Here's what happened this week at the world's most "it's f'in freezing here" design and branding firm:
Giuli and I raced in the Polar Bear Challenge. Giuli was kind enough to slow her pace through the entire race, so that I wouldn't be running alone. I returned the favor by sprinting ahead of her, right at the finish line, to beat her by one second. (Still can't believe she fell for that.)
We launched a couple of live webcams in our office, so that you can keep track of what's going on in our office. We've set up one camera focused on one of our brainstorm areas, and another one monitoring our bathroom. The bathroom monitor should be interesting, because you'll be able to chart which Plaid employees take the longest bathroom breaks. Let us know if anyone takes too much time. There's some funky stuff going on in that bathroom.
Our elevator went out yesterday, giving us all some much needed exercise. Maybe more than some of us needed.
We've been interviewing like mad, for a couple of new positions here. Will be cool to see some fresh faces in Plaid.
Next week, a few of us head to SXSW! Getting totally stoked.
This big ball of cheez is for all of our media buying friends. We suppose they'll be gafawing their way to the copy machine with all of the buzzword rappin' madness. From Adrants.
How we missed this on the Plaid tour this summer, I'll never know. We must have not seen the billboards. Tennessee - not only the home to Elvis' home - but also the home to the Museum of Beverage Containers and Advertising.
Where else would you find package design for Johnson Juice? (One would assume, healthy juice for your johnson.) Justus Johnson in our office probably lives on this stuff.
So sad we missed this. Although the website is an experience, itself. I so would have driven an hour out of the way for this. From quipsologies.
How about an information graphic that works as an advertising message too?
Some awesome outdoor for the Denver Rescue Mission accomplished exactly that, with a billboard that evolved as people donated to the campaign. The visual effect reflecting the actual results of donor money - getting homeless people off the streets. Nice.
Earlier this week, as I was watching the debate on television, and my Twitter stream simultaneously, (and laughing harder than I have since SNL was funny thanks to mtlb), I realized that for the Twitterverse, television is relevant in a new way. I experienced the same thing during the SuperBowl, the Oscars, and other significant televised events.
This is an opportunity. Someone needs to produce television that I can add my own Twitter sub-titles to. Why couldn't a broadcast be streamed, and then allow a user to choose the Twitter buddies that appear as sub-titles? Every cable channel in the world is looking for a way to interact with the audience they're losing....let's produce this together.
We'll call it TweeVee. It will be huge. Where's my VC money?
Chris Brogan points out the massive opportunity sitting in front of you. A social network that helps your audience connect. Not for every audience - and this shouldn't be done on a whim, without some longer term planning, but as Chris indicates, a social network can work anywhere that you have a population of like-minded people.
Think about that for a second, as it applies to your universe. What do your customers have in common? What could they learn from or share with each other? Chris goes on to give you relevant examples of opportunities that haven't been realized (yet) in some other industries. You could create a conduit of connectivity that doesn't yet exist in your industry.
Basic marketing also comes to play here, too. A new social network won't likely be successful if there's already a winning network providing value to the same audience. The Walmart debacle of a few years ago comes to mind, where their agency actually convinced them they could replicate MySpace. Check out the cheezy actor-teens they thought would pass as the real thing, above. Uh-huh.
For some, this is a fantastic opportunity. But beware of bandwagons. Plan. Strategize. Be genuine. And work with an agency that participates in the sphere you're about to enter.
This is the most annoyingly stupid yet totally relevant and complete waste of time game ever. ForumWarz is an interactive game that plays off of everything current and past and relevant or annoying on the internet. It's as awesome as it is annoying. A perfect picture of internet pop culture.
If you're an internet worker, you'll get this. If not, you may look puzzled at your screen and wonder what all of the fuss is about. From BuzzFeed
Twittervision, the totally addicting Twitter mashup has been included in the "Design and the Elastic Mind." exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Finally, a reason to leave your computer, and go outside.
I want to go to the exhibit, and then tweet my friends while watching it. The show runs now through May 12.
If you're a list freak, and want to know the top brands in the UK, today's your lucky day. Superbrands just released their list of the top 500 brands, available in the business brands and consumer brands variety. Weeeee. Lists.
Facebook is pushing a fairly significant update this spring, that will add tabs to their users profiles. Pretty cool that they're consistently paying attention to their product and users, and adapting and growing. The introduction of tabs opens up a bunch of doors for growth, while keeping the tool clean and organized - so that it doesn't become a MySpace clusterssuck of bad design and impossible navigation.
If you'd like to learn more, you might want to become a fan of the Facebook Profiles Preview group, and they'll keep you up to date. You can also give them feedback. Good things.
Ever dream of having a threesome in a hot tub with that freaky headed dude from Jack in the Box? Yeah, me too.
Well, now you can live your dreams and upload your photo next to Jack and some babe with 70's hair. And then send it to your friends, like a trophy. From AdFreak, appropriately.
Brainiac Ben Kunz has an excellent post about how Google's paid search results are heading down, fast. If search is a part of your marketing campaign, this is a must read.
It's also proof that you want people smarter than you, like Ben, watching that side of your business. Who else pulls charts showing the search results from terms like "office supplies" and analyzes them in detail? Exactly.
Someone's keeping track of obsolete skills, just in case we need a record. As Adverlab points out, there's a bunch of skills that we've retired very recently. Important things, like rewinding VCR tapes, remembering phone numbers, formatting floppy disks, or loading film into a camera. Mmmmm. Floppy disks.
You'll look so smart. Like you've compiled mountains of data, so that she could see the popular social networking tools, across the world.
Go ahead. Insert into PowerPoint. You know you want to.
Both scary and exciting at the same time. Facebook is allowing Flash on their company pages. This is a big deal. Could be a massive boon for brands, and a major annoyance for Facebook users. Can't wait to see how this develops. In the meantime, we're beginning to experiment. More, soon.
It's a pretty rare event that conceptual, strategy, copywriting, design, illustration, sound design and flash development all converge to produce something great. Unscrew America is just that type of project.
The goal is to inform people about energy-efficient CFLs and LEDs - and also make sure people know that CFLs contain mercury and have to be properly recycled.
The incredible online component to the campaign feature beautious Flash animation, video, audio, writing, and everything else. Boom Design Group and their sister company Fluid did the Flash and sound design and video.
There's also print ads and even a tv component, which includes a role for Paul Reubens. Can't wait to see that. Nice campaign, by GSD&M. Nice job!!
First, the Mastercard spot (masterful art direction, btw). And now, Adfreak points to a new print campaign for Renault. I predict everyone's going to be sporting crazy eye by springtime. I'm getting mine installed now.
Here's what happened last week at the world's most bitchin' design and branding firm. (Normally, we post this on Friday - but with the snowstorm and everything, I forgot.) So here goes:
Our office was closed on Friday, thanks to the big storm. We all worked from home. And even did our own ooVoo chat.
A design that we completed ages ago for the primary Capitol Records site just launched.
We did a bunch of conceptual design for another bigger agency, for two really big clients that we can't tell you anything about.
I got to join Irina Slutsky on her MyooVooDayWith day. Irina's that super cool host on Geek Entertainment TV, who gets to interview all the cool web 2.0 entrepreneurs. We talked about a bunch of stuff, and I even learned about the coolest pie shop in San Francisco. Making me hungry, just thinking out it.
We launched a new version of BrandFlakes, devoted entirely to our upcoming trip to SXSW. Our hope is that this will be an awesome place to share ideas and experiences with our readers who decided not to go. And hopefully, Rob or Dave will do something really embarrassing in a drunken stupor. That's always awesome blog stuff. Stay tuned as SXSW nears, and we'll be posting lots of stuff.
Giuli, Diana and I have officially moved into the new addition of our office, and it rocks. We're moving furniture all around, and reconfiguring desks throughout our space. Once complete, we'll take loads of pictures and post them.
Have a great week!
Mashable reports that MarsUK has launched a campaign allowing Facebook users to actually purchase chocolate for their friends. Not chocolate made from those nasty tasting pixels - but actual, delicious chocolate treats.
The campaign allows you to send points to your friends, that they can then redeem at a local convenience store chain. AWESOME. That's the way to promote, sell and utilize a social network in a new way.
Everyone wins. Twix gets great social branding. People get Twix. Retailers get store traffic. Isn't chocolate the most wonderful thing ever?
I've got to get to the store today, and get me some Bot. I don't even care how many calories. Or if it's made from the blood of gypsies. I'm just sold by the awesomely delicious spot. I hope it mixes with vodka. From Adfreak.
Check out the mysterious ad campaign popping up in Ontario. The ads feature a fake pharmaceutical titled "Obay" that will help parents control their kids.
Some originally attributed the work to a re-branding of "Obey" by street artist Shepard Fairey, but The Torontoist figures that it's the work of Colleges Ontario.
Can't wait to see the payoff. I hope there's a significant online effort. Kind of surprised there isn't a campaign site, already. They should be handing out bottles of Obay at events, too.
We're goin' to Texas!
We're pretty stoked that a handful of us get to go to SXSW this year. David, Rob and I will embark on a Texas adventure like no other.
We plan on sharing the entire experience with you, sharing found ideas with you, and sharing new tools, tips and technology with you. We've started a SXSW edition of BrandFlakes, which will serve as the hub of these activities. Bookmark it now, and stay tuned for more information and details.
And - if you're also attending, let us know. We'd love to share a Texas-size drink with you.
Funny ad for CareerBuilder.
The banner ad features what the user believes to be the age old internet joke "boss button", which usually delivers an image of a boring spreadsheet. Instead, CareerBuilder clickers get a giant popup of "I QUIT."
This would be really cool to leave open on the desktop of that really loud and annoying person, down the hall. You know who I'm talking about. Just do it.
Found on The slippery Truffle
I saw this lifestyle piece breaking on Twitter, as the reporter was looking for subjects to profile. So it's pretty cool to see the piece live now. While I admit that the colors charcoal and black pretty much totally rock, I just can't commit to 100%.
Bones Magazine has the right idea. It's released on line - and dependent on your preference, you can download a PDF (and even print it, if you hate trees), download a 30 minute audio podcast, or a 5 minute video podcast. Or download all three and dedicate your day to Bones Magazine.
This issue is chocked full of really cool photography, illustration, art and inspiration. Enjoy. Stuffy corporate types might not dig this - so just move along...nothing to see here.
Found on MWM News Blog.
Maniacal Rage points to a really useful tool. A personal barcode maker. How many times have you been at the checkout register, questioning your self worth? Now you can create your own personal barcode, and carry it around with you all the time. You'll always know your current retail price.
Mine is pictured above. (I think I'm about to be marked down.) Please don't steal my barcode and clone me into an army of internet barcode bots. That's not how I want it to go down.
Design firm Mule found a really good promo idea for internet workers. Temporary laptop stickers. Promotional stickers that you can put on the back of your laptop for a week, a month, or an event. Mule will be giving them out at SXSW. Sweet idea.
Who thought statistics could be so engaging?
Chris Jordan has produced a stunning series titled Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait that portrays the quantity of something. Like the piece above, which depicts two million plastic beverage bottles. That's the number of bottles used in the US every five minutes.
This is amazingly scary - definitely click through and see the zoomed versions of these works.
Someone's produced a Nintendo version of the Macbook Air spot. The Apple copyfight attorneys keep taking it down from YouTube, but for now, you can see it here. Found on Engadget.
Unless you're the producer of a day-time talk show, it's rude to stare or marvel at human freaks. But now, thanks to the internet, you can do so in the privacy of your home or office.
Go ahead - check out the sweet collection of freaks, both young and old, from yesterday and today. All from the past capital of freakdom, Coney Island. Today, most of these freaks work at ad agencies. I saw Lionel, the lion faced dude at Crispin Porter Bogusky last week. I think he's an A/E, now.
I guess that if you live in Japan, you wear a surgical mask all the time. It's the thing to do. But how's a girl supposed to make it all cute? Thankfully, there's now a fashion guide for making your surgical mask stylish. Finally.
I think I'll start wearing a surgical mask when I video chat with friends on ooVoo, or Seesmic. That'll be my new video chat image.
Here's what happened this week at the word's sweetest design and branding firm:
We visited Segway headquarters!! Met some great people, had some productive meetings, and more important than anything...we got to see where Segways are born. The factory. They even let us test drive an x2. (Which Giuli won't stop talking about.)
I started using AskSunday. If you haven't already heard about it, check it out. Pretty awesome service. Basically, you get to outsource yourself. This week, I used Ask Sunday to research airfares, book airfares for SXSW, and renew a magazine subscription that had lapsed. All stuff that I didn't have time to do on my own.
Our CARPET ARRIVED!! If you've been following our remodeling saga, we've added a new area to our space. Construction has been completed, other than carpet, for what seems like 2 years. Today, the carpet installers arrived, and the space is ready for action. We start moving furniture into the joint next week!
Matt launched a site for A Fine Frenzy, just for Valentine's Day. You can still send your lover a sweet little Fine Frenzy message, if you'd like.
We've started to prepare for our trip to SXSW. We're going to be sharing our experience, with an eye toward what's cool for clients. We'll be blogging, twittering and broadcasting everything. Even when David gets really drunk and starts yelling at people. Should be a blast. If you're attending, please let us know. We'd love to share a BrandFlakes beer together.
We're off to enjoy a nice three day weekend, thanks to some dead presidents. You should too!
Powderhouse Productions just officially launched ShoeTube. It's the ultimate destination for chicks who love shoes. (Are there girls who don't??)
Awesome concept, and great content. Videos, blogs, and shoes. Lots of shoes. We're probably biased, because we designed the super shoelicious logo - which rocks in high pink like no other logo can. (Go, Leigh!)
I'm still begging them to make ShoeTube for men. All about sneakers. I'd never leave the site. I swear. It's been weeks since my last new pair. Please???
Google sees 50 times more searches from the iPhone than any other mobile handset.
“We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again,” says Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations. (Yeah, like Google can make mistakes.)
This is an important trend. Not that you aren't already sick of hearing how 'mobile is the future.' But here's tangible evidence that users are actually using. As the Financial Times points out, when other manufacturers make the internet as easy as Apple, this will be huge. Internet. Maybe this thing is catching on.
I know you're saying "if you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" in response to my love affair with Twitter.
Joseph Jaffe shares the timeline of Tweets from Ryan Kuder, who was in the process of getting laid off at Yahoo. Amazing.
Holy, sweet mother of David Ogilvy. This has to be the greatest invention in the entire history of advertising. Lickable ads. I can't wait to incorporate this into a campaign. Sweet, deliciously good idea for so many applications.
In the meantime, I'm just going to begin licking all of the ads in the subway stations and in the magazines at the doctor's office. Just to see how they taste. Field research. Thanks Maura!
Feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day? Like sleep is getting in your way? Chris Brogan has the most excellent post on scaling yourself. To do more, be more and enjoy more. Really, really good read.
You'll have to find the six million dollar man leisure suit on your own.
This is a few months old, but I missed it the first time around. Anyway, everything is new again on the internet, after six months.
So enjoy this funny production for Amnesty international. That is, if you think human slavery, torture and killing are hilarious. I always do.
Designer Yves Behar had made the the coolest NYC condoms. Playing off of the NY Transit graphics, the wrapper designs rock. (I'll keep the train riding comments to myself.)
You can get them for free, starting today, as a part of the NYC "Get Some" promotion.
Marmite, now in the flavor of love. Unilever has released a special flavor of Marmite - with champagne - just in time for Valentine's Day. You can see the spot on the Kontraband site. The special packaging is cool.
Not sure if it's available in the US. Or if you even care - because it's all brown and gooey. But brown and gooey with champagne. mmmmmm.
I definitely would have called this promo the Roto Rooter Sooper Pooper. But they've gone with "pimped out powder room," instead. Also not sure why they went with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader sluts, to speak to women. A carpenter dude from any one of the two billion decorator shows out there might have been better.
But I really like that it's produced in a way that you wouldn't typically think of the Roto Rooter brand. I also like how they've tied in multiple partners on the prize package - like Pottery Barn, Conair, Flavia and others. If you've always dreamed of a pink sooper pooper, today's your lucky day.
Do you completely ignore all of your Facebook notifications, and then delete them 25 at a time? You're not alone.
BusinessWeek reports on how marketers are mucking up a good thing by annoying the crap out of you with notifications and applications and stuff that doesn't add to your experience.
While the trend is real - I'm not convinced of the BusinessWeek conclusion - that people are leaving social apps, and finding new things. They point to the decline in MySpace usage as proof. Ummm....decline in MySpace usage?? Yeah, and people don't wear acid washed jeans anymore, either.
Crowds aren't going to continue migrating to the next new thing, just because of ads. Because the ad agencies will follow. When I am finally in control of the world, two things will happen:
1. Social sites will listen to their users, and create tools that make it easier to ignore, delete and remove the annoying crap. Facebook is already making some strides in this area. I predict more in the future. New social apps should have this built in.
2. Marketers will need to create content that has value. For real. And stop force feeding friend notifications and spamming.
So, see you on Facebook. And Seesmic. And Twitter. And Ning. And....
From Wilson Cleveland, via Facebook.
Streets looking barren, in the recession that's not a recession? Stores closing? Adfreak points out a really cool idea for dead store windows. Window projections. These could be awesome advertising delivery vehicles. Or art installations. Or even creative store displays for retailers still in business. So many awesome possibilities.
When you're on the community field at the beginning of soccer season, watching your little spawn run around cones and play a game of soccer where "both teams win", remember this clip. And show it to your kid to inspire her. Soccer could actually be fun.
From Thought Gadgets, via Make the Logo Bigger.
You can thank Chris Brogan, (via Twitter) for finding this sweet list of killer social media lists, posts, articles, guides and stuff. Tell your boss you're taking the day off to read and get skooled.
The shot of Kylie Minogue has absolutely nothing to do with this post, or social media. I'm just too lazy to find something more appropriate. But I'm sure that even Kylie is all hot over this list, and sitting down to read it, as we speak.
The New York Times reports that the latest Microsoft development teams are actually incorporating mashups into their new software development. Web 2.0 style. Like they're actually paying attention to the way the rest of the world uses the interweb. Wow. If they could just make it so that Word doesn't take 34 minutes to open up on my machine, we'd be all set.
Illustration by James Yang, via the New York Times.