WHAT WE'RE OBSESSED WITH THIS WEEK
3. Dueling nations
Steven A. Grasse's book "The Evil Empire: 101 Ways that England Ruined the World" (out April 23) is already causing a minor uproar across the pond. We'd like to add ridiculously high airport taxes and mushy peas to its list.
Is it a book? A marketing case study? The amusing rant of a guy with a bit of fried (you say, I say) potato on his shoulder? "The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined the World," by Steven A. Grasse -- the gratuitous middle initial a sure sign the author is American is, of course, all of the above.
The book part didn't take much deduction. There's a cover, pages, words and stuff. Plus it arrived with four press releases telling me it was a book. (Presumably they knew that, as a Brit, I would be too busy drinking my tea and reveling in the empire's former "glory" to figure this out.)
As a case study, "Empire" owes much to Grasse's position as CEO of Quaker City Mercantile, an interesting and aggressive Philadelphia agency that counts itself among those trying to massacre old marketing mores and has stuff like its own clothing line, sneakers, rum and full length movies to show for its original approach.
In 2005, Campbell was approached by Quaker City Mercantile, a Philadelphia ad firm, to create art for a campaign on behalf of Camel cigarettes. It wasn't his first brush with marketing, but it was his most significant: His poster designs all carried his signature, and they led to work on behalf of Nike, Volkswagen, and other brands. He's creating artwork for ZZ Top's tour merchandise, and recently a bunch of Comcast executives visited his tattoo parlor to talk about the work he's doing for their new Fearnet channel.
Campbell and some of the other young tattoo artists who contributed to the Camel campaign also did some designs for Sailor Jerry. Not the man, who died in 1973, but the apparel brand, which was founded in 1999. The owners of the Sailor Jerry brand lean heavily on the idea of authenticity: Its owners secured the rights to use his images on clothes and accessories from the two Sailor Jerry proteges to whom he left his estate.
Book Pick of The Day
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Well, the good folks in Cleveland, Ohio clearly have wonderful taste:
Book Pick of the Day! "The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined The World." Reason No. 99: They Made Elton John a Knight.
In this cheeky look at the low points of the U.K. past and present, adman Grasse (spokesperson for the Philadelphia-based International Coalition for British Reparations) doesn't just twist the Royal Lion's tail, he nearly yanks it off. In one-page entries, Grasse amasses a long list of sins, which include burning down Washington, D.C. in 1812, supporting the Confederacy during the Civil War and hooking the Chinese on opium. Grasse blames today's problems in Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan on 20th century British foreign policy, ridicules the British government for spending public money on the royal family and calls the British Museum "little more than a pirate's trophy case." Other affronts to civilization include the invention of fox hunting, slums, child labor and concentration camps (during the Boer War). In the arts, snubs go to the likes of Punch & Judy, Shakespeare and Sir Elton John. Though tempered with plenty of humor, this intense diatribe is sure to rankle Anglos and their fans; as such, it will make a perfect gag gift, hitting bookshelves just in time for your St. George's Day celebration. (Apr.)
Are you a secret pagan? Do you believe in dragons, hate freedom and celebrate terrorism? Then you must be English, according to the disgruntled American patriot Steven A Grasse. Fed up with the anti-American tirades he receives during visits to London, Grasse has decided to turn the tables and publish a book documenting England's sins.