Happy Christmas from Ireland!

Hi everyone, it has been a while (over a year), but here’s an attempt to get back into this.

Earlier this month, I visited Ireland for the first time and had the opportunity to view some incredible scenery.

ooh ahh!

cliffs – so nice

But while, I was out and about in the main cities, I noticed there seemed to be a few ads and promo items that mention ‘Christmas’. Check them out below:

Double decker bus!

Show You’re ‘Up’ for Christmas…on a double decker bus!

Made with 100% Irish beef.

Made with 100% Irish beef.

Belfast City Hall - Happy Christmas!

Belfast City Hall – Happy Christmas!

Previously, I posted about some Hong Kong Coke cans that did a similar thing.

In parts of Canada, where populations include many different cultures, a lot of the packaging, ads and promo displays will instead use ‘Happy Holidays’. I was reminded of this in Ireland where it was pleasantly refreshing to see Christmas mentioned everywhere.

And now, for old time’s sake; a Pop Element moment from Kilkenny, Ireland…

I climbed that Church tower (thought I should let you know)

I climbed that Church tower (thought I should let you know)



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GR8 PL8 (Great Plate)

Driving around Ontario, I always notice people from outside the area from their license plates. They stand out to me due to their interesting colours and designs.


Alaska plate reads : I C RUSSIA ------ Thank you, Sarah Palin

I’d say compared to many U.S. states and other provinces, Ontario has the simplest design being plain and white. Some of my favourite designs from the States include:

Utah (Arches National Park) and Arizona for being very scenic and New Mexico and Alaska for having nice colours.

However, I’ve got to say there is one part of Canada that has a really ‘cool’ plate:


A polar bear shaped license plate from the North West Territories; how creative.


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A Dirty Trend?

A woman I used to work with once told me that she “hates brand new runners”. When asked why, she explained her reasons: “they look too new”. She continued to say that she preferred her shoes to have some scuff or dirt on them, otherwise “it’s like having flashlights on your feet!”.  I was amused by her comment as I looked at her very white and clean sneakers.

Recently, while doing some retail environment research at a shoe store in Toronto, I found this for sale:

Brand New Shoe. Order now and we'll add free dirt.

Close Up

Perhaps, I don’t visit footwear stores often enough, but it was quite interesting to see a brand new shoe with artificial dirt applied. Of course, I have seen intentionally distressed clothing (denim, jackets) accompanied with a tag informing that those rips, holes and noticeable imperfections are actually supposed to be there.

I think my former co-worker would be somewhat pleased that the designers get where she is coming from with her opinion on super clean shoes. I guess there are other people who feel that ultra white sneakers can be a little distracting, like having almost too-perfect, shiny and spotless teeth.

- rft3

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Coca-Cola is Seeing Red and Merry…Holidays!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. However, a while back at the beginning of November, I made a post regarding potential confusion over the new white Coke cans. Well apparently Coca-Cola recently announced that they would be switching the WWF polar bear cans to red (the colour well-assoicated with the brand) after many consumers picking up and opening the white can thinking it was the diet variation of the soft drink.

As you can see below, this season’s Hong Kong Coca-Cola can went straight to the red polar bear packaging:

Hong Kong can - Merry Christmas

Interestingly, the graphics on the package remain similar to North America’s white polar bear cans promoting the World Wildlife Fund. However, the red cans from HK don’t state anything about WWF or the arctic. Instead, they read ‘Merry Christmas’. It goes to show how Coca-Cola has used polar bears in their holiday campaigns so effectively that the identical graphic elements can conveniently be used for different efforts; 1) for the animal organization’s arctic conservation in one part of the world and 2) for Christmas packaging on the other side of the world.


Recent Coca-Cola holiday packaging in North America have leaned towards using the term ‘Holiday’ instead of ‘Christmas’:

Holiday 2007! Which holiday? I guess all of them!

Perhaps, this is a way to appeal to all people celebrating different holidays. With Canada and USA being home to citizens from a variety of cultures, this is a safe way to avoid excluding any groups. I believe NBA star Michael Jordan once said, the reason he never openly supported or endorsed a politician was because he did not want to affect his shoe sales. He figured supporters of the opposing group would stop purchasing his products.

So, the Coke cans are back to red (as they have been forever). As someone who engages in art and drawing, I personally like the unique look of white polar bear cans, but from a business/marketing point, they should always be dominantly red. With thats said, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and Happy Boxing Day!

** Boxing Day is a holiday in Canada but has nothing to do with punching other people in the face. It’s a little like our version of Black Friday, where a lot of shoppers fill up every retail store and go crazy over deals. So maybe during the chaos, people actually do get punched in the face.


Filed under design, Food, Pop Soda Can Collection, Uncategorized