Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Does Mega-Trillion Dollars Look Like?

Here is a creative if not strange billboard…

To protest the hyperinflation that has rendered the Zimbabwe currency worthless and to raise awareness of the dire economic situation there, the Zimbabwean Newspaper created an ad campaign featuring huge posters, wall murals, flyers, and even billboards all made out of trillions of Zimbabwean dollars.

The Mugabe regime has destroyed Zimbabwe. It has presided over the brutal oppression of the opposition, a cholera crises, massive food shortages and the total collapse of their economy. Furthermore anyone brave enough to report this has been bullied, beaten and driven into exile. One such group is 'the Zimbabwean Newspaper'. However, not content with having hounded these journalists out, the regime has slapped an import 'luxury' duty of over 55% on them which makes the paper unaffordable for the average Zimbabwean. In order to subsidize the paper they need to sell it in England and South Africa, to raise the foreign currency.

A unique campaign was devised to promote the paper to raise awareness and increase readership. One of the most eloquent symbols of Zimbabwe's collapse is the Z$100 trillion dollar note, a symptom of their world record inflation. This note cannot buy anything, not even a loaf of bread and certainly not any advertising, but it can become the advertising, it can be a powerful reminder about Zimbabwe's plight and the need to hold someone accountable.

Check out the photos from the newspaper's Flickr photostream.

Can you track your brand in social media? Try the Tools

This is becoming a very common question these days. "What's the best way to track your brand in social media?"

I came across a cool starter list from blogger, B.L. Ochman, What's Next Blog.

Here are some of his thoughts:

You can't turn around anymore without reading about social networks, hearing about them on TV, or seeing people Twittering while walking, driving, attending events or eating dinner.

How can you keep up with it all? How can you possibly keep track of who's saying what to and about whom? Do you need one service or 10? Will free services work, or do you need subscription services?

Here are some tools I use and recommend to help you keep track of your brand, your products, your industry, and even your social networks. There are new ones all the time, and I'll tell you about the ones I test as we go along. The best thing to do is to check out some of these and see which ones work best for what you want to know and do.

Social Mention - searches user-generated content and tracks mentions of your brand across top social media sources such as Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, social bookmarks, news, videos, and more. Like the other services, you can subscribe to your results by RSS or email.

Compete.com - (free and paid versions) analyzing what consumers do across the entire web, not just what they do within a particular site.

Marketers can use this rich information across the entire company, not just for online media planning or site design decisions. Compete Pro is the enterprise version.

Social Radar - (paid service) research and analysis of online buzz. Learn and analyze what people are saying about your company, products, industry.

Backtype - for monitoring blog comments mentioning your name.

Twitter search - increasingly relevant way to track any name or keyword or phrase. You can decide to tweet back or ignore it

Tweetmeme - tracks the most popular links tweeted to blogs, images, videos and audio

TweetBeep - will notify you by email about terms you're tracking on Twitter.

There is also the Google alerts is another mainstay. I've also been hearing the buzz about Techrigy SM2, it comes in both a "freemium" and full paid "professional" versions. The biggest advantage is Techrigy aggregates all of the conversations (including blog comments) into one dashboard & providing analytics for them.

The list will grow, but it seems to be at pace slower then the new vehicles show up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Skimmer – The Tool

Skimmer: The Social Aggregation Tool by Fallon and Sierra Bravo

So you Twitter. You are a blogger. You are addicted to YouTube, now how do you follow it all.

Meet Skimmer, the perfect one-in-all viewer.

Conceived and designed by the Minneapolis-based ad brains at Fallon and built by nerd friends at Sierra Bravo, Skimmer improves upon your day-to-day interaction by removing distractions and providing an in-depth experience that is particularly suited to multimedia content.

Skimmer is an Adobe AIR desktop application designed to streamline, beautify, and enhance the experience of participating in your most frequently used social networking activities.

It improves upon day-to-day interaction with multiple social networks, removing distractions and providing a rich content experience from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blogger and YouTube. Skimmer's spare, modern aesthetic sets it apart, creating a welcome, handsome social networking hub on your desktop that is particularly suited to multimedia content.

All very cool looking to boot.

Griffin Farley posted the following insights on his blog:

You may have seen the article in Adweek where Fallon launched a social media reader called Skimmer. Skimmer looks very similar to Snackr or Tweetdeck but much more robust and I thought I would review the pros and cons for you.


1) You can view video from within the application which is great
2) The user experience and design is wonderful
3) Once place shop to see all Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger updates
4) Anyone can download it, you don't have to be a part of Fallon to use it


1) When I Filter out all information except for the Blog feed nothing appears
2) Of all the people who have downloaded Skimmer from my network, NONE of them use Blogger. Planners in particular have been known to use Typepad as the Blog platform of choice.
3) I would like to see a function to upload any RSS Feed and I have not been able to find that yet
4) Also the Tiny URL did not work when I used it

Until Skimmer can mirror the full functionality of Snackr, I'll probably keep the system that I have but I see great potential for any advertising or marketing professional to use a platform like Skimmer to follow friends, professionals and brands.

I just installed it and so far it works great. Open it up and view all your tweets, check you blog and soon Facebook will be added.

Do-It-Yourself Magazines. Doing it Cheaply. Making it Slick

Ever dream of creating your own glossy color magazine dedicated to a personal interest? Hmmmm. I can now plan for the premier issue of "AdGuy – The Magazine". Well, the high cost and hassle of printing that has loomed over my head and that of countless others has always been the biggest barrier.

Traditional printing companies charge thousands of dollars upfront to fire up a press and produce a few hundred copies of a bound magazine.

With a new Web service called "MagCloud", Hewlett-Packard hopes to make it easier and cheaper to crank out a magazine than running photocopies at the local copy shop.

Charging 20 cents a page, paid only when a customer orders a copy, H.P. dreams of turning "MagCloud" into vanity publishing's equivalent of YouTube. HP is a leading maker of computers and printers envisions people using their PCs to develop quick magazines just about anything.

"There are so many of the nichey, maybe weird-at-first communities, that can use this," said Andrew Bolwell, head of the MagCloud effort at Hewlett-Packard. Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi who plans to use the technology in his classroom, said, "We're not talking about replacing the Vanity Fairs of the world. But it's a nifty idea for a vanity press that reminds me of the underground zines we had in the '60s and '70s."

Should the service take off, Hewlett could expand its lucrative business of selling huge digital printers to companies that would print the magazine and then ship its profitable inks by the barrel instead of the ounce.

It is not clear how big a market there is for small runs of narrow-interest magazines when so much information is available free on the Internet. So far, users of the service, which is still in a testing phase, have produced close to 300 magazines, including publications on paintings by Mormon artists, the history of aerospace, food photography and improving your personal brand in a digital age.

Aspiring publishers must handle their own writing and design work, sending a PDF file of their creation over the Internet to the MagCloud repository. An H.P. farm out the printing jobs to partners scattered around the globe and takes care of billing and shipping for people who order the magazine. While H.P. charges the magazine publishers 20 cents a page, they can charge whatever they like for the completed product. Example is a 64 page magazine would cost you $12.80 each.

Doreen Bloch, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, who created and runs a fashion publication, said MagCloud had made it much easier to produce her magazine, Bare, on a tight budget.

Ms. Bloch used to send final versions of Bare to a print shop in Arizona. If the editors noticed a typo or wanted to make a last-minute change, they had to pay $60 a page. "If we needed to change the cover because it had the wrong date, they gave us so much trouble," Ms. Bloch said. With MagCloud, the editors can fiddle all they want free.

MagCloud could also open up new opportunities for local print shops.

H.P. is also using technology similar to MagCloud to help publishers make out-of-print books available. It scans old books, cleans up the images and sends them off to the digital presses.

For H.P., MagCloud is also a way to provide customized service at low risk. And if the niche does not thrive, the company will simply move on. "We are trying to experiment with these new types of business models," Mr. Bolwell said.

There is also a great service for book publishing. Lulu.com offers individuals who wish to self publish a book on any topic with the same ease. I am currently working a on a personal interst baseball book. I have a limited number of people who would enjoy reading my thoughts on the history of "Freaks, Geeks and other Oddballs" in the game, I am currently at a page count of 288 pages in a digest format… my cost is about $18.75 per printed copy. To get this title published would next to impossialbe.

Ahhhhh, the world of digital living makes so much so easy… and now close to cheap.

Pushing The Limits - Marc Ecko’s “Complex” Magazine

Beyond Human: Kanye West's Complex Cover Pushes Design and CGI Limits

Pushing the boundaries once again, this time Kanye West is inspiring the use of advanced imaging technology on the new cover of Complex Magazine, Marc Ecko's excellent magazine that is truly a guide to "cool" and "trendsetting"

The photograph is the result of a facial scan that gathers data from a camera that rotates around the object. A computer then stitched the images together to create an eerily detailed 2D photograph.

Chris Milk, videographer and photographer behind the project, talks about the futuristic creation of the Complex photo shoot in an video interview with Fast Company.

"I wanted to do a series of photographs that was 100% pure form. When you look at things in the world everything is comprised of form and texture. Form is everything that takes up 3 dimensional spaces and texture is on the surface of it. The photography takes place virtually inside of the computer. You move the camera around in 3D space. Instead of standing there with camera you're doing it all inside of the camera".

"It starts with a facial scan, a super hi-res scan of the face. Then a laser scan of the entire body. It takes a long time to render. It looks like clay because the lighting is super realistic. Some may think it's a statue, but it's a uniformed texture. In any CG model you see this is one of the layers of that model".

Marc Echo has always been interested in using new technology and changing the rules and doing something no one has done before (see Air Force One Tagging)… but it's for the greater good of the concept, not just to show off. Hmmmmm.

Kanye West – The Artist

Kanye West is performance art. He's an idea. A brand. A mission. An inspiring, infuriating, over-the-top and constantly evolving contradiction of values that are articulated sometimes abstractly, and often heavy-handedly, through the man's every expression—be it producing, rapping, singing, designing or, more often than not these days, just living.

Here is the Interview from the April/May issue of Complex.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

File Under "Fu@king Brilliant"

When you build a brand, and within it you build a community - Honda Nation - this is so on brand DNA

Attention Young Copywriters: READ THIS OR DIE

So no matter how I hard or any of my colleagues try (and boy do we try… like all the time), we preach… no strike that, plead that young copywriters understand that there's an art form to great writing.

The art of finding the BIG IDEA or CONCEPT is a major challenge, but bigger is the issue of great "wordsmithing" or "crafting" the words that in fact connect with the audience. Connect and inform. Connect and feel. Connect... period.

Suzanne Pope, the GCD of john st. in Toronto has written a brilliant piece that helps young copywriters better understand the "craft". Suzanne breaks it down into Thematic, Hyperbole, Paradox, Personification you name it, it's there in black and white.

She has demonstrates with dozens of examples, she makes a point that great headlines and great concepts drive advertising.

But hey, you don't listen me or Lisa Atkins enough… you know the basics… but then again don't take my word for it. Check it out.

It's a must read. It will become a great reference.

Five Ways For Brands To Use YouTube

Ever wonder if there any rules to all this social media and branding that seems to change everyday.

This is from the good folks at Fallon
Advertising in Minneapolis. Fun read. Enjoy! Five Ways For Brands To Use YouTube.

Fallon ECD Al Kelly, told Creativity that:
"Our new brand identity is "We are Fallon." It's about pride in who we are and what we do, so "You Are Fallon" was conceived as a way to honor the creative legacy of the agency and honor the people behind the work over the years."

Before you go... watch this video and it will give you good feel for the corporate culture that lives within Fallon.

Places to Work Part II – Mod Men Chandelier Creative NYC

Mod Men - First Appeared in New York Magazine February 22, 2009

I have been looking a great places in terms of creative spaces to work... this yet another office in New York City I found very unique and creative. Anyone who has seen my office...

A purple piano, a latex sofa, and a Ronald McDonald head make for a classic-kitschy mash-up at this former art studio, speakeasy, and morgue turned ad agency.

In New York, the Noho office (north of Houston Street) of advertising agency Chandelier Creative, the staff has china and crystal for their lunches. There are fresh flowers on the purple piano. Each employee's desk is different; they are found at flea markets and lacquered black for visual uniformity.

Founder Richard Christiansen who has been a creative director at art-book publisher Assouline and Suede magazine before he took out a second mortgage to start Chandelier Creative three and a half years ago. The space satisfies Christiansen's desire to make even the workday an event.

From the legendary Jerry Della Famina, early on, Mr. Christiansen got the chance to pitch the Nordstrom department stores—but at the time he had only three employees. So in order to appear impressively busy and important, he "staged" an office: hired fake staff off Craigslist, rented a space, and furnished it with flea-market tables and rented computers. It worked.

Since then, Chandelier's accounts—in this, his real office—have included the Mandarin Oriental, Parfums Givenchy, Old Navy, Morgans Hotel Group, and Liberty of London.

Do you Market like Led Zeppelin or The Grateful Dead?

Do you Market like Led Zeppelin or The Grateful Dead?

David Meerman Scott
"...Measuring success by focusing only on the number of times the mainstream media write or broadcast about you misses the point.

If a blogger is spreading your ideas, that's great.

If ten people email a link to your information to their networks or post about you on their Facebook page, that's amazing. You're reaching people, which was the point of seeking media attention in the first place.

But most PR people only measure traditional media like magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV, and this practice doesn’t capture the value of sharing.

To create a World Wide Rave, forget about sales leads and ignore mainstream media. Instead, focus on spreading your ideas. Make your information totally free, with no registration required."

Whack Upside The Head

"Roger von Oech has won a loyal following around the country."

- BusinessWeek Magazine
The Creative Whack Pack is a creativity tool and trust me it will "whack" you out of habitual thought patterns and safety-nets you fall into when brainst
orming. The Creative Whack Pack is a "creativity workshop in a box." It consists of 64 cards, each featuring a different strategy. Some highlight places to find new information. Others provide techniques to generate new ideas. Some lend decision-making advice. And many give you the "kick" you need to get your ideas into action.

Roger von Oech, is a best-selling author of creativity books "A Whack on the Side of the Head" and "A Kick in the Seat of the Pants", and now has launched a version of his Creative Whack Pack brainstorming card deck for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Once again, trust me, this is very welcome to me. You see there have been a 100 different times I wish I my "deck" with me… but only to have it at home. Now, it comes with me everyday… on my iPhone. And the interface makes the most of the iPhone user interface, and delivers a fun, engaging user experience.

When you first fire up the Creative Whack Pack on the iPhone, you're greeted by a menu that gives you five different choices:

  • Give me a whack, which displays one of the 64 brainstorming cards in the deck at random
  • Whack of the Day, which displays a different brainstorming card every 24 hours
  • The Creative Workshop, which gives you an opportunity to use the Whack Pack to solve a particular problem, issue or topic, using a set of four cards. It displays each of them in turn, followed by a summary that asks you to think about any patterns that the quartet of creative stimuli may suggest.
  • A card index, which lets you drill down to specific cards by "suit" -- explorer, artist, Judge and warrior (the four types of creative personas that von Oech suggests we be able to take on in his books). If you remember seeing a card that you thought was particularly intriguing in a previous session, this is a great way to find it again.
  • Information, which includes the help files for the Creative Whack Pack, an explanation of the creative process, and how this is reflected in the four different suits of cards contained in this creativity tool.

A lot of thought has gone into how to organize the Whack Pack in a common sense, easy-to-use way. The arrangement of screens and tool navigation are simple and hierarchical, with "back" and "home" buttons clearly displayed at the bottom of each screen, which enable you to back up one level or go to the start screen for the program, respectively.

Best part… it's only $4.99 for the Creative Whack Pack for iPhone.

One of my students, Jett Landicho just purchased the Whack Pack iPhone App and told me the following, "It's so simple but so great. These are great ways to really take creative thinking to a deeper level. I could see myself using this for any time I felt creative, not even just for advertising".

Any tools we can find to help get the process started… the better!



Guardian Viral Video Chart

Okay, for those old enough to remember the CHUM chart… I might need to define Viral. Just kidding… I am here ranting and you're reading... you will find this interesting.

Charting the world of Viral, it ain't Billboard, but it tracks the "who, what, when, why and the ever important WHERE!

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan tore a strip off the prime minister at the European Parliament. Brown had done so well with a his lovely little speech on being at the heart of Europe – until this previously obscure pipsqueak Tory piped up with a three-minute tirade on how he has ruined the country, etc etc. And now it's all over the web. Tellingly, Fox News loved it; Neil Cavuto couldn't sing Hannan's praises enough, and even tipped him for a future prime minister. "Mark my words: Remember this man," he wrote.

Oh we will – or at least until next week's viral video sensation... maybe a Croatian tennis star ranting about the yellow color of the tennis balls used in Oman for a tournament.

Something close to my heart: "You are a young, hip, tech-savvy techno something and I will not let you turn into my father! I'm taking you into the Twittersphere..."

"I just connected my iFlob to my tweng tweng using my RSS thingy! Wow great tweet..."

Guardian Viral Video Chart compiled by viralvideochart.com

1 Daniel Hannan MEP: "The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government"
Three minutes of awkward fidgeting-in-chair for the Prime Minister.

2 Where the Wild Things Are trailer
Maurice Sendak's book gets the Hollywood treatment...

3 Samsung Extreme Sheep LED Art
They came, they saw, they bleeted - Samsung's woolly viral hit.

4 P Vs McDonald's
R&B star Pharell tries to sing and dance for his supper. To no avail.

5 Iron Man vs Bruce Lee
Slick animation.

6 "Twouble with Twitter" sous-titré
You can live without it, you know?

7 MINI Clubman. Have you seen that?
They think my stunts are crazy! (Is that Richard Madeley's voice?)

8 Cat Shit One trailer: Apocalypse Meow
Stunning animation, but you'll need a translation.

9 Super Chameleon
This reptile has an impressive collection of Ray Ban Wayfarers.

10 The White House is open for questions
President Obama explains why he wants to use the web to answer questions from the public directly.

11 Creme that Egg!
Does for Cream Eggs what that Honda add did for car parts. But much tastier.

12 Oren Lavie: Her Morning Elegance
Super time-lapse music vid.

13 Vote Earth for Earth Hour 2009
One hour to save the planet on 31 March.

14 American Idol: Adam Lambert's Tracks Of My Tears
Cheesetastic, so I'm sure he'll go far.

15 Taking Woodstock trailer
Ang Lee's film is out this summer. Peace.

The Rapping Flight Attendant
Welcome to South West airline - we do things a little differently. You're lucky if you get pretzels on American...

17 Durex: Get it on!
This actually made me cry with laughter the first time I saw it. And I still get a little teary.

18 David after dentist
"I didn't feel anything... is this real life?"

19 Did you know?
A barrage of world stats that put you in your place.

20 Bizkit the sleep-walking dog
That... is very cute. But he might need a padded kennel.

Source: Viral Video Chart. Compiled from data gathered at 10.00am on 27 March 2009. The Weekly Viral Video Chart is currently based on a count of the embedded videos and links on approximately 2 million blogs (including this one!).

Earth Hour – Huge Success

Bob Reaume sent me a Tweet this earlier today and it seems that we shared something common for Earth Hour. We were both at sports bars at the time of "Earth Hour". At the exact stroke of 8pm, out went the lights… darkness… except for the cool glow of the HD Plasma screens. What, sacrifice NCAA Hoops or the tragedy that is the Toronto Maple Leafs.

… But for environmental activists, the message was clear: Earth Hour was a huge success.

"The world said yes to climate action, now governments must follow," the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said a day after hundreds of millions of people worldwide followed its call to turn off lights for a full hour.

WWF called the event, which began in Australia in 2007 and grew last year to 400 cities worldwide, "the world's first-ever global vote about the future of our planet."

Leo Burnett Sydney's Earth Hour initiative for WWF, won one of four Titanium awards handed out at Cannes last year. Rolled out in Sydney for the first time, Earth Hour 2007 had 2.2 million Sydneysiders turn off their lights for an hour as a stand against global warming, cutting the city's energy consumption by 10.2%, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for one hour.

Over 2,200 Sydney based companies took part, including McDonald's, which switched off its golden arches; Coke, which screened Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; Energy Australia, which co-sponsored advertisements on metrolites; and Guinness, which gave out free beers at bars.

Says Leo Burnett national creative director, Mark Collis: "Earth Hour was a unique moment in time which we hope to make a permanent date on the world calendar. Opening the brief up to all agencies in this way is equally unique and exciting."
Negotiators from 175 countries gathered Sunday in Bonn for the latest round in an effort to craft a deal to control emissions of the heat-trapping gases responsible for global warming.

Earth Hour officially began when the Chatham Islands, 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of New Zealand, switched off its diesel generators. At Scott Base in Antarctica, New Zealand's 26-member winter team resorted to minimum safety lighting and switched off appliances and computers.

In Australia, Sydney's glittering harbor was bathed in shadows as lights dimmed on the steel arch of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and the nearby Opera House.

As the sun moved west, the Great Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt darkened. So did the Acropolis in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral were among 200 monuments and buildings that went dark. The Eiffel Tower, however, only extinguished its lights for five minutes for security reasons because visitors were on the tower.

The celebration then crossed the Atlantic, where crowds at New York's Times Square watched as many of the massive billboards, including the giant Coca-Cola display, darkened. The Majestic Theater marquee at the home of "The Phantom of the Opera" went dark, along with the marquees at other Broadway shows.

Mikel Rouse, 52, a composer who lives and works nearby came to watch.

"C'mon, is it really necessary? ... All this ridiculous advertising… (What, what, what??? Easy there cowboy)... all this corporate advertising taking up all that energy seems to be a waste," Rouse said.

Earth Hour: http://www.earthhour.org

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Earth Hour video: http://sn.im/enqwn

Growing Agency in Tough Times – Not Here

As grim economic news and soaring unemployment numbers dominate the headlines, here is a feel good story – Adrenalina.

A full service Hispanic advertising and communication shop.

Like the Spanish word for adrenaline, which is a hormone generated in the human body when we experience emotions, the New York-based Adrenalina creates ideas that provoke engagement, experience and emotion between brands and consumers. The agency specializes in media agnostic ideas, breakthrough advertising, retail and event marketing, consumer promotions and digital innovation. Adrenalina is part of the MDC Partners network, is embarking on an ambitious plan to stimulate the marketplace by pumping up its branding and creative services and bulking up its staff.

The agency's growth spurt is expected to create as many as 12 new jobs in key creative and branding posts throughout 2009 with several principal appointments expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

With the projected population shift among U.S. Hispanics, breakthrough strategies offering relevant cultural ideas will be key to reaching savvy, Latino consumers who are part of a $1 trillion marketplace. In anticipation of the 2010 Census, Adrenalina is drafting the plans for a different kind of agency that guides businesses and brands, not just servicing them. Leading and shape the agency's creative and strategic vision: "engagement, experience and emotion," are industry veterans Ivan Sanchez, who will serve as vice president, senior brand strategist and Victor Zeiris, who joins as creative director.

Gone are the days of a simple "adapt" to fit a ethnic market. These often looked like a really bad Kung-Fu movie.

Keep watching the growth of Hispanic agencies in the US, closer to home, here's a few places that are meeting the needs of "speciality" audiences. Had great chat with a former student of mine Vab Sethi who is in the upstart stages of a "ethno-sentric" media services company. I wish him well.




Friday, March 27, 2009

YouTube Adds Twitter Button

Everybody's doing it.

YouTube has succumbed to Twittermania.

Below every video if you click on the "Share" link you will find three options: MySpace, Facebook, and now Twitter.

You can expand the box for even or sharing options, but those are the main three and Twitter was just recently added.

Clicking on the Twitter button opens a pop-up window that takes you to your Twitter account and fills in a Tweet telling your followers to "check out this video," along with the title and URL. The URL is not shortened, but YouTube is working on that. (YouTube URLs are short anyway, so it is not an issue). Adding Twitter as one of the key sharing options is a no-brainer. Now, if they could actually embed the videos in the Twitter stream like you can on Facebook and MySpace, which would be something.

YouTube announced some other tweaks today as well. The upload status bar is now fully rolled out. You can watch lectures and educational videos on YouTube EDU.

It has also updated its mobile landing page and simplified the process of uploading a video from your phone to YouTube.

This Is So “Wrong”… But ILMAO

Boost Mobile, the pre-paid division of Sprint has launched a new commercial for its "Unwronged" campaign (I will will follow-up on this over the weekend) and this one might be the funniest ad I've seen in the series.

The 30-second clip features another "wrong" scenario where a grown man is attached to his father's' chest via a baby carrier.

Boost teamed with 180LA to develop an "edgy nationwide campaign portraying humorous situations that most would be consider 'wrong' in so many ways".

Each commercial indirectly attacks Boost's competitors' and their deceptive billing fees: Boost hopes to showcase this "wrong" in the wireless industry and appeal to its new target market- savvy, value-seeking customers.

I'm curious to see how the public reacts to the commercial. Motrin's "We feel your pain" ad about baby carriers sparked a controversy that irritated mothers across the nation.

Other ads in the series include two pigs eating ham, a woman with extremely long armpit hair riding in the front seat of a tandem bike, and a coroner who uses the "5-second rule" after his breakfast burrito falls on a corpse.

COPY: What, you think this is wrong? Because I'm a man.........baby? I'll tell you what's wrong. It's my old cell phone company charging me a bunch of hidden fees. That's why I got Boost Mobile. Their $50 monthly unlimited plan has no hidden fees. I happen to like that. I also happen to like breast milk.

Motrin "We Feel Your Pain" Spot

Male Reading 15-19 to Decline. No Really.

Blender to End It's Run

Alpha Media Group closed Blender magazine today. Sadly with that will be elimination of about 30 jobs and likely effect the reading done by males 15-19.

Blender was a great read for males 15-25 and filled in music and entertainment that Maxim just didn't see fit to cover.

After a great 8 year run, the April issue of Blender out now will be its last.

Blender has provided unmatched music coverage and entertainment news in its unique voice to a profoundly dedicated audience of music enthusiasts. It was a great place to find the best "25 downloads" each month. It was the first place I heard about Nicole Atkins and her Neptune City CD and Charlotte Church before she became Charlotte Church.

Sadly, I will miss reading my 16 year sons copy. It was his source for music and fashion the way Rolling Stone was for me.

R.I.P. Blender

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IKEA to launch a car?

So what kind of car are you going to get next?

Perhaps, I might tempt your credulity by asking you to consider a new eco-car called the LEKO.

A Toyota?

No, an IKEA.

A strange Web site has appeared, roulez-leko.com, on which a very relaxed, modern, eco-friendly chap, allegedly the great car designer Christophe Grozs, stands next to an apparent car draped with the word LEKO and the tagline "la voiture selon IKEA."

Yes, the car according to IKEA.

The LEKO (L'eco, get it?), allegedly has the backing of the World Wildlife Fund in France. Does this imply the fund has put money into the creation or that the car will have plastic panda-skin seats to remind us of the good we are doing.

It also will save you untold (because unspecified) amounts of money on your expenditure. And it is humongously eco-friendly.

If IKEA made a car, the doors might not fit quite perfectly into the body. Then you'd really have to work hard to use those tiny screwdrivers to make sure the engine didn't wobble. And just imagine the number of screws it would take to put in the cup holder.

There's the name too. Real IKEA product names never make sense. They always seem to resemble a fair to middling Scrabble hand--for example, KLIPPAN or LYCKSELE.

LEKO is far too meaningful.

The LEKO will launch on April 1.

However, just to complicate your purchasing decision, April 1-7 is Sustainable Development Week in France. And here is the Web site to prove it.

Or is IKEA simply trying to amuse French people into doing good?

Chris Matyszczyk Technically Incorrect

It's a week early… but April Fools.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Cigarettes

Cigarettes don't kill. Just watch and learn.

As this walk down memory lane demonstrates, Fred and Barney never saw the "Big Bang" coming… Cars and Guns had their part in the loss of life, but when you operate cars and guns reach for the smooth taste of Lucky Strike because LS/MFT... Translation, Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.

Even mom knew she might need to light up before she raises her hand in loving corporal discipline, and "gee mom you love your cigarettes".

Hell, more doctors recommend Camels over any other brand.

There gotta be an idea sitting within these vintage spots that could trump the brilliance of the CP+B "Truth" campaign.

As Don Drapper would suggest, "Sit back, Light up, Enjoy the fun. They're toasted"

2012 – The New Y2K

Okay, so here's a thought. We survived Y2K, you remember that right. Y2K was supposed to be the end of computer world, everyone was freaking out yet nothing happened. The computers didn't crash, everything went on as normal. No doomsday.

So now we have 2012.

Are you making plans?

Will there be 2012 Kits?

Will we all need exit plans?

What happens on 2112 or how ever we say it… isn't it the 12th month, 20th day of the year 2012.

So what's it all about?

I have done some basic research and it does look like there are many sources predicting that the world will end in 2012.

It looks like December 21, 2012 is the date - according to Maya Civilization. Maya calendar suggests that there will be some strange celestial alignments taking place on 21/12/2012. Unfortunately, Christians made their mark once again and burned everything Maya civilization has written so we don't have full accounts of their knowledge.

Following reports found in Zeitgeist movie, there's going to be a change from the age of Pisces (Jesus), into the Age of Aquarius (the Water bringer). It could be associated with major floods that may bring a lot of death, but rather than end of the world, it will mean "change" or "clean up".
Mayans may have referred to it as "transformation of consciousness", in modern age it would be more appropriate to say - "evolution"

Okay, so what I do know is we will have Hollywood to scare the crap out of us.

There at least 3 major films in production and one soon to be released.

2012 may become big business.

BTW… according to several sites, just before posting this there was officially: 1367 Days 15 Hours and 2 minutes to the end.

Bring on the end of the world!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lindsay Lohan for Fornarina Fashion. Forna… never mind.

Okay, it's no secret from the pages of the gossip rags, (but I wanna believe and know otherwise) Lindsay Lohan enjoys fornicating like a madwoman. It's only fitting, then, that she has become the new spokesperson for a fashion line called Fornarina.

I know, I know, what awful start to my often so classy blog.

Lindsay Lohan has been chosen as the new face of Fornarina, and now we've snagged you a first look at the star as she strikes a pose for Italian clothing label's Spring/Summer 09 ad campaign.

Lindsay portrays the ultimate Hollywood rock-diva, wearing the brand's denim and party dresses. The choice of Lindsay was natural for the design company, who felt the star could bring brand's image to life in print — and represent the glamorous dream behind their clothes.

Someone thinks that the Lindsay ads show the perfect balance of sexiness and beauty while staying true to the hip line's youthful vibe. Ah… see any bus stop near your average middle-school. Not even close. Not when I remember the New York Magazine spread remembering Marilyn.

In the ad campaign written and directed by Marco Bragaglia, Lohan is a modern "Alice in Wonderland" who explores three metaphysical settings characterized by fluctuating geometrical shapes with neon colors. Or something of the like.

With Lindsay on their side, the company has big plans to push its brand worldwide with flagship stores in London, Paris, Toronto and New York.

Scott Ronaldson, managing director of Fornari Retail, explains their reasoning for choosing the controversial celebrity stating, "Lindsay is that very self-confident, dynamic woman, she's got a lot of attitude. That's what we're hoping our customer will aspire to." Lohan, wearing Fornarina here, has also expressed interest in designing accessories for the brand. Really?

As far a sexy goes… Lindsay YES! Fornarina NO! Just check out the pumps. No thanks… unless you are looking at sensible granny shoes or you wear or like Uggs. I see Lindsay and I see her in sexy red or black Christians. (see Christian Louboutin).

Playing For Change – The Movement

his is a project that caught my eye late last summer but I was reminded of it recently by a friend who showed me that over 8 million people have viewed the "Stand By Me" video on YouTube from a remarkable cultural movement - Playing For Change.

Created by Mark Johnson, has also produced a remarkable documentary about the simple but transformative power of music: PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC.

The film brings together musicians from around the world — blues singers in a waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir — to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a new, greater understanding of our commonality.

Johnson traveled around the globe and recorded tracks for such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" — creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all performing together — worlds apart. Often recording with just battery-powered equipment, Johnson found musicians on street corners or in small clubs and they would in turn gather their friends and colleagues — in all, they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe.

The unique composition of the film which has musicians playing together yet in their own traditions, made Johnson think anew about what world music means:

Just thinking what would it be like when you get unique instruments to juxtapose against each other that had never been heard before: a talking drum and a tabla, they're very similar but they never really come together, or a sitar and a dobro, very similar but how often do you hear them play together? The idea was to go to places that would have some sort of instruments that they could add to the spectrum of the global music that we were trying to find.

The Playing For Change Foundation provides resources (facilities, supplies, educational programs, etc) to musicians and communities around the world. The foundation is working with South African poet Lesego Rampolokenga to build the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, South Africa and building and supporting the Ntonga Music School in the South African township of Guguletu. In addition, Playing For Change is working to enhance and rebuild Tibetan refugee centers in Dharamasala, India and Kathmandu, Nepal. You can find news about their benefit concerts and programs, and listen to additional songs, on their Web site: Playingforchange.com.

PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC is the second film directed by Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls. Their previous film, titled PLAYING FOR CHANGE: A CINEMATIC DISCOVERY OF STREET MUSIC was released in 2005, and is currently available on DVD and through Netflix.

Music and video content from PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC, featured on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, will be available through Playing For Change's online store in early 2009, and released on CD and DVD in the Spring of 2009 through Hear Music.

If you have any questions regarding this project, please email info@playingforchange.com.

If you are not moved by this video, check and see if someone transplanted your heart with a brick or a cold piece of steel.

As we say, Rational Appeal Audiences believe that math is the only true language of humans, I live on the Emotional Appeal side of things... Music is the universal language that binds us.

Okay… Here’s Some Magic.

Pure and sure magic.

Here is new fun stunt from DraftFCB Chicago.

The cleanest clean you can get in this world is invisible. You know a kind of "see-nothing" kind of clean.

That was the thinking behind this ambient campaign for Windex, which recently held a one-week, outdoor street campaign on Chicago's busy Michigan Avenue.

Workers dressed in white cleaning suits etched with the tagline "Glass so clean it's invisible" performed "improve" cleaning routines in the middle of streets, on sidewalks and outside stores, all in an effort to get consumers thinking of the S.C. Johnson brand.

Magic! I gather there are still fans of Marcel Marceau.

Portfolio Nights… Mark Your Calendars!

Like the Swallows returning to Capistrano, each spring brings the annual "Get Yourself a New One Ripped or Handed to You"… better known as Portfolio Nights.

The crème of advertising creative offer the young flesh looking for a break into the biz. A night of getting this young talents portfolio's reviewed and sometimes the wake-up call they missed at school.

ADCC – The Grand Daddy of Review Nights

First up is my personal favorite. The Advertising Design Club of Canada Portfolio Night. Why my favourite? It offers both designers, art directors and copywriters their choice of review. The 2009 Student Portfolio Review will be held on the evening of April 1st, 2009 at the Arts & Letters Club on Elm Street in downtown Toronto. The location itself is a creative gem and inspires.

Once again the ADCC will assemble some of the top advertising and design professionals to review student portfolios. Each student will have the opportunity to see three reviewers and receive a thorough critique of their work. This event is open to Advertising & Graphic Design students who are in the final year of a full-time program, as well as those students who graduated in the previous year. Entry fees are $15 for ADCC student members and $30 for student non-members.

Please Note: All review times must be booked prior to April 1st, 2009. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. All participants will be emailed with their specific appointment time prior to the event.

ihaveanidea.org Portfolio Night 7

This started as a local event seven years ago. Toronto and Montreal… and has grown into an international event. The ihaveanidea/Portfolio Night team has been hard at work, putting everything together to make this year's global event as phenomenal as all the previous.

This has become the favourite review night of the students and industry. Higher priced ticket but, bigger named creative's are attracted. Call it the "Oscars" of review nights.

This year's website has been designed to give you all the info you'll need about Portfolio Night 7, from ticket sales, to cities and creative directors involved. There are sections for all types of news stories, and even a history of Portfolio Night, from the very first one back in 2003 to last year's globe-spanning extravaganza. Feel free to explore!

As we draw closer to June 11th, this site will be updated several times a day, so be sure to check back often in order to stay abreast of the latest news. If you really want to stay on top of things, you can subscribe to the site, and every last new story will be emailed to you as they are announced.

Have fun. Good luck. Bring Kleenex. Hmmmm… a tagline for either event.

Show Me Some Leg… and Cry Racism!

This is another CP+B gem of an odd spot for Old Navy, although somewhat entertaining in a mindless "I don't have nearly enough sundresses" kind of way.

But, for some in the audience, it's also loaded.

Nazneen Patel , writer and political provocateur, recognizes that "it's obnoxious and counterproductive to cry 'RACE' every time something like this makes an appearance. Yet, she can't help herself.

Among the many vitriolic stereotypes leveraged against the African-American community, one of the most incendiary has been the hypersexualization of Black men and women. Black men are always portrayed as the savage, sexually-superior antithesis to all things decent about white men. Black women are thought of as subhuman, irresponsible, and promiscuous. When a Black woman sees a mannequin meant to resemble her, from the hairstyle to skin color, to the twangy regional dialect, it's hard to separate the mannequin from what it represents. It becomes difficult to understand why she is stripped of her clothing and left standing there with her "plastic" unmentionables censored. It just seems a little unnecessary doesn't it? Why even go there?

I don't want to be the only one to belittle this criticism… but come on people. Is there anything really here except pure "adverstupidity"… or "adverfun". WOW!!!

I might want to point out "body dismemberment" as a much bigger issue, that a woman's body parts are replaceable... but then again a multi-billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry can't be wrong. Right? Hmmmm the debate. We have raised a generation of young women who know if their bodies aren't what they want... change it. "B" cup, no problem, "C" cup is just a few borrowed dollars away. I guess if we really could go to the back of the store and find a new pair of legs in a box we just might do it.

I see that the "black" woman is the most comfortable in her skin… Rip the dress off any of those "white" ladies and they'd shrivel up and cry. Geeeez… they are fricking mannequins. There is one burning question, why does the young girl rip the dress of the lady? Is this just another typical stereotype of the out of control pre-teen on the loose in an American mall?

Oh, one more question. When did a sundress become a "mid-town" gown?

Hey… My Coat Weighs 3 lbs.

Bus Ad Shames You Into Joining a Gym by Showing Everyone Your Weight

This bus ad for Fitness First in Rotterdam, The Netherlands gives you the hard sell via shame.

It uses a scale in the seat to display just how fat you are to everyone around.

I, for one, even with my significantly revised body weight would be pretty pissed off if I didn't know about this thing and sat down to wait for the bus, only to notice people laughing at my weight.

But hey, if it's getting people to work out at Fitness First, it's effective. What can do you think?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Introduction to Social Media and Social Media Marketing

Last week Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog New York posted what was released in early 2008. He has since been asked to re-post the "StrawberryFrog White Paper" that their strategic group wrote on social media.

Since then StrwberryFrog has created several campaigns including the Agent Provocateur luxury fashion brand/online retailer social media campaign and the work for Scion a division of Toyota. So as Scott said, "we have garnished some important learning's".

I am reposting the "White Paper" as a point of reference for my students and others. Again, my thanks run deep to Mr. Goodson for his inspiration and support in the past year that I have had the privilege to share thoughts with him. On the heels of the successful StrawberryFrog social media campaign for Scion (a part of Toyota), entitled Scion Speak, the strategic leadership of the agency have prepared a proprietary White Paper for clients about Social Media and Social Networking. There are some easy to follow do's and don'ts.

Social Media White Paper
Prepared by Chip Walker, Ilana Bryant and Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog


What is social media marketing?

Social Media Marketing is the act of a brand spreading its message through various social technologies. Right now, it's a failed concept because brands are limited in their approach to social media marketing; they engage in practices that are alienating to users, and do not provide useful services for consumers.
What are the opportunities of social media?
Social media is part of the same "sharing" meme that has brought us the open-source movement, open APIs, Wikipedia and other examples of mass collaboration. An opportunity exists for "sharing" to penetrate into new areas of society and business via new innovations in social media. Opportunities also exist in the creation of new business models in which companies "outsource" tasks (i.e. marketing, R&D) to consumers. There are also opportunities for brands to develop new online social structures that complement those already found offline and also opportunities to monitor, control and influence reputation on the Web.
How has social media changed marketing and communications?

Social media has changed the balance of power between marketers and consumers. Consumers now have the power, not marketers. Once marketers release their messages "into the wild," they no longer have as much control over what happens to that message. Instead, consumer ecosystems have the power. Marketing + Communications is no longer a "broadcast" or "mass media" model.
Consumers expect a dialogue with marketers, and reward those companies that subscribe to this philosophy.

How should a major consumer brand use Social Media? What are some practical tips for senior marketing management?

Social Media falls between the cracks inside many consumers' brands because it is so new and it is not funded properly. Inside the major corporate agencies, they are just getting their heads around the web and haven't even started to understand this medium, nor how they can make money off of it.

StrawberryFrog believes that a consumer brand should maximize this new marketing tool by being a pioneer, a leader in this area. Here are some practical steps to achieve this.


StrawberryFrog Case Study: Scion Speak

Step 1. Define the 'Social Strategy' for your brand.

Many social networking marketing activities fail because they do not define the social strategy ahead of executional concepts. Below are our tips on how to develop a social media marketing strategy with examples from our case study on Scion.

a) Define the key social behaviors of your target online – where are they socializing?
What are the social habits, (e.g. Forester has social networking consumer profile segments such as Critics, Spectators, Sharers etc) on line?

There are also differences in usage by demographics and lifestage. You've got a few groups of people heavily active in social media on a daily basis. Sixty-seven percent of young adults visit their social networking site once a day or more – these are people who are on their computers all day (20s to mid 30 somethings; folks with lower to mid level positions) and people with time to kill (high school, college students). These are also people who feel isolated and often the social networking sites become a central to their life online – looking for friends, finding events, and meeting new people. Social behavior online also changes as we age, older adult users use networking to stay in touch with existing friends and family.

For Scion, the target audience was 'Creatives' – they use social networking tools as a means to express and showcase their creativity and individuality among their peers.

b) Identify your brand's social behavior and objective in the social space – how should it socialize with your target? What is the brand's primary purpose in the social network? Facilitating self-expression? Listening? What is it's role at this social party and what useful tools can it create to facilitate this?

One of Scion's key values is customization. Therefore, Scion had to bring these tools for passionate self-expression to social party. This was identified as the brand's role in the social context.

STEP 2. Create social media content, don't advertise on it. If you're not providing content, ensure you are providing a useful service.

If you look at what Social Media does, it helps people with a certain aspect of their lives. And that is managing their social life. It ENABLES them to DO something they are already interested in. It GIVES them the tools to allow for this. Social media provides a service - information, connection points, etc. Brands are often interrupting that message. They need to figure out how NOT to do that. How to either become part of the service, provide their own service or just limit their level of annoyance on the playground. I'll listen to your marketing message if you're providing me a service. Because people aren't interested in advertising per se - they are only interested in what it can do for them. Call it "utilitainment", interactive digital or whatever you want, your brand idea has purpose.
This is exactly what we've done for Scion. We created 'Scionspeak' a social networking tool that provides a platform and a new visual language that allows Scion owners to meet and communicate with each other in the online and real world. Scionspeak is a virtual language of design symbols that that Scion owners can use to express themselves online and on their customized vehicles. For example, Scionspeak symbols can tell others what kind of music your're into, what type of relationship you're in and where you're from. No two personal Scionspeak emblems will be the same. Scionspeak facilitates social interaction in the online and real world. The social networking content also fulfills Scion's core brand promise of providing a platform for customization and self-expression for its brand owners.
Social marketing DON'TS

1) Don't violate the rules of social media

Often marketers and brands violating basic rules of social media. For Facebook no matter how targeted the message (or fancy or clever), it was still going to cause a revolt because Facebook wasn't meant as a platform for marketing – it had a 100% social purpose. Brands and advertisers constantly forget this in their desperation to chase "consumers" down every dark alley and try and corner them into submission.

With Scion, we ensured that we developed this site in collaboration with the Scion enthusiast audience. In fact, we used some of the leaders of the existing online Scion communities to help us to develop the Scion design language. We also ensured that this brand site was designed for purely social and expressive purposes and did not feel like a corporate or money generating venture.
2) Don't duplicate established social communities– if your audience is using a strongly established community (i.e. recipe sharing), why re-create a duplicate, marketing based branded version of the same community? Why would your target leave the existing community for a branded version of the same offer?

There are hundreds of existing Scion communities and socializing sites online. We knew from the start that we had to create a totally new kind of social tool for Scion owners to be a relevant and frequently used social tool.
3) Don't hijack consumer's social networks

One of the failures of Facebook marketing was that it hijacked the existing culture of the community. At the least marketers should be invited into the social culture, but even better marketers should create its own culture that consumers want to join. They should also be mindful of forcing friends to endorse products among their peers. Users should be voluntary brand ambassadors, not an enforced sales force.


What is the future of Facebook?

Over the long term, it's hard to believe that the phenomenal growth of Facebook is sustainable. It is up to Facebook to continually innovate in order to ensure that it is not a fad. Certainly, the inherent social networking functionality that Facebook represents is not a fad. If you look at all the big Internet players (Google, IAC, Yahoo, Microsoft), it looks like each one has a unique viewpoint of what the future of this social networking functionality should look like.
What social media tools are working well?

Tagging (via del.icio.us) - it's easy, cheap and infinitely flexible. It helps me organize all kinds of content for all kinds of projects and is accessible wherever I go. People like these lightweight, flexible applications. I am also a fan of Google Social which enables you to connect to all social media easily. having great relationships with Google, we can bring Goole to the table as a partner in a new social media venture. In the future, information will become more meaningful, more automatic and more tailored to each of us. Web sites will transform into Web services. The "open API" will become the de facto standard for tech companies.

What's the longer term future for social media?

Taking a big picture view, we've reached an interesting inflection point in the history of the Internet. Last month, China and the U.S. reached parity in the number of overall Internet users, with China now on a pace to overtake the U.S. by the end of 2008. What happens to the Internet and social media when China is setting the agenda, and not the U.S.?

Digital marketers typically are early adopters when it comes to using new social media tools. The problem is that most non-tech companies are not. That's where the most successful marketers earn their money - figuring out solutions that are cutting-edge, but not too cutting-edge as to alienate corporate stakeholders.

While digital marketers are early adopters, they also tend to follow a herd mentality. When certain technologies or tools are "hot," there is a tendency to pile into those areas, without necessarily keeping the best interests of their clients in mind.

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