pull my finger

By now most of you may have noticed that Darryl is Brand Flakes For Breakfast's (BFFB) number one contributor. In fact Darryl's total number of posts exceeds Kevin's, Leigh's, Justus', and my own combined times about 20. Blogging however does pose risks that even Darryl is not immune to. This morning as we arrived at the office, bright eyed and bushy tailed after a long weekend, Darryl sat motionless at his desk staring at his now mangled left ring finger and mumbling something about not being able type a simple blog entry (oh the horrors!). So if the number of BFFB blog entries dips this week have no fear, we’re quite sure the doctors can get Darryl’s finger in working order. There’s even a rumor going around that he may end up with a bionic finger (but you didn’t hear that from me).

pretty in pink

Pink is the new cake!!
As it's David Plain's (full name for googling purposes) birthday here at the office, we figured we'd feed his obsession. The guy on the cake is Trent, he is the host and writer of David's (and a few others here in the office, myself included) favorite blog. Trent has begun to feel like one of the family here, and it's nice that David could share his b-day with him. Easy Dave, it's just a cake.

goofy is our friend

*** UPDATE to Darryl's "Drama Nerd" entry from May 26th. ***

We've all taken the high school stereotype and Disney character alter ego tests and here are our results...

Kevin scored prep/jock cheerleader in high school. His Disney character alter egos are Peter Pan and a tie between The Beast and Goofy.

Leigh scored punk/rebel (second goth/loner) in high school. Her Disney character alter egos are Goofy, tied with Sleeping Beauty.

Dave scored 81% loner in high school. His Disney Character alter ego is 81% Goofy.

Justus scored 63% loner and 56% prep/jock in high school. His Disney character alter egos are 69% Sleeping Beauty and 63% Goofy.

Darryl was of course a drama nerd in high school. His Disney character alter egos are 81% Goofy, 69% Peter Pan, and 56% Sleeping Beauty.

Check out the cool set of tests for yourself! Have fun!

the crane! the crane!

Big day in the remodeling department. For those of you just joining us, we're building a new conference room onto our space, and resurfacing one of our rooftop patios. Actually, we're not doing any of that - but instead, have hired construction people who know what a hammer looks like, and they're doing all of that.

Anyway, today is the first day we've seen progress. The crane arrived, and delivered a bunch of construction materials. We're not sure what exactly is being delivered in the pic above, but we've determined that it's not a conference room table, or a flat screen television. But it has something to do with the construction process of our new conference room. And it's always fun to watch stuff on a crane.

We'll keep you updated.

drama nerd

Here's a really cool set of tests that you can take to find out who you are. Find out what high school stereotype you are, what Disney character is your alter ego, and how you will die. And some other fun stuff, too.

I just learned that if I were in high school right now, I'd be a drama nerd. Great. And I always thought that if I went back to high school, I'd be cool.

contagious media

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a really cool set of workshops and lectures that I attended, titled Contagious Media. There's also a contest associated with the workshops, where attendees have created contagious media, and the creation that becomes most "contagious" wins a prize. Here's a list of rankings for all of the contendors. There's some cool stuff here, some of which have already been discovered in the blogosphere. You can see all of the entries, and even see all of their traffic stats. Check it out when you need to waste some time at your office.

keeping it real

If you are looking for a new way to connect with customers and to humanize your message, in a web environment which is too often cold and corporate, check out Puma's latest creation. Puma has launched their 2005 Summer product line eCatalog, by creating an interface where you can literally turn pages in their catalog and perform basic tasks by operating virtual hands.

It seems there is a trend in our industry to meld the real world with the worldwide web. And the theory is that a site may heighten a user's interactive experience, if it connects with them on a very primary level.

We are currently incorporating this conceptual theory into two client website projects.

The first project is Belimo's Human Resources "microsite" (a stand-alone site within a bigger corporate site), which will communicate the company's culture, structure, and career opportunities. The interface is designed to connect to the 'no-nonsense' job hunter and to a user who wants to truly experience life at Belimo.

The second is a project that is one component of an overall online marketing and promotional campaign for the Gorillaz new album. The Gorillaz have successfully blended rock star animation with the real world since their creation. In our piece, we attempt to push that concept even further, by combining design, photography, illustration, flash and dynamic programming to create a 'Gorillaz style' interface, which is both interactive and adds a user-specific local marketing element.

Once they've launched, we'll share the links.

construction update

It's been a week since our last post on the remodeling of our space. As you can see by the above photo - construction's really coming along. So, the weather and the moon were in perfect alignment - and thus, we expected to see our construction crew this week. But we forgot about the crane. You see, we're on the top floor of our building. The only way to get construction materials up is with a crane. Seems the crane has been booked all week.

Keep your fingers crossed - if the moon remains aligned, the weather remains crappy, and the crane becomes available, we should be in full construction mode by next week. We'll keep you posted.

tracking shoppers

This is a gold-mine for the brand manager that markets inside a supermarket. In this white paper titled "An Exploratory Look at Supermarket Shopping Paths," a Wharton marketing professor and his associates have analyzed paths that shoppers take while in a supermarket - by reviewing reports from the RFID tags located on shopping carts.

The results, they conclude, challenge many long-standing perceptions of shopper travel behavior within a supermarket, including ideas related to aisle traffic, special promotional displays, and perimeter shopping patterns.

metro bashing

The latest trend in advertising? Bashing metrosexuals. Two stories have hit my browser this morning that are pointing towards a definite trend.

First, this spot from Levis. This is a pretty funny piece. My favorite part is the prevalance of the striped shirt - which has become the uniform of the suburban male. Definitely ripe for a good laugh.

Second, a new campaign from CP&B for Maxim Magazine, titled Mantropy. Be sure to check out the Sedelmaier animated shorts, where the Maxim Ranger saves the day.

Great work.


This is something we've practiced at our office, on a small scale. Basically, a contest to see who's "iTrip" can throw a stronger broadcast signal. Picture the scene: 5:30pm, we're all hitting the VIA parking lot at the same time. Kevin gets into his car, turns on his radio/iPod/iTrip to listen to Dave Mathews (or whatever crap he listens to) and he's blasted out by the superior stength of my iTrip, happily broadcasting the latest Crystal Method download. And the car broadcasting wars begin.

So now, this has entered the real world. Roadcasting is a system that allows anyone to have their own radio station, broadcasted among cars in an ad-hoc network. It plays the songs that people want to hear and it transforms car radio into an interactive medium. Roadcasting has emerged as the result of an 7-month project at Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute.

At VIA, we've un-officially tested the commercially available iTrip, and it's reach seems to be only a few car lengths on the highway. With roadcasting, you'll be capable of broadcasting 30 miles. That's got some fun opportunities - especially to those of us in branding. Imagine a temporary radio station set up at an event, bringing a whole new level of entertainment to those in the area of the event. With a 30 mile radius, you could cover most/all of most cities.

We'll be sure to check this out further - even though for now, it looks like it's just source code, and a concept. And one more nail in the coffin of traditional radio.


Congrats to our client Topolino, the manufacturer of the most revolutionary bike wheels on the planet. Topolino was featured on Connecticut's morning news this morning, as part of the Tour of Connecticut bike race that's taking place this weekend.

It's always funny when they send the weather man to try and tell the story about a technological revolution. The out of his element meteorologist Matt Scott did his best to tell the difference between wheels and tires, and understand how Kevlar and carbon fiber have come together to make the lightest, strongest wheels around. Nice job Rafe, Jason, and the entire crew at Topolino!

five common misconceptions about buzz marketing

Viral, contagious, word-of-mouth, call it what you want. This marketing professor calls it buzz marketing. Anyway, here's a nice article/white paper that details the five most common misconceptions about buzz marketing.

when soap attacks

Unlike some people in this office I like to wash after using the bathroom facilities. A couple of months ago our purchasing department, also known as Kevin, decided to purchase an industrial size bottle of Sparco brand soap. (See Thursday, March 17, 2005 post) It's bad enough that we've had to wash with this watered down excuse for soap for weeks now, but it has begun to attack. It seems that the dispensor is now halfway clogged - so that when you attempt to squirt soap into your hands, it sprays soap out sideways about 3 feet. It usually hits your shirt, or your pants. Nothing like walking out of the bathroom and into a meeting with a wet spot on your crotch.

stunt spot

Here's a really cool spot for Rexona deodorant, with more stunts per second than I've ever seen. And that includes those stupid Bruce Willis action flicks from the eighties. (To see the spot, click on "view on beam TV", in the lower right hand side of the site) Work done by the Lowe Agency.

construction update

Just to keep you in the loop, we're building a new conference room and re-working one of our rooftop patios. Construction is supposed to start this week - which in contractor-speak, means: "maybe, if you're lucky, and the weather's just right, next week".

The pic above is the "before" picture of one of our patios. Note our sculpture, titled block of cinder. It will surely have a special place in the new patio.

podcasters get condoms

Durex has included podcasts in their latest media buy. Everyone's buzzing about podcasts - what with podmaster Adam Curry's venture, and now every radio station in the US jumping on the podcast bandwagon. So everyone wants to know how best to take advantage.

In our eyes, this is a great idea. Ads in podcasts are likely to be a great media value. Not only will you get a low cost/thousand of impressions, but you'll be the talk of your industry, if you're the first in. Listener's will appreciate that you "get" them, and their lifestyle. What a great way to reach younger, digital competent consumers.

Saving my rubbers jokes for later.

your customers in 2020

Want to know what to expect from your customers in the future? There's a great white paper on consumer trends from Global Agenda & Bain. Here's an excerpt, and a great example of what they title "consumption caps":

A recent study showed a decline in confectionary sales among teens. The cause? Mobile phones. Teens were using their pocket money for text messaging, not Snickers bars. That's unexpected.

And we thought all the teens were getting chubby. Anyway, they also point to how all audiences aren't so easily segmented into typical marketing categories. "High end" consumers sometimes shop at Walmart, and "low end" customers like a bit of luxury every once in a while. It's a good read for our marketing & branding friends.

awards update

Just in case you were wondering, here's where we keep our awards. If you've been to our studio, you've undoubtedly seen our "trophy room". We're proud of our work, and the awards we win, but just so it doesn't go to our heads, we installed a toilet and sink nearby.

"It's a great thinking place", says Kevin. "Please don't disturb me while I'm working on a project in the trophy room", says Justus.

The trophies we won yesterday are on the bottom shelf, on the left. Kindly use the safety rails for viewing, so as not to lose your balance.


At last night's CT Advertising Club Awards show, we took home two gold trophies!

The first was in the interactive/online digital category, consumer website, for the site we created for Mokai. Congrats David Plain (art director & design), and Paul Reilly & Chris Dornfeld (programming)!

Our second gold award was in the interactive/online digital category, online games, for the site we produced for Brooke Valentine, titled Celebrity Girlfight. Congrats to Justus Johnson (art director & design), Dave Stewart (Flash programming) and Todd Loessy (illustration).

Pretty much, these were the hit of the show, everyone else's work paled in comparison, and most of the other agencies and art directors are just going to close up shop and give up.

ad agencies suck

Wow. Here's what Richard Dyson, creator of that vacuum cleaner that everyone wants but that only the celebrities can afford says about ad agencies.

The agency business just isn't working for me. I don't want to talk to account planners, and account managers and these other assorted suits. I need to talk to the "creatives" directly, and explain to them what I am trying to achieve. But they won't come to meetings because they are "creative."

And the fact is that they are not creative at all. They are doing the very worst thing you can do, which is to sit staring at a drawing board trying to come up with an idea out of nowhere. You need dialogue to create. Of all the creative jobs I have encountered it is advertising people who make the most song and dance about creativity. And, you know, they are not creative at all. When I think of the real creation that my designers are involved in, and compare it with these "creatives" who are earning so much more to just sit around the Groucho Club and be generally useless, it makes me vomit. I can't go on supporting an industry like that, I'm afraid.

We couldn't agree more. There's a whole new trend in the biz, leaning towards independent, "alternative" shops (yeah!). It seems that brand managers are getting tired of dealing with layers and layers of suits, without ever talking to a creative person. There's also a great article on this trend in the May issue of Creativity Magazine. The online version requires a paid subscription - so email me if you'd like a copy, and I'll send you one in snail mail.

times square advertising bargains

Here's an article from AdAge on advertising in Times Square. It's expensive - but it pays off. The cost-per-thousand-viewers impressions for the area range from $2 to $5, compared to around $20 for a prime-time network TV buy. That pretty much says it all. But of course, you've got to have the money to spend the money.

contagious media

This weekend, I attended a seriously great series of workshops and lectures as part of the Contagious Media Showdown, at Eyebeam, in NYC.

This was a totally inspirational set of workshops, set in an awesome environment. It was great to see some of the Internet's most talented, sharing their stories of creation. I sat in on the following workshops:

Subservient Chicken and the Mini Robot by Jeff Benjamin of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, (that agency from Miami that I worship). Here we learned some of the backroung details around the production of the now infamous Subservient Chicken promotion for Burger King, and the Mini Robot campaign for Mini.

Dirt Style Design by Cory Arcangel, an artist famous for his dirt style production. As a part of the workshop, Cory created a new dirt style website. In about 10 minutes, as the audience participated. Very entertaining.

The Mass Hoax by Paul Berry. Probably my favorite lecture of the day. Paul told the entire story of how he and a friend created The Dog Island, which if you've never seen, you must visit. Some really funny and inspiration background about the success of this fantastic hoax.

Know Your Rights by Wendy Seltzer of The Elecronic Frontier Foundation. I've worshiped the EFF since I first read about them in Wired, and it was great to see Wendy speak. A very informative workshop on how to stay just to the right side of trouble.

What a great organization, and an informative event. Get ready for our next contagious production. I'm psyched.

custom windows

Now you can customize windows with your own graphics. Just create your art, send the image to Dupont, and they'll print it on a polymer sheet and put it between two layers of glass. The product is called SentryGlas Expressions, and it's an excellent idea for showrooms, lobbies, exhibits, etc.

underpants in your pants

Use this site at your next brainstorm. This has been around for a while now, but I was just recently reminded about it. Halfbakery.com is a site devoted to half baked ideas. Some really good ideas that should exist today, and some, that I'm really unsure of how to categorize. Like underpants that are already sewn into your pants. You know, because you really need to save that 4 seconds every morning that's currently wasted, putting on your underoos.

backpack it

I've been on this kick lately - where I'm trying to run my entire life in a web-based way. In fact, we just developed a custom web-based contact management tool in-house, that everyone at VIA uses for CRM.

And then comes this really cool product - backpack. I just started testing it yesterday, but so far, I'm totally impressed.

It's a web-based personal information organizer. So you don't need your Outlook "to do" list anymore. You can organize your life, organize a project, or whatever.

Even cooler - you can share pages of your organizer - so you can dedicate a page to a project, and everyone on the team has access to it. We're going to test it with a group brainstorm on a new project this week.

Best of all though - your organized life isn't tied to one machine. And you don't have to carry a PDA. Wherever you go, you can log on, and have access to your information. Providing, of course, that everywhere you go has wifi, or a machine you can use. (But why go anywhere else?)


And I had just gotten over snarky. Lately it seems that, more than before, certain words are becoming "hot". Gravitas is just such a word. And it's annoying when you see people trying hard to work it into their vocabulary. Last night, I was watching Donnie Deutsch's show, the Big Idea, and saw him use the word. I love Donnie. Practically worship the guy. But then he said "gravitas". Gimme a break.

Anyway, if you love the thought of words (personally, I prefer pictures), then you'll have to visit wordspy. I wonder if Paris Hilton has said gravitas yet? Maybe I'm just being snarky.

Xbox 360 Logo?

Here's the alleged new logo for the Xbox360 - "leaked" a few weeks ago on the Interweb. There's of course plenty of hype surrounding the release of the new console, and we'll all get a sneak peek when Microsoft debuts the new box on MTV on May 12.
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