I hate it when someone else thinks of something absolutely brilliant. I just purchased the painting, pictured above. It's one of a thousand pieces of artwork that are being sold at One thousand paintings.com. There's a sliding scale of mathematics that determines the price of each painting. Much too complicated for any creative person to understand - but it's all pretty affordable.
Someone who is better at math than I am, can add it all up - and see that an artist in Switzerland is about to make a lot of money. Warhol is dancing in his grave right now. Parents - here's proof that a fine arts degree doesn't necessarily guarantee a life of waiting tables. Not that there's anything wrong with that. From BoingBoing.
Advertising as a picture of social opinion. Pretty scary that in South Africa, this is an indication of America's popularity. Or of the popularity of American manufacturing. You decide. It will be interesting to see Smart's campaign when these cars are introduced in the US, sometime in 2007.
6/2/06 We just received this letter from Smart in response to this post:
SMART BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN
The article posted your website refers.
In order to place the communication message in the context we intended, we wish to advise that the intention of the communication headline of the billboard was never to reflect negatively on the American society, but rather to refer to the vehicle’s features and product characteristics. Whereas most American vehicles are famous for e.g. being large in size, the reference to “American nothing” relates to vehicle manufacturing and most certainly not to the American society. This message is clear, considering that “German engineering” and “Swiss innovation” also refers to vehicle manufacturing with no reference intended to the societies of either these countries.
In developing the smart brand and its products, DaimlerChrysler aims to satisfy the needs and requirements of young-hearted and Euro-centric individuals. Similarly, other products within the DaimlerChrysler Group of Companies are aimed at different target segments of the market. Different brands therefore reflect its own characteristics and intend to establish a particular brand image that the consumer can relate and aspire to.
Although we appreciate the fact that all advertisements are open for interpretation by various individuals depending on their own personal opinions, we wish to state that none of the advertisements by DaimlerChrysler in promoting its brands are aimed to be discriminating or offending against any individual, belief, religion, colour, nationality, country or otherwise.
Having regard to the above, and without it being construed as an admission of guilt on the part of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in placing the billboard, it has been resolved to remove the billboard to avoid any further misconception and wrong perception as to the true intent of DaimlerChrysler South Africa in the promotion of the smart brand. We wish to apologise for any offence taken as a result of the misperception created by the billboard.
We trust you find the above in order.
DaimlerChrysler South Africa (Pty) Limited
Here's how competitive our business is. If you're a regular reader, you know that Leigh went in and had her appendix removed last weekend. In most offices, flowers would be sent, cards mailed and genuine care would be shared. Not ours. Leigh goes in for an appendicitis, and VIA employees see that the gauntlet has been thrown down.
In an effort to top Leigh's escapade, on Friday, Kevin left the office with heart palpatations. He drove himself (like a true competitor) to Yale New Haven's emergency room, where he proceeded to get his heart paddled, and spent two days in luxurious care at the hospital.
So - think you can handle a competitive environment? The bar has been raised. (Both are at work today, sharing stories like old people in a retirement village)
Orange is a new retail concept for wireless stores, born in the Netherlands. The experience is completely different than the obnoxious square box with sleazy sales guy selling phone stores that we currently have in the US.
At Orange, the experience is built around five themes - "learn", "play", "enjoy", "buy" and "meet". Sounds a little like the Apple store. But on orange steroids. The stores have cafes, broadcast areas, and from the looks of it, a lot more. The environment, designed by Qua, is stunning. From Influx.
Microsoft began lobbying efforts last week to get support for their new image format - Windows Media Photo (WMP). They hope that the new format - which offers same or better image quality as a JPEG at half the file size - will eventually replace the JPEG. More details and links at Wired.
Here's what happened this week at the world's hottest design & branding firm:
Leigh went to the hospital, and had her appendix removed. Now that she has a surgery scar (how big is an appendix? Will it look something like the photo above?) we assume she's going to be all "tough girl" now. She'll probably become a pirate, or something. We'll find out when she returns on Tuesday.
Ten high school art students from North Salem High visited our agency as part of a job shadow program. We attempted not to corrupt them in any way, and cannot be held responsible should they pursue careers in the creative field. We apologize to their parents if we've swayed them from pursuing a lucrative career in finance.
Many brainstorms this week on our patio. Amazing (and some really stupid) ideas were discussed for a law firm client, a bike company and a media buying firm's direct marketing campaign. And a self-promotional piece for ourselves.
And - We're hiring. Tell your friends.
There's only one thing better than new car smell. And that's new electronics smell. Gadget hounds know that special feeling you get when you open the box to new electronic equipment.
Well now, there's a blog devoted to the euphoria. Unboxing.com shares the thrill of unboxing new gear. There's even an unboxing Flickr group. So document your experience next time - and submit for all to share! Mmmmmm. Electronics.
Snapple has made a $2 million dollar deal with Boston radio station WFNX to be the sole sponsor of the station from Memorial Day to July 4. No other advertisers will be heard on WFNX or their two sister stations in Maine and New Hampshire during the period. I don't know how the CPM works out here - but given all of the press, attention, and promotion this is going to get, I'll bet it's a sweet deal.
Radio is a tired, ever-more-useless media. But here's a real creative idea that makes FNX unique in the marketplace - and in the industry - all while getting unprecedented exposure for Snapple. A winning situation for all. (Except maybe the sales people who don't work the Snapple account, in the WFNX sales office.)
Great business people know that you have to fail before you can succeed. In our office, during brainstorms, we have only one rule - you can't fail someone else's idea. You can only improve upon it.
Intuit takes experimentation and failure to a whole new level with their "Swing for the Fence" awards. They reward employees with grand ideas. Especially the ones that don't work. How can you reinvent if you don't experiment? The Intuit program is meant to create a supportive environment for ideas that will change and improve their business. Nice. Thanks Eliza!
Martha Stewart is creating a MySpace-like place for women age 25 - 45. They can share crafts, recipes, scrapbooks and stuff you wouldn't find on MySpace. Maybe all of the goth martha stewarts could hang out and chat.
Micropersuation is not so optomistic on her success in this arena. I tend to agree - mostly on the point that the Martha machine is a slow-moving Omnimedia machine. By the time this launches, will this still be relevant? Perhaps. Time will tell. (Jeez - I'm sounding like an old man - "time will tell." Next I'll be working "over yonder" into a sentence.)
Leigh's out of the hospital, after having her worn out appendix removed. The doctor says she'll need lots of rest, and should be back in the office on Tuesday. We think she should stop being such a sissy, and get in here and meet some deadlines. I mean, as far as we know she hadn't even used that appendix in years. It's like throwing away an old purse or something. What's the big deal?
When Kevin had his heart surgery - oh wait, he whined like a baby too. This is looking more and more like an old folks home here. I guess we should turn up the heat, and pull out the cream corn.
We're seeing more and more video work in our firm, as it becomes a massively important media online. B2C and B2B video, produced exclusively for delivery online. Marketers are creating clips for specific audiences and messages - not just throwing their 30 second spot on their website.
So it's great to see this Advertising Age article about Google adding video capability to their AdSense program.
Google sees this as an opportunity for the blue chips as well as the small guys. Big advertisers can use this as a way to test their TV creative before it airs on the much more expensive big screen. Paramount has recently tested Google's new video ad program for its film, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' pictured above. Smaller ad buyers can use this to reach a targeted niche audience at a lower CPM than other video online. What are you doing with video?
Graphic Design USA has produced their annual color forecast.
An excerpt: "Fall 2006 is a time to transition back to more dependable colors," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, Pantone Color Institute. "We're looking for colors we can wrap ourselves in — a feeling achieved through classic neutrals as a base, accented with rich hues.
Uh, duh. Can you ever remember a color expert saying "fall is a time for flourescence. People want to wrap themselves in lime green and purple." (Alright, there was that 80's thing.)
I never put too much credence into these forecasts, as they relate to our industry. Color is an extremely independent choice based on the project at hand, and all of the many, many variables that are a part of that project. Audience, venue, goals, design, surroundings - there's just too many things that merit input to color choice, and trend is usually last on the list. Although I suppose these forecasts are good for choosing sweaters.
Kevin's leaving VIA, to pursue a career in teaching. We'll let you know what school system he ends up in - so that you can have your kids removed in time.
Anyway - we need to replace him. So we were thinking of someone like this: Design & branding firm seeks lunatic capable of hitting jellybeans off the roof with a baseball bat. Must be good at animal sounds, off-color humor and own cool sneakers.
But then we came to our senses and figured we should look for this: Office management guru who's familiar with Excel, Access, and perhaps QuickBooks. Great candidates might also consider themselves a "technologist." Someone who loves the internet, can out-Google your friends, and is on top of everything interactive. Not a programmer, but an amateur internet pop culturist. You'll keep designers on task, pay our vendors, bill our clients, and keep everything organized. And stuff.
Our official job posting is here. Pay is crap (six figure salaries need not apply), but we have free health benefits, 401(k) and a pinball machine.
If you think you're a match, send your resume to me - (darryl AT viaworldwide.com.) And you might want to view the How Not to Interview movie that Adland posted on yesterday, done for Work Austin. Just in case you get to the interview stage.
photo courtesy of MorgellonsUSA.com
A couple of weeks ago, a story was making its way around the technology boards like Slashdot and Digg, and was even posted on BoingBoing. Morgellon's Disease is a disease where patients get lesions that never heal, and strange colorful "fibers" that grow out of their skin (pictured above), all while it feels like bugs are crawling under the skin. It received mainstream news coverage too.
Well now Adrants points out that the whole thing could be fake - created as a viral campaign for the movie A Scanner Darkly.
It's possible the disease is real - and the campaign latched onto it. Many of the websites that cover it are registered anonymously - and nearly all of the news reports covering it appear to have been generated by the same VNR. Many of the websites associated with the disease also claim some major announcement in June or July - and the movie is set to release on July 7, which would make sense.
If this is viral, it's producers planned it years in advance. Impressive. Or, have we become paranoid, conspiracy theory lovin' branding people who see viral campaigns in everything around us? We'll all find out by July 7.
This weekend, Leigh decided that it would be good for her to have an appendicitis. With complete disregard to our clients, her billable hours or her upcoming wedding. So we've decided that we should try and get her old appendix, and sell it. The monies raised could be used to offset lost hours, to hire someone to help her do wedding crap, or to buy a new appendix, should she want one.
We haven't called her fiancee yet, but we're pretty sure he'll go along with the plan. So - how much would you pay for Leigh's old appendix?
That's what Wadard says about the Competitive Enterprise spot we posted about on Friday. Wadard comments on the post, and points to a script they've written over at Global Warming Watch for a counter-ad. They're seeking a production budget, to produce the spot. The script is fantastic:
|Long shot opening on a shot of man standing in a large glass tank up to his ankles in water. Water is filling it fast, with the level rising as he speaks.|
|Presenter: "Some oil and coal companies tell us that carbon dioxide is natural and shouldn't be classified as a pollutant by politicians wanting to legislate against rising emissions.|
|The water level is at his waist and rising fast.|
|Presenter: "They imply C02 can't be a pollutant because we expel it, and it is absorbed by plants for food."|
|The water level is now at chest height and rising.|
|Presenter: "That it provides us with transport and is it is harnessed to make energy and free us a life of back-breaking labour."|
|Water level is starting to cover shoulders. Presenter stretches to full height.|
|Presenter: "That it supports all life."|
|Water level is at chin height.|
|Presenter: "But you can also say the same thing about water."|
SFX: last few words spoken under water yet audible.
|Camera pulls back to longer shot as the water continues to rise rapidly . Presenter starts to float off.|
Carbon Dioxide: Too much is dangerous for life.
|VO: Don't let big oil flood you with lies. The scientific consensus holds that the current rate of emissions increase, unchecked, IS going to change the climate. It's time to act.|
While I would absolutely love for the above spot to be produced (if you can do that, please contact the people at Global Warming Watch), I believe that the Competitive Enterprise spot does more damage than good. The premise is so ridiculous, that when I happened upon it last week, I thought it was a hoax - produced by environmental activists, to make "big oil" look silly. It's not hoax, and the organization behind it believes in the message.
Regardless of your political or environmental beliefs here, the Competitive Enterprise spot sucks. It's so unbelievable - and so poorly produced - that it actually detracts from their cause. The Global Warming Watch spot featured above however, is outstanding creative that delivers a believable message. A case study in bad vs. good. Advertising, of course.
If you've ever struggled to open a package with a pair of scissors, a knife, or a chain saw, then you'll want to check out this article on Wired News, Tales From Packaging Hell, which questions why package designers and producers create product packaging that's nearly impossible to open.
Here's what happened this week at the world's hottest design & branding firm:
We won three AdClub awards. Two bronze pencils, and one silver.
Leigh launched a redesign to Stacie Orrico's site. We'll be building the full site shortly - and this is a placeholder until that's complete. Leigh's incorporated a shot from Stacie's latest photo shoot, and it's beautiful.
I was paid to watch a lot of television. Almost literally. We're producing a viral piece for a music artist, tied to a season finale of a major television show. Should be huge. And a tear-jerker. More later.
It rained nearly every minute of every day this week. It's raining now. We really need an office on the west coast.
I'm not sure that I get what the Competitive Enterprise Institute is all about - but they've produce this really funny 60 second spot that ends with one of the best tag lines ever: "Carbon Dioxide. They call it pollution. We call it life." Jeez. I'm feeling all political this morning. It's Friday. Time for something more fun.
We were just discussing the other day how people in different parts of the US seemingly have varying degrees of empathy about 9/11. Everyone in the northeast is still feeling the pain, and showing respect. Yet the further you seem to travel away from New York, the weaker that sentiment becomes. Hollywood, being furthest away of all, believes we're ready for another film. Hence, the new Oliver Stone trailer. I would love to see attendance figures when this opens, sorted geographically, to see if our theory is correct. The trailer hits theaters tomorrow.
Today the new Apple store opens on Fifth Avenue. It's an architectural masterpiece.
Visitors are greeted with a glass cube at street level, and the entire store is underground. You can ride the glass elevator down, or take the spiral glass staircase. Some additional photos and coverage at Gothamist. Doors open tonight at 6pm - and supposedly, the store will be open 24/7.
This could be the first ever virtual world lawsuit. Second Life, the massively popular virtual world where users can actually own property - is now the subject of a lawsuit.
According to Wired, the attorney, Marc Bragg of West Chester, Pennsylvania, says game developer Linden Lab unilaterally shut down his Second Life account, cutting off his access to a substantial portfolio of real estate and currency in the virtual world. He's demanding $8,000 in restitution.
Unrelated to the lawsuit - but more evidence of Second Life's pull within the real world, this weekend they simulcast the Big Weekend music festival live within Second Life.
Here's a fun, new way to search. Snap. The site fills in the blanks for you, as you enter search terms into the form field. I believe that's AJAX technology - but I only know enough to make promises to clients. Of course we can do that. By Monday? No problem. Nice usability and layout. The preview's a really cool feature to sneak peeks prior to clicking.
Last night's AdClub awards netted VIA three trophies - a silver for product catalog design, for Leigh's work on SnowJam Snowboards, and two bronze pencils for website design - for David's work MsNewBooty.com, and 30 Seconds to Mars.
Congrats to Leigh and David - and everyone who worked on these projects - including Paul, Chris, Brent and Eliza!
There were many pencil jokes thrown around, like how Leigh's pencil was bigger than David's. We had planned a big scene when the bronze awards were presented - but the presenter looked kind of big, and we didn't want to get kicked out before they served dessert. Thanks also to Kevin, for nosing in on Leigh's photo, above.
Tonight we all get to leave the office early and attend the AdClub Awards show. We have three pieces up for awards - and we'll find out what gets bronze, silver or gold.
We'll throw a huge temper tantrum for anything less than gold. Here's the plan: Justus will hurl a beer bottle at the presenter, and Kevin's will scream out "this is rigged!" This should create enough commotion that Leigh can sneak onto stage and switch any bronze or silver awards for gold. David will just sit back and impress "the ladies" in his new jacket. That's our plan. Watch out.
A new study reported by AdAge says that one in four teens can't name all four major broadcast networks. Of course, I also heard that one in four teens couldn't find New York on a map - so who knows what's happening here. And guess what? They like to spend a lot of time on the internet.
Experience the Message points to a March 2006 study about word of mouth marketing. Interesting findings include that 49% of Gen Y have built a website and one quarter have their own blog, and women are more likely to share a positive experience with a business than a man. It's interesting to see that as incomes rise, tools like IM are used less, too. The study is presented by Lucid, a firm that specializes in reaching moms.
Be a fashionista, and stay on top of the latest color trends of the fashion industry at Fashion Trendsetter. That's what the girl pictured above is doing. Except that her sunglasses tint the Pantone chips slightly, so everything's off a shade. But she doesn't care. That's how she rolls.
When the rest of the world was arguing over VHS or Beta, the porn industry went VHS. The porn industry was the first to see the power of DVD. And when the internet was invented - the porn industry embraced it. The porn industry has historically been ahead of the curve on every technology. Today - another first. Vivid Entertainment begins selling porn through an online movie service CinemaNow, that lets users burn DVDs on their own machines (Go ahead - the link is safe - it goes to a news site. You can find porn on your own time)
Here's a lesson for B2B and B2C marketers. We could all be doing the same thing. Why not offer easy DVD download of promotional videos, training and technical clips, even tv spots with an easy "burn to DVD" wizard? Why not give users the full deal - menus, chapters, etc? Why not supply printable DVD labels and cover art? Consumers are ready, with DVD burners at their fingertips. This is an opportunity for any brand with video. From Digg.
I don't know what happened - I'm pretty sure it's a virus or something.
But somehow, in crediting the super talented design work that was done in our shop on the redesign for RMI Direct Marketing, the fantabulous Flash work of Brent Meyer was left out.
This post is all about kissing Brent's ass so that he doesn't get all bent out of shape. Otherwise, we'll all be watching CNN this weekend, as Brent jumps off a bridge. He'd leave a note that said it was all my fault. So, please everyone comment on Brent's greatness. On his superior talents. And on his great looks. He's pictured above. Check out his sweet tats.
Here's what happened this week at the world's hottest design & branding firm:
A couple of site designs have officially launched. A redesign for RMI Direct Marketing, and a video jukebox for the latest 30 Seconds to Mars video, The Kill. Both are David and Paul's beauteous work.
Justus completed the package design work for HeadBlade Sport, the newest razor from the world's only head shaving company. The new design rocks - and is currently being printed in China.
Leigh designed our first "break rules" t-shirt. "Break Rules" is VIA's official motto - and now we'll have t-shirts to tell the world. Or to use as rags when Kevin spills coffee in the kitchen area. She sent them to the printer today, so we should have some available in the next couple of weeks.
Kevin discovered in his rooftop wiffle ball experiment that gumdrops actually travel further than jelly beans, when whacked off the roof with a wiffle ball bat. This is all just theoretical, of course.
Kevin came up with an awesome microsite concept that could tie together a bike company, a natural foods brand, and beverage company in a potentially huge viral promotion. We're in discussions with three brands right now, so more on this later.
Shoot your eye out in your own home! Three easy steps. I can't wait to find out who's behind LASIK@Home. A very funny site selling lasek home kits. Even funnier - the doctor is wearing glasses. Keep an eye on this one (hehe) - it's bound to be a viral behind something good. From yebutnobutyes.
Micropersuation posts about 25 things he learned on Google Trends. What another googleicious tool. The graph above shows the difference in searches between "beer" and "vodka." Vodka is in red. In case you were wondering.
Glue London has produced a viral for Mini UK aveaword.com, that lets users put together a personalized video message for their friends. The press release describes it best -
The unsuspecting friend then receives a personalised email from their friend advising them that ‘someone wants to ave a little word’. At the website they get a personal video message from a character who seems to know a lot about them including their job, girlfriend’s name and most importantly their worst crimes against mankind.
AdJab has posted a list of the eight hottest female mascots. Of course the Morton salt girl made the list, since she's always wearing that super short stripper skirt while walking around in the rain. What a floozie. Ladies - not to worry. There's also a list of the eight hottest male mascots.
Ultimate corporate/political pranksters The Yes-Men have done it again. First, a press release about Haliburton's latest product - Survivaballs. Then the website. This is bound to be taken down soon - so check it out before the Haliburton lawyers do. Very funny. Found originally on ReBlog.
This campaign almost makes me want to go out and get an orange tear tattoo under my eye. In honor of that bouncy Cingular guy - Jack - that AT&T's about to kill.
Well - AT&T being the slow moving behemoth that they are - hasn't put the brakes on the Cingular branding campaign. It's a good thing - because Laurie from BBDO just sent us the latest work, and it's wonderful.
At Cingular Source, users can submit videos of themselves lip syncing songs to Cingular's artist of the month. All to "heighten youth engagement of Cingular’s music platform." I usually hate these things - but was spending far too much time watching the videos that were submitted. Nicely done. This one's for you, Jack ;)
If you're looking for coverage on the E3 show taking place in Los Angeles this week, check out Joystiq at E3. They've got the comprehensive low-down on everything going on - minute by minute. Like how Paris Hilton will be at the Gameloft booth, tomorrow. This, after booth babes were banned from the show.
Here's a good way to waste your morning away. A newspaper generator. Remember newspapers? They were these huge paper things that they used to print news on - before the internet, and blogs.
Anyway, now you can make your own paper. I made the one above, which I believe Leigh will especially enjoy. From Micropersuation.
Leigh is getting married in about a month. If you spoke with her, she'd probably tell you exactly how many days, hours and minutes are left. Because that's how bridezillas roll.
So, what a pleasure to see Adfreak's post on comic videos for the bridezilla in your life. You can skip all the wedding stuff and go right to the meat, here and here. Awesome timing.
Related - Kevin, David, Justus and I believe that we should be able to go to the bachelorette party. Not to see naked men - but just to go out drinkin' with Leigh. Cmon' - we're practically like sisters to Leigh. Her lead bride's maid (what do they call those again? best woman?) won't have it. Leave your comments if you agree.
We previously posted on how AT&T is going to kill off the Cingular bouncy guy. Jon Fredkove at Strategic Name Development points us to a continued discussion on the topic with some excellent points.
AT&T reportedly spent 4 billion (with a 'B') developing the brand. And they're estimating another 2 billion to bring it into the AT&T "deathstar" brand. Strategic Name Development points out that this is a logical thing to do.
On paper, I agree. One brand is easier to manage than multiple brands. But you also have to consider that we're talking about brands here. People who find affinity with the Cingular brand won't be so quick to make the switch just so that AT&T can be more efficient. Which means that at least some of those customers will move to other providers. Worth the investment, and brand risk? I'm not convinced yet.
I do agree with the SND crew on one point - AT&T could learn from the Sprint/Nextel merger - and perhaps there's an opportunity to combine elements in the new identity. And then just maybe, the bouncy guy could live on.
AOL is working overtime attempting to get the MySpace audience. One of their latest efforts offers free phone numbers for AIM users. This seems like a logical goal for AOL. As Micropersuation points out, AOL already has a sales force and tight relationships with the biggest online advertisers in the world. That will bring a lot of initial money to the table.
Kids must be sick of seeing MySpace on the local news, and middle-aged business men creating profiles. If there's going to be a migration, now is the time. But is the AOL brand cool enough? Are users already too entrenched in MySpace to ever consider another service? This one will be an interesting one to watch.
Philips is shaving the world. First their Shave Everywhere site blows up big time. Now they have some game with the Netherlands version, where you can shave a man. I guess that's really big in the Netherlands. Just in case you don't speak Dutch, press 'Speel het spel' and 'Direct Spelen' button to play without logging in. From DaBitch at AdLand.
Print magazines make a return - with fanzines that are geared towards artists, graphic designers, writers and other creative types. So says a New York Times article from yesterday's Style section. The creators of Lemon, pictured above, are profiled in detail.
Kevin Grady, a Creative Director at Arnold Worldwide, and two of his partners wanted to create "Something that would make print an experience, like a short film or a movie." So they produced Lemon. Hooray.
You'd think that with blogs, there wouldn't be any use for paper-based publications. But I've always encouraged creatives to buy magazines and fanzines of varying interests as creative exploration. There's so much to learn by reading something you wouldn't normally subscribe to. And now that zines are back in style, geared towards designers, there's a load of creative inspiration waiting at your bookstore. On paper. You can touch it.