Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) CEO/CD Steven Grasse has written his first book, but its not about advertising - it's about hi alleged problem with Great Britain. The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined the World, a wee $15.95 hardcover, is distinctly silly, though Tony Blair probably won't find it funny. The 101 ways include a load of historical faux pas like "The burned Joan of Arc at the stake" and "The hung out and had beers with their good pal Mussolini," as well as more general annoyances like "They take credit for everything" and "They make time for tea." As befits an adman, especially one with extensive entrepreneurial sidelines like sailor Jerry clothing/booze brand and the Bikini Bandits films, Grasse decided, "let's take a crack at writing a book" but dumping on England, even with tongue in cheek, is something he thinks is entirely justified.
One Small Book Takes on Centuries of Imperialism and Snobbery
Interesting chapter names from Steven Grasse's The Evil Empire: 101 Ways That England Ruined The World:
"They Love a Good Hanging"
"They Can't Dance"
"They More or Less Castrated Scotland"
"They Worship a giant Clock God as the Living, Ticking Symbol of State Authority"
"They're Descended From Cannibals"
"Their Country Has Too Many Flags and Too Many Names"
We're so glad Radar is back...not only because we dig it, but because they just highlighted a big hunk 'o Evil Empire:
A part of me wants to love the United Kingdom; because I'm an American, I've always looked up to the UK. The British seemed like older, wiser siblings a little stiff maybe, but friends who have stuck by our side through thick and thin.
Having seen too many a smug Englishman drag the name of my country through the mud, I've decided to fight back. I ask that you stand with me.
Then, all of a sudden, just when America began to come into its own as a 21st century superpower, the British started picking on us. No longer do I feel warmth in the UK when I introduce myself as an American. Instead it's anger, bitterness, a hollow superiority, and most of all, intense jealousy. Over polite business luncheons, I've been told that my president is an idiot. That my countrymen are dolts for electing him. That America is responsible for ruining the world.
The Mainstreaming of Tattoo
(from NY Times Magazine) In 2005, Scott Campbell was approached by Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) to create art for a campaign on behalf of Camel cigarettes. Campbell and some of the other young tattoo artists who contributed to the Camel campaign also did some designs for Sailor Jerry. But this is where the tattoo/authenticity/marketing nexus gets weedy. The Sailor Jerry brand is owned by Quaker City Mercantile, the ad agency that hired Campbell to work for Camel. "What we notice with tattoo artists, versus other kinds of indie artists, is that tattoo artists like making money. It's their business."
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.