Friday, February 22, 2008

Smash and fab

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Honda commercial

Following the exceptionally innovative Cog, Grrr, and Choir ads, I was interested to see what Wieden + Kennedy would do next with its advertising for Honda.

The latest TV campaign airs this week and features a car made of jigsaw pieces and a giant sculpture of an engine constructed from thousands of Rubik's cubes,

The rubik cube art thing has actually been done before.

Anyway, not to detract from this, the ad presents Honda's engineers tackling many more series of bizarre puzzles to highlight the innovative thinking, and problem-solving engineering techniques, behind their new FCX Clarity hydrogen-fuelled car.

They even slot in a small reference to Cog by creating a chain reaction with spoons and polystyrene cups on a tea break.

The ad finishes with the Honda team creating a car out of jigsaw pieces, a scene that echoes "the Baking of" ad created by Fallon London for Skoda (the idea begins to wear a little thin by now.)

It closes, as always, with Garrison Keillor’s voiceover spelling out the message of the ad – a feature of Honda campaigns that gets more condescending and aggravating every time. Maybe they need to work on a change here? (Dervla Kirwan's booker at M&S, take note of that tip too.)

Despite the minor criticisms, all in all a riveting ad.

The best damn website in the Universe

From a design point of view this cannot be beaten. A great idea and brilliantly designed and executed.

Do you agree, or have any others to add?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Review: From Russia at the Royal Academy

The critics have gone ga-ga for the Royal Academy's show of Russian and French masterpieces.

It is one of the most-talked about and highly anticipated exhibitions of recent months as more than 120 masterpieces from Russia's four great state museums have finally arrived in the capital.

Matisse's The Dance (above) was the highlight for me. The work was painted in 1910 for a Moscow sugar merchant and has never been seen before in this country. Other works on show included paintings by Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Matisse together with those by Kandinsky, Tatlin and Malevich... quite a unique opportunity to explore the fascinating exchange that existed between French and Russian art during a crucial period that was witness to upheaval and revolution.

Of course there is general acknowledgment that a "pretty spectacular" multitude of treasures has arrived, but on the other hand the Guardian's art critic Adrian Searle, asks: who wants one damn masterpiece after another?"

Simon Jenkins, another critic, also picked up on the abundance of Russia's collections writing. "Russia has more works of global appeal than it can handle, yet needs more money to look after a fraction of what it has". He points out that most of these treasures are buried in vaults "which few people alive will ever see".

A great reason, then, to brave the crowds and book a ticket.

From Russia is at the Royal Academy, W1, until April 18