Art directors implicated in world's destruction

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Perhaps the surest sign that the end of the world is nigh is that Adages didn't learn about the Art Directors Club's call-for-entries poster from a press release.

Nope, we stumbled upon the frightscape on our daily rounds of the blogosphere, with one link leading to another until we found ourselves at Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs, where the poster had been dubbed a "panoply of self-loathing" for featuring among its end-of-the-world scenarios Wal-Mart, Starbucks and General Motors. Many of the 400-plus comments took issue with the presence of BushCo. holding hands with the devil. Others took issue with the art at hand. "I'll tell you what it isn't ... Guernica," wrote one reader, while a number of others wondered what all the dead chickens were about (avian flu ... duh).

Political silliness aside, we thought there might be a point here. Why did a poster for an advertising awards show equate Starbucks with Kim Jong Il and portray Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doing a Slim Pickens impersonation?

Of course, had we read the original press releases announcing the call for entries (deadline now extended, thank you very much), we might have known that the theme of this year's show was the end of the world. "Might this be the last awards show ever?" the press release asks. ("We wish," is the correct answer.)

And that seemingly anti-commercial poster? Sayeth Myrna Davis, executive director of the ADC, in an e-mail: "I'm not sure what's meant by 'anti-commercial stance.' ADC is about communication and visual 'fuel.' This poster makes people pay attention and react and communicate. It has generated ire and praise. The inside humor is that it acknowledges the ego of creatives and the desire for winning, even in the face of Armageddon."

TBWA was the agency behind the campaign and it was that shop's creative staff who stumbled upon outsider artist Norbert H. Kox, the man responsible for the poster.

What Twyla Tharp can teach you about video blogging

A freaky ADC poster wasn't the only strange thing Adages found in the blogosphere last week. We also stumbled across Plesser & Associates' Andy Plesser getting jiggy with Twyla Tharp in a Google video. Now what the heck is this all about? we wondered. Andy, PR guy that he is, told us to stay tuned to his video blog, Beet.TV, for an explanation. Yes. Adages was forced to wait. (And while we waited, we passed the time by watching former Ad Age colleague Jon Fine talk about mainstream media's "secret sauce.")

Andy hooked up with Twyla through one of those weird friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend connections that happens in New York. The point of the Twyla exercise, he wrote, is to show that YouTube and its ilk will have an effect far beyond silly teen pranks: "The appreciation of the performing arts will explode with internet video.."

He-and Twyla Tharp, for that matter-seem to be putting much more thought into their video-blogging project than any number of marketers who are just flinging things into the space because they've heard it was the cool thing to do.

Will awkward silence linger because of love triangle?

Love ... exciting and new. ... Now that we've got the theme to "The Love Boat" stuck in your head, allow us to proceed. The Retail Advertising & Marketing Association's annual conference, set for Feb. 7-9 in Chicago, has a theme ripped from the title of a Tina Turner song: "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

But despite sessions with titles such as "Friends and Lovers" and "In the Pursuit of Passion," there's one speaker who's likely not going to be feeling the love-Dana Anderson, the CEO of DDB, Chicago. Before she hits the main stage to deliver her speech "What's Your Favorite Brand?" JC Penney CMO Mike Boylson will sit on a panel titled "Love Triangle."

Interesting panel for Boylson, as he's apparently not into the whole agency menage … trois. You'll remember that he unceremoniously kicked Ms. Anderson and DDB to the curb in September 2006 after he and his $430 million account fell for CEO Kevin Roberts and his "Lovemarks," then ran away with Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide.

Contributing: Mya Frazier Send your apocalyptic visions to [email protected]
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