2.13.2009

My God, it's full of sh--

This is the City of Work.





Here you can test yourself at the Human Potential Institute, check out the ideas for sale from the Think Tank on Idea Island, or keep on top of your world with some informative and educational Charts.





The City of Work is the vision of artist and MIT administrative worker Michael Lewy, who uses Powerpoint and architectural modeling software to map out bureaucratic dystopias using the absurd, dehumanizing language of productivity and corporate-speak. The self-absorbed excesses of office-drone culture are often parodied, but Lewy's work eschews the lighthearted comedy of dorky bosses and cubicle antics to instead evoke the more nightmarish prospect of a frightening collective descent into utter senselessness.





The book Chart Sensation gathers all of Lewy's strange graphs and Powerpoint artwork into one delightfully baffling collection, so you can take your time pondering the secrets revealed by illustrative charts like the one below.






Less tongue-in-cheek, unfortunately, is this apparently earnest 27-page design document for PepsiCo's pricey new logo, which was redesigned by branding agency Arnell Group last year at an estimated total cost of hundreds of millions of dollars (over a million for the actual design, plus the cost of replacing all of Pepsi's branded material with the updated logo). When I saw it, I was immediately reminded of Lewy's work.





While most people responded with a collective yawn at the result of that protracted and expensive five-month process, shrugging it off as an Obama logo clone or forming their own mental associations that Pepsi probably didn't intend, Arnell's design document, entitled "Breathtaking", reveals where all that time and money was spent — drawing arcane diagrams to demonstrate the new logo's deep cosmic connections to life, the universe, and everything.





The document was "leaked" from PepsiCo this week, almost certainly intentionally, since it's quickly become the fascination of the blogosphere and provided loads of free publicity for the newly transcendent brand. Bravo. (I refer you to the title of this post, which ought to make sense by now.) The document is indeed hilarious, a true masterwork.





You can read the full thing here.

Via the Consumerist; more from Gawker and Advertising Age.

I am unmoved by Pepsi's breathtaking show of mystical connectedness to divine perfection. When a beverage company takes pains to demonstrate how its brand identity is inextricably linked to Satanic soul trafficking, that is when I become a loyal drinker for life.





Years later this ARG, the first I ever encountered and the only one I ever paid attention to, still inhabits my consciousness, even though the game itself was judged something of a flop. A few of the game's sites still exist, though most seem to have gone — including the travel agency website where you could book trips to destinations like Devil's Island, Valhalla, and Babel, which can only be visited now courtesy of the wayback machine. There was also one that alluded to the demonic significance of the stars, horn, and other elements of the Stella logo, but I can't for the life of me find it. Oh, well...perfection has its price.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Adam:

The most incisive comment I've heard so far about the new Pepsi logo: "It looks like someone left the old one out on the radiator overnight and it melted."

23:19  
Blogger bluewyvern:

Very apt!

But since everyone's talking about the new branding, I'd have to qualify it as a huge success.

23:26  
Blogger Suzanne White:

Satanic soul trafficking ... I knew there was a reason Pepsi has that insipid taste.

10:52  

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