Monthly Archives: April 2010

An idealist who wants a realist form of government: the UK election candidate offering digital democracy

Author: Kirsty Saddler, Planning Director, BBH New York (@keava)


BBH is strictly non-partisan and typically avoids politics, but is intrigued by an independent candidate standing for Hackney South and Shoreditch this election who has taken mainstream digital behavior and applied it to politics, so offering a new model for voters.

Denny de la Haye is no career politician and has never had any party affiliation. He is instead motivated by a belief in a better political system. So he is standing with no policies and the promise of direct democracy; if voted in he will poll constituents before he votes on any issue or piece of legislation.

He believes that while there is apathy about political voting, people’s support for issues is rising – as digital has facilitated more activism and support for issue based organizations.

“If you allow people a forum and a say they will use it, but they are not motivated to vote politically as they are disillusioned by the system. The UK political system has people in positions of power who answer to a party, before their voters”.

De la Haye is aware that his system relies on people remaining consistently engaged, but this is where his experience as a web designer kicks in and he draws on participation models like Digg and Reddit.

For issues and legislation he will endeavor to get people reading around the issue to inform themselves. To do this he will post an objective synopsis of government’s texts online – inspired by ‘translation service’ – links can then be added to the synopsis by constituents, which can in turn be rated so the most valuable rise to the top.

It will be crowd-sourced information, without any party bias.

De la Haye’s model would become more valuable over time, as people realized the power of influence they could exert as exemplified by Obama’s election campaign and the model would build a representative picture of constituents views and how the constituency had changed over time, which can be tracked and learnt from.

If followed through it would also do away with the need for party politics, however it is still likely people would cluster around ideologies – but perhaps more their own, not those dictated by a small group of people.

So . . . back to BBH’s real interest here which is how could this work in the business and marketing world. What would happen if shareholders were done away with and there was a model based more on interest invested by people through contributions of time and/or ideas?

This suggests a world of crowd-controlled brands and an open dialogue where the brand does not assume a position of authority or expertise but is accountable to its public. It does not necessarily work for all sectors, but surely more brands could open themselves up in this way, know their place and just facilitate?

Where has this worked before and where has it failed? Could this ever really work? Love to know what you think.

The Cool Hunting Cadillac iPad app in action

We recently announced our first iPad application, the Cool Hunting app initially presented by our client, Cadillac, and developed in partnership between Cool Hunting, BBH New York and Front Ended. If you missed our original post explaining the design challenges, take a look here.

For those who’ve not got their hands on an iPad yet, here’s a short film giving a taste of what it feels like to use. One thing we’ve noticed in using the iPad so far is that there’s quite a gulf in user experience between apps developed specifically for the iPad versus those developed for the iPhone.

This Coolhunting app is definitely in the latter category, and whilst we learned a huge amount about how we’d do things next time, we’re pleased with our first experiment on this newest of platforms.

Download the Cool Hunting app (here) and see what you think.

Cool Hunting / Cadillac iPad App from Steve Peck on Vimeo.

Thanks to @BBHNewYork’s @GriffinFarley for the prompting to post this.

So what exactly is a Chief Culture Officer?

I first met Grant McCracken a long long time ago when he was writing on the anthropology of consumer culture.

Grant (@grant27 on Twitter) now splits his time between his academic research into the anthropology of American culture, and consultancy work with big brands focusing on the area of the role of culturally aware visionaries and leaders within organizations.

His most recent book is Chief Culture Officer. McCracken argues that every company needs a chief cultural officer to anticipate cultural trends rather than passively waiting and reacting. CCOs should have the ability to process massive amounts of data and spot crucial developments among an array of possibilities; they will be able to see the future coming, no matter which industry they serve, and create value for shareholders, move product, create profit and increase the bottom line.

In this video, brought to our attention by We Are Social’s Nathan McDonald, McCracken outlines in brief what a CCO is, and why it matters.

Challenging stuff; who is the Chief Culture Officer in your business (or which group performs this function)?

Do you think you need that function in the first place?

Did you *ever* have someone or a group performing that function?

Who does it well, which companies?


What do you get when you put together a hamster, a cuckoo clock & Fats Waller?

Everyone at BBH New York is excited about the new work we’ve just launched for Google’s Chrome browser, follow-ups to the work we produced at the end of 2009.

The first film is for Chrome Extensions, and demonstrates how users can personalize their browser. The music used is Fats Waller’s (Do You Intend to Put an End to) A Sweet Beginning?

The second film is for Chrome Translate, the range of translation features that are built in to Chrome, and that enable users to seamlessly translate Internet pages from one language to another.

Both of these films are quite unlike most other tech product demos. They use lo-fi, hand-made elements and simple metaphors to show how the products work. There’s no hype. No extravagant claims. We instead try and keep everything simple.

As with our previous work for Chrome at the end of 2009, we worked with the extraordinary production team at 1st Avenue Machine in New York. The films were directed by 1st Avenue Machine’s Aaron Duffy & Tim Brown.

We hope you enjoy them. They look particularly great in HD on YouTube (click through the videos and then select the HD button).

And watch out for more new work for Google to come in the next few weeks.

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Client: Google EMEA

Titles: Google Chrome Extensions/Translate the Internet with Google Chrome

Agency : Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York

CCO: Kevin Roddy

ECD: Calle Sjoenell, Pelle Sjoenell

AD/CW: Maja Fernqvist

AD/CW: Joakim Saul

Head of Broadcast: Lisa Setten

Senior Producer: Melissa Bemis

Business Director: Ben Malbon

Acct. Manager: Rossa Hsieh

Production Company: 1st Avenue Machine

Director: Tim Brown

Co-Director: Aaron Duffy

DP: Zak Mulligan

Exec. Producer: Sam Penfield

Line Producer: Keeley Gould

Editorial Company: Lost Planet

Editor: Charlie Johnston

Assistant Editor: Christopher Huth

Exec. Producer: Krystn Wagenberg

Producer: Meagen Carroll

Telecine: Company 3

Telecine Artist: Billy Gabor

Online Facility: Black Hole

Online Editor: Tim Farrell

VFX Company: Black Hole

Producer: Tim Vierling

Audio Facility: Plush

Audio Engineer: Rob Fielack

Music: Extensions

Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lasxurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

Title: (Do You Intend To Put An End To) A Sweet Beginning Like This

Artist: Fats Waller

Music: Translate

Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lascurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

Title: Plastic Sunshine

Composed by: Steven Stern and Stuart Hart

Myspace Fan Video & The Webbys

Posted by Dean Woodhouse, Creative, BBH London


Our MySpace Fan Video campaign (which Fran shared here a few months back) has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award at this year’s Webbys, which we’re just a little excited about. And yes, this is an unashamed plug and request for your support.

The category is Best use of Online Media, this is the Myspace entry. All you need to do is sign-up (it takes 20 seconds) and then you get an email that lets you vote.

Whilst we’re here, it would be wrong not to mention our friends at BBH Shanghai’s awesome WWF Fate’s in your Hands in Experimental & Innovation, BBH NY’s Google Chrome in Online Commercials, BBH NY’s Axe Balls in Viral Marketing and Hal & Masa’s (BBH NY) promo video for Sour’s ‘Hibi No Neiro’ in Best Editing.

We’re up against good work from some great agencies like W+K, TBWA, AKQA and Glue, so a win would feel even better.

Deadline for voting is 29th April, so not long to go.

THANKS very much for your support.

Introducing The Barn – BBH New York’s New Internship Program

Posted by: Heidi Hackemer, Planning Director, BBH New York


Just about nothing consumes us more than making sure we have the right people working here at BBH.

So this summer we’re excited to be hosting the beta of The Barn, our new agency internship program, run by three of BBH New York’s finest Barn Masters, Heidi Hackemer, Richard Schatzberger & Dane Larsen. The idea behind it is simple: get some smart people in here, house them in groups of three and have them work together all summer. We’re not recruiting by discipline; rather we’re looking for smart, fun, positive, lover-of-ideas types who get into brand, culture and communication, and can work collaboratively.

The Barn itself is one part Harry Potter, one part Golden Girls, one part Dragon’s Den and one part Lady Gaga.

Harry Potter (community)

We’re taking in six candidates – the six will be split into houses of three. Their house is their life and the houses will live on to the next term when we get a new set of interns.

Golden Girls (support)

The houses will each have an agency advisor and will also work on two pieces of business each – i.e. plenty of people throughout the agency overseeing them, helping them and teaching them about different facets of all things BBH.

Dragons’ Den (competition)

In addition to the warm and fuzzy client business, each house will get a bespoke brief upon arrival that they will work on all summer. At the end of the term, the houses will present their solution in an open forum against the other house to BBH bigwigs and clients.

Lady Gaga (fame)

The houses won’t only be judged on their immediate solution, but also on how well they blast their BBH experience out during the term.

We’re starting the inaugural class with a group of six: three interns from our 4A’s partnership, three from the open recruit. Then we’ll mix up 4A’ers with the open recruits into the houses. Check out the application site at, follow on Twitter @bbhbarn.

Applications are due April 22nd at 6:00 pm.

Acts of collective creativity: the art of using the crowd

Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

The Johnny Cash Project has been doing the rounds on Twitter and the blogosphere recently, for good reason. Anyone initially sceptical (“another crowdsourced music video?”), very quickly realised it was something pretty special. Digging a tiny bit deeper, spotting Aaron Koblin was heavily involved, things started to click into place for us. It’s a well-conceived idea, beautifully done – textbook Koblin.

Something else clicked into place at the same time. So much talk about crowdsourcing, so much experimentation, almost all of which we’re in favour of. Nonetheless, there is an art to how we use the crowd.

Last night I saw Ennio Morricone at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The maestro was conducting some of his best known compositions (including soundtracks to many of Sergio Leone’s films – last night The Ectasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was unforgettably good). On their own, the soprano Susanna Rigacci, the Roma Sinfonietta orchestra and a 100-strong choir were all world class, together they were extraordinary. Morricone is famous for using singers less to tell a verbal story and more as an emotional, ‘human’ instrument. Last night was no exception: there was something completely mesmeric watching orchestra and singers working as one.  It was an act of collective creativity.

No question, a lot of us in the audience felt moved, even elevated.


In a similar way (although perhaps the reaction is less viseral, given there’s a little more distance when something isn’t live and in front of you), The Johnny Cash Project is elevating. There is something profoundly brilliant about making the work of many hands *entirely* visible. It feels 50 times as powerful for its sense of mass mobilization behind a creative act. Its strange quirks, differences, non sequiturs…versus how you’d imagine the same task performed by an individual working alone. Suddenly, one artist in isolation feels one dimensional, ironed out, as if the output would lack vibrancy and surprise.

Sure, centuries of art prove me wholly and irrevocably wrong on that last point. But when I think about how we might most usefully use the crowd, it strikes me crowdsourcing has the potential to be most palpably powerful – to lead to richer outcomes – when we use the crowd as a creative collective.

Right now, with the honourable exception of the likes of Aaron Koblin, a number of innovators in music promo creation (including early initiators Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura at BBH New York & their buddies Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura – whose lovely video for Sour’s Hibi No Neiro is justly famous), our industry seems most interested in using crowdsourcing primarily to:

a) drive down cost
b) give the crowd something to do – in other words, the ‘crowd’ are in fact a target audience and we want them to feel ‘involved’ with a brand
c) broaden choice – lots of responses to a stated question or task, only one winner

Those are all reasonable things to attempt and we’re not suggesting there should be only one use of the crowd, it just strikes us that focusing on using the crowd as a collective creative resource is something we’re doing less of. And yet, oddly enough, it might be the most powerful use yet.
What do you think? Are there a host of examples of brands using crowdsourcing as collective creativity that we’re missing? For more on The Johnny Cash Project, check out Maria Popova’s blogpost here.

For more on Sour’s Hibi No Neiro video and our interview with Rick Liebling about his e-book on crowdsourcing, see the BBH Labs posts here and here.

A version of this post was originally posted on

How The Masters Changed the Game

Author: Steve Peck, Art Director, BBH New York


If you follow golf, then you know that the Masters and the word ‘innovation’ don’t usually belong in the same sentence. In many ways, that still holds true – The Masters certainly isn’t changing the game in how it’s played. But, in the way the Masters site functions, it is changing how it is experienced. Here’s how:

Multi-Camera Live Streaming Coverage Choose one of five cameras to watch a live broadcast (full screen if you prefer). You can also view an additional camera with the picture-in-picture feature and swap back and forth between the two. Not a bad live viewing experience.

Time-Based Viewing – Watch tagged highlights throughout the day for each of the set cameras. If you’re watching the camera for holes 15 and 16 live at 4pm, you can scrub across the timeline to see thumbnails of previous highlights earlier in the day. So you can go check out that long birdie putt that Mickelson laid in at 11:30 am. You can return to live viewing at any time.

Scorecard-Based Viewing – The leaderboard offers another unique feature; not only does it provide updated scores in real time, but the score from each player on each hole, but a yellow outline around the score denotes a video. It allows you to track an individual player’s highlights throughout the round as it’s played.

User-directed Viewing Experience – Essentially you can view the tournament from a specific vantage point through a live camera; historically in a timeline throughout the day; or through any one individual player’s round. The Masters iPhone app further provides a multitude of features including: live mobile tv; video highlights; streaming radio; leaderboard; news; photos; and a course overview. The mobile app extends the Masters reach and is available for free. It is very useful for the audience since most people are at work during live coverage throughout the day Thursday and Friday. The web and mobile features allow the audience to stay current and decide what and how they want to experience the tournament.

Take a look at how the site felt to experience in this film:


So how did they make all of this happen?

The Masters has a limited media and sponsorship structure and is fully supported by only three (admittedly large) companies: AT&T, ExxonMobil, and IBM. The Masters doesn’t run many commercials and all of them come from those three companies. While AT&T and ExxonMobil operate like traditional sponsors, IBM’s participation is unique and extends further than pasting logos around the event and running television media during live broadcasts. In fact, IBM actually utilizes their technology and expertise to power the website. Rick Singer, VP of client executive marketing at IBM says, “We provide virtually all of their technology needs from beginning to end. That includes a wide range of tasks such as: core infrastructure and data center management; website design and interactive content development; networking and security; and golf scoring and player statistics, a.k.a. “data management.”

More information about the technical specifics are available here.

An important thing to note is that IBM is actually proving their product functionality through this sponsorship. They are demonstrating their technology management capabilities in providing an engaging experience online and in the mobile space. It’s about *doing it*, not just saying it.

The Masters is a great example of how the interactive space can change and enhance the viewing experience. It’s way more dynamic and personalized than broadcast and provides more useful tools and information. This would have been outstanding for the Winter Olympics earlier this year; you might have been able to see earlier ski races you might have missed, for example, or watched Shaun White in training. It will be exciting to see how implementing this technology will develop into the future. When watching football, you could go and view a video clip of each touchdown or scoring drive (let’s wait and see how the coming World Cup in June turns out – there’s surely innovation to come there). When watching baseball, you could click on your favorite player to see clips of all his hits for that game (or any game).

We say kudos to the Masters and to IBM for taking up the challenge and setting an exceptional benchmark in changing the game for live events.

What did you think? What might have been different or better? What did we miss?

When The Process Becomes The Story: On Open Source & Creativity

Posted by Zach Blank, Creative Technologist, BBH New York

We are so consumed by the communities that Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (and our local knitting website) foster that we often forget to take a step back and think about the lessons to be learned from these communities. Within each of these online ecosystems, participants, aware of it or not, share some of their most intimate secrets with the world. Conversations about relationships, ridicule for certain social behavior from the night before, bragging about their new iPad, and most importantly simply being open all seem commonplace.

Coders admirably follow the same model however on a significantly different level. Most, I believe, have taken this notion of community and have truly found the value in it for what they do, and there is much we can learn from that. Coders who have affectionately adopted the open source mantra are out there sharing their code, encouraging others to take it and well pretty much do whatever they want. The idea is that by making the work available to be built upon and expanded, it will be built upon and expanded into something better and exponentially more worth sharing.

A piece of work created this way, where the sum of the parts is less meaningful than the work in its entirety, or gestalt, becomes very powerful when considered in the context of the open source philosophy. Projects made up of libraries, code blocks, classes, and ideas whose authors individually poured hours into creating are incomparably more notable than their preceding work which undoubtably made it possible. This is the key most important value in open source. And it is that value that can be translated to other media and have the same result.

Open source technology has given birth to a large array of projects, from everyday utilities to intricate and involved interactive art installations. Each has a narrative behind it that has an impact on its own.

Firefox and jQuery are wonderful examples of utility-based projects driven by the ideals of open source. Firefox, one of the leading web browsers, has a powerful community behind it, thousands-strong, and constantly pushing it forward. The source code and SDK are available to anyone who either wants to tinker with the core of the browser, or develop add-ons to be distributed throughout. jQuery is an example of a company whose purpose has made anyone using the Internet happier, conscience of it or otherwise. It is a Javascript framework which now has hundreds, if not thousands, of plugins creating rich Internet experiences for us all. It started with John Resig’s idea and has been progressed exponentially by the community that has organically grown around it.

The story of these projects are most relevant to us in understanding how to use the ideas of open source. The two projects below carry strong narratives of how they evolved, lending a learning experience on a much different level than the end product. Thinking about the path that these projects took and the backstories behind their creation is an exploration of the creative process that went into them; therein lies the most powerful ideas.


You Fade To Light is a beautiful project by rAndom International (with software created by Chris O’Shea), existing in large part because of people who understand the power of sharing their work and encouraging growth. This project was born out of projects before it, borrowing code, leveraging libraries and frameworks to bring it to life. Audience, a separate project also by rAndom International (in collaboration with Chris O’Shea) adds to the narrative and creates its own. Have a look at that here.

sketches-5; A wonderful exploration of the process of creating 'I Want You To Want Me' from start to finish

I Want You to Want Me (IWYTWM) by Jonathan Harris ( and Sep Kamvar ( for the 2008 exhibit ‘Design and the Elastic Mind‘ at MoMA in NYC was created using OpenFrameworks, an open source framework in C++ for artists, interaction designers and creative coders. This beautiful work is in debt to all the work before it. Fortunately the IWYTWM team documented their process, their narrative. It is a prime example of the power that the evolution of these projects exemplify and the value in sharing them.

So, how can we leverage this power of sharing creativity in our business when we hold our ideas in such high regard and guard them so jealously? There is so much buzz around crowdsourcing at the moment because the ‘power of many’ has been proven. That is simply my argument. We need to adopt this powerful idea and understand how to make it relevant and practical for our work. How does the story behind the larger collaborative efforts fit into our business and make our work better?

The easy answer is it doesn’t. But it could.

We can open our ideas and leverage larger collaborative efforts. We need to start with sharing honest explorations of the process behind an idea. Again, IWYTWM illustrates this beautifully, and if we can embrace this idea and run with it we will come out with a whole new level of creative work – perhaps a new breed of creativity altogether.

We’d love to see more examples like the ones above. And we’re always keen to hear what you think.

Introducing the Cool Hunting iPad app, with Cadillac

Author: John Sheldon, Director of Brand Dialogue, BBH New York

(This is an updated version of a post from 04.01.10)

There is nothing like working on a completely new platform to get everyone energized and excited.

Everyone here at BBH has been super excited about the opportunities that Apple’s new iPad will open up. We have just announced our first iPad application, the Cool Hunting app initially presented by our client, Cadillac, and developed in partnership between Cool Hunting, BBH and Front Ended.

Here it is. Well, a very static image of what it will look like.


Working with Josh and the team at Cool Hunting was really important in this project. We took their vast library of the latest in design, technology and culture and aligned – and spliced – it with a number of stories and facets about the vehicles.

It was a really interesting challenge from a design perspective. The “creative ambition” was to create a groundbreaking experience for consuming content on the iPad – one that becomes multidimensional with articles, photos, and videos in ways that were never possible before on the web or in the mobile space. We also wanted to propose a new advertising model for publications for the device – one that avoids slapping display advertising on everything and instead envelops the most appropriate and desired content for people. So we’re putting the brand in right place in providing great content to people rather than distracting them from it.

For the initial client/sponsor, Cadillac, this approach would allow the Cool Hunting team to curate and deliver specific content in new, more relevant, and more innovative ways. The muse for the curation is the very sexy new CTS Coupe and CTS-V Coupe vehicles that Cadillac is slated to release in mid-summer. Building excitement around these vehicles and garnering handraisers for additional information are key goals for the brand.

The design process took six weeks (late nights and every weekend included). Our team ranks this among the most challenging design they had ever taken on. The interesting aspect is that you have to design everything twice – both for the landscape and the vertical layout. And that doesn’t mean the layout changes visually, because we actually changed the experience based on how you were holding the device.

The goal was to incite users to interact with the design as opposed to just looking at it. For example, the default article view allows users to choose how they would most like to consume the content. So we enable more choices based on how people want to view or read the articles. This makes the interaction and visual design process incredibly more complex, but opens up a multitude of new opportunities.

The other part of the design and development challenge was putting together this app for a touch-based interaction in a platform that uses keyboard and mouse as the primary interfacing tools.

Working with the great guys at Front-ended to get it developed and App store approval-ready in short order was only possible through embracing a genuinely iterative and collaborative approach across all partners and client. Iterating between app designers, brand teams and developers daily made sure the final App met the needs of the sponsor, the technological benchmarks and the editorial approach of Cool Hunting.

Many of us are awaiting delivery of our iPads this weekend (our Director of Creative Technology, Richard Schatzberger, spent two hours on iPad release day refreshing his browser literally every second). And we can’t wait to see how other brands are going to find creative ways to take advantage of this new platform.

We know we have a whole bunch to learn about what’s possible, but weíre pleased our learning curve has been steep in the last few months. We like it that way.

In readiness for your iPad deliveries this Saturday, download the Cool Hunting app (here) and give it a look. We’d be interested to know what you think.