Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July's coolest TV and Movie billboards around L.A.

July has had quite a smattering of television and cinematic wonders to shout about and the skies around L.A. have been filled with a fantastic assortment of super-sized, special extension and special installation billboards to grab your attention.

TV billboards
Giant Political Animals billboard Sunset Strip
First up was this giant-sized billboard along Sunset Boulevard for Sigourney Weaver's new Political Animals drama.
Giant Perception billboard
Next saw the return of Will & Grace's Eric McCormack to TV with a suitably Dali-esque visual for TNT's new take on the crime series genre, Perception.
American Gypsies TV billboard
And just when you thought they'd run out of ideas for reality TV shows, along comes American Gypsies to dispel all those myths and preconceptions you have about the romany folk.
Giant All The Right Moves billboard
Meanwhile Oxygen takes some former contestants and winners of So You Think You Can Dance for a new fly-on-the-wall reality series about a fledgling all-male dance company in All The Right Moves.
Alphas season 2 billboard
The return of the Alphas is a bright spot for my Summer as I like this low-key superhuman sci-fi drama.
Grimm season 2 TV billboard
Plus the fairytale cop show, Grimm, is also back for a sophomore season and it hardly feels like the fantasy show has been off our screens at all.
Black Dynamite Adult Swim billboard
This special extension billboard for Adult Swim's new blaxploitation animation series, Black Dynamite, really stood out this month with this super-cool 70's inspired visual.
Pablo Escobar billboard
Finally for TV, this billboard for Pablo Escobar: El Patron Del Mal really made a strong statement along Sunset Strip for the story about the Columbian drug lord.

Movie billboards
Total Recall remake billboard
With The Dark Knight Rises being one of the most talked about movies in July, sadly not just for cinematic reasons, other films also had to break through all the blockbuster hoopla to stand out.

The Total Recall remake starring Colin Farrell in the lead role certainly had lots of billboard creatives around L.A. this month.
Total Recall remake billboard
Another movie with ads everywhere throughout June and at the beginning of July was Savages.
Savages movie billboard
Unfortunately Oliver Stone's drug cartel thriller failed to set the box office alight (and Taylor Kitsch still can't seem to land a winning movie after John Carter and Battleships).
Giant Savages billboard
This month also saw the return of the prehistoric Ice Age crew for a fourth CGI-animated outing.
Ice Age Continental Drift billboard
These special extension billboards for Continental Drift, featuring the sabretoothed-squirrel 'Scrat' and his pals, really caught my eye in July with their colourful, fun creatives.
Ice Age 4 Continental Drift billboard
Another franchise returning for a third movie, and growing up rapidly, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.
Dog Days Diary Wimpy Kid billboard
One of the best teases this month was for the fourth installment in the 'Bourne' movie series.
Bourne Legacy teaser billboard
With Matt Damon not wanting to reprise his winning role as 'Jason Bourne' at this time for another film, Jeremy Renner steps in as another deadly agent for another top secret CIA program.
Bourne Legacy movie billboard
More sequel madness ensued this month with lots of movie billboards for Step Up Revolution around the streets of L.A. The dance movie franchise is back for a fourth installment with another SYTYCD alumni, Kathryn McCormick.
Step Up 4 Revolution movie billboard
Not a sequel, but recycling a movie title from a 2003 Colin Firth movie is Hope Springs starring the ever fabulous Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in a mid-life comedy (which looks hilarious from the trailer).
Hope Springs movie billboard
Another film title borrowing liberally from another movie is The Odd Life of Timothy Green, which in my mind evokes The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Odd Life of Timothy Green billboard
I love this giant-sized billboard for the Disney movie along Sunset Plaza, so let's hope it's not the same snoozefest as Brad Pitt's 2008 film.
Watch movie billboard
Speaking of titles, Ben Stiller's new comedy The Watch had to tinker with its film title from 'Neighbourhood Watch', after the scandal surrounding the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Campaign special installation movie billboard
Probably my favourite billboard campaign this month has to be for the new Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis political comedy, The Campaign.

Not only do they have a duo of special installation billboards featuring mannequins of each other defacing the opponents election campaign ad, but there's also a plethora of other funny ads for the movie around L.A.
Campaign movie billboard
And another series of billboards I like this month is for the new stop-motion animated movie, with a rather cool play-on-words title, ParaNorman. Check out more ParaNorman movie billboards at my Daily Billboard blog.
ParaNorman movie billboard
Let's hope August offers as many TV and movie delights next month. In the meantime, be sure to check out July's best fashion and lifestyle billboards from around L.A.

Until another round-up next month, keep your eyes to the skies...

Monday, July 30, 2012

I conquered those hills of the San Francisco Marathon in under four hours...

Yesterday I completed my first ever San Francisco Marathon (my third in total), conquering all the hills in under four hours and today my blisters have burst and my joints ache, but I feel a wonderful sense of achievement

Claiming my SF Marathon medal and the LA/SF Marathon Challenge medal
After San Francisco Marathon
Up at 4am to eat some food for the race, my wave started at 5:52am, so it's quite an early starting marathon. My strapped knee held up and as we climbed the first hill on the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge I wondered how many more were to come. The answer was, lots.

Before the San Francisco Marathon
Before San Francisco Marathon
It was perfect running conditions yesterday. It was overcast and lightly misting (without any strong winds), helping to keep the runners cool but not chilled. Running over the Golden Gate Bridge was pretty spectacular, especially with the pylons wreathed in fog. 

I was expecting there to be a bit of a 'bounce' to the bridge, but it was just like running on standard asphalt. Lots of people stopped to pose for pictures, but I kept running and even skipped my run/walk breaks as the flow of human traffic was going at such a pace.

The Ferry Building near the Start Line
Ferry Building San Francisco
The first five miles my breakfast kept threatening to make a reappearance (you really do have to eat so early to let it digest) and by the end of the 26.2 miles I was sick to my stomach of running blocks and gels.
San Francisco Marathon start
In addition to the marathon there were also two half marathons being run, with one wave starting with us by the Ferry Building and the second half commencing in Golden Gate Park. After my first 13.1 miles, it was a bit disconcerting to see all those fresh faced half marathoners racing past, but at least they were easy to spot and actually it gave my competitive streak a little boost as they flew by.

At the half way mark I also knew that completing the marathon in under four hours was a real possibility, even with all the hills.
San Francisco Marathon banner
Going up all the hills in the first half were hard enough and then we hit Haight Street around mile 19 and we got to run down some really steep inclines on legs which felt a bit like jelly.

At mile 20 I thought, "just another 6.2 miles", but it's amazing how long and challenging those last few miles feel.

In my mind I knew once I saw the Bay Bridge the end was nigh, but even passing under it, that last stretch took everything I had. With ten minutes left to make a sub-four time I really did push my hardest on legs which felt they were wading through cement.

The last dash to the Finish Line
San Francisco Marathon runners
Head down I crossed the Finish Line in 3:57:09 and I was so pleased (and relieved).

I claimed my two medals, one for the San Francisco Marathon and the other the LA/SF Marathon Challenge for completing the two consecutive Californian marathons this year.

Charlie was there to meet me at the end and wrapped in a foil sheet we headed back to the hotel for a nice ice-bath. Before we got there though, I was hit with a real wave of emotion, which I'd not experienced during the course for a change. I think mainly due to the lack of supporters along the course, which is normally very moving to see all the hand-made signs and hear all the words of encouragement.

Today we have another day in the City by the Bay to recover and enjoy the sights and great food. All the more satisfying is knowing that the San Francisco Marathon has been ticked of my bucket list and I won't be rushing back to run it again anytime soon...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

'Twas the night before Christmas (or my first San Francisco Marathon)...

Call them pre-marathon jitters or just nervous excitement, but in the run up to a marathon it's like waiting for Christmas Day. There's all that anticipation and you know something big and important is coming.

Race packet pick-up at the San Francisco Marathon Expo
Jason San Francisco Marathon Expo 2012
That's how I feel about my inaugural San Francisco Marathon, especially as it's the first I've trained for by myself and because I've had some real knee injury issues this training season.

I'm hoping adrenaline and stamina will get me through the 26.2 miles and I'm sure running one of my favourite cities will help immensely too (especially speeding over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge twice).

All prepared and ready to go
San Francisco Marathon race kit
More motivation comes in the fact there'll be two medals waiting for me at the Finish Line, one for San Francisco LA/SF ChallengeMedal, after already completing the L.A. Marathon in March this year.

I'll also be spurred on by the spectacular opening ceremony festivities at the London Olympics which were truly inspiring and made me feel proud to be a Brit. In my mind I'll be running for gold too.
Jason San Francisco Marathon Expo 2012
Look for my bib no. 40317 and cheer me along the course if you see me.

Hills, what hills...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fashion and lifestyle billboards heating up July in L.A...

Handbags, jeans, perfume, alcohol, cars, phones and more, they've all been filling the skies of L.A. this month. Here's a round-up of July's best new fashion, drinks and lifestyle billboards.

Fashion billboards
Gucci handbag 2012 billboard
First up is Gucci debuting their new pre-Fall season handbags and clutches in their usual opulent way.
Hale Bob Summer 2012 billboard
Meanwhile Hale Bob brightens up Sunset Strip with its new Summery prints.
Silver Jeans sunshine billboard
And Silver Jeans shines a light on their denim offering with this atmospheric billboard.
Gap Fit billboard
Gap made a real sporty statement this month with its new Gap Fit women's activewear range ads, taking on the likes of Nike and Lululemon.
Make Jobs Not War billboard
Fashion brand Bleulab chose to highlight that its apparel is made right here in L.A. as if it was running for office and not just trying to sell clothes.
2xist male underwear model billboard
And what's Summer without a hot male model stripping off on the streets of L.A.

Fragrance billboards
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino fragrance billboard
Speaking of being naked, Tom Ford heated things up this month with this saucy soaped up billboard for his new Neroli Portofino fragrance range.
CK Eternity Aqua fragrance billboard
Calvin Klein introduced their Eternity Aqua perfume for women with this ethereal billboard, two years after than their male cologne version.
Jessica Simpson Vintage Bloom billboard
And Jessica Simpson went all floral (and maybe a bit 'old lady') with a new perfume called 'Vintage Bloom'.
Drinks billboards
Idris Elba Tonight Tanqueray billboard
This month one of my favourite alcohol ads was this mono creative for Tanqueray gin featuring British actor Idris Elba.
Jennifer Aniston Smart Water billboard
Speaking of celebs, Jennifer Aniston was back in a big way this month with lots of billboards around town for Smart Water (funny name really, getting people to pay a premium for bottled water when you can already get it from the tap. Maybe not so smart).
Sierra Mist Natural billboards
Sierra Mist made an impression along L.A.'s Sunset Strip with this giant billboard installation, tailoring its tongue-in-cheek ad to the local audience.
Corona Extra Find your beach billboard 2012
Corona Extra continued its 'Find your beach' ad campaign with multiple creatives along Sunset Boulevard (although it's not that hard to find your beach in California, so I think this campaign may work harder in other parts of the world).
Find your beach Corona billboard
Meanwhile Remy Martin promoted its new non-cognac V clear spirit, which mixes well with tonic apparently.
Remy Martin Tonic billboard
Last August Vita Coco used Rihanna in its billboards for its coconut water drink and this year it looks like its the turn of Zico to launch another coconut water brand.
Zico Good things hydrate billboard
They may be pack-shot heavy ads, but they have some clever copy and a nice tropical ocean colour scheme.
Zico 72000 Palm trees billboard

Car billboards
Cadillac sea change asphalt billboard
Car ads are usually a bit dull and I'm not saying that this new Cadillac XTS billboard is anything exceptional, but what I do like is that it has real movement to it.
Porsche Boxster Closer heaven billboard
Meanwhile, something much more sexy and aspirational is the new Porsche Boxster, which I'm sure our Labrador Cooper would love to drive around L.A. in, if anyone is offering to buy us one.

Technology billboards
Giant Samsung Galaxy billboard
Samsung is having a great time at the moment overtaking Nokia and Apple in the smartphone market, so you can see why they're boasting with this super-sized billboard on the side of the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.
Dolby Theatre A star is born billboard
Of special note this month is the fact that Dolby is publicizing its renaming of the 'Kodak Theatre' to the 'Dolby Theatre'. It's pretty big news here in Hollywoodland, the home of the Oscars, and the 'A star is born' tagline is a nice homage to all the movie industry.
Sonos Deadmau5 billboard
Sonos increased its brand presence this month for its wireless music system with a special extension billboard featuring the DJ Deadmau5 (who recently featured on the cover of Rolling Stone thereby making him more recognizable to those not in the know, or maybe thinking that this is a Mickey Mouse billboard for Disney).
iPad billboard summer 2012
And Apple started to roll out a second wave of ads to freshen up the campaign for its new iPad.

Health billboards
In Denial HIV test billboard
I love this 'In denial?' creative with the ostrich hiding its head in the sand, it's amazing how much fun you can have with design when you're talking about serious health issues like getting a free HIV test.
meth problem billboard
I also thought this ad for crystal meth was effective at catching your eye, and at first glance I even thought it was a movie or TV billboard.

Military billboards
National Guard student billboard
With so many troops fighting overseas the U.S. is always looking to recruit reserve military forces. This ad says you can keep your day job, but still be on call to help in cases of domestic emergencies and natural disasters.

Arts billboards
Helmut Newton 2012 billboard
And finally for this mixed bag of billboards, here's a holdover from June which was still gracing the skies of L.A. along Highland Avenue in July. This rather provocative billboard is for an exhibition of black and white photographs called 'Sex and landscapes' by Helmut Newton.

So it's been another busy, eclectic month all told and if you like all these be sure to check out my Daily Billboard blog every day for even more cool, fun, sexy and eye-catching creatives...