Archive for March, 2008

Digital billboards hacked

March 31, 2008 2 comments


(picture via Supertouchblog)

Too much work for a decent post today but that made me laugh.

Some dude (seems he is an artist) nicknamed Skullphone has hacked 10 of LA biggest digital billboards. ClearChannel is not really happy.

Check his website… Loving the balls.

See the whole story here on Supertouchblog, via Feedhere.

Categories: random Tags: , ,

Miscellany of the day

Junk is an expression of a death-obsessed society, feverishly cramming with everything it can buy or steal into its insatiable maw in a frantic effort to fill an inner emptiness that fails to respond to a diet of consumer products.

George Nelson, How to see, a guide to reading our manmade environment

Categories: Kickass quotes Tags:

love and hate

March 28, 2008 3 comments

Here are 2 brands that I have come to love or hate just via their advertising.

The one I have come to love is Skittles. Here’s the latest installment for their new chocolate Skittles Pinata.

Here are the old ones, always worth another watch:

This quirky sense of humour makes me just love them. I can’t help it. So weird and fantastical. Liking them almost makes me feel part of a club. The ones who get it. Because you feel like most people wouldn’t like them. It’s not for everyone.

The one brand I have come to hate is Nivea men. They just can’t make it more patronising than they currently are. Every ad I see from them, just make me cringe. And I’m spot on the target audience and I know their products are great. But the ads, the ads, HAA! What the hell is going on with them?

The current campaign in the UK is about their new shaving product. The new Nivea range ‘makes shaving extremely pleasurable’ (that’s the line), so men start shaving their heads or their chest. I feel sick.

But it carries on online! Aint we lucky us people? They have integrated the whole thing! So when you go on their website, here, you are being shown an extra footage of the dude who shaved his head for the ad… Turns out he called his agent because he didn’t know he had to shave his head… and he doesn’t want to do it because… his head might be sore the next day. (pause). But then, he ends up doing it and guess what????? He loves it the arrogant tit he his.

Or this one for men who ‘knows what a good investment looks like’ and where you are treated to an interactive 360 degree picture of a man looking way too satisfied with himself because he got a million pounds bonus working in the city. I suspect he might touch himself while looking at his own reflection.


There is a lot worse from them but I can’t seem to find them on Youtube (someone?). There is this one where the guy opens up his Nivea product with a lighter, like he would with a beer. Because that’s just what we do guys. It helps us feeling manly. Thinking of it, I actually open up everything I can with a lighter. Milk, coffee, coke bottles… It’s not very practical, but boy, it boosts my testosterone level to the roof. Thank you Nivea for this true insight into my life.

The sad truth is that I actually use some of these products because they are great but I’m seriously starting to reconsider.

Groove Armada signs with Bacardi


My colleague Rob pointed me to that article this morning. Now this is very interesting:

Groove Armada has signed a deal to record and release new music through Bacardi and Bacardi events in 2008.

Working alongside Bacardi we have the chance to take the GA travelling show to new people and places, find innovative ways of getting our music out there, and keep the stories flowing for the GA Road Movie with Bacardi B-Live,” says Andy Cato of Groove Armada.

Another win-win situation here. Band gets the money and artistic freedom to do whatever they want. Brands gets the associated fame, love, respect and coolness from the partnership. Not to mention the music content from the gigs and the albums. And the priviledged exposure. Wow, this is seriously a great deal.

Thumbs up for the client for doing things like that. It must have been a tough sale internally. Or maybe not actually.

Read the full article here from Undercover.

Thank you kids

March 27, 2008 4 comments
(Picture: Andrew M. Daddio for The New York Times)

If it wasn’t for their children, most marketers would be still living in the middle age of communication.

I mean, it was fine, 8 years ago, when marketers discovered why their kids was doing for hours in their bedroom: Internet: porn for the boys, MSN messenger for the girls.

But reading an article like that in 2008 still leaves me a little perplexed.

The NY Times entitled it: Text Generation Gap: U R 2 Old (JK). It starts like that:

AS president of the Walt Disney Company’s children’s book and magazine publishing unit, Russell Hampton knows a thing or two about teenagers. Or he thought as much until he was driving his 14-year-old daughter, Katie, and two friends to a play last year in Los Angeles.

And he was for a massive discovery. His own child, his beloved daughter, was having textual intercourse with her friends in the back of his car! While he was driving! OH MY GOD!!

‘Oh Dad, you are so out of it.’

The ingrate teenager replied to him. And she’s got a massive point here.  

a) Big cheese people don’t have a single clue of what is going on in the modern communication landscape. That despite their million of pounds, consultants, advertising agencies, trendsetters…. No one had told the president of the Walt Disney Publishing Unit that texting was becoming a huge thing with teenagers. This is scaring me.

b) that the NY Times thinks its newsworthy. I know, I’m aware the US are lagging behind in term of mobile communication, but it’s text message we are talking about here! Not rocket science.

I’m pretty sure as a result of this chat with his daughter, he started considering mobile communication as part of his marketing campaign.

Which leads me to think that we need to take action, as an industry: we need more children! Here are starters for 10:

– Drastically encourage our clients to have more unprotected sex. Taking them out and getting them really drunk is a good start.

– Ease the adoption process. We need clients to have more 18 years old children right now. It could be the nicest gift from an agency to a client: here’s your 18 years old, he’ll tell you everything you need to know about modern marketing, you just need to feed him once or twice a week.

– Start targetting clients’ children and educating them on how and what to say to their parents. Instead of trying to convince clients, we should only talk to their children. They will do a much better job at convincing them that we possibly can. Maybe we can have some sort of reward system. For each parent converted, the kid gets 5% of the marketing budget. Kids nowadays, they like to make a bit of money.

So it’s a win-win-win situation. The kid gets some money, the client does smarter campaigns and the agency’s happy because they can do some cool and relevant stuff.

What’s everyone thinking about?

A good presentation from from Paul Isakson, via Damiano’s site Nitmesh

It would have been nice to be credited for originally coming up with the Crispin Bogusky story about the press release, which I got from Jason Gonsalves, but it’s a minor detail.

I think it was John Bartle who said a planner has to be generous with his ideas and I agree with that. And it’s actually not even an idea, more like a nugget.

Anyway, I digress, it’s a very neat summary of what everyone seems to be focusing on at the moment, and that’s a good thing.

The best creative team ever

March 25, 2008 5 comments

Collaboration is the mot du jour in adland. So why is it that one of the best example of creative collaboration is 70 years old?

As the philistine I am, I just got to know about the Inklings, the literature group of friends formed by Lewis and Tolkien in Oxford in the 30s. Again, thanks the book Group Genius. (You can actually find Keith Sawyer’s blog here: creativity and innovation.)

Both their work, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia would have never reached the success they did, or even come to life at all, without the creative collaboration that they experienced with this ‘circle of friends’.

A great article from the Times illustrate the influence they had on one another: “Down the pub with Tolkien and C. S. Lewis”.

Only through long conversations, shared understanding and most of all respect (even though they strongly disagreed on some subjects), have they been able to transcend each other’s work. None of these two literatture classic would have been if the writers had been working on their own.

Here is the definition of a collaborative circle of friends, taken from the book ‘Collaborative circles: Friendship dynamics and creative work’: (that you can read on Google books)

A collaborative circle is a primary group consisting of peers who share similar occupational goals and who, through long period of dialogue and collaboration, negotiate a common vision that guides their work. The vision consists of a shared set of assumptions about their discipline, including what constitutes good work, how to work, what subjects are worth talking, working on, and how to think about them.

Even while working alone, the individuals members are affected by the group and the roles they play in the group continue to guide and sustain the members.

For members of the collaborative circle, each person’s work is an expression of the circle’s shared vision filtered through his or her personality.

What can we learn from the Inklings?

That we need to develop collaborative circles structures within our agencies. (I’m here overtly generalising for the sake of the argument, there are exceptions to the following, but they are exactly that. Exceptions.)

That it bolsters the point that a creative department composed of creative teams and a few creative directors is not the most efficient way to unleash brilliant creativity. How many times did you think you had a great idea in mind but you just wouldn’t be able to finish it or were missing that extra something (or someone) to help you finish it?

Most of the times the people and the structure available to us (creative and planners) don’t allow to fully exploit the power of such collaborative circles. Of course we can talk to our head of planning or creative director, but these are irregular conversations and often result in a few guidelines on what’s good or not, rather than genuine help. – Please note that a collaborative circle is very different to a mentor / protege type of relationship –

Their is also the old ego problem. Whether you are trying to make it, or made it big, you still feel like you need to come up with the idea on your own. Because you want to get the credit and respect that goes with it. And this is not only true for creative but also for planners. Asking for advice and help to your colleagues or peers can still be seen as a weakness.

However, collaborative circles do not mean that the idea come from a group, hence the credit goes to the group, but they mean a group can help you make the best out of your idea, so the credit still goes to the team or individual. Therefore it would maximise your chances to get to greater and fresher work on a regular basis. And the awards that go with it.

Each member of the Inklings had the other members’ interests at their heart and wanted them to succeed and do their best, pushing each other to fulfill their true potential. If you are lucky, you have found someone internally (or externally) that you can bounce idea off and chances are that you find that invaluable. But it is still an informal process, is irregular, and it’s just one person, limiting your chances of coming up with something truly original over time.

Advertising agencies are not built to allow collaborative circles to flourish because they are built on individiual success, unintentionnally encouraging competition between teams and individuals. In a way, digital agencies have been better at embracing that collaborative trend.

Collaborative cirles provides a structure where people feel free to explore, on a regular basis, the ideas they have and together make them better. It also makes the environment a better place to work for and truly reward creativity and genuine collaboration.

They should be an integral part of our jobs and made mandatory for people to be a part of. They would involve working with people that share your discipline but do not work on your project but also people coming from totally different yet complimentary disciplines. They might take you half a day every week. Although it might seem like a waste of time in the first place, it would be compensated by much better work over the long term, on all accounts.

I might be talking a lot of bollocks here, but it is, in my humble opinion, the concrete application of collaborative circles, not just the adoption of digital, that will determine which agencies will make it to the next round.