Dieline’s Friday Wrap-Up: Lay’s Mackerel Chips, Loretta Lynn, and the Liquid Death x Martha Stewart Collab We All Knew Was Coming
by Bill McCool on 10/07/2022 | 6 Minute Read
I was tempted to open this week’s column talking about how Elon Musk has ungraciously inserted himself into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, all while purportedly still wanting to ruin Twitter for the masses (and what that will ultimately mean when it comes to propaganda and misinformation). But the Philadelphia Phillies just barely clinched a playoff berth.
Now, I know you’re saying to yourself, “Bill, this is a site dedicated to all things packaging and branding.” To which I would respond, yes, but the Phillies also had the 4th best record in the NL since they fired former coach Joe Girardi and Aaron Nola is quietly having his greatest season yet. And have we talked about Kyle Schwarber and his NL-leading dingers? How about that I've waited nearly a quarter of my life for this team to get back to the playoffs? What about waiting nearly a quarter of my life for this team to get back to the playoffs?
Fine. On to the links.
Are You There Liquid Death? It’s Me, Martha.
Liquid Death was everywhere this past week—and, really, the past year. Not only did they get a feature in High Times, but they landed an additional $70 million in Series D funding, and the brand is now valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 million.
They also collaborated with Martha Stewart on a “dismembered moments” candle.
The sumptuous accent piece is a perfect gift for Halloween, and the candle features a severed hand clutching a can of Liquid Death. Is it that surprising that Liquid Death teamed up with Martha for her glorious late home decor/brand spokesperson period? Not really. Is it awesome? Yes, yes, it is.
Check out Rudy’s piece on Freedom Grams! Designed by German studio Serviceplan Group, each bag in the range contains the precise amount of cannabis that landed a person in jail. With 19 states making weed legal—and counting—no one should be in prison for cannabis offenses.
Most nights, you’ll find me avoiding whatever is on my watchlist and scrolling through vertical rectangles on various streamers. Usually, after a half hour, I’ll just throw on a Columbo rerun on Tubi. But then I realized that I also used to do this whenever I went to a video store.
For a long time, I’ve beaten myself up for this kind of aggressive time suck, mindlessly scrolling through titles, but I loved doing this whenever I went to a really good video store (RIP Kensington Video, you were a true joy). You're looking at the box art, reading a synopsis, and checking to see if anyone looks familiar—it’s cathartic in some ways and even kind of calming. Sure, I’m not plucking down VHS cartridges from wire racks anymore for an hour plus, but lazy, indecisive Blockbuster pit stops were my jam.
Anywho, this Doctor Photograph joke gave me a nice, nostalgic chuckle.
Comic Sans Stans
Apparently, all I ever do is sing the praises of It’s Nice That’s Liz Gorny (also, Fast Company got hacked). But she turned in this piece on a campaign from Dyslexia Scotland about how the much-derided typeface helps folks with dyslexia read a little better:
Comic Sans is the comedic low-hanging fruit of the design world. Chastised for its unprofessional, primary school print-off capabilities, it’s a typeface that at one point or another, like Coldplay or Twilight, became cool to hate. But the denunciation of Comic Sans in design overlooks one of its greatest strengths: it can help people with dyslexia read texts more easily. As such, it’s the focal point of a new campaign from Dyslexia Scotland, together with Innocean Berlin and WeTransfer, for Dyslexia Awareness Month. Though the font is the eye-catching poster child, the campaign speaks to an even wider problem, hoping to raise awareness around the need for a more inclusive mindset at large in design.
Lay’s has released a new line of chips inspired by Japanese and Korean dishes. Designed by PepsiCo China, one of the flavors amongst the trio is Grilled Japanese Mackerel, and I need someone to send this to me right now.
Also, I realize I am not every consumer, but if you put a slab of fish on your packaging and it takes up a great deal of real estate, you got me.
You Ain’t Woman Enough
Loretta Lynn is one the all-time great songwriters—period. Listen to "Fist City," "Rated X," "Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)," and "Coal Miner’s Daughter." They are an absolute clinic, and in an age where the term “iconic” gets slapped on every product and performer assigned to a PR hack, she was absolutely that and then some.
She passed away this week at the age of 90, and while I could spill a few hundred words about her hardscrabble life, just go straight to the records—it’s all there. Get a 6-pack and put on Here’s Loretta Lynn or Van Lear Rose.
You could also listen to this early episode of the podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones. It breaks downs her radio-banned hit single “The Pill” and discusses our backward contraceptive laws and the double standard applied to female country artists because, god forbid, women have sex for fun or have access to healthcare.
AI Don’t Know What I’m Talking About, But…
Maybe it’s my Chernobyl viewing talking, but I don’t know how to feel about nuclear energy influencers (yes, they exist, and not just as lobbyists, apparently). For the most part, I have a hard and fast rule about staking a claim on things I admittedly don’t know much about—like, say, AI art and nuclear energy. I think that there are pretty obvious emotional arguments in the "con" column that you can make for either of those. AI design programs will put creatives out of jobs. Or: nuclear energy is likely the best way to avert the harmful effects of climate change, but also Fukushima?
Regardless, I prefer to stay in the “is a hot dog a sandwich” lane when it comes to lines in the sand. Give me inconsequential topics, and I will fight to the death.
So, I don’t know what to think about this new project from &Walsh for the nuclear energy influencer brand Isodope, where the agency used Dall-E to inspire much of the design for what they imagined as a “school in another dimension.” But there was one compelling chestnut from Jessica Walsh’s interview in It's Nice That about the project, which I’ll drop here because no matter what your feelings are on AI’s magical, pushy hand waving itself over the design world, it IS here to stay. :
For &Walsh, this is just the beginning of a long road; Jessica says the team will continue to use AI. “It’s only in the infancy stage, but it’s not hard to envision where this will go and how fast it’s coming. I know there is backlash against AI tools in the design world, which is natural. This always happens when a new tool threatens to take a human’s job. However, the reality is that it’s already here, and we can choose to ignore it and become outdated by it, or we can choose to find creative ways to work with it and push our work further into territories that we couldn’t have before.”