Wednesday, August 31, 2011


by linguistic enthusiast guest blogger Dan Ahern

For this week's edition of Dídima Reads: An Audiobook Series, we're featuring a classic work of linguistic genius. Sure, everybody enjoyed Spot Loves His Mommy, but we at Dídima Reads felt like it was time for a more stimulating, challenging piece of literature. We really wanted to push the boundaries of what a voice, a tone, an inflection--a reader--could bring to the rich oral tradition of auditory splendor that is the English language. You could say this one had a higher cultural purpose, even. And so, we humbly submit to you, listener, the latest in the audiobook series:

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

You may download this audiobook here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gaming is the next big thing in advertising. We wanted to get onboard this trend ASAP. This was the best technological accomplishment we were capable of.

(Press play for sound)

Monday, August 29, 2011



Mood affects your work and your relationship. Obviously you know your own mood, but maybe it's better to know somebody else's mood, and avoid some problems. In the same way that the mood ring works, completely magic, the mood case changes its color depending on a person's mood.

Sunday, August 28, 2011



This guy! Amirite?!

Welcome back to The Holiday Bonus. As you know, The Holiday Bonus focuses on the best tangible benefit of hiring a Spaniard: additional holidays (and, ergo, holiday office parties). Last time we focused on Wizard Kings Day. This time we're going local. In Avilés, where Dídima comes from, it's a big day today. August 28th commemorates their patron saint, St. Augustine, and caps off a week of festival-ing.

So why a festival based around St. Augustine? Well, we can thank America for this one. See, in 1565 Pedro Menéndez was vacationing in the Caribbean and accidentally crashed into Florida. So he decided to start a city, which is now the oldest surviving European-founded city in the US. There were actually some French people there already, but he was on strict orders from the king to murder them (seriously). He royally effed up their settlement, took it over, and then killed off the Frenchies, which led to the inlet that area being named Matanzas. Which is Spanish for "slaughter" (seriously).

Menéndez needed a name for his new city though, and didn't know what to call it. Then he realized, "oh, wait, I'm super Catholic, I know." He looked up the date on his Saint Calendar (standard issue) and saw it was the feast day of San Agustín. Since he was in future-America now he used English though, and boom, St. Augustine was born. (Naming it for a saint atones for murdering 300-plus people, right? ...Right? Guys?) His exploits made Pedro Menéndez the coolest bro to come out of Avilés, so the city's patron saint accordingly became Augustine.


How do Avilesinos (peeps from Avilés) celebrate nowadays? They do everything they can think of. The holiday is built around going out with your friends to the various events all week leading up to Aug. 28, like a beer festival, a livestock competition, a medieval market, concerts, sports tourneys, and kids' activities. It all ends with a sweet fireworks display (St. Augustine was a known pyro).

Avilés: the only place with fireworks and rainbows. At night.

All this begs the question, how can we turn it into an office party?

The Costumes
None required. St. Augustine just wants the people to have a good time. If you want to pay respect to the city though (and why wouldn't you, since they're hooking you up with another way to do less work in the summer), you should try for the traditional costume of the region Avilés is in, Asturias:

The pony: status symbol.

The Libations
Did we mention there was a beer fest? Also recommended is Asturias's regional specialty, sidra (which is hard apple cider). When in comes to sidra, it's not just what you're drinking, but how you're drinking it. Proper pouring is a must. Like so:

'90s long-sleeve shirt optional.

The Food
Nothing specifically, but on basically any occasion in Asturias/Spain you're going to eat some sort of dried pork sausage. The Spanish have more cured meat than Magic Johnson's head. Most of it is hard to find in the US, so nobody will be mad if you get a platter from the neighborhood Italian deli. At the beer fest in Avilés they make these sorta sub sandwiches with a bunch of exotic meats like wild boar and deer too. (Again, nobody will will discount you for putting some salami on a roll.)

The Activities
Just have a good time. In Avilés they go do fun stuff all week. So have a live performance in the office. Bring out a cured meat smorgasbord. Organize a basketball tournament against the AEs. Try to find some Mahou or San Miguel or Estrella Damm cervezas, and chill some cider. Find those leftover bottle rockets from the 4th and take them to the roof. Whatever you do, make sure it's in the name of St. Augustine. It's what he would have wanted.

(...But please, no killing French people. It's simply gone out of fashion.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011



By Foreign Talent Specialist and Art Expert guest blogger Daniel J. Ahern

Good day, fine person. As you may recall from a previous post, I am an art buyer. And as such, I hardly need to remind you that my opinion in matters of taste and worth commands absolute respect and admiration.

Today I would like to lend my services to all you headhunters, recruiters, creative managers, creative directors, executive creative directors and chief creative officers out there. Being involved in such a field as you are, where talent is at a premium and instincts, style and ability cannot be replicated, it is often difficult to find the right candidate for the position of art director.

But lament not, for I endeavor to assist you. Nay, I endeavor to pretty much do all the work for you. You see, one of my areas of expertise is adjudicating Spanish talent. Therefore, for your extreme benefit, I have compiled this survey of Spanish creatives that will help you find the one you need to move your agency swiftly forward in inimitable directions. And I have included only the best.

I present, the Spanish Art Directors Prospectus 2011

Diego Velázquez

Hallmarks: Baroque movement; gifted technically; beautiful portraiture

Greatest Strength: Execution. Velázquez became very influential to realists because of his disgustingly awesome skills with the brush. Before photographers existed, either you sold a product without any models, or you got Velázquez to paint some for you.

Best Known For: Las Meninas (English: The Rich Midget-Girls), which impressively featured Velázquez himself, making it not just a recruitment poster for palace servants but also an ad for ol' Diego.

Availability: Dead.

Francisco Goya

Hallmarks: Romantic movement; boldness; political involvement; bridge between the old school and the new school

Greatest Strength: Making a statement. Goya couldn't be held down by the man. For instance, his work La Maja Desnuda (English: Majorly Nude!) was of a naked chick laying on some pillows. Since it wasn't framed in any mythical or religious context, it was the first time anybody did a nude just 'cause. It's widely believed the prase "Sex sells, bro!" is attributable to Goya.

Best Known For: El Tres de Mayo (English: The Mayonnaise Treasure). Like Velázquez, Goya's work was a recruitment poster too, but this time for the French Army, who needed volunteers to go on killing sprees in Spain. (Notably, karma was bitch for the French.)

Availability: Dead.

Pablo Picasso

Hallmarks: Just giving up and doing whatever. Which is turns out is cool.

Greatest Strength: Dynamism. Picasso started out doing real-looking stuff, but changed styles frequently. The crazier he got, the more people dug him. Considered a founder of thinking outside the box, which is fitting (or paradoxical?) as he pioneered cubism.

Best Known For: Tough to say, as Picasso played with more styles in his career than Christina Aguilera. But probably Guernica (English: AHH!). Knowing his hipster audience, Picasso ironically did Guernica in black and white even though, like, all the colors were available. It's an ad for a Bavarian summer camp, so he ironically made it about Germans bombing Spain. (Notably, karma was a bitch for the Germans.)

Availability: Dead.

Salvador Dalí

Hallmarks: Surrealist movement; crazy mustache movement; subliminal/hidden images; general craziness; being sorta full of himself

Greatest Strength: Publicity. Dalí knew how to create a "Wow!" moment, whether it was giving a lecture dressed in a diver's suit, making a dream sequence for a Hitchcock film, unveiling a mind-bending painting with hidden images, or selling books using fantastic titles like The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí and Diary of a Genius (copywriting bonus!). One time somebody beat Dalí to a cool idea for a film, so he one-upped the guy by knocking over the projector in the middle of the screening, claiming, “My idea for a film is exactly that, and I was going to propose it to someone who would pay to have it made. I never wrote it down or told anyone, but it is as if he had stolen it." His idea of intellectual property (another quote: "He stole my dreams!") evidently reached further than anybody else's, ever. Also, he made a Lobster Telephone.

Best Known For: The Persistence of Memory (English: The Persistence of Memory), a piece for a watch salesman. It's the first known ad to use the technique of arousing interest by making the product look really shitty; a method still used today by Olive Garden.

Availability: Insanely Dead.

Dídima Arrieta Martinez

Hallmarks: Blending hand-done and computer techniques; craftiness (in all senses); idea-centric work; inventiveness; layouts; hair accessories

Greatest Strength: Tenacity. Dídima widely regarded as trying and working harder than anybody else. She hates "fake" things, so even in the Photoshop age she usually prefers to use her hands somehow to come up with looks that can't be duplicated. (Techniques employed have included stenciling, sewing, Xacto-knifing, spray painting, drawing, messing with scanners/copiers, and more.) She's unsatisfied until both the idea and execution are original.

Best Known For: Although she's been In-Book (D&AD 2011) for an Aviva campaign and won an Addy for her work on Running of the Bulls (and recognized with several Student awards), there isn't a consensus opinion on her best work. I personally vote for André champagne because I happen know the writer.

Availability: Immediate (but time-restrictive). Secure her as soon as possible or you may have to wait over a year before she can return to the US. As an art expert, I highly urge you to jump on this one. Primarily because of her immense talent, but also because, for her peers, corpse reanimation is prohibitively expensive at the moment.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Advertising is a high pressure environment. Here is the Spanish technique to keep calm when things go crazy. It's a fan. This is completely real and not made up at all.*

Figure 1: Pre-Fan (aka your fan page)

Click here to print out your own Spanish stress-reducing fan (on 8.5 x 11).

Watch the instructions below for how to fold it:

Figure 2: Fanimation

Enjoy it and be cool. Always (almost always).

*Yes it is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


by linguistic enthusiast guest blogger Dan Ahern

Welcome back to another edition of Dídima Reads: An Audiobook Series.

As you'll recall from last time, it's accepted among the scientific community that listening to a European accent makes your life richer and more fulfilling. So what better way to take advantage of our wonderful Spaniard Dídima than having her record a delightful series of audiobooks? (That question is rhetorical, but if you were looking for the answer, it's "none.")

Presented for the imminent edification of your ears is today's audiobook:

But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Download the audiobook here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's time to open my folder of secret recipes.

I will start with my most precious one, my family's secret sangria recipe.

Jajaja (hahaha) you wish. I will have a special clause in the contract with the nice agency that sponsors my visa. You could say that I am crazy (my mom is already crying) but I will do it. I will share and I will prepare it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011



Spain is well know all around the world for its famous inventions. Centuries of history of amazing inventions that made people's lives easier (easier is a good generic adjective). United Sates would not be the same without some of them, and that includes ad agencies.

Today let's talk about the sublime Spaniard invention "La macarena". Who in the world never danced "La macarena" (translation: mother of god), a genuine dance/song/show created by two brothers called "Los del Rio" (translation: The Ones from the River) from "Dos Hermanas" (translation: Two Sister).

Macarena is based in a real story. It started when Macarena was upset when her boyfriend Vitorino joined the army. And to make her feel better about herself she spent the time going out on the town and carousing with other men. This smells like a hollywood drama movie or a soap opera.

And the chorus says something like "give your body joy, Macarena, your body is to give joy and good things."

Los del Rio were kind of a "one hit wonder" and they will never

make another one again. The song created in 1992 revolutionized the dance floor, cruise ships, wedding and OFFICE PARTIES with its 3 steps dance (maybe a couple more, but still the key was a couple steps that any person with a brain that worked and lacked rhythm can follow it). It was ranked the "#1 Greatest One-Hit Wonder of all Time" by VH1 in 2002. Wow! And it was made in Spain.

Why do you think he was so popular?

It's a great example of how something made in Spain that improved the USA. Have you thought how a Spanish art director can improve not just you agency, but your country! Maybe we can have one hit, but hopefully more.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



by Dídima and Dan

Welcome to The Holiday Bonus. People tend to view visas as a bit of a hassle, but they don't read the fine print on the forms. If they did, they'd see that hiring somebody from another culture (let's say, Spain, if we had throw one out there randomly) actually entitles them to many tangible benefits. Chief among them: acquiring holidays.

Besides getting that awesome person to work for you, you also get the rights to their nation's holidays. And that can only mean one thing: holiday parties.

For this edition of The Holiday Bonus, we'll explore Spain's take on celebrating Jesus: Wizard Kings Day.

Sketch courtesy of Dídima. Click to see it larger.

Let's start with the basics. El Dia de los Reyes Magos (Wizard Kings Day) is celebrated January 6th. It marks the occasion that the three Magi brought some presents to Lil' J in the manger. (Magi is probably a way more appropriate translation of 'Reyes Magos', but Wizard Kings is what Dídima says, and you have to admit it sounds 400% cooler.) Since the Magi were the most famous gift-givers, Spaniards in kind give gifts to each other for the holiday. Just like Christmas here, the tradition is that the Wizard Kings bring everybody presents overnight, and it's good form to leave them turrones (holiday sweets) to eat and milk for their camels. (Dídima's parents also left them some liquor. This makes sense when you think about who eats the cookies you left for Santa as a kid.) So basically, it's like how Christmas runs here, except our version is a fat man that lands flying reindeer on your roof and then trespasses his way down your chimney. Both are sort of creepy but at least you can figure out the origins of the Wizard King traditions.

So now the important question: How can we turn this into an office party?

The Costumes

You'll need 3 people to dress as the Wizard Kings themselves. They wear sweet robes, fanciful crowns, jewelry, etc. They're kings. These guys are the life of the party. In Spain, they have parades where the Wizard Kings and their entourages throw candy to the crowd. Basically you're a desert pimp slangin' Butterfingers to your people. Here's an actual parade King for reference:

Now, each Wizard King has their entourage too, so if you want, you can divide the office into allegiances for Baltasar (Balthasar), Melchor (Melchior) and Gaspar (Caspar/Gaspar/whatever). Here are the important parts of the entourage that you could dress as: soldiers, horses, camels, musicians (especially drummers), and, if you have a good insurance plan, fire slingers. Remember the whole birthplace-of-Christianity aesthetic, aka Holy Land circa 1 AD.

The Libations

There aren't really any specific drinks associated with this holiday, but seeing as it's a holiday, cava is always a good choice.

The Food

Roscón de Reyes.

It's sort of a pastry wheel with prizes baked inside. They don't really make them here, so just jam some trinkets into a cake and you're good to go. You can add a gambling element by having a certain prize in there that, for whoever finds it in their piece of cake, grants the "good" luck of getting to organize the party next year.

The Activities

Gift exchange: Optional, but a good way to recycle everything from the Christmas party gift exchange.

Throwing Candy: A Good Wizard king throws more sweet stuff than Roger Clemens during his best steroids years.

Music: Entourage musicians can improvise drums or other cheap instruments, but other than that Christmas music is still in fashion.

Holiday Bonus Bonus

Wizard Kings Day is the day after The King of Spain's birthday, so one of your principles could dress up as Juan Carlos I. He doesn't sling candy, but he does get a crown.

So that's Wizard Kings Day. Sounds pretty cool, right? That's just one sweet Spanish holiday you could be celebrating. If you're looking for talent, start thinking about how good you might look in some golden robes, tossing lollipops at people while a camel serves you cava.

Friday, August 19, 2011



An exposé/dignified plea from world humanitarian guest blogger Dan Ahern

This is little Dídima. She's still waiting for a sponsor. Like many other Spaniards, she needs love and support to have access to the great American things that will help her grow up to be a healthy, productive, adult creative. For the price of just 27 Venti Hazelnut Half-Soy Macchiatos per day, you could sponsor little Dídima and give her the chance she needs.

"But wait," you say, "I want to help, but I heard Spain is like, a beautiful paradise. My step dad said he would send me on vacation there if I promised to never tell mom about the slumber party incident."

Well, right you are. It is beautiful. But it's not America. For instance, did you know that like nobody in Spain has a DVR? I know, crazy. But it's true. I went on an eye-opening tour of little Dídima's homeland so I could show you the deplorable conditions she'd be exposed to if she went back. Here are my three most astonishing findings.

1.) Nutrition

People generally regard Spain as having excellent food. But what those people don't know is that when they go to a restaurant, there are no doggie bags. Imagine going to Olive Garden and not ordering extra breadsticks when you're not even hungry so you can gorge yourself again later. That's what life in Spain is like all the time. And speaking of Olive Garden, they don't have those, so cross that one off the list right now, sir. Here's what they do have:

That's right. They think McDonald's is a health food restaurant or something. Astounding. But look at this:

Yep. Their Starbucks still has the old logo. The one they stopped using in January. I was too appalled to go in there, but I would bet they don't even have Passion Fruit Tea yet.

And what do you suppose little Dídima does when she wants a snack? Do you think she can just grab a bag of Cheetos, like you or I?

No. She's forced to eat this. My Spanish is a bit rusty, but I think it says "Pellets of F***ng Ebola". I showed some street children this bag and this is what happened:

Yep, they ran away. As you can observe, Spanish children are forced to wear numbers so it's easier to track which ones have already been sponsored by humanitarian organizations. You'll also notice they're famished: each one must way 40 pounds less than a comparable American child!

2.) Infrastructure

I don't want to get too technical, but little Dídima's Spain is plagued by basic infrastructure issues. Can you imagine if, in America, you were somehow forced to ride public transit? (I know, the thought is hard to bear, but try to be strong.) When you step on the bus here, you have the ability to put at least 20 seats between you and the sleeping homeless person. That's not possible in a country where there are buses like this:

Not to mention, much of the country is connected by trains. You Americans probably have never experienced a train since we enjoy such an unshakeable auto industry, but a train is like a roller coaster, except flat and not amusing. And look at this:

This apartment building doesn't even have elevators! Look at all those stairs. And check out this:

What would you do if your water sources were all outdoors? There's so much we Americans can take for granted. My tour of this country and its conditions was starting to depress me when I was promised I would see a new, modern edifice. It's exciting to think even a place like Spain can progress and build new structures--but then I saw the thing:

It's falling over already. I was crestfallen. But the infrastructure issues aren't the toughest thing little Dídima faces day in, day out, being a Spaniard...

3. Racism

As you can tell, little Dídima is blond.

Which is fantastic, if you're in America. But in this part of the world, many obvious signs of racism left me simply mortified. My heart goes out to little Dídima (and the other non-dark-haired Spaniards) and other minorities who must endure prejudice constantly.

I warn you, the images you are about to see may be shocking to an American. After all, we haven't had any race issues in our history. But we must be brave and not avert our eyes. We must understand that not everywhere treats its minorities with the respect that, say, Arizona does. These are some real places and things in Spain:

The Italian sector. Notice the Civil Guard enforces the area, too.

The offensive ad on the right is filled with only black people,

and the ad on the right features only whites. This is the law.

The gateway to the alternative-lifestyle sector.

To the right, a center for societal outcasts.

To the left, the Jewish sector.

I'm sorry you had to see all that. But you had to witness it to understand.

If my tour of Spain taught me anything, it's that this tough country, little Dídima's country, is definitely not America. Hopefully these revelations have spurred you to think deeply about the quality of life you enjoy. And that little Dídima too could enjoy if you sponsor her today.

Thank you.