I think there’s something in my scanner

Yep. Ants. A lot of them. François Vautier put an ant colony inside his scanner and scanned it every week for five years. The time-lapse results are creepy, colorful and compelling. But then you’d expect nothing less from mankind’s oldest frenemy.

cape not included

It’s only fitting I wrap up my guest stint the way it started, with another pair of must-haves for Darryl’s sneaker fetish. Converse Superheroes! From Comic Con, of course. (Order via.)

leaping ladders

Pomparkour is a new sport that combines parkour and ladders. You know, so instead of energy drinks going viral with video of people almost killing themselves leaping off of buildings, now you'll go super-viral with people almost killing themselves with ladders.

Sure, Wikipedia thinks it's all a hoax, but we say get behind this. Cancel your TV spots, hire a video guy to follow a street team, and take it one step further -- have the athletes land in wheelbarrows. Via @matt_muir.

Lego biker bar

How do you sell an extra-fine-point pen? With bad-ass Lego tattoos. A pure-genius campaign from Grey Advertising in Barcelona. Via @stuartfoster.

don't mess with mom - and don't mess with grandma or she'll boycott Target

We all have the fear of the mommybloggers, and consumer backlash in general over any given ad campaign we create. But now it's not just ad campaigns that can tick your customers off, Target is being boycotted by a grandmother because they have donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, which in turn using the money to run TV ads for Republican Tom Emmer's campaign for Minnesota governor. Emmer has opposed measures that gay rights groups support, and this grandmother has a gay family member whom she loves.

It's getting attention too, Emmer says Target donation controversy 'too personal'. Meanwhile Target's CEO Gregg Steinhafel told employees in a letter that the company's support of the gay and lesbian community is "unwavering."

twisting a meme

How do you breathe life into an internet meme that even your mom knows? NOW IS THE TIME ON RICKROLL WHEN WE DANCE. Great, can’t wait for the animation to be reduced and made into an avatar. I’m sure NOBODY will think of that. (Via.)

Burning Man, now suitable for framing

How does it go again, you’ve officially jumped when you have your own infographic? Fancy charts aside, the 24-year old Burning Man likely jumped for a few people a long time ago. I’m surprised P&G hasn’t sponsored Burning Mom—a blogging pilgrimage to the open desert with Swaggar Wagons leading the way. As for this chart, about the only thing missing is the timeline showing the logos of corporate sponsors. And yes, way back in 1986, the Man was a mere 8’ tall. (Via.)

Justin Timberlake is now a director

The 901 Silver Tequila company is founded by Justin Timberlake, and now he's making his directorial debut in conjunction with 901 Silver Tequila’s first multi-media advertising campaign: Tequila Is Liberty.

The Martin agency wrote the spots, it's one of the first creative projects coming from Marc Kempter, Eric Tilford and Keith Tilford since joining The Martin Agency in late June.

All spots and short behind the scenes clips can be viewed on 901.com

hillbillies duel with flamethrowers and fire extinguishers

This might look like a very bizarre slow-motion hillbilly flame-thrower music video duel to you, but that is not all that it is. It's part of Diesel:U:Music, the brand's ongoing program supporting new and upcoming artists. Blink and former Fallon London creative/director Tomas Mankovsky crafted this new video for the Dancing Pigeons track Ritalin, which works quite well with the the Fire & Water theme of the brand's current collection. The video is also accompanied by a set of prints, and a longer, short film version will soon be released on Diesel.com

the best chart ever drawn

Brandflakes usually chases the new-new thing, but you can also learn from something old. Above is the chart visual guru Edward Tufte calls "probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn," a map of Napoleon's failed march into Russia sketched by Charles Joseph Minard in 1869. The illustration conveys six data sets in one image: geography (you're looking down on a map); victory vs. defeat (tan lines leading into battle, black the retrenchment); the size of Napoleon's dying army (denoted by the width of the lines); direction; temperature and time. This is what happens when you work outside of PowerPoint.

maple syrup that's 80 proof

Legend has it that in 1430 a monk named Isidore in the Moscow Kremlin brewed the first vodka, which he called a bread wine. Today the drink is usually made from grains, potatoes or sugar beets ... but Vermont Spirits has just launched a vodka distilled from tree sap, supposedly lightly filtered so a touch of maple flavor comes through. We can't imagine this beverage scaling, but it's a tasteful reminder that building brand differentiation into your product is much stronger than resorting to tacked-on marketing claims. Thank God red flannel shirts are in; we'll order this at the bar in New York City to go with our pancakes.

Via Cool Hunting.

but wait, there’s more...

- What other kind of business card would a model company have?
- Every cigarette smoked in Mad Men.
- What about a manual for a 1991...
- We *may* be eating too much butter.
- The early tweet gets the...
- Out of sunblock? Cover yourself in kitchen magnets.
- Nightowls welcome.
- GoogleTunes.
- The first “A”—NYC restaurant inspection information. (Via.)

the other side of crowdsourcing

The other side is really a *purer* side of the crowdsourcing process, the way I think it should’ve always been: Take the bidding out of the equation and just share an idea that others improve on or alter.

This levels the playing field because neither side has an unfair financial advantage any longer. This also allows you to bring an element back into the picture that’s been marginalized, if not forgotten completely: collaboration.

Tracy Osborn is totally nailing this. She’s starting a company by pitching people on being her technical co-founder. (You can read all about the company plan here.) It’s for wedding invitations but really, it could be any product or service.

She’s put her idea out there completely. Her business plan, her fears, her hopes. There’s no agenda here because she’s already come up with the concept, so it’s not like you have to. Nobody will steal it either because, well, people would know who had the idea first. Where this comes together for me is in the comments to the story though.

They show how a community for the most part can improve, troubleshoot, or massage an idea while still remaining positive. It doesn’t *cost* them anything to share their experience(s), and in return, they help shape her business plan, in effect becoming her virtual mentor. One of them could even end up possibly becoming her partner too. (This approach is also something at the heart of a proposal for TV viewers to decide on which unseen TV pilots get aired.)

Where I come out is that the wisdom of crowds can be a good thing—until you start bidding on it.

rebranding death

“The Life Before Death campaign serves as a catalyst to get people thinking and talking about a universally taboo subject – Death & Dying. These "die–logues" now go online with interactive applications that will guide you – in an unexpectedly fun way – to a more refreshing view of Death.”

Hard subject to lighten up around, but that’s the mission statement for Life Before Death, a campaign from the Lien Foundation, a Singapore philanthropic house advocating better care for the dying. Do words like *refreshing* and *death-venture* come off a little too jovial? Maybe, but think of this project as an upbeat PostSecret. Focus on the life leading up to the end while leaving something positive for the ones left behind. Is that something you’d do for everyone to see? Some might, others won’t because that’s a deeply personal matter. If you do though, you can leave your messages here. They might want to iPad-proof all that Flash though, I hear God loves Steve.

(Agency: XM Asia Pacific.)

the bible, tanakh and qur'an in one brand. not bad.

We always found the brand for Kane is Able trucking and warehousing service a little curious. It's an allusion, of course, to the Christian, Jewish and Islamic tale of Cain and Abel / Qabil and Habil, the two sons of Adam, the first human. Cain was a farmer, Abel a shepherd, and Cain in the story kills Abel after being jealous that God accepted an animal sacrifice but not produce offering.

And then as we pondered this story from our childhood Sundays on the highway, thinking hard about why the brand would reference it, we realized Kane is Able had penetrated our consciousness and now is in our consideration set as a logistics service. Maybe religious allusions in branding aren't so bad after all.

I need hot chicks headbutting in helmets... in a forest

You have that? Awesome. Downloading now! Awkward stock photos. We’ve all been there. The leftover shots in a photographer’s book with themes that David Lynch couldn’t imagine, somehow ending up in the discount rack at the back of your local stock image website. Enjoy! (Tip to Eliza.)

bikinis now cover less than 1%

Tom Reichert, a professor at the University of Georgia who actually gets paid to study sex in advertising, has sad news to report. Bikinis, once the mainstay of automotive advertising, now account for less than 1% of vehicle ads in mainstream consumer publications. The trend points to the maturation of society, and the realization that women make equivalent if not the majority of vehicle purchase decisions in the United States.

Sex in advertising is not down and out, however. Reichert notes that when marketers do use sexual imagery, they are getting smarter about integrating hormones into the actual product itself. One common knock on racy images is they simply grab attention without influencing purchases, because like a dumb truck ad showing a woman in a tiny swimsuit, there is a disconnect between the riveting body and an unrelated product. But in 73% of recently evaluated sexual magazine ads, the creative hook was tied to what Reichert calls a "sex-related brand benefit." Axe, Old Spice, Victoria's Secret all continue eye-grabbing themes with a promise that their product itself will make you sexier.

Sex still works, but now it's inside the product -- not just bikinis.

i always feel like somebody's watching me

If you are not the paranoid sort, the Google Alarm Firefox plugin will make paranoid. The plugin visually and audibly alerts you when your personal information is being sent to Google servers. Ten minutes of using this thing and I've actually gotten dressed today and stopped chewing gum with my mouth open in front of the iSight. It's freaking me out. Try it.

Google Alarm from Jamie Dubs on Vimeo.

apple, victorious, is now just messing with you

Today news broke that Apple will sell a trackpad, which is a bit like a keyboard except it has no moving parts, has no built-in lights, is less expensive to produce, and will make Apple a fat margin within its retail price of $69. It comes with the inscription designed in California by Steve Jobs, who has you by the balls.

nut blaster penetrating oil

At the blog "crap at my parents house" you will find the mystery can filled with nut blaster penetrating oil, and if you know what it does you win a pony. Ok, no pony, just the satisfaction that you are the king/queen of knowledge of crap.

facebook, savior of journalism

Facebook has fired up a media page explaining why journalists really need to build their own Facebook landing pages. You know, so readers can Like your stories and share your news with others, all trackable by you as you build customer relationships. It's sort of what web sites used to do, except now the web sites are inside Facebook. Understand the difference?

exotic political ads from the north

I was talking to Bill yesterday about political ads, and explained to him that we don't have that usual mudslinging on TV that people in the states experience during an election year. In the states even Coroners re-election campaigns get bizarre ads. Sweden, not so much.

We run posters, print ads, lots of public debates and national TV debates and then some cinema ads. Now there's talk about political ads on TV, though not all advertising supported channels are accepting them yet.

In 1991, Roy Anderson, award winning director with his very special style of dark, grim and boring (often achieved by putting green makeup on the actors) made a political cinema ad for the Social Democratic Party. It ran in cinemas at the time, but it didn't do much to help the Social Democrats that year as a coalition made up of the conservatives and a new party took the majority.

In 2006, The Social Democratic Youth Legue made another surreal ad, this one was a new take on Romeo and Juliet where red is the social democrats (and the caring people) while blue are the egotistical conservatives. The ads voiceover asks the viewer what kind of society they want to live in. Bonus points for using the party leader Göran Persson's face as the MGM 'Leo the Lion'. Again, surreal ads didn't help the results and Fredrik Reinfeldt's Moderate Party toppled Göran Persson off the throne and his ten year reign as prime minister and political career ended there.

Now that more parties have decided to run political TV ads, some have made self-imposed ethical rules to follow, like the Christian Democratic party who published theirs in the national newspaper (Google translated). Their rules include;
• Advertising must not be misleading, offensive or inappropriate.
• Advertisements must not play on fear or fears or exploiting misfortune or suffering.
• Advertisements must not discredit the individual, group, organization or other political party by petition that is likely to bring contempt or ridicule.

Other parties play a little more fast and loose, take the Feminist initiativ party as an example. Their steamy ad (NSFW) was yanked off youtube in a matter of minutes, and carries the tagline "Feminists have better sex".

newspapers in 3d

The Philadelphia Inquirer has published "America's first modern-technology 3-D newspaper section" -- a color insert filled with fuzzy ads for Macy's, HP and ING Direct. Put on the ChromaDepth 3D glasses and the images look slightly more fuzzy, except for the Macy's T-shirt, which did appear to float above the page. We could riff about the recent chain of gimmickry as publishers such as Esquire try to remain relevant with QR codes and augmented reality ads, except we now have a headache. This format works for Excedrin.

and after you donate it, then what

You didn’t think they actually sent your old electronics to third-world countries now, did ya? When it’s time for that shiny new must-have that Techcrunch raves about, what do you with the old stuff? You can eBay it, but good luck getting decent cash. You can donate it, but then you have to find a place that will take it. That still doesn’t address the e-waste nobody wants though. Check out what really happens at the end of your printer’s life in this clip from Electronic Recyclers International. (Via Core77.)

should you need an MBA to do social media?

The hiring practices for social media roles is a topic Scott Monty discussed with us on AdVerve once, and now that I see more people hiring for it, there seems to be two schools of thought depending on who you ask. Brands seem to say yes while agencies seem to say no.

I understand the brand argument because you’re *generally* dealing with more business-oriented methodology on a daily basis. Complicating things is that the role is also something either brought in-house or sourced out to a partner agency specializing in social. The counter argument is that regardless of which scenario we’re talking about, the other aspects of a brand’s marketing and advertising efforts don’t require one (on the agency side), so why would social?

(Granted, the question is framed broadly, and at the risk of turning this into a “Who owns social?” discussion, social needs to be looked at like a tool, yes, but one from the creative toolbox like PR, advertising, etc. Brands making it an in-house role risk treating it like another line item on an Excel sheet while missing the creative possibilities inherent in the space.)

As for the agency perspective, just because they don’t tend to require a degree, they seem to compensate by requiring a candidate have extensive experience in the development of social media communities, while displaying an almost unhealthy fixation on the dreaded social media case study.

I come out here: The person needs a good sense of brands across multiple industries, knowing how to play in the space, and an ability to interact with consumers in a more natural way. Can you tell that just by seeing a degree or case study? I don’t think you can.

Maybe it’s time to rethink the question. What do you think?

I’ll take 6’ 3” and...

Actually 6’ 3.5” but there’s no box for it on Rob Cockerham’s awesome Height/Weight auction on eBay. Potential advertisers can bid on a space to run a small text ad on his chart for three months. The site is populated with shots of regular people like you and me depending on which block you happen to choose. (Read this first before submitting.) Will it work advertisers? Will your ad dollars do more? He says he gets mad traffic AND I BELIEVE. For the uninitiated, Cockeyed is a site where Rob does things with to The Man. (Think a shot of Popular Mechanics with MythBusters and a David Lynch chaser.) And they said we’re running out of niche demos and clever auctions.

“and then a strange light came down...”

Regular readers know I run the gambit on blog topics, from design-oriented kitsch to deep explorations of social media campaigns. This is one of those wtf times. People, I haven’t been this excited about an item since the Fargo snow globe. I give you the alien abduction lamp, via the always amazing C-Monster.

Beancast is your BFFB friend.

Play the show now. (Episode NSFW.) Some regular readers might know I podcast I’m a regular on called The Beancast. Guest-Flake Åsk Wäppling and myself were on last night along with David Burn of AdPulp and the infamous—I said infamous—George Parker. We basically took Facebook apart, explain why you shouldn’t mess with Dr Pepper Moms or Old Spice Dads, and of course, The Gulf. This is also the first Beancast without an F-bomb filter in place. Heh. You’re welcome. IT’S THE SHOW THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T WANT YOU TO HEAR. At one point though, David mentions on the show something he said on AdPulp about how Facebook just *is* the internet for a gen who grew up with it. (Russell Davies amplifies this thought too.)

As for my take, there’s a recent All Things Considered interview with Mark Zuckerberg, and it it, he outlines why Facebook helps organize your life better than anyone else (among other things). The function and utility though that he thinks they offer “better than anyone” needs an overhaul, least from my perspective. It’s clunky and unintuitive, and Google Me, or whatever you’re going to be called, take note.


ford pays media to earn media

Disclosure: Ford is a Humongo Nation sponsor. We'll be objective and critical anyway, 'cause we know Scott Monty can take it.

Here's a little secret about "earned" social media buzz -- it's extremely difficult to control unless you pay for advertising to seed it. Ford, for instance, is getting a lovefest over at Mashable for its Facebook landing page doing a tantric-slow reveal of the new Ford Explorer. Skip over to Facebook.com/FordExplorer and at 12 different times today Ford will release an interview or Q&A about the new SUV (a nice design with about 30% better fuel economy than the last model).

Buried in the Mashable review, however, is the news that Ford is also paying for online advertising to reach 50 million people per day. Assuming an efficient $4 CPM in their media buy, that's $200,000 per day Ford is dropping to build the front-end buzz behind the Facebook landing page. If Ford sustained the campaign for a month, that's $6 million in national advertising to grab you, a Facebook fan.

We love the promotion, the slow-build, the teasing nature -- and Ford gets kudos for reportedly being the first automaker to launch a new vehicle via the Internet and not at an auto show (you know, spinning platform, lights and smoke, women in sequined dresses). Given how busy everyone is today, it makes sense to appeal directly to consumers on the web where we can slip away for 60 seconds to ogle a new vehicle. Ford also shows remarkable restraint in not pushing the new Explorer concurrently at the main site Ford.com today -- if consumers want to see the SUV, they have to hit Facebook, creating even more pull for that portal. But as Ford's estimated $200k-a-day media burn rate attests, if you want to make friends on Facebook, you often have to pay for it.

the internet makes you smarter. stupider. whatever.

If you missed the great debate of 2010, two noted thinkers are arguing exactly the opposite points. Clay Shirky, keynote speaker at SXSW this spring, suggests the Internet has unlocked a fantastic "cognitive surplus," illustrated above -- meaning all those hours you once spent gazing at clouds or watching the tube can now be used to do wonderful things, such as build Wikipedia or blog about wet T-shirt protesters. Nicholas Carr has expanded an essay from The Atlantic to argue the counterpoint in his book "The Shallows," suggesting our reliance on GPS and Google has extended human mind power at the risk of deleting parts of our minds.

Of course, you know the answer. You've already clicked through to those wet T-shirt protesters, haven't you?

Illustration: Information is Beautiful

but wait, there’s more...

– Get a job. Not so fast.
– What cloning really looks like.
– “Generates random moments of multimedia inspiration.”
– Fruit Loops wins again.
– Wanna think like a Mouse?
– Maybe they can float giant burgers for when the next Pope is chosen.
– The first rule of Jane Austen Fight Club...
– Steve Jobs spreading his demon seed this fall.
– TV is real (life). We believe.
– I’m sure it will be unbiased.

Sad Men

Okay Mad Men freaks, before the new episodes hit, dig a little deeper into their history. NPR’s This American Life reran an interview over the weekend with one of The Men™ responsible for some of the greatest lines in advertising history, Julian Koenig (above, left). You can stream it here, starting around 8:45 in. The reporter (his daughter), explores the rift between him and partner George Lois. At first listen, it’s like two old guys fighting, which is always cute, except, their core argument still goes on in agencies across the country today:

Who came up with the idea?

You see it with the CD who *manages* to get his or her name on all the agency’s work—that they never touched. The junior designer who walked by a couch where the brainstorm session for a popular campaign happened, and so naturally that campaign ends up in their book with them as art director on it. You see it with, well, insert an agency role and chances are someone is taking credit for it. In that context, two cranky guys fighting have a point. Awards may be the currency creatives use to judge other creatives by, but ideas are still all that a creative has, as is the credit for same.

To be able to say “yeah, I did that,” matters.

Darryl talks about this in his recap with Bob Knorpp this week, in that one aspect of the tour is how it promotes other agencies. Given the paranoid nature over the credit for ideas, you’d be right to ask who the hell does that? But as Darryl notes, not everyone is protective the way they used to be. (When we started off, that was always one part of it: 1) Visit current clients, 2) Brands we wanted to work for, 3) Agencies we dug and 4) Cool places along the way.) He’s not saying we should be open about everything either. After all, a brand’s trade secrets are still sacrosanct.

But the walls large agencies put up because they fear collaboration as some evil monster are starting to come down. For some they’re not. There’s a big fear out there by many shops that if clients actually knew they couldn’t handle certain things, they’d lose the business. And while digital and social shops are increasingly being called in as *partners* of more traditional shops, you still have turf wars over who gets credit for coming up with the final idea.

Maybe the answer is to simply put the agency’s name on every line of credit in award shows or PR releases. Don’t worry credit whores—you can still tell people you came up with the idea when you show your book. Even if you did.

(Image: Ric Kallaher.)

compare and contrast cause ads - one with swearing

In the above Restore the Gulf PSA we have the usual suspects in a cause advert. Famous actors, musicians, people, intercut as they all tell the same story. All being very serious as they bring their serious message. Hopeful music swells. "We can do this together". Lets compare and contrast to this fix the gulf message, which is told in the same intercutting manner, except with added swearwords. Lots of swearwords. Don't say I didn't warn you. Which one do you think is more effective as a call to action? Which one has gotten more viral spread?*

"Restore the gulf" only want you to sign a petition, while Unf--kthegulf want some action. You could also send your money directly to anyone on this list of charities assisting Gulf Coast Oil Spill Clean Up. If you don't like either one of the above, I'd say do that instead.

* yes, it's the swearing one that is taking the internet by storm, but it ain't over yet.

poke you very much

Angela, BFFB friend across the Parisian way, brings us electro thrash producer The Toxic Avenger, a.k.a. Simon Delacroix and some sweet social media visualization in N’Importe Comment (featuring Orelsan.) Here in the states, the graphic numbers thing has been abused in financial spots, but this execution breathes life into the technique. It’s your video game life... come to life. (The opening sequence where you start your day off with choice of skins leading into the cell interference? Genius!) Lest you think we’re getting too heavy with deep explorations of social media relationships, Google throws my high school French a lifeline and tells me that the lyrics are about what any disposable rap-pop clip here might be about: Looking good with your crew. Throw in a fab beat to compliment the sexist ass-slaps and let’s dance! Regardless, you don’t really need to understand what they’re saying since the message is clear: We are who we follow, on Facebook—or the street.

a week on the road with humongo

Ben Kunz, Bill Green and Ask Dabitch have been rocking Brand Flakes for Breakfast like it's never been rocked before. I wanted to give you an update to what I've been up to...

The Humongo Nation summer tour is in full swing, and we're delivering two action packed weeks of social media goodness for your enjoyment.

In case you've missed the hot action, here's a couple of blog post highlights:

+ Artist Randy Regier taught us how artists can further their careers and their work by partnering with the man.

+ Edward Boches at Mullen reminded us how a workplace reboot can reinvigorate your team with swagger for new wins and success.

+ Tour sponsor Wingate Hotels taught us that pesky computer geeks are using internet bandwidth like never before, so they've created a bandwidth program to provide optimum internet juice for their guests.

+ We met Karen Jacobsen, the voice behind your GPS, who taught us that "recalculating" can be a wonderful life philosophy to introduce change just when you need it.

+ Sprint showed us how they've turned their social media team into an army of social media ninjas.

Watch the interviews, read the food blog, and enjoy the tour from the safety of your cubicle. And if you missed the live action this week, no worries - we've got another week in store for you starting Monday!

Thanks again to Ben, Bill and Ask for bringing the awesome!!!!

brandflakes readers dig burgers more than sex


Thank you for participating in our consumer slacker workspace observational study this week. The guest bloggers monitoring you have compiled your blog comments numerically and are pleased to report you are still worried more about smelling good (Old Spice) or eating things that smell good (Burger King) than flying donkeys or Playboy. We conclude you are either advanced marketers interested in the nuances of olfactory advertising, or simply too old and fat to be much interested in humor and sex.

We will finalize observation of you next week. To opt out, please complete the TPS form here.

-- @benkunz, @mtlb, @dabitch

bing flirts with market penetration

Maybe it was Bing running coquettish ads explaining search engines are the secret to wooing women, or perhaps Google's ballyhooed redesign bombed in May, but wow, poor Google. Since this spring, Bing's share of the U.S. search market has climbed by one-third -- up to 12.7% of all U.S. searches in June from 9.4% in April, with Google falling from 71.4% to 62.6%. (Yahoo hovers in second place.)

As for us, we tried Binging "ways to woo women" and didn't see chocolate in the top results. Bing, it's nice you're growing, but please check your algorithm.

iPad looking a little too modern?

Retrosize it. Kindle or iPad, Fossil has you... covered. In real leather, and in a variety of finishes. Be the envy of your fellow passengers on the way into the city. Be the envy of your dad, who likely had a leather briefcase as distressed as some of these covers. Analog meet digital, indeed.

(Via Notcot.)

drill without the spill

When life gives you Gulf oil, make condoms? It might rank as one of the oddest efforts to help the Gulf clean-up effrorts, but Oil Spill Condoms will donate 20% of their profits to help the Gulf Clean-up. C’mon people, they need to make a living too ya know! (Via.)

and the oscar goes to iphone 4g

Michael Koerbel of @majekpictures filmed and edited this beautiful short in 48 hours using an iPhone 4G. Seth Weisfeld of BBH New York was so awestruck he's launched a new film award competition, the iOScars, for other talented artists to upload their own iPhone movies. Technology has progressed to the point where anyone can create almost anything; maybe, little Johnny, you should skip film school and start shooting mobile.

still about story

This a follow-up to a piece I blogged some time ago. Phillip Toledano is an art director and photographer who put together an astonishing collection of images of his father’s last days at Days With My Father, along with stories to accompany them. Not gonna lie, for guys it feels like one giant game of catch between father and son at the end of Field of Dreams. The collection is now out in book form. What this site always showed though was the simple power of a compelling story with great photography, complimented by a clean, interesting site navigation. Too often in advertising still, brands get complicated with stories they put out everywhere. It’s almost like if they just flood every social network and blog, their message will resonate as people connect with it.

It fits with the idea that the shotgun approach and *push* form of advertising’s glorious past is dead. How? Because it’s really social media’s dirty little secret that this is exactly what brands are still doing when they flood Twitter, Facebook, et al., or hit *key influencers* on blogs. A great story though finds its way into all those places without help. Those channels then become icing on the cake for the whole affair and naturally flow from it. People seek great stories out on their own. Good or mediocre stories though, still need the push. It’s why Apple doesn’t need social media, because its fans tell their story for them. And that story is based on a great product that you have to have.

Phillips’s story doesn’t need a Facebook for you to be touched by it.

the ipad's 15% response rate. mmmmeow.

Social media brainiac Shiv Singh reports iPad usage numbers that should have advertisers purring. The main finding: users are really engaged with the device, spending 60 minutes a month with each Conde Naste magazine app vs. 2.1 minutes at Vanityfair.com or 3.8 minutes at GQ.com. And click-through rates are a whopping 15% (that is not a typo).

It's worth noting that response rates are always elevated among early adopters of technology; way back in the day, click throughs on banner ads in the 1990s were above 2.0%, and now slump below 0.08%, a return so low that many online strategists avoid talking about CTRs altogether and instead claim branding impact or lift in intent that drives paid search clicks elsewhere. But if readers remain actually reading and clicking, the iPad tablet is an ad medium to watch.

Image: FoxyCoxy

escape the airport for 50 cents a minute

Minute Suites is a micro-hotel concept launched at the Atlanta airport giving travelers an escape into tiny couched rooms for $30 an hour. The pricing seems insane at first, until you think back to the last time you were trapped in a crowded, flu-sneezing airport for a horrific layover, and suddenly 90 bucks for a peaceful 3-hour nap seems OK. It's a case study in meeting an open market niche and pricing for value accordingly. We know what you're thinking, and no, massages are not included. Oh, behave.

Stickers that make your suitcase stand out... a little too much, perhaps.

Tired of peering over the monotone same-same suitcases pouring out on the baggage carousel, looking for your special snowflake suitcase that looks just like all the others? Maybe you should spruce it up with a sticker to make it stand out?
The Cheeky has created Suitcase Stickers that will attract attention, at only $25 for 4, it's a steal. You can pretend to be an international coke-smuggler, bank robber or perhaps a man that carries a bound and gagged woman in your suitcase (yeah, that's not creepy as hell). The Cheeky do have the helpful warning before you buy:
Caution: Some of these stickers may cause offense to airport and immigration staff. But you would have figured that out whilst enjoying those cavity searches.

everything digital is analog again

You might want to file Super Mario Kart THE BOARD GAME under must-haves of 2010. (It’s from the 2010 Tokoyo Toy Show and not available here yet.) I saw it after a story about the prototype for a digital version of the decidedly analog Holga. Yeah, that funky little *film* camera favored by a lot of people on Flickr. Industrial designer Saikat Biswas did something different and open-sourced the project too.

The feedback so far? Overwhelmingly positive, as in, “WHERE CAN I GET THAT?” positive. Turns out, nowhere for now as it’s not yet in production, but if it were, doesn’t it look like something Apple designed? The lines are iPhone sleek with a minimalist execution of form, function and features.

It raises a deeper issue though about the things we grew up with in one medium being reinterpreted for another. That game immediately evokes the same feelings as the Holga D crowd have: GOTTA HAVE IT. Imagine Space Invaders, the card game! But would Holga going digital be a bad thing?

Almost the entire analog film industry has crossed over into the digital realm, no? Maybe it’s bad because Holga fans don’t want to lose the analog charm and imperfections of the light-leaking original. Could Photoshop-like effects ever match the charm of a distorted color field?

The proposed design does a good job of melding both worlds together in another aspect: There’s no monitor to preview what you shot. Like the film you drop off at Walgreen’s, you have to wait until you download your images to see how they came out. Lost in digital translation these past few years has been this anticipation you used to have with film as the shots revealed themselves.

There was nothing as creepy and cool as watching a shaken Polaroid in your hand turn into something from nothing. Each piece was some kind of original piece of art that you hated throwing away. (I love iGod, but sorry, it’s one tactile experience that touchscreens can never emulate.)

Not to mention the thinking and planning that used to go into shooting as you were more aware of how you composed your shots. Now it’s shoot from the hip, check the screen and delete what you don’t want. But on the other hand, the digital migration of consumer technology away from analog is certainly the democratization the Polaroids and Kodaks of the world had intended, no? Pictures for everyone—by everyone. People have so much access to cheaper ways of expressing themselves, who cares what medium they do it in.

And so when I see the board game above, and then the digital Holga, both seem like contradictions in terms of the mediums people first experienced them in. But both work because your feelings about each are just as intense. In this case, it’s not a matter of one technology giving way to another. It’s about one supporting the other.

sexy physics!

I can’t stop watching this. It’s a physics simulation engine called Lagoa Multiphysics 1.0 that mimics almost any type of object, regardless of its composition or path. Useful for video games and CSI! But okay, look at it for how far cgi has come. The process behind the scenes here mimic the framework for the cgi found in many films. Getting the core shape or flow of liquid right is the key to any animation as well as how objects react after contact. The level of realism now is insane compared to even a decade go. ASTEROIDS VECTOR REPRESENT. (Via, via.)

protesters, you don't need wet t-shirts anymore

Back in the day if you were upset about an issue, you'd stage a scandalous protest, say, with a dozen half-dressed women prancing about in a Ukrainian public water fountain, and invite the mass media to come record it. But Altimeter web strategist Jeremiah Owyang notes that organizations such as Greenpeace are using social media to demonstrate against corporations. In March, for instance, Greenpeace used a Facebook page takeover to push Nestle into doing more to protect Indonesian rain forests. Owyang provides a detailed interview with Greenpeace that outlines the new online levers used to shape public opinion, from building a supporter base to getting legal counsel to calculating protest campaign ROI.

No public nudity required. Thanks, Jeremiah. Thanks a lot.

if print wasn’t dead before...

Aka, how to turn Facebook into a magazine. FlipBoard is less about killing print though and just making the online experience better. Basically, it takes your social networks and aggregates all the content it finds, then converts into an interactive magazine layout. Robert Scoble is big on this, and admittedly, it sure does make Facebook look sexy as hell compared to um, well, what it looks like now. Will this have them rethinking that whole “Don’t let users skin their pages like MySpace” thing? Not sure, but it livens up a page, complete with the page turn you know and love. More importantly, whereas print magazines only offers a non-linear way to read pages—basically you can thumb through and stop wherever—the overall experience is limited physically. FlipBoard changes that dynamic so that you can investigate elements in the content in a more dimensional way. Each update, each clip, each image now becomes a stepping-off point to other content. To skip to the actual demo, click here.* (Via.)

*Not to offend Robert and his intro—we like him. Rebels that we are, we even *almost* trashed his front lawn during Humongo Nation 2—First Blood.

vaseline discovers beauty is not skin deep

Why do some women wear lipstick? Why do some men tan?

Changing our appearance is a normal human desire (see: mascara and razor blades), yet oh did Vaseline step in it with a Facebook app promoting a product to lighten skin tone, apparently targeted at Indian men. The app quickly drew heat; commentator Linda Fingerson offered a representative response, "mmm skin whitening cream! Yes, let me feed a sense of inadequacy to myself, my lovers and all my friends!"

But the story is more complex -- as nuanced as why women paint their lips red to evoke erotic arousal, or why men sun themselves to look burly as if working in laborious jobs no longer at the top of the financial ladder. Danah Boyd dissects the emotion and caste systems behind changing skin color, noting that as a Caucasian child in Pennsylvania she grew darker to signal affluence (the rich took winter trips to Florida), only to be surprised later in life traveling in Japan to find women there aspire to be whiter. Modifying skin hue is not so much an issue of racism, she suggests, but of societal context, and tastes that seem sane in one geography feel wildly inappropriate in another.

No matter. The Vaseline Facebook app is a warning for all marketers: fail to consider the cultural ecosystem of your product, and you may blush.

playboy launches site that's (sadly) safe for work

Sure you think this is a prurient blog post but there are deep marketing questions in Playboy's launch of Thesmokingjacket.com. This safe-for-work web site could represent the retrenchment of men's magazines in the face of widespread online porn, a recognition that aging boomers with tamer interests are desirable targets for advertisers, confirmation that the rise of women in upper incomes and management who make the majority of household purchase decisions requires new thinking for all entertainment venues, proof that pollution in America's waterways has led to estrogen-mimicking chemicals lowering testosterone in male blood streams, or evidence marketers know that you there sir like to waste time in the office.

Don't look at us. We just read it for the articles.

loose hips sink U.S. ships

Actually, this one’s “Health exercises for the insurance industry.” When it comes to bold propaganda posters, you probably only think of the U.S. or Germany before and during WWII. JAPAN REPRESENT! This amazing collection of Japanese constructivist posters from the ’30s shows that we weren’t the only ones adept at exploiting the fears of the masses.

(Via C-Monster.)

When advertisers make asses out of themselves.

Somewhere in Russia, someone thought it would be a great idea to draw attention to their parasailing business, by attaching a screaming donkey to a parachute and sailing it above the beachfront for half an hour, because if kids and animals sell, then terrified braying animals that make children cry must sell even better. Right? No?

Police are investigating the stunt and the entrepreneurs responsible may face criminal charges for animal cruelty.

can you trust the burger king miracle bun?

Someone found a McDonald's bun that had a ghost-like image of the Burger King "King" inside. So shot a video. Which could go viral. Except Jetpacks thinks it's all staged. Because Jetpacks writes an ad blog and got an email from someone pitching, hey, you should check out this video, which is about to go viral, and the guy who uploaded the video had never uploaded a video before, and it all feels a little staged, and if CP+B isn't behind this it's likely an amateur ad guy looking for buzz to get himself a job.

As Jetpacks explains, "You can't PR your way to success through fake email accounts with 'check this funny thing out I found' messages. And what really ticks most of us off are the lengths you will go to to make it seem as though you are just some Joe or Jake who made a video, creating fake profiles and seeding comments."

And who lifts up their bun before eating a burger, anyway?

mom, johnny is drinking the auto coolant again

At first we were puzzled seeing this Wildberry Flavored Drink all packaged up in the same color and shape as the poisonous antifreeze or windshield-wiper fluid you keep in the garage. And then we realized, it's not like they're selling candy Legos that teach kids to put plastic toys in their mouth, or chocolate nails to encourage Johnny to rifle through your garage workbench for snack treats. After all, what better way to grab parents' attention than to startle them with drinks that look like poison?

Nice work, Wildberry producers. If you move into hard candy, consider a sugar-blowing cannon.

smart phone users 41% more likely to ogle swimsuits

Our friends at Jagtag are back with new case studies of how QR codes lead to marketing results. QR codes (which look like small, square, bubbly product bar codes) invite users to snap a photo with their phones and either email or text in the image; Jagtag responds with rich media content such as a 20-second video to give the user more information. A recent campaign for Sports Illustrated generated 120,000 responses -- with 24% of requests coming from smart phones, a response share much higher than the 17% of mobile phones in the U.S. in that category.

Of course, asking readers to email in codes to get videos of Sports Illustrated models is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.

Andrew Bolton at Jagtag tells us marketers are moving beyond print response (how Sports Illustrated used the codes) to QR codes for point-of-sale purchase influence and CRM programs. For POS use, think of a wine brand that offers you free food pairing information or recipes simply by snapping an image of a code at the local wine store rack, a clear differentiator. For CRM use, a marketer could then stage a few questions, say asking your preferences, gender, and age to receive personalized offers, building a profile of you for future customer relationship management.

Or better yet, just ask cell-phone shoppers if they'd like to receive videos of nearly nude Sports Illustrated models.

glam I am

It wouldn’t be me filling in without one obligatory footware post for Darryl. While athletes have long since tied in with the Nikes and Reeboks of the world, it’s co-branding madness as Converse goes after pop culture hard with these Dr. Seuss kicks. (Look, if they made them in a 16, I’d be all over that.) Would anything go better with a client meeting like Powerpoint and a pair of those?

but wait, there’s more

– 20 Fail Whales. (Via.)
– Kindle eBooks outselling hardcovers on Amazon? Yep. (Via.)
– It’s a streaming throwdown with Redbox vs. Netflix.
– Foursquare activism DOES work.
– “We don’t even own suits.” The difference between AT&T and Apple. (Via, via.)
– Geek ink.
– Star Wars fans, don’t throw away those Danbury Mint plates yet. (Via.)
– Guys ride Coach.

LG spoofs daytime soap operas all the way with "the young and the connected"

A press relaese sent around the internet reads; “In the spring of 2010 filming began on a brand new US network day-time soap opera: The Young and the Connected." and everything you'll find is creating the illusion that this is a long-running soap in progress, especially some of the videos found on The Young and Connected youtube channel. Take this ten minute long behind-the-scenes clip for example.

The press release continues: Partner-funded by LG Electronics, renowned for its market leading smart phones, ‘The Young and the Connected’ was trailed as being the first ever US day-time series to be based on the realities of how young people really live their lives today.
Storylines were to focus on the real source of drama behind the way young people lead their lives in our modern connected world: mobile social networking.
The series had all of the ingredients needed to be a ratings winner - beautiful people, drama, revenge and skimpy swimwear.
However, two days after filming began, without any reason being given, the network pulled the plug on the production, leaving only a fraction of the series footage in the can.

What it actually is, is a set of idents aimed at the 16-24 age group in the UK, and the clips will be used as channel 4 idents.The backstory of a real soap being cancelled is just a bonus.

we're confused by the men your man could smell like

Everyone has been talking about the brilliant Wieden + Kennedy Old Spice ads, but we must point out the fatal flaw: It's damned complicated to actually buy the product. You see, Old Spice has failed to minimize the burden of choice. When we were kids, Old Spice had one scent, a naval-minty-seaside thing that our dad wore, and it was a known entity like vanilla or chocolate or clover in spring, a fond memory evoking the scent of the leather band on grandpa's wristwatch. Now, your supermarket carries Old Spice Aqua Reef and Red Zone and High Endurance Pure Sport, and perhaps a Classic in there somewhere. We dig the spots, the YouTube Twitter responses, the humor, the manly Isaiah, yes we do. And yes we get the concept of shelf space.

But that burden of choice -- you know, making the purchase decision more complex than it has to be -- is always a mistake. Sorry, Old Spice, we didn't pick one up; smelling like your man was way too complicated.

thanks, google, for killing the app business

Way back in 2010, marketers who wanted in on the hot mobile space had to hire interactive agencies to design fancy iPhone or Google Droid apps. And then in July of 2010 Google released its free app-maker, a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG tool that allowed even cat owners to build their own mobile applications.

And soon everyone built their own app, and then no one needed web browsers or mobile strategy or interactive agencies, and then advertisers couldn't intercept anyone cause all those millions of colorful app buttons skipped their messages, and then the entire ad industry died, dragging down the world economy into the abyss and so that is why we now have to hunt deer in the streets by moonlight. Happy now, Google?

Mad Men Style: You can read every outfit.

Ever watch those responsible for clothes on a set fret about the wardrobe? Ever see a grown art director cry at the "wrong wallpaper" on a set? Details are important. The wrong item can cause havoc, like when Dunkin' Donuts were accused of supporting terrorists due to a scarf.

As we wait for the next season of Mad Men, lets relive the excellent choices of clothes for each character. When Joan wears purple, she is wearing her heart on her sleeve. Delve into the Mad Men Style pages by the fabulous and opinioated Tom and Lorenzo. Every scarf and brooch is dissected as a reflection of what the character is going through. It's fantastic.

Google blows

No, really. You may have heard of their foray into the energy and broadband sectors, but take a look at one of the actual projects. They’re helping fund Makini, a wind power startup. Damn is this thing cool. Instead of capturing air the way standard static turbines do with a single prop, their Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) kite wing captures the constant flow of air found at altitude significantly higher than a turbine. The thinking is that 25% of the blade tip of current turbine blades produce 75% of their energy output. With the AWT, the entire wing mimics that tip surface, resulting in a more efficient use of energy. Daisy chaining a bunch of them together will produce even more energy.

But you’re really wondering: Does it harm wildlife? Glad you asked. This may be the coolest info graphic you see all week. Who knew that cats by far were more of a threat to birds than a wind turbine (per 1,000). The speed of the AWT kite is on par with that of existing wind turbine props which are supposedly easy for birds to navigate around.

And you thought Google was just for search.

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