Friday, November 21, 2008

Those Who Don't Know History...

Good thing I know random, irrelevant history. It seems to come in handy never in blog postings.

I read today that Dr. Pepper is almost accidentally giving away Dr. Pepper until Feb. 28. All you have to do is get a coupon on Sunday at 12:01 a.m. I'd have my calendar marked because I LOVE free stuff, but unfortunately (?) I'm going to be in Berlin this weekend.

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So why the free soda?
Dr Pepper is making good on its promise of free soda now that the release of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" is a reality. The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in America if the album dropped in 2008. "Chinese Democracy," infamously delayed since recording began in 1994, goes on sale Sunday.
I think that's a hilarious compilation between the two parties. But hey, it gets some people free soda and others the amusement of a new Guns N' Roses album. Win win.

It's similar to something that happened in the 1920s + 30s that I read about a few years ago and somehow managed to recollect. Burma-Shave, a shaving cream was famous for it's had a series of clever poems on roadsides. Eventually, they crafted half-joking promotions like this one :
Free Offer! Free Offer!
Rip A Fender
Off Your Car
Mail It In For
A Half-Pound Jar
Not surprisingly, people actually sending in their fenders. The amused employees traded the junk yard scraps or toy fenders for jars of Burma-Shave. The next series, the company believed, would surely be realized as spoof.
Free — Free
A Trip To Mars
For 900
Empty Jars
Arliss French, though, Chicago's 1920s BAMF managed to procure the necessary jars. After a series of rhyming telegrams (web 0.0)....

If A Trip
To Mars You Earn
Remember, Friend
There's No Return
Let's Not Quibble
Let's Not Fret
Gather Your Forces
I'm All Set
Our Rockets Are Ready
We Ain't Splitting Hairs
Just Send Us The Jars
And Arrange Your Affairs
.....Burma-Shave agreed to send French, his wife, and 12 children to a German town pronounced "Mars."

Of course, all of this amounted to massive publicity to Burma Shave (obviously, because almost 100 years later I still know about it). I think it's a great story of a company that was years ahead of it's time.


Burma info from Snopes. com + pictures from Digital Media Library and

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Interaction in London

Two of my less-strange but still diverse interests* are technology and art and I've gotten to see some interesting public art in London recently. There's a great and surprising exhibit in Trafalgar Square right now called Under Scan by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

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Lozano-Hemmer set up two projectors that create videos in passerby's shadows. It's a strange concept because when people in Trafalgar Square look down, they are greeted by an image of a person waving at them. The exhibit is set up so that the projected people look directly at a viewer, interact with them, and appear to lose interest as the viewer walks away.

Neato. And a lot less eerie than the exhbit I just saw in the Saatchi Gallery, where aged models of world leaders in electric wheelchairs roll around in the basement.

More information on Under Scan here.

* Example: I'm graduating with a Minor in Visual Art and a Liberal Arts Concentration in Political Science. Woooo.

Pictures from BBC, Three Cities and the Saatchi Gallery
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