sponsored by Sharpie

Another requirement of the Plaid Nation Tour: Caffeination. But in all the stops for a Cup o’ Joe, they never came across coffee cups like these. Specifically, drawings like these. As one person notes: Creativity just smacked mundane across the face. Artist Cheeming Boey and his amazing collection are featured on Sharpie’s Uncapped site. Dixie your turn. (Via NOTCOT.)

dude, I really wouldn’t get too close if I were you

Most people recognize the films of atomic tests going off at Yucca Flats, but this series of pictures from Life freeze many of those moments in a creepy, stark way. (Via FFFFound!)

branding explained

Agency types love to throw around the term "brand" like it's some sort of deity, an all-knowing omnipotent solution to your marketing problem. But what exactly is a brand? A logo? A position in the mind? A guy in a black T-shirt scribbling on a whiteboard? A red-hot poker on a cow?

Dennis Hahn has created one of the best models for branding we've seen. His point is branding is not a start-to-finish process, where you need a clean slate and a cool mil to begin, but really a living ecosystem of parts that have to work together constantly. Like any engine, some brand parts may need a tune up. The model above shows you how to focus on each piece.

Also makes a cool board game. "Kids, you want to be Coke or Pepsi tonight?"

it’s like Life For Dummies

How to describe cockeyed.com, hmmm. Billed as the sixth or seventh-best website in the world, it’s as if David Lynch was the editor of Popular Mechanics with a little MythBusters thrown in for fun. Every post by the creator Rob Cockerham is either info on or a test of odd but normal things you would never think you needed to know. Moving overseas? Then you need a shipping container. Perhaps you want to see Incredible Stuff He Made. Yes, you do actually. Or the one I saw today which reminded me of Plaid fun on America’s highways: How To Stop Rubbernecking. Enjoy!

advertising for your comfort and protection

Can you imagine seeing this graphic on TV?

This Trojan animation for a new, improved condom is an "ad" that would never appear on U.S. television but is still finding an audience. Call it the second-standards strategy: TV spots are evolving into a series of video formats with different standards based on the privacy of the media. Broadcast TV and cable, open to the family room, get one standard -- safe fare for branding or direct response -- while the web gets more risque or informational material.

Funny thing is, the same people who might be shocked at a revealing ad on TV have no compunction about searching for explicitness online. Marketers are learning to serve both audiences.

The second-standards strategy works no matter how tame your product. Think: what are the details of your product that people might like to see in the privacy of their home? If you create only one type of spot, you miss the point. Sort of like this condom.

how to get the girl

Or not. Time to turn off the computer and go play sports outside.

Nice work by DDB in Vancouver.

we hate it when bras fail

We SO wanted to enjoy the Wonderbra Scandalous promotion. You simply fill out a form at their site with the name of someone you like and a few tidbits about your life and ... get a story. With your friend's name in it. And the words you typed in. Um, yeah. No video, no bouncing, no scandalous photos, no, oh man, the things Wonderbra could have done.

No offense, Wonderbra, but you left us feeling flat.

the stupidest Star Wars items on the internet

After seeing a title like that, we can’t pass it up. Take a look at some amazing and not so amazing stuff. Not gonna lie though, the Bow Tie Fighter T-Shirt is cute.

Kmart's trigger-happy Christmas

Now before you get all OMG-I-can't-believe-retailers-are-pushing-Santa-already on us, consider this: Kmart running a Christmas promotion in July is brilliant. A little banner on the home page takes you here, where only those people who care can shop early, save on shipping, and yes, find an excuse to burn through discretionary income while the rest of us hoard pennies in this Pottersvillesque economic apocalypse.

Cynical observers would consider this a marketing ploy to obscure the reference price, that is, mask the real cost of goods with the glow of holiday splurging. But we see economic recovery. God bless you, Kmart, for getting people to spend again.

Via Rosie Siman.

baby, I'm on fire

Marketing executives love to discuss branding, positioning, unique selling propositions and copy, but often glaze over at imagery. "Make the logo bigger," they might say.

Here's evidence that images are worth thinking about. Wow.

Creative by Acento of Los Angeles under direction of Marco Cassese. Via Ad Sneeze.

free Subway Wednesday

It’s back. We still have a nice collection of FREE Subway cards we need to give away while on tour. DID WE MENTION FREE? This keeps Subway the tour sponsor happy and keeps us at Plaid happy. If you win? It will keep you happy.

So here’s the deal: Today, Wednesday, we’ll pick 20 people on Twitter at random and give them each one $5 dollar gift card.

All ya have to do: From now until midnight tonight, tweet something interesting and original using the tags: #plaidnation and #subway

Facts, fiction, whatever. BE CREATIVE. No adult content, no illegal stuff, yatta. Basically, follow Twitter’s TOS. We’ll pick the 20 and let you know by Thursday.

The other rules:
1) Your update has to have those two tags above.
2) If you were one of last week’s winners, you’re not eligible today.
3) $5 dollar card is only good in the U.S. and Canada.

Winners will then be asked to contact rj *at* plaid.com with their winning tweet, name and valid mailing address, Winning tweets will also be viewable on Plaid’s tour blog.

Gen DIY just does’t like middlemen

Pink ladders and music—it’ll connect in a sec. Eric over at ideasonideas raises some good points about the music industry and where it’s at right now. He sums it up in a way that I think many people would agree with: I want to pay those who make the music, but not the people in between. But this leads to something bigger I think. We just don’t want middlemen in anything. Travel agents? See ya. I use Kayak, Expedia, and so on. Salesperson help you pick out that washer dryer? No thanks. Epinions said it sucks. Wait for the evening news? I have Twitter. Pay a designer to spruce up a family room or redo a bathroom? Ehhh, no thanks, I have Trading Spaces. This facilitating of your inner DIY is in no small part a result of the growth of search. No matter what the topic, you are now an expert with no need for middlemen.

a plaid Plaid must-have

Cool way to repurpose mom’s old curtains. Darryl will probably also want one for every electronic toy in the office. Pijama takes old fabrics designed for traditional interior design and makes stylish protection instead. Stylish I say. (Via Coolhunting.) Next year for Plaid Nation IV, we wrap the boat in it. (Darryl, did I forget to mention that? Sorry.)

going out of business. really.

If you don't read Andy Jukes' blog A Million Monkeys Typing, you should. Andy's one of those somewhat-unknown coolhunters who digs up the coolest-est stuff -- like this rug store going out of business forever.

iPhone Hell: partnering with the wrong people will make consumers create anti-ads

One disadvantage with having a very consistent visual style with your advertising is that your style can easily be mimicked by someone doing anti-advertising. Such is the case with the sleek anti-AT&T ad above, created by video editor, Pat Lee, who is really tired of AT&T. It was inspired by AT&T failures post over at Techcrunch and Lee tells them that he hopes the video inspires people “to contact Apple to let them know about their issues with AT&T’s atrocious service.” Will it work?

A new Homage to a very old viral clip debuts tonight courtesy Mother NY

Can I admit this in public? I kind of love self-referential advertising. Ads that reference other ads, ads that reference web phenomena. But it has to be done right. This new ad from Mother New York, which will debut tonight on US airwaves, references what was a popular viral clip way back in 2000. (I don't like ads that copy such films straight up, however, and didn't back then either, you need to add something to it)

Dog worries about his bone.

I haven't seen a dog perform this convincingly since that Bridgestone Labrador Love Story, thus I had to share. Fallon, Minneapolis and director Daniel Kleinman at Epoch Films/Rattling Stick did a good job.

Bill Gates quits Facebook over 'too many friends'

Bill Gates quits facebook over "too many friends". I knew I was cool, this is exactly the same reason I quit facebook. Now, why don't I have a bazillion dollars? I'm doing this wrong.

Gates, who remains Microsoft chairman, said he had trouble figuring out whether he "knew this person, did I not know this person".
"It was just way too much trouble so I gave it up," Gates told the business forum.

When the primary reason for using a service becomes a hassle, what can the service do?

just how cool is your workspace?

AS COOL AS A FLEX? If it is, Lifehacker wants to see it. Just check out their Flickr page and add yours. But please, tidy up first before shooing. Or not.

forget Twitter, try searching Flickr

What with the kids and their fancy Twitter toy, everyone seems to have forgotten about Flickr as a search engine for basically anything. (I swear I have that ad downstairs in an old magazine.) Here, I used the keywords retro toys. Because the great wild card in search isn’t what search engine you use, rather, it’s what tags people put on images, every click a winner! (By the way, for even better searching and thumbnail fun, try the Flickr-specific search engine compfight.com.)

(Image via.)

full-size cool

Via Trendhunter comes word that UK car show Top Gear co-host James May is planning on building an actual house from Legos. (Be awesome if they nailed the plumbing—I’d buy one.) Lego though is one of those brands that does it right. Their online community helps shape the brand’s product in what VP of Communications Peter Hobolt Jensen calls a beehive approach. This is a perfect example of his belief that “The joy of playing with the toy is the ultimate social media they [people] concentrate on ... how do we get the social to tie to the physical.”

Now, how cool if Lincoln Logs was working on something.

keep it simple people, please

I saw this clip from Maya CEO Mickey McManus describing the process of simplifying things when designing. (Different Maya.) This Maya actually stands for most advanced yet acceptable. Simple’s easy enough. It’s what all good design should be, right? Do more with less? Lead and inspire while still remaining easy to use?

ask for that raise around 4:00 pm

When, you know, The Force is stongest. Researchers have discovered that people emit light. Only visible however when you use special cameras to detect it. Apparently people give off the most light around 4:00 pm. But, imagine using this to detect if someone is telling the truth. Red? LIAR. (Via Geekologie.)

but wait, there’s more

– David Bowie app lets you remix Space Oddity on your iPhone or desktop.
– Need a new notebook from old TV scripts?
– Taking HALO further now with new improved anime.
– Okay, who left tire tracks on the ceiling?
– The first 3-speed bike in America.

meet C3P0 in concert

“Say, aren’t you...?”

“Yes. I get that a lot.”

The most famous voice in movies? Probably. Anthony Daniels, the voice of C3P0, will be narrating the live Star Wars: In Concert when it premieres in the U.S. this October. Complete with all John Williams’ original score as played by a full orchestra. (It’s already premiered in London.) As for the most famous non-human in films this side of HAL, a writer friend met him once and said that while you knew instantly who he was without looking, it was a pain for someone with such a recognizable voice being typecast. How can you ever do romantic comedies after that, people! But, even doing something as simple as placing an order in a restaurant gives you away too.

Maybe, but I bet ordering a burger with American cheese never sounded so cool.

taking a nap and other healthcare solutions

So how do you compete with CVS when you don’t have their ad dollars? City storefront takeovers! Help Remedies was started by former market folk Nathan Frank and Richard Fine to make solving simple health issues simple. They recently went around to various NYC chains and took over their the main window with a series of staged events to promote their new line. Which, has a very clean, uncluttered feel when compared to typical healthcare package design. (Here’s what some of the packaging looks like in stores.) So the next time you have a cut, now you can protect it in style.

print lives! 24 hours at a time

The problem with magazines? They don’t print fast enough. 24 Hours was conceived, produced and printed in 24 hours. Not sure every magazine could do this but it is an interesting experiment that adds life to a category—magazines—that sure needs it right about now. Pre-order a copy. Ironically, it doesn’t solve the other age-old problem: Delivery will take a lot longer than 24 hours. (Via Coolhunting.)

sure, you want one now—
until all your friends have one

From the geek love department: Starting around 1:30 in this clip is likely the coolest movie prop this side of a Delorean. No better way to show love for the remake of the classic Tron than by selling these. Only problem is when 50 of them pass you on the highway and blind you. (via.)

At this time, Plaid can neither confirm or deny Tron Guy’s involvement in said remake.

trashy art

No, not that kind. Brandon Jay Blommeart has created a vision of the world in which trash gets mad at you for polluting and regroups into giant monsters. Could happen. Al Gore said so.

Via Veer.

Act Now and we'll throw in the clown make-up absolutely FREE!

It is Friday and I'm having a hard time taking anything seriously. Thus, this infomercial. This might be the King of infomercials. It's the bastard child of a WWF infomercial with a county fair infomercial. There's Showers! Free BBQ! First Aid stations! Stilt walkers! Helicopter rides! Seminars! Wait, seminars? DJ Clay and Sugar Slam are naming band names one after the other and half way through they announce three more performers who were just added now, seems this infomercial is so drawn out that they're signing bands as it's being recorded. The whole infomercial media for this gathering seems wrong and the way it is delivered is so close to parody that SNL would do well to take notes.

Happy Friday.

Free Subway Friday

We wish it were more glamorous than that, but it seems we have a nice collection of FREE Subway cards we need to give away while on tour. DID WE MENTION FREE? This keeps Subway the tour sponsor happy and keeps us at Plaid happy. If you win? It will keep you happy.

So here’s the deal: This Friday morning, 7/24 for three hours starting 9 am to 12:00 Noon Eastern, we will pick five people on Twitter at random and give them each one $5 dollar gift card. (15 total.)

All ya have to do: Tweet something interesting that you wrote yourself using the tags: #plaidnation and #subway

Facts, fiction, whatever. BE CREATIVE. No adult content, no illegal stuff, yatta. Basically, follow Twitter’s TOS.

The other rules:
1) Your update has to have those two tags above.
2) It must be within the hour specified. (First hour tweets end at... 10:00 am, and so on.)
3) To avoid spamming up the place, please, one tweet per person, per hour. This helps focus your brilliance into one amazing update. (So, yes, one person can have three separate tweets over the three hours, just not at once.)
4) You can only win once in the three hours.

Winners will then be asked to contact rj *at* plaid.com with their winning tweet, name and valid mailing address, Winning tweets will also be viewable on Plaid’s tour blog each day.

Plaid Nation Tour - Day 5

As guest blogger and Plaid Nation Touree, I thought I might add another perspective on the experience. (Be sure to check out the daily madness over on Plaid’s official tour blog.)

What started out three years ago as an alternative to the typical self-promotional efforts by agencies–holiday themed microsite or “We’ve Moved!” postcard—has grown into something bigger than even Darryl had originally planned.

In edition to regional sponsors the Q Hotel, there’s Ford, Sprint and Subway. Ad Age has a profile of it in their Small Agency Diary. In addition to the growth of Plaid’s client list, new industry connections have sprung up for almost everyone involved. Not too bad for a little POS van with wireless.

Speaking of, lest you think it’s all cupcakes and Graceland, the hours are long. It’s pretty much an 8:00 am to 10:00 pm gig: Load the van > drive > meeting > drive > food > drive > funky place > drive > meeting > drive > food > unload > check-in. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Every single day.

In between it all, you still need to keep in touch with your regular workflow. Then there are the “other” tour elements. If you’re not shooting pics, you’re on Twitter—in the backseat on less than perfect roads going 75 mph. Or you’re responding to an IM or DM to the van.

Then there’s the uploading, describing and tagging of said pics. Or watching what you say because the mics are live. Video? While Ryan handled it the first year, Renato’s on it now—along with his 65lb backpack that goes everywhere he does.

Tired yet? Good. Now, try digitizing video in the backseat on less than perfect roads going 75 mph. Then editing it.

By this point in the tour, you get into a daily rhythm though of all that has to be done. It’s NASA, well, more like NASCAR precision as everyone has an assigned job to handle.

You also do all of this in the hottest part of the summer. AC cranked? OH, you have no idea. That’s not even including the other dynamic that kicks in: Trying to remember what city you’re in. All of a sudden you channel Motley Crue: “This is Tennessee, right? No, dude, that was yesterday. We’re in Arkansas.”

“I think.”

And after going through that for two weeks straight however? You wouldn’t trade it for anything because it is the single best time you will ever have in your life working for an agency.

it’s movie typography mania!

Cool collection of movie posters to go along with an even cooler collection of opening title sequences.

(Posters via.)

visualize this

Data visualization is the new...

Data used to suck. Used to. Check out these amazing charts that plot any kind of data you can think of over on information aesthetics. (via.)

cables and batteries still suck

Michael Surtees is mad. His old MacBook Pro has a dead battery, he doesn't want to spend big bucks to replace it, and he can't move his desk due to all the cables. He wants better batteries. So he wrote a post, we're linking, and soon Apple will fall to its knees admitting it must boost R&D spending on product lifecycles so we all don't have to rush back to buy new Mac toys every 18 months...

Yeah, right. Which reminds us, how do you pry the back off an iPhone?

“Graphic design and social commentary...
part of the practice.”

Watching Milton Glaser and you see how design principles remain constant no matter what media you work in. With so much design now online, it’s easy to lose sight of the graphic designers of the 60s and 70s who influenced future a generation to cross from traditional over to digital. It’s even easier when you’re online to forget about those very same underlying influences and instead, focus on the eye candy of a really great interactive piece.

There’s room for both though, just as long as each group doesn’t forget the other.

(via, via.)

Coke Coke Coke Coke Coke is it

David Kaplan over at PaidContent predicts online video will soon be surrounded by advertising clutter. It seems the giant networks who fund all that entertainment are worried that online dimes won't match television dollars, so are squeezing in more spots.

Now we could get all deep on you and explain how this will set off a vicious cycle of diminishing response rates and inflated inventory, driving down CPMs as marketers bail and consumers flit away to other media, doing to web video hubs what the internet did to newspapers, cascading the tragedy of the commons into an Andersonian free price singularity, thus destroying the ad industry ... but hey, we're guests here and this is the Brandflakes blog.

So. Dude. Will this screw up the layout?

parents, you can stop paying for singing lessons

Someone has auto-tuned the news. The technology for manipulating video is getting freaky easy; in a few years, animated characters that look like real people may be here, like this Heavy Rain game trailer, and then you won't have to play with any prior recordings but can simply create your own.

What will the world look like when we can't believe anything we see or hear on video? Oh, yes. FoxNews.

Via Canadian coolhunter Andy Jukes.

but wait, there’s more...

(This is a Brandflakes version of a regular MTLB feature.)

– Six years of still awesome. World’s tallest virtual building.

– Water IS stylish.

– Toilet paper roll sculptures. (via.)

– Bowie’s original jean Genie, re-imagined.

– Su-su-su-sue-them-now.

– Your tax dollars at work: Astronomy picture of the day.

– A wallet’s just a wallet, right? Nope.

– It’s National Art Hate Week. No, really.

– Have hack headlines?

– Cult movie weapons. (via.)

– Web Side Story.

– Solar powered fridge.

what really powers the Plaid Nation Tour

If you spend any amount of time around Plaidville or the tour, you notice the love of sneakers, sugar and funky ho-tel, mo-tel. So here’s a little tribute to some of the things they love most. Let’s kick off with some kick adornments: Bumper stickers for sneakers.

Next up, we combine both sneakers and sugar for what might be the most amazing concoction I’ve seen yet: The Kanye West Nike Air Yeezy cake. Or maybe the Neiman Marcus cake is more your style. Can we suggest something in a Macbook perhaps?

Then there all the fun places they’ll stay. Sure the Q Hotel and Spa signed on as a tour sponsor, but until then, Super 8—it’s great! Even those however might not compare to a hotel made from ice or sand, or any of these other unique hotels. (via.) Then there’s hotels for geeks.

Happy motoring. Hopefully nothing will break down.

oh, it’s possible

There’s a new site up for Coke Zero that includes anything you think is possibly possible. Literally. It’s an aggregator of all the things you might possibly maybe want to do. Cool stuff from Marc Lefton.

Marketing tip: Avoid backlash by not plagiarizing popular internet toons.

Jamba Juice has a new flash intro Cubicle Picnic which appropriates the same clip art (and much of the tone) as ever popular satire web comic Get your war on. I first saw the comic not long after 9/11, when paranoia, confusion, frustration and sadness was rampant and I used the black satire as a way to handle all the stuff that was going on at the time, so I couldn't ever imagine using that toon to sell anything... Except perhaps anti-anxiety medication.

I've posted about it here - Jamba Juice searches for inspiration, decides to copy Get Your War on comic instead, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. GYWO has many many fans all around the internet, thus posts about this flash ad have been made on livejournal, blogs, twitter and of course on www.mnftiu.cc home of GYWO itself where all the readers are writing in reports on anti-Jamba Juice-post spottings and generally badmouthing the brand.

I doubt this will make it to court, these cases are notoriously hard to win, and blatant idea rips (or homages, depending on how you look at it) have walked away scot free before. Choice quote from article;
"We were told it was a win-win situation for advertisers if you sue because it brings attention to them and their product," Linehan explains. "And theirs was so badly done and unfunny we thought it wouldn't be remembered.
There has been cases of wins though, Ninja Kittens band won court battle, by settling out of court, and the copyright infringement case in the Nike stick figure campaign years ago which copied a Chinese artists style was lost by Nike.

But losing in court, or winning in court, is not the same as in the court of public opinion. Just ask O.J.

Berocca treadmills clearly pays homage to "Ok Go!".

what to do with that small pea-shaped bump

Hearing yesterday that sales of sexual accessories are skyrocketing amid recession, we immediately launched an investigative team. Turns out marketers are using the web as a separate-standards medium ... saying things there that would scare off TV networks or print publishers, such as how to apply gel to body parts packed with nerve endings.

The separate-standards strategy really works for any brand that wants to push the limits; Microsoft's recent puke promotion was launched online and got, ugh, buzz. The most egregious example we've seen was the British Elave video last year, in which confidently unclothed actors flapped around to promote skin cream.

There's nothing like the solitude of the web to post risqué communications. Anticipate approximately 20 intense experiences when this strategy is used as directed.

Johnny, please go pick the lettuce off the fish tank

In the past few years Philips has launched design probes that blow your mind (our favorite is the skin tattoo that changes colors based on your state of, um, arousal). Now Philips helps feed your family. This environmentally friendly "Biosphere Home Farming" concept houses fish and vegetables while generating cooking gas. You feed it all with trash.

Only question is, where do we put our empty bottles?

Via Yanko Design.

Nike releases your inner boarder

Ryan, Darryl and skate freaks in the Plaid Flex, this clip’s for you. There’s a new hi-def digital short film called Debacle that Nike is letting you download for about a week more. It does a lot of cool things. Nice angles and shots, good flow to the skating and some impossible-looking tricks, worth checking out.

While some of those stunts are sick and well beyond my short-lived skate career of two weeks after a nice faceplant, I couldn’t help but think Spike Jonez nailed some of this stuff in more stunning fashion for Lakai. Or that Jackass is the danger these riders want to be.

There are only a few brief moments throughout where spills happen. In some cases, fake confrontations with people seem forced. When Jackass takes someone on, it feels real.

The other thing that undermined it for me was the standard disclaimer at the end: “Don’t try this at home” and “No property was harmed, skate responsibily.” It feels so disingenous. Nike’s about pushing yourself, no matter the sport, right? One thing I never felt they were about was being subversive.

No matter how much some of this felt “not” dangerous, I got this vibe from the riders that they could care less about where they were skating and if they trashed something. At the risk of sounding like Patrick Swayze in Point Break, living for the moment is one thing, but this seemed to go against any skate responsible ethics.

I don’t think you can depict some of the damage shown in this clip and then imply “We didn’t mean it—oh by the way, skate safe.” Maybe it’s the expectation of having seen so many skate vids where faceplants are the norm and not the exception that I kept waiting for some of these incredible stunts to end that way. Few did, but I imagine they really did—they were just edited out.

Why? I get that you’re after the perfect ride, unattainable is it may be. This is where it felt like a commercial because every ride seemed perfect, and only a few spills added in later to “keep it real.”

So I’m not sure how I feel about it because i think they opened the door to another issue with regard to the negative side of sport. Great footage and amazing skillz on display here, no doubt, but it’s hard to ignore that other issue. Nike though usually does, except when they flip the negative around and become apologists for controversial athletes like Bode Miller or Kobe Bryant.

The issue becomes simply: Do you embrace the negative side in some of your messaging and do you do it for all sports? Maybe they’re testing the waters here by aligning with a sport that while mainstream, is still on the outs with church elders.

Still, I can see Nike Hooligans—a series on futbol fanatics who go too far. Nike Hoops—The real story about recruiting practices in college and high school.

Where do you draw the line?

(Via Cool Hunting.)

Libresse Tampons shower Dutch beaches in little pink parachutes

At the end of June this year, Libresse in Holland pulled this stunt on the beaches of IJmuiden, Bloemendaal and Zandvoort
to remind all females on the beach that their best bikini friend is the good old fashioned tampon.
Over 3,000 little pink parachutes with "emergency supplies" were air dropped down on the beaches,
and women scrambled to get their cute free samples.

The idea came from recent research that showed only one in seven women actually go to the beach when aunt Flo is visiting. Libresse wanted to remind girls of the practical side effects of tampon wearing, like the ability to take a swim. Dear Libresse, that's not actually why we avoid the beach during the moon-phase, but I'll give you ten points for effort.

take a picture, it lasts longer

You're stuck on a train, see an ad, want to remember it but can't find a pen.

Jagtag offers marketers a solution for capturing customers at that moment, with a 2D barcode inserted on ads. People snap a photo with their cell phone, text it in, and get back a message or YouTube video bragging about the brand (iPhone users, always different, need to forward the pic via email). The idea is to stick a little longer with that potential customer, now with a message embedded on their phone.

Bad news is all this ain't cheap. Jagtag charges a setup fee and also fees per response or impression. But if you want to reach teens or adults 18-34 where they are bored or trapped -- we see college textbook advertising, baby! -- Jag could be your tag.

dude, you're in my space

Alan Rapp over at Design Observer riffs brilliantly about the origin of "personal space." The concept was coined by Robert Sommer in the 1969 book Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design and influenced everything from hospital layouts to abortion-picketing laws. Sommer has largely been forgotten, but his idea of different spatial bubbles having different uses was debated at SXSW this spring as the reason why consumers like text messages on cell phones but not on giant flat-panel TVs.

Don't tell Microsoft, though. We hear they're still working on a convergence device.

sex in advertising explained

Someone has given away the entire top-secret strategy of the ad industry. Dammit, Darryl, have the interns been talking?

For complete research on the psychology of sex in communications, don't miss the blog of Tom Reichert, associate professor at the University of Georgia. He wrote the definitive book "The Erotic History of Advertising" and provides updates such as sales of personal lubricants were up 32% in Q1-09. We SO wish we had his course in college.

what a beach

Since Darryl has the keys to the real family wagon over on Plaidnation, he gave Ben Kunz, Dabitch and yours truly the virtual ones here on Brandflakes. Hopefully, we won’t ding it. Much.

So, didn’t get enough beach over the weekend? This vid won’t help then. It’s a series of compelling stop motion beach sculptures which really draw you in. So much so that you forget it’s nearly 10 minutes long. Happy Monday!

this week at Plaid

Here's what happened this week at the world's most Plaidtastic creative agency:

PlaidNation, PlaidNation, PlaidNation, PlaidNation! The annual Plaid summer tour kicks off on Monday, and preparation is in full effect. I'm in Detroit transforming the Plaid Ford Flex into a social media juggernaut. The graphics have been installed, webcams installed, swag has arrived, and we are ready to kick off the most bitchin' Plaid tour that the nation has ever seen.

Bloggers are picking up on the tour and writing awesome things, and the press is beginning to get tuned in too. The Fairfield County Business Journal stopped by Plaid offices to shoot pics of the crew before they left for tour.

Back at the homefront, new client Banfi Vintners sent a few cases of Riunite and Rosa Regale for the crew to taste, taste again, and then taste once more. Needless to say there will be quite a few wine tastings in Plaid's near future. Stop by if you're in the hood and we'll poor you a glass of our best.

Meanwhile, we've hired a new Plaid recruit. She'll be starting when we return from tour, and we can't wait to introduce you. Plaid just continues to fill our office with awesome talent and you're going to love the newest member of the Plaid team.

Have a great weekend of rest and be watching Monday as the PlaidNation kicks into high gear!

everyday brand decisions

(Cross-posting this from the Plaid tour blog - because I'm lazy, and I thought you might appreciate it.)

Sometimes the difference between brand awesomeness and brand ridiculousness are the simplest decisions.

While on tour, we're getting to experience both. When we hit Kanasas City, we'll get to stay in the luxurious Q Hotel and Spa (a PlaidNation sponsor), who could teach many hoteliers a lesson in brand awesomeness. And we're counting down the days until the Q.

But until then...we're learning brand and customer experience lessons the hard way:

On some random day somewhere, some person with Soooper 8 made a decision. Was it to spend fifty cents more and supply guests with towels that aren't made from sandpaper? Nope. Was it to put a respectable sign on the elevator? Nope.

This decision involved the experience that a guest might have in the bathroom. Not soaps. Not shampoo or other niceties. Somebody said "we can add your logo to this $2 faucet, if you want", and then a Soooper 8 employee replied "absolutely."

Here's proof that branding is more than your old logo on crappy equipment. It's little decisions that affect your customer's experience every day. Thanks, Soooper 8, but I really would have preferred the non-sandpaper bath towel.

just what you needed: a new twitter tool!

There's a brand new Twitter tool in town. And because you deserve the latest and greatest, you'll need to try it out. Tweet3 is web based - so you don't have to download anything.

It's simplicity is pretty refreshing. You should check it out too. (It's Friday - it's not like you're going to get any work done today, anyway.) From Make the Logo Bigger

an actual useful augmented reality app

Here's an augmented reality app for your iPhone that helps you locate the nearest subway station. Cool. Useful. Not a total waste of a download.

It's great that augmented reality is growing out of the novelty stage and into the useful stage. From Waxy.

not your everyday fashion blog

Here's a unique take on a fashion blog.

The Unknown Hipster documents his thoughts and adventures in the fashion world. Instead of the usual iPhone shots that grace most fashion blogs, the Unknown Hipster illustrates everything. Really entertaining writing alongside fantastic illustration reminds you that not all blogs need to be the same.

Oh yeah - if you weren't already hip to the fact, skinny shorts are the rage for guys this summer. Illustration above for reference. From Urban Outfitters

make your kids geeks, too

Tired of your local tourism board running those stupid "staycation" spots? Looking for something that suits your geek lifestyle for vacation? Check this out: Wired's GeekDad lists 100 Geeky Places to Take Your Kids This Summer.

Some of the items are kind of standard summer spots, but others are totally geekalicious. Like DragonCon. And Atomium.

(Future geeks = more internet for all of us.)

that blockhead is a freak

Ever wonder what Charlie Brown might look like as an actual human being? You can stop losing sleep over it. Yeesh.

buddha inspired phones. for when karma calls.

Check out this Buddhalicious collection of phones featured on If It's Hip It's Here.

And these aren't just novelty phones. One comes with TWO cameras - one on the front and one on the back, with two SIM cards. Apple - time for some spirituality?

send this to that girl who writes code

A wonderous song devoted entirely to girls. Who write code. "Feels like my first LOL." Nice.

stuff you can do with a sharpie

If you work in the creative industry, chances are there's always a Sharpie within an arm's reach. So we're appreciative of what you can do with the magic markers.

The Future of Ads has an outstanding post on how the new Sharpie site works to transform their brand from a product brand into a lifestyle brand, why the campaign works, and the pros and cons to such an approach. Beautious analysis. And the sweet work on Uncapped will have you drawing on everything you own.

you make your own choices

Here's a fun choose your own path adventure that you can play out on YouTube. The series educates viewers on why you don't really need to carry a knife around, or get in knife fights. (Unless of course, you work in advertising.)

This is great work that will suck your time away, and all for an educational non-profit cause. Thanks, Lee!

the changing face of the streets

A new book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York chronicles the changing face of retail's facade in NYC.

And you can see select work from the book on display at the Clic Gallery in NYC tomorrow through the end of August. Cool. From Eyebeam.

people helping people. with an email list.

Chris Heuer announces the formation of Help A Community Organizer Out. (You can call it HACOO, and people will think you're cool.)

Help A Community Organizer Out is a mailing list modeled after Help a Reporter Out, and is geared toward helping organizations and people to connect with sponsors, volunteers and individuals who can help make events happen.

It's the social media community coming together to help build massively awesome tweetups, yo.

tweets, animated like peaceful waves of tweet bliss

This is how I would like to fall asleep. Watching tweets come in and blow away, like grains of sand. Visible, moving tweets.

Visible Tweets lets you search any keyword and watch an animated stream of tweets devoted to the search. Here's what a search on "plaidnation" looks like.

AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. You should project this in your lobby, or at your trade show booth. From Make the Logo Bigger.

what you can do with your old cassettes

Back in the olden days, people recorded music onto devices not too unlike your iPods of today. Only these devices needed to be played in a larger device, and they could only hold one album or playlist per device. These devices were called cassettes.

Now, you can archive them and enjoy their history (thanks, Joe Snow!) - OR - you can use them to create linear art. Art Backwash shows the entire process for creating Sinatra, pictured above.

people in california get all of the fun

Check out Scott Beale's photos of his visit to Sand by the Ton, the Grand Opening of The Big Art Studios at American Steel building in Oakland.

Yeah - indoor beaches, pools, tesla coils, buskers, painters, sculptors, and bands. You'll want to live in this place. Well, if you don't mind getting sand in all of your stuff.

this week at Plaid

Here's what happened this week at the world's most Plaidtastic creative agency:

Final preparations are being made for the third annual Plaid tour, PlaidNation. Our vehicle prep crew leaves for the tour next week, and the tour kicks off in just EIGHT DAYS!

The theme song to PlaidNation '09 was released on iTunes! The song was produced for us by the greatest band that ever existed, Pop Heroes. We had offers from Cold Play, MGMT, U2 and Lady Gaga, but turned them all down.

Bloggers are starting to pick up on the tour, too. You can see what the blogging superstars are writing about PlaidNation, on the tour dashboard.

If you have a blog (and if you don't, why not start one?) and you write a post about PlaidNation, we'll send you some sweet Plaid swag!

We started working with a couple of new exciting clients - Banfi Vintners and Sikorsky Financial Credit Union. Expect that we'll be drunk on Riunite and giving out financial advice real soon.

We've completed interviews for an open position that we'd like to call the boss of everything. Sara had to leave this position due to illness, and it's been a tough road without her. We'll be making a cool announcement in this department real soon.

This weekend Plaidsters will be attempting to enjoy a summer weekend, even though the northeast has traded weather with Seattle. Maybe next week, we'll actually see summer.

maybe you could do this with some free time and an olympus camera

60,000 pictures. 9,600 developed prints. 1,800 shot pictures and absolutely no post production. Whoah. That's one sweet stop motion masterpiece to promote the Olympus PEN.

(What happened to his wife and kid??)

darth vader gets cute

Star Wars chicks are going to freak for this. Only 1,644 of these exist, and they're being sold at Comic-Con San Diego now through July 26th.

10% of the retail sales price goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® with a minimum guaranteed donation of $5,000. Get it for your girlfriend to justify the travel expense for a comic book conference halfway across the country. Or just get it for yourself and be all like "what...it's Darth. You got a problem with that??"

From If It's Hip It's Here.

are you ready for the swedish military?

This site for the Swedish Armed Forces feels very much like a well produced console game. Incredible set design, beautiful Flash work and a series of puzzles that somehow confirm whether or not you're Armed Forces ready.

Clearly, I am not ready for the Swedish Armed Forces. Several failed puzzles and ultimately too short of an attention span to complete the test. You'll certainly do better. Thanks, Devon!
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