this week at via

Here's what happened this week at the world's hottest design and branding shop:

Justus launched a couple of sites. You'll especially enjoy one of them - DataAddictsAnonymous. This is a microsite for Trade Dimensions - a company that specializes in retail industry research and guides. The site is hilarious - and plays off of the alleged "data addiction" that many of their clients have.

Justus then proceeded to leave for vacation on Wednesday. We're all jealous. We're looking for embarassing artwork to replace his desktop wallpaper with. Let us know if you have any ideas.

Leigh's working on conceptual work for a site redesign of outdoor adventure company. We completed their blog last week, which should be launching soon.

David and Brent created loads of Bubba Sparxxx online collateral, including a banner campaign, ecards and other stuff. It's all a part of his online ad campaign, promoting the new release. They also did some production on the Massive Attack site.

Kevin called the Carnegie Deli, to make sure they knew that our blog is officially one year old. We're pretty sure that he's never allowed to eat there again.

happy birthday brandflakes!

Today, BrandFlakes is officially one year old. That means we've been blogging for 365 days. Or about 260 days, if you remove the weekends. Maybe 250 if you factor in holidays. OK - we've been blogging for a couple of hundred days.

We felt that this occasion was sooo important, that there should be a sandwich named after it. So Kevin called the infamous Carnegie Deli, to see if he could make the arrangements.

You can listen to the call here: windows media, or MP3. Thank you Carnegie Deli!!!

myspace mania

Non-stop hype around MySpace. First, Micro Persuasion shares some amazing statistics:
  • MySpace is the second largest destination on the web, by page views
  • It splits 50.2% male, 49.8% female
  • They reach more men online than They reach more females online than iVillage.
  • The primary age demo is 16-34
On the other side of the fence, Publishing 2.0 questions the alleged advertising revenue model. But who cares how long the party lasts? If your brand is important to this audience, get on board and be a part of the action.

domain name fun facts

Before you create your next microsite, name your next product, or rebrand your company, read this great post on everything you wanted to know about domain names.

Includes cool graphs like the one above, that shows how domains with 11 letters are the most popular.

road meat

Whenever I see concepts like NASCAR meat, I always try and visualize the pitch meeting. A conference room of suits, and someone at the front of the room pitching "NASCAR MEAT! "We know our audience eats meat, so why not produce it for them?" This is licensing gone too far. This is brand pollution. Please make it stop.

five million down the drain

Adage reports on the Dr. Pepper campaign that was produced, but will never air. They spent $5 million producing the "mashup" spots, which feature music from Kiss, Will Smith, EMP and Cyndi Lauper.

The spots mashed up music, to illustrate how Dr. Pepper is mashed from 23 flavors. But now, according to a spokesperson, "we've had some different stategies that changed." Thats five million. Only to be featured on BrandFlakes. What a waste.

marketingsherpa viral marketing report

Here's a must read for any marketing or brand management peeps. MarketingSherpa's Special Report on Viral Marketing 2006. The report includes benchmark data, practical tips average campaign costs and tacticts used.

Some great info here, like the chart above, that shows what works in viral. According to the survey, microsites leads the bunch, followed closely by video clips.

change your desktop background

Are you still using that boring old photo on your desktop? joey interactive features loads of resources for new desktop backgrounds. Geared for designers. Many include images appropriately sized for the lucky few with dual monitors. Enjoy.

large format holographic images

According to the latest issue of POP Design, XYZ Imaging has created a system that produces large format, real holographic images from 2D media. They can even play back up to six seconds of motion graphics or video. This would look awesome in a trade show or retail environment. Ugly flash site doesn't allow links or good pics, but still worth checking out.

eyes of the world

At Flickr's blog, Stewart Butterfield writes about how they came up with the new Flickr vision statement, Eyes of the World.

An excerpt: "Flickr gives you a window into things that you might otherwise never see, from the perspective of people that you might otherwise never encounter." Beautifully done.

save the ball

Insert your favorite ball joke here. Someone's created a blog aimed at saving the 76 Union balls. Like Bob's Big Boy signs, the 76 balls are classic American branding. With balls.

On Save the 76 Ball, you can sign the petition, spread the word, and be a part of a movement to keep balls on their poles. ;)

coming soon: gigamalls

Could your mall become a gigamall? It's happening in the Arab world. Malls are getting super-sized - beyond anything we've seen here, apparently. They include elevators, escalators and “travelators” (wide, step-less escalators that are magnetized to hold shopping carts in place on the incline) to ease the flow of shoppers through the different levels, according to Arab News. From Brand Naming.

via wins huge awards! better than everyone else!

This just in - we've been notified that three of our pieces have been chosen as winners in the Advertising Club of CT annual awards show. We're pretty sure that three awards is a sweep - and while we weren't there, we'll bet that the judges said something to the effect of "this is positively the most brilliant work ever created." Here's what won:Each of the above creations is up for a bronze, silver or gold award - and we'll find out what each piece won at the awards show on May 16th. If we don't get gold, we'll turn over tables, smash glassware, and leave the show in a huff. More later.

friends of bright

Orbit just launched a microsite Friends of Bright, to promote it's product Orbit White. This is some stellar work - outstanding creative, flash and video production. But then again, I've always had a crush on the Orbit girl, so maybe I'm biased. From Adrants.

ltd is ltd

Coolhunting reports that LTD, the magazine about limited edition everything, is back. If you can find it - because, of course - it's limited edition. Only 10,000 of each issue are available. You can also find it at select (limited edition) cool shops and hang-outs.

this week at via

Justus, Kevin and I completed a video shoot over the weekend. Really funny stuff, for a site that will launch in the next week or so. Justus completed edits for the clip yesterday. And - he ended up with a part in the video! We'll keep you posted.

Dave dug deeper into his fetish, and completed a second day of shooting peoples feet, for a site that he's designing. He also completed some design concepts for some revisions to the 30 Seconds To Mars site. We produced their current site, and we're adding some cool new stuff, as the band continues to take off and tour the US.

Leigh created a blog design for an outdoor adventure company. Their blog should be launching next week, sometime. We also produced a site strategy and plan for a redesign of their corporate site. Work should begin on that next week.

I really don't know what Kevin did this week. I saw some new wallpaper of a half naked girl on his computer desktop - so there's definitely that.

Received proofs/samples of our all-new VIA buttons! They're totally awesome. We'll have buttons to give away in a week or so. You'll really need to kiss our butts (or send us a new project) to get a full set. Wow - you give us a big budget design project, we give you 68 cents worth of buttons. Sounds like a deal.

in-bathroom advertising

Neat ad campaign for a jewelry store, in public bathrooms. Produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, Sao Paulo.

teen movie hits big for logitech

A 17 year old girl has created a video clip, (using her Logitech webcam) and the video hits viral big time through YouTube. The clip has been viewed more than 175,000 times as I write this post. The CNET article covering the story has a quote from a Logitech spokesperson, Nancy Morrison, who says:

"software called Logitech Video Effects is behind the various cartoon images. Launched last August, the software features animated avatars that can make a user look like a martian, a great white shark or Santa Claus. The software tracks a user's face so that the images stay in position even when the user moves"

Agency produced viral? Who knows. But as teens line up to buy the camera, this is great news for Logitech.

this internet thing really works

Honda's "Choir" ad for the Honda Civic has just reached 3,000,000 downloads since it's launch. The iPod version of the ad is in the Top 50 chart on iTunes. The microsite has had 679,000 unique visitors. And - best of all - Honda's reached the highest level of test drive bookings ever. How's that for return on investment?

college kids aren't as cool as you think.

This is a couple of days old, but still worthwhile. Ethan Kaplan spoke at the University of Califronia recently, and through a completely informal, unscientific poll of college kids, determines, amongst other things that:

* About 1/3 had a MySpace profile.
* Roughly 90% had FaceBook profiles.
* Five people, all guys had heard of digg
* No one had heard of BoingBoing, Delicious, memorandum or NewsVine.
* About 15 had the Arctic Monkeys CD. None had paid for it
* Only a few had actually bought music in the last month
* About 20 had heard about the Sony DRM scandal

Have they not had their BrandFlakes?

meth campaign rocks

Kudos to tech billionaire Thomas Siebel, who has funded a disturbing yet effective campaign and non-profit group, titled the Montana Meth Project.

The campaign is the work of San Francisco's Venables Bell & Partners, and it's breathtaking. Or maybe breath-sucking would be more appropriate. Stop you in your tracks disturbing - and it's working.

It's incredibly brave of Mr. Siebel to stand behind this campaign - as many people in his position wimp out when it actually comes to approving creative of this nature. He's not only paid for it, and stood behind it, but he's attempting to get additional funding to sustain it for years. Way to go. From Adfreak

slackers unite

At our agency, employees make up their own titles. Up until last week, when we ordered our new cards, Kevin's title was "slacker." So he'll really like this post on Creative Generalist. It's about how slacking is good for you. Creative Generalist reminds us that sometimes we're more productive when we're being less productive.

fashion tips from bogusky & clow

I get razzed a bunch around the office for having an unhealthy man crush on Alex Bogusky. I've also been a huge fan of Lee Clow, for as long as I can remember. So I nearly pee'd in my pants when I saw that there's a clip from Creativity, where Lee Clow and Alex Bogusky are together, talking about agency dress codes. They're also both on the cover (with a bunch of other creative superstars) of this month's Creativity Magazine. From Adrants.

ummm...where's the 'start' button

So, I'm as tech savvy as Donny Deutsch is interesting. However, today may change all that. As I was looking through some blogs (on company time) Darryl informed me of this wonderful tool that is better than for social bookmarking, and it has less dots in the name. It's It is a much friendlier bookmarking tool, both in design and application. It imported all of my bookmarks in about 45 seconds (even the dirty ones). So, I guess this makes me a tech guru. Now if I could only figure out that whole electronical mailing thing.

i have seen the future - and it's goth

Hooray for the Guardian Unlimited, who recognizes that just because kids are different, doesn't mean there's a problem. According to the article, goth kids are more likely to be successful:

"Most youth subcultures encourage people to drop out of school and do illegal things," she says. "Most goths are well educated, however. They hardly ever drop out and are often the best pupils. The subculture encourages interest in classical education, especially the arts. I'd say goths are more likely to make careers in web design, computer programming ... even journalism."

Some of the most talented creative people that I've worked with over the years have also been creative in their outward appearance. In fact, I'd give a goth kid bonus points in the interview process - especially over the candidate who just blends into the background. Reminds me of a funny story with an old friend, uber creative, and former employee - Tim - and his difficulty in getting through the metal detectors at Six Flags. Creative piercings will do it every time.

breath power

Some excellent work from Energy BBDO, for Winterfresh Gum. A microsite titled CoolBreathPower. Excellent way to waste some otherwise productive time today. From Ad-rag

king gone wild

Dude, the King went to spring break. From AdRants

pageflakes. good.

Maybe it's just the flakes talking, but I really like Pageflakes. A multi-tab approach to rss feeds, bookmarks and organization. Mmmm. Web2.0.

tough pitch

Imagine being the PR company for the National Funeral Directors Association?

This post features an actual phone conversation with a reporter from the Washington Post, and a PR person, pitching a story.

An excerpt:
"...correct me if I am wrong here -- in an effort to garner good publicity for your clients, you are proposing a positive story on how funeral directors will be helping us bury our dead in the event of a terrorist holocaust that will annihilate thousands of people."

Ummm....ok. Sometimes you need to tell the client no.

answer that email from the blogger

Not a day goes by here without a client asking "should we have a blog?" And the answer isn't always yes.

Having a blog isn't the only way to benefit from the blogosphere. Beyond Madison Avenue has an excellent post demonstrating how Nettwerk Records benefited from several of their posts, and thousands of brand impressions - all by answering an email from a blogger. What blogs could be writing about your brand?

this week at via

Here's a new idea, we'll try. A snapshot of what happened during the week at the world's hottest design and branding shop.

This week:

Our building lost power on Monday. Totally sucked. We kept thinking the power would come back in an hour or so. Took a nice long company lunch at some Japanese joint. Bichiro, Hichiro, or something like that. Went home early, and started the week one day behind.

David got a taste of foot fetishism. At a photo shoot on Wednesday, he directed many shots of peoples feet. Client's feet. People in slippers, in heels, in rugby cleats, in strapped up sexy shoes (so he says).

Justus and Kevin prepare for two video shoots, one happening this weekend, the other one on Tuesday of next week. Lots of props around the office today. Two funny shoots - we'll show you clips when the productions are complete.

Found out that one of the viral sites we've created,, hit traffic spikes of over 50K people a day. That's the way to sell music!

Leigh launched a site that she's been working on, for a client in the pet industry. We can't show it to you, because it's a "soft launch", and we're not supposed to promote it until our brand awareness campaign kicks off. Send Leigh an email if you want a link.

Cynthia, our favorite freelancer performed masterful photoshop work on people's butts. For real. Seriously funny viral promotion, coming soon.

I pitched two new potential clients this week, which is always cool. Very fun people, in industries that I think we can do some cool work in. One's a chain of laundromats (no, really - there's going to be some FUN work here), and the other's a sports marketing company - for which we have a ton of industry appropriate experience for.

Not bad for a four day work week.

what geeks get excited about

Check this out. A comprehensive (really comprehensive) list of everything Web2.0. Lots of cool stuff.

think your day is boring?

Try someone else's day. invites people from all over the world to submit a photographic journal of their average day.

I got to see what it might be like to shovel horse poop, and gather goats to the barn. I think I'll stick to my client meetings for now. Not really in the mood for getting my shirt dirty today.

drink coffee, and make things happen.

These ads make me want to drink lots of coffee. Two ads, one showing a list of books that we all probably should have read (but haven't), and the other one showing a list of places around the world that we'd all like to have visited (but haven't). Ends with the tag line of "You lose 1/3 of your life sleeping. Time to wake up." Genius.

tattoo ads

A tattoo shop in New Zealand has created stamps (designed like tattoos), and given them to nightclubs that require stamps for entry. Kids get the "tattoos" as they enter the club, and end up with an ad for the shop, along with the phone number, so they can get a real one when they leave the club.

Reminds me of an infamous VIA business trip to Dallas, and a "star" tattoo. But this was no rubber stamp. Involved many beers, a bet, and a dare. You can probably guess the ending. Hilarious story - ask one of us the next time you see us.

how they make pancakes and donuts look so tasty

Mmmm. Donuts. Check out this clip of "Sjan", food photographer for "the big three", showing his secrets to great food photography. From Ad-rag

meddling kids

A fifteen year old kid tested the Google news service, and confirmed that you can pretty much submit a press release, with facts unchecked. The 15 year old New Jersey student submitted a release saying that Google had hire him - Google's youngest employee. And it was released.

creative inspiration found at walgreens

Yesterday, we were at the Walgreens a couple of blocks from our office, looking for Peeps, chocolate covered marshmallow eggs, and other easter themed sugar high delights, and we discovered the most wonderful device.

I saw it, and knew that we must have this in our office. It's the Gopher Pick-Up and Reach Tool. As seen on TV.

You can use the Gopher Pick-Up and Reach Tool for a variety of tasks around the office. Like for handling concepts that are too hot. Or for picking up things that are a foot and a half away from you. Or for carrying my Fleetwood Mac CD's. This will save us countless hours of wasted reaching, walking and touching things. I can't imagine how we ever did without it. Justus is pictured above, handling very dangerous glassware. If you stop by, you can try it out. Or get your own at Walgreens.

scion launches fashion brand

I bought a Scion xB, sight unseen, on the internet and had it shipped from California, before you could get them on the east coast. They're totally cool. Arguably the most creatively designed vehicle on the road. But even as a fan, I can't see myself wearing Scion sportswear.

According to Adrants, they had designers submit work as part of a contest (because contests are always a great way to get the best work, right?), and paid the designers a prize of 10K (a fraction of what the design fee would have been for the same work). And now they've paid a bunch of hip hop artists to show up at a launch party. They likely paid more for the artist appearances at their party, then they have for the design work.

Can car makers become fashion brands? With apparel from a design contest? It's a difficult leap, regardless of how much you pay 50 cent to show up at your party. Didn't work for Mountain Dew. But Caterpillar has had some success. We'll see, but I'll stick with Ben Sherman for my clothes, and Scion for my wheels.

new via business cards

Leigh just designed our new business cards. We're stoked, and can't wait until they come back from the printer.

If you've met any of our crew, you know that VIA employees make up their own titles. It's our philosophy that real-world titles don't have much meaning to creative people. Or in a small firm. Some of the titles include: Seeing Eye Dog, Big Poppa, Jedi Knight and Sensei. Can you guess which title belongs to which VIA staffer?


BrandNoise posts about Subway's new site targeted towards teens - They point out that as a sandwich company, teens will never see you as a credible content aggregator. And this is completely true.

But Get-Sa doesn't feel like a content site. It's a microsite, with "entertaining" clips, probably created by their agency. Likely in the hopes that, just one clip would be good enough to go viral. Is this really any different than the countless consumer branded microsites that preceded Get-Sa?

For that matter, how different are the Subway clips from commercials that entertain, but don't sell product benefits? So there's a fine line, I guess, between commercials and content. But they can both be entertainment. Right?

here's an idea...make sure your

This ad for the National Guard shows members as citizens, and then as soldiers. The trouble is, they look really happy as citizens, and all grumpy when they're in the guard. Some say they look "badass" - but to me, they just look unhappy. From Adrants.

fonts matter

Phil Renaud reviewed all of his univerity essays, and discovered that the font he used might have affected the grade he received. He writes an excellent post in the brand power of fonts. (Georgia, pictured above, received the best grades, btw)

hilton does microsites like paris does...

fashion? (What did you think?) At our agency, we're producing more microsites than ever before. But nothing compared to Hilton's agency. Hilton just took microsites to another level entirely - they've created microsites that appeal to each of their different market segments. Sites for government employees, wedding planners, Olympic sports organizations and others.

"We have reached the point where about 15 percent of bookings are coming through our Web sites and we're getting loyal HHonors [loyalty program] customers, who are the easy group to influence to book online," says Bala Subramanian, senior VP of distribution and brand integration for Hilton Hotels, in the Clickz article.

mary woodbridge to climb everest

Spillmann/Felser/Leo Burnett started the Mary Woodbridge viral campaign for Mammut in December of 2005. And it's been a huge success. Ad-Rag has an outstanding overview of the campaign, that included print ads, help wanted ads, brochures and more.

You must visit the campaign's site, where you'll see how Mary Woodbridge, an 85 year old woman, plans to climb Everest. With her dog Daisy. Because she has a Mammut jacket. Hilarious site - be sure to watch the video clips.

people like water. or coffee.

Ad age reports that Beverage Digest reports that the sales volume of carbonated soft drinks across retail, vending and fountain channels fell last year for the first time in two decades. Sales slid by .2%, and if they didn't include the energy soft drinks like (the ugly designed) Full Throttle, pictured above, that dip would have been to .7%.

John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest points out that “This is the first generation of children that are going to grow up not viewing soft drinks as the ultimate treat." An analyst for Morgan Stanley estimates that soft drink sales will continue to slide by about 1% each year, for the next few years.

Wow. All this talk of fractions and percentages is a real buzzkill for us simple creative folk. My head hurts. I'm feeling tired now. Better go look at some pictures.

web 2.0 logos, 2.0

We've posted on the web 2.0 logo trend before - but this is worthy of another post. Font Shop has collected many of the popular web 2.0 company logos, and has categorized them into styles, along with all of the font details.

text to voice applet

Thursday morning boredom? Looking for a reason to put off working on that project? Check out this text to speech applet - and waste your morning away. (You can clear the "oddjack" cookie after three entries and play more.) Really nice technology from Oddcast.

the population hourglass

Here's an excellent article from FastCompany about population demographics. A must read for any business or marketing planner. The piece speaks about the population pyramid - a visual representation of how your society's population stacks up.

Imagine stacking up the entire population, with infants at the bottom, and seniors at the top. Typical past populations look like pyramids. Lots of yoots at the bottom, and a handful of old people at the top. But we're in for a big change. Our population now looks like an hourglass.

An excerpt from the article:
Starting in the next decade, however, our flabby pyramid is quickly going to slim down. It will assume the form of an hourglass, with the largest number of older people in our society's history, the quasi-retired baby boomers, up top, and the largest generation of young people since the boomers--the millennials, or echo boomers--at the bottom. The beleaguered generation-Xers will form the "pinched waist" in the middle.

aliens advertise

Forget crop circles. It appears that the aliens are now crafting more specific messages in corn fields. And they're running our airlines. Or advertising agencies in Germany.

the medium is the message

John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing has an excellent position on how Marshall McLuhan's infamous quote "the medium is the message" (written in 1964) relates to the blogging phenomenon. An excerpt from his piece, which was used as part of a workshop he gave at the Kansas City Chapter of the PRSA:

"Blogs were not created to be the next great marketing tool but, over time, people realized that they liked what they could do with blogs and as more and more people used them and built tools to extend the way they were used, the character of the message that businesses were sending changed forever.

The marketing message is now a conversation instead of an ad."

Excellent thinking. I can see my old college professors smiling.

no fun being dead

Who says people that work in insurance are dorks? The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has launched a series of tv spots and a website nofunbeingdead, that show how it sucks to be dead. All in the name of not drinking and driving. The site's pretty funny - be sure to check out the games section. Loads of fun. From Adrants

real life simpsons intro

This is a few days old, but still worth a view. Someone's produced a real life version of the Simpsons intro. Makes me wonder if this might spawn real life versions of other famous animated shorts and intros.

typo at the oscars

I love it when other people make typos. It serves as proof that creative people aren't perfect, and that mistakes happen. That's usually one of our greatest fears for most projects - the stuff you notice after a piece has been printed, aired, etc.

I'm always thankful that creative people aren't in jobs where we're responsible for other people's lives - or there would be a bunch more dead people. Typos we can handle. So it was funny to see the Oscars misspell Will Ferrell's name.

fat kids - not our fault.

It turns out that parents are to blame for their children eating too much, doing too little, and sitting on their butts all the time. Some people thought that ad agencies were supposed to be raising these kids - but Adrants points to an excellent post by Dan Jaffe that explains how parents are responsible for their child's behavior. Amazing.

spontaneity and the creative process

Influx points to an interview with Frank Stephenson, the designer of the new MINI, where he explains how, at the last minute, when they were reviewing the clay model of the car, they realized it didn't have a tailpipe. It was a late night, and there were beer cans around. You can guess the way this ends. I swear some of our best ideas come from that little gremlin, Spontaneity.
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