Nice to be noticed.

ie_iconI love art. In many forms. When I am at our DC offices I always try to make time to take in a gallery or show or walk the streets looking for cool street art. One evening I was in Dupont Circle strolling back from picking up a book at the wonderful Kramerbooks and spent 45 minutes watching some amazing street performers.

DC street performers
DC street performers

As I walked back to my hotel I saw a shirtless, shoeless man lying on the street surrounded by some very interesting art pieces. I stopped to take it all in. The man jumped up and starting speaking to me from a rather toothless mouth. He was definitely either on something or missing something but it turned out that he was an artist of some acclaim (at some time) – he even had a magazine article to prove so. He had certainly fallen on hard times. We stood and chatted about his art and many other things, (some on a level of “visitors from space”). I asked if he might sell me one of his “shrunken head self portraits.” We ended up at a price of one bottle of Pellegrino, one bottle of Pepsi, a box of Cheez-Its, a pack of Marlboro 25′s and $89. Not your standard auction fare… I came back from my shopping trip to do the exchange and from somewhere he had dug up a couple of bags and some bubble wrap (!). As I said my goodbye he got teary and thanked me for stopping to talk with him. “Most people work hard not to notice me,” he said.

Art for sale

Art for sale

Artwork

Artwork

I was flipping through a magazine recently and was halted by a series of Macy’s ads where the clothes being featured were modeled by people with disabilities of different kinds. I was not sure what to think at first. It certainly caught my attention. Was it some cynical advantage taking? Or was I the cynical one? I decided to go with the “thanks for noticing me” route. I bet these people were very chuffed to be in these ads. And guess what? People with disabilities buy clothes; maybe now from Macy’s. George Will once said, “Obama’s great political talent has been his ability to grant his admirers permission to think highly of themselves for thinking highly of him.” I love that observation. I think Macy’s just pulled off something similar and threw in the models feeling good about themselves for good measure. Good one Macy’s.

The “burning wreckage” antithesis of this would be Coke’s recent anti-obesity ads. More on that later…

— Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO

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