May 31, 2007 by Colin
The new ads for the Ford Mondeo feature car owners setting their old cars adrift with helium balloons. Creative Review not only interviews special effects shop Asylum about the ad, it offers up a “making of the commercial” film.
If you haven’t seen the commercial (which has run across Europe), it’s available online. Ogilvy, Bikini Films and Asylum show a whimsical portrayal of how Britons get rid of their old cars: by setting them free to float with the tradewinds.
Sort of like the smokestacks of Sudbury.
I’d really like to get my hands on the carbon fibre Ford replicas custom molded by Asylum: they would be fantastic props for any number of pranks.
“…And finally, we created a helium-filled car that could float on its own. This was made by vac-forming Styrofoam over tools that had been machined by CNC. The car body parts were then glued together and a foil bag to hold the helium was fitted inside the “car” which was then painted in a water-based paint. This car was the lightest of all our cars at only 4.5kg.”
I think the agencies lost a real opportunity by not backing their fantastic special effects work with Christopher Cross’ “Sailing.” Or maybe his fantastic duet with Michael McDonald: “Ride Like the Wind.”
Oh, sorry. That’s what an American agency would do.
May 30, 2007 by Colin
It’s a little risque, but I like this analogy from Fatback and Collards:
“…I think MTV Movie Awards should come with a mandatory asterisk because, winning an MTV Award for acting is the equivalent of an astronaut getting a hand job from an elementary school science teacher for engineering achievements…”
May 30, 2007 by Colin
I’ve taken the Gartner Hype Cycle, and interpreted it by applying the typical objects you might find in a company office or cubicle during each phase of the cycle.
May 28, 2007 by Colin
Kevin Dugan‘s prepared a video on vending machines as a growing sales channel for more than just snack foods. To me, it seems that the sheer bulk and impersonality of vending machines will continue to block their popularity.
Debit and credit technology have advanced, but vending machines in North America continue to be a large and imposing waste of precious retail space. Even more importantly, North Americans always want the option to wheedle, deal or complain with a retailer – unlike in Japan, where vending machines are ubiquitous:
“…Vending machines spread in Japan because of people’s demand for automation,” said Takashi Kurosaki, director-general of Japanese Vending Machine Manufacturers Association. “Leaving aside the issue of whether this is good or bad, people clearly want to purchase things without having to talk to others.” (Japan Times)
Here’s a good place to put two or three paragraphs of detailed text – the strap hangers on subways. Right in your face, and easy to read.
“Facebook is the Microsoft Office of social apps. In other words, none of the apps are particularly good — photo sharing, status updates, personal pages, events, groups, etc. — let alone being as good as their standalone counterparts — Flickr, Twittr, Typepad/Wordpress, Google Group, etc. — but most people don’t care. They just want their social software all in one place, all from the same interface, and then they want to move on and get their (social/presence) work done.”
Cover design at Penguin Books: David Pelham, the man behind the cover for Penguin’s print of A Clockwork Orange, discusses the cover design of a number of Penguin paperbacks. More writing by a number of other Penguin designers can be found in the specialist book Penguin by Designers.
[tags] vending machines, automated, strap hangers, straphangers, Facebook, Penguin, cover design [/tags]
May 27, 2007 by Colin
Two interesting excerpts from the NYT Magazine’s profile of Judd Apatow:
“…12-hour days in Northridge began dragging interminably. The curious appearance one day of Joey Buttafuoco (of Amy Fisher fame) manning a craft-services ice-cream truck only momentarily lifted the torpor…”
“…Next up was “Superbad,” a teenage comedy that Rogen and Goldberg had been writing since high school … Once everyone sat down, Goldberg switched on a DVD of “Superbad” auditions. For half an hour a parade of pretty faces read lines about scoring fake IDs and hooking up. Eventually, the brother of a famous movie star read for the part of Fogell, the school dweeb. He delivered his line a little too perfectly.
“Who would think this kid would have trouble getting girls?” Rogen said. “I want to have sex with this kid. I bet he’s getting pleasured right now, right below the frame line.”
May 25, 2007 by Colin
Then you’ll like Jonathon’s own personal account: How I Did It.
In keeping with the self promotional theme, I think Jonathan’s story should come in a package:
- 18 page self-published narrative
- Autographed reprint of the NYT story
- USB key of all the home made Jonathan Coulton videos
- Longwinded testimonial from John Hodgman
- Flexidisk of Jonathan’s favourite songs
- A little odd-shaped erratum sheet with a Skype link where fans can find a phone tree of Jonathan Coulton non-sequiturs.
But that’s just me.
[tags] Jonathan Coulton. Clive Thompson, indie music, music promotion [/tags]
May 22, 2007 by Colin
“You bring the drinks, and I got the buns …. I got a hot dog in each hand …” Detroit Cobras (Hot Dog)
Today, a little lesson in how to convince people to wedge a casing full of leftover animal parts into their mouth. Mmmmmmmmmm!
Maybe you could offer custom ketchup and relish packets, as part of your wedding catering package.
Every tasty snack can benefit from a little personalization – even a self moisturizing demon dog.
Mak Reitman, the lone instructor at Hot Dog University, makes some key points about targeted marketing for the lone food service cart in the Chicago Reader:
“…“I once tried selling chicken noodle soup. I couldn’t give it away,” Reitman tells Council. “Someone’s coming to you, they’re expecting to buy a hot dog. Doing one thing and doing it well—that’s the key.” He won’t even sell sides that traditionally go with hot dogs: “Potato chips—I’m not having anything to do with them.”
“…Once when Reitman knew he’d have to share a spot with another vendor during a multiday festival, he says, “I had Vienna Beef give me 1,000 paper hats. I gave one to every kid and every adult that would wear one. They did all the advertising for me. The other guy was seething.”…
“… little freebies make the customer happy. When four young women come up to the cart to place an order, he offers each a piece of gum. “Dubble Bubble! Yay!” he says. “Yaaaaay!” they repeat in unison and proceed to order a substantial amount of food.”
[tags] hot dog carts, mustard, relish, oscar meyer, weiner, sausage [/tags]
May 20, 2007 by Colin
“To generalize: Facebook is the dorm; Wikipedia is the library; and Craigslist is the mall. One’s for socializing; one’s for studying; one’s for trading.”
Hmmm. Then these analogies work as well:
- flickr is the high school photography club
- flickr PRO is just like an M.F.A.
- del.icio.us is the community notice board at the grocery store
- LinkedIn is the Lions Club (without the charity work)
- YouTube is high school A.V. Club and leaked wedding videos
- Myspace is like the community scrapbooking club, combined with a locker room and a bathroom wall
- Digg is kid’s movie reviews in the weekend newspaper
- Stumbleupon is like a Lonely Planet guide to information
- Frappr is that wall map in grade school where you mark your birthplace
- Squidoo is a community fair, with info tables and craft stalls
- Podcasting is like CB Radio
- Furl is like the recipes your mom used to keep in on index cards
- MyRagan is what IABC, PRSA or IPR should have put in place two years ago.
[tags] flickr, del.icio.us, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Digg, Stumbleupon, Frappr, Squidoo, Furl [/tags]
May 18, 2007 by Colin
There are several things I like about Chris Crites‘ work, other than it being painted on shopping bags. The subjects of his paintings jump out at you, wrinkles, folds and crazy eyes ajimbo. He chooses colour palettes that really catch your eye, but seem to evoke the spirit of the subject being portrayed. I probably appreciate the focus, the need to really only contemplate one item, in the portrait.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at the Flickr photosets posted by Least Wanted: there are dozens of human stories, frozen at that moment in time when the subject may very well be at the lowest point in their life. I can’t even imagine what this guy must have been thinking.
Go take a look at Chris Crites’ past work, including these gems:
[tags] paperbag, portraits, mug shots, crime photos, personal history, found objects [/tags]
May 18, 2007 by Colin
.. together, in a post about publicity at book stores. Two excerpts from LA Weekly’s special feature on independent bookstores in the LA area:
” … Tyson Cornell is the events organizer and publicity guy for Book Soup, and in that capacity one evening before an author reading, he found himself in the shop’s tiny upstairs office area drinking Chivas Regal with Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro. Thompson, having also ingested a quantity of cocaine and getting surlier by the minute, vomited on Cornell’s shoe while, downstairs, some 500 people were waiting in a line that snaked around the block for the gonzo journalist to sign books. Which he eventually did. But only for a couple of minutes. Thompson, to Cornell’s chagrin, signed 80 copies, got annoyed, then took off down the street and disappeared. It was his last public signing; four months later, Thompson shot himself in the head. …
For another account of Thompson’s visit, read comment #24 on this BlogCritics post.
” … Paris Hilton, who was twice mistaken for a Book Soup employee, is always forgetting her cell phone there. For her book reading, Hilton’s publicist hired 50 protesters to march across the street toting signs that said, “Read a book, don’t write one.” (“It worked,” Cornell says.)
More on author readings in Anatomy of a Book Tour, from Publishers Weekly.
[tags] book tours, publicists, Book Soup, Paris Hilton, Hunter S. Thompson [/tags]
May 17, 2007 by Colin
Twenty six years ago, I was wandering the streets of Hong Kong, setting off each Saturday on day-long meanders from the safety from my parent’s three bedroom apartment on Po Shan Do.
Located up in the Mid-levels on the island, our apartment building sat right beside a rather horrible landmark: a hillside full of concrete flumes and drains, put in place after a neighbouring construction site slid down the hillside after torrential rains.
Clutching my HK$15 allowance, I would make my way down the winding roads inside a relatively safe minibus. In those pre-SARS days, I thought nothing of the minibus driver rearing back and hocking out a giant loogie while waiting for the stoplight to change.
In the years since, a lot has changed. To put things in perspective, I left just as the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank building was being built – then the largest building in the colony. Now it’s one of many.
And there was no sign of the extensive network of escalators now in place. Polar inertia describes the magic carpets that help ease commuters on their way to work in the morning.
Pointer from Cityofsound.
[tags] Hong Kong, Po Shan Do, Escalators [/tags]
May 15, 2007 by Colin
I’ve watched this video a dozen times, and I can’t quite put my finger on what I find so unsettling. Here are some thoughts:
- Bob and Doug are essentially anti-commercial characters. Their down home persona was about stealing beers, not selling them
- There is no subtlety at all to the pitch. The video is covered in beer labels, and Bob and Doug virtually shout the brand name.
- The imagery from the original SCTV skits (Coleman stove, donuts, cases of beer) has been exaggerated in this remake. There’s a freaking layer cake of Boston Cremes there, for chrissakes!
- It’s not funny. Not at all.
- The original Bob and Doug clips were rambling and unstructured conversations about basic elements of the stereotypical Canadian experience. This new ad slams you over the head with the idea of B&D pushing stubbie bottles. It’s like Bob and Doug were possessed by slightly chubby middle-aged infomercial salesmen.
- UNIMAGINATIVE! UNIMAGINATIVE! Why not explore new angles for characters every Canadian over the age of 30 knows intimately? Play off their “experimental video” from Strange Brew! Or this stop action video using old sound clips and the B&D character dolls from MacFarlane.
IStudio seems to be behind the new video. I don’t understand what is viral about it. Is it because the video’s available on YouTube? There certainly aren’t any hooks for social media at the video’s home on the Brick website. It’s just 6 seconds too long of passing for a boringly traditional 30 second spot, normally seen just after Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada.
The Great White North does not find this amusing. It’s almost as bad as the revivification of Colonel Sanders.
For your further enjoyment: Bob and Doug’s Take Off, featuring Geddy Lee.
A cynic (like, say, me) might say that the new emphasis on Canadian heritage is a false front.
UPDATE: It seems that iStudio seems to be responsible only for the “seeding” of the video, not its creation.
[tags] Brick Beer, Istudio, Bob and Doug Mackenzie, stubbies, beer, retro [/tags]
May 15, 2007 by Colin
Lifted straight from a post by Steve Portigal, the principal in “a boutique firm that brings together user research, design and business strategy”. Read it. Live it.
1. Quit worrying about jargon
2. Think more broadly about which people you want to learn about
3. Garbage in, garbage out
4. Give other people the space to tell their stories
5. Follow up, and then follow up, and then follow up
6. Do you really want to use a survey? Probably not.
7. Collect and use natural language
8. Don’t forget that any research process with real live humans is hard
9. Breathe their air
10. Learning anything new requires rapport, and building rapport takes time
11. Finding insights requires pattern matching, creativity, synthesis
12. Personas are user-centered bullshit
13. Phil McKinney says “You’re probably not listening.”
14. Practice noticing stuff and telling stories
15. Do some improv
16. Embrace pop culture
17. Don’t forget about culture and social norms
[tags] Steve Portigal, user research, consumer research [/tags]
May 14, 2007 by Colin
Inside the fishbowl. Inside the beltway. Myopic. With blinkers on. Inside baseball. Sometimes pigheaded. Maybe a tad close-minded.
That’s slightly exaggerated, but Andrew Cracknell, formerly of Bates, makes the point that advertising agencies can sometimes lose track of the real people they’re trying to reach. The point stands for public relations types as well.
“… But I was always depressed at how, over the coffee and biscuits before a meeting, the agency and client people could chat together about their kids and holidays, Saturday’s match, their hopes and fears, and the instant the meeting started, revert to their rearranged postures that had so little to do with the real people they’d been just a few moments before.
Trying to stay slightly more on the edge of the cult, and getting more in touch with your real side, while being a little less dismissive of the man on the Clapham omnibus’ view of ads are all virtues I could have benefited from.” (Campaign, via TMCNet)
[tags] Clapham omnibus, fishbowl, beltway [/tags]
May 12, 2007 by Colin
Every office needs a mix of personalities. The strait-laced editor. The irreverent copywriter. The fastidious and ambitious junior manager. The intern with limitless imagination. The stunningly inventive creative. The guy just there to collect a paycheque to pay for his punk band’s gas bill.
Every office also needs a balance among all these personalities, so that work doesn’t become stiflingly boring, carnival sideshow unstable or completely anarchic.
Like Jayda, a clerk at American Apparel in Atlanta:
“What’s the strangest thing a customer ever said to you? This one guy told me I look like an anime dream girl.”
What’s one thing you most hope to accomplish in 2007? Get my ducks in a row so I can grow my business.
Or Stori, the server:
What’s your worst habit? Smoking and my foul mouth.
(from Creative Loafing’s Lust List 07)
That’s why I thought I liked the video from Connected Ventures (the folks who bring you College Humor and Busted Tees). Lip Dub – Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger
But you know what? I like the spirit behind a response video even more.
A comment from one of the folks from Connected Ventures:
“… me likey. I imagine you are living a life that’s somewhere in between a contemporary pornographer’s and vintage John Waters. If I had to pick a favorite moment, it would be the first shot of the guy with the Dan Akroyd shirt with his oversized lighter.”
[tags] Connected Ventures, Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitta, office environment, workplace safety, morale [/tags]