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I Was Spoken To By An Advertisement…

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Yesterday I was reading my new issue of Sports Illustrated on the subway (one of my favorite New York City time-killing pastimes), and came across an ad for Zune, Microsoft’s answer to iTunes.

(right: Some marketing guru is wetting his pants now, cause I’m lovin’ artists on both pages of this ad.)

The two-page spread features various three dimensional band names (in all different types of fonts) stacked on top of each other. The ad is nothing groundbreaking, considering iTunes had a similar campaign a year or so ago with hundreds of album covers exploding from an iPod.

Whenever I see an ad like this the first thing I do is look for the Beastie Boys (just want to make sure the ad agency is representin’). The next thing I’ll do is to make sure the advertisers are on top of their music game. It’d be easy to list off a Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana. For the hip factor, it also wouldn’t take much research to add an Arcade Fire or White Stripes to the layout.

Yesterday, however, this Zune ad spoke to me. I don’t know who came up with the list? Maybe it was comprised from a group of lists that was gathered through market research and focus group surveys. Whatever the case, some of my favorite musical acts were splattered throughout the ad (I hope to God some ad executive isn’t reading this right now and thinking, “Got’cha, that’s what the ad was supposed to do”).

The Beastie Boys were a must, but the large “SAUL WILLIAMS” (center of page) was also a very nice, unexpected touch, since most of the time you can’t even find a Saul Williams album in a record store. I was happy to see Sons and Daughters with the tiny little shout-out (right about Nas), and Artic Monkeys and Hot Chip (far right) are two of my favorite acts of the last couple years. Daft Punk is sort of a gimme, especially since Kanye had the big single with them last year, nevertheless it was a nice addition. I was also glad to see Gogol Bordello (right of center), Jem (left of center), and MSTRKRFT (bottom right) shouted-out in the ad.

My biggest surprise, and proof that whoever worked on this ad is probably a fan of the Beastie Boys, was the inclusion of frequent Beastie collaborator Biz Markie (under Robyn, above Dido) and the name that blew my mind, the B-Boys’ keyboardist extraordinaire, Money Mark (right above the tagline: Instant Music Collection). No diss on Money Mark, but if you have a hundred or so names to promote your digital music service, chances are you’re going to use Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, or Madonna before you even think of pulling out the “Money Mark.”

I’m not going to buy a Zune anytime soon, but I just may become friends with the person who laid out this advertisement.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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