Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

The Plastic Podcast

An audio program about movies. Listen with your iPod or computer.

Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

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Daily Plastic is a Chicago-based movie blog, a collaboration between Robert Davis and J. Robert Parks, the same pair who brought you the wearable movie tote, the razor-thin pencil pocket, and that joke about aardvarks. If you know the whereabouts of the blue Pontiac Tempest that was towed from the Plastic Parking Lot on the evening of August 7th, 2008, or more importantly if you've recovered the red shoebox that was in its trunk, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Davis was the chief film critic for the late, great Paste Magazine (which lives on now as a website) from 2005 through 2009, and he counts this interview with Claire Denis among his favorite moments. Every once in a while he pops up on Twitter. He's presently sipping puerh in Chicago, even at this hour. Meanwhile, Parks, whose work has appeared in TimeOut Chicago, The Hyde Park Herald, and Paste, is molding unsuspecting, college-aged minds in the aforementioned windy city. Media types are warned to stay clear of his semester-sized field of influence because of the distorting effects that are likely to develop.

The © copyright of all content on Daily Plastic belongs to the respective authors. would be dissolved by now. If you took a Claritin RediTabs here...

I remember the day -- or at least the month -- when a single advertiser started buying every billable surface inside a subway station so as to deliver an overwhelming heap of Message to transit passengers. You'd step from the train on your way into work, and suddenly you were in a pharmaceutical ad or an iPod commercial. Or, rather, you were the bleary-eyed wallflower glaring at the party's colorful dancers, still going strong from the night before.

Once an advertiser could buy an entire subway station, the next thought, clearly, was to go beyond simply filling the spaces with existing ad units to designing ads that are meant to hang in sequence. Like frames of animation, a line of billboards can deliver a long sentence or a joke, one phrase at a time.

This strategy does, of course, require some cooperation from the installers, who need to hang the signs in the right order. Otherwise you send idiosyncratic, needlessly ontological messages when simple persuasion is the goal.

Take the two Claritin ads, shown above, hanging in a San Francisco metro station. They're two of many in this series, but they occupy a prime location at the end of a hallway, the perfect spot for a one-two punch that, when read left to right, seems to claim that Claritin works so well its effects can be felt even before the drug is taken, a remarkable trait engineered by chemists who have finally tapped into a little known corollary of the placebo effect to create a drug that piggybacks on the serotonin -- or whatever it is -- that's released by the mere thought of taking a RediTab, by the faintest feeling of the foil wrapper against the fingertips, and who more impressively have engineered a tab that can be taken even after it has dissolved. Into what, taken how, the ad doesn't say. Perhaps it was dissolved into a purse or a backpack. Dissolving substances into my backpack is no trick, but I've never figured out how to consume them after it happens.

Then again, I've never tried. And they say that genius is the guts to try what average people won't.

On second thought, maybe the ads are aimed at people who walk backward, or people who read clauses right-to-left but words left-to-right, prime candidates for an allergy medication, both of them.

4 Responses to “Ordering the Subway Zoopraxiscope”

  1. Doug says:

    That is *hilarious*, Rob.

  2. Robert DAVIS says:


    By the way, I saw an advertiser buy that circle in the floor once, too, making it hard even to avert your eyes from adverts. Advert aversion evasion.

    >You're stepping on a little purple pill that can solve all of your problems.<

  3. Darren says:

    While Joanna and I were noodling around at a massive new grocery store in our neighborhood last night, we walked past another couple about our age in the cereal aisle. Their three-year old daughter was whining loudly about how she NEEDED that cereal, despite her mother reminding her that she (the girl) doesn't like cereal. I actually laughed out loud when the father leaned down and said, "Honey, when you're a little older I'm going to teach you about marketing, and then you'll understand why you think you want that box with the cartoon characters on it."

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