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  • Launching a new D&AD Initiative: The White Pencil

    15th April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Author: Rosie Arnold, Deputy Exec Creative Director, BBH and Deputy D&AD President

    On Tuesday night, D&AD launched a new initiative: The White Pencil Award. It is an ongoing award, but the first White Pencil will be awarded next year to a piece of creative thinking that best answers a brief that we’re giving to the whole creative community.

    The White Pencil is for a piece of creative work that changes the world for the better; the first organisation D&AD has chosen to support is Peace One Day.

    The brief is available here and, to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time the entire global creative community of designers, advertisers, digital, photographers etc has been give the same brief.

    Come on all you creatives out there: use your talent to change the world.

  • “I use stories as a technique to organise the past” – Jonathan Harris

    14th April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    YouTube Preview Image

    When Jonathan Harris’ project ‘Today‘ began, we instantly liked its intentions. Lifestreaming projects like this are hardly new but, in the hands of someone like Harris, you know ‘a photo and a story a day’ (in his case, a resolution made to mark his 30th birthday) is going to be downright special.

    In this film, made by Jonathan’s friend Scott Thrift, over a year’s worth of photos each appear for a second.

    The soundtrack is Harris talking about the experience which will feel familiar to any lifestreamers – the early anxiety, the excitement of figuring it out, a growing audience, then a sense of the project ‘running you’ … followed by the missing it once it’s gone.

    “I use stories as a technique to organise the past and I think there’s a real lack of storytelling now among all of us. We’re all living lives that are so fragmented…there’s not that time to create stories, to make sense of that experience.”

    For more of Jonathan’s work, check out

    via @HelenWalters’s Thought you should see this blog (HT @brainpicker)

  • Breaking A Sweat For Japan

    14th April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Events, People

    Image credit: Dom Grant & Zak Razvi (@zakrazzle)

    From 12pm GMT today, BBH’s global run/row/cycle-a-thon goes LIVE, streaming from all six BBH offices simultaneously for 24 hours straight. You can watch it happen via the webcams on the site. Please show your support by donating here, tweet #bbh4japan or leave a message for everyone breaking a sweat here. All donations, no matter how small, will help the charity we’ve chosen to support,, deliver emergency temporary housing, warmth and dignity to Japanese families who have lost everything after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    A whole host of people around the world in BBH offices got this up and running.. you know who you are. We also caught up with Dom Grant and Zak Razvi at BBH London who designed the art work to promote the event:

    “We wanted to create a powerful image that worked on more than just one level. Using the iconic design of the Japanese flag, we replaced the red circle with a textured heart graphic. We then used the shape of Japan as a crack to depict a broken heart. We hope the image encapsulates our love and respect for the people of Japan.”

    Please give generously. A big thank you for your support, from everyone here and at

    ******AN UPDATE, 21.04.11******

    As of this morning, we’re happy to report a whopping £27, 110 has been raised! Thank you to EVERYONE who donated and supported the effort.

    Here are some shots from Japan sent to us by Shelterbox today:

  • “Emotion is data too” – Google’s screening of Transcendent Man

    12th April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Events, Film, technology

    “Here’s to living forever. That’s not just a salutation in our family”
    ~ Sonya Kurzweil

    “This is of mythical proportions. We have to deal with it, even if it turns out not to be true.”
    Kevin Kelly

    Sarah Speake introduces the 'Transcendent Man' screening

    Regular readers of this blog will know we have an abiding fascination with what technology may bring in the far flung future (see our The Coming Age of Augmentation post and, most recently, Greg Anderson on Asimov’s First Law).

    So it’ll be no surprise to hear we got *extremely* excited when an invite arrived, courtesy of Google, to attend a screening of Barry Ptolemy’s Transcendent Man at the Science Museum in London, followed by a Q&A with the director and the film’s subject, the futurist, author and engineer Ray Kurzweil. Read full post

  • Status of Africa: Lend Your Facebook Status For Mother’s Day

    1st April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Author: Romy Miller, Team Director, BBH London

    It’s Mother’s Day in the UK this weekend and it seems a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of some of the difficulties many mothers face in the most marginalised communities of Africa, via a new release of our Status of Africa Facebook app for AMREF, Africa’s leading health development charity.

    You may remember that we did something similar last year – the difference this year is that we’re focussing just on women – mothers, in fact. Maternal health is a huge issue: every year 280,000 African mothers die unnecessarily in pregnancy and childbirth because they lack basic medical care. AMREF is working to change this by trying to ensure no woman dies whilst giving life.

    The Facebook app gives users the chance to choose a real African mother or midwife that AMREF works with and to share their status or Twitter account with them for 5 days. The app automatically updates the users’ status twice a day with their chosen African mother or midwife. The status updates were written based on true case studies. The stories shared by the women are real. Read full post

  • 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.

  • 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, Kobalt Music, 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 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:

    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.

  • 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)…

  • 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 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

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