Radu Zmeureanu -Interactive-Hyperactive-

Hello and welcome to my blog. Here I will share with you my passion about design, the internet, communications, branding and what talented amazing people are creating everyday.

Whistler-Powder skiing

This is what happens when you mix:

  • Record breaking snowfalls during opening week in a world class ski resort
  • Headcam footage with youtube
  • 22,429 facebook fans
  • Powder hungry skiers worldwide craving their first turns very early in the season


    YOU CAN BRAG TO THE REST OF THE WORLD ABOUT THE UN-GODLY SKI CONDITIONS





  • Event Marketing-Infopresse Conference

    Here is a video of the conference I gave on September 23rd on the impact of social media on event marketing. (##FRENCH ONLY##)
    The full presentation deck is here but the fine folks at Infopresse caught filmed the full 45 minutes. Enjoy!

    Radu Zmeureanu - Les médias sociaux pour faire vivre votre événement from Infopresse on Vimeo.

    WHAT IS WEB STRATEGY?

    WEB STRATEGY:

  • IS NOT ADVERTISING.
  • IS NOT TECHNOLOGY.
  • IS AN ONGOING PROCESS.
  • IS ABOUT NUMBERS.
  • IS ABOUT BRANDING.
  • IS NOT RESERVED TO STRATEGISTS.
  • IS ABOUT LOOKING AT WHAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING, BUT NOT BEING PARALYZED BY IT.
  • IS MUCH EASIER IF YOU ARE CREATIVE.
  • IS TOO IMPORTANT TO BE ONLY ONE THING.
  • IS ABOUT OBJECTIVES AND CLARITY.
  • IS ADMITTING YOU HAVE NO IDEA SOMETIMES.
  • IS NOT TACTICS, BUT THE RELEVANCE OF THESE AND THE EFFICIENCY BY WHICH THEY ACCOMPLISH THEIR GOALS.
  • IS NOT AN ACRONYM.
  • IS NOT MEDIA-BUYING.
  • WILL QUESTION THE RELEVANCE OF YOUR BUSINESS STRUCTURE.
  • IS A DEATH SENTENCE TO MANY BUSINESSES.
  • IS COMMON SENSE.
  • DOESNT COST A LOT.
  • IS NOT SOCIAL MEDIA, SEARCH, NEWSLETTERS OR WEBSITES.
  • IS ABOUT CREATING, PLANNING AND EXECUTING.
  • IS TYING LOOSE ENDS AND CUTTING STUPIDITY.
  • IS BEING COHERENT AND HUMBLE.
  • IS STILL ABOUT NUMBERS BECAUSE SOMETIMES IT COSTS A LITTLE MONEY.
  • IS ABOUT LOOKING AT THE MANY, AND CRYSTALIZING THE SINGLE IDEA.
  • IS ABOUT TAKING SYMPTOMS APART AND UNDERSTANDING THEIR PROCESS.
  • IS TAKING A STAND AND ASSUMING THE RISKS.
  • REQUIRES DECISION-MAKING AND ACTIONS.
  • Quick post about PRINT

    Apparently it's about to die anytime soon now...
    Despite the apparent #FAIL of it's advertising model, print is doing fine.
    Why? Well these examples all happened in the last 2 hours.

  • My 2 year old still insists that we read him his story books 20 times a day. Despite having Youtube, VOD, DVD and TV available. Of all digital natives and theories about media consumption, he should be all jazzed up on the kindle, the zune (pffff) and fitted with a jet pack by now.
  • I'm psyched to find the latest ski magazine in the mail and actually read every page and every ad.
  • I'm also just as psyched to find a magazine type brochure the next day from Nordica in the mail, and despite the obvious penchant for lifestyle and product showcase, I still love it!
  • It's 21:50 and the only good thing in the 500 channels on TV is Voir, a TV cultural show based on the free weekly paper in Montréal. Talk about cross media ey?
  • I'm in the midst of moving and I just through out close to 200 data and music CDs. bah, I can always find it later or get a copy from a friend. Books on the other hand, I just finished packing 8 boxes.

    Ok these examples might be circumstancial at best. But come on. Print is still around for a while. Give the doomsday scenarios a rest.
  • TOP 10 THINGS YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

    1-SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT MEDIA. SO STOP TREATING IT AS A MEDIUM YOU CAN BUY, AS A CHANNEL, OR A SILVER BULLET IN YOUR MARKETING PLAN. IT IS NOT A MIRACLE CURE.

    2-ALL MEDIA IS SOCIAL. DUH! DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE, THE INTERNET HAS BEEN SOCIAL FOREVER.

    3-IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CONTENT DUMMY! MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY BEFORE GETTING IT OUT THERE. IT'S NOT ADVERTISING COPY.

    4-DO IT YOURSELF. DON’T TRUST “SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS” TO CRAFT YOUR MESSAGE AND BRING IT OUT THERE. IF YOU WANT TO BE CREDIBLE (AND TRUST ME YOU WANT THAT) DO IT YOURSELF.

    5-IT’S NOT EASY. IT TAKES TIME, IT TAKES PLANNING, AND IT TAKES HONESTY.

    6-IT’S NOT A MEDIA BUY, SO DON’T EXPECT IT TO BE PART OF A CAMPAIGN. IN FACT ITS NOT EVEN PART OF MARKETING. ITS PART OF YOUR PRODUCT, TREAT IS AS SUCH.

    7-NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU “EVIDENCE” THAT IT WILL WORK FOR YOU. THE NUMBERS AND SUCCESS STORIES EXIST BUT THEY MAY NOT APPLY FOR YOU. YOU HAVE TO PUT IN A LOT OF WORK AND THINKING INTO THIS.

    8-EXECUTION IS EVERYTHING. THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY CAN BECOME A NIGHTMARE IF EXECUTED POORLY. MAKE SURE DOCUMENTATION, PROCESSES AND METHODOLOGY IS PARAMOUNT TO EVERYONE INVOLVED.

    9-SOCIAL MEDIA IS NEITHER.

    10-DON’T FOCUS ON THE VENUE, FOCUS ON THE VALUE. FACEBOOK OR TWITTER WILL NOT MAKE YOUR BRAND BETTER. FOCUS ON WHAT WILL.

    Infopresse conference: event marketing

    Here are the backup slides for a conference I gave last week for the Infopresse event marketing conference. I had a lot of fun being part of that day and giving this talk. It's not everyday that i step out of our web world to meet event marketers but wow, this was definitly an eye opener.

    Props to twitter.com/IssamHeddad and twitter.com/SabrinaCote for awesome work.


    Who's your daddy?

    Who's in control? Who's in control of your brand and your marketing? Who's your daddy?

    Dear Director of Marketing

    This letter serves to indicate that you are being dismissed immediately. While you have offered many years of loyal services and proved at many occasions your valor and hard-working ethic, it has recently become clear that you just don’t get what I’m saying.
    You have been mandated to attend to my needs and make sure the organization communicates my values and emotions. Yet it has become clear to me and the rest of the organization that you un-lawfully hijacked your role into a travesty of control. I believe I should be heard and understood. You believe I should never address the people except with costly advertising campaigns and press releases. I believe I am flexible and changing in my views. You believe in norms and linger endlessly on what font people should use when talking about me. You believe I am an ingredient in an advertising plan. Yet I am the only reason the entire organization exists. These irreconcilable differences put each of us at opposite ends of the world as I understand it. Products you chose to design and manufacture and sell are mere extensions of the experience I provide. While you focused on the millions of dollars in advertising you wasted trying to break into every conversation, TV show, email, web page and outdoor banner, you failed to create meaningful lasting relationships. I am feeling now more alone and disconnected than ever before. If your insist that job was spending money and accounting for how many people you interrupted, you did a splendid job. Your schmoozing with agency account managers and awards proves nothing to me. You ignore my needs to connect and live. You ignore my role and rather focused on the sizzle, not the steak. Charts and studies and focus groups might back up you on some claims but we both know you’re a fraud. I am hereby relieving you of your duties and wishing you well in your future endeavors. Hoping this will allow you some time off to think of what you have done to me.

    Sincerely yours,
    YOUR BRAND

    Online marketing strategy

    Online marketing strategy IS NOT:

  • repeating statistics from research and pointing a finger in the general market direction.
  • providing 50-page benchmark studies made up from screenshots.
  • bringing an outside consultant that is as detached from the operations as from the business rules and output of the company.
  • an online media plan with a next-steps keynote slide covered in buzzwords.
  • a recipe.
  • made up of disposable stunts hoping to become the next big viral.


    Online marketing strategy IS
  • extending every aspect of the brand and company online and being accountable for it.
  • listening and trusting all team members, especially operations and creative.
  • seeing an opportunity in the market and intuition telling you to go for it.
  • cohesive with the entire business strategy
  • getting creative and taking risks.
  • unique for every campaign, brand and product.
  • as much a product strategy as a marketing strategy.
  • Le Massif video banner- Météomedia

    Pretty cool video banner for Le Massif ski resort today on Météomedia.com
    Great creative execution. I like the dreamy look of the ski vid and the sequences, but I'm not too sure about the media strategy. The season is winding down, people are back into spring and summer mode, and the resort is closing tomorrow for the season. If at least the landing page was targeted for next year season's passes, maybe, but this is a doh! as far as I can tell. Maybe some remnant impressions from the 2008-2009 campaign left over, but IMHO, a "thanks for a great season, see you next year" promo would have been much better. But it's ok, I still love that mountain and the amazing rides I had there.


    video

    This is not a blog post

    This is not a blog post about the new media revolution
    About how the web changes everything for everyone
    About how agencies might or might not be relevant anymore.
    It's definitely not a blog post about web 2.0
    About traditional media versus digital media
    I'm not going to write a blog post about blogging, Twitter or Facebook
    Or about the future of online advertising
    And the future of the newspaper industry or traditional media.
    I will definitely not take a stance on who Google might be buying this week.
    This is not a blog post on how to land a job in social media
    Or how building online communities is changing the world
    And this blog post will not reveal the magic recipe on how to score the next big viral video.
    I am not writing a blog post on how such and such online metric doesn't match another
    And how such and such method might or might not be accurate enough.

    This IS a blog post that assumes you've already read all the MANY other posts that DO talk about it. Endlessly.
    This IS a blog post that will try to focus on 1 thing only.
    This blog post will ask you 1 question and hopefully you have an answer:

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW TO MAKE HUMANS AND BRANDS HAPPIER ?

    Monsters vs Aliens on Cinoche.com

    video

    Here's a little something I found yesterday on the Quebec based movie listings site Cinoche.com

    Cool homepage wallpaper integration with rich media for Monster vs Aliens. It reminded me a lot of the Ipod Games ad on MTV. Yes it's about time the homepage navigation became fair game for advertising. Indeed it's not the 1st time a publisher gathers the guts to do this. This is not a standard IAB cookie cutter BB or LB format. And that's probably why it works at getting noticed. More importantly, I'm happy to see it's not necessary to be a huge portal or ad network to pull this execution off so well. It's simple, not intrusive(IMHO) and fun. Well done Cinoche!

    10 things a brand MUST ask itself in the morning

  • Am I still alive?
  • Do people care?
  • How are they talking about me?
  • Am I making a difference for them?
  • Who can hurt me?
  • Why would they?
  • Am I happy?
  • Does it show?
  • How can I make human lives better?

    feel free to contribute more....
  • Let them eat < social media> cake

    « Let them eat cake! »

    This famous quote was claimed to have been uttered by the infamous Queen Marie-Antoinette during one of the famines that occurred in 1789 France. Upon being alerted that her people were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, she is said to have replied, "Then let them eat cake."




    I keep thinking of Marie Antoinette when I I hear social media gurus hitting the same nail over and over on the power of the social web. Arent you on the bandwaggon yet ? You need a website ? Eat some social media cake. You need an advertising campaign? Wait a second, have some social media cookies. Sales are down ? How about some nice warm social media muffins. None of these are going to get you full, and they will probably give you scurvy if you rely only on them for your nutrition, but hey…they sure taste good! Hmmmm cake !

    Social media alone is bad. Really really really bad. Who cares if your company is on twitter or answering to some blog war between elitist bloggers. Make sure you cover some basics 1st. Apparently 47% of marketers don’t even use analytics. Are you?

  • How much do you really know about your users ?
  • Can they find you well from search engines ?
  • Is your website helping users in ways that are meaningful for them ?
  • What can you offer to users online that will bring them back and create value ?
  • How much of what you’re spending is actually working ?
  • Do people care about flashy gizmos online when they’re looking for information or connecting with friends ?

    Asking simple questions and getting simple answers to make better business decisions is the cornerstone of good nutrition, euhh, I mean online strategy.

    Sure you can eat cake all day long and make thousands of friends on Facebook, get poked and grow your followers list on Twitter. Just make sure you’re doing that on a full stomach of good site design practices, coherent brand experience and relevant functionalities that make peoples lives better.

    Marie Antoinette’s famous line landed her a gig with a guillotine quickly after. Be careful out there!
  • Twitter and US online adults

    11% of online adults use Twitter or update their status online.
    Twitter users are mobile, less tethered by technology.


    New study from Pew Internet available here

    This does not include adults who read and update their status on facebook, so we can only assume that the percentage of adults is much higher as Twitter has a smaller reach that FB.

    http://steverubel.typepad.com/files/pip-twitter-memo-final.pdf

    UPDATE: Qbert72 pointed out a grey area in the polling methodology.
    It reads as follows: "Use Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others".

    While this does not explicitly lead Facebook users to answer yes, it prevents the data to reflect Twitter-only users versus users who have have updated their status in another social network platform.

    As Qbert72 was lightning quick to point out, the 1st footnote makes light of the definition of said-Twitter:

    "This definition can also potentially include use of status messages or mood and location messages on a social network site. All references to “Twitter user” in this report refer to those who say they update their status on social networks or elsewhere online."

    Clearly the grey area was probably flagged at Pew and the footnote was inserted, *sigh*, thus making the 11% metric a little more ambiguous. However, looking at status updates/tweets on a platform neutral stance, and setting aside "generalized media Twitter hard-on" conspiracy theories, the adoption rate for ambiant awareness intensive tools is tremendous.

    On a footnote of my own, I will re-state that if a follow up study should be issued and the methodology clearly asked if participants used Facebook to update their online status (versus Twitter) the percentage would still be higher than 11%.

    Talk to Frank: anti-cocaine awareness campaign

    Probably one of the funniest viral videos I've seen in a while. Obviously not as graphic or in your face as Montana Meth, this campaign takes the humour approach to cocaine use. Cool video paired up with a video intensive website. A must see.




    After being sent to clubbing influencers, the campaign launched a prevention website that provides information about the dangers and risks of cocaine use: Talk To FRANK. The website takes us to the darker side of cocaine with our guide Pablo, a dog cocaine mule that has been sliced open by drug traffickers. As you can see, the website doesn’t dance around the issue, but shocks its young target, who are used to realistic and difficult images. The website provides information, advice, telephone numbers, and an instant messaging service. There is also a YouTube channel that collects all the campaign videos.


    From Culture Buzz




    !UPDATE!
    Just got an email from Jess at Rubber Republic giving me a heads up on the new FRANK campaign ahead of its TV launch this week.

    As well as illustrating the range of effects cannabis can bring to those who take it, it also highlights the fact that cannabis was reclassified to a Class B drug last month, which many young people may not be aware of.





    Thanks for the heads up and good job on keeping tabs on the blog noise on your campaign!

    You know how they call a Quarter Pounder in Japan?


    A really cool brand, thats what they call Quarter Pounder in Japan. I can't believe I'm writing this, but McDonalds actually came up with an amazing concept: two Japanese concept restaurants in Shibuya and Omotesando called Quarter Pounder.
    The super simple menu is: Quarter Pounder, Double Quarter Pounder, fries & drinks. Brilliant. I haven't stepped inside a McDs in over 10 years but this has me itching now. Ultra cool I have to say. By focusing the brandon a narrow and focused experience, the uber generic McDonalds manages to emerge as a cool brand. Packaging and store experience all reflecting the different image.

    Read the full article in Business Week


    Leaf against racism




    Simple and effective website from Finland to create buzz against racial discrimination. Print out a template from the website it and snap a pic of it in your neighbourhood. Simple concept that can evolve but could definitely gain from a rehaul in execution.


    http://www.leaf-against-racism.com/

    Clap your brains off : Frank Beltrán



    Beautiful video based on the Print Gallery image by MC Escher from Frank Beltran.

  • This was made entirely using a Digital Reflex Camera, Canon's Mark III which captures up to 115 continuous pictures, at 10 fps.
  • This video was "inspired" by the amazing pictures of Sebastian Perez Duarte.
  • All of the image processing was made on a home computer, tand took almost 6 months of work.
  • Landor study: Obama vs. McCain (or James Bond vs. Jack Bauer)

    What if Barrack Obama was a coffee, or a car, or a computer or a beer, or even a phone, which brand would he be? Landor led a study to determine the perception of Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin if they were actual products instead of presidential brands.
    Full report here you can download.

    IKEA: Come into the closet







    Sound makes all the difference

    Very fun website by Ikea. The characters in the videos are controlled by the sound, the music or by your keyboard. Oddly similar to the work Grey London did for Toshiba in my last post TOSHIBA Timesculpture. Good experience through all the decors, very edgy.



    http://demo.fb.se/e/ikea/comeintothecloset2/site/default.html

    Toshiba Timesculpture Spot

    Simply amazing 1min spot for Toshiba, the "1st timesculpture advert". You MUST look at the making-of video as well, 200 cameras were used for this. A fine example of amazing people doing beautiful things.Bravo to Grey London.





    CHECK OUT THE MAKING-OF VIDEO

    Adobe Photoshop: As real as it gets





    To all you Photoshop geeks out there..."As real as it gets" by Jakarta agency Bates 141 for Adobe Photoshop. Check out the production process involved on Flickr, hint: it's much bigger than you think. Amazing work!


    agency : Bates141 Jakarta
    creative director : Hendra Lesmono
    art director : Andreas Junus & Irawandhani Kamarga
    copywriter : Darrick Subrata
    photgrapher : Anton Ismael

    Elections 2008 : Brand Obama



    Brands are alive and well. In fact they will get you in the White House.

    This week Barack Obama was elected 44th President of the United States. As much as JFK's election was a defining moment in American culture during the 60's, the election of President-Elect Obama is ground breaking. The issues at stake for this election are vast, and many go beyond the borders of the US. The economic state of the nation, the military situation and the Bush legacy are just some of the major issues that made this a defining moment. While this event unfolded as millions watched worldwide, the Obama campaign became the golden child of marketing. Crowned Marketer of the Year by Ad Age magazine, the strategy and execution behind Mr. Obama is just as groundbreaking.

    In the last week, countless articles detailed the winning strategy that included the use of the Internet and social networks. The campaign also focused 70% of it's $3 Million online budget on Search Marketing, which is quite the statement for brand building using search. A mere 10% of that budget was deployed for CPM based banner advertising.

    Unless you have been living in a cave on the moon with no power and no wi-fi, you must have heard about the web 2.0 by now. The interactive media landscape has shifted significantly in the last years with a massive shift of users towards participation in user maintained environments. Enter the participation era of the web and platforms that allow users to connect and share in the dialogue with brands. Facebook MySpace, Youtube, etc... The Obama campaign leveraged incredible amount of grassroots support through social networks like Facebook that allowed efficient communication and bottom up dialogue for all Obama fans. Plateforms such as Twitter and the popular iPhone application brought political engagement at the fingertips of most mobile and social platforms. Bravo.

    But I think the online innovation aspect of the campaign got enough coverage and that's not what I want to focus on right now. The Internet played a great role, without a doubt, in this very effective strategy. But fundamentally the Obama brand strategy was far superior and even more groundbreaking that the execution of social media.

    The purchase decision, in this case which of the two candidates was best suited to be the next president of the USA seems far more complex than the choice for a cereal or a car. But in fact, the same processes are at work. Often the most effective campaigns are the simplest with the greatest emotional impact. The Obama campaign managed to distill it's meaning into one word: CHANGE. It became the DNA for all executions and messages. Beyond the actual word, this concept of change acknowledges the current White House embarrassment with a proactive action-oriented approach. This zeitgeist, or spirit of the time, for these elections is in fact CHANGE. After outlasting an 8 year old lease on the last president, CHANGE was in fact the obvious intuitive choice. Very smart move by Obama strategists.

    But the power of the Obama brand goes far deeper that CHANGE and probably further than I understand American culture. Yet one thing was starring at me all along and it became apparent to me that despite it's transparency, this was one of the winning cards in the final hand.



    In the Rebel Sell, the authors suggest that counter culture and rebellion, far from being anti-establishment, provide the next generation of cool appeal. Quite usefull in a highly commoditized market, lets say as jeans, or t-shirts or personal computers, differentiation through unique cool factors are essential to maintaining a hip brand.
    Skateboard culture saved the ski industry with snowboarding and now with freeskiing, when mom and dad started snowboarding. Hip hop with sports. Violence and gangs with music. Heck, even drugs with rock and roll. Think different by Mac.
    Adding a touch of counterculture appeal to a brand will give instant cool points. Counter culture probably sold more shoes, electronics, cars and lifestyle apparel than all the babes, babies and animals campaigns united.

    The Obey Giant campaign was started in 1989 by artist and designer Shepard Farey. This street art campaign was in fact illegal and made up of spray paint stencils, stickers, posters and such. The campaign that started as a personal project in NYC quickly took off as other artists adapted the method and soul of the projet, and is now still active by the hands of thousands worldwide. It is now a massive brand that sells a lifestyle in premium stores worldwide. Clearly grafiti and street art is as urban subversive as it gets, and its always been associated with the counter culture behind the skateboard industry. Not a likely bed fellow for a presidential campaign. Is it?

    Shepard Fairey actually designed the very popular Obama poster for CHANGE. And in doing so, added the entire mythology that permeates urban culture to the Obama campaign. The poster became an icon both fashionable and loaded. A political poster that became actually cool as it jumped out of the counterculture niche loaded with street credibility.

    The Obama campaign managed to turn the act of voting and the elements of CHANGE into a subversive and therefore cool behaviour. The viral online videos from Moveon.org and the Will.I.AM video on youtube giving street credibility to the brand to further reinforce the message. Join our club and help overthrow the current establishment. Very powerful message indeed.

    Energizing the youth segment of the population into voting 101: transform the patriotic duty of voting into an organized coup d’état, a non-violent tongue in cheek eviction notice. This is something conservative could never do. How could they possible sell the image of McCain and Palin as change agents. As much as McCain’s brand resonated to millenials as a mashup between Mr. Burns and Abraham Simpson and Sarah Palin’s as Stiffler’s mom and Maude Flanders, they failed to connect and were the actual antithesis of CHANGE.

    The strategy of integrating social media in the mix is clearly a shoe-in by the very nature of the message. Organizing a coup is a grassroots bottom-up initiative. Even the 30 min TV takeover on several networks was bold and daring. Outside of the 30/15 second spot this was a clear statement that the media strategists behind Obama were not in the same ball park or even the same sport as the McCain-Tina Fey team. The boldness of this approach reminded me of a scene from V for Vendetta, where the anti-government hero address the nation while taking over all TV channels to announce it’s plan against the totalitarian state and asks the cooperation of all citizens.

    The Obama team managed to create a mythology around CHANGE that spoke to the urban culture with icons and symbols and media platforms. A truly groundbreaking feat.

    In Québec, we are getting ready for the provincial elections. In a matter of hours from the Obama victory, the blogosphere was up and running about what local parties could learn from the US experiment. Web 2.0 snake juice salesmen dusted off the powerpoints that seemed stale 2 years ago and are hammering on the social networking nail as a free ticket to political victory. As much as these have become essential in the dialogue between brands and users, their value is nil without a true message. Real value in the product itself. Furthermore, the very fabric that made up the CHANGE message so powerful is that people can turn things around. YES WE CAN. For that reason, the fit with social networks was an intuitive and efficient one. For parties in Québec to leverage even a fraction of the same passion online, their brand must be strong and their message clear, but ost important, they must make a difference. Without the power of the brand, the social network “series of tubes” becomes hollow and irrelevant. True passion inspires and connects people. President Elect Obama inspired a nation to vote and say CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA. Despite the new media strategies and the edgy counter culture symbols used for the Obama campaign, the message could be explained in one word, because the context and the issues mattered. I am keeping an eye open on what political parties will do up in Québec, but the fundamental apathy and lack of real issues certainly don't make up a relevant or promising landscape for a strong brand to emerge.

    Crowdsourcing: VonZipper and Designs By Humans

    Von Zipper Design by Humans


    Edgy lifestyle clothing and apparel company Von Zipper announced it's latest user generated initiative. "Brush off your creative genius and cast away your artistic inhibitions and submit your design for the next VonZipper tees. VonZipper is looking to supplement the Spring 2009 tee collection with a collaboration with Design By Humans."

    More details here

    Very strategic and credible partnership between a t-shirt (media) company that harnesses the power of community design and a lifestyle brand that lives off the community image. This is the 1st time I see something like this but will likely see more. Threadless and Vans anyone?Love the DBH community and business model...My personal fav t-shirt

    100 and one faces


    "L'homme 100 têtes" 3ème prix Panasonic'Art 2008 from Julien Lassort on Vimeo.


    Experimental stopframe animation made up of from a mosaic of portraits by Julie Lassorts and Matthieu Burlot. Full of facial expressions and emotion this shows the communicating power of the human face by a stopmotion mashup between people. Everyone of these frames tells a story, at least we would interpret it so. Julien Fargo composed the melody that encapsulates the film. Award winner at the « Transformation: Live-React».

    Need for Speed to reveal the 2009 Nissan Z




    EA and Nissan raise the bar in automotive marketing. The Need for Speed series and Nissan revealed today that the new game will launch the all-new 2009 Nissan 370Z. This is the first time an auto manufacturer has partnered with a videogame for the world premiere reveal of a car. The Nissan Z will be available in Need for Speed Undercover, available in North America on November 18 and in Europe on November 21. Test driving a car in a videogame before it's available on the street. Smart.

    The gaming industry has been creating unique experiences for gamers for more than 15 years, and it's about time someone harnessed the power of product launch and the experiential power of the console medium for the power of branding. Taking things to another level and redefining media. Sure beats buying banners and calling that a media strategy, but I digress....Congrats to EA and Nissan in this groundbreaking initiative.

    “Our relationship with EA has been instrumental in bringing the Nissan brand to a passionate and unique audience,” says Christian Meunier, Vice President, Nissan Marketing. “By launching the all-new 2009 Nissan Z® first through Need for Speed Undercover, we also gain the spirit and energy that EA gamers experience so strongly. Together with EA, we have truly integrated the all-new 370Z in the overall game experience in a meaningful, multi-layered and profound way.”



    UPDATE: Issam Heddad over at Revolver3 pointed out that they also featured the Legendary Skyline GTR in Gran Turismo 5. And to close the loop between game world and real time, the car's dashboard was developed by non other than the game's creators Polyphony Digital!

    So it's videogame about a car that you can buy that was designed like a videogame. Stellar out of the analog-box thinking! Brilliant article with all the details of the car : Nissan GT-R: A supercar with computer game or a game with hardware?

    Dodge Ram Challenge


    BBDO, Organic, Mekanism and director Tony Scott have joined forces for a video-based web initiative to promote the Dodge Ram.

    With the Ram Challenge, real truck buyers including cowboys, construction workers, firemen and military personnel take part in a series of races within a custom-built "obstacle course city." Intense and well shot with lots of helicopter and action shots. Full screen video makes this as much fun to watch as Volvo Rush initiative.

    6-minute web episodes will live on the Ram Challenge homepage. Each episode will be unveiled throughout the coming weeks. Part 1 is currently up and features behind-the-scenes clips.

    Amazing homepage UX that offers a 360-degree, animated view of the race site. Overall it's a fun brand heavy site and even if I'm nowhere near being in the market to buy a truck, I'm definitly going to be back to check out the other episodes. Solid work that showcases the powe of a brand online.

    Digital out-of-home projecting on building

    Here is an excellent spin on digital out of home projecting images on building. The projector is placed in a car and in this case, it shoots a pretty big image of a tiger on the facade of a building at night. Until now pretty simple. Right? As soon as the car moves the tiger moves at the same speed and accelerates at the same speed. The car is stopped for a red light, the tiger sits and chills until he can go again.
    Haven't seen commercial executions of this yet, but the simplicity of the concept really allows digital realizations to enter the street world at a low cost. Also, gives story telling possibilities for extending a brand's interaction outside the normal sandbox of media. Is this scalable? Probably not. But it's fun and creates instant attraction.

    We are elevated from the everyday reality through this element of fantasy into a world with more dimensions, possibilities and perhaps beauty.





    Check out the video and more details here.

    CNNBC Elections 2008 Viral



    How would you like to find out that you're featured in the news and could be responsible for some terrible calamity unknowingly. With this video initiative by CNNBC (good pun on MSNBC) you can customize the name of the person who would be single handedly responsible for the election of John McCain at the 2008 US elections.

    Must see also the Wassup 2008 video, 8 years later the irritating skit is back with a unique edge. Brilliant. Election time is bringing up some very cool creative projects.



    OCT 29 UPDATE: Moveon.org is taking the credit for the CNNBC vid with the following on their homepage. 7 Million videos!!! WOW!
    We all know people who might not vote this year. So we created this funny news video about Obama losing by a single vote. It's a great, fun, scary way to remind everyone you know to vote. Can you send this video to your friends?

    NikeWomen: Here I Am

    NikeWomen comes out with this eyeblasting video that tells the story of what happens inside competitive runner and Oympic hopefull Nicola. Lungs, quads, ears and the brain talk to each other and make it happen. Nike meets Osmosis Jones.
    Originally a hurdler, Nicola overcame heartbreak and injury, injury, and has risen to become a formidable sprinter and a Beijing hopeful. Among her many accolades, she won silver in the 2007 World Championships and became European Indoor Champion, both in the 400 metres. Last August she was also named British Woman Athlete of the Year. She says her strength has always come from maintaining her sense of humour and listening to her body. Yeah, listen to your body, no matter freaky it sounds.


    Nicola Sanders’ Story – NikeWomen: Here I Am from nikehereiam on Vimeo.

    Sam Flores by Upper Playground & Adidas Originals

    Upper Playground & Adidas Originals released the new Sam Flores model. Sam Flores = amazing illustrator and artist.

    Great personalized sneaker and it's probably sold out by the time you're reading this since there are only 500 pairs out there.
    More goodies available on Upper Playground.


    Electric Visual Iphone Application= circa-90's web site


    Electric makes some pretty cool shades. They cater mostly to street culture, action sports cool kids and their brand is hot. Iphones are really cool. Iphone applications are even cooler. The screen allows you to really get some interaction out of the experience and have some fun. So when I picked up this article on Freeskier magazine yesterday announcing the new Electric Visual iphone app, I zoomed right away to itunes to pick it up. Even if it cost me 5$ I would buy it. But it was free, even better!

    Bottom line: I was prepared to write a post about how much I loved their new app. Unfortunately I am really disapointed. Iphone applications are supposed to be fun, interactive and unique. Think of Seth Godin's Purple Cow. The wow effect. Something to talk about with friends and show off. A memorable experience. As an example, on a recent biking trip a friend showed me his Iphone Star Wars Lightsaber application. Wow. A great viral tool to promote their game The Force Within. The lightsaber app is a purple cow. I downloaded it and convinced several users to pick it up. You should download it too, one should always have a lightsaber at hand.

    The Electric Visual app on the other hand is a 1995 brochure website. It features the fall lineup of shades, the latest news, their ad campaign, a dealer locator and a contact Electric function. Arghhhhhhh. They are seriously shy of an About Us page that would make the circa-90's web alive again. The one thing that made them cross over in the Youtube realm of interactive was a short video featuring skateboard icon Bam Margera driving his Ferrari to the skatepark. Mad props to the art direction, it's got urban lifestyle branding all over it and it works. But inside an iPhone app, you're shooting blanks with just a video and a brochure. A dealer locator? The ad campaign? Come on!

    I would have loved to praise their initiative in being the 1st lifestyle company out there coming out with a good app. I love the brand, love what they do, their product and their 'tude. But this was weak. Please make it better. Make something fun out of this opportunity to connect with your users.

    The Best of 2008 Viral Videos by Trendhunter.com




    10. Bullet Proof Baby Stroller
    9.Did John McCain Call His Wife A C**t?
    8.Drunk Daft Punk! THE WORST!- Harder Bodies Faster Stronger
    7.Everyday Normal Guy
    6.Dove Evolution Parody Real Beauty
    5.Dove Onslaught(er)
    4.I'm F***ng Matt Damon by Sarah Silverman
    3.I'm F*cking Obama - Hillary Clinton feat. Sarah Silverman
    2.Guys backflip into jeans
    1.Little Gordon Ramsey

    and A Top 5 Deep Dive
    5.Feist on Sesame Street
    4.Bill O'Reilly Flips Out
    3.Radiohead - House of Cards
    2.FRED FIGGLEHORN
    1.Christian the Lion - the full story

    BONUS: The Muppets do Gangsta Rap

    Brian Eno’s Bloom iPhone app

    Brian Eno's Bloom is the one of the most playful and cutting edge iphone apps I have seen. It lets you experiment with music loops and ambiant sound effects by taping at your screen. There are currently 9 moods to play with very colourful names including Neroll, Vetiver, Yiang, Labdanum. It's my 1st generative music application and I'm not a music expert but the interface and UX is simple, intuitive, compelling and fun. Check it out on Itunes for about $3,99 here.

    Radiohead In Rainbows Download Stats Revealed

    Radiohead In Rainbows





     


  • After being made available for free for 3 months the album was no.1 in the UK and in the US
  • 1st Radiohead album on iTunes – no.1 album selling 30,000 units in the US in the first week
  • Radiohead generated more revenue before ‘In Rainbows’ was physically in stored than they made in total on the previous album ‘Hail To the Thief’
  • The physical CD has sold 1.75 million to date and is still top 200 UK & US
  • They sold 100k boxsets via W.A.S.T.E.
  • Nearing 17 million plays on last.fm • 1.2 million fans will see the tour
  • The digital income from the experiment made a material difference to WCM’s UK digital revenue this year

    In Rainbows is the seventh album by Radiohead that was first released on 10 October 2007 as a digital download where users chose how much they would pay for the album. This was followed by a standard CD release in North America on 1 January 2008.

    The significance of the initiative is critical to fully understand the zeitgeist of the web and music industry. The fact that they even tried it, is a huge statement and a line in the sand vis-a-vis the industry. Again, Radiohead clarly demonstrated their avant-gardeness and their trendsetter status, this time not only in music but the way they relate with the industry and their fans.

    Warner Chappell’s Head of Business Affairs Jane Dyball revealed that the digital publishing income from the first licence (for the Radiohead pay what you want site) alone dwarfed all the band’s previous digital publishing income and made a “material difference” to Warner Chappell UK’s digital income.

    The publisher also confirmed that Radiohead had generated more revenue before ‘In Rainbows’ was physically in stores than they made in total on the previous album ‘Hail To the Thief’. Some may remember that until then, Radiohead has snubbed the likes of iTunes by withholding digital licensing.

    The Radiohead In Rainbows experiment was a success for both Warner’s and the band’s perspective. For Warner it served to prove a point that by licensing directly and by offering a genuine one stop shop for licensing the publisher was able to generate far more money than would have been possible. From a marketing and product launch point of view, this experiment wrote a chapter in the book of brand management, social media and digital licensing. Forget about the book, they created the wiki....

    Perhaps one of the strenghts of this 'experiment' is that In Rainbows is (IMHO) a better album than Hail to the Thief. So before we all get zapped around and jump to conclusions, the quality of the product is still the founding reason behind the succes of any distribution amd marketng strategy. Nine Inch Nails emerged with a similar free album download strategy with The Slip. The bands obvious niche appeal doesnt allow us to make comparaisons to Radiohead's In Rainbows, but I doubt it levereged as much.

    The power of the Radiohead brand is probably the biggest driving force behind an initiative like this. In fact, the In Rainbows experiment probably reinforced even more the trend setting nature of the band. While a début album for a lesser known band probably wouldnt have levereged as much in terms of offline sales, we are clearly witnessed a deep fracture line in the landscape that the web is now making possible.


    Read more on Music Ally

  • Crowdsourcing, forecasting the future, and evolution


    How do you start a post on these 3 massive subjects: crowdsourcing, forecasting the future, and then to add a little spice to this, human evolution. Play an online game with people all around the world and solve the problems of the world of tomorrow. It turns out crowdcourcing is not only a buzzword used for creative and commercial purposes. Meet Superstruct.

    "Superstruct is the world's first massively multiplayer forecasting game. By playing the game, you'll help us chronicle the world of 2019--and imagine how we might solve the problems we'll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It's about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential."


    Very powerful concept indeed. Using the wisdom of the masses, this experiment leverages the insight and creative power of ever type of person to solve problems we will be facing in 2019. Some guidelines for the game include:

    Be Unique. Superstruct is a collaborative community. Everyone is encouraged to contribute his or her unique skills, ideas, and talents! What do you know a lot about? What do you care a lot about? Where do you live? Who do you know? What are you good at? What unusual experiences have you had? Whoever you are, there are ideas only YOU could have, and there are thoughts only YOU could think. Please share them with us!

    In Superstruct, players will bring their own personal knowledge and experiences to the table. "We don't need everybody to be experts on how climate might change and how the economy might be impacted," says McGonigal. "If you're a teenaged girl, tell us how a teenaged girl would respond to this crisis. We need that personal intelligence from everybody." The players will help imagine and document the world of 2019, and will work together to come up with solutions to the challenges that are presented throughout the six-week game. Cascio says that his highest hope is that the collaborating players will come up with innovative ideas that have applications here, in the real world of 2008. "The mass of ideas can become almost an epiphany engine," he says. (from discover magazine)


    Ok, now what about the evolution part?


    A lot of the challenges we're dealing with this century have a very long lag time. "Even if we were to stop putting out greenhouse gases right now, we'd still face decades of warming." Most humans aren't in the habit of acting on consequences they can't see; they have to be coaxed into saving money for retirement or into supporting climate change legislation that will raise energy prices.

    "According to some neuroscientists, our capacity for long-term thinking emerged in the parts of the brain that were initially involved with throwing rocks at moving objects," a skill first developed further during harsh ice ages, Cascio says. "If you look at the major advances in the Hominid line—advances in tool use, language, and art—most of these were triggered by environmental changes," he says. "Foresight turns out to be a critical adaptive strategy for times of great stress."



    Check out Superstruct on Youtube

    An inspiring example of collaborative culture and technology used to leverage creativity and problem solving. Thanks John for sharing this with me!

    Midnight Madness Google Earth Video



    The cynics would say that Google Earth Mashups are sooo 2006. Well thats why no one likes cynics! Very cool and fun video site for Midnight Madness.

    What exactly are you doing at midnight? Well this project seeks to answer that question with a simple yet catchy User Generated platform on the site http://thechemicalbrothers.com/home/
    It's catchy, dizzying, simple and voyeur. Love it.

    Welcome to the Midnight Madness / Google Earth experience! The tour takes you around the world, exploring what people get up to at midnight. Sit back and buckle up for a fly around the earth and let the Chems supply the soundtrack.


    See part of the vid right here...

    Memory Clouds over London's Trafalgar Square


    IMAGINE YOUR TEXT MESSAGE IN HUGE SMOKE LETTERS OVER TRAFALGAR SQUARE.
    Every once in a while you hear about a project like this. In the great divide between commerce and magic, such a realisation clearly comes out as truly contemporary. While many communicators are looking for more compelling and clever ways to engage the social outside of the relm of the online pixel, this project on the other hand is clearly beyond. It colours outside the lines with fun, interactive, simple, uncensored, and boldness.
    For three evenings in October, a new interactive smoky communication will be underway in central London - one that combines a very modern medium with a 5,000-year-old one. In Memory Cloud, visitors can text any message they like to the artists' creation, and that phone message will be made into light-and-air smoke signals and huge in Trafalgar Square. This new exploration of personal expression in public spaces is from Minimaforms, founded in 2002 by brothers Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos as an experimental architecture and design practice that explores projects that provoke and facilitate new means of communication.

    http://www.minimaforms.com/memorycloud/

    The Ten Commandments of Emotional Branding

    From Marc Gobé's book Emotional Branding here are 10 Rules that illustrate the difference between traditional concepts of brand awareness and Emotional Branding.




    Let's face it: Some brands create emotional connections with consumers, while others leave people cold. There are functional brands, such as Compaq or Kmart, and there are emotional brands, such as Apple, Target and Wal-Mart, that galvanize loyalty. The difference is the personal connection these brands have with consumers through the strength of their culture and the uniqueness of their brand imagery. Emotional Branding creates strong, flexible brand personalities that closely match the aspirations of their customers. These “brand characters” are less about rationality than they are about desire and cultural connection.

    1. from consumers to people
    Consumers buy, people live.

    2. from product to experience
    Products fulfill needs, experiences fulfill desires.

    3. from honesty to trust
    Honesty is expected. Trust is engaging and intimate.

    4. from quality to preference
    Quality for the right price is a given today. Preference creates the sale.

    5. from notoriety to aspiration
    Being known does not mean that you are also loved!

    6. from identity to personality
    Identity is recognition. Personality is about character and charisma.

    7. from function to feel
    The functionality of a product is about practical or superficial qualities only.
    Sensorial design is about experiences.

    8. from ubiquity to presence
    Ubiquity is seen. Emotional presence is felt.

    9. from communication to dialogue
    Communication is telling. Dialogue is sharing.

    10. from service to relationship

    Service is selling. Relationship is acknowledgment.

    Magic Flashlights

    Amazing light effect used in a Snowboard video by Mike Benson, song by MGMT.

    The great talent by the kids at High Cascade Snowboard camp is enhanced by light tracing effect in post-production. I especially like the fact a kid draws a circle and then jumps right into in.

    Vimeo Video Link

    A couple of months ago I saw this video showing tagging artist DAIM that resembles somewhat the end product, but clearly the snowboard video brings things to another level.



    Magic Flashlights from Mike Benson on Vimeo.

    Cameesa.com and crowdsourcing




    I was looking at some interesting tshirt designs today and found Cameesa.com.
    For those of you who are familiar with Threadless.com, it's a similar model, but geared differently towards funding. Like a lot of similar sites, freelancers provide the content that gets selected and printed on t-shirts. But this is where it gets interesting: before a tshirt can go on sale, the community needs to invest $1000 in it or 50 x $20 shares. The 50 shareholders will receive a copy of the shirt but will also receive a share of future sales from the shirt. Interest or popularity in the shirt is gauged before the shirt is ever produced and should the required 50 shares never get sold, everyone gets their money back. A very interesting model and venue for artists who want to be out there but also a great primer in market research for launching a product and creating a following.

    More reading from cnet here

    The 1st interactive game in youtube!



    Pretty neat gimmick, but visually a little weak. I'm sure(hope) someone will take this to the next level very soon.

    update: after playing a little with this, I have to admit it's pretty cool. I can only imagine if someone setup a similar setup with our beloved cartoon Linea

    The 4 kinds of "Free"


    From David Armano, VP of Experience Design with Critical Mass.
    Great original post.

    What it takes to land a brand's business?

    Interesting insights from the client POV on how to win a brand's business if you're an agency. A couple of obvious pointers but real goodies:
    Be really good
    Listen, do your home work and surprise the client
    Provide not only pretty pictures but pretty pictures that work
    Collaboration with other agencies

    Volvo Rush


    It seems interactive movie/games are getting to be THE thing. About time! Brilliant mix of interation, great direction and filming and great brand experience.
    Excellent execution by Volvo.
    Volvo Rush



    This game is actually good! Gets your Jack Bauer alter ego going with multiple situations and amazing ction shots. I dont know who shot this but they didnt cut corners and post prod is seamless. Beautiful and engaging.

    Brand Marketers aim to receive digital expertise from their advertising and marketing agencies.

    Sapient recently sponsored a national online survey to gain insights into what marketers want from their advertising and marketing agencies in the next 12 months. The survey polled more than 200 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing professionals.

    Two points can be derived out of this survey:
    I. Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients.
    II. Agencies should acquire Social Media expertise.

    Traditional advertising agencies are now at risk of losing their clients:

    1. More than a third of marketers surveyed reveal that they are not confident that their current agency can serve their needs in the online digital marketing and interactive advertising.
    2. 45% of the respondents have switched agencies (or plan to switch in the next 12 months) for one with greater digital knowledge or have hired an additional digital specialist to handle their interactive campaigns.
    3. 79% of respondents rated “interactive/digital” functions as ‘important/very important.

    Agencies should acquire social media expertise:

    1. 90% of respondents agree that it is becoming increasingly important that their agency uses ‘pull interactions’ such as social media and online communities rather than traditional ‘push’ campaigns.
    2. 94% of respondents expressed interest in leveraging virtual communities (public and private) to understand more about their target audience.
    3. 92% of respondents said it was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important that agency employees use the (social media) technologies that they are recommending.
    4. 49% of marketers surveyed said that agencies with chief digital officers are more appealing than those without.
    5. 63% of marketers surveyed said that an agency’s Web 2.0 and social media capabilities are ‘important/very important’ when it comes to agency selection.

    Note: Full survey methodology including the research firm to conduct this research was not revealed by Sapiens.

    from trendsspotting.com

    SMITH & NEPHEW // BY PSYOP

    New spot by Psyop for Smith & Nephews. Directed by Eben Mears and Mate Steinforth.
    Beautiful art- great execution. Hmmm got me thinking if I should get my other ankle done now...

    http://www.matesteinforth.com/work/motion/smith-nephew/


    Smith and Nephew from mate on Vimeo.


    Smith and Nephew Mocap Shoot from mate on Vimeo.

    This website will sing aything that you ask it to sing


    I would love to understand the programming behind this, then again, I'm sure it's really far out. Wow. Fun stuff.

    Let them sing it for you

    This is not an SEO trick, this is brilliant.


    Please visit http://hellyeahdude.com and read this amazing post made entirely of links. beyond the cool format it's made in ( yes I'm a SEO geek sometimes) this post is pure gold. Check it out.

    Pushing culture and creativity to levels never seen before, an entire blog post in creative links

    ZOMMMMMMMMBIES

    Chose your own adventure in this very cool interactive web series called The Outbreak. What can I tell you, I love Zombie movies, so now you get to follow the adventures of a group of survivors and makes important decisions along the way, (and sometimes makes the wrong ones and get eaten by said-zombies)
    Check it out!



    http://www.survivetheoutbreak.com/

    Mac and PC: roadblock page on Gizmodo


    New road block-ad on Gizmodo today featuring some pretty interesting grimacing and an open editorial by our friend PC.

    Nivea Couch: Goodbye Cellulite!


    When Nivea launched an anti-cellulite product at the Miami Fashion week, this is what it came up with.
    Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York

    Adidas micoach: filmed in Montreal PVM?


    Ok so I love what Nike did with Apple. Ok so this might be a little copycat initiative. And ok yes I'm a big Adidas fan, and yes this looks like it was filmed in Montreal! But I have to say this new mesh between Samsung-Adidas project is pretty cool. Check out the vid here.
    Full micoach site here

    miCoach is the first initiative in a partnership between two of the world's leading brands, Samsung and adidas. Developed as a real-time coaching system, miCoach is designed to help inspire, motivate and track your progress to help you reach your personal training goals


    Pretty cool. Would love to try it. My Polar X625 is getting iffy on me.

    Now finish reading this and go run. Now! Do it!

    Bike racks and OFFLINE ONLINE Synch







    Somehow I'm sure we're going to be seing many more of these. David Byrne from the Talking Heads and the New York Department of Transportation put together a very cool looking project to customize bike racks. Very simple, great photo opp for tourists and simple to implement. Dunno how much they would cost, but I would say it's dirt cheap in terms of wow factor.

    "Byrnes’ rack creations are spread through the two boroughs and follow an appropriate theme depending on their landmark location. For example, Ladies Mile has a rack shaped like a high heel; The Villager has one shaped like a dog; and Wall Street has the fun yet obvious dollar sign. Next time you’re in New York be on the look out for them. They’re scheduled to be in place for just a year, but we’re sure more collaborations like this will pop up throughout the city."

    Original post here

    This made me think of the OFF=ON concept. Trendwatching came out with an interesting report on this phenomenon you can read here. I couldnt help but think of how far you can push #1 concept : Online symbols turned into objects nd now the NYC bike rack creation gives an interesting example of how simple the design can be.