July 30, 2008 by Colin
Mercedes Benz may produce marvelous vehicles, but their internal corporate videos are really quite horrible.
Someone, somewhere, said “This is EXACTLY what I was looking for!”
July 28, 2008 by Colin
A workable solution to information overload, or simply insane? Information Aesthetics tells us about a novel approach to categorizing and classifying books in a large collection, based on a very imaginative book sleeve and an index based on a gradient of colours.
As a person who is genetically predisposed to wander in the stacks of libraries and bookstores, pulling books and pamphlets from shelves in a quest for something novel, informative or simply startling, I can sympathize with the desire for a more orderly and intuitive classification system.
Unfortunately, this classification system presents a fundamental conflict: it attempts to provide a simple visual cue to a very complex problem.
Let’s remember, there are still two camps of book classification: the Dewey die hards versus the Library of Congress obsessives.
And each breaks the classification problem down into a complex combination of letters and numbers.
The designer’s goal (explanation here) seems to have been to free the details of classification from the confined space of the shelf and the poor design of the contemporary library sticker:
“Notice that the book’s cover loses it’s importance in the library, it is squashed between this book and that book. Not to be confused with a book store, this is a well organized storage space. It is the spine that one look’s for and it is the call number label that allows one to find. With so much pressure on the call number label, I found it to be tiny and inconsistent, appearing to be slapped on carelessly.
Now imagine a wall of books, it appears to be quite disorganized in terms of the book’s information, a mismach a textures, typefaces and colours. The information inevitably gets lost within itself. I Initially wanted to cover the books individually with a standard removable sleeve that I would design displaying all of the book’s information in a clean, efficient and legible manner; however, it took about 30 seconds in the encyclopedia section to feel how boring and unbearable this solution would make one’s library experience.
The trickiest part was realizing that having the same template for every book did not ease one’s book search, but rather cause the book to completely to disappear within the others, making it impossible to see or stand out. All signs of curiosity vanish.”
An appealing design concept, but one that raises the colour of the sleeve above all the other qualities of the book:
- the age of the binding
- the texture of the title on the spine
- the style of binding
- the book size
- the juxtaposition of similarly bound books (perhaps in a series, or by the same publisher)
With this system, design overpowers the atmosphere and idiosyncracy of the library: the sense of exploration and possibility for chance discovery is replaced by a dominating colour scheme and an eagerness to impose consistency and conformity. Fashion over content, acceptable behaviour over eccentricity.
Isn’t that what we have librarians for?
July 24, 2008 by Colin
Imagine yourself driving along, singing along to some horrific AC song like:
- El DeBarge’s “Who’s Johnny”
- “Electric Youth” by Debbie Gibson
- “Ears of Tin” by Jethro Tull
- “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates
Have you ever turned, at that very moment, and realized that one if not more people are staring at you?
Well, behold the majestic combination of wonderful/shocking music the guys at Popdose have lined up in the latest post of Bottom Feeders – the ass end of the 80s.
July 24, 2008 by Colin
I took this picture because I thought the sign was funny: then I noticed the extreme contrast between the marketing promise and the industrial waste lying around it. The adult toy store, obviously, is undergoing renovation.
But some of that industrial detritus isn’t related to the construction.
July 24, 2008 by Colin
Let’s assume you work for a government body that is deeply involved in highly contentious issues – issues that are very interesting (and frustrating) to communities both online and offline. Let’s also assume that your organization has very little chance of changing the fundamental policies and procedures that frame these issues in the public’s eyes.
In other words, you’re largely a punching bag, buffeted by public opinion, proposals and criticism from activists and civil society groups, and general incredulity from the public. Is it worth developing a proactive social media program? It’s always worthwhile to put passive social media measures into place – extensive monitoring of the conversations and debates taking place online, the measurement of shifting opinion and perception among your various communities, perhaps some element of limited participation in comment fields and on discussion boards.
But is it worth the effort to launch a blog or similar long term initiative if your comment fields will get filled with criticism, claims that your social media work is simply parroting or reinforcing your traditional media work, or growing references to critical reports, video clips and commentary that undermines the very point you were trying to make (see this post from the Transportation Safety Administration blog post where they try to explain the relatively small numbers of people actually stopped by no-fly lists)?
What if your efforts to keep comment fields relevant and abuse-free means you effectively build in discontinuity into your so-called “conversation”? Take, for example, the purgatory established for non-serious comments on the UK Identity and Passport Service consultation blog, mylifemyid.org? Or the cutting criticism found at the foot of the launch posting for the same site?
What’s the real question when considering your options? Is your organization ready to take a beating in the name of consultation, openness and conversation? After all, if your daily business is to argue the benefits of an unpopular policy or program, do you have the tools, the staff or even the operational flexibility to reflect and absorb any of the criticism or constructive commentary you are sure to receive as part of a social media campaign?
Or should your approach to social media be more self serving? Forget all those promises of access, change, conversation, progress and participative government touted by aspirational and inspirational social media consultants – why not just create a blog and accompanying campaign as part of an effort to engage your critics on as many battlefields as possible?
After all, you can’t rebut the argument if you don’t even have a ticket to the debate.
In some cases, it may be useful for a government organization to create a blog and implement other social media tactics to argue their side – even if the readers and commenters will have no hope of effecting any change AT ALL.
The key, as always, is use the tool effectively and understand the terrain upon which you have chosen to engage your enemy. It’s go big or go home. It’s time to break out of your institutional language, your ingrained reticence to confront opposition and your dependence upon senior administrators to speak on behalf of the organization. That’s probably why the TSA blog recently called out all its lurkers – the large majority of the 4000 unique readers per week* that the TSA blog receives – to submit questions to be answered in coming weeks.
It’s almost the Rocky School of Social Media (trademark pending) – when faced with overwhelming odds, continue to engage your opponent, seek out their weak spots, and hope that the more supportive members of the general public help push you through to the end. Paint the benefits of your issue in the most positive light possible, and simply be seen engaging your detractors.
After all, if they’re going to criticize you anyway, why not draw them to a site where you control the colour scheme and the blogroll?
*there’s a metric for you – compare your uniques and comment traffic to that of the TSA blog, which is undoubtedly a lightning rod for criticism on public policy issues.
[tags] govt 2.0, egovernment, corporate blog, government blog [/tags]
July 23, 2008 by Colin
- Want to see how the New York Times designed the GUI for their new iPhone app – in about 200 words? Felix Sockwell sheds some light.
- Slinkachu is the artist behind Little People – A Tiny Street Art Project that poses miniature people, furniture, vehicles and features in real-life streetscapes. He also prepared a piece for a gallery show in Stavanger, Norway that featured the gruesome and indiscriminate death of a 10 mm high businessman. Oh, is there no miniature God????
- Somehow, Steve Portigal and Dan Soltzberg are discussing the act of observation when they intertwine observation, design and Repo Man.
“… In fact, in Repo Man, Harry Dean Stanton’s character makes a comment about this very phenomenon—something like, “You’re thinking about a plate o’ shrimp, and then suddenly someone’ll say ‘plate o’ shrimp’ out of the blue….” And of course, through the whole movie, signs for “plate o’ shrimp” are everywhere. …” (AIGA)
- Al Gore may know how many napkins you take, but Chuck Norris will make sure you never sneeze again.
July 21, 2008 by Colin
You’ve been there. You’ve got a small budget but you want big impact for your next team building exercise. You need a motivational speaker that will make a big impression and possibly knock their socks off.
Well, do I have a deal for you.
Of course, that cost is just to fly the man in to make a celebrity appearance a minor league wrestling event in Ohio. The speech might be extra.
On a personal note, King Kong Bundy and Hulk Hogan were the two wrestlers I always chose when playing the stand-up arcade game Wrestlemania. And, for your viewing pleasure, the Bundy/Hogan cage match from Wrestlemania 2 (with the added pleasure of over-the-top colour from Jesse “the body” Ventura.
[tags] King Kong Bundy, team building, teambuilding, motivational speaker, speaker [/tags]
July 18, 2008 by Colin
The latest ad from Discovery Networks: the world is awesome.
July 16, 2008 by Colin
Daycare facilities for 5000 – children, that is. 350 employees. Grammy Award winners in the choir.
That’s how Joel Osteen draws tens of thousands to the converted Compaq Center for his weekly sermons. But the key is heartfelt customer commitment to the product.
” … [Joel Osteen] believes, resolutely, in the value of the product he is crafting in his office on those quiet mornings. “Very rarely will you find a company that produces a widget where everyone is mentally and spiritually into producing a better widget,” Osteen says. “There’s a purpose behind what we’re doing. We believe in our widget. We’re doing more than giving people a good time or a better toothbrush, because it’s hard to put in your heart and soul and sacrifice so much to make a better toothbrush.” … ” (Portfolio)
[tags] marketing, church marketing, superchurch, evangelism [/tags]
July 15, 2008 by Colin
The top half of the graphic illustrates the terms we think form the most important components of our online activity: twitter, plurk, facebook, IM, blogging, youtube … you know.
The bottom half of the graphic? What we actually talk about.[tags] plurk, twitter, wordle, word cloud, info tag [/tags]
July 10, 2008 by Colin
July 9, 2008 by Colin
- The tribe of underground surreptitious train sketchers. There may be a quick but quality portrait of you sitting in someone’s portfolio. (Los Angeles Times)
- How the Sonic Guys ad campaign came to life. (Kansas City Pitch)
“… To make the point that Sonic doesn’t nuke its hamburgers in microwaves, T.J. and Pete asked a competitor’s cashier to microwave a bag of popcorn for them. “They would be like, ‘We can’t microwave your popcorn. We’re busy microwaving burgers,’” McKay says. “The smarter, more strategic stuff, that’s when we knew that it was bigger than a prank or a Jackass-kind of thing. That’s when we knew it was good.”
Pete and T.J.’s antics became brasher and more irreverent. In a traffic-jammed drive-thru lane, T.J. called the restaurant and asked if the restaurant could use a hand in speeding up the line. …”
- Tom Watson, British MP and Minister for E-Government, is BLOWING MY MIND with his twitter use. (And Hazel Blears, the Minister for Communities, started blogging and twittering today)
- Jack Kerouac, from the original scroll of “On the Road” in Memehuffer:
“People aren’t interested in facts but in ejaculations“ (journal entry, December 1949)”
[tags] Sonic Drive In, ads, Kerouac, egovernment, Tom Watson, subway artists [/tags]
July 7, 2008 by Colin
Forget about stoic pride. Forget about demure recognition. When you hit a defining moment in your life, you should celebrate with energy, with passion and with a demonstrable air of excitement.
That’s what Rafael Nadal did last night, climbing up into the stands to hug his friends and family. He then walked across the top of the scoreboard at Centre Court to speak to the Spanish Crown Prince.
It was only after he had finished his personal celebrations that Nadal returned to the Court – where the tournament organizers in blue jackets grabbed him to make sure he returned to the age-old script for awarding the trophy – and maximizing television time for sponsors and Wimbledon club officeholders.
The second that blazer-toting apparatchik grabbed Nadal, I recognized that the Spaniard’s impulsive decision to head into the stands had exploited the transition between sport and business on Centre Court.
The convention is that the winner stands at Centre Court, turns to each side of the stands and does the aw-schucks do-see-do, then returns to his courtside chair to be led through the rest of the agenda.
Nadal did not pause to consider his dual obligations to sport and business – his epic match was a landmark in modern tennis, and he let his emotions shine brightly through.
[tags] joy, Wimbledon, Nadal, Federer, celebration, life goal [/tags]
July 6, 2008 by Colin
- Pick An Unusual Name - hyphens, adverbs and acronyms will always make you seem smarter and better qualified.
“David St. Hubbins … I must admit I’ve never heard anybody with that name.
It’s an unusual name, well, he was an unusual saint, he’s not a very well known saint.
What was he the saint of?
He was the patron saint of quality footwear.”
- Never Explain Why Your Staff Are Leaving - the only value your agency will bring to the table is in the assumed experience of your team. If they’re jumping ship, think up a better excuse or the business will crash.
“You know, several, you know, dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”
- Suck Every Ounce of Credibility From Each One Of Your Engagements – it’s not really a secret, but social media gigs are not the largest piece of the pie. Each and every one of your projects must be coloured, magnified, even exaggerated to imply that your agency continues to grow – in revenues, in influence and in market share.
“I’ve told them a hundred times: put ‘Spinal Tap’ first and ‘Puppet Show’ last.”
- Exaggerate The Impact Of Your Tools – social media is the solution to all of the marketing world’s problems, will being communities together and will wash the stink of countless poor business decisions from your client.
“Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
[pause] These go to eleven.”
- Attack Your Detractors – inevitably, you will be criticized for your work, for parroting the propaganda of other social media acolytes or for being the groomsman on the social media bandwagon. Stay firm in your convictions, and your knowledge that you have a three year lease on the office.
“This tasteless cover is a good indication of the lack of musical invention within. The musical growth of this band cannot even be charted. They are treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.”
That’s just nitpicking, isn’t it?”
- Don’t Let History, Experience Or The Blunt Force Of Reality Dampen Your Spirits – there are naysayers out there. Even three years into what we continue to argue is a fundamental shift in the economic and social fabric of at least 5% of the world’s economy, we are continually asked to justify the social media spend. Just push through and keep selling the story.
“In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people… the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing… “
- Learn to Work A Room – Like A Bus Station Hooker – as a small agency in a world dominated by multi-nationals, look for every opportunity to differentiate yourself and promote your skills. Jump at every chance to “promote your brand” and sell your particular brand of social media expertise. Work the conference circuit so aggressively it seems like you’ve forgotten where you actually call home.
[tags] social media agency, business development, Spinal Tap, conference, speaker, Nigel Tufnel [/tags]
July 4, 2008 by Colin
First off, how what happened to Elizabeth Shue’s career that she has to be “re-introduced” as a cast member in the summer epic “Jesus 2″?
Secondly, Kevin Costner’s election movie looks like a feelgood heart charmer. Here”s hoping it has no harpoons, bison or golf.
As a third and final point, Eddie Murphy should just stop.
No matter HOW WELL the international rights pay off.