gift guide for creative people

We love shopping so much, that we've created a side blog devoted entirely to gift ideas. Gifts that will have recipients saying "oh, you're sooo creative!", or gifts that you can put on your own list.

So check it out: the BrandFlakesForBreakfastGiftGuide.

Visit it daily, blog about it, tell your friends, digg it, tag it, tell your parent (or spouse) who says "I never know what to get you."

Most of all - we need your help. Send your ideas for cool creative gifts. Keep them to items that people who work on small agency salaries can afford. Best if under $100. And stuff you can't usually find at the mall.

how to get out of advertising

This is a story about Kim Westad. She's this incredibly talented designer that used to work at our agency. Actually, she was the first ever girl at our firm. I think she once even kicked David in the nuts. Or maybe it was Kevin. Anyway, she's since went onto a career as a potter. She says "ceramist", but I think Potter sounds funnier.

Turns out she's smarter than everyone else in our industry. While we're all stressing about deadlines, and clients, and stress, and browser widths, and stress, and stuff, she's holding clay on a pottery wheel. Or whatever you call that spinning thing.

And now - you can check out her beautious work at a Solo Exhibition, at the Kiva Cafe Tribeca, 229 Hudson Street between Broome and Canal Street, New York, now through January 20, 2007. Stop by - but don't break anything.

if boo comes back, will people notice?

A long time ago, there was this mess called the dot com boom. And this site called A fashion e-commerce site, that really tried to push the envelope. And they probably spent tons of money on Eames chairs, and parties with Aerosmith and foos ball tables. I'm just guessing on that last part. And they ran out of money. Then a few years later, they tried to come back. And they ran out of money.

Now, they're coming back again. Tristan Louis writes an interesting essay on why their time is now. And maybe he knows a thing or two, because he used to work there in the glory days. Interesting read.

airlines: marketing opportunity

Here's an idea. Add ten cents to my fare - which will pay for an RFID tag, and put together a campaign touting guaranteed luggage delivery.

Wired Magazine reports on the development of RFID technology for baggage handling. And since lost luggage is at an all time high, you'd think this would be a huge opportunity for someone. An opportunity to install a system that saves your company boku bucks and allows your agency to produce a kick ass campaign that claims 100% luggage delivery.

But I don't run an airline. Which is probably a good thing.

please stop the ridiculously stupid husband ads

Just saw a new holiday spot last night for Lowes. (Can't find a version online, if you can, send a link). The ad features an obviously brain dead husband attempting to find the right gift for his wife. He asks a cute blond Lowes employee to "play his wife."

He proceeds to pick out gifts like a leaf blower, a drill, and other "man tools" to her disappointment, until they land on the ultimate romantic spa bathtub. Puhleeze.

Dumb ass husbands - ok. Even entertaining, if they're funny. Husband that doesn't understand a leaf blower isn't a great gift for the wife? Make it stop.

mac holiday ad is here

Mac just released their newest series of spots, proving that Justin Long wasn't fired. The smug little twit lives on. They let him grow his hair longer, too. And PC got a gnarly sweater. Rejoice.

personal trainer business card

A fun, "interactive" business card for a personal trainer.

some british people watch less tv now

Just another survey that shows people are watching content online. In case you were looking for proof that this internet thing is catching on. Except it seems, some Brits aren't watching:

"...two-thirds of the population said they did not watch online and could not envisage starting in the next 12 months."

Wow. Lighten up. What's got you so busy in the next 12 months? Is British tv really that good? The good news is that most who do watch online now watch less tv. I guess that's good news. Since I don't work in TV, I guess it really doesn't matter. Now I'm rambling again.

finally, a school i can get into

Just in case you haven't already seen it. I'm enrolling today. All to promote Ziddio.

cool gifts for creative people

Another gift shopping tip for creative folk...

Any creative person knows that the presentation is as important as the gift itself. So check out Cool Hunting's list of great wrapping papers. My fave is pictured above - Happy Fucking Whatever. And you can use it year round, too.

happy birthday, eliza

Today is Eliza's birthday. She's not here - but we didn't think that should stop us from celebrating. And you know how we love cake.

Eliza's our copywriter. She comes up with all kinds of witty things, and is always correcting our grammar and stuff. So rather than the typical creative photo cake, we went with a simple "e is for eliza." Tasted the same.

We did cut her a piece, but since she's not here, it's probably going to melt.

Happy b-day, e.

crotch bustin' doritos

Gotta love Japanese package design.

brands on parade

Think you've got a tough project? Imagine producing a piece that had to be approved by several committees, AND you had to satisfy style guides from multiple licensed characters!

Dan Santat details how he arrived at the above final art for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade poster. From conceptual sketches to the final revisions, he showcases each step. From HowDesign.

what you can learn from the dying

Getting back from the holidays all tired and worn out? Good.

I just discovered this wonderful post over at HeeHaw Marketing - so appropriate for the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend.

The crux of a life lesson: Be afraid to sleep. Be afraid of missing one more thing. Paul writes that he wishes he spent more time living - like his grandmother has spent dying. Being afraid to sleep.

A heart warming life lesson from Paul's grandma Mimi, to kick off your work week. And life. Welcome back!

cool gifts for creative people

Today we're kicking off a pre-holiday black-friday bonanza spectacular gift guide palooza feature that you can't miss blitz. Every few days, we'll point to a fun, unique gift for the creative person in your life. Unique ideas, that you won't typically find at the mall.

Today - we feature two cool gifts:

Creative people love paper. Even the internet types. At Ex Libris Anonymous, you can buy hand made journals with covers from vintage books. The journals are individual productions - so the inventory is constantly changing. Really unique and nostalgic gift, from $12 - $15 each.

And, one gift for the bloggers and photographers. At Blurb , you can turn your blog, or your photographs, into a book. An actual hardcover, library bound book. Document a trip, a pet, or your blog for the people in your life who care. Apple's been doing this for a while with iPhoto, and Blurb seems to have taken this to another level. Starting at $18.95.

Get shopping.

every james bond title sequence in one handy place

Back before kids could produce title sequences using a bootleg copy of After Effects on their computer in their mom's basement - opening title sequences required a great deal of work. And ingenuity.

The James Bond films of course, have made this a tradition. And now, finally, someone's put together a playlist of every Bond title sequence. Sweet. From BoingBoing.

another reason to keep your banking local

Yeesh. Maybe you've seen the hilarious Bank of America meeting performance above. And now Comedian David Cross and Johnny Marr covered the song at the Modest Mouse show, this weekend in NY. Adfreak has a good rundown on the events that have lead to this officially becoming a meme. Oh, just wait for the countless alternate versions that will surely be created and uploaded to YouTube in the coming days. Can't wait.

spot tv launches on black friday

Now I have something to do on Black Friday, that doesn't involve shopping.

This is one of those, "damn, wish I thought of that" ideas. Spot TV Network is launching a channel devoted to...spots. Advertising spots. A network devoted to advertising and marketing content.

The network will officially launch on Black Friday, on YouTube.

It would be cool if they had programs all about spots - behind the scenes, interviews with the agency folk, basically everything about the spot, and then - lead into the spot. But that's just my idea. Here's what they're actually doing, according to the press release:

Spot TV's YouTube launch will consist of four segments of programming called "Spotlights" which provide the viewer with an inside look at some of the world's biggest and most well known brands. Featured brands telling their stories in these "Spotlight" launch segments include Nike Bauer, the Detroit Pistons, Phillips Distilling and Nutrisoda.

The network itself is planning a wide release on national cable providers sometime in the first quarter of 2007, but for now the focus is on the November 24th preview.

So check it out Friday. After you get home from shopping at 5am.

car i can't pronounce rocks the halfpipe

It's QashQai, a car from Nissan. And it kicks ass in the half pipe. Excellent idea. From Ernie Schenck Calls This Advertising?

consumer generated media neatly categorized as f's

Church of the Customer blog has studied citizen created sites devoted to products, brands and companies - and categorized them - into the four F's.

mastercard with your company logo

Cool promotional or corporate gift idea. I could think of some funny graphics to put on a card. From Duct Tape Marketing.

how to do black friday

The Consumerist has a quick look at how to make the best of black friday. Or, you could just sleep late and watch tv.

unilever promotes product by not promoting it

A pretty cool game called the Stunt man, uses Flash and video clips, and you get to throw a guy against a wall, onto a car, etc. All to promote Action City LA, and some mysterious Unilever product. This is a lost opportunity, since the product is not immediately clear to the player. Unilever money, working hard for nothing. From Josh Spear.

nike's got strong balls

Not being a golfer, I don't get what benefit strong balls might give a player. I assume, based on the clip above, that balls capable of smashing through a lava lamp might go further on the golf course.

So Nike's out to show you what that looks like - with their campaign Nike Juice 312. Each day, a new experiment, with new golf balls. And you don't have to be a golfer to enjoy destroying things. ;) From Adverblog.

zippo takes a licking

and keeps on zipping. Or something. This series of ads promotes the Zippo guarantee.

this week at via

Here's what happened this week at the world's most ready-for-the-holidays design and branding firm:

On Wednesday, we shot material for our agency holiday card. Oh, the stories that we can't wait to tell you. Let's just say we successfully avoided mall security.

David started work on a new online promotion for Switchfoot. We're producing something to promote their new single, and video. It'll be fun.

Leigh started work on a microsite for the new k-os music video. (Pronounced "chaos" for you older people) Cool video, too.

Justus began producing a group of video shorts/promotional messages for a New England banking chain, that will ultimately play in their lobbies.

We produced some holiday greetings for a couple of clients, and completed design concepts for a GPS website.

Justus attended a Gourmet Typography workshop today. I think it was just an excuse to get out of the office on Friday.

Looking forward to a really unproductive week, next week. Lots of holidays, lunches and non-work stuff!

shout it out loud

I know it's cute, and if I were really cool, I'd never admit this - but, what the heck. I can't help it. I'm ok with the Shout video clip. And I think it does a great job of communicating the brand statement, "bring clothes back to life."

And, if this redeems my coolness in any way (probably not), - I still think it would be cool for Shout to use the Kiss anthem "Shout it out loud" as a theme in a future spot. I'm just sayin. From Advergirl.

zune. a marketing lesson.

I'll leave the Zune hype and critiques to the tech blogs - and people smarter than me, and refrain from comment on the new MS project.

But Grant McCracken - he's a smart guy - and he's written a great post with a real marketing perspective.

new depressing spot to kickoff your morning

Cake Media London has created their second spot raising awareness about violence against women, titled Up to 69. Their first ad focused on men. This one is geared towards women - and points out how ridiculous it is (and yet how common it is) for friends to be oblivious about the aggressor. Eesh.

cheerios puts books in boxes

In a new promotion tied to National Children's Book Week, Cheerios has put books in their boxes of cereal.

They've modified the packaging to include a window where buyers can see what book they're getting. Great packaging idea. Not just for your tummy, and your heart - but your head too. (eesh. Sorry).

starbucks readies magical blend, decorates stores with red

The Christmas Blend is here. Let the holidays begin. Brand Autopsy does a quick rundown on the history of Christmas Blend marketing, including the cherished ad from the 90's, above.

And, they've kicked off their red campaign. Not the Red campaign that the Gap is doing - but the Red Cup campaign, started way back in 2004. In case you were keeping track.

flags of the world, with client revisions

Here's what a bunch of flags might look like, if they went through a typical client review process. This making fun of client revision stuff never gets old. From AdFreak.

smug little twit not fired

This just in. The Mac guy was never canned.

now downstairs can match upstairs

Or the carpet can match the drapes. Or not.

Imagine calling your mom, and telling her all about this new project you're working on. "We just got the pubic hair coloring account!"

Introducing Betty Beauty - pubic hair dying kits. Getting lots of buzz in the media, according to AdAge, which all started with one full page ad in the Cosmoprof beauty trade show publication. Oh, the fun.

stylists of america. rejoice.

Jon Howard finds this glorious 30 minute tribute to designers. From the way back time of 1958. "The things about us are made to express our own free spirits..." Yes. I think they are.

do you vastu?

Wired has a neat piece on web vastu - a company that's applying the art of Vastu Shastra, the Indian equivalent of Feng Shui, to web sites.

Vastu Shastra is based on the theory that the world comprises of five basic elements, also known as the Paanchbhootas. They are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. Webvastu is the fusion of the Vastu Shastra with the art of designing websites.

I just like saying the word Paanchbhootas. Try it. It's fun.

introducing web 3.0. marketers don't even know about web 2.0

Just in the New York Times is covering what some people are calling web 3.0, a survey from Boomerang points out that 79% of marketers aren't even aware of the term web 2.0. Probably because they've been stuck in meetings all day.

cool business card holders from paint chip samples

Here's how to make business card holders out of paint chip samples from Home Depot. In case you were wondering.

everyone's talking about that mac guy

Lots of discussion about Mac dumping the smug little twit. The dudes over at Name Development have a good rundown of recent postings and stuff - and points out the opportunity for Microsoft.

But Make The Logo Bigger has the best suggestion ever...let's replace him with the Dell guy.

ron mueck rolls into brooklyn

I've posted about Ron Mueck's amazing sculpture before. Well, now the Brooklyn Museum is hosting a show featuring his work. If you're in or near NYC between now and February, here's something to do. I can't wait to check it out. From Eyebeam.

umm, merry xmas.

Oh, the poor souls who are in retail. Many of them are already tired of Christmas music - cuz it's been playing in their stores since at least last week.

American Copywriter points out that this is referred to as Season Treason. And as you'd expect, it gets most customers upset. So why do they do it? And why do customers support it?

And, if Christmas music at Halloween wasn't disgusting enough - the former lead singer of Generation X, pop-punk star Billy Idol has done the unthinkable. He's released a Christmas album. The holidays are here!

this week at via

Here's what happened this week at the world's most excellent design and branding firm:

David completed design work on a site for a GPS manufacturer. Brent and Paul did some spectacular Flash work and super-coding on the project too.

Justus and David both did a little bit of work on the VIA holiday card. It's good. Just wait.

David also designed cover art for a benefit CD for the National Adoption Foundation.

Leigh was buried in direct mail all week. Not always the most glamorous of work, but she's made it shine.

Giuli shopped more than ever.

We bought our first island for a client in Second Life - and are on the way to putting together something we believe is pretty spectacular.

I went to Minneapolis, and spent some quality time at a national sales meeting for Cellmark Paper, and Flambeau River Papers. Talking to the team about branding, and learning a lot about paper. And pulp, and stuff.

While at the meeting, I had the pleasure of seeing Walter Bond speak. An ex-NBA player, Walter was an amazing motivational speaker. I don't normally find anything about team sports or athletes entertaining - but this guy was really good. If your firm is considering hiring a speaker at any future event, I'd highly recommend this guy. Awesome, and inspiring.

The plumber installed the official VIA dishwasher in our kitchen. You can now safely drink from our cups and mugs, should you ever visit.

Sadly, Leigh had to put her family dog down today. :( Send warm thoughts.

more words of wisdom from IDEA

AdCritic has an excellent highlight of some key points made at the first IDEA Conference - an event produced by Advertising Age and Creativity magazine.

Some key quotes:

Pointing out that Steve Jobs didn't create great ideas by doing market research, multilingual ad man David Jones, global CEO of Euro RSCG, exhorted ad execs to stop asking permission.

"There was a time where I'd be working on something where I'd need to drink," Mr. Bogusky said. "The problem is, the longer you do it, the smaller that window for creativity gets. And then you're trashed." Alex Bogusky

"We don't have enough managers, and we intended it to be that way," said Google's chief engineer, Craig Neville-Manning, who credited that lack of bureaucracy as a big reason for the search giant's success in bringing new products to market.

"It's not about control, but the fact that the fan owns the brand," Mr. McBride (Barenaked Ladies) "Fans do all the marketing for us."

Good stuff.

get off my ass

Oh, the fun we could have with electronic bumper stickers. Imagine being able to send messages to the people in cars near you? I'd want these installed on the sides of my car too - so as I pass people, I could share a few words. And oh, what great promotional vehicles we could build.

Anyway, apparently VW thinks it's a cool idea too. Or at least that's what they're telling their research facility in Palo Alto. Thanks Giuli!

two new web2.0 tools to start your day

What would Thursday be without a couple of new web2.0 tools?, is a visual search engine. Took me a minute or two to understand the concept, but once I did, it was kinda cool. Seems like a good tool for shopping. Mmmm. Messenger bags.

And, stikkit, a web2.0-riffic virtual sticky pad that helps you keep things organized.


fashion magazine launches for guys who hate fashion magazines

Fantastic Man just launched the first fashion magazine for guys that don't like fashion magazines. Uh huh.

Wasn't that Gear Magazine ? Will they get it placed near the sports magazines, since guys who hate fashion magazines wouldn't be caught dead in the fashion magazine section??

The design looks wonderful - and, as someone that really does like fashion magazines, I'll check it out. But I'm really hoping that flannel and patchwork quilt shirts aren't the next big thing. Please, not the patchwork quilt thing. Please.

Thanks Giuli! (Funny that it took a girl to notice a mag about fashion for guys who don't like fashion.) I don't know. I'm tired.

mac guy, rip.

Whoah. Wait a minute. Forget about Britney and KFed. This is the really big news....

Apparently, Mac is dumping the Mac guy from their ads. It seems like everyone identifies with the PC guy. Mac guy, maybe not so much.

Maybe it's because PC guys is the likeable underdog. I recently heard a motivational speaker claim that "confidence is arrogance under control." Maybe smug Mac guy was too confident. And was perceived as arrogant. Or maybe it's something totally different. Now I can't wait for the next series of ads.

stuff that giuli bought this week

Giuli has an odd job in our firm - a pretty difficult position to write a job description for. One of the many unique responsibilities that she enjoys is prop shopping for photo shoots. We've noticed that in an average week, Giuli buys some pretty odd crap.

Here's what she's purchased so far this week:
+ An EMF detector
+ A santa suit
+ Cargo van (well, she rented this one, I don't think we could bill a client for the purchase of it)
+ Graphic magnets for cargo van
+ 26" square boxes
+ T-shirts with swear words on them
+ One pair of infant shoes
+ An air pump

Put all of these things together, and she looks...suspicious. I'm sure she's on some terrorist watch list, somewhere. But just a typical week for Giuli.

product positioning as an ad

Not that you want to use Tide to clean your milk, but this really would capture your attention in a grocery store.

white ribbon email

Sean Patrick Ganann, digital creative director over at Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, in Australia "knocked out" this customizable email to promote White Ribbon Day.

Gorgeous work (in a gory, bloody way), that uses "the fold", "the scroll", whatever you want to call it as a creative advantage, to produce the element of surprise. Don't you wish you could just "knock out" stuff like this? Awesome.

the creative brief

This has apparently been around for a while - but I just caught it for the first time on Living Brands. It's seven minutes long, but the end is pretty awesome.

voting art projects

Lots of people want photos of your vote.

AIGA is collecting shots as a part of their Design for Democracy project. You can browse or upload your own photos at their Polling Place Photo Project site. From HowDesign.

And Veek the Vote wants your crappy cell phone video clips telling the world your thoughts on voting. From Josh Spear.

new subaru spots

DDB Toronto just released two new spots for Subaru. I love Tornado. That concept would translate nicely into an interactive piece - where you could control the tornado - and tear things apart (except the Subaru, of course.) It's fun to watch elements disappear from the scene - and would be awesome to control that yourself. But that's just me - and I probably have god complex issues or something. Anyway, two great new spots.

not in love with the car cash guys

I'm selling my car. Having heard countless spots for Car Cash, I figured I'd call to see if I'd too be in love with the car cash guys. (You need to sing that last part, out loud)

Of course, I started online. I was stoked to see that they offered a live chat option, and immediately signed in. Name, car details, phone number. The response from my "live" chat Car Cash representative? "Someone will contact you via the number you've supplied, within the next couple of hours."

Why sell this as live chat? Why not just say fill out this form, and we'll call you? That would easily position the experience as a positive - rather than a lie. Instead, I'm left thinking that I just got tricked into giving out some of my personal information. When they finally called, I was so turned off, that I didn't care what the value of my vehicle was. My experience with car cash was officially over.

Car Cash: You can't fake the online experience. We know the difference. (Oh - and monitor resolutions are bigger now - your site feels like it was designed for a cell phone screen.) Lesson learned: Be genuine.

interactive architecture

Ericsson built a tower in the suburbs of Stockholm that local architect Milo Laven, artist Erik Krikortz and interactive designer Loove Broms have completely transformed.

Their Colour by Numbers project allows the public to dial a number (+46 (0)70 57 57 807), select the floor you want to control, and change the color. If you're not in Stockholm, you can participate using the webcam. From Cool Hunting.
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