We haven't played with this at length yet, but people that we really trust are raving about a cool new blog tool. Tell your friend who has always wanted to start blogging (but was afraid that it was too complicated) to check out Posterous.
With posterous, you just email what you'd like to post. They post it instantly. And like that - you're a blogger. Your mom could do this. Really.
Your first blog post is only seconds away. It's true. I created the post pictured above (of a unicorn we killed over the weekend) in LESS THAN SIXTY SECONDS.
We like this idea.
Duct Tape Marketing has some really, really wise advice. Treat tomorrow (July 1st, in case you don't have a calendar handy) as if it were JANUARY 1st. It's your halfway point.
How are you doing with your goals? With your budgets? With your brand plan? With your personal life? What a great time for reflection and course correction.
Photo courtesy of Times Square NYC.
I'm not one to care much about team sports, but even I had to admire this spectacular work for Nuveen Investments, celebrating some team in baseball called "the Cubs."
AdFreak has wallpaper size images of the entire series. So go get your baseball freak on.
This has so many fun possibilities. Duct tape that looks like LED lights spelling out your custom message. Only it's not LED lights. It's just duct tape. That you personalize. Sweet idea. We need this. So do you. Thanks Giuli!!
Here's what happened this week at the world's most unicorn-friendly creative agency:
David the Intern completed his sentence at Plaid. He's given up the life of an intern and will be studying in SPAIN for the second half of his summer. Yeah, Spain. Why do crappy work for low wages when you can do things in the rain in Spain? We celebrated the same way we celebrate all great events. With delicious cake. Because he's an intern, we couldn't give his cake a minute more of attention than it deserved. So David the Intern gets "an intern cake."
The week was filled with loads of brainstorms, some nice rooftop patio meetings, and of course work. And there were a lot of donuts this week. No particular reason. (Nor should there ever need to be.)
I filled in as one of five genius guest bloggers on the world famous ToddAnd blog. You should check out my post, and watch the video. It's really inspiring, I promise.
Steph and Sara organized an awesome party in honor of Rob, since he's leaving us. Our first Plaid luau. Summer brew, mango drinks, voodoo juice and tiki mugs. Just the right recipe for Plaid action.
And there was a pinata, too. Nothing is more fun than giving employees of Plaid a big lead pipe, and telling them to bash the crap out of a cute unicorn. That would have been entertaining enough for most of us. But the baby unicorn was filled to the gills with candy, too.
And then Rob and Justus discovered that dead unicorn legs make for perfect beer cozies. Never underestimate the fun of a good unicorn killing.
Here's to a great summer weekend, cool interns and dead unicorns. Enjoy.
Coworker Rob has decided that CT is not cool enough for him and his facial hair, so he's decided to move. To Charlotte, NC. Here's the thing. Rob needs a bitchin' job at the second best agency in the land. And we need the second best designer to replace Rob.
So if you're an agency in the Charlotte area, we have a proposal:
AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE TRADE:
One talented designer. Red hair, goatee-thingee on face, some tattoos. Capable of award-winning, attention getting, conversation starting work. Idea superstar who's not afraid to jump out of a plane. Given the right motivation, may even jump off of a Mexican bridge.
Will trade for designer of equal (or better) talent, willing to work at the best agency in all of the land. Must be a fun person. Fantastical web design skills. Goatee optional.
Send prospects for trade to: darryl (AT) thinkplaid (DOT) com. Offers to Rob can be sent to rob (AT) thinkplaid (DOT) com.
Here's a really cute piece on the moving of a church. It's a few months old, but is getting picked up and buzzed about. John Deere should be all over this. What a spectacular positioning of their brand.
This is fascinating. Original sketches for ideas that have become staples of our web 2.0 lives. Like Twitter. Vimeo. Flickr.
It's inspiring to see things that are now viewed as grand, in their conceptual stages. The original sketch for Twitter's concept is pictured above.
Are you archiving your brand's history? From Waxy.
This is the coolest hotel concept ever. A super mod, ultra designed portable hotel room that can be parked virtually anywhere.
I wonder about the important stuff - like where does the toilet water go? Does it just flush onto the street below? But things like that aren't important when you've got the world's most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. This would make for a sweet party or promotional event.
Ze Frank, artist, speaker, experimenter, lover of Plaid, person that can't be described with one line - recently conducted a fun experiment. Ze borrowed a couple of Facebook profiles, and became someone else.
With a simple tweet asking if he could be you for one week, he received over 200 responses. He chose two of them to explore.
Christine Huang tells what she learned from the experience of channeling her inner Ze, on Facebook. Really fun.
While researching interesting brands and people that we'd like to meet on the Plaid Summer Tour, coworker Sara found Laika. A super cool animation and production facility in Oregon.
Their work is stunning - but that's not the only thing you should check out. Their site allows you to view their reels - and put together your own reel of their work, in any order you'd like. And then share it with friends.
They've thought hard about their audience - agencies and people who hire animators - and understand that there are several people that are a part of that decision making process. By allowing the sharing of a custom reel, everyone in on the decision can see the same work. Awesome work. Awesome marketing. Totally, completely awesome.
AND - I discovered that they produced the new spots for Soy Joy - which rock, btw. See the spot in my custom Laika reel.
Light pipes. Pipes that light up. They're not really too good for plumbing. Or pumping industrial waste through your space. But they look really cool lit up. And at only about half the price of actual nuclear glowing pipes.
David Horvitz will go to the Hudson River in upstate NY, and mail you a rock from there. Not what you're looking for?
For a mere $1,335 he will go as far south as possible in South America and take a photograph of the ocean for you.
On a budget? If you give him $1, he'll sit in silence and think about you for one minute.
I would like very much to have David Horvitz's job. Especially when he goes to the island of St. Helena, to take a picture of the sky. Found on Eyebeam's Reblog.
We Are Numbers is a worldwide experiment with t-shirts. 1000 individually numbered t-shirts. If you buy one of the first 1000, and then take a photo of yourself wearing the shirt, you'll be included in the book.
You don't have to take your photo with your panties showing, but it appears that's what a lot of girls like doing. Because that's what some girls do. They wear their t-shirts and panties around. You see it all the time at the deli, at the DMV, and Sears.
Found on Josh Spear
Turn your ugly, disgusting words into beautious pieces of art. That's what I did.
The wonderous artwork above is a tag cloud made from last week's blog post of what happened at our agency. And you can do the same thing. I've saved it for you here, so that you can show your friends. Just don't print this on canvas, and sell it in a gallery as art. We'll find out.
Make your own tag cloud out of any extra words that you find laying around the office. It's fun. Go ahead. You know you have words to spare. Found on Lifehacker.
The preamble to the United States Constitution is one of the only things that I can now recite from memory thanks to my wonderful education at the School House of Rock.
Now you can enjoy the very same preamble produced by a group of wonderfully choreographed humans. Thanks SwissMiss!
Uniqlo's most recent production UNIQLOCK has just snagged some sweet interactive awards. Yes, like any wonderful apparel piece, it promotes t-shirts. But it also tells time. With rhythm. And dance. It's an incredible production.
Creativity interviews Koichiro Tanaka, the mastermind behind the production about the client, the process and the who what and why.
Mashable reports on a brand new photo sharing site - Bragosphere. Tools like Flickr and Photobucket are pretty entrenched, so it will be interesting to see if this gets traction.
If you look past the fact that it requires the Microsoft Silverlight plugin, this looks to be a cool feature rich application. Users can drag, drop and enlarge photos outside the grids you've become accustomed to on the other photo sites. That makes for a nice, friendly viewing experience. Worthy of exploration.
Here's an art piece that will certainly scare the kids. The Bridge is an installation by Michael Cross.
Steps rise up from the water as you progress forward, only to disappear behind you. Like Mario Bros, but for real. This is a pretty awesome installation, that must be cool to experience. They should include gators or sea monsters for added effect.
Proof that you never know what you will find in the waters lapping the boroughs of NYC, this weekend brought mermaids. The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade looks like a barrel of sea monkey fun.
Here's what happened this week at the world's most famous design and branding firm:
Sara was featured on CNN! She's the star of a piece about tattoos in the workplace. Turns out we're one of a few rare places that welcomes body art. There are at least four Plaidsters well decorated with ink. Do you know who they are? Matt's also planning an awesome tattoo, that we're going to have to talk him into while we're on tour. San Fran is the place, Matt.
We're hiring a designer! See all of the details here. Send us a link to your work, and maybe we could hang with you.
I'm guest blogging on the world famous Todd And blog. Look for my spectacular, world changing post on Wednesday. In the meantime, you can enjoy some really great guest blogging from:
+ Yesterday: Leo Bottary of Client Service Insights
+ Today: Kami Huyse of Communication Overtones
+ Monday: Gavin Heaton of Servant of Chaos
+ Tuesday: Drew McLellan of Drew’s Marketing Minute
+ Wednesday: Me! Me! Me! Me! Me! Brand Flakes for Breakfast
The Plaid tour is exactly 30 DAYS AWAY. So many preparations are being made. We've scheduled Tweetups in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Sign up on the tour dashboard. First five to register (it's free - just do it) get a free PlaidNation tour t-shirt!
You're going to want to completely avoid work from July 21 through August 2nd - so start delegating jobs now. In preparation, you'll want to:
+ Follow the Plaid van on Twitter.
+ Join the Facebook fan page.
+ Tell the world you're going on the tour (virtually, of course) on Facebook.
+ Tell the entire world about PlaidNation - where you'll see us sharing Plaid love from Vancouver to Vegas.
Plaidsters are off for a summer weekend of fun. Surfing, sun, bbq's and fun. Or something like that. Have a great weekend.
While on Plaid's summer tour last year, some of us ended up spending a weekend in Asheville, NC. Coworker Ryan and I can be seen welcoming the locals, above. We all fell in love with this really cool city. (And had some of the most awesome veggie food. And beer. And beer. Did I mention beer?) Anyway - that's not the point.
Asheville is this little gem in North Carolina that most people don't know about. A challenge for the state's tourism department. How do you inspire people to explore Asheville?
Ask Luckie. Advergirl has an excellent synopsis of the tourism campaign that agency Luckie produced for the city. Tourism campaigns are typically filled with the most horrifically boring creative - and Luckie did a fab job of breaking out of that mold with a multi-faceted campaign. Really nice work.
(One of the other things that I'll always remind Ryan and Rob is that while in Asheville, with too many beers in my system - I kicked their ass in pool. They look really cool, but I'm still the boss. Proof here. Good times, Asheville)
Paul Mcenany, one of my favorite bloggers, has some really cool advice for marketers that he gleaned from the eulogy festival around Tim Russert. Inspired by a wonderful quote from Pat Moynihan, Paul's pointed out that we don't all fit into "buckets" as nicely as our marketing demographics would like us to.
If you've ever been tempted to trust a focus group over talented creative instinct, there's some wise insight here.
The LA Times is reporting that the famed echo chambers in the Capitol building are in danger due to proposed construction next door.
Back before kids had ProTools on their laptops, architects and sound engineers went to great lengths to produce an amazing space. An excerpt from the piece:
"The echo chambers were even trickier to build. Designed as trapezoidal rooms by recording artist and sound expert Les Paul, they have 10-inch-thick concrete walls and foot-thick concrete ceilings. With speakers on one side and microphones on the other, they can provide reverberation lasting up to five seconds. Sound engineers "use them like an artist's palette," as one Capitol worker put it."
Really amazing architectural masterpiece, and sad if the story rings true - although hopefully this wouldn't produce permanent damage. From Jesse Kanner, via Facebook.
Sometimes the simplest things can be absolutely mesmerizing. There's an installation at MOMA in NYC that features a fan, hanging in the atrium. That's it. Just a fan. Wonderous. From swissmiss.
Todd And started a fun experiment over at his blog. He's asked a handful of his favorite bloggers to guest blog for the next week. Clearly in a drunken stupor, he included me on this list.
He's letting five bloggers take over his blog for five days. Whatever we want to do. He's not even going to proof our posts. (I'm pretty sure.)
Here's the schedule of bloggers - starting today!
+ Today: Leo Bottary of Client Service Insights
+ Fri: Kami Huyse of Communication Overtones
+ Monday: Gavin Heaton of Servant of Chaos
+ Tuesday: Drew McLellan of Drew’s Marketing Minute
+ Wednesday: The most awesome blogger ever, Darryl Ohrt of Brand Flakes for Breakfast
Leo's kicked it off today with an AMAZING video. Check it out.
I've got a few days to figure out what to post. So many topics...guns, politics, porn, religion. Geez. Where to start?
Finally, chairs that behave. And follow you, from the scent of your behind. Or your library card. Not sure. This is the most awesome invention ever. Not just for the chair, but for the products that are sure to follow.
I'll never have to carry my 65 pound messenger bag around again. To hell with a laptop - let's have the full on desktop machine follow me to meetings. And a wagon of jackets and clothes, so that when I forget that it's cold out, and need to change. I can't wait to live in a world where everything that I need just follows me around.
Awesome find from Orange Element.
At first, you'll think this can't be true. Kellogg's could not produce a candy that looks very much like a small toy from the real world. But they did.
I've seen corporate environments that refuse to let a good idea escape the boardroom - but how did 47 committees at Kellogg's approve this instead?
Why stop here? Here's some fun ideas for new Kellogg's products:
+ Juice in bottles that look like bleach!
+ Soda that looks just like auto anti-freeze! Or blue "windshield wiper" flavor!
+ All new razor blade chewing gum!
+ New handgun candy dispensers! Just pull the trigger for full flavor!
Not the acting. Or the actors. Or the storyline. Or the script. Nope. It was the typography. On all of the maps. All wrong.
Mark Simonson reviewed the typography and discovered that the fonts used are completely outside of the era that they're supposed to be taking place in.
Indiana Jones is dead to me now.
It looks like these pens aren't available yet - but I sooo need about a hundred of them. I want to leave "Springfield Sexual Addiction Center" pens on people's desks everywhere I go.
These would make awesome trade show giveaways - promote a funny url - and then create a fake website that promotes your product or service.
Nicholas from Raisan Creative reminds us that every weekend should be a three day weekend. If you need a good excuse to let your boss know why you won't be in on Monday, build your own fake news clip.
The promo for Mikes Hard Lemonade lets you build your own news story. Proof that you can't possibly come to work. Mine says that I'm stuck on a cheezy carnival ride.
These things are silly but I never get tired of them.
Check out Raymond Loewy's original sketches for the Exxon logo.
Think your client or department is slow at approving things? This was sketched in 1966, but the new logo wasn't implemented until 1972. Probably because their internet was really slow back then.
You know when you're on the phone, trying to point out a section of a website? "No, underneath that. No. Above that. A little to the right of that graphic."
Now, you can highlight the exact text you'd like the person to see, and send them a link. Or a graphic. Thanks to the wonderous people at Awesome Highlighter. Why isn't Staples sponsoring these guys? Or buying them huge houses on the ocean in Malibu?
Architectural design firm Transparent House has mastered a unique way to embellish concrete floors. What a stunning idea for your lobby, your retail store, or even vertical walls.
Wanna get some attention with a cool direct mail piece? Try sending blood.
HBO is launching a new vampire show titled Tru Blood. So they're sending bloggers blood to get the word out. YesButNoButYes has all of the details, and pics of the piece. (And he drank the blood.)
Unexpected surprise: check out the Google adword that pops up in the YesButNoButYes post. I wonder if HBO had "diarrhea blood" in mind as a keyword for their promotion?
Nice piece, great idea. What body fluids could you be mailing your clients?
Really cool video produced from the desktop of a Mac. This may have you watching again and again. And again. And Again. From 30gms.
UPDATE: Here's an attempt at producing the same video, on a PC.
"If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker."
Wow. How's that for power? Check out this sweet NY Times article about the abundance of creative people in the workplace.
I was stoked to see our city (Danbury, CT) made the top 10 areas with a greater proportion of artists in the work force. I'll bet they counted everyone at our agency twice. Or, maybe they counted employees AND employee bobble heads. Coworker RJ shows his doppleganger, above.
You know that she's totally going to love these Mario Bros and Donkey Kong wall decals. Don't even ask. Just take down all that Restoration Hardware crap, and put these stickers up. And then proclaim that you plan on redecorating the entire house, with each room devoted to another video game.
Don't forget to remind her that you once held the record for Donkey Kong at the machine in the snack bar, in college. From urlgreyhot.
Agency Admcom has officially declared a year of creativity. To celebrate, they've rolled out the Year of Creativity site, where they invite you to become someone else.
Shed your old, boring identity and remake yourself. With a kabillion choices in customizable business cards. Found on Greg Verdino.com.
Plaid - the greatest agency in all of the land is looking for a new designer! Creative Genius! Lover of the internet! Person who gets paid to make things on a Mac! (We're not much on titles.)
Stuff you'll do:
Work on the most awesome projects and create the most wonderous designs.
Work with really cool clients, and one or two less-than-cool clients
Collaborate with the most talented bunch of creatives ever to grace the earth
Stuff you have:
+ At least 2 years design experience
+ Kick ass portfolio, with especially strong interactive work (you don't have to be a coder)
+ Good grasp on the latest internet tools
+ Good energy. Fun to be with.
+ Awesome sense of humor.
Stuff that would be awesome, but not required:
+ You have a Facebook profile, and/or participate in social media
+ You don't like Celine Dion, as an artist.
+ You enjoy doing stupid things and documenting them on a company blog. (Like Steph, who just ate 10 Pixie Stix at once, in the photo above)
Work at the best agency ever created by humans.
Open office, open books. No politics. For real.
Really fun, collaborative and energetic work environment.
Half day Fridays in the summertime, planning trips to fun places, and an office Segway.
100% paid health benefits, 401(k) plan, and super aggressive profit sharing.
Send resume and a link to some of your work, to darryl AT thinkplaid DOT com, with "designer" in the subject line. Position is full-time, and based in Connecticut. (If you've sent a resume in the last 3 months - you're already in consideration. Feel free to confirm that we have it on file.)
Here's what happened this week at the world's most awesome design and branding firm:
Steph came to work on Monday with the oddest sunburn. She went surfing over the weekend, and removed half of her wetsuit in just a way that she now has an upside down sort of sunburn. We laughed, of course, because that's how we treat coworkers.
We survived the heatwave. Our space is on the top floor of our building. Heat rises. Our A/C system was crying.
A handful of us are competing in an agency running contest, through NikePlus. Girls against Boys. So far, the boys are winning. (Likely to change over the weekend.)
We're hiring!! We're going to be looking for a new full-time designer. Details in a new post, soon.
37 days until PlaidNation is in full swing! The biggest, best (and only) rolling celebration of creativity, ideas and social media. Can't wait. Tour buttons arrived today (pictured poorly, above.) We've launched a couple of new exciting things for the tour:
+ You can now sign up for Tweetups on the dashboard, for Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. If you're on the tour route, we want to meet you!! The first five people in each market get a free tour t-shirt, so hurry it up.
+ Subscribe to the Plaid tour Twitter stream. This will be picking up steam a little more with every day.
+ Become a fan of Plaid on Facebook, and we'll keep you updated with stuff from the road.
+ You can now buy the PlaidNation theme song on iTunes! The song was written and produced for us by Pop Heroes, the coolest band in the entire nation. Which makes us cool by association. By the time we get to Los Angeles, we'll probably have paparazzi.
Half day Friday's are in full effect, so we're all off enjoying a wonderful summer weekend in the one place without floods, tornadoes or wildfires. So far.
This is a seriously great promotional tactic - regardless of what side of the fence you're on.
Obama has launched Fight the Smears, a site devoted to answering any of the accusations that are being thrown around by McCain supporters. Worried that Obama eats live babies in satanic rituals? Now you can get the facts.
This is fantastic on multiple levels:
1. Presents the Obama brand as being a part of the conversation, and willing to answer any challenge brought to the table.
2. Creates one place for his supporters to point their friends who have heard "smears".
3. Works as yet another tool in the arsenal for the campaign. When questioned on any item, Obama supporters can claim "We've answered this in detail on our site Stop the Smears.com." In one sentence, you've just labeled the opposition's claim a smear, and driven traffic to a your promotional site.
Genius. Big brands could learn something here. Found on MaketheLogoBigger.
Just a reminder not to shoot anyone today, and to not let your kids play with guns. In case you were thinking otherwise, here's a super depressing piece from the Disarming Britain campaign.
Watch it if you feel like being really sad. Or want to remember that guns can kill people.
Back in the day when artists shaved their heads and wore nothing but tube tops, it was difficult to get your body into complex yoga poses. And they didn't have Photoshop to fake it. What's a photographer to do??
Check out this post detailing how the shot of Grace Jones, above, was achieved. Think of how many buttons you'd have to push today, to achieve the same shot. ;-)
Chictopia rocks. Browse photos of people sorted to your body type, and get the latest fashion ideas. Not just ideas - but even the detail on where to get the very same items.
The tool allows users to annotate their photos with detail on what they're wearing. For instance, the super hot secretary outfit above? The top comes from JCrew, the skirt comes from Urban Outfitters and the shoes and purse from Goodwill. Like the JCrew top? One click, and you're seeing every photo tagged with a JCrew item. Sweetfashionlicious.
Users can vote on favorite styles, so you can see what works and what doesn't, for your body type. They even have photos of guys, for your boyfriend.
I'm totally uploading a photo of the most ridiculous outfit, just to see how many votes I can get. But that's me. You should use this tool for real, and put together a sweet ensemble. From kirtsy
Totally genius concept illustrating the level of detail that you could be getting from a Leica D-Lux 3 digital camera. (Suggested copy edit for their headline: See More Detail. Right??)
They should sell the pixel dogs. Wouldn't you want one? A cute little puppy that doesn't poop, or whine, or chew on furniture?
Coworker Rob found Geoquake. A mashup game where you can drive a car over Google Maps. Almost like Grand Theft Auto, only on a real map. And without all of the killing, hookers, 3D graphics, cool cars, etc.
This is an awesome mashup with loads of promotional opportunities. What about a version that encourages users to explore your campus? Or a scavenger hunt, where you photo your car over certain objects? Or as an automobile promo showing that your vehicle can drive over anything. (Even buildings.) So many cool ideas. Ready to ride.
But for now, I'm driving over pedestrians in New York. Cuz that's how I roll.
Because sports brackets are boring, Consumerist has put together their own bracket. Of the worst companies in America. Enjoy the "playoffs." I had my money on Delta Airlines, but they didn't make this bracket.
Think of it. How many times have you walked down the sidewalk, seen evidence of someone who failed to curb their dog and thought "if only there was a better use for this wonderous poop."
Now, thanks to Sprinkle Brigade poop has been repurposed. Into wonderful artwork. Think of how incredible this would look in your living room. Or in your office lobby. Or what a cool Father's Day gift this might make. Poop art rocks.
The poop scoop originally found on Angus Whines.
Russell Davies details 10 wonderful tips on how to be interesting.
This is all fantastic advice for any creative person. Or business person. Or human. Send it to a friend.
And then incorporate some of the 10 tips into your life. Because you know that we all talk about you behind your back, and we really think you're pretty boring. It's time that you do something about this little problem you have. Get interesting.
(Coworker Steph gets interesting by munching 8 pixie sticks at once, and not spewing. Photo evidence above.)
Hat tip to GapingVoid, via Twitter.
The internet is buzzing about ParaTube, the video sharing site for all things paranormal.
I wanted to share their most watched video with you, by embedding it here. But they don't allow that, without logging in. That's a poor decision by the creators of ParaTube. Sharing is what will make this successful - not forcing user logins.
That aside, there's some fun material here for ghost hunters and sci-fi fans. And for people who believe that it's all going to end in 2012. (The world. Not ParaTube. I'm sure ParaTube will live on through at least the 2020's.)
Every time that someone uses an ATM machine, the heart of a designer is crushed. Crushed by the unnecessary ugly, the bad type, the lack of passion from the UI design. Until now.
Check out this case study on the redesign of the Wells Fargo ATM interface. Now, every time that someone withdraws cash from a Wells Fargo ATM, a designer gets wings. Beautiful.
This weekend, I reached a milestone on the NikePlus system. 500 miles. This means that I've been using their system for 500 miles. Telling my friends about their product for 500 miles. Convincing my friends to join the system for 500 miles. For 500 miles, I've been a NikePlus brand advocate.
How does Nike celebrate this momentous occasion? With a coupon for "free shipping" on a Nike 500 mile club t-shirt. A $28 t-shirt. I've been your advocate for 500 miles, and I'm repaid with a marketing offer? Pffffffft.
I accept (and embrace) marketing on the home page, when I use the product. But product marketing used as an award feels wrong here. Why not give 500 mile users a keychain? A bracelet? Or GIVE them a $28 t-shirt? That's a bunch of t-shirts that will elicit additional conversation about the product. Or, don't give anything but the virtual trophy and badge for their profiles. (Which would have been just enough.)
Brian Morrisey points out a bunch of other problems with NikePlus. You can't export your data. (Data portability is the future.) You can't find and connect with friends (outside of challenges). He's right. Worse, the system is filled with minor (but super annoying, over time) software bugs. They've added cute features like silly avatars (no thanks), but ignore software bugs that plague their most avid users.
For the brands that believe Nike beat them to market...here's your chance. Create a product that connects your users. And is social in the way that social tools have become central to our lives (like Twitter & Facebook). Maybe even integrate with them. And update your software. Fix your bugs. If you're going to play web 2.0, learn from the best. Continually improve, like the best Google products, or any 37Signals products.
NikePlus: I love you. You've inspired me to run, and made me love the Nike brand more than I ever did before. But icky marketing and software bugs eat away at brand love bite by byte.