Monday, March 30, 2009

Are candy companies the only recession proof industry?

I've noticed in the last two months (also the worst 2 mos for the labor sector) that Skittles, Snickers, and Cadbury have all released new campaigns, websites, or T.V. spots. Leading me to wonder: Are candy companies the only recession proof industry?

Skittles made headlines in the ad industry for their new website, blogged about here in early March. Snickers has a new print/outdoor campaign with a clever play on their logo/packaging structure (above top), and Cadbury released their new Eyebrows spot from Fallon London (above bottom). 

So is it all to garner publicity or actually generate sales? In my opinion Snickers is the only campaign of the three that probably has a chance of increasing sales. The campaign is running in points of hunger (when someone is out driving/walking/taking a bus/aka on the go) in need of a quick snack fix like snickers. The other two in my opinion were solely to generate publicity for both the client and agency of record. 

If you have an opinion on the campaigns discuss below...

Minnesota: More than sub zero temps and lefsa


Something I love about Minneapolis is that it is a great arts city. Whether its music, theater, or art exhibits something about this northern city fosters some great artists. One of my local favorites is graphic designer Adam Turman. I've noticed Adam's work around Minneapolis for about a year now and instantly gravitated towards it. Its kitschy, eclectic, culturally right on design work. Adam's work can be found around town at SaraCura (where I also sell my photography) and The Electric Fetus as the featured Minneconomy artist.

Adam does a lot of screen print work for bands, but also does great screen prints of things truly Minnesotan. Highlighting the beautiful, unique and quirky parts of the northern culture. My personal favorite is the Hotdish screen print. Perfectly sums up one of my least favorite dishes ever, yet one of the most unique parts of Minnesotan culture. I'm dying for the apron!

You can admire and purchase Adam's work here

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For all the Minnesota boys

From a great hometown favorite Atmosphere. This song perfectly represents Minnesota boys to me, in fact I first heard this song bc of a true Minnesota boy. Something about this state instills male pride. The Chicago line is so true. Minnesota girls I know you can relate! Discuss below...

My childhood favorite is coming to the big screen!

Today the trailer for the feature film Where the Wild Things Are hit the Internet and it instantly brought me back to being 4 years old reading my favorite childhood book. From just seeing the trailer Spike Jonze did well. From Max's infamous costume and crown to the likeness of the wild things my childhood feels as if its been brought to life twenty years later. The movie hits theaters October 16. I know where myself and I'm sure many others my age and younger will be. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

While I was having the worst day ever...South Park washed it all away

As I mentioned last week in my adoration for the new South Park promos, SP is back with an all new season. Since Top Chef is no longer on Wednesdays @ 9 I'm back to hangin' with Cartman and the crew. This week's episode was a classic!

Cartman turned into a secret superhero "The Coon" yes only on SP and the half hour quickly turned into a direct satire of The Dark Knight right down to the last frame where Cartman runs off into the night on his coon bike. 

It was exactly what I needed at that exact moment. South Park was exactly what an entertainment show is supposed to be: an escape for a period of time from whatever you're having to deal with in your life at the time.  Thanks SP for the laughs it was much needed.

You can watch the episode here   

I refuse to accept that Doc Martens could make a comeback!

In the last month or so I've seen a few kooky celebs wearing Doc Martens around LA.  No! No! No! Growing up in the Midwest during the 3rd resurrection of Doc Martens was painful enough on my developing arches and calves. The things weigh 5 lbs and as a lanky awkward 13 year old you might as well just have attached dumbbells to my feet.

Today Drew Barrymore was off to a business meeting doing her kookiest menswear inspired outfit complete with black doc boots. I was accepting of flannel coming back, but not this. The 90's fashions were cruel enough on women's shapes we don't need a round two in less than a decade.

If we're going to bring back flannel, doc martens, and boyfriend jeans we might as well resurrect Kurt Cobain, wipe out the Internet, and go back to Zac Morris size cell phones.  See my point! Let's move forward fashion world and stick with 5 inch Loubotins instead of 5 lb Docs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Twitter: Will it help in my endless job search?

Today I made the decision that has been on my mind for about a month today.  I joined Twitter. Yes the peculiar 140 character social media website that has absolutely exploded over the last year and now has over 6 million users.  

My good friend Maggie convinced me at happy hour last week, and no not bc I'd had a few cocktails, but bc she said she was able to follow all of the ad agencies and figure out when they were looking for a new position or had won new business.  This strongly piqued my interest.

The reason I was so turned off to Twitter was bc several acquaintances, who of course will remain nameless, annoyed the hell out of me when they shared literally everything they did all day long. Statuses like "I took a shower. I walked on a street in Brooklyn or I made a cake today." were shared like a constant barade of unwanted show and tell. 

Twitter became show and tell day with those annoying kids who don't have anything really great to share so they tell you how they ate a worm at recess instead of sharing the delicious recipe to a homemade Orange Julius, which is the purpose of show and tell day (aka Twitter). Hence me not wanting to join show and tell.

Twitter's sole purpose is for sharing valuable links and information.  I intend to keep my profile that way, as well as another tool in my personal brand. A valuable lesson I've learned, and been working hard at the last few months in this never ending job search. I hope by following the right people and sharing valuable view points with those people me as the brand is discovered by someone just dying to give a smart young woman her official break in advertising.

You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the link on the right or by user name: EWiedner.

Taking D to the country

So now that I finally have a new car after 4 years without a vehicle my parents have started using it as a bribe to have me drive home and see them. This weekend I took a willing hostage, my good friend D.

D is from south Florida and this is her first winter in MN, so its been entertaining to say the very least. When she heard I was heading home to the land of the largest ball of twine, meat raffles, American legion bars, and Wal-Mart she willingly jumped on board. 

It was an entertaining and relaxing 24 hours. My dad had gladly filled the house with a year's worth of girl scout cookies!!! Thank god I was worried I was going to miss out on thin mints this year.  By 5 it was time for the meat raffle. D new to the concept won on the fourth round, which of course hilarity ensued as she asked for my 'country' girl expertise on picking a good cut of meat in front of the local farmers.  D was on a lucky streak as she won the free drink round and was the only one out of the five of us who won on pull tabs.  

Next it was off to Carlito's the authentic Mexican restaurant in town that is amazing! The owner is a trip which D was quick to point out. Which got me to wondering about growing up in a small town versus a suburb or urban area. In a small town you're not exposed to a lot in terms of what the real world is like, but you are exposed to some of the greatest characters ever. Many of my family friends could be the plot line of a successful sitcom.

There are days when I utterly cringe about my small town roots, but D gave me a new perspective. I came from this crazy place with some of the most entertaining, crazy, genuine characters around. And as many of you know its the people in your life that makes life so entertaining and engaging. Mine was more engaging and entertaining than I realized. 

Being a Recessionista: Happy Hour

So Thursday evening was going to be spent at the Walker, but two good friends convinced me happy hour at the Imperial Room was being a recessionista as well. Good friends and stiff grand margaritas won.

The Imperial Room happy hour is one of my favorites downtown. They have half priced apps and half priced martinis from 4-7 pm. So when you have the desire for a classy cocktail but don't feel like paying $10 head to Imperial Room.  Most martinis run for about $4.50! You can't even get a rail drink at that price downtown.  

Rosen's across the street from the Imperial Room also has an amazing Friday happy hour.  If its been one of the longest weeks, than head to one of the longest happy hours in town.  $3 on all beers on tap (including Guinness!) $3 on almost all cocktails and it lasts from 4-10 p.m.

Keep it cheap, but keep it classy Minneapolis!

Being a Recessionista: Minneapolis Institute of Art

I know its been a while, and you're probs thinking did Em fall off the face of the earth?! No just been swamped with the glorious process of Ad agency intern apps and organizing some new business prospects for my photography.  I have lots to catch you up on!

Wednesday afternoon I spent at the lovely Minneapolis Institute of Art, which is free everyday! It isn't open Mondays like most museums. I'm much more a fan of the style the M.I.A houses as opposed to modern art museums so I've always had an affinity for the M.I.A.  I spent most of my time on the third floor in the Impressionism and Photography rooms, two of my favorite mediums. Spending time with Van Gogh's Olive Trees and the current Tom Arndt's Minnesota photography exhibit was exactly what I needed after an intense morning of dealing with pain in the ass job search engines and racking my brain on inventing some product not yet on the market. 

If you have a lazy afternoon or are just feel like breaking up your routine head to the M.I.A for some great art and beautiful views of the Minneapolis skyline.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Being a Recessionista: Weisman Art Museum

Tuesday afternoon I spent at the Weisman, while it slushed and sleeted outside.  The Weisman is located on the east bank of the University of Minnesota campus.  Its always free, but remember it isn't open on Mondays.  

The Weisman carries many modern pieces, not always my taste, but most were interesting. There's a Warhol, and a few O'Keefe's. At the end of my visit I wasn't sure if I should be more impressed by the collection or the architecture of the building.  See in the 3 1/2 years I attended the University I never once went to the Weisman. I know I'm a bad student with no taste, yadda yadda. After yesterday though I realized I just love the architecture of the building more than the artwork in it.  Trash me all you want, but that's my piece and I'm sticking to it.

Being a Recessionista: Como Conservatory

So I began my recessionista trip this week and its been a fabulous way to spend my afternoons after some brutal mornings of the endless job search.  If you've recently been layed off, graduated and have no job, or have spring break coming up then follow this blog series!

My first outing was to the Como Conservatory on Monday afternoon.  It was a grey, dismal March day and the conservatory was exactly what I needed.  Its connected to the Como Zoo located just off Lexington Ave N in St. Paul. Its free, but they do ask for a suggested donation of $2 for adults, which definitely beats the price of an airline ticket to a tropical getaway.  Kept at a humid 80+ temp, its the perfect getaway during a crappy Minnesota day.  

The place is a photographer's dream and this week I happened to luck out by catching their latest exhibit in full bloom. A fellow photographer told me that on Saturday none of the beautiful pink cyclamens and hydrangeas were in bloom yet.  

I traveled to Australia, South America, Mexico, China and South Korea without ever leaving the city.  The variety of plants and beautiful layout is a great place to wander around in for a few hours or curl up on one of the benches and journal or photograph.  

Head to the Como Conservatory if you're having some serious cabin fever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

With the spring thaw comes fashion disaster

On Friday it was a gorgeous sunny day across the entire country including here in the frozen tundra.  With the spring thaw comes some classic fashion disasters, which were on full display as I walked through Uptown and Downtown.  I'm going to take you through the problem, aka the disaster, and tell you how to fix it.  Read on!  

Classic fashion disaster number 1: The Mom jean jacket!  Its a Midwestern tragedy that all women over 35 seem to be holding onto a jean jacket from 1995.  You know the look: light blue, boxy, and usually has some pin (son's wrestling photo, American flag, cat) pinned on the chest. Why?!  There are so many cuter spring jacket options going on for women of all ages nowadays. 

Answer: A cute structured military jacket in a variety of colors, sleek leather biker inspired jackets (I have one which I live in and love), fitted blazers in a nice wool to keep you warm (this look is so classic and chic, any age group can wear it and look fabulous), or a cute plaid jacket that hits at the hip.  All varieties that have 20th century inspirations but that have been updated for the 21st century!

Fashion disaster number 2: This one is for the younger ladies.  I see this on campus all the time and it just kills me. Don't let your jeans sag three feet behind you!!  Especially in this melt season, because you're jeans will fade, rip, tear and literally fall apart on you because they can't handle the salt, dirt, and snow melt.  

Answer: Either cuff them, I do this sometimes when I'm in a pinch and my shorter jeans are dirty.  You should also have one pair of heel jeans and one pair of flat jeans.  Meaning buy a pair that you're going to wear with ballet flats and sneakers, and buy one pair that you'll wear when you're rockin' you're 4 inch heels.  Get your jeans tailored if you're of shorter stature and have trouble finding jeans that fit in the leg.  A tailor can do wonders on your jeans and make them fit like a glove.

Fashion disaster number 3: Spring shoes can be a troublesome lot.  With all the slush and dirt, yet warm temperatures you just don't know what to do!  Well here's a few no no's.  Stop wearing the Uggs!  Stop wearing the cheap $2 plastic flip flops!  Uggs are not waterproof, and they're too hot once temps are above freezing. I learned this personally in my younger years, aka at 19, when I thought these boots were cool. The flip flops will get you're feet dirty, clap around on the wet street, and drudge up mud behind you as if you were Pig Pen.  Its a cheap, white trash look that no fashionista should be caught dead in.  Havannas are the only acceptable ones and that is for 90 degree days or the beach.  

Answer: Street sneakers, wellies, and fashionable boots on chillier days.  Pumas can go a long way and add a cute casual touch to your look.  Wellies are practical and so many great stores make them in the cutest styles now! I love my J.Crew ones, and I got them at student discount price!  From classic Burberry to Target there are wellies in every style and price range.  Tuck you're skinny jeans into them, wear them with a cute skirt and tights, or just roll up you're jeans until you get inside.  I live in boots! When its chillier out I run for my boots.  Wear them with sweater dresses or tuck them into you're skinny jeans and you'll be set to deal with the sloppy weather outside.

Those are my tips for dealing with this awkward transition month into spring! Good luck! 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh Southpark how I adore you!

So by now many of you are familiar with Pepsi's new logo designed by the Arnell group, an Omnicom branding group based in New York.  I like the logo and general bubbliness of the campaign, because isnt' that what we all need and want out of a soda brand right now.  Well the logo crossed the line of arrogant when a 27 page document was released on the Ad blogosphere from Arnell talking about the emotions related the degree turn of the logo and how the sun relates to it.  Moving on though, because that's not what this post is about.

Southpark one of my absolutely favorite shows, because it is way more than fart jokes and kids swearing. Its one of the best social commentaries of our time.  Well their new season starts on Wednesday and to promote it they've kept in line with their social commentary by mocking the Pepsi logo.  The Pepsi logo is replaced by the heads of our favorite characters as the O in favorite South Park sayings.  The greatest line is the last frame which ends with "We're SOOOO Positive" directly mocking Pepsi. For video comparing the ads click here 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another travesty in these lovely economic times...

Ad Age is reporting that the Cannes Ad Festival will be downplayed big time this year. Absolutely appropriate, but still disappointing. The fabulous parties thrown by huge agencies like Leo Burnett and DDB will be no more.  Instead Friday night beach parties are being replaced by Friday morning lectures by guest speakers such as David Plouffe.  Still intriguing, but the theme of this year will be less glitz more education. 

The number of attendees is also being slashed, due to agencies deciding to only send senior level creatives, while the middle management stays at home and holds down the fort.

I'm glad money is being saved on Cannes so potentially agencies can put money towards an entry level position!! Hint frickin' Hint Publicis, Omnicom, and Interpublic!!  

Now the following is said because I'm sick and tired of the doom and gloom all day every day that has consumed my life thanks to my lovely economic situation. Also because going to Cannes is a career dream of mine!
While this is completely appropriate and needed for this year's festival lets hope this recession turns around soon so our industry (the rock n' rollers of the business world) can go back to throwing one hell of a party in one of the most beautiful places on earth! 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Beehive is back!!

One of my favorite musicians/recent trainwreck Amy Winehouse has been shacking up in St. Lucia for the last three months getting off the 'bad stuff.'  Because in the immortal words of Whitney Houston, "Crack is WHACK!"  

Well now that her Blllaaaake incarcerated is out of the chokey, she's back in London.  During her Carribbean getaway her famous beehive also took a vacation. What is Amy without her 3 foot hive?  Well worry no more it's back! For now.

She's actually looking pretty good, let's hope she keeps it up, and gets her tush back in the studio. I need a follow up to Frank and Back to Black!  

Bravo you're better than Tyyyra!

Bravo, aka my version of crack, has stooped to new levels that made me change the channel.  I love basically every show on their minus that Make me a Supermodel garbage.  Today I came home to the shocking development that Bravo is now running marathons of America's Next Top Model. Uggh why?! I feel like Tyra is taking over the world and there is nothing to do to stop it.  I can usually avoid Tyra because I avoid trashy networks like UPN and FOX, but now she's taking over my holy grail of T.V. channels!!  Bravo and NBC you're better than this! Kick the ego loving Tyyyrra back to Viacom and MTV!   

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 debuts new website and integrates into social media

Late last week Skittles debuted its new overlay for, which looks eerily similar to Boston-based agency  The website which is viewed through the eyes of the web shows Skittles wikipedia page, facebook page, and Google search results page.  

Its a new twist on how to integrate social media into a website's user experience, and clearly makes the conversation more interactive than ever.  

Skittles also took the conversation to Twitter, where search results for Skittles show all statuses involving Skittles and the overlay menu of  This is one of the most direct ways I've seen a packaged goods brand utilizing social media and the web to create a conversation and interact with its consumers.  

Discuss below...

Being a Recessionista

Over the next week I'm going to be traversing through my hometown (Minneapolis) seeing all the great FREE cultural offerings the city has to offer.  I'll be highlighting my favorite outings and giving tips on how to stay cultured and well-traveled in this economy.  Stay tuned...I can't wait for my 'tourist' week to begin.