United Airlines’ new safety video made me smile

I reckon United did a really good job with their new safety video, which you can watch below. The location switches keep us watching.

Extra points for the James Bond reference and judicious kangaroo usage.

I wish that the demonstration plane could have been displayed solely in papercraft, but it would have been too hard to see what the flight attendant is talking about. Overall, it’s the best North American safety video I’ve ever seen. Hey, it’s tough to beat Air New Zealand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqAAQ0ZZMyw

Kumamon Invasion: Japan’s Cutest Bear Goes West

Kumamon is coming

This just in, via AkihabaraNews: Kumamon is officially going international. The permanently-surprised anthropomorphic bear has gotten his work visas approved, and you will soon see his visage in its officially-licensed form.

Kumamon (くまモン) is the ursine representative for Kumamoto prefecture, whose weapons-grade cuteness has made him the most popular mascot in Japan.

He’s been mathematically, geometrically, and in all ways scientifically engineered to make you smile, and they sure did the math right.

Soon Kumamon will be loosed upon the world: a grinning, rosy-cheeked marketing rampage.

かわいい in Hawaii.

くま in Parma.

Bear in… Val d’Isere.

I featured Kumamon in my ProductYVR talk on the faces of cities and systems, and the value of generating goodwill by making something lovable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_sBs79ssh4

Kumamon has existed outside Japan for a few years, but only as an out-of-context meme.  Now Kumamon is coming for real: prepare for a cuddliness not seen since Hello Kitty.

Next Music from Tokyo 2014: Photos from Vancouver J-Rock Show

Japanese indie rock invades Vancouver

Japan grabbed me in a way I had not experienced for many years. Since visiting last autumn, I’ve been aching to go back.

However, last night Japan came to me.

Next Music from Tokyo is the brainchild of  Toronto anaesthesiologist Steven Tanaka, who puts together this microfestival by himself.  This is the sixth year of the cross-Canada tour, and my first. I cannot recommend Next Music from Tokyo enough, even though I understood less than 1% of the lyrics.  The musicianship was superb, and the energy electric.

My photos from the show weren’t all that great: all I had to shoot with was my duct-taped Nexus 4. However, I shoot photos the way that Nate Dogg suggested smoking weed, i.e. every day. So here are a few images.

Here’s Emi Ohki, vocalist and bassist of 宇宙コンビニ (Uchu Conbini). She is so awesome.

Emi Ohki

Here’s Sato, guitarist and vocalist of きのこ帝国 (Kinoko Teikoku), showing Vancouverites how it’s done across the Pacific.

Sato

Here’s Shigeaki Taniguchi, bassist of きのこ帝国 (Kinoko Teikoku), doing a last-minute tune before facing the crowd.

Shigeaki Taniguchi

A perhaps-too-artsy image of Jizue in action.

Voteman: Denmark’s insane voter engagement plan backfires

Will you vote in the European Union election? No? Well, what if a deranged S&M Brock Samson forces you to, on pain of decapitation?

This is not a hypothetical question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT4lhERDZ8s

After unleashing Voteman, a dolphin-riding  steroid freak whose fashion is based on 1980s Castro District, Danish Parliament was forced to rein him back in.  The random violence and sexism negated any potential cleverness in the eyes of Danish voters.

This only makes one wonder why a nation’s parliament thought that Voteman would be a good idea in the first place. We may never know… but one thing we do know is that someone in Danish government is a Venture Bros fan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khyzj5toqwA

Air Canada passengers furious at getting bumped to Rouge

Did you get Rouged?

It’s like Air Canada has a special division tasked with creating its own marketing nightmares.

In this case, that means switching passengers from regular ol’ Air Canada flights to Air Canada Rouge flights… without warning or fare adjustment.

Passengers think it’s pretty shady, according to the overwhelmingly-negative Rouge reviews on Skytrax. It’s not bait-and-switch exactly, but actually something worse: passengers already bought the ostensibly-better product, but were delivered the lesser product.

Air Canada Rouge is like AC’s own little RyanAir project: it offers fewer amenities, and the legroom is best described as two-dimensional. (However,  AC saw fit to kit its staff out in some snazzy Fluevogs.) In return, Rouge’s fares are meant to be marginally less expensive than those for normal AC flights.

This all goes out the window, though, when you pay for a regular AC flight (and maybe select a few upgrades) but find yourself squooshed into a Rouge plane instead.

You got Rouged, dude. You got Rouged.

Another poster coined a new term against the airline, saying, “I got Rouged.” On Air Canada Rouge’s Facebook page, complaints are noticeably absent, but elsewhere on social media, customers are complaining the company is deleting Facebook posts that criticized the service. CBC News also observed that dozens of critical posts spotted on Friday had been deleted from the Rouge Facebook page by Monday.

Indeed, Air Canada Rouge’s Facebook page looks oddly clean, like a model home.

Not so on Twitter.

What a shame. Flying in Canada is weirdly expensive, largely because we have only one airline that flies nationwide. It’s like that bloated python that’d never survive in the wild.

There is definitely a place for a low-cost carrier in Canada, but here’s the thing: people need to know that that’s what they’re booking.

Roadster Puppies, Coffee Puppy: Elite Dog Messenger Service

Roadster Puppies: If you need it delivered right now, like right f&cking now, you call these young ladies. The Roadster Puppies pull up in their Fiat 500, you sign the form, hand over the package, and then they’re off with a high-pitched howl and a squeal of tires.

This is their dispatcher, Coffee Puppy. He operates off of his mobile phone, using this corner café as base of operations. I think this outfit may not be licensed. However, these little dogs get the job done.

There’s no such thing as a duckface selfie

The death of duckface selfies

I was thinking about selfies the other day, and ruminating on the notion of duckface and chirp face ( チュン顔/chun-gao, reported as “sparrow face” on English-language blogs).

There’s also  てへぺろ/tehepero, which is… well, this. Basically, the ways we alter our faces when taking arm’s-length self-portraits to share with friends and strangers.

Then I realized something that changed my world forever.

Since all ducks are wearing dog masks, you are not imitating the face of a duck when you pout into your phonecam.

You are not doing a duckface selfie.

You are doing a dogmask selfie.

All ducks are wearing dog masks