Here's what happened this week at the world's most bitchin' creative agency:
This week was a short week thanks to the holiday, which left everyone scrambling to make up for the lost time. LOTS of work happening, and everyone is pushing hard to keep up.
We celebrated Dave's birthday with a Richard Simmons cake. Our office has had a long time fascination with the Richard, and none of us can even remember how it started. (But he tastes great as cake.)
There was plenty of behind the scenes work going on for the upcoming Plaid tour. Sprint officially announced their sponsorship. We added a stop at FedEx, while we're in Memphis, Threadless while in Chicago, and are finalizing other tour stops along the way. (If you're somewhere between Detroit and New Orleans, you may want to give us a shout.) The tour dashboard should launch next week, and you'll be able to keep up on all of the pre-tour action.
Tomorrow, Plaid is sponsoring our first ever art initiative - ChalkWalk. This will be one of a handful of Plaid art initiatives intended to bring art to the city where we're headquartered. We've also commissioned two amazing internationally known artists for the event - Curtis Golstein and Ellis Gallager who will be producing some awesome inspirational work.
After about 600 days of grey, the sun is supposed to arrive tomorrow, too. Plaidsters will be enjoying that. Hope you do, too!
Google is rethinking what's possible within the inbox. In short, you'll be able to do so much more from inside the GMail inbox. From WebMonkey:
Most of us use e-mail, just addressing a new message to a bunch of people. This starts a thread, which eventually gets twisted and fragmented into side conversations and becomes more and more confusing.
So - imagine if all of those threaded conversations, real-time chat, nested comments, media sharing, and wiki-style collaborations were all available inside the inbox?? Pure awesomeness. Or Googleness.
It's currently in private developer beta mode, but will be released to the public in the next few months. Found on YesButNoButYes.
Here's something that everyone in the agency business, or who has ever worked in the agency business, will absolutely totally appreciate. What if bad client behavior happened out in the real world? Hilarious.
Thanks, Jesse! (a really good client, btw.)
It's great when brands understand that just because they're not selling burgers doesn't mean that their audience can't have fun.
Here's a great ad for Associated Ready Mixed Concrete. Yeah - concrete. Not the most exciting industry. Yet the ads have a fun sense of humor that's likely completely appreciated by their audience. Nice work.
Mashable points to to five cool fun awesome sweet ways to share the social media identity that you've worked so hard at building. We haven't tried all of these yet, but are really loving the idea of Retaggr.
How many times have you said to yourself that the world would be a better place if I only had a search engine that neatly organized both Google and Twitter results together?
Rejoice! Your day has come. Meet Twootles. Your two favorite things - Google and Twitter, nicely wrapped together in one sweet package. From @BenKunz.
Artist Blprnt took his curiosity for visualizing information that isn't shared, but inferred, and explored how that might be put to good use.
The video clip above uses a database of of tweets featuring the words "just landed" and maps them across the globe visually. This would seem to be a good graphical representation of the people (on Twitter) who are currently landing in airports. Find more detail on Blprnt's blog.
The whole experiment came out of a discussion with a friend in bioinformatics chatting about new ways to chart the transmission of disease (relevant to that stupid pig virus.)
Proof that curiosity and design can accomplish awesome things. From Under Consideration.
This should be an assignment in every art school design class.
Artist Cardon Webb has taken flyers found on the street and redesigned them into glorious masterpieces. Cardon rocks.
A really cool film talks about the High Line project in NYC. This project has converted an elevated, abandoned rail track into a beautious public park - and is due to open in June.
Watch Kevin "my last name is breakfast" Bacon talk about the importance of the project, in a new series of films just released as part of the Sundance Channel's High Line Stories.
Who says exciting lighting design can't be applied to public works projects? Street artists in Tel Aviv have tricked up the lighting in underground street tunnels and overpasses to...be more fun.
At first it seemed like this might be a joke. Or a parody. Sadly, it looks as if the Twitter Power System is for real. Yeeeesh.
If you still haven't made the jump into Twitter, you don't need any "proven methods to success." Just think and act like a reasonable business person.
Here's six (free) tips about Twitter that will save you the $77 cost of a "system":
+ Try it. Give it a few weeks.
+ Follow 20 people that interest you - and then grow it slowly. Based on people that interest you.
+ Understand that this is not a "system" where the person with the most followers wins
+ Think of Twitter as a cocktail party. Act accordingly. Learn your surroundings before you jump through the door and start handing out business cards.
+ Be yourself.
+ Share, communicate and join the conversation.
Some journalists are actually using the internet.
Check out the insides of five innovative "newsrooms" that embrace technology or are otherwise interesting. Granted, many aren't for old school newspapers - but this is still a pretty sweet peek inside some places you're not normally allowed into.
From Eugene Driscoll, via Facebook.
Reveille, the company responsible for producing tv hits "The Office", "Ugly Betty" and "The Biggest Loser" is apparently developing a Twitter TV show.
Twitter's Biz Stone says that "we have a lightweight, non-exclusive, agreement with the producers which helps them move forward more freely."
(And you thought tv was dead.)
Here's what happened this week at the world's most awesome creative agency:
The Plaid roofdeck is officially open! Warm weather finally arrived to the blustery northeast, and we enjoyed quite a few outdoor lunches, brainstorms and other activities.
The PlaidNation tour is only 58 days away, and the Plaid crew is in the process of finalizing the hundreds of items that need to be done before the tour kicks off in Detroit. We're also scheduling tour stops - so if we're coming to your market and you'd like a visit from the Plaid crew, give us a shout.
We were stoked to find out that Sprint has joined Ford Motors as an official sponsor of the tour! People often ask "How do you broadcast your every move while driving through the country?" - and Sprint is a large part of what makes that possible. Do you represent a brand that would benefit from a PlaidNation sponsorship? It's not too late. Reach out!
Our agency has donated an art initiative to the downtown area where Plaid lives. We've created ChalkWalk, commissioned two of the nation's hottest street artists to create work, and invited the citizens of our city to join in the fun. The event is only a week away, so planning is in full effect.
A couple of the smarter dudes from Crayon joined Plaid for a fun brainstorm event. Joseph Jaffe and Greg Verdino stopped by for a day of Plaid/crayon think-magic. Details are top secret.
We started a Plaid running team. Well, that is if two people running with @BenKunz from an agency across town can count as a running team. That's what we're calling it. We're kicking ass.
Plaidsters are heading out of the office to enjoy a three day weekend, and kicking off the summer season of half day Fridays!! BBQ in the future. Have a great weekend!
Let's say that you're creating an ad for an audience of football players. And you need a font for the headline, but you're struggling to find something that the football dudes can really identify with. Or read.
Worry no more, because Pier Gustafson has designed the perfect font. With jockstraps. From Buzzfeed.
Think potatoes are only for french fries?
Check out the amazing work of Gino Choeiri, who uses the spuds to create portraits. Beautiful and tasty, all at the same time. From MetaFilter.
If you're about to eat breakfast, or vomit uncontrollably when you see really gross stuff, you may not want to see how the beautiful body art pictured above was created.
(But we know you're curious. Don't say that we didn't warn you.)
Twitter is awesome. No question. But like anything awesome, there comes a level of ridiculousness.
Tweeting Too Hard is here to expose the ridiculousness of Twitter. And that's awesome. Thanks, Banjofreak!
Our friends over at Denver Egotist are massive Chipotle fans. And what's not to love? Awesome burritos perfectly wrapped like little silver gifts from the burrito gods.
If you've never eaten at a Chipotle (!!!) you should know that they are famous for their burritos, their burritos are delivered in tightly wrapped foil packages and their past campaigns have celebrated this fact.
Here's where everything gets ugly. Chipotle hired a new ad agency. And a new campaign direction, new logo, and new menus followed (because everyone knows that a logo change drives customers to tacos.) The new campaign is "value" driven, and looks very much like a Taco Bell campaign.
Burrito lovers are pissed. And the Denver Egotist is leading the charge in an anti-campaign. Check it all out at Cheapotle. Wow.
The LEGO Group has announced a new product line: The Frank Lloyd Wright Collection. This most awesome set of Legos features six of the legendary architect's works, including the Guggenheim and Falling Water.
The sets also include exclusive archival historical material and photographs of each iconic building. If you were a real fan, you'd buy them all and pay some 12 year old to assemble them for you. From Waxy.
You have to read the exchange between Nick Kinney at American Copywriter and his mom.
You'll find this absolutely hilarious, and likely completely indicative of the battle you're fighting in your own organization. Trying to get the company old schoolers to understand and embrace new internet tools and ways. Even when they know they have value. "That's for you kids."
When will the curmudgeons just leave?
Here's another one of those "make a video with your friend's name and photo in it and fool them real good" promotions. This version promotes the Graham Norton show Psychoville, and puts your friend into a segment on the show. (These are always better when hosted by real celebrities.)
As tired as this promo concept is, these still get great attention. Everyone loves to see their name on the internet.
We just received some advance tees from the coolest new partnership on the internet: Threadless + Twitter.
Buy these for all of your twitter friends, and then give them out at the next tweet up, and then wear them around for your outside world friends to be even more confused by your twitter shenanigans. Sweet. (I mean tweet.)
To promote Oxfam and their call to do something against climate change, they've released a fun video.
Proof that you can have fun with a message. Even a serious message, even from a non-profit. Thanks Arturo!
If you're a meat salesman, or a neighborhood postal employee, or someone who just loves meat - then you should have your business cards printed on beef jerky.
If you're every trapped in the mountains with nothing but your business cards, you'll never go hungry. 100% delicious. From Urban Outfitters.
We don't know what it's for yet, but someone produced a fun stunt at Grand Central Station the other day. A bunch of people came to the station in swimsuits.
I thought it might be a ImprovEverywhere production, but BrandFlakes friend Casey points out that "it's not really good enough" for an Improv production. Agree.
Would have been better if this was released with a payoff. Or a brand association. Or something to connect to something somewhere. Thanks, Casey!
Memorial Day is only days away. Your coworkers are taking smoke breaks and eating lunch outside and looking for any reason they can to leave their cube. When they really should be focused on helping you meet that deadline for Friday.
Not to worry. With the new office ball and chain, you can keep your coworkers focused on their tasks for a set period of time. Created to keep students from leaving the library, this is an actual 20 pound ball connected to a cuff that unlocks based on the time period you select. Genius. From BuzzFeed.
Chocolate. Racing cars. And 12 Seconds video. Three things that you wouldn't normally expect to see together. Here's a cool example of a promotion that partners two brands together with a theme that works for both properties.
The promotion asks "What can you do in 12 seconds?" and is the perfect way to illustrate the power of the 12 Seconds video blogging tool, and the speed of the M&M's racing team. Mmmmm. Candy.
Twitter makes it easy to share links, quotes and things that you find on the internet with your friends. Now TBUZZ makes it even easier.
Just add the TBUZZ button to your browser toolbar, and share instantly. The video shows you how easy it is. Cool. From HughBriss.
Check out this new book devoted to the illustrative side of advertising mascots. Adboy documents the nutty characters that have been featured in print ads, on television and on packaging.
Can't wait for your copy to arrive? Check out the Adboy blog. Quisp and Quake, RIP.
Here's what happened this week at the world's most awesome creative agency:
We're committing to posting regular weekly updates with what's happening at the agency again. Look for "this week at" posts each and every week now. This week was particularly awesome. Loads and loads of cool stuff:
SARA IS BACK! Technically, this happened a week and a half ago - but we've been so buried that we haven't officially announced it. After a quick battle with her replacement "Jim", Sara came out victorious. It's seriously awesome to see her kick a most scary case of Chronic Lyme Disease, and show it who's boss. We're all pretty stoked.
We ate chocolate covered grasshoppers. Really.
David and I had a really nice trip to New Hampshire, with a visit to Segway. This was the first time that David had seen the factory, which is a pretty amazing place.
I also gave a "Blogger School" class at Westport Country Playhouse. Hanging with theater people and talking about blogging was an absolute GAS.
We completed some great work this week too. One cool piece that we can share with you: Chris launched a new site for Marc Ecko Watches. It totally rocks.
As part of our continuing education at Plaid, most of the team attended a development/coder school led by Paul, who schooled us with all kinds of new tricks.
The Plaid summer tour is only EIGHT WEEKS away. There's a ton of planning going on, and everyone's pretty excited about where it's going. Sprint has joined Ford Motors as an official tour sponsor, which has us completely and totally stoked. It's not too late for your brand to get involved, too.
In other pre-tour news, Matt completed the design on the graphics that will be installed on the Plaid Ford Flex. Awesomeness at full speed. We also confirmed the markets that we'll be visiting on tour this year.
We ended the week with a Wiffle Ball showdown against the media strategy and planning all stars at Mediassociates. They're an agency of planning dorks a few blocks away, and we needed to show them that creative is boss. Truth be told, the game ended in a tie and everyone agreed to a re-match in the coming weeks. And there was beer.
I'm sure I forgot tons of stuff in an action-packed week...but there will be more next week!
I'm not sure how it's possible that we missed this. Usually, the crew at BrandFlakes is directly tuned to the world of sugary goodness. But somehow, the fact that Mrs. Butterworth has kept her first name a secret has escaped us. And she's launched a contest to see if you know it.
We've spent many late mornings with her, and yet she's never told us. Maybe Aunt Jemima knows. Or maybe you have a better relationship with ole' Butterworth than we do. If she's whispered her name to you during a sugar coated morning meal, now is your time to shine. From BrandFreak.
WOW. This is how you do a brand launch. GotVMail just rebranded their service as Grasshopper (read about why here.)
Grasshopper provides an "advanced" phone number for entrepreneurs.
They needed to do three things: Identify their audience, create an inspiring message and then get that message out. They've scored on all three:
1. Audience: Entrepreneurs. Duh.
2. Message: They launched a campaign site. They've lead with a message inspiring entrepreneurs that they can do anything. Which of course ties wonderfully to the fact that they provide a service that helps entrepreneurs do anything.
3. Get the message out: Grasshopper sent 5000 chocolate covered grasshoppers to media. Yeah - real grasshoppers. Covered in chocolate. (Some people think they're delicious.) Look for a post later where Plaid employees give the grasshoppers a taste. Did it get our attention? You bet. This post is proof. And the subsequent grasshopper tasting, the tweeting about the grasshopper tasting and any posts that follow? Bonus.
Nice job, Grasshopper.
Did you ever wake up thinking that life would be soooo much better if only more people appreciated Poodle get ups?
Rejoice. Your day is here. The Divine Diva Studio is dedicated to bringing out the diva in rock star dogs. If you don't have a poodle, don't even worry. Because there's a book devoted to showcasing the grandest poodle styles in all of the land. Or enjoy the video fashion show.
Twitter will continue to be huge, at least for the next 9 years. We know this because people from the year 2018 are sending us coded tweets about the upcoming revolution against the machines.
It's all part of what looks to be a pretty sweet Twitter game promoting Terminator Salvation. This is a Twitter promotion done right. An on-going game, great twitter tools and goodies, and feeds that keep everyone up to date. Pay attention, because this is rare. From Adverblog.
Anyone who has ever had to play waitress to the drunk crowd will likely appreciate this spot from Denny's.
It's part of their new new campaign to confirm that Denny's is the place to go after the bars have closed and the joints have been smoked. Sounds real tasty.
The Society for Geek Enhancement has partnered with Rooms to Read, a non-profit focused on building schools and libraries in developing countries. They're celebrating geekdom with some of the internet's most famous geeks, and asking you to become one with them.
Just buy a geek t-shirt, and help some future geeks across the world. Nice effort. From Bubblicious.
Were you looking for something to suck that last ounce of productivity out of your day? We recommend Stweet.
Watch tweets arrive with a corresponding Google satellite or street view image, for any city in the world. Amazing. Addicting. Fun for the whole family.
Here's some depressingly inspirational anti-fascist art from the 1930's.
German citizen John Heartfield took it upon himself to question what what the regime was really up to, and counter the propaganda that the Nazis were spreading. Yeesh. From Dabitch.
Storyteller Gary Vaynerchuk has some really great advice for businesses planning a major PR launch, or a reaction to something in the marketplace.
Just tell your story.
Sounds simple, sounds like common sense, yet it's so easy for companies to get buried in the muck of PowerPoint decks and intensive "plans." Gary lays it out in true Gary V style.
For the new Puma Lift ads, agency Droga5 put models in nothing but Puma shoes and their underwear - and then projected the apparel and background scenes onto them. Pretty cool effects.
You can see before and after shots at Homotography - but only if you won't get fired for visiting a site with nearly naked men and lots of...homotagraphy.
What would it look like if your favorite 8 bit video games from yesteryear were rendered with the real life blood and gore of today's killing games? The 8 Bit Fatality Project answers the question. From Kottke.
If you get laid off this week, make sure to get those business cards when you're asked to clean out the desk. All of the cool people are now recycling their cards.
Just cross out the irrelevant stuff and tell your story. Then upload it to Cards of Change, a project created by...you guessed it...recently laid off ad industry employees. 100% awesome.
Someone's taken the responsibility of collecting photos of tank art. Because it absolutely had to happen. And oil, gas and other combustible substances are in a better place now. From Quipsologies.
This "bus" was created and parked outside of Sweden's biggest airport, as a part of a campaign titled 50 cars = 1 bus. The installation reminds drivers that they're being carbon pigs, and that things would be so much nicer if they just rode a Flygbussarna bus to the airport.
Apparently the stunt was so successful that it caused traffic jams at the airport. A campaign site helped complete the story. Some cool shots of the build and links to the media coverage are featured on CR Blog.
If you love symbols, then you'll really, really love watching 2000 of them set to music in what can only be called a symbol festival of symbol design and symbol porn.
If you don't really care about symbols, just move along. Nothing here to see.
Why anyone would want to part with a waffle maker is beyond me. But that's what writer/designer Megan is doing. She's moving from Detroit to Alabama, and getting rid of all of her stuff before she goes. Even her waffle maker.
Megan is actually a participant of Operation M Lab, a permanent Design Lab built by Project M, meant to facilitate design projects that benefit Hale County. Goodbye Wafflemaker looks to be part art project, part fundraiser, and part social experiment intended to send Megan on her way south.
Let's just hope that they have a good Waffle House in Alabama. From swissmiss.
Check out this floating view of NYC.
You can select multiple start points, and then glide over the city as if you were in an exclusive aircraft and didn't ask permission or tell anyone about it. From the Gothamist.
This haunting piece for Amnesty International was done to raise awareness about human trafficking. Even if you can't read the sub-titles, you'll get the message. Yeesh. From The Denver Egotist.
Ever wonder where old light-up signs go to die? Wouldn't you like to save the letter "O" from the junkyard? Now you can.
Make a difference in a lighted letter's life by purchasing recycled letters from old signs. Please help now. Many signs will die without your assistance. From NOTCOT.
Because your boss still thinks this internet thing won't last. And he believes social media is a fad. And you need a bunch of numbers for your PowerPoint presentation to convince him otherwise...
Another study gives you the numbers as proof. People are using social media to communicate. Whoopee. Let's dance in the streets and tweet about it.
Introducing the Twitter newspaper. Because it needed to happen.
Check out TwitterGrep. It's a virtual newspaper of what's being tweeted in the twitterverse. Yeah. People at old school papers are freaking out and saying things like "really?" and "are you f*&king kidding me??" right now.
Some are already saying that RSS is dead - replaced by the immediacy of Twitter and FriendFeed. So TwitterGrep doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
Idea: Here's an IMMENSE opportunity for a brand to create a custom, branded paper. Why can't I have a custom Twitter paper, with my own feeds, customized with my own tags? And then include a column with your brand's news, too. Seriously. Let's build this. Call us.
If you're not too busy fighting pirates while at sea, here's an interesting project you could try the next time you're piloting a freighter out of port. Oh - you don't normally ride on freight ships? Ever wonder what it might look like?
Check out this cool time-lapse photography of a freighter leaving the port in Houston, TX. The camera was set to take a shot every six seconds. The result is more beautiful than industrial shipping has ever been.
If you haven't already checked it out thanks to the buzz on Twitter and tech blogs, you'll want to keep an eye on Wolfram.
What sounds like the name of a zombie-producing weapon from an 80's scifi movie is actually a technology that could change everything on the internet.
What will Wolfram do, exactly? It seems to be a search engine that puts together real answers to requests, in an artificial intelligence kind of way. Let's say that you wanted to know what the weather was like on the day that JFK was assassinated in Texas. With current search technology, you can pull together the date and location and then search weather history, and pull the answer together. Wolfram will apparently do this for you, at the first request.
It's launching...soon. In the future, when the world is taken over by search engine spiders and they eat humans for food, don't say that we didn't warn you.
Apparently last weekend was advertising takeover day in NYC. The day where artists take over the countless illegal billboards and outdoor ads across the city...and improve them.
This year's event features some spectacular work. Want even more detail? Check out the interview with the event's organizer Jordan Seiler.
Appdata charts the most successful applications on Facebook.
News from the Herd has some interesting observations. First and foremost - the lack of any branded applications at the top of the leaderboard. Likely because most of the branded apps are intrusive, brand-in-your-face type applications that aren't providing real value to their users.
Herd suggests three routes to the creation of a successful application:
1. Produce addictive but simple to use games that don’t force ad messaging down users throats
2. Give them a way to organise their lives, and/ or:
3. Provide them with mildly competitive ‘social comparison’ tools vs their friends.
Here's what's cool: the rules haven't entirely changed. Things that provide value will always succeed over things that don't. What can your brand do to provide value to its fans, users and Facebook friends?
Speaking of plane graphics...
Logo Design Love has put together a fantastic collage featuring all of the Virgin brands.
While the hand-written Virgin mark remains intact with each subsidiary, what they've added to it varies wildly. And when put together, feels pretty messy and inconsistent.
Yet Virgin doesn't come across as a sloppy, disheveled brand. As Logo Design Love says, "your logo is not your brand."
The publishing industry has fallen on hard times. Lots of magazines are closing up shop. And you're getting that feeling in your gut that Playboy is one of those publications that's not going to make it to the other side.
Saul Colt, often referred to as the smartest man in the world, has a plan to save Playboy. Here's the outline to Saul's plan:
1. Drop the naked ladies
2. Stop with the Rear View Mirror Air Fresheners
3. Go Back to your roots
4. Playboy should ask itself 20 Questions
5. Lock the doors to the Playboy Mansion
I have to agree. Playboy is a brand worth saving. They're not likely on the bailout list. And it's time to reinvent the brand, since people don't need to buy magazines to see naked chicks. Playboy: let's do something radical.