this week at via - chapter two

Here's an update... MAJOR PROPS to Leigh, David and some freelancer Donna who we practically pulled in off the streets to help with a major deadline.

The 30 Seconds to Mars contest that I posted on earlier received an overwhelming response - and in an effort to get every fan possible into a very special edition book, Leigh and David crunched files and produced a 60+ page book tonight. Working until after midnight, Leigh gave up a trip to Philly, and David gave up his typical Friday night dating models.

The end result is a beautiful tribute to the 30 Seconds to Mars fans - and will be available with purchase on iTunes, we believe next week. Thanks again Leigh and David!!

this week at via

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

They installed railings on our roof deck. Good news: they look great. Bad news: it's going to be much more difficult to push people off.

In the week long slugfest featuring jelly beans and the wiffle ball bat, Justus hit a couple of home runs - actually slamming beans a few rooftops away. Don't let Leigh fool you though - she's a slugger, and a close second to Justus. Kevin, btw, pitches like a girl. Stop by for a few swings (and swigs) when the weather's nice.

I wrote my first article for a weekly trade publication. That's right, something on paper! I'll let you in on all of the details if it actually makes it to the printing press.

Leigh produced a special edition booklet for 30 Seconds to Mars. Fans who buy the music on iTunes get the booklet for free. We created a contest site that collected fan submitted photos, and then compiled them together for this special piece. I think it will be available on iTunes next week.

David and Paul produced a video jukebox for the same band, featuring their awesome new video. We're not allowed to show it yet (MTV still has the exclusive), but it should launch sometime next week. Amazingly cool video.

Also completed: A b2b microsite, pending client approval for launch; an internet movie to be incorporated into a new site design, and lots of other stuff you could care less about.

take a ride on the poop chute

Check out this hilarious playground sculpture in Tel Aviv. From ReBlog.

color scheme tool

Here's a cool tool for choosing color palettes for site design.

black is the new black

One of the many things that I've learned from punk rock is that black is always cool. So I'm happy to see this post on BrandNoise about how black is back. Not that it really ever left.

how to tell a story

Business, marketing and brand guru Seth Godin reveals how to tell a story.

brand flakes makes top 25 bma list

Woohoo! We've made Beyond Madison Avenue's Top 25 Advertising Blogs. Amazing. Their chart is based on actual Alexa traffic ratings and some other stuff. We think they're dead on, since we made the list.

Please tell all of your friends, your mom, and your mom's friends all about Brand Flakes For Breakfast - so that we can crack the top 10. Insist that all of your relatives and co-workers read the blog daily - and quiz them. If they fail, shun them. Humiliate them. Divorce them. Whatever it takes - this is the BMA Top 25.

first ten years of internet growth nothing compared to second

Adrants is blogging the details of the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco, while we sit around the northeast, waiting for the weather to get warm.

Keynote speaker Mark Kvamme, Sequoia Capital Partner, says that the first ten years of internet growth are nothing compared to what we'll see in the next ten. Woohoo.

One great excerpt: "Thirty two percent of people are reached by TV and 38 percent of ad dollars are allocated to TV. In contrast, the Internet reached 32 percent of people but only receives five percent of ad dollars. With TV CPMs hovering around $64 and $10 to $30 for the Internet, Kvamme sees huge growth potential for Internet advertising."

wal-mart CMO shares marketing strategy

Wal-Mart CMO John Fleming was the keynote speaker at Advertising Age's The American Consumer Conference in New York. He shared some insight behind Walmart's marketing and advertising plans. Fleming claims that half of the US population currently shops at Walmart. They've categorized these customers into three groups:

1. Loyalists, who on average visit 57 times a year, spend 77% of their grocery dollars at the store and shop across more than five product categories.

2. Selective customers, who come through the doors 26 times a year, spend 28% of their grocery dollars and shop two to four categories.

3. Skeptics, who shop five times a year, do less than 10% of grocery shopping at the store and shop departments for only their most pressing needs."

He goes on to detail their plans at increasing their share of skeptics, and how they'll deal with consumer insights, trends and the Walmart brand. Interesting reading for all marketing pros.

the disney copy machine

Walt copied himself. Over and over. Call it production efficiencies. Not being Russian and all, I have no idea what the site describes in detail, but it looks as if Disney re-used pieces and parts of animations from film to film. Some pretty amazing frame by frame comparisons. From the wonderful Yesbutnobutyes.

graffiti research lab & josh macphee event

One of my favorite places in all of NYC, Eyebeam - is hosting an event this weekend featuring the Graffiti Research Lab & Josh MacPhee. The event is titled The Upgrade! Anniversary Brunch and takes place Saturday from 3 - 5pm.

Fun stuff includes a reception and presentations from the Graffiti Research Lab and artist/activist Josh MacPhee, as well as new projects from the Geek Graffiti Course at Parsons The New School for Design. See you there!

ask justus for money

Justus just hit four numbers in the PowerBall. He won $500 today!!! If he owes you money, today's the day to give him a call. Don't tell him I told you. He's paying me $100 to keep it on the d-low with his wife.

This is actually the first photo we have of Justus, without his gangsta scowl. Money really does buy happiness.

nose blower

Here's a hand dryer that promotes a nasal spray.

'don’t mess with texas’ celebrates 20 years

Since I'm originally from Texas, I'm required to point out that the "Don't Mess with Texas" anti-litter campaign is now officially 20 years old. Because that's what real Texans do. Hard to believe that something so popular actually started with the Department of Transportation. It's Texas. Don't mess.

aol-speak is destroying language's beauty

The English language is taking a beating. From IM speak. Or so, writes writes Patrick Hogan, at the Chicago Maroon, the student newspaper at the University of Chicago. That's right. A college student is complaining about the written language. LOL.

someone's finally killed that stupid gecko

I can't stand that annoying talking gecko. So how cool, that a competitor, Tri-state Consumer Insurance Company, produced a spot where the slimy lizard gets run over by a car? But apparently, Geico doesn't have such a sense of humor. They're suing the gecko killers. Their lawyers actually believe that listeners might confuse the dead gecko for a Geico spot. Silly lawyers.

umpqua bank reinventing their industry

Anyone in retail should read this fantabulous case study about Umpqua Bank, who reinvented the retail category in which they live in. Truly amazing success story about a bank that broke all of the rules - and won.

The Marketing Sherpa case study reveals five tactics that the Umpqua team implemented. One of my favorites - word of mouth marketing stunts. Lani Hayward, EVP Creative Strategies for Umpqua Bank recounts, "Often, a loan officer at a local Starbucks will buy the coffee for everyone in line behind him, or will pick up somebody's tab at a restaurant. "That creates a lot of word of mouth, like, 'You wouldn't believe what happened today…,'" Great lessons here for anyone in the retail biz.

concrete that changes color

Chronos Chromos Concrete is a system that can dynamically display patterns, numbers and text onto concrete surfaces. This has some pretty awesome possibilities for architecture. From MIT Advertising Lab.

human beat box

If you're not completely sick and tired of webcam virals, check out the human beat box. From Creative Generalist

still free

Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko clothing line and Marc Ecko Cut & Sew, launched a viral titled, that looked as if someone tagged Air Force One with graffiti. It turns out that the whole stunt was elaborately produced, Hollywood style. They painted an entire side of a jet to resemble Air Force One, and then recorded the production. Even Mr. Ecko admits that this particular kind of viral took a lot of money.


Vitamin is a new resource site for web developers, designers and entrepreneurs. Hot shots from Flickr, 37 Signals, Threadless, 9Rules, and other Web 2.0 stars are supplying some content, as well as sitting on the advisory board.

chernobyl photography

A stunning set of photographs titled "Nuclear Nightmares" commemorates the twenty year mark for Chernobyl. BoingBoing also points to a wonderful organization that's still trying to help.

this week at via

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

On Tuesday, David directed a photoshoot with Jim Coon. The shots will be used in a microsite we're developing for a b2b company.

Warm weather finally graced the northeast!!! Our rooftop patio was in full swing this week. Kevin and Justus purchased their wiffle ball bat, and tested the aerodynmamics of objects flying off the roof. Jelly beans were fun, but apparently grapes are the best. They both welcome you to come on over for a few swings and a beer, and see how far you can hit a grape. Bring your own grapes. We're all out.

I spent a couple of days touring colleges in Boston with my son, and even wrote an article on the experience, from the marketer/branding professional's point of view.

We received the new prototype blister packaging for a new package design we've conceptualized for HeadBlade. And it ROCKS. Can't wait to see this one in stores.

Today, Justus got a new G5. He's totally stoked that his old machine died this week.

pink panther blog

Everyone in our industry is talking about the Pink Panther blog for Owens Corning - so I guess I should at least mention it.

Personally, I don't get it. Character blogs seem way too corny for anyone over the age of seven, to me. A themed microsite with tips and answers would seem far more appropriate. Why does the panther need a voice? Is he really going to have an engaging story to tell? Or is it just tips? Why is a blog necessary over a promotional microsite? This is just jumping on the blog bandwagon.

the rise of the creative class

Richard Florida has written an outstanding article on the importance of "the creative class" to urban development. He points out that "Most civic leaders, however, have failed to understand that what is true for corporations is also true for cities and regions: Places that succeed in attracting and retaining creative class people prosper; those that fail don't."

What Mr. Florida describes as the creative class goes beyond the designers, branding pros and creative people you'll find around here. They include people working in high-tech sectors, financial and healthcare industries. These are the people who are doing things differently - who are breaking rules - in whatever industry they're employed.

Some impressive stats from the article: "The creative class now includes some 38.3 million Americans, roughly 30 percent of the entire U.S. workforce---up from just 10 percent at the turn of the 20th century and less than 20 percent as recently as 1980. The creative class has considerable economic power. In 1999, the average salary for a member of the creative class was nearly $50,000 ($48,752), compared to roughly $28,000 for a working-class member and $22,000 for a service-class worker."

The piece also ranks the top big, medium and small-size creative cities. Mayors, governers, and urban planners - pay attention. Creative people are an important part of your future.

alex bogusky collector plate

My co-workers will get a kick out of this one. I'm usually going on and on here about the greatness of Alex Bogusky's work. Well, maybe he's not so smart. He never registered his domain name, Or maybe he lost it in a poker game. And now someone's selling it on ebay. Along with the adorable Alex collector plate graphic, pictured above. You don't actually get the plate - but you could download the photo of the plate. It's all currently waiting for a $100 bid. I think I'll bid on this today. From Adfreak.

political campaigns go viral

Wired Magazine reports on how the next big wave in political advertising is all about viral.

One spot in Nevada is getting a lot of attention in their gubernatorial race. The spot features Party Candidate Jim Gibson's opponent, in a not so flattering way. Negative political campaigns gone viral. Just look at what our industry has unleashed. Woohoo.

extreme outplacement

As a part of their ad campaign, NYIT has ads that feature their students, their graduation dates, and are targeted to Mr. Deutsch. Well actually, I suppose they're targeted to the business community in general - or students (do students read newspapers?) and Mr. Deutsch came as a recognizeable name. Like Adrants and Copyranter, I don't believe Mr. Deutsch was the best choice here. He no longer runs his agency. People don't have the nicest things to say about him. And there's that horrific Donny Deutsch photo that's always making it's way around the internet.

This was a good idea - but bad copy choice, bad media choice, if they really want to reach students.

read this before your next domain name search

Before you go and check whether that brilliant domain name is available, read this article from Wired.

There's been a lot of hoopla in communities like Digg, Slashdot and the blogosphere in general regarding people who have searched for domain name availability, and then found the names they searched already registered shortly thereafter.

There's much debate about coincidence, conspiracy and security, but bottom line, the article offers some good advice: before searching for domain names, be prepared to buy them on the spot, should they be available. Better safe than sorry.

runnin on dunkin

Adrants reports on the new microsite that Dunkin Donuts launched, as a part of their re-branding effort.

I'm absolutely lovin this entire new campaign - especially the "Things I like to do" spot. I can't stop singing that song. Wonderful work that positions them uniquely in the marketplace.

thank you for smoking titles

Here's a complete rundown of the fonts featured in the stupendous title sequence for Thank You for Smoking. Font freaks inhale. And enjoy.

f-shaped reading patterns

Jacob Nielsen has put together an eyetracking study, that shows how users read websites. According to the study, most people read in an "F" pattern - starting with horizontal movement, usually across the top quadrant of the page - and then moving down for a second horizontal movement.

Much of this is due to the graphic design, of course. Good design will control eye movement - and the examples showcased in his report should indeed result in an "F" type movement.

Jacob provides some good insight as well, including these handy tips:
  • Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner.
  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words
That's great input regardless of eyeball movement.

outdoor sci fi ad

Check out the cool outdoor ad for the Sci-Fi Channel. From AdJab.

custom chinese propaganda posters

Now I know what to get Leigh for her wedding present, in a couple of months. A totally romantic Chinese propoganda poster. You send in a photo, and they customize a classic Chinese socialist propaganda poster. Real oil painting, by an actual artist. Awesome art for everyone. From YesButNoButYes.

get new products out, and keep customers happy

More words and less pictures than I usually like in an article, but I'm thinking any of our readers who are in manufacturing will enjoy this article on how to successfully introduce new products, while meeting their obligations to existing customers.

airport info graphics movie

Check out this movie short - entirely produced from airport info graphics. Proof you can create anything from almost nothing. Well done.

one more reason to live in CA

Yesterday, they held a big wheel race down that crooked street in San Francisco. Cool.

fun stuff you can do with white chocolate

This time of year is our favorite snack season at VIA. Peeps, and chocolate covered marshmallow eggs. And Cadbury eggs. mmmmm. But one of the pitfalls of a good mix of Easter candy is the white chocolate stuff. Nobody in our office really digs white chocolate.

So yesterday, Justus and Kevin invented white chocolate baseball, out on our patio. One person pitches a piece of white chocolate, and the other person hits it with a bat. If you don't have a bat, you can use a snow shovel. Those are the rules. That's Justus above, hitting a home run off of Kevin's pitch.

As I was returning to my desk, I heard talk of getting a Wiffle Ball bat, and some grapes. Should be a fun Friday.

google calendar rocks

I started testing the new Google calendar application yesterday. I'm trying hard to eliminate any installed applications from my work flow - and use all web based apps - so that I can work anywhere, anytime - and have everything available. A good calendar was missing from the mix. This might be it. It's only been a day - but so far, I'm loving it. Simply effective, intuitive, and googleicious. Thanks Google!

lots of stuff about design

Tag it, bookmark it, remember this. features hundreds and hundreds of links, documents, and resources - all about design and branding.

faking it for new orleans

Kimberly Williamson Butler is running for Mayor of New Orleans. Apparently, one her campaign photos (used as the header on her website, no less), features what seems like a nice shot of her in the french quarter. But upon closer inspection - she's in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. Near the Pirates of the Caribbean. Arrrrg. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pirate reference.)

important life lesson for clients

We're fortunate that all of our current clients are smarter than this ;-), but every creative shop has run into this situation before: the hallway test. This is where the client takes your work around the hallways of their office, and gets a "consensus" on what's the best treatment to go with. Ugh. I'm sick in my stomach just thinking about it.

The Bullshit Observer has an OUTSTANDING post on why you should never, ever, ever, ever use the hallway test in your company.

The other variation on the hallway test, is the "let's involve everyone" plan. This is where in an attempt to be a team-oriented company, the client has 11 people on the committee responsible for approving the creative. This method generates the most mediocre creative, and the slowest process possible.

Trust your agency. Always. ;-) Justus is saluting our clients that "get it", in the photo above. From Ad-rag.

radio is so over

There's almost no reason to listen to terrestrial radio anymore. Just too many alternatives. A new study by Podcasting News (I know, of course they're biased) reports that 27% of people 12-24 attribute their reduced use of radio to MP3 use; 22% attributed it to tired radio programming; 3% attributed it to podcast listening. (Report from Micro Persuasion)

And from the anecdotal experiences that I've seen - the youth audience doesn't listen to radio at all. Again, too many more attractive alternatives. But radio can't just disappear. It's a powerful medium, whose programming methods have been left in the dust. So the question is....who's going to come along and change that? Radio is begging for a revolution. Right?

poop is good fun

Think you know your poop? Check out the poop game that Adverblog found. "Whose Poo?" is a game on the Denver Zoo site, where users can match the droppings to the animal. This is so well done - it's literally appropriate for all ages. At our offices, we could play poop games all day - and you know what? It's just as appropriate for a 12 year old. Think about a zoo's audience - moms, dads, kids and dates. Everyone can enjoy the zoo. And everyone can play with poop. Virtually, anyway.

Only one thing - they should have made it easier to link to - like giving it a unique url would have been nice. Can you imagine the number of urls we could come up with? Get your poop on.

darryl meets some famous sports dudes

As part of the Paper Week celebration, I was fortunate to be invited to the annual Cellmark Graphics party. It's always a really good time, held at the The Campbell Apartment, an amazing space, if you've never been. The rest of the crew here were also invited - but turned it down, so that they could stay at home and watch television. Hmm.

After arriving at the party, Andy Clark mentions that Goose Gossage from the New York Yankees, and Carl Banks from the NY Giants are here. I should have my photo taken with them. If you're a regular reader, you realize that I know nothing about team sports. And I have NO idea who these two people are. But I also know that Justus is a HUGE Giants fan. And that Kevin is a HUGE Yankees fan. So, it's my job to make them rue the fact that they stayed home. That's my job.

Not only were there pictures to be had - but there's also a signed Carl Banks photo and Goose Gossage baseball on my desk. I could give them to Kevin and Justus, but....

I'll send each piece FREE to the first CLIENT (that's a true Giants or Yankees fan) to call me and ask for it. And Justus and Kevin can just enjoy the picture of me, dwarfing those two other guys, above.

So thanks to the Cellmark crew - Andy, Peter, Mark, Mike, Kendra, Brenna and all - and thanks to Carley and Tom at Trade Dimensions for a super fun night!

awesome cloud photography

Creative Generalist points to the awesome cloud photography of Jorn Olsen. He's got a gallery of Mammatus clouds (pictured above), and some amazing twister photos too.

how to be more like steve jobs

BusinessWeek Online has a nice article titled "How to Wow 'Em Like Steve Jobs." You can never be too good at presenting - so this is another great list of tips from corporate presentation coach Carmine Gallo. Alternately, if you just want to dress like Steve, you can go here.

britain's fbi has a cool logo

Britain's equivalent to the FBI has a bitchin' logo. Their logo for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) resembles the logo from the classic TV show Thundercats. The new mark features a cat, with claws and fangs, over a globe. A spokesman won't comment on the resemblance or any details. The SOCA logo would make for a really cool t-shirt. Maybe there's some licensing revenue in their future. I'm seeing hats, shirts, bags, an energy drink...

this week at via

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

Leigh got sick, and spread her sickness to a couple of other people in the office. Nice going, Leigh. Since we recently designed a site for Corporate Wellness, you'd think that she would know how to properly cover her sneezes, and how to stop spreading evil sick germs around the office. But you'd be wrong. Wash your hands if you've received even an email from her.

David made some great progress on site redesigns for a Connecticut bank, and a list brokerage/management company.

Yesterday, Kevin, Justus and I had a really fun shoot at a client's office, that included putting people into hot dog, banana and ice cream cone costumes. Lots of weiner jokes. Not your average day, that's for sure. The finished clip should be pretty funny.

evil easter bunny

We love funny costumes. We've had an easter bunny costume around our office for a couple of years now (pictured above, on a walk down Main Street).

So I was pretty jealous when I saw The Easter Bunny Hates You, a hilarious clip that I wish we produced. Really, really funny stuff.

finger lickin' good

Some finger lickin' good KFC ads done by BBDO Singapore. Sweet.
From AdJab

bank doesn't get it

Some bank - presumably one that gets it - has launched a viral promotion titled my bank doesn't get it. Viewers can read stories from unhappy bank customers, submit their own story, or send it to their friends.

This is wonderfully designed - but I don't see engaging content here. The stories are seemingly agency written, not user created, which would be ok if they entertained - but instead they just try real hard to be genuine. Which of course, makes it so not genuine. So instead of creating a sense of anticipation - wondering who this new wonderful bank is, I feel like I spent 3 minutes at a beautifuly designed but boring bank site. I'm not buying it. But maybe I'm just cranky. From Adfreak.

serious people are boring

When we hire people, the single most important quality in a candidate is a sense of humor. Before creative talent, before work experience - candidates need to be cabable of having fun, or we have no desire to work together. And we don't take ANYTHING serious. We make fun of everything. Especially each other. So it's with great pleasure that I read this series of articles at FastCompany about the imortance of office humor. Indoor dodge ball skills don't hurt either, as Kevin demonstrates above.

shorter commercial breaks testing on usa

USA Network is running a five day test this week to see how people respond to a less cluttered advertising environment. During one commercial break on their test program, viewers will see only two 30 second spots (from Walgreen and Allstate). A typical commercial break is two to four minutes. The chart above shows that for the average hour of programming, users see 15 minutes of commercials. Could shorter breaks be just enough that Tivo users might just deal with it, rather than fast forward? Do people still watch TV?

office invaders

Here goes another productive day. Baskin Robbins has produced Office Invaders, a current version of my all-time favorite video game, Space Invaders. This is well done, and completely addicting. Fight the evil IT guys, and work your way up the organization. From (now ten years old!) Ad-Rag.


Rethink, in Vancouver just launched a new campaign for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? My favorite part is the tag line, at the end of the spot: "Call us before we send you rats." Nice. Not many clients will allow for rat threats in their ads. This is a good one.

custom kodak commercial

Kodak has produced an interactive version of their current tv spot, where users can upload their own photos, and have them appear in the spot. And they can send the spot to friends, of course. Here's mine. I'm dying to see the version that Kevin creates. I've seen some of his desktop backgrounds. That should be a good spot. From Adfreak
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