Archive for the ‘awesomeness’ Category
20th May 13
As a product of the first dotcom boom in the mid-nineties I have always been digitally minded. I found my way to advertising through a decade of working in some of the finest interactive studios. More so than ever those two worlds have collided. Earlier this year I set out to write a book that took some of that learning and the mindset of working as a creative in a digital world.
The format of the book took on the look and feel a children’s book for learning the alphabet, with each letter referencing a way of thinking or an insight into the modern creative process. The book was lovingly illustrated by 26 of the industry’s best, and to introduced the book, I asked a simple question of five of advertising’s top creative minds. What does it mean to be a contemporary creative in today’s modern world of advertising? Below are three of the responses I received, the remaining responses can be found by reading the book itself.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” What does it mean to be a creative these days? It’s almost impossible to answer this. The tasks of a creative are unrecognisable from as little as five years ago. You must decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly the days of easy three week shoots in the Caribbean are long gone. But when has an advertising creative ever had the chance to make a physical product from scratch? To really make something? Some would argue clients have never been more conservative but some guy just fell from space for a can of pop with no guarantee that his brains wouldn’t splatter across a million screens. It seems it’s wise to be foolish. One thing a creative does need to be is a hustler. There are no easy briefs any more. You have to fight for the crazy stuff. But I honestly believe in a more uniform and conservative world weird stands out, weird – like ‘Greed’ – works. Look at GaGa. When the going gets weird the weird turn pro. Is that what we are, professional weirdos? I can live with that. - James Cooper
“Creativity” is a loaded word – like “war” or “god” or “child.” It has a lot in common with these words too – for it’s a mix of heavy burden and a blinding belief in our own potential to invent. “Creative” is too often reserved for people who are quirky, strange, tattooed and/or mustachioed. But in truth, everyone is creative with the way they solve the needs of the contemporary world – be they juggling numbers, whittling a good spear, or even in the conjuring of creative design and advertising. What we’re talking about here is indeed creativity in the visual, interactive and social-psychological senses. The Contemporary Creative has the ability to excite all of these with ease, telling stories and inciting action. Those before us molded clay, steel, and wood, but we flex our power with pixels and clicks, flash frames and light, code strings and sensors. We are manipulators – hopefully for good. The one trick pony creative no longer exists; instant death comes to those with narrow-minds, parochial interests or inflexibility. Inquisitiveness, fearlessness and an insatiable thirst for The New are the only real mandates for today’s creative minds. So feed your inner child. Create something from nothing. It’s a war of the senses. - David Schwarz
You can’t be of your time creatively if you’re behind in how you can express it. Nice sound bite, that. And like most sound bites, half true, half full of shit. Why it’s half shit: you can be and do whatever you want creatively. There is absolutely no right or wrong, just expression or no expression. That’s the goddamn beauty of it. Why it’s half true? If you want to have an impact, to have other people see or hear or experience your creativity, it’s a good idea to understand the times you’re living in, the mediums and formats are resonating with people – and understand the tools are available to bring your expressions to life. Know those, and all that creativity inside has a chance to be seen, experienced, and shared. Which makes you a creative person of your time, a ‘contemporary creative’ so to speak. - John Patroulis
The printed version of the book is set to be released on June 6th, however in the spirit of the open Web, I have published the book in it’s entirety as a tumblr blog. You can scroll through it contents at this url: abcbook.tumblr.com
31st January 13http://www.vimeo.com/56722891
Every once and awhile we stumble upon a piece of technology or an innovation that changes behavior in all the right ways. For the most part these ideas are based on a very simple, very obvious insight that for one reason or another, has not yet been solved for. CentUp is exactly one of those ideas.
Quite simply, CentUp is a share button that lets you appreciate content and give a few cents while doing so. So, when things go viral, they create awareness. When things get CentUp, they will create change.
One of the most common reasons people don’t donate more online is because they forget. CentUp is an active reminder to give, and it lives where people are spending an enormous amount of time and attention each day: consuming online content.
So whether you are reading your favorite blog, browsing your friends instagram photos, or even loling at a local improv group’s video, let amazing creators know that you support them with more than just a share. CentUp changes behaviors by making social good a core element of the publishing business model.
We spent a bit of time with Len Kendall, one of the founders of Cent Up through the magic of Google Docs. Below are is our Q&A.
Q1. When and where did you first conceive the idea for CentUp? And how close to the original idea is the current incarnation?
There were two items that sparked CentUp. (Not including the damn amazing domain name that was available.)
The first inspiration came from our collective work in the advertising and pr world. It’s increasingly difficult to build digital things that people take the time to use, read, or donate to. People’s attention spans are low and distractions are high. So we wanted to create something that took miniscule actions and made them something more powerful in aggregate. This flash of inspiration happened at a coworking space in Chicago while we were dissecting a different project.
What really tipped us over the edge specifically was the Kony 2012 video that went viral last year. It so perfectly embodied the often negatively used term, “slacktivism” which describes people taking an action that doesn’t really lead to change. (The video was shared millions and millions of times, but war in Africa wasn’t being thwarted by most people clicking “like”). We decided to develop something that could take advantage of tiny actions, but collectively accomplish something good. Hence, CentUp was born.
While the focus of our idea was very much on raising money for non-profits, we quickly realized that publishers (anyone who creates content online) were our core customers and we needed to build a product that first and foremost served them. While the functionality of CentUp isn’t going to be that much different than how we first envisioned it, the relationship building and marketing will have a vastly different focus.
Q2. I assume that going into this, the shift into a start-up lifestyle was something you planned for. In retrospect, what would you have done differently if anything. And, what were some of the unexpected surprises?
In terms of surprises, the biggest adjustment for me was the management of my own time. I don’t wake up anymore with an outlook calendar full of meetings or client requests that need to be dealt with. The way in which I spend my time is very much up to me and it has made me hyper-sensitive to whether or not particular moments, conversations, events, and other diversions are helping my business. But don’t worry, I haven’t become a selfish jerk just yet. Also, I am lucky to have a wonderful and understanding fiance who doesn’t mind my increased work intensity, as long as I spend some of that time working from the couch next to her.
I always imagined I would leave the agency world to either build my own company or join a young one, but I didn’t know it would happen as soon as it did. I was presented with a solid opportunity to do freelance work on a recurring basis while focusing the most of my time on CentUp. Since a few hours here and there during the week helped me cover my expenses, it made the transition much easier to embrace. The critical element was that I no longer had to say, “I still have a full-time job” when talking to investors, partners, media, etc. I highly recommend this kind of shift for people because it allows you to build and run a company quite lean before it’s time to dedicate your entire life to it. A month after leaving my gig, CentUp was accepted into a startup incubator in Chicago and things started moving really fast.
Q3. How do you and your partners work together? Prior to CentUp, were any of the founders part of a start-up?
The three original co-founders: Tyler Travtiz, John Geletka, and myself all come from marketing and never had worked at a start-up. While we’re not veterans in that respect, we all have a solid set of experience in building brands for very large companies. Once CentUp joined an incubator program, we combined forces with our investors Chris McLaughlin and Marcus Duncan who have a solid background in the non-profit space and product development. We’re all in Chicago, and we intend on staying on our lovely city. When we’re not working from our lovely office we’re usually taking advantage of Google Hangouts to work from home and talk to each other along the way.
Q4. How has Ventricle been able to help you grow beyond staffing and talent?
What I really appreciated about their program versus the other big ones out there like Techstars is the level of partnership they brought to the table. They didn’t just invest in us, have a few mentors come in, and give us a desk. They are with us day to day helping develop and design the product. Beyond the added hands on deck, they’re also removing friction from the business building process. By helping address the minutia (accounting, legal, etc) of building a company, it leaves us time to focus on doing what we do best, designing, developing, and acquiring customers.
Q5. When do you expect to be out of beta, and open to the public? What are some of the first partnerships that will be connected at launch?
We expect to launch at the end of February (which incidentally is when our Indiegogo campaign will wrap up). We’re giving first access to the people that pledged to our campaign, even if it’s a dollar. We’re not using a crowdsourcing platform primarily to raise money, rather we’re using it to build our first set of fans and show publishers that they absolutely should install CentUp after our launch, because there is a demand from readers.
In terms of partners we’ve got a great set of non-profits that we’re in final discussions with. From the publisher side, we’re going to start with small to medium size sites to test out the system and then expand quickly on larger networks. We can’t reveal those yet, but they’re definitely names that readers of this blog will recognize. In the meantime we encourage anyone who hosts their own site to sign-up to be one of our publishers.
Q6. Do you envision CentUp being rolled into a larger platform or network, or is it too early for that kind of thinking?
Ultimately, we realize that the CentUp will be infinitely more powerful if it can partner with a platform like Google+ or Twitter, but we know we’ll need to develop our own ecosystem first.
Our intention for the first year is to have enough content getting CentUp so that we can build a Reddit-like home page that shows top content getting cents. It’s a place that we believe bloggers and other content creators will strive to show-up on because it doesn’t just represent virality, but a substantial endorsement from fans, backed with real money.
P.S. Look for the CentUp button right here on the Labs blog towards the end of February.
1st May 12
Author: Andy Ross, Account Manager, BBH NY
As the Winter 2012 Barn session came to a close with interns presenting digital platforms directly to UNICEF clients, something dawned upon us – we need to get the next round of the Barn rolling.
In short, the Barn is back. Please consider this your invite.
It goes like this: Two teams of three resourceful, slightly sleep-deprived interns compete against one another on a brief that belongs solely to them. They’ll also work on live projects within the walls of BBH and score some direct interaction with and mentorship from folks in nearly every department here, including BBH Labs.
The skills we’re looking for are varied, and none are mandatory – but guidelines might help. Do you know Final Cut Pro, PHP, C++? Ever heard of Open Source? Are you hyper-organized? Do you have a penchant for human behavior studies or a highly developed sense of smell that you have leveraged into a successful truffle company? Bottom line: we want people who can get things done.
Our role here is to empower you, not to ask you for coffee. That’s why previous Barn teams have managed to win everything from Lions to Pencils during their 10-week internship.
So you have it, the Barn’s hiring criteria are as follows: We want people who are good and nice. Apply at BBHBarn.com and follow @bbhbarn. Applications are due May 11th. We start June 4th, 2012. We cry that it’s over August 10th.
15th January 12Author: Eric Fernandez, Strategist, BBH New York
The Barn is back in New York, and we’re looking for a special new team of genius interns to fill our ranks. This isn’t your run of the mill ad internship, so we’re not looking for typical marketing resumes. We’re looking for resourceful MacGyver types who are curious about everything, comfortable doing stuff every day that they haven’t done before, and are natural wizards at technology. We want the kind of folks that can grasp a program like Final Cut Pro after watching a few how-to videos and a couple of hours of trial and error. Or, faced with the task of creating a web site, will google PHP programming, find some open source scripts and at least try to hack something together. When we say resourceful, we mean it. We’re looking for people that really geek out over their projects.
The Barn is designed to empower people like this. We aren’t going to stick you under a rug doing nothing but grunt work. We are going to put you on teams and give you the chance to do your own projects. Last year, Barn Interns won two Cannes Lions with a project that was featured on major news outlets across the country– and even made Twitter’s ten most remarkable tweets of the year. That type of success continues to be our ambition in this now global internship program.
Our brief is three words: “Do Good, Famously” and we’ll give you the funding and support you need to create a kick ass project that will change lives. We’ll also make sure you get the credit for it. We want our program to be a spring board for your career.
If selected, you will be one of six interns, split into two teams of three people. These teams will be set off against their 3-word brief with full access to BBH talent along the way. They’ll also be working on client business throughout, so it will be a very busy 10 weeks. Our goal is to make this an internship like no other in marketing. It’s more about you than about us. We just like having your energy and passion around the agency. And if it’s anything like previous sessions, we’ll probably learn a thing or two ourselves.
2nd December 11
Author: James Mitchell, Strategist, BBH Labs
Back in November, Internet Week Europe happened – many of you might better know it as #iwe11. Last year, we challenged London’s digital elite to get their hands dirty and code up a storm in an afternoon. This year, we did something altogether more warm and fuzzy.
This November, we asked people to step forward and bare their souls for TaleTorrent – a night of true stories about the internet. And step forward they did! We had a truly fantastic lineup of speakers telling stories from the funny to the sad, the professional to the personal, but all extremely entertaining. Thank you guys, again.
It was very much a night run on volunteer goodwill – not least from the guys at Kinura, who approached us a full three days before the event and said “hey, d’you want us to stream it online?”
We said an emphatic yes. And so, for anybody that missed it, grab some port and enjoy after dinner.
TALETORRENT – PART ONE
Featuring @BetaRish and @mndtrythnkng‘s ultimate answer to Facebook’s “What’s on your mind?”,@katylindemann‘s True Confessions Of A Teenage Weblogger, @documentally‘s 999-style car crash reenactment, and @claireburge‘s paean to the gods of Serendipity.
TALETORRENT – PART TWO
Featuring @jnicholasgeist‘s Zombie apocalypse night-on-the-tiles (a transatlantic special!), @simonsanders‘ pen-pal to PM saga, @mananatomorrow‘s cyberphilic daughter, and my experiences of chartroom romance, of a sort.
…and if you enjoyed that, know now that there are plans for TaleTorrentTwo, to land sometime in March. A little less rushed this time around. Details will come when they exist, but if you’re inspired by what you’ve seen and you want to have a go, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have you.
17th August 11
Although it seems insanely early every year, it’s time to start voting for panels at SxSW. Instead of spamming our professional and personal feeds with requests for support, we’re continuing a tradition we began last year of consolidating all of our potential panels into a single post.
So, if any of the below seems mildly interesting, we’d greatly appreciate a vote. All of the summaries below click-thru to the appropriate panel picker page at sxsw.com. Regardless, we’re quite excited to attend to hear what others have to say. We value the experience every year, and as always we digest everything with the benefit of context you all as the loyal Labs community provide us.
- A highly controlled algorithm-driven web where people and brands are matched perfectly via formula and AI, in a spam-free nirvana.
- An ongoing battle of people and brands seeking to be discovered, creating an open web with neutral techn partners and real-world spaces where tech doesn’t penetrate.
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
The topic of this panel was born of conversation frequently discussed on our blog in 2011: do agencies really need someone to run innovation? In this session four innovation leaders, including our Saneel Radia (@saneel) and Labs founder (now client at Google Creative Lab) Ben Malbon (@malbonnington), will answer hard questions about the value of such a role, what it actually entails, and what makes a good candidate to play the part. The panel also includes Edward Boches of Mullen (@edwardboches), Dave Armano of Edelman (@armano) and David Erixon (@dexodexo), founder of Hyper Island.
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
This panel features Neil Munn, Global Head of BBH Zag, along with other ad industry investment professionals. In this session, the audience is invited to present their elevator pitches and receive high-level advice on how to prime the proposals for investment. Press coverage for the most attractive investments is built in via our friends at PSFK (@psfk).
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
BBH planner Tim Jones (@timjonestweet) will outline “gaming brands,” an approach to brand strategy built on gaming principles. This approach represents a fundamental shift from building brands as message transmission devices, to building brands as behaviour change systems. This talk will feature new material built on content Tim previously covered in his TEDx talk of the same name.
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
In this session, three BBH storytellers (including @jamescmitchell, @writingstudio, and @depechetoad) from different backgrounds share the results of in-field storywriting experiments from standup to novel-writing to radio plays to alternate reality games. They’ve tried it all, and are going to try and explain what works. This is not a panel – think of it as a three-man show. This is a theoretical session, with practical homework.
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
As women play casual games in ever-increasing numbers, this session will examine what this means for the development of casual and traditional games. It will specifically look at how the psychology of women influences the psychology of game developers. The purpose of this presentation by BBH social media manager Claire Coady (@claire_coady) is to examine how women are influencing the seismic shifts underway across the gaming landscape.
Find out more, vote and add your support here.
19th November 10
Author: Heidi Hackemer (@uberblond), Strategy Director, BBH NYC
Well, here we go again.
This past summer we tried a little intern experiment at BBH New York called the Barn (and actually wrote our very first post about the idea here).
The Barn is all about trying new ways of working and finding new solutions to old problems. We bring in six interns, put them in teams and give them a problem to solve. A tough problem. A problem that requires moxy and guts. Last summer it was “Here’s $1000, make something famous” and the funny thing is, through a great idea, lots of work and some wicked use of the web, one team actually did.
The upshot is that we had a great summer and in the true spirit of beta and chaos, we learned a lot. So we’re going to do it again. Want to apply? You can do it here.
In the meantime, we asked one of our Barn’ers from last summer, Daniel Edmundson, to outline what the Barn was all about and what he learned. His rather astute thoughts are below:
The following Barnisms, we believe, provide a valid offering of the Barn experience. As the industry moves toward a more hybrid model in mentality, specialty and creative sheen (see: Voltron), individuals with little to no experience in the ad world can contribute some pretty weird and crazy ideas while embracing the truths of technology, brands and businesses.
Here’s what we gleaned:
People are smart and all, but it’s nothing if you’re not nice.
Folks at BBH go by this axiom, and it can at first be daunting to accept. There is an innate inferiority to the intern experience, and it’s not easy to shake. But the Barn was built on the idea of integration within the agency–not just integration by discipline and interest, but by collaboration and lending new thoughts.
For us, it was as basic a learning as knowing it’s cool to pitch your early ideas to one of the creative teams, or discuss ongoing strategy with top planners. It was about access to smarts, and being comfortable saying, “I need your brain.”
Be clear. Very, very clear.
At a time when our social lives are as open and transparent as a storefront window, our communications, we learned, must follow suit. When members of the media or the ad community challenged the social relevancy and sincerity of the projects we were executing, we were immediately honest about our motivations and our associations to BBH. Not only did it help us to move forward to better develop the idea, it got the subject out early and placed the focus back on what was important.
Feed feed feed.
When consumers commit to a brand or platform, they formulate expectations.And with the brevity and ubiquity of stuff today, those expectations need to be forthright and on schedule—they must live and operate as their character does.
We learned that, especially when making a chronological or episodic product (say, 30 dates/30 days or a constant cookie delivery), content must deliver on that promise. The market, particularly online, is one big ocean of fishes and underwater activity—there are sharks that are hungry for new feed all the time. It’s important to keep them full.
Build dynamics from those around you.
Little was more important than realizing the crazy importance of working in a team. Put together at the start of 10 weeks with complete strangers, we had to recognize strengths early, put egos aside and move very quickly to process ideas.
Most importantly, it was designing a system with the insurmountable intelligence that we had on hand to make things happen.
Become a community manager.
Whether it was living in the online space or in the physical, both teams had to pay careful attention to what was being voiced and how to respond. As we developed each project monitoring feedback and reacting quickly became paramount—even more so, understanding how particular channels consumed and reacted to the bits of information informed our output as we moved along.
Understand and do timely collaboration.
Make it messy. Curate timelines for concepts to enter in and out, and bring everybody in. Collaboration should be like a big party, with everyone invited and all ideas honorable. The Barn is an incubator for collaboration—but it needs to be controlled and relevant to real-world happenings and interactions, or else it could be DOA.
Speak many languages, and carry a big idea.
Everyone in the Barn came from disparate backgrounds and it was very easy to simplify being very good at one thing. Whether it was coding, filming or writing copy, it was imperative that we leaned on other efficiencies to make each project work. The idea ran faster, operated better and was more agile with the distribution of skills and resources.
You must be curious, and you must ask why (or why not). This goes both for the culture within the wooden walls of the Barn, as well as outside in the fields and world-at-large. Be all, WTF about the workings of things, the lives of people and the wherewithal of ideas. Well-traveled—physically and mentally.
It’s like championing @kanyewest, AND questioning if the @John_Hegarty Twitter handle was a genuine or a fraud.
Beta can save your life, and your livelihood.
As many in the ad world can attest, it’s simply our nature to constantly massage, tinker with and hold close the ideas that are meant for the world. Getting them out into the real world early and often (half-dressed and really ugly, even) can pay off and help to shape the route towards the road ahead.
Make friends, be human.
While brands and businesses are trying so hard to be all the more human (and their agencies doing some of the handholding and small talking along the way), we forget too often that we, too, should do the same. Many in the Barn joined the soccer team, celebrated camaraderie with fellow black sheep and spent quality time with our mentors, all in the hope of forming a strong kinship with the offices. It worked. So much of BBH (and I’d hope the world) is about the people you work with; it’s about getting to know them and how they’re a genius at everything.
(Internships start in January. Apply here.)
20th September 10
This is great. Almost too great to be true. But take a look and see what you think. Hot on the heels of Dentsu London’s clever use of the iPad to paint pictures, something altogether more lofi but equally excellent.
Stop motion form and colour, using light painting techniques.
Lighting: Kim Pimmel
Sound: Tron Legacy trailers
From Kim Pimmel’s Vimeo site, more detail:
I’ve been interested in taking my Light Study photo series and evolving them into motion pieces. I shot a lot of footage for a VJ gig for FITC San Francisco. So I edited together those stop motion sequences, mashed up some audio from the Tron Legacy trailers, and out came Light Drive.
The video is stop motion, so every frame is an individually shot photograph. Each photograph is a long exposure photo, with exposures reaching up to 20 seconds in some cases.
To control the lights, I used an Arduino controlled via bluetooth to drive a stepper motor. The stepper motor controls the movements of the lights remotely from Processing.
The light sources include cold cathode case lights, EL wire, lasers and more.
via @finnbarrw (the constant source of the most magical films and special effects)
10th September 10
This is fun. Albeit slightly pointless fun.
The latest in our recent series of brilliant non-digital awesomeness (see also the incredible projection show in Kharkov & Target’s spectacular light show at the Standard Hotel in NYC).
French-Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond created this stop-motion video showing Pac-Man being played at a movie theater in Switzerland last month. The project had 111 patient volunteers sit, shift, and change shirts over the course of more than four hours.
24th August 10
Posted by: Seth Weisfeld, Digital Creative Director, BBH New York (follow him at @seth_weisfeld)
As the summer begins to fade in our minds on a rainy day like this, its all too easy to forget the simple joys of a day at the beach. This film is a lovely reminder and shot and scored very beautifully. Enjoy.
Be sure to watch in HD, full screen. Even more stunning.