We're far too lazy to create a BrandFlakesForBreakfast top list of 2007. We're still technically, on vacation, after all.
But we have bookmarked some other people's lists, for you. We've culled through the crap, so that you don't have to. Here's a couple of worthwhile 2007 Best of/Top Ten lists for you:
Best of Zen Habits in 2007
Top NYC stories of 2007.
Top Ten innovation mistakes. This is a good one.
Best Internet Marketing Blog posts of 2007. Another really good one.
Top Albums of 2007. (I know this is a polarizing subject - so I just took the laziest approach. Cool Hunting's list was the first in my RSS. So I now declare that one the best.)
Top Ten Ways to use Twitter.
The WTF moment of 2007.
And, while I could care less about football, and didn't even enjoy the Twitters of the Patriots game, here's a Top 10 list for the Giants fans.
And last but not least, LifeHacker's list of top 2007 lists.
Happy New Year to all of the Brand Flakes readers around the globe. May your year be filled with BrandFlakes deliciousness!
Photographer Jan Kempenaers has some amazing shots of some communist monuments that look as if they're right out of Second Life environments. Or somewhere other than earth. From Boing Boing
NOTCOT points to the latest form of advertising - Toastvertising. A promotional site/spot made from toast, in an effort to promote the Book of Spam. The meat kind of Spam, not the kind all over your inbox. Awesomely toasty.
Design Within Reach writes about the Art Basel event and Design Miami that took place earlier this month in ummm, Miami. Some nice links to cool architectural firms, and lighting that you can't afford.
I'm still in awe of the Moore building, pictured above - which was apparently built for the 2004 event.
Here's a massive list of the best internet marketing blog posts. How to do almost anything on almost any social tool. Lots of great reading if you're stuck at the office this week while everyone else is on vacation. They'll come back fatter, and you'll be smarter. (Always better.)
The pic of David Hasselhoff might seem related, but this is a pic that I snapped right as he was jumping onto a social media bandwagon. So it's related, trust me.
We experienced this big time, while on PlaidNation social media tour this summer. Wherever you go, anywhere in the U.S., certain ugly roads look just like home. The same Burger King-McD's-KFC-Subway-Mattress shop-Supermarket strip malls all across the land.
In fact, that was one of the most disappointing things about Graceland. My expectations were for this wonderful Elivis Presley Blvd splendor. But instead, it's just Graceland, surrounded by fast food joints and diners. (Then again, maybe that's appropriate.)
Anyway - now, there's someone who wants to do something about it. There's a non-profit organization called Scenic America, trying to preserve and enhance “the visual character” of the U.S. It's detailed in this great story from the NY Times about the uglification of America.
My favorite quote:
"Sitting here, suppressing the urge to flee, you begin to notice how the shopping center’s off-white walls and copper-colored top recall a minimum-security prison, and how readily the layout encourages acceptance of small absurdities. For example, people who leave the CVS with a desire to shop at Marshalls pretty much have to get back in their cars and drive across acres of parking lot."
That's so true of suburbia.
(Photo by Ángel Franco/The New York Times)
Here's what happened this week at the world's so-ready-for-the-holidays agency:
Construction on our addition continued. They pretty much finished the roof, so we can now get a sense of the full space. We met with the electrician, and decided where all of the lights, switches and ethernet terminals would go. We've also begun shopping for furniture, which is awesome.
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. We completed everything that we needed to (as far as we know) so that everyone could cut out early today.
MMMMMMMMM. So many loads of sugary goodness. And just enough alcohol. Special thanks go out to Brian, Katie, Bill, Diana, Paul and Chris, Derek, RMI, White Light, Ben, and the master of all things sugar, Eliza. And I'm sure I've forgotten someone. Safe to say we've all put on a few pounds this week.
Plaid offices are closed for the holidays, giving us all time to stay up late, sleep late, and do untold things. We're back in action on Wednesday, January 2nd.
I'll blog periodically (probably) during this period.
Happy Christmas, Happy New Years, and Happy whatever you might celebrate to all of our BrandFlakes friends!
We've been blogging for a few years now, and have discovered something in the process. We've made a lot friends across the world. We've connected to some of the most interesting people through our multiple blogs, Twitters, Facebook pages and other social networks.
Some of these friends have become real coworkers, and real clients, and real friends. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that social networks have created a new class of friends. People you share a portion of life with, care about, yet (perhaps) never meet.
There's a beautiful illustration of this happening on Twitter, with Susan Reynolds. A few days ago, I noticed that a lot of my Twitter friends were sporting peas in their avatars. I wondered what it was all about. It turns out to be in support of Susan - a woman who most of these people have never met. (You can read about the pea connection here.)
Susan's been diagnosed with breast cancer. And, like a true blogger, is sharing the story of her ordeal. Susan is having surgery today. And while I've never met Susan, my heart is with her. And there are now thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people who are with her as well today.
So here's to frozen peas. And to friends across the globe who we'll probably never meet.
All the best, Susan!
Later today, I want to photo document all of the sugary goodness that's graced our office this week (or what's left of it.)
As an inspiration (or just a reason to show beautiful yummy cakes), check out the Cake Girls. They're Chicago's hottest baking duo. Sisters Mary and Brenda Maher make the most awesomely delicious cakes you've ever seen. But if you want to taste the CakeGirl sweetness, you'll have to buy a plane ticket to Chicago. They don't ship. :(
To promote their new Big 'n' Juicy burger, the largest burger to ever grace the earth with its presence, McDonalds created fun instore signage. They're actually super giant napkin dispensers. We could use one of these in our office.
They are original creations, after all. And it turns out they're protected by copyright. You can't copy a mannequin's design, pose, paint, facial expression or other details.
I think it's also time that we have a Bill of Rights for mannequins. And hazard pay, for those poor plastic souls that have to work the Old Navy window.
Yesterday, the geeks at PEW released a new study titled Teens and Social Media. Stuff like:
- 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation;
- Some 35% of all teen girls blog;
- 20% of boys blog;
- 54% of wired girls post photos online compared with 40% of online boys;
- Teen boys are nearly twice as likely as online girls (19% vs. 10%) to have posted a video online.
Billboard Magazine has picked their top 25 rock posters.
I'm not sure what pool of posters they pulled these from, but it seems like there's quite a few missing. But that's just me, and I'm all pent up with rage. From designboom.
Personally, I'm annoyed by everything Sarah Jessica Parker, and her sex show. But I can see where some people would really dig this production called Sex and the Socket.
I'm just stoked that I got to use the word sex a bunch of times in this post, which is sure to deliver lots of Google juice. Sexy.
Puma has brought a non-stop working robot out of the factory to deliver holiday greetings and stuff. He'll even needlepoint you a custom message to send to your friends. So special. From Make the Logo Bigger.
Check out this beautiful piece for Converse. A love letter to basketball.
Not knowing anything about team sports, I immediately thought it was a piece for Dwayne Wayne. But it turns out that Dwyane Wade is a different person entirely. But now I know better. And I love basketball just a little more, now. Thanks Converse.
As Bill has accurately pointed out, 2:31 is the new 30 seconds. Awesome. Found on Beyond Madison Avenue.
Blogging just turned ten years old this week! Way back in December of 1997 Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom created the term "weblog." And by the looks of it, he immediately decided to never ever cut his hair again.
In news that's almost as momentous, we reached 3000 posts this week at BrandFlakes! That's a lot of posts. If you stretched them end to end, they'd probably reach to Venus. Or Uranus. ;)
You should start a pool in your office today to buy a massively huge blogging birthday cake in celebration of all of this blogging goodness.
You've seen the Whopper Freakout. Maybe you've wondered how the geniuses over at Crispin, Porter, Bogusky pulled it off. Are all of the people real? Actors?
Turns out they used some actors - but the real people reactions were so much better, they used them instead! Read all about this and more in the cool behind the scenes interview with the director, over at Creativity-Online. (Their site looks like it was hacked late last night - check this link later.)
From SwissMiss (whom I totally have a blog crush on)
Such an awesome idea. Compliment cards. Why not give someone a compliment everytime you hand out a card? Why not make these your business cards?
Of course, in the U.S., you can't actually tell anyone in corporate America that they look lovely today - because it could possibly be construed as sexual harassment. (Way to go, HR attorneys.)
Anyway, this would be an awesome business card concept for a church, health care or non-profit organization, with a slight copy twist. That is, if someone else didn't already think of it first. ;)
Forbes just released top 25 web celebrities. BrandFlakes isn't on the list, so I guess the list is a total crock of crap. But if you're into lists, or want to double check your RSS reader, here's some other people you should be monitoring. (All less interesting than us, of course.)
The Gas Agency (awesome name, btw) has produced a promotional campaign for Reevoo called Don't Buy a Turkey this Christmas. I like the video. (But then again, I was the kid who was lighting GI Joe's car on fire. What can I say...life was boring in the suburbs.)
Hooray for ThreeMinds for writing an outstanding post on how "the fold" doesn't exist.
"The fold" refers to ancient newspaper-speak that was applied to early web design - where you don't want content to fall beneath the immediate area on the screen. Because users are too dumb to scroll. Well, that was the 1990's. People now understand how a website works.
At our agency, we've been designing "without the fold" for some time now, and are constantly educating clients, and other developers on our anti-fold beliefs. So I'm stoked to read Rod MacQuarrie's post.
Rod also points to some additional posts/articles at the end of his piece. One in particular, from Boxes and Arrows, has been a favorite link of mine to send friends in the industry.
So, three cheers to scrolling!
The Night Agency has just unleashed the Karate Cop. He's here to fight injustice. Or he's pissed that he doesn't know about the sale at Lucky Brand Jeans. Or something like that. Just don't you mess with the Karate Cop. Cuz he rocks.
Immediately calming. You can't say that about many billboards. This is the work of Helmut Smits, for an exhibition titled Rock My Religion.
Don't you just want to park a lawn chair in front of it, and relax?
Find 40ish minutes today, stop everything and watch this clip. Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, and author of the Long Tail talks about Free (the subject of his coming book.) This was his keynote speech at Nokia World.
This is a must watch for internet workers, marketers, branding people or anyone in business. Geez, this guy just drips with smarts. Found on Core 77.
When I logged into my Google RSS Reader this weekend, I was prompted to complete a profile. And to start adding friends. Looks like this might be the first stage of the Google social empire. Christmas is coming.
We produced a really fun online greeting card for client RMI Direct Marketing. Check it out, and see what a bunch of no-talent singers sound like when you put them together in a chorus. It's really bad. No really. Bad. (We've advised them not to quit their day jobs.)
Eric from Segway talks about the project we're working on in the SegwayToday podcast. This is going to be awesome. Should be launching early next year.
Construction continued on the addition to our space. All the walls are up, and they've installed the roof rafters. We can really get an idea on how the space will feel now.
Today, we met a significant sales goal - and celebrated by getting the crew new Nikon Coolpix cameras. They're the first digital cameras with WIFI on board. For real. We can now shoot pics and upload them right from the camera to Flickr. Or email. Or whatever. Expect lots of action on our Flickr page in the coming weeks.
Some skiing, shopping, movie watching and snow shoveling planned for the crew this weekend. Next week's going to be a MADHOUSE.
Flickr is now providing traffic stats to all of their pro users.
TechCrunch says it's like Google Analytics for your photos. We've integrated Flickr into many of our client websites, and this will prove to be an awesome tool.
Our most viewed photo? Me, with that Sum 41 dude.
Ever find yourself in a situation thinking "I should check that out" and then totally forgetting by the time you're in front of a computer? (Another reason to have internet with you, all the time, everywhere.)
With Kwiry, you can text yourself a message, and the Kwiry bots will email the message to you. The site is down this morning (not a good sign), but the service sounds interesting. I'm wondering what kind of mashups and integration can be done with other services and online promotions. From bub.blicio.us
The e-holiday cards are starting to roll in.
Eckerd College talked their President into a funny little holiday production. Sure to be appreciated by anyone who's a part of the creative/internet industrial work force.
Some great lines like "I just have to think of something funny, put the funny in the computer, and spit out a card. How long can that take?"
And "No....I need it now!"(Who hasn't had a client think it's that easy?)
I like that the management has a sense of humor. That's so rare in an educational environment, and says a lot about the leadership. Kudos, Mr Eckerd President. (And nice sweater.)
Guy Kawasaki has some sweet advice for any business person or entrepreneur. And it's relevant for creative/knowledge workers too.
In How to Not Choke, he writes about avoiding negative people, ignore those you can't avoid, looking for positivity, and framing yourself.
Careerlicious wisdom for any person - but especially appropriate to creative people. Half the job of making a brilliant concept come to life is having the ability to communicate its brilliance to the people who will give it the green light. Whether you're presenting ideas to your Art Director, your client, or your CEO, Guy's positivity approach is great advice.
If you can't get your positivity on, it might help to show the Plaid gang sign, as Rob demonstrates above. I find this is universally recognized, wherever I go. I plan on showing it to the nice fellows in the sketchy neighborhood the next time I drive through. I'm sure they'll wave back and smile.
Real estate developers uncovered a wall featuring historic work by graffiti artists Fab Five Freddy, Futura 2000 and Jean-Michel Basquiat while converting a building to luxury condominiums. Don't worry, I'm sure it was quickly covered in granite or elegant wood paneling.
This is a pretty sweet idea. London agency Archibald Ingall Stretton setup a snowmachine blaster gun at their entrance, and put the controls in your hands. If you're awake at 9am their time, you can push the button and blast their creatives in the face, when they walk in for the morning. Or you can watch on the live webcams.
Awesome. I'm sure they all had it coming to them. :) From Adrants.
To promote Paranormal State, A&E is running a billboard on Prince and Mulberry streets that uses ultrasonic sound to broadcast audio to very specific locations. Pedestrians directly in line of sight of the speakers (seen as the little black boxes in the image above) can hear the 'voices' that are broadcast. People steps away hear nothing.
We blogged on this technology years ago, when we first read about it in Wired. It's awesome to see the tech actually used. Soooo many possibilities.
Ashley points out the technology is from Holosonics, and they've also done campaigns for Target and Court TV. Cool.
This seems almost too good to be true. Harvard has slashed tuition, and will now charge students based on a percentage of their parent's income. Seems like a more fair approach than the ridiculous blood-letting that that every other college in the U.S. requires of parents.
This is a big deal. A reinvention of the way college can be marketed. Potentially industry changing. Let's hope universities all across the country follow suit.
Gotta love stop motion. And this spot totally rocks. Not just because the animation was cool - but because the whole thing was shot, and uploaded on a Samsung phone. That's the way to inspire a purchase - by showing real benefits and fun uses for the product. Sweet. From Creativity Online.
The other day we received one of those packages from Myron Manufacturing. The envelope with the pen that already has your company's name engraved on it. In the hopes that when you see it, you'll order a bunch more.
While this has to be one of the most effective direct mail tactics ever, I was surprised to get a follow-up phone call, to see if we might be interested in custom Plaid pens. Impressive follow-up - which initiated an office conversation about...custom pens.
Custom pens. Not cool, designery ones. The ugly ones. Why do firms still order these? What's accomplished? How lacking for ideas do you have to be to finally decide that an ugly, custom pen is the best promotional idea for your business?
I'm going to pull that idea out in our next long brainstorm session. After about a good hour, after the initial idea lull, and everyone's a little bit drained..."I know! Let's do custom pens! The ugly ones!"
Artist Sharon Mount creates wonderful buildings out of paper and card stock. Things like business cards.
If that wasn't enough, she creates a blog entry for each piece, detailing the background of the building or place it represents. Awesome. From swissmiss
So many people are blogging about the NYC window displays, that it actually hit BuzzFeed. Now you can check out all of the links to sweet window display goodness - without ever leaving your home. Or fighting the crowds. From the comfort of your basement.
Check out Polanoid - a community devoted to the love and sharing of Polaroid photos. Their goal is to produce the largest collection of Polaroids on the planet. Looks like they're already there. Found on Hip.Young.Thing.
Photograph by lorseau, at Polanoid.
By now you've probably seen the new BK spots. And maybe you've seen the clips from BK Freakout. And damn - Crispin Porter Bogusky has done it again.
An age old advertising concept - what would the world be like without your product - but realized in a style that only CPB could do.
As Make the Logo Bigger points out, they've managed to create a production that's so engaging, you won't mind spending 7+ minutes watching. A commercial. A 7+ minute long commercial - and you want to send it to your friends. Well done. Flame broiled and well done.
Check out this post detailing some Obama marketing techniques. From fundraising tactics, innovative list building, and the world's largest phone bank, this is a marketing team that's spot on. There's not a brand that couldn't learn something here.
Sooo many impressive tactics - but my fave is getting people while they're at an event to call four friends. Think about that...you're at an event - so you're already pre-disposed to the brand. Because all of the people around you are doing it, you're more likely to participate in something you wouldn't normally do. Because you're at an exciting event, you have a speaking point to begin discussions with your friends. Brilliant.
The same technique could work for most non-profit live events, and even some consumer brands. Why are we learning marketing from a politician?
Immodium should get their licensing people on this right now. Would be soooo awesome as a tv campaign. Isn't it fun to sing about diarrhea? From Christopher Price, via Facebook.
Big Lottery in the UK is about to give £50 Million to a worthwhile cause. They're letting the public decide which project gets funded, with phone votes. Like American Idol, but with money.
In case you didn't realize that £50 Million is a lot of money, they figured they'd make some noise. So they created a giant 25ft, 12 ton coin and put it out on display. Oh yeah, if you don't believe it's real, there's a YouTube video. Of course.
Here's what happened this week at the world's most plaidalicious design and branding firm:
They started construction on the addition to our space. Lumber was delivered (with a crane!) and they began the process of framing the floor.
Bill, Diana and co-hort Ben and I visited Washington DC on Monday, to present to an exciting new potential client. Fingers are crossed, and we're ready to change the world. Or a little piece of it, anyway. LOVE DC, and would like to spend more time there.
I was interviewed by Inc. Magazine! Totally stoked. I've been a reader for years, so it was a pleasure to talk to them about blogging. I'm expecting nothing short of the cover, but I'll probably get edited from the article entirely. Funny thing - I mentioned the interview to coworker Rob, and he thought I meant Ink Magazine - about tattoos. Obviously not everyone in our office subscribes to the business pubs.
We've got exactly two weeks to finish everything up before we close for the holidays. There's soooo much to do - so there are definitely some long days ahead.
We (mostly Katie and Ryan) were busy like elves on meth getting holiday mailers together. The Plaid holiday greeting hit the mailbox today. If you're on our list, keep your eyes on your postman next week. We're also preparing a nice holiday surprise package for Plaid clients. That should hit the streets later next week.
Major shout-out to Morgan Williams for hooking me up with American Hardcore on DVD. (It's a punk rock thing, not a porno thing.) Gonna be great to reminisce about the old days this weekend. Thanks Morgan!!!
Have a great weekend. It's snowing here.
Oh, goodie - they've come up with a word for the latest Japanese youth trend: Kegadoru. Kegadoru is technically a sub-trend, falling under the category of the already existing Cosplay. Use the word when you're referring to kids who have dressed like they're seriously injured. Seriously injured people are hot.