Wednesday, July 16, 2003

questioning beauty

is every swan an ugly duckling?

Are there ugly ducklings who grow up to be…ugly swans?

If so, where are the ugly swans? Why don’t we see them in any of the nature shows on Discovery or National Geographic, or in the glossy mags or picture books, or in the calendars, mugs, tees and other merchandising materials?

Are they marginalized? Are there sad little ponds somewhere where the ugly ducklings who tragically grew up to ugly swans trace hopeless little circles in the indifferent water?

People-wise, you hear about ugly babies who grow up (painfully, at times) to be knockouts – however exceedingly rare. You also hear about lovely kids who grow up to wretchedly hideous (and we’re talking external appearances here, none of the “oh-but-she’s-a-beautiful-person-inside” line of rationalization).

How often do you hear of ugly children who grow up to be ugly adults?

For that matter, how often do beautiful infants become beautiful grown-ups?

Barring accidents or cosmetic surgery, is physical beauty truly a case of wait-and-see? Or can an undesirable tendency (either way) be prevented?

How far does parental genetics come into play?

Common Filipino observation 1: Beautiful people produce ugly babies (look at almost any Filipino actor-actress combo).

Common Filipino observation 2: You are more likely to be beautiful if one of your parents is ugly and one of them is beautiful. But chances are, you’ll take after the ugly parent.

Common Filipino observation 3: Ugly people produce ugly kids. It’s all downhill except for benevolent mutations (or if you are very fair-skinned or mestiza, then you can actually pass yourself off as beautiful).

So if we are to believe these “common observations”, then beauty is truly rare or accidental. Or just subjective.

Even ducks know the difference.


One of the things I loathe about photo shoots is getting the lights right.

A somewhat challenging scenario today involved different levels of light for the restaurant we’re handling.

The menu board had a different level and color from the common light, the signboard had a different intensity from sunlight and we spent a long time moving the photographer’s lights around – spots, giant diffusers and lots of wires and accoutrements.

This is one of the reasons I delighted with digital photography. You can take as many test shots as you like and keep correcting until everything is just right.

That’s one store down and three to go. The art director in me is just glad there’s free food (and my fees, natch).

think promo

Being in business, I’ve adopted the attitude of being willing to learn about many things. Increasing my base knowledge enables me to be more flexible in my thinking, more creative in considering solutions for various challenges.

The lesson of the past few weeks has been to think “promo”.

Honestly, it was a challenge for my mind to hold the very notion of a promo inside, add what I knew or assumed, and come up with something. Because I never join these things.

I see something offering a million bucks, and it doesn’t register – or maybe I’m just too lazy to be bothered with filling up raffle coupons or collecting labels to be sent out. Premiums, raffles and whathaveyou rarely get me going.

So the challenge is to create something that would interest even me (because it is easy to copy something that has been done, and more satisfying to innovate).

Now I watch TVCs closer, read the promo mechanics in posters and print ads, collect coupons and look under bottlecaps.

There is undeniable power in promos. Time to see if what we have cuts it.


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