You get what you pay for . . . or do you?

Getting consumers to buy a product that could be perceived as "out-of-date" and even low-quality is definitely a challenge, especially when it's in a category that's flooded with new products on a seemingly monthly basis.

This challenge prompted Unilever to take a different, more sly approach. They decided to test a new product line, evaus, with beauty bloggers. They wanted to know if the bloggers would put their name with the new line and recommend it to their followers. After two weeks of trying the product, the bloggers' feedback was quite positive.

Here's the sly part: All the bloggers were invited to an event in NYC where it was unveiled that the product they tried and loved was actually that "out-of-date", low quality product they may have dissed in the past. The product was Suave (that's evaus spelled backwards for those of you following along) after all....more 

Sasaki designs hydroponic vertical farm for Shanghai

Architecture firm Sasaki has designed a hydroponic vertical farm for Shanghai, where leafy greens will be grown on rotating loops housed in a huge greenhouse.

The local studio designed the urban farm as part of the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District, which will be built on a site between Shanghai's main international airport and the city centre, and divided by a canal.

The aim of the vertical system is to offer a space-saving and economical alternative to provide food for the growing population of China's largest city, home to nearly 24 million people.

It will focus on producing leafy greens like kale, spinach and lettuce, which are a staple of Shanghainese diet. These will be grown along a series of looped rails arranged side by side in the greenhouse.

The structures will rotate to offer a fair distribution of natural light from the sawtooth roof. Water sourced from a rainwater collection tank will be used to grow the plants hydroponically, while the nutrients will be gathered from the waste of fish houses in the aquaponics room....more 


ART: Olaf Hajek

Caterpillars that eat plastic bags discovered, could lead to pollution solution

The greater wax moth caterpillar can biodegrade polyethylene, one of the most widely used and indestructible plastics vexing the planet.

Caterpillars. They're cute, they star in children's books, they turn into pretty moths and butterflies. And now it turns out they may hold the solution to the planet's plastic predicament.

Like many great findings and inventions, the discovery of a caterpillar that eats plastic was made accidentally. Biologist Federica Bertocchini, a biologist at Spain's Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, was tending to her hobby beehives and used a polyethylene shopping bag to collect pests known as wax worms – AKA our superhero caterpillars, the larvae of the moth Galleria mellonella. Known for infesting hives and eating honey and wax, Bertocchini was surprised to see the shopping bag riddled with holes before long. She got in touch with colleagues from the University of Cambridge, Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe, reports the Washington Post. “Once we saw the holes the reaction was immediate: that is it, we need to investigate this.”

While there have been other creatures that biodegrade plastics – recently a bacteria and mealworm were found to have an appetite for such – none of them have been able to do so with such rapacity as the wax worm. Given the completely insane rate at which we produce, use (one time), and toss plastic bags, the idea of something that devours them is pretty intriguing. In America alone we use some 102 billion plastic bags per year; globally, we use a trillion plastic bags annually. Some 38 percent of plastic is discarded in landfills, where it can survive for 1,000 years or more....more 

Prominent Music Publicist: F*&k Press Releases

This past Friday I moderated the How To Make It in the New Music Business panel at the ASCAP Expo

One of the panelists was the co-founder of LaFamos PR and Branding, Hunter Scott. He is one of the few publicists out there who won’t take your money if he doesn’t think he can help you. If your music simply is not at a the level where PR will help, a publicist should tell you this. Most don’t because they need the paycheck.

Most publicists charge thousands a month whether they bring you results or not. I’ve talked to way too many musicians who have been burned by “top-notch” publicists. I once toured with an artist who paid one of the biggest music publicists in the world $5,000/mo for a 4 month campaign to promote our shows to the local outlets in every city, get him on the national talk shows and in-studio radio interviews. After dropping $20,000 this big-time publicist got him exactly 3 articles in local newspapers. I got 4 on the same tour by doing the PR myself.

Mind you, this artist had millions of plays. His lack of press was not because he sucked. It was because the publicist took his money and did exactly nothing.

Hunter will be the first to admit, though, that nothing is guaranteed in the world of PR. Even if the music is undeniable and the publicist truly cares, there are things outside of everyone’s control (like Radiohead is in town and all local music press is covering that, Kendrick Lamar released his record on the same day you did or all TV shows have been booked up on the days you’re passing through). A good publicist, though, will be able to get you at least something....more 

MUSIC: Jeppe Kjellberg - I ASK

MUSIC: Wilma Archer - Like A Hunger (Feat. Amber Mark)

MUSIC: Calvin Love - Warm Blindness & A Cool Breeze