Curtis Westman

A Moment of Self-Reflection

Posted by on October 24, 2010

In honour of the fact that it’s Sunday and I’m at work, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on all the things I’ve written for Big Orange Slide, the blog of Grip Limited, the wildly creative ad agency where I work. I also wanted to draw attention to the fact that they allow anyone who works there to write articles, regardless of whether or not they’re employed as a writer.

So, from the desk of a proofreader, I’m thankful.

Liquor Control Brand of Ontario
7 October, 2010

If you want a bottle of a particular brand of gin, you can search the LCBO website and it will tell you if they carry it, the price, what stores have bottles in stock, and how many bottles they have on hand. The layout and interface are simple and easy-to-use, which is absolutely fantastic when you’ve just shot-gunned a six pack of cheap beer and you can barely find your mouse cursor.

The enemy in the ad
August 4, 2010

Short of ritual suicide, there really is nothing we can do to pay penance. As tempting as hemlock might be, the best we can do is learn from our mistakes and ensure they never happen again. We’ll continue in this way until, inevitably, we will learn everything there is to know about everything, and then we’ll simply disappear into a cloud of particulate matter that nobody really feels comfortable inhaling.

Grip interviews: Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
July 26, 2010

Conor: Well, one of the first challenges is that comics are a niche product. There are set places where comic fans gather. That’s great when you want to reach the converted. But for a comic like Kill Shakespeare, which we want to push past the tights-and-capes set (though we love that genre too), it’s tricky to know where to fish.

Messing with the message
June 29, 2010

But that’s not what happened. It started out that way, of course, but somewhere in a march down University Avenue, the crowd shattered, split, and spilled like the contents of a broken bottle from the boundaries of the police escort. The instigators were a mob dressed entirely in black, their faces covered so as to make identification impossible, their cause a murky ideological melting pot. From that moment onwards, the protest, from the perspective of the people with real political motives, was an utter failure.

Like selling salt to a french fry
June 7, 2010

The health industry accuses the salt industry of using these marketing techniques to obfuscate information and to keep the salt status quo. In my eyes, they’re both guilty of doing this – a better solution for the American government would be to moderate the amount of sodium-rich foods served to Americans in general, but they would never consider such a drastic solution.

“Who’s the best pilot you ever saw?”
April 26, 2010

In 1963, Gordon Cooper’s Mercury spacecraft lost power to its automatic control system after more than 30 hours in free-fall. In response, he calmly drew an artificial horizon on the window in magic marker and manually piloted the pod through re-entry, landing in splashdown only 6 kilometres from his intended target. He was a hero. These days, I would bet that most of us don’t even know the astronauts’ names.

Rebranding Canada
March 11, 2010

“O Canada” was great 20 years ago. But this is the 21st Century. It’s time to follow the trends, license some popular music and leverage it against your brand. There’s a young Canadian musician just starting his career, and I think he’d be perfect. His name is Stephen Harper. He has a day job, of course, but that’s alright because I hear he can take time off whenever he feels like it.

Drifting toward predictable results
March 2, 2010

Our intuition tells us that over a large enough sampling, each of the smaller communities would show the same tracks as most popular, or there would at least be a noticeable correlation among the highest rated songs. Instead, they found wildly differing results—that a track rated #1 in one community could be rated #40 in another—and they were lost as to why such an anomaly had formed.

So, there you have it. It’s been a crazy 8 months. I strongly urge you, while you’re at Big Orange Slide, to read some other posts. If you’re interested in advertising or design, you’re bound to find something of worth from some of the company’s talented writers.

P.S. If you consider this a form of masturbation, you’re probably right. Don’t tell the pope.

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