The wonderful world of brand mashups

A great Brazillian graphic designer named Mario Amaya has taken a few of favorite brands and run them into each other at top speed. See some of the efforts below and see more here. His blog, Following Is For Cattle, makes me wish I’d paid attention when the Providence public school system was trying to teach me Portuguese.

Iran blames Barbie for undermining traditional values

The top prosecutor for the Iranian Republic says that Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter are all conspiring to subvert the youth of today.

Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabad said Iran was the world’s third biggest importer of toys and suggested this posed a threat to the “personality and identity” of the new generation. “The unrestrained entry of this sort of imported toys … will bring destructive cultural and social consequences in their wake,” he wrote. He added many toys were smuggled into Iran and accused importers of concentrating on profits at the expense of cultural values.

Man, this puts me in a bind. While I am certainly down with Bats, Spidey and Mr. Potter, I have always been troubled by Barbie. While the original (right) was a human shape and had a fairly sassy look in her eyes, later models became the absurd and subservient creature we all know today. However compared to more recent hyper-sexualized dolls like Bratz, she is positively demure and the personification of feminism. (Feminism (noun), a set of beliefs predicated on the notion that women are people too.)

Given that I guess I’m cool with Barbie doing a little subverting of one gender stereotype by displaying another one. It kind of reminds me of Slavenka Draculic’s wonderful book How We Survived Communism And Even Laughed. In it she writes about her feminist friends in the West would be shocked when Draculic, a Yugoslavian back when that meant something, would visit them and wear lipstick and frou-frou clothes. They saw this as acquiescing to a stereotype. For Draculic it was just the opposite. These things allowed her to assert her individuality while living in a nation that was trying to eliminate the individual. I suspect Ms. Draculic would (or does) approve of Barbie as revolutionary.

And, can I just say that if your belief system can be subverted by Barbie et al., then it really doesn’t have much of grasp on its audience.

I love the fact that this came from the Iran’s top prosecutor. How absurd is that? I mean can you imagine the US attorney general doing something similar? Like covering the breasts of a statue of blind justice because of its threat to the nations morals? Oh wait, never mind …

J.K. Rowling sues festival for constructing physical version of an imaginary place

KOLKATA, India (AFP) – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is suing organisers of a religious event for constructing a replica of her imaginary Hogwarts Castle in an eastern India city, officials said Thursday.

How do you make a replica of something that’s imaginary? If I build a recreation of Yossarian’s tent from Catch-22 can I be sued by Joseph Heller’s estate? Doesn’t the whole basis of this law suit put the entire Disney empire at risk? I’m suing over Cinderella’s castle. It infringes on my idea of what the thing should look like. No, wait, Mrs. CD won’t let me. Bad husband. No suing The Mouse. Baaad.

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This summer’s biggest waste of marketing dollars? Harry Potter & The Simpson’s Movie

hansThere was no point in spending a dime on advertising for either one. Marketing them was like doing PR for YouTube: Sit there and watch the fish jump in your boat. That said, co-branding with these two things was a GREAT idea. I was down in Orlando last week and went to one of the 7-Eleven’s that were rethemed as a Kwik E Mart and I loved it. All they did was throw up some signs and boom! A hit was born. (I’ll post my pics at some point in the future. Best signage was the one of Hans Moleman frozen in the ice machine). Place was mobbed.

I haven’t seen any co-branding with HP & The Deathly Hallows, has anyone else?

Quick reviews (without spoilers):

Harry Potter & The Great Big Bags of Cash: The final HP was too long by about a third but better than I expected it to be. The actual writing, i.e. sentence structure and syntax, was much better than in the last two. In 5 &6 I approached each sentence concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find my way out once I started in. There were several things that seemed invented just for book seven — like a certain species’ use of a different type of magic — that felt like they were there only because the author had painted herself into a corner. Apparently Ms. Rowling feels that having characters wander around pointlessly builds tension or something.

Simpson’s Movie: It’s about a B to B+ episode. At 1.5 hrs long, it doesn’t suffer from the bloat and padding that seems to go along with most movies of TV shows. Also they didn’t let it get over run by guest stars. Tom Hanks is great and I was quite pleased to see Green Day go down with the ship. My only real complaint is that we were promised screen time for ALL the secondary characters and I do believe they missed one: God. The bearded one was conspicuously absent. Next time guys. Also, I want more musical numbers.