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  • ASOS Urban Tour: An Experiment In Shopping Culture

    16th September 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Film, interactive

    Author: Lucia Komljen, Strategist, BBH London

    www.asos.com/urban-tour/

    This week saw the launch of ASOS Urban Tour – a shoppable, cultural experience in the form of an interactive platform promoting ASOS A/W 2011 menswear collection.  It invites the audience to watch some of the world’s most skilled urban musicians, dancers, designers and artist in action across the world and to explore what – and where – inspires their craft and their style. The centerpiece is a dynamic, shoppable video set in London which can be paused and explored at any point, presenting the user with more information on the dancers and enabling the purchase of their looks.

    Overall, we hope Urban Tour is an example of what can be achieved when you push technology and design in an attempt to seamlessly combine entertainment and service for e-commerce brands. Furthermore, it’s another demonstration of just how powerful it can be when technology enables ambitious creativity throughout the customer journey.

    Here’s the story behind the work so far, we’d love to hear what you think. Read full post

  • Keep Aaron Cutting

    11th August 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in People, technology

    Author: Pablo Marques (@pablo_marques), Creative Director, BBH London & BBH Labs

    Please donate here: http://keepaaroncutting.blogspot.com/

    A few weeks ago we started the UK edition of The BBH Barn program (@BBHBarn).

    The Barn is a program for our interns: its aim to expand and mix both the power advertising wields and youth’s inherent energy, then channel both for good.

    As our team went about trying to find a problem they felt passionate about solving, we were all surprised by the absurdity of the past week’s riots in the UK.

    With the riots came all of the negativity towards todays youth and the use of social media technology to mobilise people.

    There it was, we had our problem. We wanted to show the world that youth and technology could also be a force for good, this was exactly what The Barn was about.

    The team came up an idea. Why not use the force for good to help someone that was neither young nor technology savvy.

    We set up Keep Aaron Cutting.

    Aaron is an 89 years old barber who has been in the Tottenham area for 41 years whose business was ransacked during the riots. He has no insurance and no way of rebuilding his shop. His livelihood is devastated.

    “I will probably have to close because I haven’t got insurance and I can’t afford the repairs,” – Aaron

    If we could restore Aaron’s faith in youth and technology that might not solve the problem, but would be the perfect way to start.

    If you want to help, please donate or share. And if you’d like to, follow the story via the site and via #keepaaroncutting on Twitter.

    If you have any questions about BBH Barn in the UK please contact me @pablo_marques or via email.

    For media enquiries about BBH‘s involvement, please contact Sarah Pollard.

    The Team:

    BBH Barners

    Bjorn and Sophie @bjornandsophie
    Omid Fard @OmidFard

    Mentors

    Kimberly Gill @kimmeh_gill
    Mareka Carter @marekacarter
    Simon Pearse @ThisIsMurray
    Ben Shaw @BenShaw
    Mel Exon @melex

  • What People in Brands Can Learn From People in Bands

    5th August 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, music

    Author: Neil Barrie (@neilbazza), Director, ZAG

    Images via superiorpics.com and brandrepublic.com

    I spent the first half of my adult life to date, playing in bands and the second half planning brands, most recently at Zag, the brand ventures division of BBH.

    After an awkward adjustment period where I tried to deny all existence of my previous life and its accompanying streaked mullet jpegs, I’ve recently been finding that I actually learned a lot of useful things in those years in the Highbury Garage. Here they are:

    # 1 Develop your dynamics

    Listen to any AC/DC, song, especially Back in Black and you are listening to a lesson in dynamics. The space, the drums, the shifts, the CRUNCH – you can’t help but be moved by it. Loads of massive rock tracks owe a lot to soft/loud dynamics from Babe I’m gonna leave you to Teenage Dirtbag. Boys in particular like this sort of thing. The laws of rock dynamics are directly applicable to any presentation.  It’s a good discipline to think “where’s the bit where the chords come crashing in?” and “how can I make this section feel more like ACDC?”

    Read full post

  • Hiring: Integrated Producer for BBH London

    2nd August 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in People

    Author: Louise Ablewhite, HR Manager, BBH London

    Who we’re after

    The ultimate T-shaped Producer.  Someone with an in-depth knowledge of a production discipline (film, interactive, print, mobile, content, AFP, events/experiential, gaming, publishing), with broader knowledge across at least one other specialism. You’ll be responsible for working with the Creative Department to realise their ideas through development and craft – and to manage the process through to delivery / first release and beyond.

    What you’ll be like

    Fearless and fun to work with, passionate about the work and a great communicator – able to build great relationships with Strategy and Team Management, be client facing and campaign aware. Above all, you’ll be happiest collaborating with multiple partners and stakeholders (both internally and externally).  Challenges and unknowns must be embraced and relished.

    Responsibilities/key attributes

    • Be able to demonstrate excellent creative and editorial judgement
    • An appetite to learn and develop further is a must, with a passion for new ways of working and outputs
    • Comfortable & confident with unknown territory/never been done before projects & able to navigate through it
    • A keen an eye for detail and a strong background in managing complex project and budgets
    • Confident in managing clients directly
    • Able to manage complex legal negotiations with several parties
    • Entrepreneurial: actively seek new revenue generating opportunities & business models
    • In-depth knowledge of how other brands & media owners are operating in this space
    • Good people skills and ability to build relationships across all disciplines and with third party partners
    • Other key attributes: Hardworking, energetic, collaborative, good organisational skills, sound production and cultural knowledge.

    If this sounds like your kind of job, we want to hear from you. Please send a cv/resume, details or link to integratedproducer@bbh.co.uk.

  • To sleep, to dream

    2nd August 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands

    Author: Jim Carroll, BBH London Chairman

    Girl Sleeping, by Tamara de Lempicka

    ‘O sleep,why dost thou leave me?
    Why thy visionary joys remove?
    O sleep again deceive me,
    To my arms restore my wand’ring love’

    I recently attended a concert in which these words of Congreve were sung in a beautiful Handel aria. I’m sure we can all relate to the sentiment: sleep is a place of joyful deceptions and re-found loves; it’s a place for escaping, forgetting, recovering, refocusing. However harsh the work environment, however stressful the unrelenting day, I have always been sustained by the promise of sleep, its welcoming embrace, its warm repose. In fact I have a singular talent for napping at will and I have inherited from my mother the habit of the Sunday afternoon kip. I like to drift off on the sofa, newspaper on my lap, to the sound of children’s chatter and roller bags from the pavement outside.

    I have long felt that sleep is an area of untapped opportunity for brands. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, but we’re increasingly concerned by our ability to get enough of it, at the right quality. One can’t help but be underwhelmed by the plethora of scented candles, quack remedies and orthopaedic pillows that currently constitute the ‘sleep sector’. Can’t we do better than this? Surely space is not the final frontier; it’s sleep. Read full post

  • Tech & Adland, Together – A Perspective on Cannes 2011

    5th July 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Cannes, technology

    An edited version of this post was originally published for Fast Company here.

    Fairy lights at Google Creative Sandbox, Cannes, June 2011

    I suspect 2011’s festival may be looked back upon as the year advertising and technology agreed to meet in Cannes and get married on the beach.  Sure, previous years have seen tech co attendance (Yahoo! are regulars to the festival) but this year the commitment to one another was unprecedented, visible and visceral.

    Unquestionably, the two industries have much still to work out about each other. Nonetheless, the re-branding of that bastion of old school ad cool, Cannes Lions, as a ‘festival of creativity’ this year signalled a broadening mindset. And Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, took a big step towards agencies, speaking compellingly about Facebook as a “platform for creativity” and the company’s desire to “stay small and empower agencies.”  On the very same day, Eric Schmidt was on stage declaring that “hell has frozen over..we would never have thought there was value [in a Super Bowl ad].. We strongly believe advertising has value.” Importantly, the brand also picked up a pride of Cannes Lions this year, thus proving again that the appreciation flows two ways.

    This shared acceptance spilled out beyond the seminar speeches and awards. Having done some early reconnaissance at last year’s Cannes, Google’s Tom Uglow came to the conclusion that “people want decent wifi and fairy lights”. A year later, surveying an array of geeks and ad types happily mingling on the beach at Google’s Creative Sandbox, it’s hard not to agree.  The generosity inherent in designing a space like this (masterminded with great care by Google’s Head of Events, Amy Brown) for all comers is laudable, but more than this, the approach said loud and clear that the company values its relationship with the creative community and has something to show them about giving back; about being open, versus closed.

    The ubiquitous bottles of Rose lined up on tables along the Croisette may be delightful, but finding uniquely useful, entertaining ways to enhance each other’s experience is a lot more fun and well, different. As John Hegarty’s speech on Friday spelt out, as humans we’re hard-wired to respond to difference (technical term is dishabituation, apparently): in short, “difference wakes us up”.

    At Cannes this year, advertising and technology finally woke up to one another, properly and in public. I’m looking forward to 2012.

    Google are a client of BBH.

    @tomux at Google Creative Sandbox

  • Growth Needs Space: A BBH Cannes Speech (With A Difference)

    1st July 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Cannes, coding

    Last Friday in Cannes, BBH’s own Sir John Hegarty gave the following speech co-authored with co-founder Nigel Bogle (Nigel was unfortunately unable to join him due to illness).

    The premise of their speech is powerfully simple: growth needs space. Space needs difference.



    Of course we could simply have put the video of Sir John’s speech here on the blog, alongside the slideshare. However, as @jeremyet puts it: ‘given the opportunity to celebrate the power of difference, we wondered whether we could develop something fast that would give the viewer of the filmed speech a different and enhanced experience. Cue vidazzl, which brings to life relevant keyword searches from across the web as you watch the speech.

    Sir John Hegarty at Cannes via vidazzl.com

    We’re planning on making this a platform where anyone can upload a speech and display it in a, well, vidazzled version, but for now you can view Sir John’s speech from the Cannes Festival here and, of course, let us know your thoughts on the talk, on the presentation and on the difference.’

    Gabor (Creative Technologist) adds a note on the choice of technology and the time frame:

    ‘The oldest email I found in my mailbox about vidazzl is just a bit more than a month old. Despite the short deadline I had no doubt that it should be an HTML5 project because WebGL fits perfectly for the idea and I wanted to play with it for a while. I used mr.doob’s Three.js, a really, really cool library for Javascript based 3D and it was only a couple of hours to build the first prototype. Throughout the whole building process I used WebGL and Chrome, but according to the security issues, I finally decided to do the rendering without WebGL. The reason is that Firefox5 and Chrome Canary both block images from other domains to be used as textures and that would stopped us using Flickr images. The positive side of this change is that it now works fine in most browsers (at least in the ones we’ve been able to test so far).’

    vidazzl credits:

    Jeremy Ettinghausen – Creative Director

    Gabor Szalatnyai – Creative Technologist

    Nick Fell – Strategist

    Felipe Guimaraes – Art Director

    Lambros Charalambous – Copywriter

    Adam Oppenheimer – Art Director

    Joe Oppenheimer – Copywriter

    Eric Chia – Head of Digital Design, Addictive Pixel

    Keith Bone – Digital Designer, Addictive Pixel

    Romy Miller – Team Director

  • Is That All There Is?

    29th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, culture

    Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

    ‘Is that all there is, is that all there is?
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is.’

    Peggy Lee, image via peggylee.com

    I remember the first time I heard Peggy Lee singing the classic Leiber and Stoller number, ‘Is That All There Is?’. The heroine relates how, through the course of her life, experiences that may initially have been exciting, had in fact turned out rather tiresome. From her home burning down, to going to the circus, to falling in love. It’s a hymn to disappointment and apathy. Like most teenagers I had spent large chunks of my short time on the planet lying in my room being incredibly bored. In amongst the bubble gum pop and dinosaur rock of Radio 1, a song that celebrated ennui was a rare and precious thing.

    I remember the first time I heard the Clash sing ‘I’m So Bored with the USA’. I was simultaneously shocked and excited. Could one really so publicly proclaim disappointment with the home of rock’n'roll, the land of the free, the country that had given us Barry Manilow, Boz Scaggs and The Sound Of Bread? Was that acceptable? Was that legal?

    I remember the first time I saw the painting Ennui by Walter Sickert. The bored couple cannot be bothered to look at each other. One stares into space and the other at the wall. The blank generation. Tedium in oils. And yet so utterly compelling.

    Ennui, by Walter Sickert

    It’s a curious thing. Apathy, boredom and tedium seem such dull, passive, inert qualities. Yet they can be exciting, inspiring, disruptive.

    And I wonder whether this particular truth is lost on us and our world. We claim to be consumer experts. But are we not in denial of the fact that most consumers, most of the time are just not that into our brand or category? They just don’t care. We sustain a myth that the primary communication challenge is lack of attention, when really, more often than not, it’s lack of interest. Read full post

  • Facebook – The End Of The Beginning

    24th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Social

    Network by Dominique K (via Flickr)

    Author: Claire Coady (@claireinclapham), Community Manager, BBH Labs

    Last week Inside Facebook confirmed what we all know: that there are some users who’re just not that into Facebook. It is tempting to read this statistic as the ‘Facebook saturation point’ or the impending demise of social networking, however Facebook losing a fraction of their users is not the real story. The real story is how the average Facebook user is expanding their social portfolio while anchoring their core communications to Facebook through both Open Graph and synchronising their communications with Facebook mobile apps. Social networking is not dying, or even napping. For Facebook, it is just the end of the beginning.

    There’s been a lot of discussion over the type of user leaving and Facebook’s geographic growth making up for it, but we believe the real story in the user statistics is in the broader and deeper engagement of the average Facebook user, both within Facebook and outside of Facebook. It is in the incredible evolution of the typical Facebook user experience, from broadcaster to central communications hub. We all know email or telephone used to be the primary means by which we information transmitted between connections, whereas now we’re increasingly using social networks and instant messaging services.

    Just as women championed personal email use ten year ago, it is women’s use of Facebook that we might look to now to indicate the long term prospects of the platform. In 2000, women were 10% more likely than men to believe that communicating with friends and family over email enhanced their lives. Today, women typically spend more time using Facebook and are more likely than men to say their relationships are better because of Facebook. If the early female championing of email is anything to go by, their devotion can only mean good things for the future of Facebook.

    Alongside the shift in typical Facebook use from broadcast channel to personal communications hub, we know there’s an ongoing explosion in the number and type of social networking platforms. Like television, which first expanded from three to five channels over a period of nearly thirty years before exploding to hundreds of channels offering every kind of content imaginable, the social networking landscape has shifted from a few competing generalist social networks to a plethora of different kinds of social networks catering to a variety of interests. And versus TV, it’s all happening at warp speed. Twenty years ago, accessible satellite television filled a need not only for specialist content we knew we wanted such as music videos, premiership football and cartoons, but also desires we probably did not know we had, such as an entire channels devoted to crime drama and the option of watching the world curling championships at 2 am. Similarly, the most interesting of the new social networks, such as Tumblr, Instagram and Foursquare, are the ones that develop user communities around specialist interests and activities, but also easily connect their users back to their core social support network, i.e. Facebook, Twitter.

    It is both the expansion of the social network landscape and the deepening user experience that best illustrate the future potential of Facebook. To get the real story in the statistics, look not at the fraction who leave, but at the behaviour of those who stay.

  • The future of connected TV (and why it may just revolutionise adland), Part II

    17th June 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in interactive, technology

    Don at work by abbey*christine, via Flickr

    Author: Matthew Kershaw, Content Director, BBH London

    I talked here yesterday about a near future in which TV advertising would become fully targetted, completely measurable and highly interactive.

    So what are the implications of this prediction for agencies?

    Without getting all Harold Camping on you, here are five things I believe agencies should do to craft the advertising of the future: Read full post

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