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Just An Online Minute... Big Black Box Appears In Meatpacking District, No Bodies Snatched

Last week a sliced and sewn bear arrived in the MediaPost office.  Addressed to Amy Corr, the bear seemed benign until I heard Amy shriek "What the hell! Why is my bear wet!?" She skittered over to the garbage and could be seen by the entire office desperately unstuffing her bear to find the source of the wetness - puffs of simulated cotton haloing her head.  Turns out her bear wasn't one of those "Teddy Pees A Lot" toys, her bamboo plant had tried to escape its vase and in the process made bear boy look incontinent.  In fact, the bear was and is part of a larger HBO campaign that includes huge projection cube installations that turn passersby into zombies.  Of course, they celebrate the NYC installation with a party.

Ah Meatpacking, you and I have become close recently.  I made the sour move of visiting Hogs and Heifers recently (I know, please, keep it to yourself) and the Gansevoort Rooftop - you know, to yang up the ying, and MediaPost AND this column are sponsoring the Social Media Society Launch Party at 675 Bar on Tuesday, which brings me back again.  And last night the HBO event was at One on 1 Little West 12th, a funny little nubbin of an area surrounded by Pastis and Cielo.  I approached the location with Matt Van Hoven, mediabistro's Agency Spy and completely missed the huge black cube in the area where in olden times you'd see some sort of failed advertype shackled in the stocks while passersby pelt them with cocktail foods and pummel them with storyboards. 

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At 6:30 p.m., One was pretty empty.  The party started at 6 for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and a promise of an 8 p.m. "event" start time.  Trays were stacked with champagne, my weapon of choice for the evening.  My +1 took the shape of the large-pawed dirty-martini-slamming Dave Ford of Branded Evolution.  Ford, who just returned from Burning Man ("the Burn"), is warm and hippie-like in nature, which must have offended one of the bartenders because he was a surly unsmiling sort who checked his sense of humor with his coat.  Maybe he preferred Showtime.  I was telling Ford not to sweat it when a voice zoinked "Agency Spy?! The Week In Advertising!?" as a Van Hoveneer (what I will call his fans) in the form of a BBDO Creative Assistant accosted Matt while he sipped his grandpa drink in his grandpa sweater.  I had to walk away before his expanding head ousted me.  I keed.

The beauty of NOT being fashionably late to what could be quite a fashionable party (creative types love to break out their fancy glasses, tiny trousers, and slippery vests for these things) is that the food keeps rotating back to you.  I don't know what they put into those egg rolls, but if it's pureed Smurfs and liquefied Rainbow Bright, I'm sold.  The only thing better was the dippin' sauce.  Little mushroom sandwiches, flat Stanley pizza, and various meats snuggling around wooden spears made their way into my mouth.

As One filled up and people split the barstools hunting for that next mind-numbing beverage, I met Ralph Lee, Agency Spy intern and sharp kid who isn't just making copies, he's doing research and working for those course credits. I also re-met OMD's Kenji Summers, who I originally met at the ANDYs , but thankfully, no one really remembered anyone and coincidentally everyone agrees that stretch of open bar and unlimited  spicy beer nuts were bad bad news (in a good way).  I also met some dudes behind The Cube (which we're getting to, I promise) Brandon Muger and Adam Reeves of BBDO.  HBOers Amy Offen and David Fisher were also celebrating with Jim Kerr of Q104.3 and The Jim Kerr Rock & Roll morning show and his producer Joe Christiano in the periphery.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the large black drape fall from the cube so I hot-footed it outside as a small crowd began to pool in the last tiny sliver of sundown.  HBO reps were handing out tiny stuffed bears and mini silver "I'm a spy" briefcases that held a flash drive with marketing stuff on it. 

The cube sprung to life as a many-vantage-pointed projection of "Heist," a crime in cube form complete with urinals, and "The Affair," philandering from four perspectives, his, hers, the maids, and underwearman played out. Stay with me - everyone on all four sides of the cube is watching the same scene, but from a different perspective.  If I see a woman fall in the background from my side of the cube, the people viewing on the opposite side actually see that woman in their foreground.  Get it? Cleverly executed.

While the cube installation was slick, the real spectacle was the random joggers and bar bunnies gathering closer and in greater number - like the cube was an alien ship and the bright lights were hypnotizing the humans to better farm them.  The bluish glow reflecting off the "ooo moving pictures" slack-jawed viewers elevated the body snatchers vibe.  MediaPost's Amy Corr and Fern Siegel were not abducted by Cube aliens -- and neither was Lola, the most lovable guest of the night, a sweet pooch.  Lola's mom is a Creative Director at HBO and was (is?) a producer on "True Blood." Of course this began the Sam Merlotte vs Eric vs Jason Stackhouse weird boyfriend game, which then introduced me to Adam Dubov from HBO.com who was responsible for The Fellowship of the Sun website, which I loved.  Praise his light!

Oh, and I guess there was one more unsmiling dude. That would be Advertising Age's Matt Creamer, who introduced himself as Senior Editor, but the site names him "Editor at Large, Agencies." He's a baldy -- so I'll forgive him for any moodiness for now.

The bigger pictures are in Flickr!

Send invitations to kelly@mediapost.com!

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