Gee Whillickers!

A Play, a Monkey and a Backseat Driver

David Merrick was arguably the greatest and most prolific American theatrical producer of the 20th century with over 80 Broadway productions to his name.

His brilliance can be easily illustrated by recounting a marketing caper he pulled for the opening of The Matchmaker in 1955. He purchased an old English taxicab which was, by itself, a striking presence on the streets of Manhattan. But then he had it modified so it could be driven, unnoticed, from the back seat by a well-dressed man posing as a passenger. In the front, Merrick placed a chimpanzee wearing a chauffeur’s cap with its hand strapped to a dummy steering wheel. To finish it all off, a sign on the side of the cab read “I’m driving my master to see The Matchmaker.” This ad-mobile was tooled around Times Square four or five times a day and, needless to say, people were soon standing in line to buy tickets.


The Michelin Man

One day in the late 1800s, Edouard Michelin observed that a display of stacked tires resembled a human form. He said, “Give it some arms and legs and it would look like a man.” Edouard was a painter, so it can be assumed he was possessed of an above-average imagination.

Remember, 100 years ago, tires were much thinner and varied wildly in size, hence the impression of a bloated mummy.

His brother, André, then commissioned the creation of a jolly man made of tires. The initial sketches were just what the two brothers were looking for. One of them, picturing the tubular spokescharacter lifting a glass of beer and yelling in Latin “Nunc est bibendum! (Now is the time to drink!),” fit right in line with the Michelin slogan of the time, “Michelin tires swallow up obstacles.”

Later renditions saw the replacement of the beer with a goblet of nails and glass that he lifted in a toast to all tire-threatening road hazards. The Latin motto stayed the same.

Today, after more than 100 years, the Michelin Man is one of the world’s oldest and most recognized trademarks. Definitely a spokescritter with some impressive miles on it.

Gee Whillickers!

Tick Tock Tick Tock

David Ogilvy, the legendary copywriter and advertising mogul, once recalled, “The best headline I ever wrote contained 18 words: At Sixty Miles an Hour, the Loudest Noise in the New Rolls Royce Comes from the Electric Clock. When the chief engineer at the Rolls Royce factory read this he shook his head sadly and said, ‘It is time we did something about that damned clock.'”

Gosh, That’s Handy!

Color, Theoretically Speaking
Part II, Additive and Subtractive Color

There are two models that are used for color: additive and subtractive.

Why does any of this matter? Well, to us, it’s the color difference between a design that winds up in print or on the web. Plus, it makes you feel real smart.

As is clear in the illustration, each color model can combine to create the colors from the other model.

Additive Color

Additive Color refers to generated or projected light—white or colored—such as the sun, a computer screen, a candle, etc. The color is added, get it?

For computer screens, TV and rear projection systems, the color model used is red, green and blue (RGB). The concept behind additive color is that RGB, combined together, creates white. If you took three spotlights and put a red-colored filter on one, blue on another and green on the last, when you beamed the light together it would result in a basically white spotlight.

Stay tuned for more in next month’s issue of Rigney Graphics Lunch Meat™!

Subtractive Color

Subtractive Color refers to surfaces that absorb parts of light, as when you see an apple, a t-shirt or a brochure designed by Rigney Graphics (couldn’t resist). The surface absorbs parts of the spectrum and reflects or lets through other parts. The color is subtracted—clever, huh?

For printed materials or any mixed ink system, the color model is cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY). You probably wouldn’t think it, but the concept here is that they combine to create black (maximum absorption of light). Now, in printing it’s CMYK. “K”? Why? Due to the fact that absolute CMY isn’t attainable, neither is black. K is black ink, used to help out the browny or bluey “off-black” you get. It’s “K” because it was the “key color” which helped printers line up the other inks when printing.

Ad Absurdum!


Circa 1933

Pop and his crappy car better watch out. Anything that can work a kid up to fist-brandishing levels of fury should be minded closely.

This ad touts a red gas, dyed to distinguish it from “imitations” that buyers should beware of. Though, probably only the terrifically absent-minded would notice this as they sprayed the side of their car with gas.