From a tiny spark…

Spark 2009 poster, the logo eye in front of radiating orange circles over the word SPARK, June 19, 2009, 5 Companies. 5 Plays. 1 Night. You pick the winner. Watch new theatre ignite before your eyes. 7:00pm @ Plays & Players 1714 Delancy Street $20 Admission.

The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia‘s Spark Showcase is a great way to see new work by small and nascent theatre companies. Five short works in one sitting pretty much guarantees that you’ll come away having seen some new theatre that you connect with. This year, you’ll even get to vote for the recipient of the Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work.

But it’s one night only, so don’t miss out.

Full disclosure: The Theatre Alliance is my oldest client and one of my favorites. I’ve seen them evolve and grow stronger ever since I first started working with them. In a nutshell, they’re advocates for Philly’s diverse and robust theatre community, particularly those groups and individuals who don’t have the weight and budgets of more established theaters. The arts in PA are under threat, so events like these are vital to Philly’s arts and cultural future.

H1N1 News/Death Ratio

Hans Rosling, of, gives some perspective to the recent H1N1 outbreak:

Put simply: over 13 days, 31 people died from H1N1. During those same 13 days, over 60,000 people died of TB. I’ll let you guess which disease got over 38x more coverage in the news.*

It’s all about context. Without it, anything can be portrayed as a crisis. Without it, we can let what truly matters slip through our fingers.

*As represented by Google news search returns.

Star Trek

Star Trek boomerang logo, fading in on black, with a lens flare forming.

The movie is fantastic in every way. It’s a great movie in its own right and starts the Enterprise crew fresh. For this Trek fan, it was exactly what I needed from the franchise. A paraphrased conversation with my sister-in-law summed it up best:

Rebecca: “The whole time I was thinking ‘I’m watching Star Trek! This is so great!'”

Me: “The best part is that the whole time movie is pointing back at you, saying ‘I know!'”

Welcome back, Star Trek. We missed you.

(Oh, and how awesome is it that they brought back the classic logotype?)

Arnell on Tropicana

This is what over-thinking a design and misunderstanding a brand’s equity looks like. It’s a 3 minute video of Peter Arnell defending the the Tropicana redesign that was pulled, in part, due to a 20% drop in sales. That’s the power of a brand. And that power flows both ways.

Interestingly enough, the best part of the design, the cap, is being retained. Though, I wonder if that’s for financial and industrial reasons more than anything else.

(via Daring Fireball)

Syfy: Try Better

So, the Sci-Fi Channel is becoming Syfy. We could endlessly debate the merits of the name, the logo, and their new mission to stray from their core content (science fiction). But there are others, fervent individuals, who are doing this good work already.

What I would like to point out is what you see if you visit

(click to enlarge)

Why in the name of the sweet baby Jesus would you want your audience to read this branding nonsense and business strategy? Just take me to the site! So that I may partake of your content! This is akin to selling soda by describing to the consumers how, if they buy it, your shareholders will profit from the consumers’ complicity in reinforcing their brand strategy of stratifying them into targeted market segments.


Not their audience, for sure. This sort of business pornography nonsense is not only boring, it also breaks the illusion of the brand. It’s as though they’re reveling in their decision to shed the pretense of caring about their core audience and wanting to celebrate that fact with them. We’ll see how this works out for them.