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Made In Hollywood Blog

Welcome to the Made In Hollywood Blog, where we share and discuss all things polystyrene from around the world, including cool point of sale implementations, innovative applications of polystyrene foam, and more. Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

July 29, 2011 – 1:19 pm

12The answer is ‘Polystyrene’

- Posted in Competitons, Marketing related by Fran

Twitter. The logo, our hashtag and the bird.

Social Media never ceases to amaze me, it can be a link to an interesting site or to something completely random. The flow of information, news and conversation is constant and endless.

I asked a question on twitter late yesterday evening (Thursday) and was quite surprised at the number of responses I received, considering it was quiet late.
“Anybody interested in getting their #nameinfoam? We were thinking of a little competition tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank holiday weekend.”
I didn’t expect so many replies, I tweeted the question without a plan… I now had to find a question for this impromptu competition.

Before I could think of a question I thought it would be appropriate to cut the hashtag sign out in foam and use the twitter logo and our little twitter bird for a photo.
A question still eluded me, I couldn’t even answer a question suggested by @1130cc “How much would the word “madeinhollywood” weigh if it was 24″x4″x1″, and made of foam?”
How bad is that?

Some of the lovely Social Media cushions created by Heli Designs

However, I have come up with a solution to this dilemma, I won’t ask a question I will provide the answer and you have to give me the question. Anybody who watches “Mock the Week” TV programme will be familiar with the format.

The answer is Polystyrene.

An example would be: What material does Made in Hollywood use to create cool looking props?

You can leave your questions below in a comment or on twitter with the hashtag #nameinfoam. (So that I’ll be able to find them)
The best ‘question’ will get their name in foam and if it is particularly good, funny, smart and reusable we might give-away a twitter cushion, created by Heli Designs.
The winner will be selected on the 2nd of August to give you a chance to think of a question.

So have a bit of fun this weekend and ask a question.

July 26, 2011 – 10:53 pm

10A perfect mix.

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Sport related by Fran

Eugene Laverty with the 'App Girls' and a giant iPhone

Mixing business and pleasure can be a tricky task, some people would frown upon it whilst others would encourage it, all I can say is that from my point of view it has worked out very well.

Those who read this blog or follow me on twitter may realise that I have an interest in motorsport, in particular motorcycle racing. After years of watching formula 1, the monotony of the grand prix racing eventually got to me. I made the switch to two wheels, where ‘racing’ and overtaking manoeuvres are commonplace. I started watching riders from Ireland including Michael, John and Eugene Laverty, the brothers race on tracks in the UK and around the globe. Eugene rides for the prestigious Yamaha works team in the World Superbike Championship.

Now, you have an inkling on how I pass my time when I’m not cutting foam, but “where does the business come in?” I hear you ask.

Eugene Laverty with our standard iPhone prop

Well, it started on twitter, with news that Eugene had launched a new iPhone app. I sent a tweet to my good friend @curlybiker, suggesting that it would be a cool idea to create a giant Eugene Laverty iPhone prop and she put the wheels in motion.
I met with Eugene and Pippa,  girlfriend / PA / driver / minder, to discuss the prop but we also got round to talking about motorcycle racing and the current season, it would have been a crime not to. An idea was formulated to have the customised replica ready for the Donington Park round of the World Championship in the UK. Everything went to plan, the supersized mobile phone prop was used at the race meeting to promote the app, with the lovely  ‘App Girls’ posing with fans for numerous photo opportunities and they also distributed information leaflets.

The 'App Girls' out and about meeting fans with the giant iPhone prop.

I was fortunate to be at Donington Park, to see the phone prop and Eugene in action, however, the same can’t be said the next round which is being held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire this weekend.
So, if you’re at Silverstone keep a look out for a giant iPhone and for Eugene, he’s bound to be near the front and in the mix for a race victory, wouldn’t that be perfect.

 

UPDATE

The Silverstone round of the FIM World Superbike Championship went extremely well for Eugene and his teammate Marco Melandri, both riders finishing second and third respectively in the two races held last weekend.

Yamaha Team trucks with 3D signs that we created for them, unfortunately they won't be in the World Superbike paddock next year.

It was a very successful weekend for the Yamaha team with both riders finishing so strongly and consolidating their positions in the championship, with Marco 3rd and Eugene in 4th position. It therefore came as a surprise to hear last Monday, that the Yamaha World Superbike team were going to withdraw from the World Championship at the end of the year.
This will mean a period of uncertainty for the two riders, but with strong performances this year we hope it won’t be long before they can secure competitive rides with teams for next year.

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

The giant Expresso Ads coffee cup being cut from a styrofoam block

Facing the cameras and pitching your ideas to the ‘Dragons’ must be quite an unnerving experience, particularly if you haven’t practised your presentation or if you’re unsure of your figures.
However, the business people and entrepreneurs that appear on the programme face even bigger challenges in getting their businesses up and running. Sometimes that challenge is just getting themselves and an oversized 3D prop to the Dragons’ Den studio.

Ciara Crossan from WeddingDates.ie, having made an appearance on Dragons’ Den herself, recommended our company to Diarmaid Twomey, the man behind Expresso Ads. He contacted us last November enquiring about producing a disposable coffee cup for his appearance on the prime-time TV show. His idea is to provide an innovative advertising platform for companies to advertise on disposable coffee cups and lids. Our idea was to “WOW” the potential investors with a giant takeaway cup that would make a strong visual statement.

The giant Expresso Ads coffee cup sitting in the snow ready to make it's journey to the Dragons' Den

We settled on a cup 5′ high with everything going to schedule, the wrapper had been printed and fitted to the polystyrene foam cup and was ready for delivery when snow, ice and freezing temperatures swept over Ireland, bringing the country to a virtual halt.

The programme was set to be recorded one Friday at the beginning of December, so Diarmaid planned to travel from Cork and collect the cup on the Thursday for his early morning recording slot the following day. However, treacherous road conditions and the closure of the M1 motorway meant that he would be unable to make the journey in time – this called for Plan B. The best solution we could find was to put the cup on the train in Dundalk and send it Dublin, where Diarmaid could collect it. So we slipped and skidded our way to the train station and got the packaged coffee cup onto the platform. Only to discover that it wouldn’t fit… aarghh! More phone calls ensued until Plan C was formed.

Diarmaid managed to delay his recording slot to late morning, but “no later than 12″.
We arranged for our courier to deliver the package early the following morning. We met him that evening and loaded the Expresso cup prop into the van. In the meantime, Diarmaid had arrived in Dublin and everything was set, only to receive a call later that night saying that the recording session was being postponed at the eleventh hour.

Diarmaid Twomey with Dragon investors Bobby Kerr and Norah Casey and the giant Expresso Ads display prop

This is only an example of one day in which the weather, people and unforeseen situations seem to conspire against our budding entrepreneur.

Diarmaid did finally get his day in the Dragons’ Den to pitch his novel concept to Bobby Kerr, Sean Gallagher, Niall O’Farrell, Gavin Duffy and Norah Casey. Although stressful, it would be no worse than some other days he had experienced trying to get there.
We wish Diarmaid and the Expresso Ads team every success with their new venture. If you are following in Diarmaid’s footsteps in the Dragons’ Den, why not speak to us and we’ll create a prop that will make you look the part?

March 31, 2011 – 8:54 pm

2Shaved to perfection

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Supersized Azor5 razor prop

A giant Azor5 razor prop created in styrofoam

“It started with a simple tweet…”
That is precisely how this story starts, if anybody still doubts the power of social media.
Will King, the founder of The King of Shaves company, was a guest speaker at the Content is King Conference held in the RDS in November of last year. He had enquired about a hashtag sign that we had created for the event, but  rather than trying to pack a bulky 3D sign, we sent a customised version to him.
Tweets were sent to and fro until we got a message asking if we could create a giant razor prop for the UK launch of their new razor system, the Azor 5.

The answer was “yes”, even though we had a short lead time. Drawings, finishes, razor samples and other details were passed backwards and  forwards by email and post (after all, there is only a certain amount you can communicate in a 140 characters) but it wasn’t long before the 4′ (1.2m) long razor prop was put into production.

The super-sized Azor 5 razor prop almost ready for delivery.

Using the actual engineering drawing for the razor, we cut the front and side profiles out of a solid block of Styrofoam. We then used a series of hand tools to carve and craft the contoured shape, using images and an actual razor sample as a reference during its production. After several other processes, the prop was wrapped in a vinyl that replicated the markings and logos on the original shaver.
The Azor 5 replica was now ready to be packed into the original Styrofoam block so that it could be shipped to England. The lightweight block was an ideal packaging material as it fitted the razor prop perfectly to prevent it from getting damaged.

We used an overnight courier service to ensure that the giant replica arrived on time for the launch event held in London’s Purl cocktail bar for the invited press and media.
Judging by the pictures taken on the night of the event, it looks like the launch party went very successfully.

 Will King, at the UK launch of the Azor5 razor system

Mr Will King, at the UK launch of the Azor5 razor system with our giant razor prop

If you still doubt the power of social media, why not follow Will on twitter to see how he’s winning the shaver wars against Gillette and Wilkinson?
If you want a look that’s shaved to perfection, try the Azor 5. But, if you want a point-of-sale or launch prop that’s been shaped to perfection, please drop me an email or give me a call.

Image credit to kingofshaves.com

February 28, 2011 – 11:11 pm

0An open book telling a ‘Brilliant’ story

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

St. Patrick's Festival press launch 2011

‘Brilliant,’ by Roddy Doyle is a fun and uplifting story about banishing the depression over Dublin and getting the city’s funny bone back. This short story is very appropriate for the times we live in and was used as the inspiration for the Parade to honour Dublin’s designation as UNESCO City of Literature.  Community groups, theatre companies and street artists from around the country will be interpreting different chapters of the story in the St. Patrick’s Day parade to be held on the streets of Dublin city.
The St. Patrick’s Festival runs from the 16th to the 20th of March, with a wide variety of events that are there to be enjoyed.

What a 'Brilliant' book

Working with the teams at Fleishman Hillard and St. Patrick’s Festival, we created this giant book prop. We designed it so that it could free-stand and be easy to handle. It also had to allow ‘characters’ to emerge from the pages of the book. Using expanded polystyrene foam gave us the flexibility to do this: we created a window cut-out to allow the performers to pass through.
The colourful characters and happy kids seem to be enjoying the whole experience, but isn’t that what you get when you open a brilliant book?

Have any characters jumped out from the pages of a book that you’ve read?

- Posted in Company News, Competitons by Fran

With the Dáil dissolved and a General Election set for the February 25th, we will undoubtedly see our political parties, supporters and candidates bombard us with leaflets, posters and billboards spewing out their plans, dreams and promises to win our votes.

Twitter and Facebook Cushions provide some Social Media comfort.

The trouble is they have a new tool to exploit, and that is ‘Social Media’. We are likely to see some ‘Presidential style’ on-line campaigns being launched to ‘better’ the one carried out by Barack Obama. To date, very few politicians use social media, and those that do are relative newcomers.
So, what’s in store for us in the coming weeks? Probably more instances like this one highlighted by Brendan Hughes in his article “How not to use social media in politics”. However, we may have an exception that is Dylan Haskins, a young 23 year old Independent candidate for Dublin-South, who appears to be embracing this new media – only time will tell.

You may ask have we gone all political. No way. We much prefer working with Styrofoam and creating new products for our clients. However, we are users and advocates of social media, but only when the engagement is carried out in a honest and efficient way. We also needed a storyline so that we could tell you about the new cushions we received from Heli Miikkulainen-Gilbert.
Heli is a Finnish born designer working in Co. Wicklow who is combining her design and social media talents to create this great range of custom-made cushions. We just hope that our politicians can be equally successful in combining their politicking and on-line efforts.

So, if you were to give one social media tip to your local candidate or political  party, what would it be?
The best tip/comment will win either a Twitter or Facebook cushion that will comfort the winner when the next Dáil resumes. We’ll pick the winner on Election day.

Sign up to our Newsletter to further your chances of winning one of these fabulous cushions.

January 22, 2011 – 6:55 pm

2Making the News

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Marketing related by Fran

We can make two million Euro before lunch quite easily.

We love that we are asked to create some pretty cool props and 3D signs. We like the way we can make a couple of million Euro before lunchtime, very handy when our country is in recession, but it isn’t much use when it’s made from polystyrene. We like that we’ve tried making Time even though we never managed to save any of it, but one thing we haven’t made is the ‘news’. We’re not overly concerned because our clients do that for us.

It’s not difficult to find websites or business forums that can give you advice on getting ‘your name in the paper’. Larger companies and organisations can employ media agencies to take care of all the details, but it is also possible for a small businesses or enterprises to achieve that goal. In our experience, an interesting article is about having good content that’s professionally written. The stories usually follow the familiar format of  Who?, What?, Where? When? and How? Assuming that you have your press release edited and prepared, you still have no guarantee that you’ll see it in print, but what will help is having an eye-catching image to accompany the story.

Bord Bia's "Performance and Prospects Report" newspaper article via The Irish Independent

Most professional photographers are very good at their trade, but it helps if you give them something to work with. An attractive model can help promote certain products but they are not always suitable or appropriate. What you need is an eye-catching prop or a 3d sign. That’s where we can help.

Bord Bia had a ‘good news’ story in the form of a “Performance and Prospects Report” which outlined that the  Irish food and drink sector was a major contributor to the economy’s strong export performance in 2010. This important news was covered by all sectors of the media at Bord Bia’s headquarters, who used giant painted polystyrene blocks with 3D text to convey key points of the report in a striking and colourful way. The image used in the Irish Independent dominates the page and draws the reader to the story.

Jacqueline McGonigle and her Whatsonni.com URL sign via The Belfast Telegraph

Press coverage isn’t the sole domain of large businesses and corporations. It’s equally important to smaller companies and organisations to make their brand more recognisable and to get their news out into the media. Jacqueline McGonigle, owner of Whatsonni.com, a website where individuals and event organisers can promote their Northern Ireland-based events free of charge, used a lightweight 3D styrofoam URL sign to promote their brand in the Belfast Telegraph feature.
The excellent image is the focal point of the page, attracting your eye to the brand and the article.

So, if you’re making news in your particular business or commercial sector and you want to share it with the world, consider creating an eye-catching picture using a 3d sign or prop and we’ll make the news happen for you.

November 29, 2010 – 11:01 pm

3We all make mistakes, don’t we?

- Posted in Art & Sculpture, Polystyrene Uses by Fran

Shaking a paint tin with a loose lid ?

I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t made a mistake, whether in business, or on a personal level.
Some mistakes are ones that were extremely embarrassing, and you wished the ground had swallowed you up. Others involved following a hunch, convinced that you were right but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out.
You try, you fail, but ultimately you learn, and put it down to experience. Apparently, if you don’t learn, you are on the path to stupidity, insanity or politics, or maybe all three.
However, wiser men than me don’t appear to escape the odd mistake. Some of the world’s greatest minds, such as Oscar Wilde (“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes”) and James Joyce (“Mistakes are the portals of discovery”), have obviously had their fair share.

A polystyrene profile with the wrong hand down :-(

So, you may ask, why would a business blog about their mistakes? Well, the professional answer to this question would be that we are doing this to show our readers that we are a growing, developing business, which is learning to adapt to new situations on a daily basis. In actual fact, we just have two funny stories to tell.
The first occurred when one of the team emerged from the workshop dripping in green paint. He’d failed to notice that the lid wasn’t on the tin properly, gave it a shake, and well, you can see the consequences in the top image. But until you make the mistake, it is difficult to learn: my past ‘experience’ with a mayonnaise jar ensures that a thumb is on the lid before shaking any bottle, jar or tin.

My recent ‘mistake’ was on a slightly larger scale. We were asked to create a giant silhouette for Universal Graphics and sculptor Marc Kelly. We had to make 2 cuts into block of foam that was 8′ high x 4′ deep x 4′ wide. The first cut was a side profile, and then we had to rotate the polystyrene block through 90° to cut the front profile. Yes, you guess it, I had a 50% chance of rotating it in the right direction, but it ended up being 100% wrong.

Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the electric light bulb, once wrote, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” Then, should we consider ourselves lucky that we have made so few mistakes to date? Or is this an omen to what could be in the future? *ponders*

So, here are some of our mistakes which we’ve learned from. To further our education, why not share some of your “experiences” (mistakes!) below? The most enlightening comment will win their name in foam, error-free!

November 14, 2010 – 8:19 pm

1“Rock and Roll, Baby” Recycled!

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

Regular readers of this blog may remember a post about signs that we created for the Irish rock groups, the delorentos and The Frames.
The two bands used their Styrofoam signs in different ways, but we were delighted to see that the delorentos kept hold of their giant polystyrene 3D letters. They have reused and recycled them quite uniquely in their latest video, marking the release of the track ‘Sanctuary’ from the album ‘You can make sound’.
We are waiting to see where the band might use them next…

October 31, 2010 – 10:41 pm

1Raising the bar

- Posted in Extended Portfolio, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

An unconventional Stage setup for The 2010 Irish Web Awards

I think that we do quirky, unusual and eye-catching quite well with the 3D designs and props that we create for the marketing and advertising industries.
But yes, you can always learn more. You can improve systems and fine-tune techniques, but sometimes you need to step further away, take a wider view, and maybe do things that are a little different from the norm. We were given this opportunity quite recently.

We supplied signage, props and give-aways to the 2010 Irish Web Awards. The event was held in the historic Mansion House in Dublin City and was sponsored again this year by Realex Payments. The ceremony has grown significantly in stature, both in the number of awards being made: 28 industry categories, and in the number of people attending: 500+.

Lisa Domican and Vinny Coyne. Joint winners of Best Mobile Application

As award ceremonies go, it is informal, but it certainly has its own unique style. The stage had the look of a 70′s living room with a social media twist: instead of having the ubiquitous flying duck wall ornaments, we had three fat twitter birds. The assembling crowd were greeted by the sounds of a traditional brass band followed by compère Rick O’Shea, of  2fm fame, who seemed to enjoy firing items at the crowd, using a gun of all things.
We were pleased to see an emotional Lisa Domican collect a replica iPhone prop that we had created for the Best Mobile Application category; she was a joint winner alongside Vinny Coyne. But we were a little bemused when two members of the audience volunteered to try to fit on a morph suit each.
You just wouldn’t know what to expect next… an Ice Cream van serving 99′s to those who went outside and, for those who stayed indoors, a sweet cart loaded with jars of bon-bons, fudge, chocolate mice etc and some delicious cupcakes. These were some of the surprises that were provided but, apparently we missed out on the giant game of  Snakes & Ladders, because it didn’t arrive on time.
If you need to be convinced of how quirky and different the Irish Web Awards really are, take a look at the video and see for yourself. Keep an eye out for our giant Styrofoam ‘W’s and ‘Toxic Bank’ prop.
But do let us know if you have been to another awards event that was a little different from the ‘norm’.

Images by Ryan Whalley
Video by Present Tense Productions