At VIA, we encourage our staff to get involved with non-profit work, and donate time, energy and resources to causes that we believe in.
One of the causes that I do some volunteer work for is Americares. Specifically, their Free Clinics division - which provides free health care to those in need. If you look around you, the people who are supporting your neighborhood are many times not supported by their employers with basic necessities like health care. Americare's Free Clinics helps these people.
There's a fundraiser in CT on October 1, and we're selling advance tickets to benefit these clinics (let me know if you want tix). This is sooo local - it won't hit home for many of you - but trust me, these are wonderful people doing outstanding work for the neighbors around us. And I'm sure there are people in your neighborhood doing the same.
If I could persuade just a small percentage of BrandFlakes readers to donate $20 - we could make a world of difference. This isn't some bloated organization where only 2% of your money goes to the cause. $20 would make a real, measurable difference. That's the price of just two good martinis in New York, Miami or Las Vegas. Well, maybe just one martini, in New York.
If you think you could spare $20 (more welcome), please give! Thanks in advance.
This spot from the Australian Childhood Foundation will put a chill down your spine. Really heart-breaking, emotional work done to Johnny Cash's version of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt." Prepare yourself for sadness, tears and hurt. I love that song, and now it will forever have another meaning. Ahhh. Can't say anymore.
The 30 second version is cute - but the long version of the Fruit of the Loom "Blue" video is awesome. Maybe it's the song, maybe it's the funny video - but I've already watched this repeatedly way too many times. AND - there's an equally fruity microsite - where you can even download the mp3 for your iPod. I'm downloading the "you can't overlove your underwear" song just to freak out passengers the next time I carpool. Great work. Found at American Copywriter.
Great article on animutation in the Star. Animuation is the wonderful art of mutating existing animation and photography into new pieces of animation, set to music you'd never listen to otherwise. And a great way to waste productive time away, when you're bored. From ReBlog.
Give your television to an old person. That's the audience that's still watching the magic box, according to a new Nielsen Media Research report. People in the 55-64 age group are growing by almost 4%. Viewers in their 20's only grew 2%. This is not a measure of population - but a measure of viewers. So here's yet another study showing that the ginormous teen and 20-something population is watching less tv. And old people like it better than the internet.
Old school advertisers who still insist on placing the majority of their ad budgets on tv might want to take this into consideration. Lots of big type, Betty White, and Mickey Rooney.
That's what I first thought, when I first saw this info graphic on Logic and Emotion. Either that, or a big cheeleading squad, with Zeni from BoingBoing on top of the pyramid.
And then I read David Armano's post. And his updated graphic and post. Geez, this guy is brilliant. The posts are advance peeks at a presentation he's preparing for his fellow agency employees about blogging. F'ing lucky employees. Some great insight is shared here - both from David and his readers. Nice stuff. David - please share the entire presentation, after you've presented!
Completely rockalicious poster style campaign for Suzuki Swift. These are awesome because you actually want to spend time with them. You want to explore them. You want to cut them out and hang them in your
Here's what happened this week at the world's greatest design and branding firm:
I'm a Mac. That's what David is saying, above. He just got a new MacPro, and he's got a big smile on his face. Just in time to leave on vacation for a week. Something nice for him to come back to, after Labor Day.
My article relating punk rock to branding hit Newsvine. And a few blogs have picked up on it. Punk rock lives.
Related, I've put out a call to all punk rockers - or former punk rockers. We're writing another article (and maybe even a book) about punk rock philosophy in business. We need punks who are now in the businessworld. Contact me if you're interested.
We released an online video player for Janet Jackson. Someone leaked it to some German fan sites - but I guess the official launch will be next week. It's pretty cool. Nice work by David and Brent.
I pitched an accounting firm, on a website redesign. Some of the coolest accountants I've met - but I guess I'm just saying that to kiss butt.
Someone created a toilet paper sculpture in our bathroom. I've got my eyes on the restroom gnome.
Today is our second-to-last half day Friday, where we close offices early to enjoy summertime. Pray for sunny skies - so far, it's raining.
The Night Agency has produced a really cool site for MTV's VMA's. Since the show takes place in NYC this year, they've created a site geared entirely to all stuff NYC. The site includes an integration of Google Maps, that allows visitors to add their favorite NYC spots. A little buggy in Firefox - but cool, nonetheless.
From the people who brought you Best Buy Snatchers, the Improv Everywhere group has done it again. This time, they take on a Home Depot, and participants shop in slow motion and freeze frame. Looks like lots of fun. From WiredBlog.
Today is Family Day. I thought it was just Friday - but nope, according to TV Land, it's time to celebrate the Family Table.
I saw a promo spot touting that TVLand won't be programming any shows during dinnertime tonight - but instead, they'll show photos of families enjoying food. So that families could enjoy dinner together - without television programs. But with slide shows on television. I thought it was a joke - but it's not. Enjoy family night tonight - and be sure to make it extra special with the TVLand slide show of other families enjoying family night. Weird.
We've been testing Basecamp as our new project management application for a little over a week now. We went into the test just a little bit skeptical, because for the last 10 years, we've been using an Access-driven database system that we've carefully written ourselves. That worked incredibly well - but it's not web-based, which is a problem for our out-of-office partners, and doesn't offer a client side view.
Basecamp seemed like it might be the answer we were looking for. And so far, I think it is.
We've currently got it loaded with 61 active projects. That's a pretty strong test, as we're busy - and our average project load is usually more in the 30 - 40 active project range.
Each project allows us to assign individual team members, post files, messages, to-dos, writeboards and more, and everyone on the project can share. Each creative on our team sees only the projects assigned to them, so they can remain focused. Dashboard view shows their current to-do's, deadlines and messages.
Things I love:
+ Our entire team is in the loop now - including team members who work out of their homes, or in other parts of the country - which is cool.
+ Everything's in one place. Creative brief, team correspondence, timelines, etc.
+ Billable hours tracking provides far more detail than our previous system - which will be good when it comes time to invoice projects ;)
+ Web-based. Perhaps obvious - but it's just sooo nice having everything available to you, anywhere.
+ We've only skimmed the surface of what's possible. There's a lot we haven't used yet - and will.
The screen shot above shows a typical project, and the way we've organized it. (Yes - we're late to launch this project - notice the big red warning message - but we're waiting on very important merchant information from a bank. You know how quickly banks move.)
We plan on opening parts of the system up to our clients in the next 30 days or so - which will allow them to see what's happening with their projects, and participate in the process. That's a long time coming - and will be a cool benefit of working with our firm.
Not many complaints at all. Most have been related to getting accustomed to a new system. We were pretty entrenched after 10 years. I have to say, the migration has been easier than I thought. We welcome questions from firms considering a switch - or tips and tricks from firms already using Basecamp!
Annie Leibovitz, Kirsten Dunst, Vogue and - the Chateau de Versailles. Could a photoshoot possibly be more glamorous?
Check out the first authorized shoot at Versailles in 25 years in Vogue. Oh yeah - and some completely outrageous outfits that you would never wear. Style has a behind the scenes video - featuring a New Order song that I'll bet wasn't properly licensed.
YouTube just gets better and better. Toss your tv out with yesterday's trash.
Now they've introduced channels - which are customized spaces devoted to brands. Or programs. Or people. MySpace-ish, but in a good way - not a sloppy, held together with duct tape way. Check it out for yourself. This is a fantastic opportunity for marketers. Originally from Micro Persuasion.
Maybe people will watch tv again. Philips has produced actual 3D television monitors. The monitors use the age-old formula of sending different images to different eyeballs - but Philips has managed to create a monitor that can accomplish that from virtually everywhere in a room.
It's apparently available now for advertising/point of purchase usage. I would cut my hair with a Flowbee just to incorporate this into a new project. Clients and potential clients - let's talk. (And Flowbee - call us - you need a fresh website). From Wired News.
We're working on a story about people who, when they were younger, were punk rockers - and now, as business people, have carried the punk rock life philosophy into their current lives. Similar to what we talk about in this piece on Newsvine. I believe that real punk rockers are always punk rockers - regardless of the day job, or what's currently on their iPod. There's a philosophy inherent to punk that can be applied to your life, your business, your brand.
Does this describe you? Get in touch with me - we'd like to talk to you. I'll need your contact info, and a sentence about what it is that keeps you busy during the day.
Tell your sister to stop scrap-booking (it's really not cool) and spend some time instead at D.I.Y.. That's for Design it Yourself. This is a cool site filled with design ideas and projects that you can do yourself. Yes, even you. Actually, it's not so much a resource site as it is a promotional site for the book. And it's very well done. Send your sister and that woman down in IT who makes things with yarn.
Make the logo bigger has a great true story about a typical brainstorm for a pharmaceutical client. An excerpt:
“Ok, what are we trying say here again...”
“Can’t say prevention.”
“Wait, you said we could yesterday.”
“Yes, that was then, but the physician in the focus group last night said that’s not correct.”
And oh, there's more.
I finally did it. Managed a blog post with SoaP in the headline. Anyway, Church of the Customer has an excellent post on what we can learn from the Snakes on a Plane experience. While many are calling it a failure - $15.3 million is indeed far more successful than it could have been. Key points from the CotC post:
1. Memes have never been more important.
2. When fans embrace your meme, embrace your fans.
3. The culture of participation is here.
4. Embracing citizen marketers reduces risk.
5. The experience is the difference between profit and failure.
Anyway - that's the way short skimmer's version. Read the full post.
There's an Eames Film Festival happening right now at various Design "Within Reach" stores.
I've never seen these films - and would definitely go, if they hit the northeast. If you're more fortunate to live - say in California, then you can still check it out. Oh yeah - they're FREE. Maybe the furniture won't seem so expensive if you don't have to pay for the film. From LifeClever.
On Friday, VIA closed the office, and set out to sea for our first deep sea fishing trip together. At least half of the office had never been before. What a day.
Giuli put on the sea sickness patch - before we even left the office - and it worked. She didn't spew chunks even once. Captain Pete and his First Mate Mike were cool. Well, Captain Pete was cool, anyway. Mike seemed to have a problem with me, for some reason. I swear he yelled at me a few times. Looking back, I think he pretty much hated me. I didn't push it, since he's got a knife and everything. Mike really took a liking to Giuli. Actually, now that I think of it, to all the women-folk on board.
The biggest fish of the day would win $100 - so pressure was on to catch big fish. David started out with a nice size Striper. Leigh had the magic touch, and would usually snag fish after just sitting down for 30 seconds. Justus followed mid-afternoon, with a pretty big Blue Fish - and we thought, had it wrapped up.
Eliza completely mastered the "jiggety jig jig" thing you have to do with your pole. Safe to say she's pretty much got forearms like Popeye, right now. I tried doing the jiggety jig thing - but First Mate Mike kept yelling at me, and making me nervous.
Giuli resisted fishing for most of the day, just enjoying the ride (and the First Mate's attention, no doubt). Then near the last run, she gave it a try, and guess what - not only landed the BIGGEST fish of the day - but managed to catch THREE fish at once. The catch was sooo big, that it took Eliza and Giuli to reel it in. A pretty funny sight - two people frantically trying to work one reel. Of course, First Mate Mike was right by their side.
We wrapped up the evening on land, with a dinner at Pat's Kountry Kitchen. Ummm - this place was really country. We were fish out of water, so to speak. I love exploring and experiencing folks of every walk of life - but even I was too tired for Pat's Clam Hash. (look for the full Flickr photo set later today, if you care)
This piece was displayed in the Mannheim Museum of Modern Art, to raise awareness for Amnesty International - Germany. The title tag next to the piece reads (in part) "This is just a duplicate. The original hangs in a prison cell somewhere in China, Indonesia or the Middle East..."
a tale of a fateful trip.....
This morning, we're closing our office and heading out to sea. We'll all be boarding the Sea Sprite, for a day of deep sea fishing. Should be the basis for quite a few stories - as at least half of our staff has never been fishing before. And - Giuli gets sea sick. She'll be sportin' the patch. I'm still shopping for a good sailor's hat, or a pirate eye patch.
There will be plenty of pirate talk and Love Boat jokes thrown around, at least until we completely annoy the crap out of the Captain and his crew.
If there are no blog posts on Monday, please send a search plane. Justus is big, and eats a lot - we'll never outlast him if we get stuck on a deserted island.
AdCritic features a spec ad - done on the side, just for fun - by a couple of Creative Directors at G&M Plumbing.
This is a cool approach. As the agency explains, "These days, the first thing you do when researching a car — or anything, for that matter — is look around online," so why not show what that experience could look like for potential Jeep owners? This execution actually demonstrates product benefits in a realistic way.
I like this approach better than the campaign that Jeep's actually running - which is just another concert tour promotion that blends into the scene of other concert tour promotions.
AdJab points to a new blog, Co-branded - that's all about - you guessed it - co-branding.
Co-branding (use a hyphen, otherwise it looks like something to do with cobras) is when two brands come together to make beautiful love, and expose each other to the other's audience. Huh? Think Volvo and the Pirates of the Caribbean. Or U2 and iPod. Or McDonalds and Hummer (hehe). Who could you be co-branding with?
McDonald's promotion to include toy Hummers in their kid's Happy Meal products hasn't gone over so well. Some people don't find it appropriate to create those kinds of aspirations for kids. And someone's created RonaldMchummer, a sited dedicated to communicating the harms of Hummers. Funny. From AdJab.
YES.com features a live Flash visual representation of what songs are playing on the radio right now. You can view the entire country, or by market. Fun to watch. And fun to see that radio is still playing John Cougar Mellencamp's "Hurt So Good," while wondering why everyone listens to iPods now.
Karl Long posts three rules for managing a viral campaign. This is a good primer for brand managers just considering a viral effort. Long points to the Smirnoff video, which has successfully taken off - but then shows how Smirnoff totally dropped the ball, and didn't capitalize on the audience that they created. So true.
To promote Madden NFL 2007, Freestyle Interactive just launched Maddenholiday microsite. Looks like a fun, and well designed piece with lots to explore.
It's about a football video game. I'll need Justus (the real man in our office) to chime in with an opinion on whether this rocks or not - as I'm completely clueless when it comes to team sports, or the Madden games. I'll instead spend time with the "create your own cross-stitch" game that they built into the site. From Adverblog.
I just wrote an article (with some super editing from Eliza) showing how punk rock culture relates to successful branding. Wilson Cleveland just posted it to Newsvine - so check it out!
In the article, I detail eight key tips on making your brand punk - highlighted here:
1. Target early adopters.
2. Make people stand up and take notice.
3. Support your fans.
4. Fan culture can make or break a band. Or a brand.
5. Never sell out or it's over.
6. Don't be a poser.
7. It's ok to be controversial.
8. Be the revolution.
More importantly, the piece features a pic of me and Iggy, snapped as I was in mid-sentence, so it looks like I don't have teeth. That's so punk.
Please read it, link to it, and vote for it!
This spot for Heineken by strawberry frog starts out real cute and everything, but ends (spoiler coming....stop reading........) with the totally cliche guy meets lesbians flip. I'm sooo tired of this advertising financed fantasy. It's just not original any more. Lesbians around the world should be pissed. Sorry.
We started a company-wide test of Basecamp, the web2.0 web-based project management solution. So far, it feels incredibly robust, and a little bit overwhelming. We're running all projects from the application this week - and will decide on Monday whether or not to continue, or return to our old proprietary system.
Like many agencies, in addition to our in-house team, we rely on several external team members who participate in projects from across the country. I believe Basecamp will help us communicate with these team members even more efficiently, and make them an even tighter part of the team. I think I just said "team" too many times.
If all goes well, we'll invite our clients to participate, and provide more information than they could ever care to know about their projects.
If you work in a firm that's using (or used) Basecamp and have stories, tips or tricks to share, please do!
A recent report shows that yutes in Brazil, Russia and the U.S., age 15-24 years old, see the internet as convenient, fun, necessary, safe, and social. And they see TV as inconvenient and boring. Um, yeah.
What did you do on left hander's day?
Being left handed, I enjoyed a day long celebration of doing things with my left hand yesterday. I had hoped that my right handed friends would shower me with gifts, in celebration of the magnificent day. But that didn't happen.
Who's in charge of organizing these special days? Of the 365 days in the year, do we really need a left hander's day?
Wanna be a blogger? Think like a dj. I've often said that blogging reminds me of my dj days. As a dj, in a club (or sometimes on the radio) - you're responsible for knowing your crowd, selecting music, presenting music in an appropriate flow/program, and (perhaps) customizing music - for a small, niche audience. Sound familiar? Replace the word "music" with "content," and you've described the role of many a blogger.
As a dj, you know immediately if your work is a success, by the response on the dance floor. On a blog, you've got instant stats. DJ's typically specialize in a specific music format. Bloggers focus in their own area of expertise. The similarities are countless.
So, how happy was I to discover ChromaInc, where Dino Demopoulos posts ten tasks of a dj. Read carefully - because they all apply to blogging. And branding.
A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey shows that teens don't actually enjoy watching video on their cell phones.
Only 14% of teens say they want to watch TV on their cell phones, and only a few percent more say they'd watch on an iPod. But 40% of the same audience says they watch video on the internet. Kids said video on cell phones costs too much, and the quality sucks. Ha!
Here's what happened this week at the world's most pimpin' design and branding firm:
Today started out with Journey blasting on our music server. Cheese factor set to high on a Friday is always a good thing.
We finished (or at least 99%, anyway) Stacie Orrico's new website. It's not live just yet - but should be sometime next week - so check that link later. Beautiful work done by Leigh and Paul. UPDATE: LAUNCHED!
We nearly completed a new site for IMARobot. Should also launch next week, so check that link later too. Very cool work done by David, Brent and Paul. UPDATE: LAUNCHED!
We're producing an interactive booklet for Janet Jackson, that fans will get when they purchase her music on iTunes. This is the second time we've done something like this, and it's pretty cool.
I met with another major record label this week, in an attempt to convince them they can't possibly manage another day without hiring our firm. I think the meeting went well, and we'll hopefully do some great work together.
We received a PIMP CUP! And some pimp gear. Some samples, for a project we're pitching to one of our clients. Everyone's planning on ordering their own pimp gear now. Can't really see Leigh wearing pimp gear - but hey, what she does in her own time is her business. Dave's attempting to look all badass with the pimp cup, above.
Giuli just tripped, and nearly fell flat on her face. She claims there's a ridge in the carpet - but I'm convinced it's the flip flops. We're all laughing hard. Cuz that's how we roll.
At our agency, employees make up their own titles. They're usually pretty funny - like Jedi Knight, or Control Freak. We started this process because we understood how meaningless titles are in a small agency environment. We all wear many hats, and there are few layers.
Well, now I'm thinking that it's time for a new title for what we all do - especially on the internet side of things. Our roles are changing dramatically. What was once the acceptable job description for a "graphic designer" wouldn't completely apply today. Internet developer, designer, producer, programmer, all seem pretty targeted and limiting. Producers in shops like ours have client contact, are involved in strategic decisions, the conceptual process, graphic design, copy, programming, motion design, planning/implementation strategies and a few more things that I'm sure I'm forgetting. "Graphic Designer" doesn't cut it.
We as an industry should come up with a title that more accurately describes our role. Something that serves as the answer to the question "so what do you do?" Maybe it's Internetist. Or just Creative. I don't know - I'm not very good at thinking of titles - I just believe we need a new one. What do you think it should be?
Not that I care at all about titles. But it might make it easier to describe what we do at cocktail parties, right? Either that, or we could make stuff up - like what I put on my alumni association's "update card" that my university sent. Under current job, I answered "undertaker."
David in our office - who's a master at typography, will likely be first in line at the premiere of this film. A documentary on the typeface Helvetica. The first ever feature length film on a font. Not a parody like the Veer version of Behind the Typeface. But a real deal, documentary.
Apparently, Duran Duran is the first major pop act to create avatars of themselves in Second Life. American Apparel has a store there. Our industry has conferences there. And Duran Duran is the band that's first in this space?? Not that there's anything wrong with "Hungry Like a Wolf." I'm just saying.
ReBlog points to a sound designer's inside joke - known as the Wilhem Scream. The scream is a sound effect that originated in a 1951 film titled Distant Drums, and has since been used in many films - including most/all Star Wars episodes, Indiana Jones, and even A Star is Born. It would be great to hear this in a new commercial.
The Ronald has a completely different persona when he's hangin' in Japan. Looks like he might be more fun at parties than the uptight American Ronald.
Check out these artists who create hyper-real illustrations using Adobe Illustrator. The image above IS NOT a photograph - it's vector art. Utterly amazing.