Tag Archives: youtube

Ship My Pants! Is Kmart Being Smart?

A little blue humor with your blue light special?

Blue siren similar to those used by Kmart for the blue light special

Original photo by DoppioM via Flickr

I remember being in a Kmart a hazy handful of times in the ’70s seeing a blue siren flash after an announcement over Kmart’s intercom. It was exciting, and an obvious gimmick to get some quick attention while having a little fun.

Something similar is happening now with Kmart’s latest ad campaign, dubbed “Ship My Pants.” Highlighting the retailer’s offering of in-store shipping, excited customers riff about shipping their pants, drawers, a bed, and… you get the idea.

I love some wacky wordplay, so I’m naturally a fan of the ad. I don’t know that I’ll be shopping at Kmart any more because of it, but I’ll definitely be smirking the next time it happens, or maybe even the next time I drive by a store.

It reminds me of the “Make 7up Yours” campaign from the ’90s…

I noted the similarity to Kmart through Twitter, and they acknowledge the connection.

My take away is that, although this might be a bawdy approach, it gets us discussing the brand when there was absolutely no chatter before. It’s getting a boatload of press – positive, even – which was precisely what it was intended to do, so kudos to Kmart’s PR team for deft handling. In the case of Old Spice, this did get me interested in the product, and it will be interesting to follow Kmart’s business as consumers start to, um… ship their pants.

What do you think? Can you recall a similar campaign? Would this make you more or less likely to shop at a Kmart or similar advertiser? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Adrian Peterson Orange Peanut Awesomeness

I love it when real life and entertainment collide for humorous effect, and social media is especially great for that.

My favorite example of this lately is Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson’s now-famous post-game confession of his passion for orange peanuts.

This comes courtesy of Bad Lip Reading. If you haven’t seen their full set of YouTube videos, your life is not as rich as it could be.

Culture Jamming? Orange Peanut!

The best part of this is when Peterson was presented with a real-life orange peanut at an autograph session. And he was a great sport about it. Look at that smile.

Adrian Peterson Orange Peanut

Image via tchrox

Importantly, as USA Today notes, “The craftsmanship on the peanut is spot-on.” Excellent.

What do you think? What’s your favorite example of real/online/entertainment world convergence? Have you ever participated in culture jamming? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Your Own Personal Grammys

Are your favorite performing artists underrepresented for their work? Does the mainstream “best of” not reflect your tastes? Then make your own awards. This is my blog, with my completely biased opinions – The Grammys, this is not. That said, the rsmithing.com music awards for the past year go to…

Best Video: MelodysheepHappy Little Clouds

I interview the mastermind behind Melodysheep, and all-round cool dude, John Boswell, here.

Best Concert: Beats Antique, Cat’s Cradle, May 4, 2012

I recount how I discovered Beats Antique here and document another of their gigs here.

Best New Artist: How To Destroy Angels

It’s atmospheric Nine Inch Nails with a female voice. Totally works.

Best Comeback: Quicksand

The band’s breakthrough album, Slip, is a certified classic.

Best Shoutout to Me: Garbage

One of my favorite bands featured my artwork in a promo video. Full story here.

Album of The Year: Deftones, Koi No Yokan

The Deftones‘ enduring talent surges ever forward.

Best Electronica: Photek, KU:PALM

Photek came back after many years with a sparse-yet-rich new record.

Best Topical Humor: CollegeHumor, Look at This Instagram

Thanks to Sarah Khanna, food blogger at butteredup.com, for turning me on to this. I think.
What do you think? What were your best musical moments of the past year? What other categories would you include? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Who’s Been Commenting?

A great reward of blogging is making connections with professionals whose work I respect. Here’s a look at some recognizable figures commenting at rsmithing.com in the past 12 months. Check out the posts to see their remarks:

Mack Collier

Mack Collier

Mack Collier commented and said thanks in my post, Blogchat: Sundays on Twitter. As a strategisttrainer and speaker on social media, Collier helps companies better connect with customers. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. [Mack's Site]

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss commented a couple of times on my post, Last Book Read: Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. Strauss is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also writes regularly for The New York Times, having repeatedly made its bestseller list with books such as The Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. [Wikipedia]

John Boswell

John Boswell

John Boswell generously answered my questions in this post: Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind. Boswell is the artist behind autotune projects Symphony of Science and MelodySheep, gaining international recognition and millions of YouTube views for his inspiring musical tributes to Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross and Julia Child, among others.

Mike Sager

Mike Sager

Mike Sager said thanks for my quick post inspired by his writing, From Music and Words into Movement – The Fun of Art. Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. He has been called “the Beat poet of American journalism, that rare reporter who can make literature out of shabby reality.” [Wikipedia] In thirty years as a journalist, writer at large Mike Sager has immersed himself in the lives of pit-bull fighters, heroin addicts, Tupperware saleswomen, and an actress named Roseanne. [Esquire]

Jay Baer

Jay Baer

Jay Baer stopped by after I reached him on Google Plus to weigh in on my post, How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview. Baer is a social media strategist, author, speaker and President of Convince & Convert. Founder of five companies, he’s worked with over 700 brands (including Nike, Cold Stone Creamery, Sony, ExactTarget, and ConocoPhillips) since 1994, including 25 of the Fortune 1000. His blog is ranked among the world’s top marketing resources, and was named #3 social media blog in the world by Social Media Examiner. [Wikipedia]

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal noted his use of contrast in my analysis of his work: Contrasts Make Connections. Madrigal is a Senior editor at The Atlantic, author of Powering the Dream, and has previously contributed to WIRED, covering science and technology as a contributor to the Wired Science blog. [Twitter]

Also engaging via brand representatives were McDonald’s Corporate in: Fast Food and Fast Lessons in Public Relations and, as a bonus from 2011: Delta Airlines in my post, An Airline Gets it… Right?

What do you think? Have any well-known figures or organizations commented on your work? Have you ever had any brushes with celebrity? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Beats Antique in Photos

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique in Sihlouette, backlit in front of a screen onstage.

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique – silhouette

This weekend I caught one of my favorite bands these days, Beats Antique, in concert for the second time this year at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC.

Flyer, ticket and marquee of Beats Antique gig at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC

Flyer, ticket and marquee of Beats Antique gig at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC

As I’ve mentioned previously, their music is a perfect blend of exotic Eastern sounds, modern electronica, and of course… killer beats.

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique Dancing at the beginning of a performance

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique dancing at the beginning of the show.

These are some choice photos from the gig I took and edited via iPhone, using apps like Photoforge2 and Hipstamatic to boost the atmosphere.

Beats Antique performing onstage, in black & white.

Beats Antique: Sidecar Tommy Cappel (left), Zoe Jakes (center), David Satori (right)

Full disclosure: their PR team, The Confluence Group, emailed me asking if I’d be willing to post something about the show, which I probably would have done anyway. I’m just flattered to have been asked and am happy to promote a great act.

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique in atmospheric lighting

Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique in atmospheric lighting

Click on any of these to see at full size, along with more Beats Antique photos I’ve taken.

Zoe in costume with antlers and flowing dress

Zoe in costume with antlers and flowing dress

Pick up the band’s music at iTunesAmazon or direct from the group on their Bandcamp page.

Chandelier at Beats Antique Gig

This chandelier was part of the band’s stage gear. I like chandeliers.

See also: Beats Antique tour dates. Definitely a fun show worth checking out if they come near your town.

David Satori in a duck mask

David Satori, in the spirit of duck, in full duck mask gear. Things get crazy toward gig’s end.

Beats Antique links: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | YouTube Store
Either a Kracken, or a giant squid

Always in touch with the animal world, the band unleashed the Kraken for an encore.

What do you think? Do you take photos at concerts & edit them later? What do you think of Beats Antique? Is there a similar band worth checking out? Let us hear from you in the comments.

My Best Concert Ever: Bauhaus

The best concert I’ve ever seen was Bauhaus at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. [setlist] [discussion] I’ve always been a big fan of their music, yet they broke up long before I was old enough to go to concerts. So I only had references from others’ experiences, and the occasional glimpse of a video to experience anything resembling a performance.

Note: although embedding has been disabled by request on all these videos, they still play at YouTube and are definitely worth checking out. Just click that “Watch on YouTube” link.

Going to see the band after they’d reunited was not just a personal thrill, but the show itself was absolutely phenomenal. Their performance was right on, and Peter Murphy‘s remarkable voice only seemed to have gotten better with time. The lighting and set design were breathtaking, yet intimate and appropriate for this band and their dramatic aesthetic.

Bauhaus In Concert = Chills

It gives me chills just to think about it now, and I still have frozen in my brain, and probably will forever, images of every song as they came to life before my eyes – these pieces of music which we’re so compelling-yet-mysterious now happening in front of me and a room full of 1000 people. The experience was an electric, hair-raising religious one.

I was never a totally goth kid growing up, although I did appreciate the music and style. I was more into metal and punk than new wave or alternative when my musical tastes were forming, but I’ve always appreciated many types of music. The unifying factors I do appreciate most, however, are creativity, skill at craft, and overall dedication, all of which Bauhaus and my other favorite bands have in abundance.

What is your best concert ever? Is there a band you would like to see but haven’t yet, or may never get to see? What would be your fantasy best concert? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Interview with MelodySheep and Symphony of Science Mastermind John Boswell

MelodySheep autotune creator John Boswell’s musical magic: Bruce Lee, Bob Ross, Mr. Rogers & More

John Boswell

John Boswell, aka MelodySheep, aka Symphony of Science

To say John Boswell grows ideas in the garden of his mind is at once an understatement and yet highly appropriate. As you may have seen on CNN, Forbes, NPR, or especially YouTube, Boswell creates infectiously catchy pop songs from such unlikely sources as Julia Child, Billy Mays and  Yoda – all through the magic of autotune technology and his incredible talent for musical montage.

The results are simultaneously hilarious, touching and highly enjoyable, as evidenced by the millions of views his videos have been racking up lately. I recently asked Boswell a few questions about his process, and his responses follow. Do yourself a favor and check out his full catalog, available for download at MelodySheep.BandCamp.com.

rsmithing: How did you get started in music, and what instruments do you play?
John Boswell: I started off as a keyboardist and turntablist for a metal band in high school – definitely an unorthodox way to begin, but I learned basic music theory and how to combine different elements of music, both of which paved the way for the work I do today. I play mostly piano and guitar but dabble in a handful of other instruments, like mandolin and accordion.

rs: Have any of the subjects of your videos seen them, and what have their reactions been?
jb: A few of the figures I have used in my videos have been in touch with me, and their reactions have been entirely positive. I think what I am doing can be considered a mostly positive endeavor to begin with, and it’s always fun to see yourself given the remix treatment.

rs: What’s been your favorite composition so far?
jb: It’s hard to pick a favorite piece of my own, but the Ode to the Brain video is definitely near the top. It was a blast to make and I learned so many things in the process, which is always a plus. The music came together really well too, which gave it all the right ingredients for a solid video.

 

rs: Happy Little Clouds got a million views in one weekend. What’s it like to get so much attention so fast?
jb: It’s always great to get the sort of recognition that the Bob Ross video got, and I always appreciate the comments coming in and love hearing people’s reactions. Attention spans on the Internet are very short though, so once one big thing is happening it’s crucial to think about what is going to be next and how it can be different and better.

rs: Which composition has been the most challenging?
jb: The most challenging video thus far was most likely the Bob Ross remix. His quiet voice and tendency to mumble, combined with the constant sound of his brush on the canvas, made it hard to isolate good vocal samples. Luckily he was philosophical enough to provide enough clean quotes to use in the song.

 

rs: Why did you go with a pay-what-you-like model, and how’s that going for you?
jb: I believe music should be available free to those who want to listen but cannot afford. There is still enough generosity in this world to make pay-what-you-want worth it to artists, although there has to be a critical mass. Anybody who works hard enough can reach that point, as I have demonstrated.

rs: Anything else you’d like to add?
jb: Bruce Lee video is coming next week!
rs: AWESOME! (rsmithing = long-time Bruce Lee fan)

UPDATE, 8/28: And now, Bruce Lee:

 

A big thank you to John Boswell for answering my questions. Check out his stuff here:

What’s your favorite autotune mix? Who would you suggest for John’s next project? Let us hear from you in the comments!