Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, May 30, 2021

It’s a bit maddening how my creative juices ebb and flow.

Like today. Out of nowhere, I came upon a series of real-life inspirations that helped me work out what turned into pretty well-crafted character sketches and situation-tone vignettes. The writing fairly came in a burst, with a flow that hasn’t been there for a few weeks now. It felt good.

Yet, it came on the same day that I put in a lot of work at my current consulting gig, where I’d presumed I’d be spending most of my mental energy. I’d have committed even more focus there if I’d been able to log into the corporate network remotely, as I’d planned after I got home (I wasn’t able to, damn the luck).

And of course, there’s always the daily contribution to this online space. A bit less than I’d figured on adding when I woke up this morning, but good enough for a random day.

Why can’t I turn it on for days when I have nothing but hours to devote to one creative endeavour or another? Instead, I have to split it up and try to jam it into assorted tasks that never get completed in a typically hectic day. It’s self-sabotage.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/30/2006 09:45pm
Category: Creative
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Who do we have to thank for our modern-day urban and transport-infrastructure landscape? According to Clinton-era National Parks Service director Roger G. Kennedy, in his new book “Wildfire and Americans : How to Save Lives, Property, and Your Tax Dollars”, the American land-use template has a couple of unlikely forefathers:

Mr. Kennedy attributes postwar patterns of American development to two of the 20th century’s most notorious top-down thinkers: Hitler and Stalin. Among other things, he writes, Hitler taught Eisenhower the usefulness of autobahns for the quick movement of troops and materiel, and the difficulty of destroying industrial infrastructure if it is well dispersed. And after Stalin got the bomb, Mr. Kennedy goes on, American leaders concluded that the nation would survive thermonuclear war only if its population moved out of the cities and scattered.

A result, as Mr. Kennedy and others have argued, was federal mortgage incentives, insurance programs and other initiatives that dispersed people into unsettled areas. The biggest incentive of all was the creation of the interstate highway system, built, officials said at the time, not to enhance commuting to the exurbs but for the nation’s defense.

The desire to afford as little of a fixed, concentrated target for enemy attacks as possible got renewed vitality with the War on Terror; technological developments (particularly telecom, i.e. Internet and phone options) made further dispersion of people and resources possible. It’s interesting that, as much as the trend is assumed to be the result of individualist desires, it’s driven by monolithic momentum set in motion half a century ago.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/30/2006 09:05pm
Category: History, Political, Society
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filling the roles
Ask, and ye shall receive.

Prompted by Debbie’s query about the identity of the actors in that surreal-goofy Milky Way “whatev/buffet of manliness/panda bear” TV commercial, I put the burning question to Stuart Elliott, the New York Times’ chief advertising reporter.

My faith was rewarded, as Elliott provided the answer today in the Q&A section of his weekly In Advertising email newsletter. Since the newsletter isn’t archived online, I’ll reproduce the response here, with a few strategic hyperlinks thrown in:

Q: [Reader] On behalf of a curious commenter on my blog (populationstatistic.com), I put this question to you. Who are the actors in the oddball Milky Way commercial featuring a dejected loser named Neil and his come-to-life candy-bar girlfriend? I find it funny how many people — mostly kids, as far as I can tell — are digging on this goofy ad.

A: [Stuart Elliott] The commercial for Milky Way, sold by the Masterfoods USA division of Mars, is created by BBDO Worldwide in New York, part of the Omnicom Group. Roy Elvove, a spokesman for BBDO New York, identifies the talent as D. Neil Mark (the guy) and Serinda Swan (the girl in the candy bar).

Mr. Elvove passes on this information about Mr. Mark from Chris McMurtrey, the copywriter on the commercial: “The two directors, the Perlorian brothers, knew this was the right guy for the job the second he walked in because he could evoke sympathy without being a total loser.”

As for Ms. Swan, Mr. McMurtrey says, she “auditioned better than anyone else,” adding that some viewers may recognize her as the cover model for the 2006 “Swimsuit Sirens” calendar.

I dunno about that “without being a total loser” assessment. But I guess there is a shred of empathy in the spot for Neil (cute how they used his real name as the commercial character’s name; I believe that’s fairly standard practice).

So there you have it. Somehow, given this blog’s track record with model-icious babes, I’m thinking the links for Swan (which lead to some smokin’ photos) are going to get a ton more action than the ones for Mark…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/30/2006 06:28pm
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food
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