaign handled by Taxi and DDB of Vancouver.

BELL: First used cartoon beavers Frank and Gordon this year during the Super Bowl. Bell now has a series of ads linked to the Olympics, with a storyline of Bell searching for new spokesanimals. Ad agency that developed the campaign is Cossette of Montreal.

A recent article in the Edmonton Journal discusses this trend in Canadian advertising, and the success of Frank and Gordon.

For its part, Bell is chortling all the way to the bank. The company has gone from zero to 60 in just 21/2 weeks, from a brand that had limited recognition with consumers to the cool guys with Frank and Gordon, now the talk of the water-cooler crowd and beyond.

Jim Little, senior vice-president of marketing and communications for Bell Canada, can hardly contain his glee at the brand recognition that the company has enjoyed since the Frank and Gordon campaign launched at Super Bowl.

“It’s going in a fun direction,” says Little.

“We think it’s time to set aside a national day for Canada’s national animal,” say Frank and Gordon on their website, imploring fellow Canadians to get on the brandwagon and sign a petition.

What do you think? Is Joe Canadian likely to get all patriotic about a beaver?

A word with ways

Beyond sharing a loft with Patrick McGrath (he is still wincing ), my only other brush with literary greatness was closing down Joe’s Bar on East Sixth in NYC on many occasions with one time drinking buddy Yannick Murphy. She’s since turned her life around and no longer runs with riff-raff.

In fact, Yannick’s got a new book out, “Here They Come”, published by Mc Sweeney’s:

Splitting time between a garbage-strewn apartment and an overly affectionate hot dog vendor, the observant thirteen-year-old who stands steadily at the center of Here They Come gives lyrical voice to an unforgettable instant—1970s New York, stifling, violent, and full of life. Balanced between her enigmatic siblings, borderline parents, and a quiet sense of the surreal, she recounts a year of vivid, mundane moments with dark humor and deadpan resilience. By Yannick Murphy, author of the New York Times Notable Book Sea of Trees .

“This is a hell of a book. You might not be able to finish Here They Come in one sitting, but it will haunt you till you do. What detail! What characters! I can imagine both Jane Austen and Raymond Carver pouring over this masterly novel.”

—Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes

“Yannick Murphy is a uniquely talented writer who manages to turn everything on its head and make dark, funny, shocking and beautiful prose out of the detritus of growing up poor, fatherless, and cockeyed. She is fearless.”

—Lily Tuck, winner of the 2004 National Book Award

“Yannick Murphy’s long-awaited Here They Come is a unique combination of rare linguistic lyricism with brutal and brilliant prose. It is an unrelenting portrait of family, terrifying for its honesty, its willingness to be ugly and elegant. Haunting.”

—A.M. Homes, author of The Safety of Objects and The End of Alice

She’s scooped up her share of writing awards, but this week Yannick Murphy leaps beyond the intelligencia and literati and lands smack in the pulp of People magazine tomorrow, or so she says. Not sure if it’s the one with Brad and Angelina on the cover or Angelina and Brad.

Anyway, do yourself a favor and do the unthinkable — go pick up and read this actual hardcover book, and stop reading this electronic drivel.

Following the paper entrail

In the continuing saga of great product code names being ditched in favor of the banal, Microsoft folds Origami:

Formerly known as “Origami,” the “UltraMobile PC” is Microsoft’s new name for a smaller version of its Tablet PC, but redesigned as a more multimedia-oriented device. Although the concept was launched together with a mysterious Web campaign and other secrecy, partner Intel had a version of “Origami” on display at the WinHEC 2005 showcase, minus the hype.

The first wave of devices are part of an extensive family of products envisioned by Microsoft. In a FAQ distributed to the press, Microsoft claimed that “UMPCs will eventually become as indispensable and ubiquitous as mobile phones are today.”

Handheld, smartphone, personal digital assistant, notebook, laptop, hiptop, mobile manager, ultralight, sub-notebook, pocket PC, tablet, tablet-mini PC, mini-PC, mobile media companion, and now ultramobile PC.

They should have let Origami define the category on its own rather than creating yet another confusing sub-sub category. BlackBerry defines itself as a BlackBerry, nothing else. iPod’s refusal to create a subcategory descriptor has allowed the name to become a brand that has transcended the original device, and the name is now used on full-blown home stereo equipment. When the iPod device evolves and becomes more and more multifunctional, it will still be an iPod. BlackBerry’s passing on categorizing itself has allowed it to both define and defy the category, offering all combination of functionality across multiple product lines.

Microsoft ditched Origami and embraced Ultramobile PC in a lust to own the category by defining it, hoping the name for the device would become synonymous with the category. Unfortunately, the descriptive Ultramobile PC joins a sea of other sub-category descriptors that are attempting to slice and dice mindshare with every miniscule evolutionary step in product development. The result is yet another pointless subdivision that brings confusion, not clarity, to the forefront. Origami at least had a shot of becoming a category defining name and then morphing into a brand name that transcends the category, a la BlackBerry and iPod. Ultramobile PC has no shot at either goal.

It’s too bad, Origami is an interesting twist on the paper (pun intended) naming theme already in place, denoted by notebook, notepad and tablet.

And by the bye, “entrail”as in fold, not the other one.

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