Global Mass Marketing Before Photoshop

This early 20th century postcard producer, probably based in Europe, set his sights on making global sales in the most economical way. He only customized what he had to to appeal to customers from different nations. Unless you are a postcard collector, you probably were unaware that the comely woman draped in a flag wasn’t “loyal” to any one country. The postcard maker simply hand-painted different flags on her, leaving her face and pose the same. No extra photo sessions necessary, no finding models who looked British or Chinese.The postcard producer’s approach to mass customization was to standardize everything he could and keep differences to a minimum.

Happy Independence Day, Americans!


E. LEE Entices Us With “Free Bird Seed” In Chicago

Street art can and should be fun, as Chicago’s own E. LEE has proven yet again. The artist has completed a quadriptych street piece for the exterior cornerstones of two restaurants bordering Soho House Chicago in the West Loop.  After taking on Superman, The Hulk, and Batman in recent pieces Lee has given life to who he calls “the consummate failure”, Wile E Coyote.

Lee says “It was a challenge creating a story-line using two corners with so much distance between them. But I was really happy to do this Wile E Coyote piece. The consummate failure is my favorite character of all time. I love him for knowing what he wants and going after it; for being creative in the pursuit; and for always getting up after he falls and trying again. He’s inspired… and a hell of a painter. A huge thank you to Soho House and Threadless for allowing me the opportunity.”

Check out the pics, and keep up with E. Lee on his website and Instagram


Clever Packaging Design For Japanese Maekake Aprons

Maekake are a type of Japanese apron that, for hundreds of years, have been favored by the working men and women of rice shops, sake shops, miso shops and other stores that dot Japan’s many shopping streets. They’re typically made from indigo-dyed cotton canvas and feature a thick belt that wraps all the way around the waist and then tied in the front.

Anything (that’s the name of the company) is a Japanese maekake specialty shop founded in 2000. They source all their maekake from artisans, mostly in their 60s and 70s, who have been crafting the aprons in Ehime prefecture for their entire careers.

They also commissioned Eisuke Tachikawa’s design firm Nosigner to create this clever packaging that resembles bags of rice. Printed on the front is a pair of legs and a sample maekake, printed on paper, hangs from the top so that customers immediately know what design is inside. A traditional mizuhiki knot on top also mirrors the belt that ties around the waist.

Although it’s a simple design, the maekake apron serves multiple purposes. Those who engage in heavy manual labor like lifting crates of beer or bags of rice claim they’ve never had back trouble thanks to the support of the thick belt that wraps tightly around the waist. The maekake is also occasionally removed and used as shoulder padding. The thick cotton also kept workers warm in the winter. And although it’s not fire-proof, pottery and glass workers who are often in close vicinity to flames rely on it to protect them from burns. Last but certainly not least the maekake, which often featured the company name and logo, served as an important advertisement for the business.


Bring a Loupe: A Speedmaster ‘Holy Grail,’ A Longines With Sector Dial, A Movado M95 Chronograph, And More

Omega center.jpg?ixlib=rails 1.1

For my two-year anniversary of writing Bring A Loupe, I’ve chosen to feature some rare vintage watches that we seldom see in this column. It starts with an oversized sector dial Longines, and also includes a fair share of chronographs, from the unusual Speedmaster "Holy Grail" to a colorful Breitling Top Time. It does not stop there, as you will also find a stunning Movado with M95 caliber, and a Tudor "Mini Sub."

Longines 12.68Z, With Sector Dial

Longines 12.68Z sector

Sector dials enjoyed their heyday in the 1930s, before recently coming back into vogue on modern wristwatches. This configuration, favored by Omega and Longines, offers outstanding legibility and a very pleasing look. This explains how this very watch reached three times its high estimate at auction back in 2015, when it sold for close to $19,000 at Christies. Its unusual case size needs to be pointed out – standing at 37mm, it is definitely oversized for a 1930s wristwatches (30 to 33mm was the standard for men’s watches then).

Interestingly, this watch features soldered lugs, as frequently seen on many military timepieces. From the Longines archives, we know that it was delivered to Longines’s agent in Poland in March 1938. As expected with a snap caseback, the dial shows a bit of aging, but the attractive second and hour rings are well preserved. The contrast between the blued handset and the red seconds hand on the two-tone sector dial is to me the winning argument of this rare Longines.

Longines 12.68Z movement

The Davidoff Brothers are offering this 1930s Longines with sector dial for 17,500 CHF (approximately $18,300). 

Omega Speedmaster Ref. 378.0822, The ‘Holy Grail’

Omega Speedmaster Reference 378.0822

The Speedmaster reference 378.0822 is mostly known as the "Holy Grail," a term coined by Speedmaster collector Chuck Maddox. It testifies of the rarity of this model, produced for only two years after its launch in 1987. As opposed to the manual-winding calibers of the "regular" Speedmasters, this version relies on the automatic Lemania 5100, which provides a central display for the minute and seconds chronograph hands. It achieves a prodigious legibility, considering that it also offers a day and date indication, as well as a 24-hour sub-register at 12 o’clock.

Here, the "Holy Grail" comes on the correct bracelet, the reference 1450 used in the 1980s and resembling to some extent to the Rolex President bracelet. The painted indexes on the dial shows the light patina that we were expecting from a watch of that period, but the thickness and length of the minute and hour hands likely indicate that those are replacement parts.

Omega Holy Grail

Casowatches has this Omega Speedmaster "Holy Grail" for €13,500 (approximately $15,500).

Movado Sub-Sea M95

Movado Sub-Sea M95

There are many reasons to love vintage Movado chronographs. First, their movements M90 and M95 (two- and three-register) are in-house and quirky: they start and stop with the lower pusher and are reset with the upper one, the opposite of most other chronographs. The cases are more often than not manufactured by Francois Borgel (later called Taubert Frères); this case maker supplied some of the best waterproof cases to no less than Patek Philippe for its illustrious reference 1463. Lastly, the "snake hands" represent another clear differentiating point, while providing some visual edge.

Here, this chronograph comes with a nicely brushed dial, which tritium lume allows to date to the 1960s. The tritium shows the same patina on the hands and the dial, which is always a reassuring sign. The seller mentions some lume loss on the dial, and a couple of dings on the case, most notably on the bezel and the upper left lug. The "Sub-Sea" engravings on the caseback confirm the original waterproofness of the Borgel case (its distinctive marking can of course be found on the inner side of the caseback).

Movado M95

MentaWatches has this Movado M95 for $4,750.

Tudor Submariner Date ‘Mini-Sub’ Ref. 75090

Tudor Submariner 75090

For more than 40 consecutive years, Tudor produced its own Submariners, which were very close to their Rolex sisters since they shared most components, except for the movement (in-house for Rolex, and sourced at Fleurier and ETA for Tudor). This explains why so many vintage Tudor Submariners can be found with multiple Rolex logos on the caseback, crown, and often bracelet. However, Tudor actually offered a wide range of Submariners, both in size and color. The 36mm diameter of the Tudor reference 75090 is a good example, as is the blue color of many coveted Tudor Snowflake.

The serial number of this Tudor dates its production to 1992; it still features a plexiglass crystal while Rolex had already added sapphire crystals to the Submariner Date by the end of the 1970s. The 9315 bracelet here is signed Tudor, although it is virtually identical to its Rolex counterpart, offering the same clasp comprising a diver’s extension. The 36mm case exhibits thick lugs, and the caseback testifies about where this solid diver comes from.

Tudor Submariner 75090 caseback

You can find this small and cute Tudor Submariner 75090 for $2,000. 

Bidder Beware – Breitling Top Time With Many Issues

The Breitling Top Time is one of my favorite chronographs, especially the earlier round versions (like the one worn by James Bond in Thunderball), but this horrendous one deserves to be flagged for what it is: a complete frankenwatch. The signed crown, buckle, dial, and movement might be one thing, but the case was never used in the Top Time family. In addition, the pitting on the bezel and the "stainless steel back" show that the case is chrome plated, and not actaully stainless steel.

The blued handset is absolutely incorrect; one good clue of this mismatch comes from the presence of lume on the dial, and not on the handset. The same applies to the bright red chronograph hands, and the seconds hands, never found on any other Top Time. The lack of proper reference number on the caseback and the incorrect serial number engraved there complete this sour assessment.

You can find this troublesome Breitling on Ebay for €2,790 (approximately $3,200); it would have been a strong ask for a real one, but in this instance it is completely ludicrous. 


Design Research Unit

Timeless marks by the Design Research Unit (DRU), Britain’s first consultancy to draw together expertise in architecture, graphics, and industrial design.

Ilford logo, Design Research UnitIlford Limited (photographic materials), 1966.

Design Research Unit bookSpread from the Design Research Unit monograph by Michelle Cotton.

The DRU was founded in 1943 by advertising entrepreneur Marcus Brumwell, architect Misha Black, and graphic designer Milner Gray. One of the firm’s founding documents claims, “Like every aspect of modern industry, design should be a co-operative activity.”

Tarmac seven ts logo, Design Research UnitTarmac (the seven t’s logo), 1964.

British Rail logo, Design Research UnitBritish Rail (double arrow), 1965.

Design Research Unit book

ICI logo, Design Research UnitICI, refined from the original 1965 design (below).

Design Research Unit book

Design Research Unit monograph coverThe agency’s manifesto on the cover of Michelle Cotton’s monograph.

The firm was acquired by architectural practice Scott Brownrigg in 2004.

More reading:
Design Research Unit: the firm that branded Britain, on The Guardian.
DRU, on Wikipedia.


Insights: How beauty brands can create great content for Facebook and Instagram

In the past 12 months, there has been a 20% increase in conversations about make up and a 21% increase in mentions of skincare on Facebook and Instagram. Beauty shoppers are increasingly looking to the social media platforms to discover new products, trends and techniques and to research items before making a purchase.

How beauty shoppers are using Facebook and Instagram

Beauty shoppers are most likely to turn to Instagram for inspiration and discovery and Facebook for research and understanding – but consumers use both platforms to discover new trends and products.

  • Beauty buyers surveyed in the UK, UAE, France and Germany said the top reason they use Instagram is to look for inspiration while their top reason for visiting Facebook was to read customer reviews
  • In a study carried out by Facebook IQ, 65% of people who engage with beauty content on Instagram said they use the platform to find inspiration
  • Over half of women who use Instagram use the platform to look for beauty ideas when they have a special occasion coming up
  • European beauty buyers check Instagram 21 times a day on average
  • Different age groups behave differently on Facebook and Instagram. A survey of UK, UAE, French and German beauty buyers aged 18 and over found that buyers aged 35 to 64 are 50% more likely to use Instagram for research and comparing prices than millennials. Millennials are 20% more likely to watch online videos about beauty products than those aged 35 to 64 and beauty buyers aged 35 to 64 are 20% more likely to watch ‘before and after’ beauty transformation videos than millennials
  • A study of Instagram users aged 13 and over found that 33% follow individuals that post beauty content, 24% follow beauty brands and 13% follow beauty media accounts such as magazines. A third of users aged 13 and over discover beauty trends through Instagram’s ‘Explore’ section

Online vs in-store: how people shop

Results from Beauty Path to Purchase by GfK (Facebook commissioned study of 1001 women ages 18-64 who have shopped for a beauty product within the last 3 months in the UK), Jan 2017

In a survey of female beauty shoppers aged 18 and over, 74% of women said they shopped online for at least some of their beauty purchases. The in-store experience is still important – few women shop only online for cosmetics and the majority said the top reason for shopping in store was to see and feel products – but online shopping offers more convenience and often, better deals. Almost half (45%) of beauty buyers buy more online than they did a few years ago and 39% are using social media for shopping and research more than they did one year ago – highlighting the importance of having a strong presence on both Facebook and Instagram.

Results from Beauty Path to Purchase by GfK (Facebook commissioned study of 1001 women ages 18-64 who have shopped for a beauty product within the last 3 months in the UK), Jan 2017

Top trending topics and hashtags

Nails are the most talked about beauty topic on Instagram (via @wahnails)
  • The top beauty hashtags are #beauty, #beautyblogger, #pretty, #beautiful, #makeup, #fashion, #style, #eyes, #hair and #model
  • Nails are the most talked about beauty topic on Instagram, making up 26% of hashtags, followed by eyes (21%) and lips (also 21%).
  • The top nail hashtags are #nailporn, #nailstoinspire and #nailswag
  • Winged eyeliner is the most-shared look on Instagram, followed by smoky eyes, false eyelashes, cut crease (an eye make-up technique), and glitter eyes
  • The top beauty hashtags are #beauty, #beautyblogger, #pretty, #beautiful, #makeup, #fashion, #style, #eyes, #hair, #model

Male grooming

More than half of women (53%) now shop online for beauty products and 34% of men make personal care purchases online. In Europe, men and women spend equal amounts of money. This suggests there is a real opportunity to use Instagram’s advertising products to communicate with men who are less likely to follow beauty accounts but still like to discover and shop for products online.

The natural look

The trend for natural beauty shows no signs of slowing down. There was a 30% rise in mentions of natural beauty terms on Facebook between November 2015 and November 2016 and an increase in conversations around mentions of ditching shampoo. #nomakeup remains a popular hashtag and is often used along with #nofilter, #natural, #tired and #bedtime. Compared with other Instagram users, those who use the #nomakeup hashtag are more likely to post and comment, view more videos and have 2.7 x more followers.

The brands making great use of Facebook and Instagram


Birchbox (@birchbox) has over half a million followers on Instagram and uses the platform not just to showcase products but to build a relationship with its customers. Its feed features beauty tips and tricks as well as carefully composed product shots, seasonal content and posts promoting special offers and new products.

The brand regularly runs competitions on Instagram and often posts questions to spark conversations among its followers (such as ‘What’s your favourite book this year?’) It also publishes content to mark key events in the calendar, sharing images of eco-friendly products on World Earth Day and lip care facts to mark Valentine’s Day.

Birchbox has used Instagram’s video ad tool to promote its monthly beauty subscription service (each month, the brand posts a box of beauty samples to customers based on their preferences). A 15-second video in the style of popular posts from vloggers showed someone opening the brand’s monthly beauty box and taking a picture of the products inside. Other videos in the series showed Birchbox staff members unboxing products and applying lip gloss, highlighter and eyeliner – see the case study here.

Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics used sequenced video and carousel ads promote its range of brow products and encourage online purchases (see a case study here). The brand worked with Creative Shop to develop bespoke video ads of brow transformations that match its fun and retro aesthetic and tone of voice.

It also used reach and frequency buying to control the number of times ads were served to the target audience and used Custom Audiences and the Facebook pixel tool to retarget people who viewed the video ads. Different age groups were shown different content, with creative tailored to suit their potential brow dilemmas. The campaign led to a 23-point increase in ad recall among 35–44 age group and 10-point lift in purchase intent.


YSL Beauty used Canvas and carousel ads to launch its Mon Paris fragrance on Facebook, using precise targeting to reach new shoppers without cannibalising the audience of its Black Opium line. The Canvas experience was based on its Mon Paris TV spot and combined footage of the film’s stars with videos of the product. The Facebook campaign reached 5.7 million people and helped drive awareness by 9pt.


Sephora’s Visual Artist bot on Facebook Messenger helps shoppers discover new products. Customers can upload a selfie or a photograph of anything from a piece of clothing to furniture and the bot will find a lipstick matching that colour. Shoppers can also select a ‘surprise me’ option to be presented with a random selection of products, or type in a colour or brand to see a list of products matching their preference. They can then refine results or click through to the Sephora website.


The @asos_beauty feed is a great example of how to make traditional product shots more engaging through animation. The brand often uses short stop motion videos to showcase new products and uses Instagram’s galleries feature to showcase different looks.

Creative tools and how to use them

There are several ad formats available to advertisers on Facebook and Instagram.

Stills can be used to convey a complex story through simple yet engaging images, while video ads show a product in action.

Videos can be up to 60 seconds long and will automatically play when appearing in the centre of a user’s feed.

Messenger bots can be used to deliver a personalised shopping experience – see Sephora’s Visual Artist tool and Tommy Hilfiger’s TMY.GRL chat bot – while Instagram Stories can be used to capture content live.

Tommy Hilfiger’s TMY.GRL chat bot

Maybelline posts daily Stories from its Instagram account and runs regular features such as ‘Tip Tuesdays’, where beauty experts share their secrets. Beauty brand Tarte uses the feature to notify followers when products are back in stock. Other brands use it to showcase collections or content from events and product launches.

Facebook Live allows you to live stream videos to your audience – Refinery29 uses the feature to post beauty tutorials, video interviews and product reviews. Recent videos include an eyeliner stencil demo, an interview with the founder of a luxury skincare brand for women of colour and a morning makeup tutorial.

Eyeliner Stencils

Alicia Quarles puts these eyeliner stencils to the ultimate test. 〰Eyeliners that won’t smear no matter WHAT:

Posted by Refinery29 on Mittwoch, 21. Juni 2017

360-degree videos and Canvas allow you to create more immersive content – see L’Occitane’s campaign promoting holiday gift sets. Jean Paul Gaultier used a 360-degree video to promote its perfume on Facebook, with a film shot from the perspective of a bottle of the famous scent, and Nars has experimented with a 360-degree makeup tutorial.

An ad created using Facebook Canvas for skin care brand L’Occitane uses video, images and 360 view to promote the brand’s gift sets and explain the origins of its products

7 tips for creating great beauty content

Celebrate diversity

Amy Cole, Head of Product Marketing, Emerging Platforms, says that brands should celebrate individuality to make meaningful connections with shoppers. “How people express their beauty is no longer one-size-fits-all. Celebrate personalised notions of beauty and showcase how cosmetics and skincare make [a consumer] feel versus how they look,” she says.

Be accessible, but inspirational

Brands should provide content that is accessible yet inspirational enough to capture their attention, and should experiment with real time content, says Cole. “Instagram and Facebook Stories allows you to illustrate beauty moments such as behind-the-scenes action in a less polished and more instantaneous format.”

Optimise reach and frequency

Don’t target too narrowly. In general, use broad targets that drive sale while staying relevant. Aim to reach at least 50% – 70% of your core audience and make sure you reach people at least once perweek. You can use Facebook’s Reach and Frequency tool to guarantee the number of people reached at a specified frequency.

Think business objectives, not likes 

Identify your primary business objective and don’t focus too much on likes, comments and other engagement metrics – they don’t always correlate with business outcomes. And remember, reach is key.

Design for feed

Capture attention quickly: with mobile, it’s important to capture your audience’s attention quickly. Putting key messages, questions and hooks upfront gives the audience something to grasp within the all-important first three seconds.

Be flexible: make sure your ideas are easy for people to view on the go. Consider how text,graphics and captions can bolster a visual story and help facilitate the audience’s connectionwith the message.

Frame your visual story: think about how you can use the mobile screen to your advantage – to create visual surprises, explore new approaches or highlight different elements. The best brands right now are delighting their audience by showing them things they’ve never seen before.

Play more

The opportunity for innovation in mobile marketing is enormous. We need to experiment, test and even fail. Because that’s how we’re going to learn. Push the boundaries and find out what’s possible. One place to do this is the Creative Hub, an online space where you can access ad specs and case studies, as well as actually creating and testing mock mobile ads to share with clients or colleagues.

Get emotional

Whether it’s making consumers laugh, cry or say wow, create a feeling and you’re one click away from making them buy.

Ever wonder how a Drag Queen becomes a walking, talking goddes…

Ever wonder how a Drag Queen becomes a walking, talking goddess? Holly Dae is here with us live in-studio answering your questions!

Posted by Short Cuts on Freitag, 24. Juni 2016

Insights is part of Inspire, a year-long partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram showcasing outstanding creative work and emerging talent on both platforms.
More advice and inspiration is also available at Facebook’s Creative Hub.

Creative Hub was launched in 2016 to help the creative communities understand mobile marketing. The online tool allows creatives to experiment with content formats – from Instagram video to Facebook Canvas – and produce mock-ups to share with clients and stakeholders. It also showcases successful campaigns created for mobile. 

Try out the mock up tool at and see the inspiration gallery here

The post Insights: How beauty brands can create great content for Facebook and Instagram appeared first on Creative Review.


Underwater Cloud: Inside the Cables Carrying 99% of Transoceanic Data Traffic [ARTICLE]

Local wireless internet helps promote the feeling that data moves through thin air, but in reality: the vast majority of international data transfers are made possible by underwater cables. These slim fiber-optic tubes are the backbone of our global internet.

Per the Vox video above, “about 300 undersea fiber optic cables are responsible for 99% of international data traffic.” Shallower cables are sometimes disrupted by earthquakes, sea life or seafaring humans, but for the most part they are robust enough to resist damage. Deeper cables can reach over 30,000 feet in depth.

Schematic map of the world’s submarine cables, by Stefano.desabbata (CC BY-SA 4.0)

In total, hundreds of thousands of miles of cable stretches around the world and, per the diagram above, more lines are under construction.

But laying underwater cables for the purpose of transoceanic communications is nothing new. As early as 1858, telegraph cables were stretched to connect across the Atlantic Ocean.

As it turns out, that system was a pretty effective prototype for current systems. Despite their high cost and other challenges, modern undersea cables transmit data much faster and cheaper than satellites.

Today, digging machines are lowered and towed behind ships to create trenches for cables, which are then naturally covered by sand and soil.

Above, the team of What’s Inside? cut open an actual cable — given to them by Google, it was part of a batch created to connect Florida and Brazil. Looking inside, perhaps the strangest thing about fiber-optic cables is how little space within them is dedicated to optical fibers.

Cross-section of a typical undersea internet cable (via Vox, video above)

Most of their thickness is taken up by protective layers of things like polyethelyne, mylar and steel wire bundles. Toward the center, a tube of copper (or other conductive metal) conducts electricity to power the cable. As one of the Googlers explains, “there’s not really power at the bottom of the ocean, but every fifty miles there are these repeaters that amplify the light so it can travel these thousands of miles.”

Mapping out the paths for cables is no small feat. Obstacles like coral reefs and shipwrecks need to be avoided, of course, but a lot of planning also goes into taking the most stable and flat route. Cable armor changes depending on conditions, designed to withstand the rigors of going up and down things like vast underwater ridges.

There are a lot of companies still experimenting with alternative ways to transmit data over long distances, including Project Loon’s balloons. But for now, underground and undersea cables remain the core infrastructure of the somewhat inaptly named “cloud.”