54: Convergence: Band Wagon (plus a bonus)

It's a billboard!
It’s a billboard!

I have been sitting on this idea since the very first set of posts. This idea is listed on the first list I ever made for this class, and the thought of using it has come back to me periodically as the semester has progressed and more posts had to be made. Well, it wasn’t until this this directive (convergence) that I figured out how exactly to portray it.

Now, you may be thinking “Joey, that does not look like it took you 45 minutes to do,” and you would be right. It didn’t take me long to draw, and I do not remember how long it took me to come up with the idea at the start of the course. It’s third on the list, so I’m assuming not long. Ah, nothing quite like throwing yourself under the bus. BUT to make up for this, I have written a short narrative that will help aid you in understanding the message behind the billboard. Here it is:

Joey was blasting Britney Spears as his mom drove steadily down the highway. They were directly behind his father, who was carrying Joey’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, along with some luggage. The rest of the bags and supplies for the trip were stuffed in his mom’s car.

“‘Oops, I did it again!’” Joey sang along to one of his favorite Ms. Spears track.

His mom sang along too. She and her son had always shared an interest in the same music, and that provided a bond between the two that hadn’t been there between Joey and his dad. Joey stared out the window at the unfamiliar terrain of a place he hadn’t seen in a long time. His family was heading towards the Outer Banks, and he hadn’t been there in God knows how long. Perhaps a couple of years, but it had probably been longer than that. This was the first time they were going back to spend more than just a day. This time they were spending an entire week! YAY!

While looking out the window, Joey read billboards to himself. He could tell they were getting closer to the beach, because a lot of the signs had advertisements for beach gear and restaurants with beach themed names. One, however, caught his eye. It was for VW, or Volkswagen if that’s how you prefer to say it. He found it odd they would advertise near a beach, but he figured it was because of the amount of traffic that rolled along the highway going towards the beach. It was a simple sign; just black type over a white background, nothing too fancy, but enough to grab your attention because of its simple-ness. All it said was “Don’t jump on any old band wagon.”

Joey liked the saying. Especially since the word “wagon” was used in the sentence, and the ad was for Volkswagen. He felt conflicted though over how simple it was, but then he reminded himself that you don’t have to blow something up to get a message across (hope you understand that someday terrorists and Michael Bay). Plus, he rather enjoyed its meaning; don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. That reminded him of when he use to ask his mom if he could do so-and-so, and she would say no, and he’d say that so-and-so gets to do it. Then his mom fired back, “If so-an-so jumped of a bridge, would you do it?” Eventually the answer to that question became a question, “Do I have a bungee cord?” Then he’d get in trouble.

To Joey, the sign was telling him to be his own person. He thought how it was a weird thing for a car company to say, but then remembered the Beetle. That car was its own person, and it needed no one’s approval. Perhaps the billboard wasn’t only for the random motorists who happened to drive past it, but also for the company itself, and other companies. Companies have to stand out, and support a message their customers support and believe. Then they present that message through an ad, like this billboard.

“You’re all right with me, VW,” Joey thought as his mom continued to trail his father. Then he went back to singing, “‘One, two, three, Peter, Paul, and Mary…’”

You could be wondering where the convergence is in all of this, and the answer is it isn’t here. The message of the billboard and the story is to be your own person, be a divergent. That’s the enduring value of this idea. I think that’s what VW is all about, being yourself. The innovative design here is telling someone something they may need to hear. Sometimes the smallest gesture or phrase can turn someone’s life around and make things better for them. But offering a smile or kind words is something people fear doing these days, so some companies can do it, and hopefully that would convince people that they should do it too. The motoring pleasure here is the listening to Britney Spears and having a good time on the drive to the beach.

The story idea actually came from the activity that we did in class on Tuesday (December 2, 2014), where we had to talk to someone we hadn’t talked to before about a pleasant driving experience they had. Well, I did not do this (sorry). I actually got caught up in a conversation with my friends about what classes we are taking in the spring (excuses). Since that is the case, I took a pleasure driving experience that I had this past summer (driving to the beach with my mom) and added the billboard I designed to get across its messages (the sign was NOT something I saw while on vacation, it is my idea, just to be absolutely clear).


53: Convergence: Oh, Christmas Tree

I was ecstatic now that Dad was going to get the Christmas tree out of the shed. I flung the side door of our house open to see him and my older brother each holding up one end of a long rectangular cardboard box. I held the door open for them and the two carefully carried the box through the doorway.

Once inside, they sat the box down in our den next to the area where the couch had been moved from to make room for the holiday decoration. That’s another thing I enjoyed about Christmas time at our home; Furniture was rearranged to make way for the decorations that were to be put up. The two exited the house and went back to the shed while Mom and I opened up the box. We had an artificial tree, you see, so we had to put it together bit by bit. The side door opened once again as my brother and father toted in three big plastic containers of ornaments. The assembling then began.

After a couple of arguments about which branch went where on the long plastic pole that the branches connected to, we finally had the tree up and ready for décor. Stringing up the lights was relatively easy due to many years of getting it wrong and having to start over. It was time for ornaments! Upon opening the first box of ornaments, we all dug in for our pick. Dad grabbed the star and placed it on top of the tree, while I grabbed the box of… Um… I’m not sure what their exact name is. I usually refer to them as the little shiny red, gold-ish, green, or blue little balls. For some odd reason they were some of my favorite ornaments. Mom grabbed all of the ornaments that were actually tiny frames that she had placed pictures of all of our pets in, whether or not they were alive or deceased. Yes, we’re that loving.

We gladly hung up each ornament. We reminisced on old memories when Winnie the Pooh ornaments found their way out of the box and into one of our hands. I use to love that show. Still do actually. My family likes to buy an ornament each time we go on vacation as a sort of souvenir. Once we found those, we talked about my brother and I never getting on any of the rides at the theme parks we went to, and the Amish kids who stared at us when we went to Lancaster up in Pennsylvania, and how much Dad doesn’t like cities, like Baltimore or Philadelphia.

Suddenly, the tree was complete. The lights glowed bright and the ornaments filled up the branches to create a tree of memories. Just like that one of my favorite activities to do the day after Thanksgiving was over. My next favorite activity? Putting presents under the tree, because the bareness under there is really irritating.

After I ate dinner tonight (December 1, 2014), I decided to go on a walk to help stir the creative pot, and I walked for about an hour, and came up with a few ideas, but all were not good enough to me. Upon returning, I sat down in the living room of my apartment and looked up at the Christmas tree across from me. I had been sitting in that room all day working on homework, and after that walk, coming back, sitting down, and looking over at that tree, that is when this idea hit me. Putting up a Christmas tree; A family converging to put up their Christmas tree. The narrative is based upon my families experience as we put up our Christmas tree, so it is mostly factual, so perhaps it is relatable.

This could be a commercial idea for VW as they wish their customers and everybody watching a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever. They could actually do various commercials where they show different families with different beliefs preparing for the holiday season. Talk about relating to your customer base. That’s the enduring value here; Reaching out to the families who are VW customers by displaying their traditions in your stories or commercials, and showing others the holiday traditions of other belief systems. And what better pleasure is there than being reminded of happy past events by the different ornaments in my story? I did not focus on innovative design for this idea.

52: Convergence: No Talent

You No TALENT whore
This is the concept design that I have for an art piece I am working on. Please click on the image to see an enlarged version.

I actually drew the drawing above for this post. I have this concept drawn out already, but not the way I do above. In previous ones all the words were featured on a single canvas (I feel that by separating the them I am putting more emphasis on the individual words). This idea was inspired by one of my friends after she called Miley Cyrus a “whore” and said that Kesha has “no talent.” I happen to disagree, but her saying this made me think about the nerve some people have to criticize others in such a way. Yes, I know this is America, and everyone has the right to freedom of speech, so don’t pull that from your magicians hat. But by saying that somebody has no talent and calling them a whore is quite disrespectful, like who raised you? So, the whole point of the artwork above is to basically to combine what my friend said and turn it on the viewer. I have titled this work In the Comments to point to the comment section on various websites where people can spew horrid words like those in the artwork. I’m asking the viewer would they like to be called a whore? Or that they have no talent? The overall message is to WATCH YOUR MOUTH.

I figured that Volkswagen could support an art exhibition, where artworks that portray social issues would be on display. This would be a wonderful thing for VW to support, because I think it relates back to its brand. The innovative design aspect is in this idea, because art can open people’s eyes to the good and the bad, make people come together (convergence), and thus change the world. Art has enduring value just like Volkswagen. Think of art that was created decades, centuries, or millenniums ago, like Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, etc., that people still love today. I don’t know if the going into a gallery with art that would point out how people are a-holes would be pleasurable, but the change that stems from the exhibition should be lovely.

Here are some links to some music by Miley Cyrus and Kesha just incase you are not familiar with their art:

Miley Cyrus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs

Kesha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmV2zPXMzdI

51: Borrow Design Ideas: A New Way

A New Way (a poem by Joseph Harrell):

You ask, “What happened?”

“Where did my Sweet Pea go?”

Goodie two shoes is gone.

It’s a new dawn.

I’m no longer trying to please you.

You have an issue with everything I do.

I’ve been stuck in this cycle of your design.

Well, I’m sick of this job, I resign.

So, what happened?

I threw you overboard, and now I’m captain.

There is a possibility that you’re questioning what the heck this poem has to do with borrowing the design from something. Let me explain how I got to this idea. Today is Monday (December 1, 2014), and the day started off badly for me. When I have a bad day, I sink into a little bout of self-loathing, where I question my life decisions and where I am going in life. I always feel that I am living my life to please someone else (therefore the life someone else designed, or at least you think they designed), and this poem is a breakaway anthem of sorts.

I associate the Volkswagen brand with being a maverick. VW goes against the status quo with certain models, and we know I am talking about the Beetle. They could bend to fit the mold of what other car companies are doing, but they don’t. They do their own thing, which is the enduring value aspect of the brand in this idea. VW captains itself. The pleasure aspect is here, because this is a poem, and I am someone who finds poems pleasurable. Breaking free from someone’s hold and going out on you own portrays the innovative design of the VW brand.

If you’re wondering how this poem could be used by VW, I would say that they could use it as lyrics for a song, perhaps the theme song for the company.

50: Borrow Design Ideas: Poop

Lindsay stared out the window of the coffee house where she worked. Her face displayed a mask of discomfort, and she slightly bounced up and down. She was ready to get off.

“Lindsay, just go use the bathroom.” Justin, her co-worker who manned the cash register, told her.

“No, I can hold it.” Lindsay assured him.

“You still have three hours left, and you’ve been bobbing up and down like that for the past hour. I don’t think you can hold it.”

“Well, you’re wrong.”

As Lindsay made drink after drink, it distracted her for a little while, maybe three to five minutes, but her mind kept returning to the fact that she needed to use the restroom.

“Lindsay?” Justin said.

Lindsay turned to see him gesture towards the restrooms.

“I can hold it.” she told herself that was probably a lie, “I’m not using a public restroom.”

The three hours seemed to drag by, and her mind was screaming at her bowels not to give out, but her bowels were at the point where they were about to tell the mind to go #%@! itself.

“Please.” Lindsay kept whispering to herself as her shift turtled by.

Finally, her brain shouted with joy when she read the clock and it revealed that it was her time to leave. She hastily said her goodbyes, clocked out, and headed for the door.

“Hope you make it!” Justin shouted to her as she hurried out.

Lindsay climbed in her Jetta so fast a NASCAR driver would be jealous of her speed. She turned on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show to distant her. She knew that every word he said would anger her, and thus distract her from her little emergency.

As soon as she parked at her apartment complex, she quickly grabbed her belongings from her vehicle, and rushed up the stairs two at a time. She burst through her front door and locked it quickly. She dropped her purse and keys on the floor as she ran to the bathroom. She started to sit as she pulled down her pants, and… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yes.

It took me awhile to get to this idea. At first, I looked back at the three directives that we can choose from for posts 48 through 51, but they triggered nothing. Then I logged on to Blackboard and rewatched the Sarah Kay video, per the professor’s suggestion. Then I also viewed the video about the F-word, and it was fine. After that, I was wanted to dance, because the lady in the F-word video had used dancing in her speech, so I was inspired to move my body. Once I abruptly stopped dancing, because my roommate walked through the door, I looked at my notes from last class, and that is where this idea came from.

In class, we were asked to draw something, anything, that had a design we thought was interesting, or cool, or well designed (I think it was that last one, but I cannot say for sure). Well, I drew the digestive system of a human. Then we had to write down how we thought the design of that item would differ in ten years, but I couldn’t say much about the digestive system’s evolution in that time period. Then we had to write down other stuff, but I am not sure what the prompt was to write the information down, but my best guess would be word association, but I don’t think that’s it. One of the words I wrote was ‘poop.’ After that writing session, we traded our papers and circled the words that we associated with feelings, and ‘poop’ was one of the words my neighbor circled. BOOM, the birth of this idea!

The pleasure aspect of Volkswagen is apparent in this idea, because the girl gets relief from relieving herself. Her car serves as her way to this pleasure. The message being that your VW will be able to get you where you need to go, and operate properly, even if you yourself are in total chaos. The car is a sure thing is what I am basically saying. That would then lead to the enduring value of a VW. A VW will always be there for you. I did not focus on innovative design for this idea. Sorry about that.

49: Prediction of the Future: Test Day

Benny sits at his desk in his bedroom with his hands and arms serving as support for his head with them firmly placed beneath his chin. He is staring down at his psychology book, reading intensely the information that is presented in the study guide. The final for his psychology class is tomorrow, and he is putting in some last minute studying. He had looked over all the information the night before, and felt that he understood it, but wanted to be careful, so he was looking over it again. Thus far he had studied a total of seven hours for the test, so he felt prepared.

He glanced over at the clock on the back right corner of his desk. It was 10:34 PM. He decided to call it a night. He didn’t want to go over the information again and again, because then he may forget it. He changed into his pajamas, brushed his teeth, set his alarm, and climbed into bed. He fell asleep rather quickly, because of all the studying he had done.

The alarm sounded at 7:00 AM. Benny awoke and shut it off. After going through his morning routine he headed to the kitchen and ate a bowl of cereal. He remembered in high school being told that you needed to eat before a test to get your brain going. He yawned, but felt well rested. He grabbed his backpack and keys and headed out the door.

Benny commutes to school every day from his home in his Jetta. He feels his nerves start to shake as he gets behind the wheel. As he drives on the highway, his nerves are getting worse. He hated this about himself. He always got nervous right before a test, regardless of how much he had studied. He told himself that it would be okay. He knew that he would pass. You got this, he told himself repeatedly on the way there. He turned on the radio to help calm his nerves. He bobbed his head to the music, and before he knew it, he was at school. He climbed out of the car and walked to the hall where his class was located and took a deep breath before going into the classroom.

A week later, Benny received an e-mail from his professor that the grades for the test had been posted online. Benny quickly, but nervously, went to the Blackboard site of his school. He paused before clicking on the gradebook link. It’s going to be alright no matter what, he told himself and then clicked the button. A 92 is what he got. A smile spread across Benny’s face.

One of the directives for this week is “Prediction of the Future,” and that is the one I used for this story. Why? The lesson in this story is that preparing properly for a test (or whatever else) can lead to a good outcome. Benny studied for hours, had a good night’s rest, ate something for breakfast, all to prepare for this test. Benny’s behavior before the test determined the outcome of his grade on the test (his behavior predicted the future). And by making him a Volkswagen owner, I am showing that VW customers make wise decisions.

I think the enduring value aspect of the Volkswagen brand is evident in this story, because the narrative puts forth good study habits. The innovative design here would be for people who do not study in this fashion, but after reading this they may decide to try it, and therefore innovate their study habits. The pleasure from all this will come when they get that good grade.

48: Prediction of the Future: Ten Years From Now

Phil, a middle-aged man, dressed in a business suit walks into the kitchen of his family’s home. His children, Daniel and David, are sitting at the kitchen counter partaking in the breakfast their other father, Thomas, made for them. Phil comes up behind Thomas, who is facing away from him, and grabs him around the waist and pulls him towards him. Thomas cranes his neck around to see Phil, and the two kiss.

“Good morning.” Thomas says.

“Morning, Babe.” Phil replies.

“Why didn’t you tell us good morning?” Daniel wants to know.

“Because I was trying to sneak up on you father.” Phil informs his son.

“Why didn’t you try and sneak up on us?” David buds in.

“I’ve done that before, and you two always know that I am behind you. How is that?”

“Because you are not quiet.” Daniel says.

“What? I am so.”

“No.” David shakes his head, “You’re not.”

“Enough, you guys.” Thomas interrupts the debate, “Go get ready for school. And you, Phil, get ready for work.”

“Um.” Phil gestures at his attire, “I am ready.”

“Where’s your briefcase?”



Phil, Daniel, and David head out of the kitchen, while Thomas cleans up the dishes.

Later, Thomas meets the three at the front door. He stands before the open doorway and says goodbye to and hands the kids their lunches as they run out for the bus. Phil rushes down the stairs with his briefcase and kisses Thomas before heading out the door, “Have a good day, Babe.”

“You too!” Thomas says back.

“See ya, boys!” Phil calls after Daniel and David as they climb the stairs on the bus. They wave back.

Phil hops into his VW Passat, starts the vehicle, backs down the driveway, and follows the bus down the street, but the two vehicles part ways when the bus goes left, but Phil goes right. Thomas watches until the vehicles disappear before he disappears back into the house.

This idea actually comes from the activity that we did in class where we wrote about how Volkswagen will have developed in ten years. I thought about how the VW brand would incorporate a more family and business oriented image along with the “rebel” type image that I feel it has now. In the narrative above, I have brought the family and business image towards the brand. I made it a family with gay parents, because as we all know, what a family looks like is changing and will continue to change. I used the Passat as Phil’s vehicle, because I feel that it has a businessman (or woman) look to it. I thought for a split second about using the CC, which sort of looks like a businessman’s vehicle, but it is more chic, like something a Kardashian would drive. While the Passat doesn’t necessarily scream businessperson when you look at it, it does give the vibes that it is moving in that direction, so let’s see where it is in ten years.

This is the Passat as it is now. (Taken from: http://www.vw.com/models/passat/) Tell me that that doesn't look like a business car or one heading in that direction.
This is the Passat as it is now. (Taken from: http://www.vw.com/models/passat/) Tell me that that doesn’t look like a business car or one heading in that direction.

I think all three aspects of the VW brand are present in this idea. The enduring value here is family, the games they play with each other, and the loving atmosphere that exists between all the members. The innovative design is the changing image of family that is occurring now and will affect the next ten years and beyond. For driving pleasure, it is more of just pleasure, where the family just has a good time in each other’s company.

This blog is dedicated to Project 54 for my MASC-201 (or Curiousness) class at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). This blog is to showcase ideas that relate to the brand known as Volkswagen (or VW). If you are curious about why a blog involving a automobile company has the Manhattan Bridge as its header, the answer is that it inspires me. Click on 'About' to learn more about me!