Chris Hughes for Mental Health Awareness: Top man | CALM

Yesterday, Love Island’s Chris Hughes released a bizarre video campaign for a collaboration with Topman called “L’eau de Chris”. The video posted on Instagram received a lot of criticism, labelling Chris a joke and a narcissist for selling the drink for £2. The post saw the 24-year-old star posing in his underwear with “Mineral water infused with a Chris Hughes tears”.

 

As an avid Love Island viewer (no shame here) I assumed that the ad was a parody and a p*ss-take – Chris is known for his dead-pan humour and providing many giggles to millions of viewers this summer. To my surprise the campaign was in fact real, but not for a self-absorbed product to build his brand. Chris has teamed up with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to raise awareness about male mental health and the male suicide epidemic.

CALM launched the #Don’tBottleItUp campaign to urge men not to internalise their emotions after it was found in a poll for YouGov that 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions. Chris collaborated with world famous photographer RANKIN for this project.

L’eau de Chris? What’s really ludicrous is that suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to “man up” and bottle things up. That’s why I’ve become an Ambassador for CALM and why together with TOPMAN we want to show men across the UK that it’s okay to open up instead of bottling it up.

Hughes is now proudly an ambassador for CALM, and broke down in tears at an event yesterday whilst explaining his own struggles with mental health. Whilst on Love Island, Chris was praised for being very open with his feelings, something which men and boys struggle with immensely. Whoever chose Chris as ambassador certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to targeting young people, as his name is everywhere in the world of gossip and celebrity since stealing our hearts on ITV2.
The limited edition promotional run of L’Eau de Chris water bottles (yes they are real) created for Chris’s campaign launch will now be auctioned here, with all proceeds going to support the charity. Also, Topman will donate £2 from every pack of Topman boxers sold from 10th – 31st October to CALM, in support of the #DontBottleItUp campaign.

 

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Spotlight: Stephan Dybus

Stephan Dybus is a German artist based in Berlin whose watercolour paintings depict relationships, life, his career and experiences (mainly negative ones). Stephan’s work, at first glance, is not representative of the aesthetic trends and styles I tend to be interested in, but his context and narrative is so powerful and hilarious that it just works so well.

I want to transfer the essence of my inadequacy as an urban hipster/melancholic artistic into humorous illustrations. I want to quote from the world that I come from. I enjoy drawing my little funny miniature characters – they can do anything, they look stupid, they don’t care about it, unlike me, they are free.

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‘Aquarelle’ is the technique Stephan has adopted in his art, in which he paints with thin, transparent watercolours, after sketching out his ideas with pencil. The style Stephan has created looks almost juvenile, but it certainly visually translates his thoughts – it’s almost like the drawing equivalent to quickly jotting down thoughts in a diary or journal.

The stories are so deadpan, exploring failure and relatable experiences life throws at us, and translating this through sketchy, painted characters. Stephan states that he gains inspiration for pieces at any time, particularly during conversations, which adds to the instantaneous, unusual context of his characters’ stories.

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Stephan has also explored recreating his art in 3D and through ‘low poly art’/paper craft:

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Period Equity: Periods Are Not a Luxury

Just like here in the UK, 36 states in the US still collect sales tax on tampons and sanitary towels. In June 2017, the federal Senate in Australia voted down a motion by the greens to remove the GST from all female sanitary products, a tax which does not apply to condoms or lubricant. Absurd right?! So, ad agency J.Walter Thompson and The Sweet Shop created an absurd product to go with this tax law, along with a tongue-in-cheek campaign for Period Equity.
Along with the help of actress/model Amber Rose’s sultry voice, they point out that 36 US states have failed to classify menstrual products as a necessity, therefore taxing them as a luxury… just like a diamond necklace! The campaign actually launched at Amber Rose’s OPENed Women’s Conference and annual SlutWalk on September 30th in LA.

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This isn’t the first time I have blogged about Period Equity – the redesign by Pentagram’s Paula Scher caught my eye earlier this year.
Most people are not aware that the tax targets half of the US population, and I definitely think this issue should be raised (again) in the Houses of Parliament here too. What a fantastic campaign.

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, co-founder of Period Equity said:

We were thrilled to collaborate on this project with JWT and Amber Rose. There’s a long road ahead in the fight for safe and accessible menstrual products for all, as well as instigating open, shame-free conversation around periods. This campaign, coupled with Amber’s unflinchingly strong voice on gender issues, is a smart approach to drumming up much needed discourse around menstrual equity, and calling for systemic change as well.

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Wang & Söderström |Sneakersnstuff x adidas Originals

Creative studio Wang & Söderström are Copenhagen based digital designers who explore the combination of physical elements, technology and material. Commissioned by Sneakerstuff x adidas, the duo created a campaign for the release of the ‘EQT Materials Pack’ focusing on the diversity of materials in the shoes by zooming in to the shoe on a “macro level”:

The campaign included the animation (above) and store implementations in Sneakersnstuff’s Paris and London stores. For the digital aspects, they used 3D software such as 3ds Max, Vray and Modo, and extracted aspects of the physical shoe materials to inspire the concept:

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The brief was quite open and we are happy that our aesthetic wasn’t compromised — we shared the same vision as the client from the beginning. The inspiration to the brief came from one our personal projects called Treasures a series that shows contrasted material collections in a still life staging. We wanted to present a visual language that mixes our own, the shoe’s and Sneakersnstuff’s universe.

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This aesthetic and colour palette is very similar to campaigns I’ve posted about before, such as the Nike and ManVsMachine campaign. I love this style – it’s a really popular design trend as more designers are exploring 3D design.

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The Official Food of Everything: Domino’s | VCCP

As an avid Hollyoaks fan (don’t judge) I see the same adverts at 6.30pm every weekday evening. That means I am subjected to the atrocity that is these Domino’s idents:

Those cheesy (excuse the pun) idents were created by ad agency Iris. Domino’s appointed VCCP as its lead creative and strategic agency for the UK and Ireland in April, but Iris will continue to work on the pizza chain’s digital business.

VCCP’s debut for Domino’s concepts the brand as “The official food of everything” with six TV spots, 2 of which have been aired so far:

Ads are running across radio, digital, social media, Spotify, and DOOH, alongside placements the on dating app Tinder as part of target audience of 16- to 34-year-olds. Users will see a Domino’s-branded profile card and when people swipe right they will be served an offer message to click through to the Domino’s website.

The fully integrated campaign focuses on humorous, real-life situations that narrate how food brings people together:

Forget Sunday roasts, fancy nights out and basic nights in, treat yourself to a Domino’s instead. Whether you’re feeding your squad on the go or having a family night in front of the telly, give the oven the night off and choose a freshly handmade pizza.

I think these ads are a real step up from Iris’s work. Perhaps even the best Domino’s ads (created in the UK) that I can remember! Welldone VCCP!

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Trans* Ban: Not a Burden

There seems to be running theme with the illustrations I am creating. It’s impossible to ignore the garbage that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth, and it’s certainly impossible to ignore messages of hate, including transphobia.
In August, Trump’s directive issued a military policy that would prohibit transgender people from joining all branches of the armed forces and ban military healthcare plans from funding sex-reassignment surgeries. Trump has decided to discredit American heroes based on their gender identity by directing the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan (from 2016). The plan allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, along with a ban of the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment mentioned above.

Once more, many trans* heroes will be left in limbo in so many different ways – mentally, socially, financially and emotionally. Trump’s decision pours salt an already transphobic wound that a large part of the world is desperately trying to heal.
This illustration questions what exactly is the difference between a cis-soldier and a trans-soldier? Nothing.

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German supermarket Edeka’s immigration stunt

Edeka’s Hamburg store has made a very public point about racism and diversity by emptying its shelves of foreign products:

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The aim of this stunt was to emphasize the importance of global diversity in a way that everyone can understand, so signs were made to help shoppers understand: “So empty is a shelf without foreigners,” “This shelf is quite boring without variety,” “Our range now knows borders,” and, “We will be poorer without diversity.”
The supermarket chain will apparently roll out the campaign in other stores as discussions surrounding immigration continues to heats up in the run-up to German federal elections in September. The immigration issue has dominated German politics since 2015 when Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country would welcome one million refugees fleeing war-ravaged Syria two years ago. The chosen city for this stunt is a prominent feature of the campaign – Hamburg is the second most populous city in Germany, with immigrants making up almost 15% of the population. Consequently, Angela Merkel is now expressing a desire to roll-back the open door policy, especially since stats such as a rise in migrant-related crime has contributed towards growing anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiment in the country.

Reactions to the stunt have received mixed responses, especially in the political sphere. I think it’s a fantastic, real life analogy of how important immigration and diversity is to a country and its economy. It would be exactly the same here in London!

Edeka stands for variety and diversity. In our stores we sell numerous foods which are produced in the various regions of Germany. … But only together, with products from other countries, it is possible to create the unique variety that our consumers value. We are pleased that our campaign caused so many positive reactions.

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Spotlight: Marco Palena

Marco Palena has instantly become one of my top 5 favourite illustrators with his stunningly detailed and unique illustrations. The winners of this year’s Association of Illustrators’ World Illustration Awards have been announced, and Marco has won ‘The Overall New Talent Award’ for his work for the ‘Bookshops in Blossom’ book (below), which details Italian literature and culture:

His work has featured on the cover of plenty of magazine covers including ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for Illustrated Magazine (2015):

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Marco’s uniquely crafted illustrations are so incredible that it took me a while to realise that they aren’t digital illustrations, but in fact hand drawn!

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He often illustrates in monochrome, but his colour illustrations are just as incredible, and have been featured in children’s books:

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It’s hard to actually find information about Marco and interviews with him despite his successes, but I think his work speaks for itself. Stunning!

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Spotlight: Patrick Sluiter

Motion and 3D Designer Patrick Sluiter has a unique style to say the least. Patrick has designed fantastic work like ‘Strangers’, personal projects and my favourite ‘Stills’ in which he has created an ongoing series based on daily passing thoughts:

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His characters are smooth and almost melancholy which are all carefully created in Cinema 4D, a programme which he has shockingly only been using for 2 years. Patrick cites inspiration in the work of other artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Alexy Préfontaine, Mike Lee, Charlie Harper, Guy Billout, Thomas Hedger, Xavier Cardona and Liron Ashkenazi Eldar.
It’s not just the form of the characters that make his unique style – Patrick’s colour scheme consists of dull, flat colour combinations that go perfectly with the overall aesthetic. Love, love, love his work.

All the animations grew from an idea of a lucid dream that seemed tangible, but would have a sense of abstraction. Some were more ‘out there’ than others but my favourite was a couple that have an outlet and plug prong for faces. There’s a clearly sexual undertone, but the goal was to show compatibility and the subtle motions you use to communicate to your significant other.

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You are streaming consciousness: Three

Creative company Gravity Road were commissioned by Three to create an ad for their campaign “Go Binge”, which explored findings from an extensive consumer research survey around the bingeing behaviours of the UK (The Binge Files). 44% of people aged 16-24 years old watch more than an hour of streamed content on their phones daily and 46% binge because they can’t wait for the next episode. With these facts, Gravity Road created a (hilarious) short film parodying people’s streaming addictions, and despite the research insights this binging culture is constantly being discussed on social media and in memes.

Three’s deal allows binge-obsessed customers to stream films, TV shows and music on popular streaming services (e.g. Netflix, TV Player, Deezer and SoundCloud) without the fear of exceeding their data limit. Directed by the multi-award winning director Tom Geens, the short film is set in an eccentric electronics store, where the store owner hosts secret ‘Binge classes’ after hours. The owner encourages people to become more in-tune with streaming and love their devices, to help them achieve a higher stream of consciousness through activities like chanting “Stream in, and stream out, I love my device, the device is me…”. Hilarious. This is definitely one of the best UK ads I’ve seen this year.

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