Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ideas Consultants: McLuhan's Proto Ideas Agency

In 1955 McLuhan served as the catalyst for the formation of a small group called Ideas Consultants. To date, this endeavour has received scant attention from critics, apparently, partly due to a bias that tends to exclude from discussion McLuhan’s non-writing activities.
    Ideas Consultants appears to have been intended to effect, via the sale of “ideas” directly to industry, much the same ends as Network — a “…complete revision of metaphysics and sensibility.” The “ideas” the group formulated for sale were diverse. While the main focus of the group appears to have been innovations in advertising, packaging, and design, the group also sought to sell “ideas” relating to the development of: (a) children’s “educational toys,” (b) audio technologies, (c) non-specialist modular mechanics, (d) mechanisms for collective decision making, and (e) copyright reform. Here are a few examples of McLuhan and co's inventions recorded in 1955. Not one of them was ever sold.
  • Travel havens for hay fever sufferers.
  • Cord reducer – operating on the same principle as the fishing reel 
  • Telephone recorder [and caller ID] – to record the number dialled by the person making the call. As a service to the phone company it would immediately indicate to the caller the number being called – wrong numbers would be avoided, saving time and embracement.
  • A clip for library books too large to fit on the shelf.
  • Personal soap dispenser in semi-liquid form. 
  • Aluminium pop containers. 
  • Luminous Car paint. 
  • Diet Dinners – frozen meals set up to suit diet and reducing needs. 
  • Sound proof, temporary inner walls.
  • Tourist tape recordings – providing all travellers with recorded information.
  • Trainer Potty (transparent so kids don’t have to life it to see if they have gone. 
  • The airline dinner (everywhere) hot and sealed – this product would save work, stress the fact that it promotes completer social life. 
  • Nursery record album – a collection of traditional melodies to accompany such sets as childcraft.
  • Hitparade of the centuries, including this was a song Shakespeare heard everyday.
  • Television platters – to make movies and television program available for sale like gramophone records. 
  • Vocational guidance information – posters, radio’s shows etc….of new jobs etc that have become available in times of accelerated change. 
  • Miniature Prefabs – initially re child house but also dog house or any other kinds of structure including the Junior prefab western village.
  • Stout and Ale for Lunch in 6-8 ounce containers. Most people avoid beer for lunch because they are convinced it will make them sleepy. 
  • Street Balloon advertising in the place of sandwich boards 
  • Airborne gift packages – ideal for release at large gatherings that would release prizes to stimulate neighbourhood discussion. 
  • “Make your own monster plastic toys (small plastic toys, suggested market is Kellogg cornflakes) or any packaged item. 
  • Gift subscriptions of flowers.

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