over and out

Our office is closed next week, so that the VIA crew can do whatever. Mostly sleeping late, drinking, and eating cookies. And riding bikes. And snowboarding. And spending time with kids.

Anyway, I'll only be posting if I'm really really bored - so don't expect much. Then again, the way I get bored, who knows. Best if we all just step away from the computer for a few days.

Happy Xmas, Happy New Year, have a great vacation everyone. It's been a fun 2006. Here's to even more in 2007!!! (I'm raising a beer in the air and toasting you right now)

this week at via

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

The site that we produced for Janet Jackson earlier in the year, DesignMe, was just listed as the NUMBER ONE user-generated-media site, by Billboard magazine! See a partial pirate scan of the page here. Sweet!

If you've seen Santa Hunters, then you know that David's Jewish. But that doesn't mean he doesn't love Santa. No sir. Here's proof.

David launched the site he's been working on for Switchfoot. It's called OhGravity! and it's pretty cool. You get to listen to the new Switchfoot single, while watching people bang their heads on pavement, crotches on rails and faces on logs. Nothing says great entertainment like guys getting messed up on skateboards, surfboards and bikes. Nice.

Eliza delivered the biggest load of sugary goodness that you ever did see. For real. She needed a luggage cart to carry it into the office. I'm pretty sure we've all added a couple of pounds to our mid-sections, cuz there's only a couple of cookies left. Can't believe that all fit in our bellies.

adobe re-branding is colorful. and has lots of icons.

Veerle's got a great post about the re-branding of the Adobe software suite - and an interview with Ryan Hicks, Sr. Experience Designer at Adobe. They've laid out all of the Adobe product icons on a color wheel, to give you an idea of the scope of the challenge. Impressive.

amazon launches askville

Amazon just launched Askville. A place where you can ask a question about anything, and have real people answer it. Kind of like a forum. I totally drink the Amazon Kool-Aid, but not sure I see this one just yet. Check it out for yourself.

an agency card not like the others

Wow. One agency, Brew, took a completely different approach to their holiday card. No bad santas, no drunken creatives, no animals in the office, no throwing snowball games, no over the top Flash work.

Just a really thoughtful video clip. Way to stand out. Nicely done.

how giuli does holiday billing

It's the end of the year. And the billing season. We're closed next week, so there's a lot to do. Probably most importantly, we need to get our end of year billing done.

In the spirit of getting things done, Giuli polished down a Mojito the size of Texas at lunch yesterday.

So, an open apology to clients who are receiving invoices in the next few days. If they seem over zealous, inaccurate or stained with mint leaves, please excuse us. It's the alcohol.

Thanks to Peter at Cellmark for funding this excursion.

vista is NOT a copy of osx

The New York Times reviews Microsoft's Vista - and proves that it IS NOT just a rip off of Mac's OSx. The video looks like it was shot from a cell phone, with lint on the lens, on a foggy day - but other than that, pretty cool. Thanks Dave!

some more agency greeting cards

A holiday recap of the more popular videos that kept us away from boring work throughout the year...

And there's this one, where employees become notes in a song. Pretty clever, even if annoying.

And Deutsch used live animals to produce a completely meaningless, and entertainment free video card. I apologize for even including the link.

Most from Adrants.

ad guy tries to do everyone at holiday party

Fun litty ditty about Ad Guy, who gets carried away at the office Christmas party. From Ignited Minds/ProPacific.

just in time for eliza's pecan squares


Obesity's the bomb, yo. Great. Just what we needed. A giant poster to remind us of how dangerous our over eating of pecan squares, and white trash, and apple nut squares, and monkey bread, and chocolate is. Eliza, our copywriter, loaded us down with the biggest gift of sugary goodness you've ever seen. And, some milk too. And then I find this ad. I think it's a sign. Let me go get another pecan square, and contemplate this.

UPDATE: At the request of their ad agency, we've removed the image of sticks of butter strapped to a belly like a suicide bomb. You'll have to conger up the image in your own imagination. It was a good ad. It was an effective ad. But the client got all nervous. Got cold feet. And so, now, we've got boring text on the top of this entry.

leo burnett sends agency card from second life

Because, I guess, it had to be done. By an agency. Leo Burnett created their holiday card using some of their Second Life avatars. How appropriate. You can watch it,without any Second Life lagging, or the fear of Second Life flying, here. Wonder if they paid for the RunDMC music licensing fee. Probably not. From AdRants.

six apart sends holiday greeting, and new blog service

Send this to any blogger friends you have. Six apart, the creators of blogriffic tools like Typepad and Movable Type, created the ultimate blogging service, so that your family and friends can keep up with your blog during the holiday season. Even though they're too busy to read your blog during the holiday season. Funny, in all its low-fi glory.

we love xeni

Xeni Jardin, of BoingBoing fame, appeared on CNN last night with host Kristie LuStout, to talk about fun, holiday themed videos online. Apparently, one of the clips she covered was a production of ours from last year, that we did as a part of our agency holiday card. A Christmas Gory. You can see the YouTube version above, or go to the official A Christmas Gory website, and see more (be sure to check out "behind the scenes".)

This was our most successful holiday greeting card ever. We sent the original card to just over 200 recipients. A Christmas Gory has now been seen by well over 100,000 viewers worldwide. Thanks Xeni!!!!

brand mythology

Great post the other day from Seth Godin, about brand mythology.

A couple of excerpts:

There's clearly a Google mythology and a Starbucks one as well. We feel differently about brands like these than we do about, say Maxwell House or Random House.

Mythological brands make a spiritual connection with the user, delivering something that we can't find on our own... or, at the very least, giving us a slate we can use to write our own spirituality on.

People use a Dell. They are an Apple.


holiday sweaters are the new black

Nothing says Christmas spirit like an embroidered, bejeweled, uber tacky sweater.

The crew over at Sullivan Higdon & Sink understands this, and so they created We Love Holiday Sweaters. At this woolriffic site, you can create your own sweater, post it to the gallery (some funny ones are already live) or send it to your friends.

And since their company motto is "we hate sheep", this is especially appropriate - because for every sweater that's made, there's a sheep that's left out in the cold for the holidays.

top ten tech breakthroughs

Popular Mechanics has put together a list of 10 Tech Concepts You Need to Know for 2007. Mostly, it's geeky science stuff, but monday morning must read points out bendable concrete.

Of course this was invented for earthquakes, expansion joints, and other exciting uses. But I wonder if this could be pushed into other categories - like instore design, point of purchase, architectural or product design.

spring street art experiment

Yesterday marked the end of a wonderful street art experiment. A building on Spring Street in NYC, famous for it's street art, has been purchased by a new developer. The developer contacted the Wooster Collective, and arranged for an amazing festival of street art. They invited artists to cover the building in art. Inside and out.

Until yesterday. This week, they'll power wash the outside, and begin installing sheetrock on the inside - creating a street art time capsule for people in the future. Coolest developers ever. Wish I could afford the condo that will feature Shepard Fairey's art underneath the walls, pictured above. Check out the fab collection of photos over at Gothamist.

proof nobody likes to look at ugly people

In a spoof of the now famous Evolution spot by Dove, Campaign Against Real Life has created Slob Evolution. Because nobody wants to look at ugly people. And, unlike the Dove version, this is one you can try on your own. Just stop by our office for some holiday cookies, and get on your way to that "real life" look that everyone's sporting. From AdFreak.

the twelve STIs of christmas

In the spirit of giving, here's a holiday special called the The 12 STIs Of Christmas. STI's. That's the way they say STD in the UK. Safe for work as long as your boss doesn't freak at the names of STD's being sung in a holiday fashion. That, and some stick figures urinating and stuff. Oh, just go there and learn all about STD's. Or STI's. Just use a condom. From Yesbutnobutyes.

this week at via

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

Leigh has lit the Brand Flakes Gift Guide on fire with a bunch of new ideas. If you haven't already checked this out - visit today for some creative gift ideas for creative people.

David nearly completed a site he's been working on with Paul, for Switchfoot. Should launch next week. Titled Oh, Gravity!, the site pulls clips from YouTube that feature crashes, faceplants and other pleasant action sport type incidents. I think this is a great use of existing technology and tools, and bringing them together to create something unique. And it's fun to watch people destroy themselves. ;)

Leigh completed work on a site for K-OS, which when live, will allow fans to upload their own photos to be featured in the online video player. Great video, and cool work. Not launching till January, and we can't wait for you to see it.

Leigh designed logos for an island we're working on in Second Life. Much more on this later.

David worked on some conceptual treatments for a new Snowboard Catalog for SnowJam, Zuma and Spice brands.

Justus conceptualized a sales brochure for a new kind of residential construction company.

We tested hippity hops in our office this week. We even popped one. Giuli is pictured above, with the evidence. Didn't really think that was possible with industrial rubber, but it is.

how to be brilliant

I just stumbled across this outstanding essay titled 9 to 5 = average. It's a post that deals with the topic of passion. Passion for the work craft that you choose.

The author points out that being great requires sacrifice and devotion. And that being great isn't for everyone.

Reminds me of that old, fantastic quote by someone famous who I can't remember or attribute now: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."

Send this to any design student that you know, any recent graduate, new job seeker, or burnt out co-worker looking for a career change.

Not to be a spoiler, but the piece closes with what I thought was a beautiful summation: "If you do choose to do it, don’t do it for your boss. Do it because it’s what you would do anyways. Do it because you love it."

thinking outside the can

Core 77 points to Cans of the Year, by Can Maker Magazine. The Heineken bottle above is scrumptious. It's aluminum - which cools faster, feels colder, is lighter, and prints graphics better. Who says a can has to feel like a can, or a bottle has to be made of glass?

only 4 days till sugar coma

There's one thing that we love here more than cool t-shirts, more than a casual dress code, more than Apple products (well, maybe). And that thing is sugary treats.

And - it just so happens that our most talented-with-the-words copywriter has yet another supreme gift. The talent of baking. The truth is, Eliza could quit her career of writing brilliant ad copy and internet content today, and retire to a life of baked goodness.

Each year, on a very special day, Eliza shows up to our office with a bag of this magic. Just the thought of one concoction in particular, "white trash", has had us salivating since the day after Thanksgiving.

So, Leigh put together the countdown widget above signaling how many days are left before we go into sugar coma. In the meantime, we've been filling our stomachs with rice and bird seed, in an effort to stretch them, so we can eat even more.

If you're in the area (or want to book air travel now), use the countdown clock above as your guide. Mmmmmmm. White Trash.

real men drive concrete trucks

Oddly, this campaign reminds me of Christmas at my house. Imagine the conversations that take place between an uber liberal creative type, who spends his day in front of a computer, and a hard ass, hard working guy that would fit into these ads. You'd have to meet my father-in-law, to totally understand, but let's just say he's not the uber liberal creative type.

Really nice work from Young and Rubicam, Irvine. Is this really for a concrete company? Sadly can't read the detail to tell, but I'm just surprised that they'd have ad agency budgets for targeting potential drivers. Maybe it's for Chevy trucks.

newscasts from second life

Edelman and Electric Sheep have created a vlog/machinima blog that's essentially a Second Life news-type program. Titled GridReview, they feature reports on events in SL, and interviews with SL celebrities - like CopyBot. Great idea.

I can see Second Life talent agencies and production companies following. So many possibilities. So little time.

agency rocks out with their xmas card

This is pretty entertaining. In a bad harmony, poor dancing, good thing they're in advertising kind of way. A rockin' good time from agency Proximity. Watch it over and over.

Other agencies should do their own version of this song - or use the Proximity version, and produce new versions of the video. We could re-create the dance scenes. Oh, the fun. It could live forever. From Adrants.

how a supermarket does home remodeling

Bloom Supermarket has temporarily improved urban blight in their community (or in this case maybe, rural blight), while advertising for their store at the same time. A billboard placed next to the house says that Bloom Supermarket "delivers happier holidays." Really delicious idea. Mmmmm. Cookies.

on toyota’s mind

This was one of the most bookmarked sites all across the internet yesterday. Personally, the flying garbage heap feels a little creepy to me - but nonetheless, it's really beautious Flash work. And engaging.

Pull "the string" and you'll learn why Toyota is kicking ass in the U.S.

holiday mashups are the holiday rage

People are having loads of holiday fun by re-dubbing audio tracks and re-editing video. 10 Zen Monkey's points to the 10 top xmas specials that have been re-dubbed into new creative bits (use headphones, audio may be NSFW).

And, you've probably already seen the Scrubs version of Charlie Brown's Xmas, featured above. Last year, we created A Christmas Gory - a mashup of the world famous Christmas movie, realized as a horror movie trailer. Looks like this is a fun trend that's only getting started. This would be some great material for the right product or promotion. Hmmm.

what to do this weekend instead of shopping

Put on a Santa suit and go to Santacon 2006. Be seen with other Santas. And get your drink on with other Santas. I'm stoked that we still have the costume from Santa Hunters in our office. And, there's one in nearly every city - so get your costume ready. Oh, what fun... From yesbutnobutyes.

god likes rodents too.

And especially really brainy squirrels, I guess. I love it when churches allow for great creative work. Because it's so unexpected, it really comes across strong.

EZ Answer squirrel is the all-knowing rodent who can answer all of life's questions. Which, promotes the site Wondercafe. Which, promotes the United Church of Canada. Just when you thought church wasn't allowed to be cool, along came a squirrel who changed everything. Work by Smith Roberts, Toronto.

youtube - better and better

Two links from Micropersuation that give a snapshot of YouTube's goodness:

YouTube Test Tube tests out their incubator ideas. Today, you can chat with other people who are watching the same clip as you.

And YouTube Shuffle will play videos from your search term continuously, in shuffle mode. Reminds me of a microsite that we're developing for a band, that uses similar YouTube technology. Can't wait to share.

no whales in this beer

I never thought about my beer as being a political issue. The spot above promotes BlueTongue Brewery's Beer.

Bluetongue Brewery wants beer drinkers to be aware of who owns their beer company, and what the owners of those brewers really represent and stand for. And some, I guess, like to hunt whales.

Reminds me of the good work my old friend Deb Adams at JustCause is involved in. Some intense documentary and political stuff that's aimed at putting a stop to whale hunting.

So anyway, now you can sit back, enjoy a cold one - and be doing something good at the same time. Ah, the life.

santa hunters is the S.H.I.T.

We launched a site for the Santa Hunters Investigation Team this week, as part of our official holiday card to clients and friends.

In addition to producing three Santa Hunters episodes, we also created fun downloads, a forum, merchandise and an official theme song. All are available for your holiday enjoyment at SantaHunters.com. Looks like people are already having a lot of fun in the forum... check it out!

Send to your friends who doubt Santa's existence. He's for real, yo.

this week at via

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

Our client gifts shipped out today. If you're on our list, there's a fun surprise, in a huge box. They literally filled a warehouse, as you can see above. VIA clients: have a tip ready for the FedEx guy - cuz he's probably going to be pissed.

We produced a cute video for RMI Direct Marketing's holiday card.

At a photo shoot, Leigh hung our intern Ryan, from a ladder, wearing someone else's pants, and some shiny shoes. Partially, a test to see what he's capable of - but mostly because she needed to create a shot of someone "walking on air."

We produced several videos for Union Savings Bank, a regional bank chain, to play in their lobbies on flat screens.

The billboard we designed for Mohawk Mountain went up. We'll have to get a shot of the actual board, but in the meantime, here's a digital version of the ad. Pretty cool. And they opened today - so snowboarding and skiing are in our near future.

children see, children do.

A heart stopping look at how kids learn from their parents. Eesh. From AdForum.

just wait for the ants.

Oh, if I weren't so lazy, maybe I could pull off something this ambitious. This xmas tree made from Mountain Dew cans is a dewriffic brand tribute. From Church of the Customer.

the future of tv

Steve Rubel has a very interesting post detailing his prediction of the future of TV. Not so much TV as we know it today, but TV as in that device in your house that could be delivering so much more:

"My own feeling is that both TV and the Internet will remain popular. One will not replace the other. From a pure viewing experience, big screen TVs clearly provide a more superior experience to watching video on a computer or a mobile device - particularly with the rise of HDTV. However, more and more TVs are going to connect to the Internet directly via specialized devices like Apple's ITV in addition to your cable or satellite box. With this, your TV open up to thousands of content creators, pro and amateur."

Can't wait.

how ryan rides

Ryan, our intern, helped his brother decorate his car for the holidays. Lights on cars are awesome. Ryan lives in one of the wealthiest suburbs in the US. It makes me laugh that his neighbors are probably all cringing as the car drives down the street, quickly checking their homeowner's association rules.

Now he needs a loudspeaker on the roof, blasting xmas carols. Way to go. Nice ride.

careful where you walk

This outdoor concept for Amp'd Mobile reminds me of the "holes" from those old Warner Bros. cartoons. The kind you could pick up anywhere, and just drop them on the ground, and then watch your enemies fall into them. What a cool sidewalk concept.

how to blow off everything, get into trouble, and not get into trouble.

People must be up to bad things during this holiday season. Here's how to get away with it all:

First, you need to get into some trouble tonight. Drinking hard, doing things you wouldn't normally do trouble. And it will all be ok - cuz you can use someone else's identity. That's right. It's not you that's bad, it's Michelle Karol, from Karol Money Lenders.

Then, when you miss that important deadline tomorrow, because you were out until 3am, while you should have been working on that report - use the File Destructor. You simply enter in the file name, the approximate file size, and the file type. They'll create a destroyed file for you - that you can send to your boss. Buying you valuable time to actually finish the report. Genius.

From Adverblog and Adland.

duct tape marketing issues call to bloggers

John Jantsch says his publisher doesn't believe in the power of blogging, so he's on a campaign to get 500 mentions in the blogoshere about his new book, Duct Tape Marketing - The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, before December 15. Yes, to sell his book.

I've linked to Duct Tape Marketing a couple of times - and it's a great blog, with fantastic advice for small or growing businesses. I haven't read the book - but I'm sure John has put together a great piece, with some wise advice. So here you go John. One of at least 500 links to your book.

seth godin gives to non-profits

Seth Godin offers a free tip sheet for non-profits, outlining six things you could do to help your cause - by the end of the day. All great advice, even for for-profit companies.

dick and jane meet idol

Here's a short film called idol.

Oh my. Beautiful. Scary. Dark. Sinister. And wonderful. From Beyond Madison Avenue (Geez. I might as well just re-blog the entire Beyond Madison Avenue blog. Great stuff everyday. Keep it up BMA.)

a holiday card - behind the scenes

Rather than build a typical college holiday card, Eckerd College produced a program showing how they arrived at their holiday card. Really funny.

The web dudes rule - although I can't believe they gave away that "add snow" secret from Photoshop. Now all the clients are going to want that. Nice work.

mistakes you don't want to make with your website

Vincent Flanders has re-edited an article he wrote a couple of years ago, about the biggest web design mistakes of 2004. Turns out that the mistakes people were making in 2004 are still being made today. And will probably continue into eternity.

So, check out the (now timeless) advice from Vincent, in Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015. Some good advice, with real examples.

spread the hate

Truly hateful ad from Honda. Great concept, wonderful execution. I'm feeling the hate. From beyondmadisonavenue.

eighties festival of games. and cheese.

Adverblog points to a fun promotional site Good Game Good Game. To promote online seller Argos. And classic games. Cute.

sick invite to tbwa party

I can't stop watching. Over and over and over again. But then again, I'm hopelessly immature. What's funny is how polarizing vomit can be. My experience is that most guys find it hilarious, and most girls find it disgusting. (A real lady never vomits, I guess.) Anyway, sounds like a sick party, that you're better off watching from afar. From Adfreak.

office max in holiday overdrive

Maybe you never thought of Office Max as the place to go holiday shopping. So they've turned on the microsite overdrive switch to convince you. No less than TWENTY microsites for the holidays. That's TWENTY. 20.

DaBitch over at Adland has chronicled them all. (Permalink is currently broken, scroll down to Dec 2 post.) This is a great idea. Once you know there's multiple sites, don't you just want to check out a bunch of 'em??? Why work at all today?

My favorite: Don't shoot your eye out. Here's a few others:

Shake the Globe
My Holiday Sweater
Conspiracy Carols
Seansons Sculpting
Guess My Gift

I'm not as ambitious as DaBitch, so go to Adland for the full list, or click on the bottom right on any of the above microsites. Enjoy. Your boss doesn't expect much productivity in December, anyway.

taking service to the next level

Wanna get some attention? Look into the past, at how service used to be offered, and multiply by 100. And add humans. And, like magic, you've got a recipe for an outrageous promotion. That's what Q8 did in Belgium. Historically, gas used to be delivered by an attendant. A human. So they reached back to those days, and made it even better. That's full service. Cool.

bloggers get agents

Just catching up on my Adweek reading (who's got time for paper, when it takes all day to read the internet), and found this great article about the trend of web stars getting agents. United Talent Agency just established a web division, UTA Online, dedicated entirely to internet talent.

And a lot of bloggers and internet producers are resisting offline offers from agents. Like RocketBoom, who has turned down countless network deals, to keep his show real, and control what he endorses. But for others, it brings opportunity - like Reddit, who inked a deal with Wired Digital.

This will be fun to watch, as it develops. Agents who might be reading: I would like to appear in a Johnny Depp movie, and in a Gwen Stefani video. I'm just saying.

this week at via - leigh didn't fart episode

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

Today I celebrated my birthday. And we celebrated with my love of Tab. It's what real men drink - don't believe that girlie advertising.

We had a couple of fun shoots this week - one for a client, where we actually got to put a person INSIDE a giant inflatable snow globe. Oh, the fun you can have inside a snowglobe. Try it sometime.

At a shoot for a self promotional piece that we're producing, umm...how can i say this...well, here's the story:

We're all sitting in the conference room, playing our parts for the camera and we hear a very loud BRRRRRFFFFT. I'm not sure how you spell fart sound - but you get the picture.

We quickly attributed the sound to Leigh. Mostly because she's so dainty and lady like. That's what you get around here. Anyway - as soon as it's edited, we'll of course share the sound that rocked the agency. Coming soon to a YouTube near you. (For the record, there was no real fart. Just construction noise from downstairs.)

Oh yeah - and there was some work this week too. Paul and David are working on a new microsite for Switchfoot, and also doing some work for 30 Seconds to Mars.

Leigh's working on a cool social site for k-os.

Justus and Brent produced some slick video work for Union Savings Bank, a regional bank chain, while David and Eliza continued work on their web re-design.

That's all that I can remember now. I'm old, you know.

old people like youtube

YouTube's largest audience is the 35 - 64 crowd. Not teenagers. Not college students. That's the same audience that TV networks are pushing for, according to Marketing Vox. And that's also the primary b2b market. Chances are, your audience is there right now.

The blogging clip above has nothing to do with this story really, but is blogriffic anyway. Enjoy.
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