Daffy's has had some really interesting ad campaigns recently. One of their latest was a puzzle broken up into 40 pieces and spread out on subway station posters in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. People in New York took pictures of these posters of different puzzle pieces as they saw them, until finally the image was exposed! Sounds interesting doesn't it? It adds a little fun into advertising and curiosity to people traveling around living their everyday lives. Here are a few examples of some pieces.
A little provocative and sexy for Daffy's but I like it. This might have been a bit racy for mainstream media but it really goes with there slogan "More Bang Less Buck". I find a lot of Companies get big criticism for being racy but we've all heard "sex sells" and I think it's witty. An ad like this one once in a while doesn't harm anyone in my personal opinion.
(Tweet #undergroundpuzzle is you have any thoughts on this ad you'd like to share)
Photographer Tom Hines has done some great work in his career, you can check him out here. I had the chance to interview him and he gave me some very insightful answers and his personal view on how he feels about being a photographer. Check it out below.
I see you did the look book photography for Daffy's Fall/Winter 2009, How did you feel shooting something so controversial as opposed to there regular campaign?
I feel pretty strongly that I'm part of a generation that's post-controversy. We have all the buttons to push, but there's no dogmatic ideology behind our gestures. I can't help but think of the punk aphorism "don't know what I want but I know how to get it" from the Sex Pistol's song "Anarchy in the UK," but I imagine a revision to that sentiment. If we believe there's no grounded value to our gestures, then it's really a matter of whether we enjoy them or not. The thing I love about this spirit, contrary to much of what's been hypothesized about it in the past, is it's pretty open and peaceful.
If an ad is fun and it can bring a little joy to someone's life, that's great. What were some of the reactions you received when the Daffy's Team saw the final shot?
Haha, well, it's a funny picture in original form. It's naughty, it's spirited, but it's not immoral or anything, at least not here in the USA. The puzzle pieces are much dirtier than my original picture because our brains are filthy, you know? I'm a polite guy, but my brain is in a class of it's own! I'm sure the same is true of your brain. Maybe that's the engine behind a project like this?
What sort of reaction do you think the general public will get out of the ad?
The public is smarter than all of us. When anyone sees a poster in the subway, they know there's a price behind it, even when it's vandalism and graffiti. At best, I hope people enjoy the symbolism of the gesture. Every ad hits you over the head, but this one's having fun.
I love it when I'm in the subway and I find an ad where someone's modified the ad's message into a prank. I don't know why, but it inspires some sort of faith. I believe people are clever, complicated and mysterious. I'm happy to go along with that spirit. I see this project as a distant relative of a prank, only done backwards.
How did you feel about the idea of ripping the photo into puzzle pieces?
I'm a serious photographer, and I'm not inclined to chop up my pictures for the fun of it! But if I see one of my pictures on the side of the bus, and some vandal has drawn a mustache on it, I've got to respect that. People do all sorts of stuff with my pictures, and I have to trust in others, especially if they're being cool, having a good time, and striving for something special. My career as a photographer was made on the Internet, where things have been generally out of my hands the whole time.
An advertisement is different from a photograph. It just happens that one of my pictures was commissioned for this act of light-hearted rebellion, and I was happy to be involved. Selling clothes at affordable prices is fine by me. If it's healthy, go for it. If it had been an ad for handguns or transfats, I wouldn't have done it.
As a photographer I'm sure you've heard "A picture is worth a thousand words" What does this say to you?
This notion is among the major reasons why I do fashion photography. After paying my dues in the discourse of the Art Academy, I fell in love with the idea of making pictures that didn't need critique and philosophy to prop them up. Fashion pictures are a populous momentum play, you make pictures, and then you make more pictures. Tomorrow is a new day. You don't need a smart artist's statement, you don't need a critical essay by a respected theorist, you don't need a wall slick, you just need moments and eyes. I love that about Fashion, and that's my motivation to align with fashion photo. Fashion is an ocean and everyone's in it. When the ball-player wakes up in the morning and puts on his lucky socks, that's fashion, no justification required. At the so-called high-end of the fashion dialectic, when Nicolas Ghesquière makes a dress owing intellectual gratitude to André Breton's reading of Comte de Lautréamont's Songs of Maldoror, no citation is needed. It's a dress. Fashion is a broad collection of ideas and points of entry rather than a set.
* Thanks to Tom Hines for the Interview and Alan Meier