Archive for November, 2008

Branding from the Masters

November 30, 2008

Is there a brand on Earth cooler than Adidas?
(Although they do themselves a disservice including Katy Perry alongside Missy Elliott, Run-D.M.C. and Ile Nastase – for shame!)


Nas x Fila

November 29, 2008

I’ve been seeing these ads all over the Tube recently, promoting Nas’ recent collaboration with Fila…

Nas for Fila at JD

Nas for Fila at JD

and to be honest I’ve only got one question – what the f*ck? And this isn’t just because of my general aversion to Fila, which since an early age has smacked of awful quality and outdated design (Fila was the kind of brand that in my primary school you got bullied for wearing, holding about the same caché as le coq sportif), but mainly because of Nas’ profession of his love for Nike on record since he released Illmatic in 1994, and his relative silence on the topic of the Italian brand. Until now that is –


The Usefulshöpp

November 25, 2008

Made Mistake?

I was driving along the other day and this jumped out at me.

It does what a decent billboard ad should do, catches your attention then stays with you. This is classically understated Scandinavian humour that puts having a kid by accident at the same level of gravity as making an error in your writing. You see it and you instantly think, that makes no sense, then, wait a minute…they didn’t! Oh yes they did!

Clas Ohlson is a Swedish chain of Hardware stores opening up here which sells “Household Solutions”, that was established in 1918 by Mr Clas Ohlson to sell things that make life a little easier. Karmarama have transferred this concept to a campaign that promotes human, simple thinking based on the need to find solutions to everyday problems. This is epitomized by another ad in the campaign, the copy reading: “Got Log?” followed by a photo of an axe and a photo of a toilet brush. Nice.

Timberland – Mountain Podium

November 22, 2008

I have loved Timberland ever since I bought my first pair of their boots about 5 years ago. In that time they’ve braved rain, snow, mud, vomit, blood and pretty much anything else I’ve thrown at them and never done anything other than laugh in my face at my paltry attempts to destroy them – they are, in short, incredible. Timberland have been making equipment built for the elements for over 50 years, and it is this rich heritage that it draws upon for its new campaign, ‘Take it all on’.

Timberland - Mountain Podium

This is clearly a departure from the urban (for want of a better word) strategy that Timberland adopted in the early nineties, which stemmed from their uptake by the black and Latino youth of the American Northeast, particularly in New York and New Jersey. Rap undoubtedly had a massive reciprocal influence on their popularity, as East coast rappers have been name-checking Timberland since the early days of Wu-Tang, and using this rough and ready image as a base, Timberland expanded rapidly, forging lifelong aficionados on both sides of the Atlantic (teaming up exclusively for a time with JD Sports in the UK, which gives a small glimpse into how hard they were pushing themselves into the youth market).


Mission Statement

November 21, 2008

Now we’re not knocking Campaign, or Media Week, or any other of the myriad journals and sites that analyse and evaluate the advertising that surrounds us day by day, far from it in fact, but we feel that much, if not all, of what we read about ads right now lacks one major, specific focus – context. Ads do not exist in a vacuum, they are formed within the same maelstrom of cultural forms that proliferate within any society – art, literature, film, music, fashion, theatre and philosophy to name but a few – and like all of these, are informed and influenced by economic, politics and history, on top of the heed and direction they take from each other within this all-encompassing web. But to read about advertising right now, you’d hardly ever know it. Ads are torn out of cultural context, placed on a page or blog as a separate entity devoid of influence or genesis, and subsequently drained of what we feel makes them so rich in the first place. The closest we’ve come recently is the constant (and albeit justified) flood of talk about the credit crunch and what effect it is already having on the ad industry as a whole and its product, but this is merely the most visible of an innumerable plethora of influences that should be considered to get to the heart of brands and the messages they proliferate through their advertising.

We hope to redress this balance, as well as posting any other cool stuff we come across along the way that inspires us, whether advertising or not. We want to use Vital Signs to start dialogues, discussions and interaction and generally tap into what’s going on in the world right here, right now.

We hope you enjoy reading, thanks for visiting.