January 28, 2011

Month of tweets #1

Since moving to China my time on Twitter and here on my blog has dropped considerably. I’m transitioning from my weekly tweets roundup (which was not that regular if we are being honest) to a monthly one. So here is the 1st in my Month of Tweets…

2011 – the year of HTML5?… RT @BenShaw: PSFK » Nike’s New Site Uses HTML5 to Scroll Towards A ‘Better World’ http://ow.ly/3yx62

  • I’ve heard that it doesn’t work on an iPad (I still don’t have one!!!). Interesting all the same.

Cyber stalking is good for business 🙂 RT @ericphu: I love this KLM campaign idea… brilliant.

  • Everyone has probably seen this by now. But if you haven’t then you’ll wish you had this idea.

Angry Birds unplugged? A new board game inspired by the app http://bit.ly/dJEA4a

  • Milking the idea for all it’s got before people get bored…

Clever stuff from Brazil… Gol Airlines: Mobile Controlled Banner Game – on DigitalBuzzBlog http://bit.ly/fR3nR4

  • Few people will have the patience to do this but it doesn’t stop it from being an innovative idea.

Amazing… RT @thaz7: Great read from @fastcompany on the influence of the social networks in China. http://bit.ly/e15BWq

  • Seeing it firsthand is quite something. If you think social media is big then it’s even bigger in China.

Scary? RT @GaryPHayes: The Future According to Schmidt: “Augmented Humanity,” Integrated Into Google | Fast Company http://bit.ly/iiXA3u

  • How far does Google want to get inside our lives? This article might make you a little nervous.

Nice concept… Nike connects global runners via ‘Ekiden’ social contest – http://bit.ly/gjQ90Z

  • When you have such a powerful branded utility platform like Nike Plus there is no end to the ideas you can build upon it. This one from Japan connects runners from all over the world. Great idea from W+K.

As usual I like to end with a smile. This banner concept brings to life the Ikea self-assembly philosophy perfectly.

Sweet idea for Ikea… RT @hardwidge: Ikea: Unbox the Banner 2 on BannerBlog: http://bit.ly/gYmz0E

September 26, 2010

Week of tweets #18

It’s been a busy few weeks what with quitting my job and getting things prepared for my move to China. The biggest worry was that Twitter is blocked there but I heard that through a VPN I can still keep tweeting. So expect my regular summary of my favourite tweets to continue…

Money for nothing? NYTimes: Marketing Fanciful Items in the Lands of Make Believe http://nyti.ms/9IoCCY

  • Amazing how easily people will part with their money. In this article we see how big brands are jumping onboard the money train too. For example, “Volvo Cars of North America, the clothing retailer H&M and MTV Networks are among the diverse brands entering the market for virtual goods — the make-believe items offered on social-networking games, smartphone apps or fantasy Internet sites”.

Thoughts on branded utility… RT @loopdiloop: RT @IATV: “The Digital Evolution of Branding” http://bit.ly/dqBn3m

  • Fascinating article by Nicole Armstrong showing how brands are bringing value to consumers by extending their experience and providing a “meaningful utility that is there for the customer when they need it most”.

Cool. RT @thinktank_int: Nike’s Destroyer Burrito – good example of integrating digital & experiential to create buzzhttp://bit.ly/ccJraN

Cheers! iPad menus sell more wine… NYTimes: Choosing Wines at the Touch of a Screen http://nyti.ms/ajHAXQ

  • It could be just a short term gimmick or lead to a whole new line of low cost tablets. Right now it is certainly helping business.

Looking good… RT @adenhepburn: New Digital Buzz Post: Video: Meet The New Twitter.com http://bit.ly/aOEiUd

  • This could spell bad news for the likes of Tweetdeck but shows how Twitter has big plans to make their service more useful and intuitive for everyone.

Shame on us all 🙂 RT @nakedstudios: The Digital Agencies of the Future! http://bit.ly/btzbx0

  • This made me laugh so much. Even digital agencies have yet to wake up to the fact that people might be viewing their sites on devices not supporting Flash. See the whole wall of shame here.

Nice… RT @BBHLabs: Liked: Google Creative Lab’s Ji Lee on ‘The Transformative Power of Personal Projects’http://j.mp/cQ4P43

  • OK, so most of us would say that we’re too busy with work to develop personal projects like this one. But it’s amazing where they might take you…

Wow! RT @BBHLabs: Old Record Player + Stop Motion + Lights + Tron Legacy Soundtrack = Awesome –http://j.mp/9NTEiT

Kim Pimmel uses old-school techniques to create something futuristic and surreal. See it in HD here.

RT @LarryTolpin: The Future of Ad Agencies – Incredible for New Hybrid Agencies – Not So Good for for Old Agencies –http://bit.ly/93NiZg

  • There is so much being written right now about which breed of agency is going to survive when all others fade to black. Edward Boches always has a well-balanced view.

Finally, something to make you smile as autumn bites (if you’re in the same hemisphere as me). I’ve tweeted about both of these in the past couple of weeks and each could actually be a new ad for Ikea. One features dogs and the other cats. I know which one I’d prefer to be for IKEA. Enjoy…

September 17, 2010

Google boxes

Google likes to move into existing businesses and try to show how it should be done (usually destroying the companies doing it right now). Android is a work in progress and now they want to reinvent the poor neglected web banner. You can see what they are saying on the Inspiration Room blog where they have gathered together all the videos.

July 5, 2010

Chrome Fastball

Since Google own YouTube they are free to do things nobody has done before.  Check out the Chrome Fastball game that demonstrates how much faster their browser is. And how fast your brain works too.

May 31, 2010

Art direction and digital

Following on from my series on the David Ogilvy book “Confession of an Advertising Man”, I should be covering the chapter How to write potent copy. But I am skipping to the one after that while waiting for a copywriter colleague who is helping me put something meaningful together. So we will be covering How to illustrate Advertisements and Posters.

David Ogilvy devoted a whole chapter to creating illustrations/images for advertising. He believed that they “should work as hard to sell the product” as copy and headlines. In the book he states that the subject of the illustration is more important than the technique. That they must “arouse the reader’s curiosity”. He refers to “story appeal” and talks about the eye patch that he put on the star of the Hathaway campaign – one of Ogilvy’s classic success stories.

What would he make of art direction in the digital age? Perhaps he would be horrified by the motion graphics and rule-breaking nature of online communication. Or maybe he would love the instant results of digital campaigns and would forgive their flashy visual nature. Let’s look at what kind of art direction works well today…

The first challenge is how to define digital art direction. With more campaigns using the same visual assets on and offline it is becoming harder to isolate specific examples of pure digital art direction. Then you have multiple disciplines within digital art direction such as interface design, animation, motion graphics and more. Probably the best place to start are the D&AD Awards that champion art direction above the idea behind the piece itself.

In terms of Interface and Navigation there are many projects that forgo the rules of simple usability for a more experimental and experiential approach. One of the 2009 winners was 12 CAMS, CREATE YOUR RAINBOW for the band Radiohead. By integrating video footage and a clever interface they created a way for users to interact extensively with both media. Every user’s action was recorded as a piece of a rainbow. At the end, the resulting rainbow containing everyone’s feelings into one piece of art.

This style of art direction relies heavily on the data-centric nature of the web and uses data visualization as its main design theme. Even the video footage was extremely pixelated that adds to the glitchy nature of Radiohead’s music.

Good design online should make people want to explore. Take this award winning campaign site from Poke London for Orange which brings to life the advertising concept that good things should never end. Many people believe that the best websites should never make people scroll. This one scrolls forever. Along the way you will learn things about the product and be entertained too.

Uniqlo have continued to build an instantly identifiable brand image partly thanks to the work they’ve done online. They have created their own unique language that goes from the style of typography through to the videos that mix seamlessly in their websites. Not only is the design a masterclass in simplicity but the thinking that goes into their digital work really makes them stand apart.

When it comes to graphic design, one big trend in digital is the Apple school of art direction featuring white spaces, highly polished images and (of course) reflective surfaces. Take the Heinz “Talk to the plant” project from Daddy. Every pixel is polished to perfection. The 3D animation of the plants is beautifully rendered. It makes you want to lick the screen.

Another trend is non-design. When design is reduced to a minimum to take down any barriers between people and what they are looking for… it creates a whole new approach to art direction. How more minimalistic can Google’s homepage get? Now they even have navigation hidden on first load then it slowly appears. A great example of non-design is the Modernista website. Or rather a floating navigation that guides you to content about the agency wherever it may be online. There is no actual website. Try selling that to a client.

So unlike David Ogilvy’s book there are no real rules any more when it comes to art direction. But it has to be noticed by the audience and be true to the brand. Designers, you have more freedom than every before. Use it wisely.

May 22, 2010

Week of Tweets #13

It’s so easy to miss so much on Twitter. Been in Portugal for the past 3 days for a work conference and it feels like the world has moved on without me. I need a bot to collect the Tweets I would have found interesting based on the ones I’ve clicked previously. Now there is an idea! If you’ve missed any of my Tweets from the past 2 weeks here is my selection of the best:

Toasted marshmallow? RT @mattinnewyork: Love this post by @BBHLabs Is the iPad the new campfire. a must read. http://bit.ly/bZnGHf

  • According to BBH Labs, “Barely an opportunity goes by for someone with an ipad to share something with me. “Check this out”. “Look at this”. “Let me show you something”. Users seem to want to show off new apps, cool new vids (and of course the device itself). I am very often drawn into the experience others are having around the iPad. We literally gather round, pull up chairs”. Is this the first communal computer?

Great work… RT @bannerblog: Shots pick theit top 20 digital campaigns. Heavy weighting towards viral…. http://tinyurl.com/29a9pfa

  • These lists are always debatable. But it is always interesting to see someone elses opinion about what is best.

Word “magical” not mentioned. RT @ThinkingDigital: Interesting albeit mixed review on iPad usability from Jakob Nielsen http://bit.ly/cU3ROJ

  • Too much on my blog about the iPad? Maybe I am just subconsciously showing how much I want one. I don’t think Steve Jobs will care much about the comments on this usability review. Then again, Apple want us to believe they create the best products. Their approval process should include sending everything to Jakob Nielsen.

Awesome. RT @heywhipple: Augmented Reality Window Display To Try On Watches Without Entering Store. http://j.mp/dlBZ5c

  • I came up with this idea about 5 years ago (with some friends in HK) but never got to sell it to the client. Damn it!!!

Clever clogs RT @Campaignmag: Creative lands dream job through $6 Google campaign: http://bit.ly/aPPLTF

  • The message was a bit lame but the thinking was great. Hope you can keep it up!

Interesting article… RT @AdweekDotCom: The Search for Creative Leadership http://bit.ly/aMc1Fa

  • What makes for the ideal Chief Creative Officer today? According to this article, the job of CCO “requires exemplary creative work, the ability to attract talent, and a combination of traditional and digital skills. But today agencies also need execs who are as credible around clients as fellow staffers. That level of client connection — necessitated by increasingly flatter structures at agencies — requires a certain business savvy not typically associated with award winners at Cannes”. Call me, I’m open to offers!:)

As always, end on a smile…

Google ‘whisper ads’ detect keywords in phone calls – hilarious Onion video http://bit.ly/9Z6lHB

Until next time…

March 11, 2010

Week of Tweets # 9

Another week, another bunch of Tweets cherry picked from the past week or so…

RT @LBiLondon: Digital world’s top thinkers share their visions of the future with the BBC from 8 to 19 March http://www.twurl.co.uk/155/

  • No idea why I wasn’t invited but go check out speakers such as Martha Lane Fox, Steve Ballmer, Eric Schmidt, Jimmy Wales, and others.

Great collection RT @pyesawichjr: RT @RGA: 15 amazing interactive installations: http://bit.ly/9g1fpn

  • Digital is escaping the confines of devices and being used for amazing effect by artists in public spaces.

RT @Adverplanner: Bank Run: iPhone App extends into Interactive Movie – control the outcome through your phone http://ow.ly/1eqvK

  • Interesting project that combines on screen video and an app. A taste of future TV?

Interesting read RT @Razorfish: Digital agencies embrace business reinvention http://bit.ly/9qJHuS

  • Agencies like Razorfish and R/GA are  now able to “move up the ladder with clients while developing a track record for delivering technology to advance businesses. The ideal is a client that invites shops in to craft a plan to take advantage of digital technology to move the business in a new direction”.


Inspiring people. The 2010 Creativity 50 – I’m not on the list and neither are you – but check it out. http://bit.ly/99HnUW

  • Great people, amazing stories – get inspired by Alex Bogusky, James Cameron, David Droga, Michael Lebowitz and more.

Great story RT @wired: 10 Years After: Wired mag takes a look back at the dotcom boom and bust http://bit.ly/d0Y90h

  • It was tough at the time but it had to happen. The web has grown up a lot since.

RT @ChristianHughes: RT @contagiousmag: Google’s Tom Uglow’s presentation from The Future of Advertising event www.bit.ly/22youtubeslides

  • Very inspirational presentation. Below is just one clip you’ll find there.

and finally…

Do the Cannes Cyberlions have their own version of the Razzies? This would win big time – http://www.walk-outs.com

February 15, 2010

Map of the future

While everyone is buzzing about social media the world of online maps has not been snoozing. As we can see from this TED video filmed last week, Blaise Aguera y Arcas (an architect at Microsoft Live Labs, architect of Seadragon, and the co-creator of Photosynth) shows how far they are taking Bing maps. I love the integration of geo-tagged Flickr photos and live video (surprised the demo worked – Microsoft don’t have the greatest demo track record). Meanwhile, over at Google, their Labs division continues to innovate with features such as Drag ‘n’ Zoom, Aerial Imagery and Rotatable Maps. Read all about it here on Mashable >

Here’s one last little treat. Google Buzz Mobile is integrated into Google Maps so you can see who is saying what where. Take a look at New York – you’ll soon realise that A: People are not very interesting…. and B: Neither are you if all you do it check what people near you are buzzing about. Go to a museum instead. I hear there are a few in NY 🙂

February 5, 2010

2020 Vision

It’s been a fascinating 10 years in digital which began with the burst of a bubble and ended with another one in full expansion, driven by a social media gold rush and the app economy. I’ve posted a few articles here about the trends to watch in 2010 but I thought I’d go even further. Since the last ten years have felt like the blink of an eye let’s jump to 2020 – which will be here faster than you can imagine. What will the world of advertising look like then? Like the video above? Or something very different? Let’s get in the Delorean, turn on the flux capacitor and fast forward 10 years….

Putting the ME in media

Social networking has exploded in the past 5 years. Since the famous Time Magazine Person of the Year cover in 2006 that declared You as the winner – thanks to the web 2.0 phenomenon – the idea of user-generated content and viral media hasn’t stopped growing. Social search is now a buzzword with recommendations by friends being valued as a way for brands to get new customers. In 2020 this will be taken to new lengths where anyone can be an advertising medium. Jason Sandler with his Iwearyourshirt.com is already a frontrunner in this.

Now picture this – you will be paid by brands to place their products in your life. The more popular you are the higher your price will be. In an age when anyone can be a micro-celebrity, endorsement deals will run from branded lifestream pages to being paid to eat certain things, wear particular brands of clothes or frequent the hippest night spots. The Foursquare mayor of the hottest club in town will be there because he’s being paid. In the same way that sites let Google sell space on their site, people will allow Google to sell their life to the highest bidder. Who needs to work when you are handed all the products you want so your friends can see you using them? “Google me” will have a whole new meaning!

Roles reversed in the future ad agency

In 2020 there will be a new breed of advertising agency. You won’t find so-called “creative people” with their feet on desks dreaming up new campaigns. The ideas will be created by the focus groups that once told agencies if they liked the campaign concepts. Brainstorms will involve the very people who will end up seeing the brand messages. Now the guys who used to come up with ideas will be reduced to talent show judges, sitting on a panel to say which of the customer-generated ideas are worth running with. Needless to say, the results won’t be very beautiful. As Michael Lebowitz of Big Spaceship recently said, “I like the wisdom of crowds but I don’t like the output of crowds”. Is this what all future advertising will look like when the man in the street takes control?

Living in the clouds

Cloud computing is still a relatively new thought to many people. Fast forward ten years and our whole lives will be in the cloud. Go into Starbucks in 2020 and pick up one of the dirt cheap iPads lying around. Using biometric sensors it will immediately give you access to all your personal information and media files. It will know what coffee you prefer so it will be just brought over to you. Your invisible cloud will be cross-referenced with the clouds of everyone else in the cafe. If your status is “looking for a good time” you’ll be paired with the person nearest to you that matches your brand preferences, sexual tastes and income bracket. You’ll each receive a photo of your match then you can make your move. Don’t worry about paying for your coffee – Starbucks is one of your sponsors and all your friends have just been told that you’re having a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte right now.

What do you think the world of advertising will be like in 2020? Leave your comments.

December 22, 2009

Week of Tweets #4

This will probably be the last Week of Tweets this year as I won’t be tweeting much during the holidays. So let’s start with…


An omnivorous Google is coming. Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Telegraph UK – http://bit.ly/7ijEhM

  • Reading how Google sees the future of search is a little scary and exciting at the same time. Definitely worth reading.

It’s a time for giving! RT @oliviarz: get @sethgodin‘s new free ebook “what matters now” http://bit.ly/6EPMWl

  • Seth Godin writes a lot. Maybe too much. But this free download is one of the best articles he’s put together in a while.

Brilliant RT @mrdoob: Massive blog post: Making of Starbucks Love Project – http://mrdoob.com/blog/post/681

  • You may not have heard of Mr Doob but he is one of the most amazing Flash developers around. His blog post on his recent work for Starbucks is great reading.


Now this looks interesting – Exclusive: Ex-MySpace Execs Launch Gravity Into Private Beta. http://bit.ly/6E9AE8)

  • After the hype and come down of Google Wave it’s interesting to see something that shows a lot more potential.

Put a smile on your face… RT @Steffan1: Comic genius from Goodby (thank you Adrants)http://bit.ly/4KSiCc

  • Nice to see an agency poke fun at itself 🙂

Good read RT @simonmainwaring: RT @ConversationAge“Marketing in 2010” Great post. http://ow.ly/Nrvn

  • Some things to think about for the year ahead…

Bravo RT @brainpicker: The Decade in Culture – my latest piece for @GOOD. A ton of work to write, but also a ton of fun. http://ow.ly/OlnI

  • Let’s end on this one. Has it been a good decade or one to forget? You decide.