this week at Plaid:

Here's what happened this week at the world's most Rob-riffic design and branding firm.

We discovered Rob's wallet. First - it's totally cool, because it's made from duct tape. Rocks. But's also MASSIVE. It's seriously a filing cabinet for Rob's entire life. We discovered that he actually has every student ID he ever owned, still in his wallet. Even better - the photos on those IDs. Made for a great laugh at lunch today, and now you can enjoy them, too. Dig his groovy haircuts.

Speaking of Rob - he launched a new site for K2 Bikes. And he came close to completing a project for Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Loads of other work for the rest of the team, too. A church campaign (we'll share next week), direct marketing print campaign, some interactive work for a hospital, print collateral for a playhouse, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember right now.

We buried ourselves in new work - including a new project from Segway. We'll be producing something pretty amazing for them, of course - but more importantly, we're getting a Segway for the office. Speed tests coming soon.

We're looking for a new intern, after Brian retired to the life of a student. More on this in a separate post soon. If you know of any college students willing to pimp themselves out for low wages, send them our way.

Have a great weekend.

jc penney magic

JC Penney has a cool new spot. There's an interview with Saatchi CD Kerry Keenan, where he tells a little about how they produced the spot, in Creativity Online. Thanks Rob!

how they made the bionic woman

Here's a nice interview with the Director of Photography on Bionic Woman - along with some of the behind the scenes stuff on how they accomplished the cinematography. Cool insight into their production process - which features a lot of "in camera" effects, rather than CG.

Read it now, before the show gets canceled. Some of the stuff mentioned in the interview makes it sound like the production is a mess with management, budget and shooting. But who knows - maybe that's just a typical day in Hollywood.

youtube launches non profit program

Love the YouTube. They just announced a new non-profit program - where non-profits can setup channels, and perform fund raising through Google checkout. Looks like it's open to anyone with a 501(c)(3) status. And FREE.

This is a no-brainer for non-profits, and the coolest thing ever from the GooTube gods. If you're a non-profit, sign up today. (Then call a really cool agency to produce the most awesome internet videos for you.)

vintage city photos

Here's a cool collection of vintage photos from different U.S. cities. I wonder how many of these places are still standing. And how many have been replaced by new condos.

cute cars the next big thing

Wired Magazine has a little piece on the latest Japanese school girl trend. Cute cars.

The Pino, by Nissan, is a sweet little car that comes in a variety of really cool colors, and is completely customizable. From seat patterns, to tissue dispensers, stickers and matching fashions. And, they're cheap. They sell for about $8K - and Nissan has already sold more twice what they projected for the brand. Can't wait for these to hit the USA.

firebrand is advertising tv

Nearly all of us have said at one time or another that there should be a channel devoted entirely to advertising. Firebrand just announced something even better.

A destination devoted entirely to commercials. Ads. All in one place. Well, actually - more than one place. They'll also have FireBrand on TV, on mobile and on-demand. Commercials wherever, and whenever.

Will there be enough content? One of the founders John Lack says "when we started MTV, we only had 26 videos." (And they didn't have the cavemen, either.)

They're arranging the whole thing around a really well designed dashboard, that allows users to explore and watch and get details and offers from the brands they're interacting with. Like watching a trailer, and getting a coupon for a discount to the show.

There's a pretty massive campaign set to promote the launch on October 22. See a lot of it on their YouTube channel.

I'm lovin' the concept. Can't wait to see the beta. I have a feeling that we'll all be spending loads of time there. Watching ads. Heh.

disposable web pages

Oh, this is a sweet idea. With so many fun applications. Disposable web pages. Pages that you make on the fly, and they go away when you say.

Like the one that I just made. I've titled it "amount of time until Britney Spears implodes again," and used it to keep track of Britney's next meltdown. I'm predicting this will take place in about 46 days. Just a hunch.

But you can use disposable web pages to countdown anything your heart desires. Like a friend's birthday, an anniversary, an event, or how long until they cancel the Bionic Woman. Enjoy.

naughty girls in prison make for sweet advertising

So, Axe just launched their new campaign. How could we not post about naughty girls in prison? There's a mocumentary, and teaser spots. And there's a great PR guy, a mustache, and plenty of naughty prison girls.

Work from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which is always fun to say outloud. Say it with an accent, and it's even more fun.

dear apple...

John January (coolest rock star name ever) over at American Copywriter has
a great "Dear Apple" letter. And good advice for media planners. I won't spoil it, but I couldn't agree more.

my new favorite blogger: a facebook friend

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested that Facebook could easily replace blogging. And a few other things (like work).

Now, I have a new favorite blogger. Cheri Uppal. Everytime I open the Facebook tab on my browser (admittedly, too many times during the day), Cheri has posted links to some of the most awesome finds on the internet. Here's a sampling from yesterday:

Unique and strange products from Japan
Babes with books
Pierced eyeglasses.

So - if you're not already on...get in the game. Join Facebook, and become a part of something. Become Cheri's friend, and get inspired.

uniqlo has some more internet awesomeness

Just in case you were wondering, my favorite store in the entire world has yet another wonderously beautiful microsite. To promote polo shirts. Bask in its Flash goodness. From The BFF, via Twitter.

advertising icons: where are they now?

Mental Floss has a brief rundown on where some of the legendary advertising icons are today. This could be a regular series. There's so many people we're worried about. And I'd like to know that they're all ok - and not working at a Wendy's in North Carolina. Not that there's anything wrong with working at a Wendy's. In North Carolina. Found on Adfreak.

i used to complain about the xmas displays...

Especially the retailers who like to put up their xmas merchandising in October.

And now we're contributing to the mess. We're about to send an email blast to our clients, reminding them about their holiday cards. But if you plan on doing something exraordinary (and, why not?), now's the time to get it on your agency's roster. Happy Holidays.

how firebrand lit a blog on fire

Today, I was treated like A-list media. Or at least the B-List. (Not bad for a C-list blogger.)

Here's the thing about B and C level blogs...we don't get media treats. I've spent some time in radio and the music business, and remember loads of fun, cool and eventful press conferences and events. (Like the time I pissed off Joe Jackson so much that he walked out of a press conference!)

But it's been a few years since those days, and I'm not treated to press events frequently anymore. Which is one reason that the FireBrand event caught my attention. They thought to invite bloggers like me to their press conference. By doing so, they made me feel like an important part of the conversation.

A convenient press conference, SUPER sweet promo goodies, and great background/publicity materials. Just an average day for mainstream media (or A-list bloggers), but something unique for the second tier.

There's a lesson here for other brands. Produce a nice old-school press event. And invite the blogosphere. Don't just send them emails. Think about what you might do to get the attention of The Today Show. Or FastCompany. Then, give 1/3 of that attention to 100 bloggers. In the end, you'll end up with a load of attention in the blogosphere, which will grow to the mainstream 'jaded' media anyway.

So, now I'm fired up about what they're doing. And I'll be blogging more detail about FireBrand shortly - but wanted to share a kudos to the brand for reaching out to bloggers in a first class way.

branding for babies

Atypyk introduces a new product for parents concerned that their children aren't grasping the fundamentals of our culture.

(via sub-studio)

mtv jumps on the social bandwagon

They've created

Wasn't MTV already replaced by the internet? This will be interesting to watch it evolve.

houses designed just like storage lockers

Metal shutter houses. Only, you could live in a storage locker in NYC for much less.

old navy: todd oldham please save us.

Old Navy has hired Todd Oldham in an attempt to turn things around for the chain. They're hoping that Todd will sprinkle his design magic on the chain, and make them cool to the 20-something crowd.

I don't know that Old Navy can ever be the cool place for people in their 20's. Not unless they rid themselves of their product pricing policy. Cool and cheap are two things that usually don't go together for youth audiences. One or the other - but not both.

Oh - and, how about you start with the website? Could that be any uglier or less engaging? I think the Sears site is actually cooler.

social networking for your second life avatar

OMG. If you didn't already have enough social networking sites to keep track of, now there's one for your avatar. For real. A social networking site devoted entirely to avatars. I don't know whether to be impressed, or just tired of the social network scene.

sexy package design idea for pharma

Here's a product
made for birth control pills - but this would be a cool idea for any pharma packaging. Pill bottles with alarms built into them.

Even better - Target should offer this as an add on, to any prescription they sell. $1 more, and get the alarm bottle. $2 more, and we'll set the alarm for you. (Cuz old people can't set digital clocks, you know.) Packaging that provides a user benefit rocks.

dummies make great models

Alternative agency Tribeca created a fun promotion for Wrangler in France. They outfitted a bunch of dummies in Wrangler apparel, and put them everywhere.

In the US, we'd just steal the clothes off of the dummies. Because we're like that. It would be cool to see a city over-run by dummies. Then again...

this week at Plaid:

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

Matt and I started the week off with a shoot for Westport Country Playhouse. A shot of a couple, a rabbit, and a noose. Typical day in theater, I guess. I got to play the role of Production Assistant, and hold the end of a noose up. Basically, a contest between the model/client and myself, to see whose arm will get tired first. (The client is a former Navy dude - so you can guess who won that contest.) Oh, the exciting things we get to do.

Rob nearly completed a sweet online promotion/contest site for David Gilmour. If the client supplies the last components (this means you, Lars), we'll be launching next week. Can't wait to share. He's also working on a new web 2.0 style tool that's going to totally rock.

Justus finished a couple of rough cuts for online videos, and Chris (new freelancer) produced one as well.

Bill wrote several strategy documents. Eliza put lots of words together, and Paul and Chris played with 0's and 1's. I have no idea what Matt or David did this week, but they sure seemed busy.

Giuli wins best person of the office this week. Because...she booked our planning MEXICO! We're all totally, totally stoked to go to the land of burritos and margaritas. Mmmmm.

Later in the week, I had the pleasure of meeting the crew at Powderhouse Productions. (Don't worry - that site will be totally rockin' in just a few weeks.) Most awesome group of people ever. I mean - not counting our existing clients, of course. Because once you've gone Plaid, you're pretty much awesome. Just a sea of awesomeness all around us. I don't know where I'm going with this - but they're super fun people that would have a blast drinking beer with our crew.

Last weekend of summer! And it's actually going to be nice. Plaidsters will be enjoying the rare New England sun. Have fun.

gulf launches new branding

While driving to Boston yesterday, I got to see the installation of the new Gulf branding, along the Mass Turnpike. (Even the sign guy pictured above, was proud of his work!)

If you can't tell by the crappy iPhone photo, they've put their logo on a background of blue sky and clouds. On paper, it looks great. In application, I think it begs to be one of those 'higher than the empire state building' signs that you see along the highway in the midwest. Graphics of clouds appearing over actual cloudy blue skies seems redundant and unnecessary. Why not leave the Gulf logo alone, in this application?

(They've also implemented versions where the logo bleeds off the signs - which look great.)

cassettes. before playlists in itunes.

What is it about cassette graphics that rock so much? has assembled a sweet historical collection of cassettes. (Those plastic things that used to hold mixes of the most amazing music.) Found at swissmiss.

other brand's style guides

Isn't it great to look at other brands stuff? Someone just leaked the the style guide to Verizon's "Test Man."

Some highlights:

Test man is:
25-35 years old
The embodiment of Verizon Wireless employees
Relentless in his mission
Every day guy
A bit quirky
A little obsessive and compulsive
Likeable character
Appealing to all ethnicities

Test Man is not:
Easily distracted
Too "pretty"

Examples of Events that do not adhere to usage guidelines and will not be approved:
• Look-alike contests
• Marching in parades
• "Meet and greet" with customers
• Any activity where he is not testing the network (i.e. sitting in a hot tub)

best stop motion animation ever?

At least, until I saw this one. This piece is sooooo cool. From The Denver Egotist

"americans giving up friends, sex for web life"

Americans giving up friends, sex for Web life - Yahoo! News. Ummmm, yeah. Can't you do all of that online now, anyway?

lending club closes $1M in loans on facebook.

This is about a week old now, but worthy of notice if you haven't already seen it. Lending Club has announced that they've closed $1M in loans. On Facebook. These are small loans, or "micro loans", and an excellent example of the long tail in action. And the power of social communities like Facebook.

Awesome. I mean, for the people who are realizing Facebook as a business tool - not for the people who are getting further into debt. :)

"don't tase me, bro." bigger than chris crocker?

BoingBoing reports
on how the phrase "Don't Tase Me, Bro" has become the latest meme on the internets. T-shirts, video mashups (above), and so much more. I still prefer Chris Crocker cying.

little plastic men to spread a message

Make the Logo Bigger has found a fun and unique war protest. (Can protesting be fun? Yes, right?)

The Army Men Project asks that you place little plastic army men everywhere. In the hardware store, the grocery store, on the escalator. As little reminders that we're at war. Because people forget, when they're shopping. Cool idea.

Reminds me of an even more awesome idea that Make the Logo Bill had while we were on tour this summer...giant plastic army yard ornaments. Why don't these exist?? I'd love a battle scene for my front yard. And I'm sure that my neighbors would love it, too.

soviet posters for every day of your life

Adfreak points to a cool blog - Soviet Poster a Day. A sweet collection of Soviet awesomeness, along with the history and background on each poster (for those of you that need more than just pretty pictures).

stand up and rejoice! google added a presentation app

Now, you'll never have to attach a PowerPoint deck to an email ever again. Can't wait to dig into this. Google just added a presentation application to their suite of Google docs. Mmmmmm. Google.

in the future, humans will be replaced with photos

Whoah. Checkout awesome new technology that turns a photograph into a 3D model.

arrrr. happy talk like a pirate day!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

And, though it isn't Dress Like a Pirate Day, even Johnny Depp will tell you that nobody likes a poorly dressed pirate. And that's why Cerado made pirate eye patches that ye can download to yer confuter and wear to meetings. Arrr. And, they've created a little pirate social networking community. Cuz even pirates love the web 2.0. Arrr.

Have a meeting with a new client today? That's the perfect place to practice and sharpen your pirate talking skills.

Ahoy, me name is Capn' Darryl. We be aimin' to cut you a swarmy website, eh?

the factory on your desktop

Ponoko is a pretty cool new concept in web 2.0 meets manufacturing and marketplace.

You design something cool. Upload your design. Magic lasers cut your design into reality. You refine your design. Magic lasers cut more. And then you sell your goods. The marketplace meets the factory meets the designer. Nice idea.

underground typography

A presentation on the typography of the Toronto subway.

the evolution of super sugar crisp

This has already been around the internet and back again - but in case you missed it, here's a sweet collection of images showing the evolution of Super Sugar Crisp. Back from when sugar was a good thing.

sewage hatches. not just for sewage anymore.

A collection of really fun painted sewage hatches.

design is so simple, that is why it is so complicated.

Window signage at Conran says it all. Beautifully.

how to hide beer in your office.

We just keep ours in the fridge. But if you work for an accountant, here's a cool way to hide your afternoon refreshment.

Although, if this is an ad for Stella, it looks like there's another bottle of beer in there. Would be cool to create a site where people could upload their own inventive ways to hide their favorite beverage.

brylcreem becomes relevant again

Or at least they've produced a cool spot that you'll want to watch a few times. But their website is still stuck in 2004, looking all of 2002. Oh well. Nice try. From The Denver Egotist.

great. another social network.

Too much time on Facebook? Or Twitter? Or Pownce? Or Virb? Too much free time and not enough social network time? Then you'll be happy to hear that Yahoo just launched their own social network. Somewhere in between a Facebook and a MySpace.

make your own dylan video

This is a really cool way to promote a new Dylan release. Let fans re-create their own versions of his classic video. See mine here. Make your own here

this week at Plaid:

Phew. Loads of work this week. But who cares about work when you're out on the open seas?

We'll devote this week's wrap-up to today only. Just because...

We closed the office today, and the crew from CT went deep sea fishing. A little bit of beer, a little salty air, and pounds and pounds of fish. Plaid setup a $100 prize for the biggest fish, which David managed to capture. Matt caught the biggest fish that got away. Probably half the size of the boat. Probably the biggest fish to ever be measured in the history of fishing. But it got away, so David is $100 richer.

I was stoked that the boat had cell service, and that photos could be posted to Facebook. And email could be checked. And Twitter. To hell with life jackets - never leave shore without the internet. And I learned that Cap'n Pete was a Mac lover. Nice.

Nobody talked like a pirate. That makes me sad, in retrospect. But then again, if we did, I'm sure that First Mate Gordy would have cut us to pieces with his fillet knife.

You can see pics of the winning catch, salty First Mate Gordy, and some of the fun on our Flickr page. Have a wonderous weekend.

quit now and get a job at starbucks

People always laugh at me when I tell them this, but I've always said this is how I plan to retire.

Read this inspirational story about a guy who lost his job in advertising, and then took a job at Starbucks. And loved it. And now, that's what he does. And he lives happily and stress free. (Although honestly, if you're going to 'drop out,' I can think of cooler places than Westchester NY. Huntington Beach, CA comes to mind.)

There's a great New York Times story, a book, and now Tom Hanks has even bought the rights to a movie. And the dude just wants to get back to his job at Starbucks. Nice. (photo from NY Times)

cool new blog from media planning dorks

At our shop, since we don't do media buying, we always refer to that side of the biz as being for dorks. Cuz we're like that. We'd like to think we're the cool kids at the lunch table, even though in reality we're the lonely kids with problems.

Anyway, some dorks we know friends of ours at a media buying agency, just launched a new blog called Thought Gadgets. Check it out. Add it to your reader. They're way smarter than we are, and have some great insight about media buying and strategy. But we still have cooler sneakers.

other people's desktops

I love seeing how other people work. When I visit friends and clients, I always love hearing about new tools or techniques that they use for productivity. And to see their desktops. Both real and virtual.

Lifehacker has a sweet couple of posts showing (and detailing) other people's desktops. They even show some desktops using that older, archaic operating system - Windows. ;-) Really cool.

quotes gone wild

An entire blog devoted to the stupid and incorrect use of quotation marks. "Awesome."

belgium's group94 totally rocks

Agency Group 94 in Belgium just launched a beautious new site featuring full screen videocasts that show the viewers what work they completed this week. Holy smoke. Not only have they been REALLY busy launching sites, their work is absolutely stunning. From SwissMiss.

mmmm. i smell chocolate.

The real estate industry is now using smell technology to help sell homes. Baking brownies for an open house is an old trick - but now the Toll Brothers are utilizing smell technology. Technology originally developed for military (?) and theme park rides to sell luxury condos. And why not? Retail is up next...

a lesson for every consumer promotion

Church of the Customer posts the photo above, and asks "what's wrong?" (And the answer isn't the grey sky, or a lack of a healthy crowd.)

There's a lesson here for every branding person who's ever produced a consumer promotion.

Think about how consumers save, share and remember. If I was attending this event, how would I likely remember it? How would I share it with my buddy across the country? My cell phone camera, of course.

And so, here's what's wrong: There's nothing to tell you that this festival is in Austin, Texas. Nothing about the band name. No url to visit. Someone enjoying this experience snapped a cell phone photo to share with friends - and opportunities were lost.

What about your next promotion? Or billboard? Or event? Can users gain anything from a cell phone pic that's been posted to Facebook?

Awesome advice.

teachers lose all sense of humor.

A super hilarious new ad for Carl's Jr. has some flat bunned teachers in a tizzy.

Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Carl's Jr., said the ad was designed for the target audience of “young, hungry guys between the ages of 18 and 34 ... it's meant to be funny, silly, interesting and not as a social statement.” Hooray Brad. Sounds like well targeted creative.

Forget the old days of hot for teacher. Now it's "disrespectful and inappropriate."

grab a twix and explore stuff

Totally loving the navigation in this cool new site for Twix. Fun to explore. Reminds me of the Esty Time Machine exploration tool. Sweet.

sara lee buys kansas

Here's an appropriate use of crop circle advertising. But everyone knows that if you turn a field into an ad in the middle of Kansas, nobody will notice it. So, to call more attention to the field, Sara Lee paid Kansas to officially change the name of the state from "The Wheat State", to "The Whole Wheat State" for a day.

I hope that they required everyone to get new license plates, and changed all of the "Welcome to Kansas" signs on the highway.

meet girls. meet guys. meet dating web 2.0 style.

Cool new dating and social exploration site called i'm in like with you. For people who subscribe to the internets.

It was only a matter of time. This looks cool. From Profy, via Twitter.

how to market like apple

A former Apple marketing executive has published an eBook on marketing Apple-style. I haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a good read.

In the meantime, you could just make a really good product, hire great designers, and treat your customers like good humans (most of the time).

i need these pants to teach matt a lesson

We've been spending quality time with Guitar Hero in our office lately, and it's pretty obvious that I suck. Bad. We got to discussing that other game - the one that comes with the full drum set, and I'm convinced I'd rock at it.

Matt swears he's a better drummer. Sure, he's in a really cool band, lives the lifestyle of a rockstar and everything, but I'm old and wise. A former punk rocker.

So, I need these drum pants to walk around the office and constantly remind him of my rhythmic superiority.

a reason to have kids

Or to at least babysit your friends kids. Yo Gabba Gabba. Awesomeness on TV.

Actually, come to think of it, kids would probably just make a bunch of noise and get in the way. Just watch it because you can. Or because there's party in your tummy.

lots of cool stuff to inspire from daft punk

This is a few months old - but I just found a cool post about some of the background behind the stunningly awesome Daft Punk live show that I missed this summer.

If you weren't one of the lucky few to see it live, it's totally worthy of some online exploration. Probably the most innovative stage light show in a very, very long time. Lots of inspiring effects, graphics, animation, and overall holysmokeness that could inspire your next production.

let's all be on tv

Oh my. I thought that I had let go of Justin.TV. I thought that I was free from having a webcam watch my every move at the completion of our tour.

Well, Make the Logo Bigger has found my new favorite activity. Watching everyone. On BlogTV. I never imagined that watching some dude sit on a couch drinking Budweiser and drunkenly reply to IM's could be so entertaining. But it is.

Make the Logo Bill is onto something. This internet thing is changin'. Used to be, that we all surfed anonymously, and viewed whatever we were into. Now we're all connecting, sharing, and broadcasting our lives like never before. Bring it on.

what local news can learn from david armano

This weekend, creative supermind David Armano was out riding his motorbike, and witnessed a train accident - and a heroic couple of teens that saved a woman's life. Being the super Twitter dude that David is, he Twittered the events.

Everytime I turn on the local news (or go to my local paper online), I'm disgusted at the lack of interesting or worthwhile content. And local news seems to struggle with viewership, struggle with subscriptions, and doesn't understand what to do about this internets thing. Or how to compete with the national media online, who have already embraced it.

What if every journalist could Twitter? Watching David's Twitter unfold over the weekend, you could feel the rush of adrenaline that he must have felt. Imagine having that kind of coverage throughout your community? Unique, engaging, and something you can't get anywhere else. Newspapers and local TV news crews are setup to make this a reality. Why not now?
Now your brand news diet is chockfull of tasty tales of Customer Experiences (CX). Served-fresh every morning for your daily recommended dose of marketing inspirations. Never sugar coated. May contain nuts. Archives | Look back at these past bites