Puma hires Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) for their biggest television campaign.
Quaker City Mercantile, a Philadelphia ad agency with a reputation for quirky campaigns, has launched German sneaker-maker Puma's biggest U.S. television ad campaign.
Germany's Puma AG is launching its first TV advertising campaign in the U.S.
Germany's Puma AG is launching its first TV advertising campaign in the U.S. later this month, in a bid to remind fashion-conscious consumers of its roots in the world of competitive sports.
Puma mixes the appeal of island life with hard-core training in 9 spots by Quaker City Mercantile.
Puma mixes the appeal of leisurely island life with the hard-core training regimen of the Jamaican Olympic team in nine spots by Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) breaking this month.
"The Bikini Bandits Experience"
Image Entertainment // 2002 // 54 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // December 15th, 2003
"I've been a drag racer on LSD, and
I rode bare-assed on top of the sphinx.
I even had a gorilla on the slopes of kismet,
and man, that was fun for a while you bet but...
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns
That stuff'll kill ya and it's loaded with fun..."
-- The Cramps
After a car accident strands them in Hell, the Bikini Bandits make a pact with the Devil to save their siliconed souls. If they return to Earth and...um...de-virginize a certain Mary, thereby making her offspring a little less...um...Messiah-like, they can go back to life topside as bodacious babes with huge breasts and a love of firearms. If they fail, though, there'll be...well, you know...to pay. Anyway, the whole Bethlehem business doesn't go quite as planned (the archangel Gabriel "Cory" Feldman shows up to spoil everything) so the girls call on Pope Dee Dee Ramone (?) to travel back to Beelzebub and battle it out, miter vs. man-goat. The girls win and decide to hide out in Amish Country where they learn that an evil adult filmmaker (ex-Dead Kennedys lead singer Jello Biafra) has kidnapped a mentally challenged young boy and plans to star him, along with several other "exceptional" children, in his own brand of retard porn. On their way to saving the sexual savant, they travel back in time to meet up with a couple of our nation's "dumbest" founding fathers, watch the aforementioned Corey drag race it out with the butt bandit Dirty Sanchez (who "will not be denied"), and eventually find themselves face to face with an army of idiots, all looking for a little low IQ gangbanging. Will the two-piece tarts save the day, or will they simply lay back and let the below average enjoy a little of The Bikini Bandit Experience?
Like opening up the cerebral cortex of a typical 13-year-old hormonally hyperactive Ted Nugent fan and jacking directly into their fantasy fuel, The Bikini Bandit Experience gives a new meaning to the words "stream of consciousness." Combining chicks with tits the size of basketballs, swimwear that barely covers what is there, and an arsenal of firearms and muscle cars is a recipe for a pure simpleton stew. Pot smoking, sauced up scantily clad strippers with shotguns should be a guarantee for success (or at least a little NRA style self-manipulation). And the first big joke in this volley of vulgarity sets us up for something, as Eric Cartman would say, super sweet. Satan (Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan) tells the Heck-raising honeys that if they fail to deflower the Virgin Mary, they will have to watch Corey Feldman dance for all eternity. Right on cue, we jump-cut to a 2003 Corey dressed like it's 1989, doing those horrid ersatz Jacko moves that possessed him sometime around Dream a Little Dream. As the scene plays on, you recognize that Feldman understands that the joke is on him and that we are laughing simultaneously at, with, for, and because of him. This moment is everything this randy, rapid-fire comedy could have been. It's ludicrous, clever, sad, and outrageous. Unfortunately, just like the notion of putting a KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut together into one stoner's paradise of munchie managing goodness, The Bikini Bandit Experience just doesn't know how to administer its anarchy very well.
The first sign that things are going askew is when a potential lesbian scene between one of the breasty babes and the Virgin Mary is interrupted by said Corey, doing dick jokes while obviously not possessing the proper "material" to do so (I know, I'm going to hell, but I have a deal to be in the condos where the rock stars live, so it's cool). Then Dee Dee Ramone shows up and instantly you understand why he hasn't acted much since the infamous "pizza" scene in Rock and Roll High School. After a far too long battle in Hades between the gals and the Devil's oversized laser shooting dildo codpiece (you can't make this stuff up folks...), there's a general "been there, done that" cinematic shrug of the shoulders and we're off to the Amish adventure where, again, not enough is made of the perverted premise (massive mammaries among the rigidly righteous should consist of something more than a music video style montage). By the time we get to the retard porno plotline, we're so lost in the cross-cutting insanity and constant fourth wall flaunting that our patience has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to a brain bending stint in overdrive. And yet somehow, this entire enterprise with its off color/the mark supposed humor and a mess of narrative and structural stumbling blocks is still worth checking out, if for no other reason than the tantalizing title talents and the weird world unto itself they create. Taking a cue from the "Primus Sucks" mindset of self-promotion, this entire DVD mocks as it markets, hoping you agree that the slogan "F*** you, G-Mart" is a war cry against mainstream consumerism and a radical Gen X jingle, all rolled into one.
And you know what...it is. The whole f-it notion foisted by The Bikini Bandit Experience makes the entire package like a trip through the mind of a deranged adult bookstore owner whose fantasies keep getting confused with sales ads and business promotion measures. G-Mart, or Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) Mart, does indeed exist (somewhere in Philadelphia) and they sell all kinds of clothing and merchandise emblazoned with their logo and ideas. Bikini Bandits themselves got their start on AtomFilms as little mini-movies you could download online (and some of the movie -- along with The Adventures of Dirty Sanchez -- is taken from that material). So there is a whole Mike Levey infomercial feel to this DVD. The film itself is a mix of bad video, better filmed bits, excellent animation, and a bunch of old school transitional wipes. Presented in 1.33:1 full screen, it looks acceptable, but it's definitely not going to win any transfer awards. The sound is also a little tinny, not really up to snuff with major label releases (one assumes that G-mart had better things on their mind that a mid-level aural offering). As for extras, we get a bunch of repetitive, self-referencing and satirizing snippets from premieres, music videos, commercials, web spots, television advertisements, interviews, and mindless monkey business, all of which plays into the entire swimsuit sluts with side arms mentality perfectly.
It's no wonder that the Bikini Bandits and this mind-messing movie found a ribald roost over on MTV2 Europe. This capitalism as killer call girl conceit is the basis for every Eurotrash ideal of America and its socio-politico-cultural philosophy. They should be damn lucky that, when duty calls, we step up and kick all kinds of ass instead of kissing it like conquered cowards. It's our love of hot women in g-strings lobbing grenades that make us such successful world warriors. While it's nothing trend setting or linear, The Bikini Bandits Experience is still strange enough to warrant a vicarious visit or two. So F-YOU! Europe! F-YOU! G-Mart! And F-YOU! Bikini Bandits...anytime.
Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) goes beyond traditional ads with its own clothing line and DVD series.
Steven Grasse, founder of Philadelphia's brand architecture firm Quaker City Mercantile, knows how to throw a good party. His, in fact, have brought chandeliers-from which rowdy partygoers have swung riotously-crashing to the floor. "We're probably more heavily insured than your average ad agency," says Grasse, tongue only partially planted in cheek. But these are parties with a purpose. In one swoop, Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) transforms a brand essence into three dimensions. In the process, he reaches the people who insist vehemently that they're just too hip to reach. It has a lot to do with showmanship-freak-showmanship or otherwise-and controversy: A 1993 print ad for a local tattoo store, for example, featured Charles Manson: "Everyone has the occasional urge to go wild and do something totally outrageous." Reflecting a passion for paradox, his clients range from sweets to sins, with M&M/Mars on the one hand, R.J. Reynolds on the other, and the Republican Party (that's right) lodged somewhere in between. As if that weren't enough, he's also the man behind the "B-Movie epic," Bikini Bandits, an experience that has been described as "like watching a Russ Meyer flick while thumbing through Maxim and spraying cheese whiz down your throat." These efforts seemed to warrant a conversation, so one caught up with Grasse to talk about his 3D approach to marketing.
We do a lot of research and we're finding that people don't watch TV or read magazines anymore. So where are they? They're out doing things. If they're out, you want to get them involved and experiencing the brand. What we're really good at is being honest. It's not "stealth marketing." We don't pretend that it's not about the brand. We're inviting you to come out and celebrate the garish commercialism of it. Partake in our consumerism. They get mad if you try to pretend the party's not sponsored. Because then they've been tricked. We learned that a long time ago.
In this age of 300 TV channels and short attention spans, an event communicates on a sustained level. And we understand strategic marketing. Most event firms don't understand strategy and how to tie it all together. You take brands that spend all this money developing advertising, and bring that brand essence to life. But you have to make it fun. You need to be a good showman. Everyone knows the free beer comes at a price, and the price is being sold to. The question is, are you going to be sold like a Tupperware party or is it going to be like PT Barnum, where it's totally engaging and fun? It can be fun in a cheesy way.
The Diesel event [a grand opening party with a mini boxing ring and boxers who performed an exhibition match] was hilarious. And circus-y. We also did a freak show for Diesel. We know how to do freak shows. Part of it is that we need brands that get it. We also tend to work with clients where other avenues are shut off, because of government restrictions. So everything can be born out of necessity, but eventually it will be a standard part of people's marketing plan. It's almost like saying we're not going to have a Web site. Everybody has a Web site now.
Proof is in the paradox.
Paradox is my own personal pleasure. It also fits well with the demographic we reach. We've had focus groups, and in group after group hipsters say they can't be marketed to. Then they come to a marketing event and are sold to. The Republican National Committee approached us to put something together that would help the Party reach a younger crowd. We threw a party called Shock the Vote. I think they got more than they bargained for. Senators were walking around with mouths open, like, "Oh my God." We had a series of fundraisers. One was at a strip club.
The crowd was an odd mix of young Republicans, who are squeaky clean. Then we got all the tattoo-ed guys. It was a very subversive party. The funniest part was meeting with George Bush's people. I kept thinking, I wish I had this on camera. They were so straight laced. And we're not. We're Marilyn Manson Republicans. The client knew the party achieved what it set out to do but it was a little too wild for them. I absolutely agree that it was. It was a blast. It got lots of press coverage. But it took them two years to call me to talk about Ted Nugent, who wants to run for the Governor of Michigan. He's got an interesting problem, because you'd have to get young people who are probably a little scared of his views, so you'd actually have to pull back a little.
The goal was to answer the question: Can the Republicans do something remotely cool? We showed that they could. Are they smart enough to follow it up? Probably not. Am I eager to follow it up? Not really, because I got a bad taste in my mouth from politics. It's not really fun. It's a lot of boring white guys. But the party was fun. The most outrageous thing we could think of was to work with them on this. I don't think they put enough into it as a sustained effort. I'd love to see them turn it into a Rock the Vote sort of thing. The Republicans need something so that their side of the story is told.
In all seriousness.
At the heart of it we're a design-centered agency. And we put that above everything else except strategy. As far as controversy, I have a strong view on the world and put it out there in a way that tends to be ironic and satirical, and that surfaces in our work. But some of our work is very serious. Each client has their own set of rules. The Republican thing, we were kind of making fun of it. R.J. Reynolds or M&M/Mars we take deadly seriously. There's no joking around with that at all. The stuff we're known for is the crazy stuff. But a lot of the cigarette stuff and liquor stuff is serious. The work we do for Puma isn't outrageous. Some of it's groovy and some of it is stylish. One of the most interesting things we've done was for Puma during the World Cup. We hired the Iron Chef on the Food Network to create a sushi roll for Puma, which we put on the menu in top sushi restaurants in the world. We threw parties in London, Tokyo, and New York. It was classy, and an interesting way to promote the World Cup.
We're launching our own rum in the UK in February. We started the Sailor Jerry clothing line, then licensed the rights to the name and artwork to William Grant. But we market the rum through the clothing company. We're going to open a Sailor Jerry shop in London to sell the clothing, but it will also be a tattoo parlor and a bar. You can wear the clothing, get the tattoo, and drink the rum. What's great is not only do we get paid as the ad agency, but also we get paid in the bottles sold. That's where the future is-when the agency has a stake in the intellectual property that they create. We're not just the agency, we're the owner of the brand, we're the partner of the brand as well.
G-Mart is our retail laboratory, which started because we wanted to see how our clients' brands worked in a retail environment. We sell cigarettes, we sell Puma.
I can tell Puma which styles are selling and which aren't. It's not theoretical, which is the way 99% of agencies work. In all eight of our Bikini Bandit films, which have had 8 million viewers, G-Mart plays a central role in the plot. That translates to 8 million G-Mart fans. We realized that beyond a laboratory for our clients, we could sell G-Mart retail. Suddenly, G-Mart, this tiny little store, has a much bigger presence than it warrants.
We're taking the G-Mart line wholesale in February. Sailor Jerry sells in 3,000 stores around the world and the G-Mart line will be piped into those accounts. Anyone can build a brand if they're given $1 million but the G-Mart brand was built on guerrilla. I've been able to build these brands that truly resonate with our core consumer. I can go into a client and say I know guerrilla marketing because I've done it for myself. Sometimes the things you're shy with on your paid clients you can try on yourself and if it works over there you can say, hey, we can try it over here.
Bikini Bandits was tipped by the Times as the hottest ticket of last year's Raindance and picked up by MTV for an Xmas day screening. Director Steven Grasse on bullets and tits and selling out.
The really unusual (some would say disgusting) thing about the Bikini Bandits was that it was conceived not as art, but as a marketing concept. I knew that if we created this 'thing' we could create a whole brand around it. Which explains why there is no plot whatsoever. The plot was irrelevant. It just needed to be an open-ended vibe, a feeling, a thing people wanted to take part of. Of course, this is what I say now. The truth was closer to the fact that we didn't have the talent to come up with a coherent screenplay. We also didn't have the time or money to make a more traditional movie.
Seriously. Though, I own a surprisingly successful advertising agency here in Philadelphia called Quaker City Mercantile. So I know more than most about these things. I read an article once about the birth of Def Leppard. Before there was even a band, the dude had posters, t-shirts, everything. He even printed up fake ticket stubs for shows that never happened. But before long, people started believing Def Leppard was real talk about putting the cart before the horse. Def Leppard is precisely what the inspiration was with the Bikini Bandits If you build it, they will come.'
We launched the g-mart store and the g-mart line of clothing at the same time as the first Bikini Bandits short film. So right away fans had a whole world they could step into.
We also threw fantastic Bikini Bandits parties all over the world. This was done primarily so fans could come inside and experience the world of Bikini Bandits and g-mart for themselves.
What we're doing here is creating a loyal market for out line of products.
And, as independent filmmakers, we're protecting ourselves from the normal bullshit that befalls us. For instance, when The Bikini Bandits Experience DVD comes out in the states this summer, we don't really expect to make much money on it. Why? Because it won't sell well? No, we expect it to sell buttloads. We expect to be screwed by Hollywood accounting but that's okay. Each DVD sold will help sell g-mart clothing and merchandise, and the clothing line is something we entirely control the distribution and profit of.
Think about it, the Bikini Bandits films are nothing more than extended infomercials for g-mart. The performance art aspect of the whole thing is that it's an ad you pay to watch. So some pimply-faced fourteen-year-old buys the DVD and watches it with his pimply-faced friends, then they immediately go online and load up with g-mart merchandise.
So, should you all feel duped by our crass commercialism? No. not at all. Our brand of blatant commercialism is, in its own way, a sort of postmodern Warholian performance art piece. What really cracks me up is that we've managed to convince Atom Films to pay for all seven of the Bikini Bandits films (g-mart commercials). We've managed to secure a big time Hollywood agent (United Talent Agent). And, we have two big ass Hollywood production companies fighting it out to make a big ass big budget Hollywood Bikini Bandits Movie.
That, my friends, is art.
And then there's MTV airing the movie' and running endless promos, which, once again, inadvertently promote g-mart. Of course, if some big assed corporation were doing all this, it would really piss me off, but it's not. Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) is pretty successful, but it is small and independent. We're not owned by some large mega-conglomerate that cheats its shareholders. I built Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) with my own blood, sweat, and tears from the ground up.
It's this do-it-yourself mentality that's at work here with the Bikini Bandits. We like to think of it as a Fugazi with boobs. Meaning, we make our own way in the world and control every aspect of our destiny, like the band Fugazi. Instead of waiting for Hollywood to come calling, we went out and made something they are now fighting to get a piece of. Suckers.
So how come Bikini Bandits managed to get so much attention and press when so many independent filmmakers make films that never get seen?
Relentless self-promotion. We've probably sent out over a thousand press releases since we started this whole Bikini Bandits business. We have a list of magazines from around the world that we send things to. We're also stages a variety of events designed to get the media interested in covering the Bandits for instance, the big ass party we threw at the Cafe de Paris in London after the Raindance screening.
Of couse, there have been some key events that really helped get the ball rolling. When Atom Films first went public they had $10 million to spend on advertising. They chose our film, the first Bikini Bandits episode, to be the keystone of their marketing campaign. They spent more than $1 million alone on MTV airing a 30 second spot for people to go to their website to see our film (of course, Atom is all but bankrupt now, as most dotcoms are these days).
Somehow we got Maynard from Tool, Jello Biafra and Dee Dee Ramone to be in our film, which almost guaranteed media interest. Here's a hint: put bikini girls in your movie. It will make almost anyone else want to be in it.
We got MTV UK interest in airing the movie. This was huge for us. And, it happened by accident. We sent them the music video for the Dee Dee Ramone song "In a Movie" (the Bikini Bandits theme). They told us that instead of airing the video, they'd rather show the movie. We were floored.
We are also really careful about getting email addresses on our website. And then we talk to our fans at least twice a month. We also say yes to all sorts of promotional opportunities that come along the way. Here are a few examples. We did the Gumball Rally last year. We figured the enormous amount of publicity this event generates more than justified the cost of sending four hot chicks coast to coast in a 69 GTO. We also put the film on tour alongside a movie by the Suicide Girls called Four Days in Panties and three hardcore bands. It's called the Backseat Film Festival. And last year we went to the Vans Warped Tour with Troma. It's endless and relentless.
So, my parting words to you independent filmmakers are fuck art. Make something that people want to see, something with boobies. And, most importantly, realize the movie is not as important as the marketing. Lack of self-promotion is where 99% of you royally fuck up. Get out there and sell yourself. This is America, damn it. Or it is from where I'm standing.