Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Noise

I saw this insert in USA Today earlier this month. Thanks to the reading program on campus, the residence halls receive free copies of the New York Times, USA Today and three local newspapers. The ad isn't entirely relevant anymore, because December 25th has come and gone, but this is a crazy idea.

In the ad, Sony is advertising noise-canceling headphones. They suggest you peel off the stickers and place them on a remote and luggage to show loved ones what you really want for Christmas. How will they know it's from you? There's no clarification on that. Maybe they're supposed to get everyone the same gift.

I would personally be pretty bothered if someone stuck something to my remote. When I want to take a sticker off -- and I'm going to want to -- I have to peel and pry at the thing for minutes. Then there's the paper that tore off and is super hard to get at. Lastly, the sticky grime that's left afterwards. That's going to make me want to get a gift for my friend alright.

The product isn't bad at all, but Sony is taking the wrong approach. I get why they are placing your ad for noise canceling headphones. Are they targeting the wrong person though? If Sony is advising you to put stickers where they would use the headphones, wouldn't that make them want the product more than to give it to you? Maybe it's a full-circle thing. You get one for me, I get one for you. I think it's a little bogus.

The art direction is nice. I like how they incorporate Sony's HDNA graphics into the print and into the stickers. They kind of look like snowflakes too. It makes some sense to put the graphics in, because it follows the design of Sony's other recent ads, but these headphones aren't HD. I'm not entirely sure about the copy, specifically, "From our studios to your ears, only Sony is true to music." Everything else must be a lie.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas, We Love You the Best

The day we celebrate Christmas is over. We have to wait another year before we go pick out the best looking tree, take out the tinsel, and go over to grandma's house to see relatives we haven't seen since last Christmas. It will be another year before the mass chaos of last-minute shoppers flood the stores at four in the morning and bring you back to reality.

Another thing that brings us back to reality are bad gifts. Barkley believes that every idea has an expiration date. Except bad gift ideas. The agency has created the Bad Gift Emporium where you can share the bad gift(s) you've received over the years with others. If you want to, you can even exchange your bad gifts. I'm not sure specifically if the gifts are solely supposed to be from Christmas, because some don't look it. (If that's the case, I have a terribly awesome salt rock light I may display.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Everyone's Invited to Swim

Only the great will make it to the other side.

The annual D&AD Student Awards competition is in full-swing. The British Design and Art Design Award is one of the most coveted and challenging student awards across the pond and around the world.

There's no limit of entries, but they had better be incredible. The best of the best will be grading them. Each entry needs to be signed by your tutor/professor, or you can't enter. Can a 30 year-old grad student enter? You betcha. (Coincidentally, that's the same age as this award.)

Winners receive an oversize pencil whose tree's growth must have been stunted due to the greenhouse effect. But this little stump can be used as a pedestal to reach the next level, or a doorstop to save yourself from having a crushed foot.

The categories are: Advertising, Animation, Furniture Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Integrated Communication, Music Videos, Open Briefs, Photography, Product Design, Social Design, and What Else Do You Do? Description for the last onereads, "Having already entered one of more of the briefs this year, you are now entitled to now submit an additional piece of work that has nothing to do with this or any other competition..."

Because this blog is about advertising, I will only list the endless possibilities for the Advertising category.

Breastfeeding, Sponsored by Best Beginnings
Press Advertising
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sponsored by Breakthrough Breast Cancer
HSBC, Sponsored by ClearChannel
Nando's, Sponsored by Nando's
London Fashion Week, Sponsored by Grazia
If Only I'd Listened More Carefully, Sponsored by Ogilvy
Direct and Online
The Army, Sponsored by TEQUILA\
The Royal Opera House, Sponsored by This Is Real Art
Belu, Sponsored by Weilands

You can't literally drown if you don't win; you only fill your metaphorical lungs up with water and have to be resuscitated by determination. Or you could change majors (quitter). Before you enter, read this. Did you read it? Okay, the briefs are here.

D&AD will accept entries from students from Jan. 14 – March 20, 2008. The grading takes place in May, and the awards ceremony is in June. All of the 'A' work is accessible in June.

Good luck!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Hi, everyone. I really apologize for not updating lately. Finals week was really busy, and now I'm home spending time with family and friends. I will be posting more sometime after Christmas, and I look forward to sharing with you again. Until then, enjoy the merriment and wonder of John Denver and the Muppets "Twelve Days of Christmas". Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Von Maur Does the Right Thing

After the shooting in Omaha, Nebraska's Westroads Mall on Dec. 5, 2007, which claimed nine lives, Von Maur immediately gave their condolences to friends and family of those involved in the incident. The department store chain is based in Davenport, Iowa, about a four-and-a-half-hour drive away. The shooting has been reported to be on the second and third floors of the Von Maur in Omaha. On the same night, Jim Von Maur, CEO of Von Maur, flew in to offer his personal condolences. I'm not going to say this is a 'great move' by Von Maur, because it sounds rude under these circumstances. But it is by far the right thing, and a very kind thing, for Jim Von Maur to do for his patrons and employees.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Advertise' for 10 Grains

draw attention




FreeRice was started on October 7, 2007, and has generated a donation of 3 billion grains of rice for the United Nations World Food Programme. The donations are underwritten for by advertising dollars, using Google AdWords. The advertisers include top electronics manufacturers, retail stores, publications, hotels, and more.

On the site is a vocabulary quiz, and all you do is click on the word you believe matches closest to the word you're given. If you're wrong, it shows you the correct answer and finds an easier word to fit your vocabulary. Find out what level your friend can get to and have a friendly competition. Tomorrow on Thanksgiving, gather around the computer with your family and see who is the wisest in word knowledge. Not only is this a fun way to expand your nomenclature, but it's also a fantastic way to help feed the hungry.

Fifteen minutes of your time could feed a family for one day. "With almost 200 million grains being donated per day, the site’s creator, John Breen has already handed a US$100,000 cheque to the Agency, which will help provide food rations for 26,000 Burmese refugees sheltering in Bangladesh" (WFP).

Syria Bans Facebook

According to Global Voices, Facebook has been banned in Syria. Not very many Syrians were users of the social networking site (about 28,000 were affiliated to the 'Syria' network, out of almost 18 million citizens). Golaniya from Damascus says, "people are starting to organize their interests in concerts, galleries, conferences, plays, screenings…etc. and Facebook is facilitating the process which is very hard to do in an inactive militarily controlled society." Now none of them can gather together via Facebook and will have to resort to other avenues of communication, like Myspace. They're not sure why, and they're not sure who exactly ordered the ban. Blogger has already been banned, so they won't be reading this, either.


Exactly twenty days ago from today, the public chose a Web page concept for Nonsense, a creative agency in London. I cast my ballot in September. After voting, I entered my contact information and chose the "Just tell me when you have finished the entire project, as if I was one of your relatives" option. I am still waiting for them to contact me. It makes me wonder who else is waiting, or worse, who has forgotten about the whole thing.

The idea for their Web site is really smart. Free PR. Get the ad industry involved by having them post about the participatory election in blogs and online news sources. I'm sure there were other people who voted that aren't in the industry or even interested in advertising. A critical role agencies play is communication, and for me, Nonsense failed to communicate. It doesn't matter if the target audience was the ad industry or prospective clientele. Nonsense may have kept up with people who have their e-mail address ending in,,, etc., and not with the regular public. I don't know; maybe I was the only college student who voted. If the agency cannot create a dialogue with their product or brand, they aren't doing their job.

By the way, the winning vote was for 'The Rocking Chair Test'. The difference of 0.3% separated Media: Mixed from winning. On the Board was the big loser, with a 4.4% difference. This information is from their development blog, which Nonsense has created to update us on their progress. Hopefully they'll stay true to their word.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Volvo Interacts with Movie Premiere

Last year, SS+K and Brand Experience Lab came up with Newsbreaker for, a game using human joysticks and a motion sensor camera. Volvo is working in the UK with Brand Experience Lab and Carlton Screen Advertising by using this awesome idea as an interactive advertisement for the XC70 crossover. The audience is directed to move their hands left or right to gather as much luggage as possible within the time limit. I believe the brand recall will be high because the game looks like so much fun to play. I would probably go see the movie again just to interact with the technology, as well as with friends and strangers. At the end of the game, the theater's score is shown against other venues who are putting their hands up in the air like they just don't care. This is a great concept that works well with Volvo's tagline: 'Life is Better Lived Together'.

2006 | Newsbreaker

2007 | Volvo XC70

Book Burning

ihaveanidea's annual Portfolio Night is looming forth for the sixth time. May 8, 2008 signifies a night of dancing with the devil, or sitting down with brilliant creatives from the world's leading agencies. Aspiring creatives get three opportunities and 10 to 15 minutes to show their best stuff to creatives within an hour; it's more like speed dating rather than a formal interview. Last year, it was held in over 21 different time zones on the same day. This year, at least 33 cities are getting involved. ihaveanidea has submitted the event for application to Guinness World Records for the World's Largest Portfolio Review. Registration isn't up yet, but I'll let you know when it is.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Buick May Have a Chance

Tonight I saw an ad online (left) for Buick. The Buick Enclave is the crossover vehicle in the picture. It seems like they're saying "we don't suck anymore, give us a chance" through Motor Trend magazine's review. It's your choice to accept a brand that's only acceptable and not the leader. Buick has been around for over 100 years, and we all know by the incredibly slow drivers that the brand still exists. Buicks are known to be called the car for an old person. I have heard younger people complain and say, "oh, they're driving a Buick", when in fact they're driving a Cadillac, Oldsmobile, or whatever. Buick is working to erase the stereotype by making their vehicles –- or at least the Enclave -- more romantic and family-oriented.

The 30-second spot, done by Vigilante, for the Buick Enclave features the Director of Design, Interior, Michael Burton, who subtley lets you know how he supposedly chose what materials to use in the design.

I would compare this commercial to the Lexus spots, done by Team One, which specifically talk about music and remind consumers about the Mark Levinson sound system. Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales, is the number one luxury automaker company in the world. It was a great idea by them to focus on a small but important piece of the pie rather than the whole thing. It's engaging and entertaining. You can watch the other two here.

Michael Burton explains how he got inspired. (Video ends at 2:15)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Apple Commercial Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

DIY Advertising, also known as consumer generated content, is becoming more prominent. Agencies' clients pay a large sum of money to grab your attention so you can do the same to others by creating an advertisement that is relevant to consumers like yourself.

Apple and their agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, are doing something a little different; marketing employees at Apple found a 30-second video about the iPod Touch and wanted that to be their next commercial. The video was edited in Final Cut Pro and produced by Nick Haley, an eighteen year-old freshman from the University of Leeds in England. He's an Apple enthusiast, having received his first Apple computer when he was three years-old.

The spot is quite similar to something TBWA/Chiat/Day and Apple would produce, so it's no wonder the video matches their taste. The music, 'My Music is My Hot, Hot Sex' by Brazilian band CSS, is expected but fits very well with the fast tempo walk-through of the iPod Touch. Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Portugese for 'Tired of Being Sexy', will be playing for Great Britain in December on their Christmas Tour. After Chiat contacted him via e-mail on his phone, he took his first trip across the pond and worked with agency creatives in Los Angeles to produce a similar HD broadcast-ready version.

Nick Haley spot

TBWA/Chiat/Day + Apple spot

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facebook Lures Advertisers

Mark Zuckerberg has something up his sleeves for November 6th, but he's keeping whatever it is under the table until then. Facebook sent advertisers and agencies in New York a little invitation in the form of a Lucite brick: "You are invited to a discussion with Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team as we unveil a new way of advertising online." There's a big rumor that all the de-classified information you provide on Facebook will be available to advertisers. Already, nine companies -- Apple, CBS, Chase, Coke, Condé Nast, General Motors, Nike, Sony, and Verizon -- have jumped on board and will pay at least $300,000 each to be "Landmark Partners". Another rumor is that, somehow, Facebook will be able to target non-Facebook users on other sites. Internet marketers salivate as the countdown begins.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

College Kids and Brand Influence

Fifty years ago, I doubt that you would see event flyers posted on walls in residence halls or on bulletin boards around campus. Today, you can't escape them. Recently I've been paying attention to the influence brands have on my friends here at Kansas State University.

Almost all of us are on Facebook and believe it should be added to the dictionary as a noun and an adverb. Unlike Tom on MySpace, Mark Zuckerberg won't allow you to be his friend. If Facebook didn't exist, I wouldn't have been able to make a connection with the moderate similarity of new colors on our hallway with the social networking site.

We visit YouTube at least once a week to find hilarious videos, whether it's for ten seconds or ten minutes -- it needs to captivate some part of us. When something great is found, it will be shared via e-mail, Facebook, or by a friend coming into your room and making you watch the video.

One video on YouTube, in particular, has made a big impact on our floor, which has been deemed "Gregg's Place". Old Gregg is a twisted hermaphroditic merman, featured on the fifth episode in the second season of a British show called The Mighty Boosh. The episode is appropriately named "The Legend of Old Gregg". Old Gregg's character is played by Noel Fielding. Old Gregg quotes, like "It's attached to your rod, mothalicka", and "Do you like me? ... Make an assessment" are fervently repeated up and down the hallway. Shouting "I'm old Gregg!" has been the favorite.

Not only do I live in "Gregg's Place", but our study room is called "The Man Cave", possibly named after Alltel's concept, or possibly because we're all men. If it's the former, that would be pretty cool. Is Alltel getting more reach from the idea?

The residence hall I live in had a Floor Wars last week. Our floor won every event, and after the informal award ceremony, we ran upstairs with balloons and the large flyers that advertised each night's event. Displayed on one of the cabinets is the set of clothing we made for Project Runway. The event wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the TV show.

Pepsi-Cola is the offical carbonated beverage of K-State. Pepsi products are in the dining halls and in the convenience stores on campus; you will not find Coca-Cola products anywhere, until you go off-campus. If requested within a sufficient amount of time, free Pepsi products can be given to distribute out to students for a hall function.

Nike is the official sponsor for our athletic department, covering all varsity sports. Players wear Nike shoes and apparel. This isn't grade school though. We know their shoes don't make them jump higher or run faster, and we know it won't do any good for us either. But we have a relationship with the team. We come to the games alert and aware of what's going on.

Do these brands (and others) involuntarily affect how we think, leading us to purchase a product or recommend them to a friend?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Permit Pests, Prevent Fires

K-State reminds all residents that it's time to recognize our uninhibited friends who walk next to us on the way to class.

National Fire Prevention Week is also this week -- a little more important than swerving for suicidal squirrels (but still a good thing to do). These critters won't rescue you from a fire, but they may start one. Northern Idaho ground squirrels, for instance, like fires.

Join the Great American Fire Drill, so you'll be prepared. Schools, families and offices are invited to share their experience on YouTube.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Can You Tell Me How to Get a Design Job?

Personally, I can't tell you, but I discovered some great tips for students who strive to be designers. The best thing -- it's Sesame Street themed!

Amtrak Arrives Late

Better late than never, right? Amtrak introduces ARTE, the Engineer. "ARTE" looks like an acronym, and that's just what it is -- Amtrak Recognizes The Environment. Since when did "the" become an exception as part of an acronym? ARTE's mission is " to encourage environmental awareness — turning passion for the rails into passion for the earth" (Amtrak). They created events in Washington and Philadelphia this past week with childen to plant seedlings of 1,500 blue spruce trees. Does that make things better for us? Not necessarily. Is Amtrak doing this because they really care about the environment, or are they finally squeezing their way into the packed money train?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

All Dressed Up, Nowhere to Go

While visiting a friend two days ago, I saw a Seventeen Magazine in her room and asked to borrow it.

Why look in a girl's magazine? For one, I like ads. Secondly, research. The KSU Ad Club has volunteered to work with a student who is a Senior in Apparel and Textile Design; she will be opening a lingerie boutique in Rochester, New York sometime next year and has asked for some assistance developing a marketing strategy. We're privileged to work with her and have this opportunity.

Browsing through page after page of the publication and evaluating the effectiveness of the ads, I saw part of JCPenney's "Every Day Matters" campaign. The spread shows some teen girls at a dance posing for the camera in dresses that JCPenney is selling. I'm a guy, but I know when someone's hairstyle looks terrible. Theirs does, especially the girls on the far left and right. This is an important detail that JCPenney or its agency has missed. The lighting is also very poor. The copy is okay.

Going through some more pages, landing on a Dillard's ad, I saw a face that looked familiar. I had to do a double-take and go back to the JCPenney ad. She has the same facial structure. Yep, the caucasian brunette is the same model for JCPenney and Dillard's. (You may compare and contrast below.) Is this a bad thing for either company, or is it irrelevant?



The Dillard's ad has much better dramatic lighting for the occasion. The modeling and hairstyles are also better.

Are both concepts too similar? The ads are only 29 pages away from each other, in a magazine that has 173 pages. JCPenney is feeling free and having fun. Dillard's is intimate and elegant. Both spreads are scenarios headed to the same place.

BRAVIA Bunnies!

The newest Sony Bravia advertisement is out. First, there was 'Balls', then there was 'Paint'. Now, there is 'Play-Doh', featuring 2.5 tons of plasticine in 1:30 of stop-motion. "Devised by Fallon [London] and shot over three weeks in New York, the commercial employed 40 animators from Passion" (Sony). The spot also included 189 2' bunnies, 150 1' cubes, a 10'x20' purple wave, one giant 30' rabbit, and six cameras.

Watch the Teaser

Watch 'Play-Doh'

For better quality, watch the video on Sony BRAVIA's site. It takes a little while to load, but you get to read some colourful facts while you wait. Update: Don't wait and watch it here.

The Website has more. First, put your headphones on. Colour your own on the personalized Colourwall, walk through sharp blades of grass, listen to calming music, fly through a tunnel, drip a droplet, and bounce a ball on some walls to drop psychedelic sounds and ripples of colour. You can download the old BRAVIA spots, wallpapers and images. Also, check out the colour experiments and some info on the singer-songwriter José González ('Balls').

Friday, October 5, 2007

Learn How To Speak Teen


Communications company AT&T has put an insert in today's edition (Oct. 4) of the USA Today and previously on Sept. 25, part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The insert features a cell phone with an indecipherable message. (I sometimes use text messaging, and the ‘teen lingo’ makes no sense to me, even after reading the supposed translation.) On the side of it reads, "Do You Speak Teen?" in a large, eye-catching font. The backside has information and a small quiz to see if you know your teen. Attached to the insert is a tear-off with more information. All but one side has links to either or

Both days the insert has run, it has caught my attention. Both times I have seen them on the floor, dropped and disregarded by students getting their daily dose of headlines. The first time I picked the ad up, it was pretty dirty, so I threw it away. Once again, and in the same location (dining center), it was on the tile floor.

Is this really necessary? I don't mean is this necessary for the advertisement to run, but is our society so disconnected that parents need to be taught by a corporation how to talk to their kids? All of the 'Action Items For Parents of Teens' disturbs me, except for the third, which is only a little troubling.

“• Pick up your teen's mp3 player and go to the "Top 25 Most Played" section. Listen for references to alcohol, drugs or other risky behaviors. Then talk with your teen about what you heard.

• Visit social networking sites like, and browse the profiles of teens your child's age to see what they say, what their interests are and what they are doing online.

• Can you name your teen's favorite TV show? Watch it with him or her and discuss story lines.

• Go to a video sharing Web site and type in "smoking weed." Watch some of the videos. Did you know that your teen might be exposed to these images?”

Let's start at the top and work our way down.

1) My mp3 player does not have a “Top 25 Most Played” list. How do you know if listening to a song is harmful? We all know “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver, and “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul & Mary are references to smoking a blunt. I don’t know anyone who has said John Denver or Puff and Little Jackie Paper introduced them to pot. Bob Marley can be an exception. "Chronic-what-cles of Narnia" is from a skit on Saturday Night Live. It's a popular skit with teens and young adults, but it doesn't make me want to roll a doobie.

2) Stalk or lurk other children’s online communal space to build a stereotype of how your child is. Why not talk to them up front instead of peering over their shoulder?

3) This is good, for the most part. Spending quality time with your child is very important. Discuss story lines, right. How about this? Be genuinely interested and talk with whatever you want to talk about with your child, and whatever your child wants to talk about with you.

4) Parents have to go to a Web site to understand what “smoking weed” is? Doubt that. I’m pretty sure that teens have been exposed to images of marijuana. But does it make them go out and smoke it? That’s really subject to your child's moral values and susceptibility to peer pressure.

It is important to talk with your child/pre-teen/teen/whatever about drugs. Drug usage can destroy families and future generations. I’m glad to see support for the livelihood of teens and my peers working to be motivators.

Part of the tear-off insert reads, “Teens may be a hard study, but knowing more about their world and the influences around them will help you connect better with your teen.” Your kids should not be research projects but should be an individual masterpiece ‘in progress’. The tenor of the advertisement reads as if teens are just a statistic. And that’s especially what your son(s)/daughter(s) don’t want to be labeled today.

I’m a little confused as to who the demographic for this campaign is, because it’s parental advice from a company that may run your cable and is in the pages of a national newspaper. The idea people have of USA Today readers is subjective, so that doesn’t count. Maybe it’s toward the businessmen and women who wake up at 5 a.m. to commute two hours to work and hardly get to see their kids. Suggestion: I would rather have my parents spend an hour with me than spending an hour searching for profanity, connotations, etc. Don’t be anything but yourself, mom or dad.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

NEXT Phones Arrive Too Soon

While browsing the news headlines at this early/late hour, I was linked to from Drudge. At the top right of the page is a banner ad for Verizon Wireless Next series of phones. The banner ad has no animation. The two identical ads on the right at the middle of the page do, however. They go through each phone and then show the whole family together.

First of all, why two of the exact same ad? Do they think that the reader will not click one but give the other a chance? Maybe there's something I'm missing. Update: It has dawned on me that both ad spaces are taken because another tenant would distract from what Verizon is trying to sell.

The timing is way off, for those people who have laptop computers (smaller screen) at least, like me (15-inch). Sorry, my parents did not carry on the gene of reading a few hundred words every five seconds. I don't see the animation, so I have to refresh the page and scroll down. The average person is not going to do that.

What if there were a sensor to detect when the user has scrolled down to where the ad is located? The animation can then attract the reader's eye, doing what it's supposed to do. Scrolling over the ad itself is a good avenue to reach them, which is being used today. Seasoned current event lovers may train themselves to walk the fine pixelated line of not touching any ads or clicking, and that's why a sensoring program, code, or something, would capture more interested eyeballs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Trails to You

That's not the image I first pictured when I read the name of Kashi's TLC cookies at Target two nights ago. My mind wandered further down south, and immediately was turned off from the product. Why would something like this be overlooked? Even if it weren't "the stairway to heaven", how does "happy" help a product sell? The cookies aren't really happy. They probably wouldn't make me any happier; chocolate chip cookies put me in a good mood. The box of cookies was stored on the top shelf, so surely it wasn't directed at the younger demographic. Is this just creative laziness?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

(Do It) For the Glory of Love

In the latest issue of Communication Arts magazine, Ernie Shenck encourages us to appreciate every day, whether it's the day you get laid off or the day your agency lands an account with your favorite brand. The article is called 'Is There a Shoeless Joe in You?', referencing the baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson. Do what you do because you love it unconditionally.

Here's an excerpt of the motivational column. I encourage you to subscribe to CA. If you don't, at least get this issue for Ernie's uplifting words.

"I hope you love it all. Embrace it all. Suck it all in and let it shape and form you into something amazing, something with depth and breadth and subtle variations in texture and color, the likes of which we've never seen. Love what you do. Love the highs and the lows and weave it all into what you are to become. Be blindly in love. Be Shoeless Joe. Hold the bat up to your face. Look at the grain. Feel it on your cheek. Smell the varnish. You'll be better for it. We all will."

Here's a great example.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Purity in Digital Form

Featured on the homepage of YouTube, New Zealand Tourism works with Weta Digital, creators of the digital effects for Lord of the Rings, now working on Prince Caspian, the second movie in the Chronicles of Narnia, to promote the beautiful island of New Zealand for 24-hours. The campaign has gone global in 2007.

An awesome effects company is presenting the island of New Zealand, but everyday it is represented in its purest form -- that no digital animation could capture or re-create. If you have a great product, it shouldn't be hard to sell.

But having Peter Jackson on your side doesn't hurt (if you can afford it).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

'Times' Are Changing

What is the future of the newspaper? The New York Times sponsored a luncheon at Kansas State University on Thursday to discuss this, or so I thought. The luncheon was a part of a series for the JMC Mentoring Program at K-State. Susan Edgerley, assistant managing editor for the New York Times, and Steve Wolgast, news design editor for the New York Times, both K-State alum, were the speakers.

First, they showed a YouTube video of "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us", done by Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State, Michael Wesch. Not only does he make an incredibly accurate video, Wesch is also a great teacher. I have not yet had the privilege to be in any of his classes, but I hear nothing but high praise from current and past students. My friend, who is currently in his Intro to Cultural Anthropology course, is required to learn 20 student's names in the class; they have to get to know each other via Facebook. Some don't have Facebook (crazy, I know), so they have to register just for the project/quiz.

The Web is changing, obviously. The New York Times pointed out that it's changing their job and their readers. Susan and Steve poignantly used an allegory of the farmer and the lily pad. The farmer goes out to his pond and sees a lily. He thinks nothing of it. A few days pass, and he comes back to the pond. Now there are a few more lily pads. He decides that he needs to get something to remove the lily pads. But he doesn't get around to it. A week goes by, and he comes back to the pond. It's completely filled with lily pads. He didn't act quickly, so now his pond is covered with lily pads. They said we need to recognize the pace of how quickly things are changing. Not only do we need to recognize this, but we need to react.

Next, they showed a video of a young woman (probably in her twenties) who was very connected to her laptop computer and cell phone. During the interview, she was on the couch with her computer, and the cell phone was on the armrest. She's so physically dependant on technology that she adamantly expressed how it's her life, she couldn't live without it. The young woman looked as if she were going to burst into tears at the thought. The New York Times' job, they say, is to find out how to get someone who doesn't read traditional newspaper to read it. But they didn't say how they're going about it.

The speakers often referred to what the New York Times is doing to keep up with technology. "The Lede", a popular blog from the Times' sources, is "something you wouldn't have seen on even a year ago", said Susan Edgerley. She and Steve told us about when most of the subway flooded -- they (the New York Times) were there. The radio didn't have anything yet, not even the MTA site had any information on alternatives or information of what exactly was going on. This is when the readers became reporters, with their comments on the blog(s). With the blogs come links to other sites unaffiliated with the New York Times, linking to sites they can't edit. The Times expects the average person to understand their inability to moderate the Internet. It's common sense.

"We have to do it all. We can do it all" said Susan. They showed a user photograph from of lightning striking at the perfect time during a thunderstorm. Other pictures and video they have to be careful with. They verify the user's credibility by talking to them and getting the story. It can be through a thirty-minute conversation on the phone if need be. The blog comments are also moderated by the staff, though never edited. It either stays or goes.

When it was time for Q & A, Tom Palmer, Jr., reporter for the Boston Globe, asked about what the New York Times is doing to show various viewpoints, as it is widely know as a liberal paper. Susan and Steve said that their online editorials give a concentrated effort that all sides are represented. A student asked how the Web is affecting advertising. Susan said, "Web advertising is growing huge, but it's only this big [small percentage]". There is exponential potential, but tiny revenue.

For the most part, we learned what the New York Times is doing to keep up with a rapidly changing business. During discussion at the table with the people I met and during the presentation, there were hints of how print will remain. The tactile importance and simple ingenuity of escaping from the world until you release your captivated eyes from it keeps us wanting more.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

новая кофейня

Translation: The New Coffee House

Starbucks opened its doors last Thursday in a Russian mega mall in Khimki (pop. 180,000), about 45 minutes away from Moscow. The mall has 10,000 outlet stores; you know it gets some good foot traffic. As the country's first Starbucks, it will be a suitable fit to warm them up, especially during the extremely cold, long winter months. This is the first of probably thousands to come. But Starbucks is taking their time.

For now, only one more is planned in Moscow by the end of the year. "This is an important step for the company, and we are looking forward to being a part of every day life for Russians," says Cliff Burrows, President of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Hopefully they'll give the Russians a break with free Wi-Fi, but I doubt it.

(via MSNBC)
(Translation via Babelfish)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Philips Seduces Viewers

Philips has begun an international campaign for the Aurea, a Flat LCD HDTV that projects ROY G BIV onto your wall. It's much more than that, though. The Aurea is endless visual pleasure. The experience is like tripping on acid -- without the acid. The sad news: currently, it's only available in Europe.

DDB concepted the idea of a short film, directed by Wong Kar Wai, which can be seen on the Web and in stores. You are given the option to keep the "Ambilight On" or "Ambilight Off" to compare and contrast. A beautiful musical score, by Mark Slater and members of the London Symphony orchestra, labeled as the "Aurea Soundtrack", may also be downloaded on the Web site, created by Tribal DDB.

Most of the advertising will be television-based, by DDB Amsterdam, showing the brilliant, upgraded feature with a 60-second spot. Vincent Peters, fashion photographer, shot the print.

Philips is also staying ahead by partnering with Swarovski, a world-famous crystal and jewelry company. They're launching the Philips-Swarovski Active Crystals collection.

Rudy Provoost, Philips CEO, says it's a "fusion of function and fashion." Philips is targeting the female touch. "It's kind of bringing Philips 'sense and simplicity' with style and seduction" (Shiny).

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

C-K Selected to Steer Porsche

No, this isn't a charity event where celebrity Calvin Klein drives a Porsche in a Race to Save the Whales. (Though, that would be an important cause.) I'm talking about Cramer-Krasselt, an independently owned and managed advertising agency, headquartered in Chicago.

Out of three other agencies, including incumbent Carmichael Lynch, Porsche North America has finally and decidedly chosen Cramer-Krasselt to head the creative and media duties. David Pryor, Porsche svp, marketing, said, "Their team very quickly showed a tremendous passion and understanding of our business and developed a compelling, evolutionary expression of our brand." (Adweek). From the great work CL has done for Porsche, I'm really interested in seeing Porsche evolve.

And they've done so just in time for the release of the 2009 Porsche Panamera, a new four-door sedan hybrid with a V-8 engine. "Carmichael Lynch, according to Pryor, will continue to work on a 'significant project' for the company through the first quarter of next year"(Adweek). Porsche spent $25 million on the account with CL, but the upcoming year is an estimated $40 million.

Starbucks Goes Wi-Fi with iTunes

The iPod touch was released today by Steve Jobs. It's really thin and can play your favorite movies, YouTube, Cover Flow, and you can hop on the Internet with the Safari Web browser. The iPod nano also has received a big face lift with a new design, new colors, a larger display with video, Cover Flow, and enhanced interface.

But now Apple has joined with Starbucks, so the iPod touch user will be able to download the music that is playing in the coffee shop. No more asking the barista what the tune before last was while you were in the bathroom.

Now you can download it with their free wireless connection. Until the release of this news, Starbucks Wi-Fi has only been available to T-Mobile users, and it wasn't free.

According to Apple, New York and Seattle Starbucks should have it integrated sometime next month. The San Francisco area should get it in November. Next year, Los Angeles should have it in February and Chicago in March.

The new iPod touch doesn't have that much memory. There's an 8 GB and a 16GB, in comparison to the 160 GB possibility for the iPod Classic. This should be enough for your duration at Starbucks to watch a movie and listen to some tunes on the walk back home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Something to chew on.

That's the new tagline for the KSU Ad Club this year. I am priviliged to be the Vice President with the voluntary duties of maintaining a blog, inviting guest speakers, and creating a campaign. We're all really looking forward to what the future holds. Below are the posters created for the ad lovers on campus.

Friday, August 10, 2007

These Colors Don't Run, They Drive

"Rethink American" is Saturn's new tagline. Everything in the commercial (below) by Deutsch LA, to my knowledge, is driven to be American -- except for the song. "Higher" is performed by British band Soundcage, composed by Daniel Cage. He's also written music for major brands like Nike, Reebok, Pepsi, and Coke. According to Cage's official Web site, he graduated from the University of Southern California, and his next show is in New York -- performing at a charity benefit with Bette Midler and Kanye West. But he's still from the UK; it's an American-themed spot with a British song. This contradicts the whole message and makes me wonder why more people aren't seeing this disconnect. Details shouldn't go unnoticed. Isn't it Rethink Canadian, anyway?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Drop Zone

Another company that's right on target is Perris Valley Skydiving. They've uniquely placed themselves as California's only resort skydiving center.

Driving to work, I saw a large plane on its approach. I get excited when I see jets because our airport is small, and the only flights are on a Beechcraft 1900D to Kansas City International. The airport is located in the middle of the United States, and one runway is long enough for the Space Shuttle to land on. Piloted by Steve Fosset, Virgin's longest flight around the world started and ended here. The airport is also a testing area for aircraft companies, training for the military, and a semi-frequent refueling stop for private jets and props. Back to the story. Driving 75 on the Interstate, I quickly glanced up a few times at the large jet. It couldn't be private; it was too big and didn't look like a Gulfstream or Learjet. My eyes only saw "Skydive", which immediately made me question if I needed my eyes checked. Skydive out of a jet? No way.

After further investigation, Skydive Perris is not only the sole skydiving center with a resort in California, but it also uses the only jet in the world that is certified (just last year) for skydiving. It's nicknamed the "pocket rocket", as it can take off on reasonably short runways. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9-21 is commissioned once again. (It may sound a little scary to use an old aircraft, but as long as the maintenance is kept up, you're good to go.) What used to be a commercial airliner for Scandinavian Airlines in the 60's, is now flying to drop people off who hardly ever land. There are only three of these planes left in service. Even better, the jet can take 80 experienced jumpers up to 15,000 feet, going 220 MPH -- at the price of $85 a person. Amazing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mailing Maelstrom

Junk mail is everywhere, attacking your mailbox like a tempest. About 44% of it is thrown back without reading, and after it's read, there's a 95% chance you'll throw it into the Neverending Pit of Garbage. You can fight it and sign up for "do-not-mail" lists, but most likely, the sea of mail will keep surging.

Why not invite them onto your boat by encouraging them to use other means of communication? Like e-mails you receive with an "unsubscribe" option, businesses could include an "unsubscribe" envelope -- guaranteeing no more mail from them if you send it back. Using this, they could reach their target audience better. (Hopefully they have one.)

If junk mail was reduced, it would leave a much smaller carbon footprint. "The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined" ( And that's what this is all about, right? As much as we would like to think businesses care more about Mother Earth's green than your green, it's usually quite the opposite.

Targeting the right audience is a major dilemma for companies.

This week, I received an invitation to a retirement planning seminar. A complimentary meal for myself and three adults is included. There is no mention of anything free in the letter, besides the toll free number I am supposed to call for reservations. But I am not retiring anytime soon. I'm still in college, as a matter of fact. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000, 14.3% of citizens in the city I reside in are 65 years and older. This makes me curious as to how many young people like myself received this letter. It's only one piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp. But it costs them more money than they should be spending. They're spending it in the wrong place. If I went to the lunch or dinner seminar with three guests who are not close to the age of retirement, that company is losing four possible clients and an innumerable amount of money.

But there can be a calm in the storm. Procter & Gamble's Gillette does it right. Soon after I turned 18, I got a free Mach3 razor. After my sister turned 18, she got a free Venus razor. We use the product and become familiar with the brand we become dependent on -- for our hygienic and cosmetic needs. When corporations, small businesses and the like spend money on targeting the right audience, there's more chance the consumer will develop a relationship with their brand, which is much more valuable than a "catch of the day" to the business.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Contagious Commercial

This commercial by BBDO New York for Diet Pepsi Max interacts with the audience, and sometimes -- depending on if yawning is contagious for the individual -- the audience interacts with the commercial. I yawn just thinking about yawning. The other commercials in this campaign aren't as focused. Is Diet Pepsi Max trying to get the consumer to identify (the absence of) yawning with their brand? It's a somewhat creative approach, but any caffeinated product can give you a kickstart in the morning. Now I can't...stop...yawning.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

'Cavemen' Evolved Too Fast

ABC producers have decided to re-shoot the 'Cavemen' pilot, after failing to establish them properly. Two of the original Geico actors in the commercial spots were unavailable, but Jeffrey Daniel Phillips, will be in the series. Hopefully it was Joe Lawson, creator and producer, who spoke up on how much the pilot preview sucks and how the actors' personalities do not resemble the savvy, yet Paleolithic minds, featured in the great Geico commercials. If it wasn't him, maybe the network actually listened to us.

(via Drudge)

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's About Time

Sorry for not updating in a while. I got a new job for the summer, and a lot of my time has been occupied checking in travelers, making sure there are enough towels, and reminding them that breakfast is served from 6 to 9. We do have wireless Internet, but I'm only allowed online for work-related activities.

The following is an update of happenings previously mentioned here.

Tread Lightly

Boeing has unveiled its environmentally conscious 787 Dreamliner. It's big and beautiful. Airbus has been marketing its A380 as environmentally friendly, but it's big and ugly. The two companies are using the same USP, which is not unique at all. Staying with the eco-friendly people pleaser, airlines should no longer serve beef, as it makes a bigger carbon footprint than driving a car nonstop for three hours.

Experienced Virgin Gets Her Wings

Also in airline news, the first ever mood lighting on a U.S. commercial flight has been introduced. Virgin America, its hub located in San Francisco, has officially opened booking for its flights. Features include 3,000 mp3s, open source Doom (the game), the largest seatback TV available on a U.S. airline, and over 20 pay-per-view movies to choose from. Save your playlist, and it will remember you the next flight. An ethernet jack is at every seat, in case you don't have wireless; WiFi is available. You can also order food/drinks while at your seat with the swipe of your credit card.

Before Virgin America launched, while it was having some problems getting off the ground, VA wanted the general public to name its planes and vote on the best ones. You could do so on 'Jefferson Airplane' is one great name that has joined the fleet. The link is no longer available and redirects the user to the VA home page.

Prof Gilzot is Real?

No, he's not real. Yesterday, though, the bot instant messaged me out of the blue. In this new age of permissive marketing, steps are being taken to give consumers more control. AOL gives you the option to accept or deny an instant message. But perhaps someone who has never heard of Prof Gilzot could be mislead. Also, I was very disappointed to see that the question he asked me was not even related to SATs or education, but a matter of his own personal opinion of a current event.

London 2012 Gets Even More Retro
The logo for the 2012 London Paralympic Games is even worse than the 2012 London Olympic Games. It adds more color and crazy 80's style patterns.

London 2012 also uses an antiquated idea by using the New Year's Resolution and adding five years. What would you challenge yourself to do by 2012?

BBDO CCO Wins Breakfast, Award

David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO North America, has won the Wall Street Journal's Creative Leaders contest. Lubars has won countless awards, from Emmy's to a Titanium Lion. He's changing the model of agencies, which for most is a good thing. Look for a new face within the next week on a full-page ad for the WSJ. Lubars is now joined in notoriety with the creative ranks of Alex Bogusky, Gary Goldsmith, Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, Tom McElligot, and more.

In other news, the site still sucks. Words and graphics overlap that aren't supposed to overlap. It would have been nice if they had filmed the event and posted it online. At the least -- tell us that it's over, who won and why.

BBDO Sidenote

Not only does the agency have a winning creative mogul on their hands, but they themselves are winners. In Cannes this year, the agency won "Network of the Year", a brand new award that "recognizes an agency network's creative excellence across the full range of marketing communication channels" (PRNewswire).

Harry Potter Lives On

Plans have been made, and the paperwork has been signed. The Harry Potter theme park is slated to open in 2009. Harry will live on in the hearts and official merchandise of fans worldwide.

Feed Me!

The Ad Feed's creative portion is still not up yet. But I'll be sure to let you know once the stellar renovation is at 100%. Meanwhile, visit Ads of the World or Shedwa.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Codename Cloverfield

Bad Robot Productions has opened with monster marketing on Independence Day, in a teaser trailer before the "Transformers" movie plays in theatres across the nation. The company is owned by Cloverfield's producer, J.J. Abrams, who is responsible for creating the hit TV series "Alias" and co-creating the very successful series' "Lost" and "Felicity". A jack of many trades, he composed the theme song for "Alias" and co-composed for "Felicity", and he made his directorial debut with "Mission Impossible: 3". Matt Reeves, who has worked with Abrams as co-creator, producer and writer for "Felicity", is the film's director. Drew Goddard, who has written for Abrams in some of his TV dramas, is the writer for this production.

The credits do not tell the title of the film. And like many others, I immediately came home to find out what the heck this was all about. To me, the tempo was like a movie, and I thought that maybe it was the opening of "Transformers". The credits at the end were shown for about one second, and all I could read in time was "Bad Robot Productions", which was already seen at the beginning. Wikipedia tells us that the movie project by Abrams is codenamed "Cloverfield". There are already rumors of this being a Godzilla-like blockbuster, or perhaps a project that will feed off the popularity of "Transformers" and produce something similar.

We do know that is a science fiction film with the monster referred to as "The Parasite". Like it's counterpart, a viral campaign has been released. Following in the footsteps of "Batman: The Dark Knight", a teaser Web site,, has been launched. It shows a still from the camcorder, aptly taken on the same date. Interested viewers hope to solve the puzzle. Look to the stars for help. A blog has been created in protest to show how Ethan Haas is wrong. (Look for something special on August 1.) The videos for the trailer have been taken off YouTube due to a copywright claim by Paramount Pictures Corporation, but it doesn't take too long to google and find the trailer.

This is a brilliant move of precision and timing by Paramount, catching the attention of the same demographic that has brought the highest July 4 single-day gross of $29.1 million to "Transformers". Everyone wants what they can't have.

Update (July 6, 2007): Some news on the mystery casting, budget, and more can be found here.

(Attention: Possible Spoiler. Visuals are much better than written descriptions. Please do not read further, unless you want to read it before you see it.)

The Teaser
The introduction leaves no time to waste, as the Bad Robot Productions treatment is quickly shown (for about 2 seconds). It opens on a surprise going away party for a well-respected guy named Rob who's moving to Japan. Most of the shots are taken with a handheld consumer video camera, much like The Blair Witch Project. A few friends are interviewed to talk about Rob and how they will miss him. A roar is heard in the distance, along with the sound of car alarms. The party of hipsters are concerned and watch the news for any clue of what's going on. The news anchor tells them that many people are calling the newsroom to report of the "thunderous, roaring sound". The party decides to go on the roof to get a better view. A huge explosion occurs from far away, and pieces of the flaming, flying debris come hurling towards them. With a panicked videographer in a rush to save his own life, the shots are also edited to show only bits and pieces. Everyone runs down the stairs, only to see hundreds of New Yorkers running for their lives. An ominous roar erupts from a closer distance, and something is thrown into a building, which then richochets and bounces on the city street, rolling past the camera. It's Lady Liberty's copper head. The credit for J.J. Abrams is shown. Rob tells everyone "it's going to be the best night ever", and the trailer closes with the opening date and credits.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Dirty Jobs' Plugs Ford

On tonight's episode of 'Dirty Jobs' on the Discovery Channel, Mike Rowe, the show's host, teams up with a Texas outdoor advertising company to install a billboard. He helps with everything from start to finish. Keeping the stereotype alive, the billboard is huge. At the end of the segment, he plays with the idea that only a big company could handle this advertising space. The camera pans out and the Ford oval from an F-150 is in view. Cut to Mike Rowe on the billboard in front of a brand new Ford F-150 advertisement. He looks up at the truck and says, "Now that's a tough truck."

Mike Rowe joined Ford in January as a personality in their TV, print and online advertising campaign for the F-150 truck. The show was sponsored by Ford, and this one entire segment was dedicated to constructing a billboard. (I don't recall of any other episode where Mike Rowe did only one job for the entire show.) I wouldn't be surprised if Ford purchased the billboard and concepted the idea for this episode. The show was entertaining, and the Ford plug wasn't until the end, although it was very obvious what they were doing.

Will audiences accept this form of advertising, or will they ignore it?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Buy a Lion

Did you go to Cannes and win a Lion? Maybe you accidentally dropped it whilst in a drunken stupor in the Mediterranean, boating with your advertising cohorts. Perhaps you left it out of your sight for ten seconds in the bathroom at LaGuardia. It's possible that you just want two because good things come in twos. Whichever it is or isn't, you can order a duplicate from the Cannes Lions official Web site. They only accept a cheque from the UK, bank transfer, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

Advertising is the only industry I know of where you occasionally have to pay for the award. A former copywriter at JWT Toronto won a Bronze Lion (approximately $1,150) this year and cannot afford to purchase it. (via AdRants)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cannes Coverage You Can See

See the best of the best work in the world at Cannes Lions Live.

New Director's Reel
Today, Saatchi & Saatchi released their 17th New Directors reel, presented by Worldwide Creative Director, Bob Isherwood.

Commercials, music videos and experimental short films are brilliantly displayed, showing great talent from new faces names. Before the release, S&S produced a short act depicting the struggles a new director has getting discovered and getting a job.

Directors (in order presented)

Trish Sie
Vince Squibb
Rozan and Schmeltz
300 ml
Nanda Cohen
Ramon Bloomberg
Lev Yilmaz
Amy Gebhardt
Johnny Green
Josh Raskin
Luciano Quilici
Tom Reilly
Borgato and Berté
Joaquin Baca-Asay
Jonas and François
Tony Barry

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.