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Archive for March, 2011

  • Between Fantasy & Reality: Dels’ “Trumpalump” Promo

    31st March 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in music, online video

    Author: EmmaLou Johnson (@emmaloujohnson), for Mint Source (@mint_source)

    YouTube Preview Image

    The promo for Dels’ “Trumpalump” looks at the space between fantasy and reality and very cleverly focuses on a line from the track, as the directors behind the promo explain it:

    “Our process of generating ideas always starts with the lyrics. With Dels it helps massively that his lyrics create such vivid images, for example in Trumpalump we took inspiration from his line ‘do we dream in colour or black and white?’..” ….ooh, how very Inception.

    It’s directed by us, AKA Christopher Barrett & Luke Taylor, double D&AD award winners, who also run their own multi-disciplinary graphic design and branding studio, alongside shooting promos and commercials with Academy Films.

    You must watch the promo through to the end, as the more it goes on, the cleverer it gets. Shot on a shoestring, made possible by using mates (the twin girls are friends of Dels) and by doing everything in-camera…no possibility of an Inception-style post prod budget in the promo world these days! And that’s precisely what makes the piece so exciting and inventive. Out goes budget; in comes creativity.

    If you like this, check out the Making Of too:

    YouTube Preview Image

    Mintsource is BBH’s internal initiative to provide BBH with an opportunity to seeing fresh, alternative and up and coming talent.  A kind of director’s showcase for the ‘unusual suspects’ in the film directing and animation world.

  • Maybe one day we’ll be daring enough to go back

    30th March 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in Shorty awards

    No argument with this image from astronaut Douglas H Wheelock (@Astro-Wheels) winning the Shorty Special Award for Best Real-Time Photo of the Year

    �Don�t tell me that the sky is the limit, when there are ... on Twitpic

    The rest of the winners and shortlisted twitterati can be found here.

  • BBH and Spark Ventures Launch The Black Sheep Fund

    29th March 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in business models, Start ups

    Author: Adam Arnold, Partner, BBH

    Today sees the launch of The Black Sheep Fund – which we believe is the first venture capital fund of its kind. It is a venture between Zag (BBH’s brand invention business) and Spark Ventures – the London based VCs that backed start up phenomena including lastminute.com, Kobalt Music, notonthehighstreet.com and Moshi Monsters.

    The background is increasingly obvious: There is a dearth of seed funds for start ups. If things feel tighter than they used to be in the States – then it is ten times harder to raise money in Europe right now. The banks demand personal guarantees for business loans (!), and institutions are incredibly risk averse. If you are proven entrepreneur with a string of successful exits under your belt, then you will get by. But if you are young, hungry and full of belief in your big idea – you might well get nowhere. The thing we spotted was that the next big digital business is just as likely to come from new entrepreneurs – and that is why we set up this fund.

    The premise is simple: We offer a unique cocktail of business building and brand building  in one investment package. All VC’s invest cash and sit on boards. Our fund will do this plus it will help to ensure the business captures the imaginations and loyalties of consumers too. We call it ‘creative capital’. We aim to invest this creative capital in businesses that intersect consumers, technology and content. Examples would include smart new social tools, disruptive e-retailing concepts or contagious GPS games. The portfolio will be broad so long as the role of the brand is business critical. The Fund was announced today in the Financial Times, and we already have our foundation funds in place. Over the next quarter we will be meeting prospective start ups and raising the rest of the fund – targeting £10m GBP.

    The invitation is open: If you or anyone you  know is currently sitting on a great start up idea that they plan to take to market – then do consider the Black Sheep Fund on your short list of VC’s. We are primarily a UK based fund, but we are idea led – and a good enough idea with the right management sex sikis porno could be invested in overseas. And, if you are an angel, with a growing desire to re-enter or join in the start up scene, then do get in touch for more information. The fund will qualify as an Enterprise Incentive Scheme (EIS) – which the UK government made increasingly attractive in the Budget last week.

    Get in touch: fund@bbh.co.uk

    For more on the Black Sheep Fund, BBH and Spark Ventures:



  • The Last of the Launch and Leave ‘Ems at SXSW: panel presentation

    19th March 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Image courtesy of Made by Many

    In Austin on Monday I was on a panel named in apt, Southwestern fashion “The Last of the Launch and Leave ‘Ems”, hosted by Made by Many’s Anjali Ramachandran, with Conrad Lisco from RGA New York and Peter Parkes from Skype.

    Our task was to dig into “the ongoing shift in advertising and marketing from one-way campaigns to more valuable and meaningful communities and platforms.. and examine what that means for agencies and clients”. Check out Anjali’s post here or the #mxmlaunch stream on Twitter which rather excellently negates any need for a post-panel blog… such is the quality of the commentary.

    With that in mind, this post is just to share, as promised, some super simple slides I talked around during the course of the panel.. And, much more importantly, to thank my co-panelists Peter, Conrad and Anjali and in particular everyone who came to see, question, support and generally contribute to a feisty debate. We had fun.

    See y’all next year.



  • SXSW – In the Company of Geeks

    18th March 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in sxsw

    I’ll admit to being a little bit cynical (or ungracious, depending on how you want to look at it) at the prospect of SXSWi 2011. I’d been a couple of times before and, at my age, things are never as good as they used to be. But despite the poor quality of many of the panel sessions (too much reading, not enough arguing!), the corporate branding of most of downtown Austin and the overcrowding (attendance up 36% since last year) I came back from Texas feeling refreshed, inspired and engaged, for one simple reason;

    SXSW reminded me how much I enjoy the company of geeks. Simply, for five days in spring Austin is the gathering point for geeks of all kind – app geeks, marketing geeks, book geeks, geolocation geeks, social media geeks – they’re all there, all involved and all itching to share their latest project, idea or thinking. Because, while there might be four group messaging apps and another four check-in services competing for attention everyone goes to ‘SouthBy’ because they are enthusiastic and because they want to participate in the new. SXSW is a live, real-time collaboration and all the better for it.

    Personal highlights of five days in Austin include; plenty of instagram action; meeting ‘Cyborg Anthropologist’ Amber Case and learning about geoloqi; Bruce Sterling‘s angry State of the Union address, discovering some interfaces for geotemporal visualization and meeting my neighbour from Second Life in ‘meatspace’ for the first time since we met ‘inworld’ in 2007.

    Plenty of other fine people have written up their own SXSW experiences; for a planning perspective @patsmc‘s take is here while @malbonster is on typically enthusiastic form here. Ogilvy generously sponsored the creation of visual notes of many of the sessions which can be downloaded from here and for a more flavourful impression of the SXSWi scene there is the obligatory Overheard at SXSWi tumblr.

    So, if you like hanging out with geeks, Austin in March is the place to be (and it was great to meet so many good folk there). See you there in 2012.

  • Effyeahpretzelcrisps

    7th March 11

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in social media

    Author: Emily Woolf (@emii), Strategist, BBH New York

    It’s Monday. Almost an average Monday at the office, but today I went above and beyond my routine and made myself a salad for lunch! Partially due to the fact that Fresh Direct came this morning and partially because I’ve been attempting a gluten free diet, this leafy green point of pride made today special and I couldn’t wait to share it with the world. Some may call me an oversharer (cough: @barneyrobinson) and some may make fun of my food Instagram tweets (cough: @saneel), but I wasn’t going to let either rain on my parade. So, I sat at my desk savoring my spinach and beet salad, fork in one hand, iPhone in the other snapping away to get just the right shot, then scrolling through to apply just the right filter to capture the magic of my homemade goodness. And I did. And I sent my color saturated, Lomo-fi filtered picture straight to Twitter. And guess what happened? Within 5 minutes @PretzelCrisps had started following me and had Tweeted at me.

    Of course I immediately DM’d back, excitedly starting a conversation with a brand that I had no opinion of about 5 minutes prior.

    As you can see, the conversation centered around what they could do for me and they always responded within a minute. All in all, an extremely, and refreshingly human exchange.

    This experience got me running around, ducking in and out of offices to tell people about it. Everyone was in awe of @PretzelCrisps’ behavior, as well as how they continued to engage me. It was a quick, powerful burst of brand dialogue, in the vein of a social media fling. @PretzelCrisps just proved that creating a relationship isn’t that hard in a conversational environment when you’re adding to the experience (complimenting me) and not asking much for much in return (an address for instantaneous delivery). They just made a huge impression on all of @BBHNewYork, both as consumers, and as industry folks aspiring to help make brands human.

    Kudos and thanks @PretzelCrisps.

  • What is our problem with 3D?

    4th March 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Film, technology

    Author: Alice Bullimore (@alicebmore), Producer, BBH London

    Poor 3D.  It’s been around forever yet we still don’t seem to be able to make up our minds on whether it’s any good or not.

    It’s exactly one year since we partnered with Burberry to stream their show live in 3D to 5 VIP locations. Everyone was excited about Avatar. We wanted to give the fashion elite from Paris, Dubai, Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York a real-time experience of the show that trumped watching a standard webstream at your desk. It was the first ever global live simulcast in 3D.

    However I doubt Roger Ebert would have bothered.

    He argued recently that our brains just can’t handle 3D visuals and it gives us all a headache. ”It doesn’t work with our brains and it never will” he categorically states.  He quotes a letter from Walter Murch who argues a fundamental convergence/focus issue when watching 3D that “requires us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before.”  As far as Mr Ebert is concerned, that’s it. “3D doesn’t work and never will. Case closed.”

    Except with 508 comments on his post and counting, it seems the case is not completely closed for the rest of us.

    Now, these guys are clearly dons. Ebert is a Pulitzer prize winning film critic who’s written for the Sun Times forever and Murch, an award winning editor and sound designer who won an Oscar for his sound editing on Apocalypse Now and the English Patient.

    But is it that black and white?

    Does it have to be 2D versus 3D?

    The main points leveled against 3D in this debate are worth digging a little deeper on.

    1. 3D doesn’t work with our brains and gives us headaches

    Look, I feel sorry for the dudes who get headaches, but that’s clearly not the case for everyone. Personally, Avatar and Tron at the IMAX were extraordinary to watch. Full feature length viewing, completely headache free. Sure, these films won’t win Oscars for their plots, but for the pure visual epic-ness of it all, they were stunning.

    2. 3D doesn’t enhance the emotional experience of watching a film

    Sure, there are films which have no reason to be in 3D. But studios are hard wired to make money and making a film like Yogi in 3D might just make the difference between box office success and failure.  When watching Tron at the IMAX, billed as a 3D film, a lot of the scenes were actually in 2D. The 3D was used where it could create most impact. Similarly, for the VIP guests watching the Burberry show, the format suited the content.  A long catwalk with models striding out towards you and the shortness of a show made it an ideal 3D viewing experience. 3D can still work well, when used well. The detractors seem to be in denial that there is emotional impact in the sheer wow factor of a great 3D experience.

    3. Is 3D here to stay or is it today’s betamax?

    Dramatic falls in DVD sales will require Hollywood and TV manufacturers to push whatever the next difficult-to-pirate camera technique is. Other than Cameron, few of the top Hollywood directors have gone for it though. 3D’s real home might be end up in gaming. I can’t wait to see the Nintendo 3DS (which looks amazing – you can even turn it ‘up’ from 2D to 3D just like turning up the volume).

    Bring on the future I say.

    Bring on different types of visual and sonic exploration.

    Why not explore all the ways we can use the senses to give a heightened viewing experience (what did happen to smell-o-vision?). There may be some betamaxes along the way, but going to see a 3D film is still a special shared experience.

    For a start, we get to laugh at each other looking goofy in the glasses (for the time being at least)…

  • The Human Operating System

    3rd March 11

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in coding, guest

    Author: David Bryant (@davidbryant), Google Creative Lab, NYC

    Disclaimer: David’s opinions are not necessarily those of Google Inc (editor’s note: BBH does advertising work on behalf of various Google products).

    Human beings have spent around 2 million years working with physical objects in physical space. We are hard-wired to enjoy throwing things into the air, at animals and at each other because mastery of these skills has given us a huge evolutionary advantage.

    We understand the inter-relationships between weight, inertia, texture, tensile strength, brittleness, velocity and gravity so well, we’ve even given it another name. We call it instinct.

    When we cross the road in front of a car, we are judging the speed of the car and the width of the road and performing fairly complex calculus in the process. Some would say that we are not really doing the calculations in this case – we are simply using instinct.

    Calling this process ‘instinct’ isn’t very helpful because it doesn’t explain anything. We’re simply renaming the observation, rather than attempting to explain it.

    The truth is the calculations do get done. We use a neural-based learning system rather than a set of solvable equations but the calculation does happen. It’s part of our operating system.

    Only after Humans had being throwing things around for a couple of million years, could we get down to the slow business of developing useful abstract notions. Like a positional system of mathematics, time, complex numbers, algebra. These are all things that are not hardwired. On the contrary they are remarkably counter-intuitive to our operating system and have taken centuries of trial and error to grasp them.

    With these abstract notions we created computers, and interestingly, computers have evolved towards us, in completely the opposite direction. They started life as deeply abstract calculation engines. Nowadays, with rich graphical interfaces, touch screens, large icons and finger control they are increasingly feeling like physical objects.
    Read full post

  • BBH London are looking to hire a Community Manager

    2nd March 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in People, Social

    Who we’re after
    An experienced Community Manager. Someone who can help plan, directly implement and sustain brand relationships across different online social platforms for a range of BBH London clients. More often than not, you’ll be a lead member of an integrated, cross-functional team (see the Labs post “Super Bowl, Super Social: The Story of Yeo Valley” for a recent example of BBH integrated output).

    What you’ll be like
    Community managers at BBH are probably the definition of T-shaped people – *great* communicators who are extremely comfortable in strategic, creative and operational conversations internally at BBH, as well as with partners and clients - whilst proud brazzers to be a respected specialist. You think with the community or user in mind, you’re confident making strategic recommendations and at complete ease implementing and responding on behalf of the brand. You understand the qualitative difference and value of relationship “flings” (campaign-based social activity) versus longer term community management and are happy operating at both speeds.

    Read full post

  • Keep Austin Weird

    1st March 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in BBH Labs, sxsw

    So in 10 days we’ll be relocating the BBH Labs experience to Austin, Tx for the annual geek jamboree that is the South by SouthWest Interactive festival. I last attended three years ago, when I was an earnest book publisher and before advertising folk had descended in force and totally harshed the vibe, man.

    This year I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of likeminds and seeing where, if anywhere, the paradigm has shifted and intend to follow @katylindemann‘s guidance of not going to see anything I already know anything about already, which makes for a pretty packed itinerary.

    Given that the web based scheduler is, imho, ‘not very fun to use’ it might be that twitter or sitby.us prove to be more useful discovery tools for the good stuff, providing of course that wifi and/or 3G are in operation. We’ve hacked together a rough list (with agile development and rapid iterations built in!) using madthumbs the web interface, the recently launched official app, an old fashioned contacts book (yes, friends and family are represented at SXSW) and have uploaded it to sitby.us where you can find it here.

    Ping us if we’ve missed anything vital, if you want to hang out and, most importantly, to let me know where I should go for breakfast tacos now that Las Manitas has closed down!

    See you there.