foursquare: golden opportunity for retail

@charliecurve and @ericurbane were having some interesting chat over the weekend in Twitterville. They both see FourSquare as one of the first location aware social services that allow retailers to connect with their customers in a new way.

FourSquare lets users tag where they're at, and where they've been. Doing so on multiple times lets you earn badges and credit, and if you check into any one place more than anyone else, you become "mayor" of the joint.

Charlie and Eric correctly point out that if you're in retail, this is a golden opportunity. Why not reward your Mayor? Have a contest? Give discounts to other FourSquare visitors? They're already shouting about your establishment...why not join the conversation?

And Facebook is coming to the party too...are you ready?

how street artists propose

Toronto artist Posterchild has been spending the last couple of months in NYC with his girlfriend. They've been installing his art over ads that he's famous for.

This time, he did it a little differently, installing a piece on the 23rd Street station that'll make you go "awwwwwwww." (She said yes.)

taking the gift card to the next level

Gift cards continue to get better and better with each and every year, from a creative standpoint.

This year Target pushes it over the top with Winter Fishing Hole, a gift card that's actually a holiday board game, too. Featuring the wonderous holiday illustration of Invisible Creature, these cards are a gift of art, game and holiday cheer, all in one. Are you still giving out paper or plastic?

is mobile the great pumpkin of the ad industry?

Ben Kunz over at Thought Gadgets points out that the mobile ad market is never as big as everyone says it is. Sure, it's growing in leaps and bounds - but it never quite reaches the point that all of the forecasters predict.

So all of those prediction numbers you hear on the business news reports? They're just the great pumpkin of the ad industry...keep waiting. (We're just happy that someone other than us is checking the math.)

bringing the old school ads back to life

Schweppes makes vintage ads hot by adding live action arms. Super clever work that didn't take a kabillion dollar effect budget. Great ideas rock!

the ultimate gift guide for creative people

Happy Black Friday!

This is the day that the greatest blog in all of the land launches a gift edition!

The Brand Flakes For Breakfast Gift Guide is an entire blog devoted to the most killerest gift ideas for the creative person in your life. We'll post new, awesomely delicious ideas each and every day through the shopping, selling and giving season.

While today is the first day for the 2009 gift buying season, you can still browse through 2007 and 2008's awesome ideas, and then check back each day for more new, great stuff!

Get shopping. (And feel free to send ideas to @plaid)

youtube made interactive in a new way

This is a fun way to promote musician Adam Ben Ezra, using a YouTube video. It's not just a music's a music video that you can play with it.

Always great to see existing tools used in new, creative ways.

best unsubscribe message ever

This unsubscribe message from Groupon is so good, you'll want to unsubscribe over, and over, and over again.

You can bet that this message is now driving more subscriptions than any ad campaign could ever do. From @passitalong.

how to make your turkey day super awkward

Think your dysfunctional family Thanksgiving is uncomfortable? Imagine sharing turkey with PETA girl.

don draper can teach you some stuff

Bask in the smartness of a booze soaked, smoky smelling Don Draper. Or just put some of his quotes in your next PowerPoint presentation and impress your friends.

Someone's edited together all of the Mad Man's magical one liners into one clip of sheer brilliance. Requote away.

the future is going to be unbelievable

Just start watching at 6:24, and you'll wish that you had a time machine that could take you to the Apple store that sells this technology some time in the future. (Actually, the open source software may be available as soon as next month.) Whoah.

the circle of life for retail

From the 1950's through the 1980's the Circle K chain built stores on nearly every corner in every neighborhood throughout the southwest. Then reality set in, and the chain filed Chapter 11, and most of those stores went empty.

Paho Mann documents what's happened to the stores since that time. Many have been taken over by entrepreneurs, small business owners and some have been destroyed.

Paho has assembled a wonderful collection of photos, a Google maps website, and a book that serves as an interesting study on the life of business, suburbia and our culture as a whole.

From @CharlieCurve

what a zombie outbreak looks like on google maps

It's completely natural to wonder what your neighborhood will look like when the zombie apocalypse arrives.

Now a SIM game from Binary Space Games gives you a peek of how it might go down. Control the zombie infection and watch how they take over this Washington DC neighborhood, on Google maps.

What we need next: map controls, so we can the zombies in our own hood.

gather the kids around the computer

As your family gathers around the Thanksgiving dinner table later this week, Blackberries and iPhones in hand, remember that families have a long history of gathering around the computer.

Technologizer has compiled a wonderful collection of ads proving this point, and celebrating everything that is family. And technology. And a time when all ads featured 12 paragraphs of body copy. Enjoy. From @bakertweets.

are you tagworthy?

This is what happens when life takes over. One day you just wake up, and you're wearing shoes that give you cankles. This fun ad plays off that unforeseen, inevitable tag in a Facebook photo.

Time to go shoe shopping. From @mtlb

the only person that's seen the new volvo is blind

Volvo is pretty stoked about their new S60 car. They say it looks totally hot, but they're not ready to show it to you yet. So they hired a blind artist to take a "look" at the car and represent it in a painting. Cool.

teens don't own social media

We've been saying this all along. Hooray for Advergirl, who put this into a glorious graphic, suitable for showing in a PowerPoint slide to your boss:

Teens don't own social media. Old people do.

Adults 25 - 44 are the heaviest users of the internet. They also have a lifetime of friends, colleagues and lovers that they need to keep track of using the magical internet tubes. Tweet on - you're better at this stuff than you thought.

los angeles, without people

Ever wonder what Los Angeles might look like, without all of the people? Photographer Matt Logue explores this for you.

The good news: after the apocalypse, you'll be able to get to work much, much faster. From @gregsantos

ad council ads all in one handy place

Finally, all of the American Ad Council ads are neatly packed together all in one place. Not that searching YouTube was a real chore, but it's cool that they've created a "channel" for anyone who needs quick access to the body of work. Nifty.

free legal lets bloggers take on the man

The Citizen Media Law Project is launching a new program for bloggers who need legal help dealing with copyright, defamation or other legal issues.

The program looks to help bloggers who might not be able to afford the support they need on their own. There are income and revenue requirements to qualify, but this is an awesome step to help keep blogger voices loud and proud.

(Your lawyer will likely not be sporting a Mexican wrestling mask. But you have to admit that "Chalko" looks like he's ready to take on the man.)

nothing but sugary goodness

The Cereal Project is your center for everything breakfast. Browse through the sweetalicious package designs, cornball tv spots and loads of other tasty treats. From Flavorwire and @pete_theECA

(Yes, Dinky Donuts was made by Ralston Purina, the same company that's now more famous for Purina Dog Chow. Scrumptious.)

escalator to heaven

You've heard of elevator pitches: where you have the time of a short elevator ride to share your pitch with the investor that could change your world.

Launch Memphis has taken it literally - with a twist, and created the escalator pitch contest. Eight finalists and three walk on contestants will get a magic escalator ride tomorrow, and a chance to make a pitch to win a $10K marketing package and $1000 in cold, hard cash.

Great idea. You should totally try the same thing at the escalator in your local mall, just to see what happens. From @jameshutto

greenalicious design that tastes great

Imagine a product design that looks super hot. Then imagine that design could reduce air pollution. And reduce water pollution. And save energy. A product design change that can accomplish all of that?

Meet the "naked" coke can. There are 24 billion coke cans produced every year. That's a lot of Coca Cola red paint. Not only does that create boku waste in manufacturing, but removing the paint adds a step to the recycling process. Eliminate the paint and you reduce manufacturing crap, and make recycling easier.

Gizmodo has all the math proving this is the most awesome greenalicious package redesign ever. Awesomeness times ten.

senior citizen butts = the new hot

To call attention to the upcoming Master Tennis event happening at Intercasino, Isobel created some ads that explore what a master tennis player might look Hot.

send this to your geek friends, and they'll kiss you.

Don't you wish they made a bedside alarm clock version of this scroll bar clock? Pure coding genius.

how to use one of those apostrophe thingees

If you've ever been confused about when to use an apostrophe, and when to hold back, here's the ultimate guide: How To Use An Apostrophe is a wonderous visual cheat sheet that helps you clarify when it's needed and when it's not.

Teachers and wannabe copywriters: you can even buy a poster version of this guide for your classroom or cubicle. From @damnredhead.

underwater advertising: the next big thing

A couple of weeks ago, a curious story hit Seattle about the Ivars Seafood Restaurant. According to the legend, the restaurant's founder anchored billboards underwater in the Puget Sound, anticipating that in the future, people traveling by submarine would see them.

This week, Ivars raised the billboards. Naturally, the whole thing has been confirmed as a hoax. But a super genius most awesome hoax. Best stunt that we've seen in a long, long, long time.

the history of skateboard art II

The author of "Disposable: A History of Skateboard Art" wasn't content with his first bible of skateboard art and has published a new tome that chronicles the history of deck design even better than his first.

Cool Hunting interviews the author to find out what makes this book even more awesome than the first. Put it on your coffee table and your friends will automatically think you're a little bit cooler than you are right now.

This comes at a good time and serves as excellent inspiration for those completing their decks for the Bordobello fundraiser. (My board is coming along quite nicely. See the progress here.)

From @charliecurve

need a walk in the park?

If you're having a stressful day and need a nice walk in the park (but are too lazy to actually get up from your desk), this is for you.

A walk in the park is a video produced from 2,038 still images that photographer Mark Louis Weinberg assembled after documenting his own walk in the park.

The result is a beautious piece of creative self promotion. You'll want to check out his website, blog and learn more about this photographer that just provided a three minute escape from your ridiculous day.

gaming works magic for u.s. army

Game Politics points out how effective gaming has been for the recruitment of soldiers. The Army even testified to Congress that the America's Army game has been more effective than “any other method of contact.”

Even better, a 2008 MIT study found that “30 percent of all Americans age 16 to 24 had a more positive impression of the Army because of the game and, even more amazingly, the game had more impact on recruits than all other forms of Army advertising combined.”

Sounds like someone's doing their homework, creating media that engages their audience, and getting spectacular results. From the ECA.

never be lost at dutch wonderland again

Remember the other day when you were saying "what I really need is a comprehensive resource of theme park maps?" Your day has arrived.

Theme Park Maps has just about every theme park map that you can imagine. If that wasn't enough, they also have brochures.

Cherish this wonderous moment. From SandwichRich.

microsoft stores: kind of like eating at chilis

So Microsoft has stores now. Don't feel sorry for them because their stores look like carbon copies of the Apple store. Or because of their fragmented marketing campaign.

Feel sorry for them because some employees in this store were forced to participate in this most uncomfortable "spontaneous" moment.

Now buying a PC can be almost as much fun as your birthday at Chilis. (Sorry Chilis - I really do love your chicken tacos.)

business loves social media

You already know this. But if your boss is still clinging to the year 2002, and you need yet another study showing that people are using social media for B2B, well here it is. Complete with a PowerPoint friendly graph that's sure to enter the skulls of even your most old-fashioned board members.

Impress the entire management team with factoids like:
+ B2B use outpaces B2C use on YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter
+ B2B use is nearly equal to B2C use on Facebook
+ Professionals working on this devote 21% of their time to it

From CKSays

the gap introduces upside down retail

By now you've probably seen the cheerleading lumberjack models that the Gap has laid upon us. Love them or hate them, that's not important. Check out what they've done in Vancouver, to introduce a new loyalty program:

The "Sprize" program promises shoppers that if they buy something at full price and it goes on sale within 45 days, they'll automatically credit the difference to their account.

Gap demonstrated the importance of this concept by turning their store upside down. Literally. Cool.

not all hospitals produce lame ads

The health care industry is soooo ripe for heart touching creative campaigns, yet most hospitals opt instead for pictures of their doctors or tv spots about robot surgery. Blech.

So when a health care provider does produce fantastic creative, it stands out even more. Such is the case with this new print campaign by the Credit Valley Hospital. Nice work.

save your friends with just your hands

This is a great idea. I have a feeling that I'm not alone in my lack of perceived CPR skills. I took a course 200 years ago, and I vaguely remember something about the importance of rhythm and breathing. Pretty sure that if you were on the ground dying, I might have a hard time remembering the details.

The American Heart Association is doing something about this - with a new Hands-Only CPR technique. The instructions are SIMPLE and easy to remember:

Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

There's even an iPhone app to help you, if that's too confusing. Hooray for realizing that some kind of CPR is better than no kind of CPR, and that most people don't get to practice or refresh their real CPR skills very often. (And I was never really going to put my mouth on yours, anyway.)

more pr about esquire's augmented reality experiment

Everyone's raving (and complaining) about the new augmented reality issue of Esquire. Regardless of what side of the fence you're on, you may really appreciate this behind the scenes interview with the issue's creators.

traffic graphics don't have to be boring

The city of Winston-Salem, NC commissioned artist Peter Gibson (otherwise known as "Roadsworth") to create some custom installations around town. The effort is a part of their Inside Out: Artists in the Community series.

You'll be inspired by Roadsworth's work now installed all over the world, and the city of Winston-Salem who has proven that you can put art in the most pedestrian of places. Found on Wooster Collective

zombie shooting fun for the family

Check out this trailer for the new Resident Evil video game: you get to shoot zombies within the trailer. What better way to get users into your product than to actually give them the product experience?

(Tell your boss that you're not just shooting're doing marketing research.) From BrandFreak.

not everyone loves the olympics

Madrid has made the bid in 2012, 2016 and now 2020 for the Olympics to come to town. Some people aren't so happy about the resulting construction and hoopla (and lack of completion) as a result of the city preparing their pitches.

Artist Luzinterruptus created an installation called "surrender" that places white flags on the the most notable public works projects, pleading that they finish things up, or just give up.

how to handle a brand criticism

Last month, Steven Colbert made some less than lovely remarks about Miracle Whip on his show. So Miracle Whip fought back. In a truly, totally creative, advertising inspired takeover of his show.

Watch the Miracle Whip setup above, and see a clip from Stephen Colbert's show on the Adweek blog. Brands who face criticism could give this a good look and some creative consideration the next time they're faced with a similar situation. Nicely done.

how to make war history interesting

The Imperial War Museum has just launched What Lies Beneath, which shares the British experience during the Cold War. The site lets users explore British war history while the world was going through that evil commie phase.

There's also an accompanying video, all of which you'll find more engaging than the 43 pound history book your teacher forced you to read. If only high school could be this easy.

the holiday cards are here

The Gap has released their holiday greeting card just in time for Thanksgiving, and it lets you send a customized cheer (with annoying lumberjack style models) to your friends. The dancing lumberjacks tie to the tv campaign that just launched with the same theme. (Everyone knows that lumberjacking cheerleaders are the new hot.)

What's really smart about this piece is that the recipients get a 20% off coupon code. That's not a bad thing to send to a friend. (If they like the Gap.) So is it a holiday card? Or an entertaining coupon?

what happens in nyc is photographed

Here's a wonderful photographic essay featuring Gail Albert Halaban's view...from NYC apartment windows. From Eric Fleming.

vintage posters for new up dvd

Check out these cool vintage style travel posters that Disney's produced to promote the DVD release of UP.

Beautious design, and apparently, you can buy them. For $145. Promotional posters. For $145. Clearly Disney doesn't subscribe to the freeconomy business model.

kind of like twitter. and linked in. and facebook.

We suppose that you could call Sprouter a Twitter tool for pros. Sprouter is a new, twitteresque tool geared entirely to the workplace. They're seemingly to Twitter what Linked In is to Facebook.

They've included a couple of popular features from Linked In and Facebook, like organized topics and events. Since these don't really exist on Twitter, it might be cool to organize your tweets in this manner. They also allow you to claim hashtags, so that you can declare your authority on the matter.

Pretty cool concept, although they'll need to reach a critical mass to be a truly valuable business tool. This may be difficult, since everyone's already tweeting about their business life on Twitter. Do we need a professional tweet tool?

Erin from Sprouter contacted us to say:
Sprouter isn't a tool for the workplace. It's a niche network specifically for entrepreneurs and startups to connect, collaborate, and engage in conversation. If you want more information about Sprouter you can check out our feature article in the National Post here, and I'd be happy to answer any questions.(email in comments)

coca cola with velcro

Apparently people in France have a problem holding on to their Coca Cola bottles. So Coke redesigned the packaging with fancy grips, and needed to tell the fashionable people of France about this.

The outdoor bus shelter ads were printed entirely on Velcro, so that they would catch a person's coat, and call attention to the new, better grip for holding. This would be so tempting to throw on a wool coat and jump on the ad all velcro wall style. From Quipsologies.

how to make football cool

Great design has made just about everything it touches spectacular. So why do we have to watch NFL games with players wearing poorly designed helmets that look all 1989?

Designer Ken Carbone explores what awesome design might mean for the hottest brands in the NFL. What are we waiting for??

because potty humor never gets old

Everyone loves a good poop gag. Right?

talking to old people is creepy

AdFreak thinks this new spot from Kodak is a little creepy. Like the Grandma (and maybe the little girl) come off as being ghosts.

Maybe it's the shrinking couch that feels like something from the Shining, or just the thought of looking at photos in their non-digital medium, but we tend to agree.

if you like to race office chairs...

Then you'll totally dig these upcycled Vespas turned office chairs. Ergonomics shmergonomics - these look cool. From Dugger.

you're out of work. you need another system.

If you've been downsized and are looking for new, fresh places to get your brand out there, check out Brazen Careerist.

The Brazen Careerist is more than a job posting site - it's a community that encourages members to share ideas and opinions, and collaborate with other workers, entrepreneurs and reporters. Being in more places is a great idea!

the netflix for designer dresses

Rent the Runway is a fashionista's dream come true. You get to browse through an inventory of top designer dresses. They send you the dress (or two) of your choice. Once the party is over, you toss it in an envelope and mail it back to Rent the Runway.

According to the New York Times, over 20,000 women have already signed up for the service. What's especially cool about this is that they took inspiration from other industries and reconsidered the business model for their trade.

How could you provide a service to your clients in an unconventional way? From Liz Dorney

your next tweet could be a new sitcom

If you haven't already heard of Sh*t My Dad Says, you'll want to check it out. The Twitter stream is that of Justin Halpern, who allegedly had to move back into his parent's basement. He makes the best of it by sharing daily hilarious quotes from his dad on Twitter (not all safe for work.)

It's become such a hit that CBS just picked up the concept for a new sitcom. Twitter. Birthplace of tomorrow's tv stars.

nokia 900 turns you into an e-freak

The Nokia N900 ships this month, and they're launching it with a clip that should appeal to all of the scifi/CGI geeks. It's fast, has all of the tools you want, and might get into your system. Pretty sure that's what they're saying here.

facebook invites: stop doing it wrong

Facebook has taken the time to build a fantastic system for reaching out to friends in extremely targeted ways. So why am I getting invited to a party halfway across the world, in Tel Aviv tomorrow night?

Peter Shankman writes about the five types of Facebook invites that shouldn't really need to happen. Funny and true.

Think about this before you invite all of your friends to your next event. From CC Chapman.

balloons to light up your night

Check out these LED balloons from Illoom. Once activated, the balloons can be inflated with helium or air and the LED dance party begins. (The dance party part is up to you.)

These will be awesome for promotions, art installations, outdoor events and UFO hoaxes. Enjoy. From SphereTrending

everything is awesome with fries

Sometimes the simple approach is best. There's wifi at McDonalds.

naked victoria's secret models can sell anything

This is more than just naked girls prancing in the street. It's an effort to promote Victoria's Secret. Even though there doesn't appear to be any Victoria's Secret apparel in the clip. The press release say that it's "already received a lot of attention around the world for its titillating music video". Interesting.

Apparently this is part of a new Victoria's Secret TV campaign - even though the video was released months ago (because tv is slow??). And the parody is just as entertaining.

who says models have to be hipsters or hotties?

If apparel is awesome, it should make anyone look great. Even a random old man. That's how Japanese brand Unused has positioned their 2009 Fall/Winter collection. (Maybe your modeling days aren't over, after all.)

From Make the Logo Bigger.

who says local has to be bad?

Yet another beautious piece of television work by the geniuses Rhett and Link, the masters of awesome local spots. If you need a mobile home, you'll know where to go.

how to meditate in the middle of nyc

If you went shopping at ABC Home & Carpet over the weekend, you might have experienced a little peace and tranquility in the middle of Union Square.

Sit Down, Rise Up was an effort to raise awareness (and funds) for the Interdependence Project, a non-profit that promotes and educates the public about the benefits of meditation.

The store windows were filled with people meditating in four hour shifts, and drew quite a crowd of onlookers. We could use some of this in big box land on Black Friday.

this guy influenced star trek sets

An Eero Saarinen exhibit kicks off tomorrow at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibition, titled Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future is a comprehensive project exploring the work of one of the most prolific, unorthodox, and controversial masters of 20th-century architecture.

Maybe you've seen one of his chairs, or paid a visit to one of his architectural masterpieces. The exhibit is totally worthy of a visit for designers, architecture fans and trekkies.

this week at Plaid

Here's what happened this week at the greatest agency in all of the land:

Some costumes arrived for a production that's in house. Long story, but we're stoked to have another costume around the office for a couple of days.

We shot a screen test for something top secret for someone that we can't talk about. We're bursting at the seams wanting to share the details, but for now we'll have to tell you that it's been a load of fun hanging with someone in tv, and getting a unique perspective on that side of the entertainment industry.

Our skateboards arrived for the Bordobello event! This is an awesome fundraising art event where artists customize boards that are then auctioned for two worthy causes in Denver. We're stoked to be a part of it, and now Plaidsters will be getting busy customizing their boards.

I had a new piece published on Advertising Age's Small Agency Diary, discussing how to survive through tough times. While it's geared toward the agency business, this is advice that could apply to nearly any business in any industry.

Our client Segway hooked us up with a copy of WiiFitPlus, and we've been training like Wii-maniacs on the Segway Circuit game. So far, Steph has the office high score.

It's getting colder in New England, and the days are darker. Plaidsters are not adjusting well to the 3:30pm sunsets. Some already have their eyes set on spring, while others are counting down the days until the snowboards come out.

Have a great weekend!

bringing twitter to the classroom

W. Gardner Campbell, director of the Academy of Teaching and Learning at Baylor University believes that Twitter can be a valuable resource in the classroom.

Imagine a classroom where students can tweet their questions and comments on the subject matter, projected on a screen at the head of the class. Imagine students having access to that stream after class, for additional discussion and additional input.

Sound far fetched? Actually, that's exactly the scenario that exists at SXSW (above) and other conferences. Why not bring the same level of communication and information to students?

Some say the distraction wouldn't do well in class. Campbell disagrees. Commenting on the possibility of a classroom filled with the clickety clack of keyboards, he says “That’s a godsend! Suddenly, I’m not just the one at the front just dispensing everything, and the students aren’t just sort of milling about doing their thing — we’ve actually got a team of people working together.”

From HalThomas

when is it ok to start your xmas campaign?

AdWeek has some interesting poll results from a survey about when it's socially acceptable to begin your holiday advertising campaign. (I saw my first Christmas display this year mid-October!)

According to the poll, if you wait until Thanksgiving, 77% of the population won't hate you. Thanks, Jim Cioban

twitter = second youngest of all social networks

ReadWriteWeb has some super interesting perspective on the population of the socialverse. When you look at the median age of each social network's audience, here's how they line up:

Twitter: 31
MySpace: 26
LinkedIn: 39
Facebook: 33

The report also shows that Facebook is getting older, as the retirement class continue to flock to the network. They also report that Gen Y is warming to Twitter - 37% of those 18-24 now use Twitter when only 19% did back in December 2008. Celebrities? Because their workmates are doing it? Who knows. What we do know: LinkedIn is for the super old. ;)
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