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Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

  • Digital, can we kill this word for good?

    16th December 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, digital

    The good people from the Cristal Festival (held in Crans, Switzerland.. not a bad place to be at this time of year) got in touch a few months ago, asking me to join a panel today with two very smart ladies, Fernanda Romano (Euro RSCG’s Global CD for Digital & Experiential Advertising) and Patou Nuytemans (Chief Digital Officer, Ogilvy EMEA).

    We were each asked to come with an answer to the question that’s the title of this post. My response – a super short presentation and what was said to accompany it – below.



    When I first heard the question, the answer felt pretty obvious. An immediate YES. Let’s kill it stone dead, with fire, right here, right now. Both Fernanda and Patou argued with absolute certainty that this should be the case, letting a series of integrated award entries from a single telco in Bahrain (yes, that was the point…) do the talking.

    Personally, my response was driven by the fact the word feels both outmoded AND it suggests unnecessary complexity; a separation between “digital” and “analogue” that’s vaporising before our eyes. Even before analogue TV channels are switched off forever (in the UK in 2012), we all know audiences flow freely between on and offline and expect to see coherency from brands, wherever they find them. This blurring is only going to get more extreme, until we don’t even notice the difference. In fact, I’m fairly convinced we’re the last generation to even care.

    Continuing in this vein, I borrowed the oft-quoted Charlene Li’s statement at SXSW in 2009 that “[digital] social networks will be like air”. Businesses need to prepare themselves for a future where open, hyper-connected networks are the norm. Talking about “digital” vs everything else out there is arguably unhelpful, reminiscent of a past when digital was an after thought and treated as a channel (“okay, we’ve got our big idea, now let’s do some of that digital stuff!”). Now that digital underpins much of what we do, it becomes next to meaningless as a descriptor.

    Or does it? Before we draw the knife to kill the word, let’s just hold on a minute. If we stop using the word digital, what would replace it? How would we describe the creative canvas and media environment in which we operate? Note: ‘post-digital’ is not an option.

    Taking a step back, there’s nearly always an answer somewhere in history – as Russell Davies’ reference to post-war England in his Post Digital apology perfectly encapsulates – or better still, given I was asked to talk about killing something, let’s learn from Mother Nature.

    There’s a natural rhyme and reason to the flow of things in nature. Put incredibly simply, all living things experience at least two of the following during their lifetime: birth, sex, death.

    Where are we *really* in the cycle of digital’s life? Actually, I’d argue we’re somewhere just after birth.

    We’re certainly no-where near approaching maturity. Like virgins discussing sex, we’ve boasted about nearly doing it, thought we may have done it (not entirely sure) and excitedly talk about what it’ll be like when we’ve done it, you know, A LOT. There are people who are legitimately experienced, but most of us aren’t. Not in the “10,000 hours logged coding” sense of the word.

    Sure, we don’t all need to know how to code brilliantly in order to qualify. Although I’d like to suggest we might want to learn a little. Ad agency creatives ten years ago didn’t need to be directors, editors or lighting cameramen to write great TV scripts. However, they’d lived with telly and newspapers their whole lives and learned the craft of writing, design and art direction before they ever dared set foot inside an agency. Likewise the UK’s IPA has stacks of papers which prove the effectiveness of advertising, yet would be the first to admit the real ROI of digital activity is still in its infancy.

    Until the industry at large has a universal understanding of what it takes in terms of craft and intelligence to deliver *outstanding* digital work, suggesting we should ‘kill digital’ feels grossly premature.

    In writing this, I’m reminded of Iain Tait’s last column for NMA just last month, in which he protested with good reason:

    “Digital may be everyday, but it’s not effortless… It’s time to stop all the nonsense about trying to call this stuff this or that. Only thing that matters is whether it’s good or not. The only thing more stupid than all the word-monkeying is denying that technology, code and making things out of bits and bytes is important.” porn izle I’ve got a lot of sympathy with this for a bunch of reasons (as I’ve said before here, a favourite post of mine is The Tragic Death of Practically Everything), but in the main I’d like us to show digital some respect. Yes, it informs everything like air, but that doesn’t make it easy to breathe.

    In short, I’d like our industry to be allowed to reach its potential in terms of digital skill. Not recognising the particular craft skills and necessary time on the clock runs the risk of arresting our collective development. Let’s not let that happen.

  • Saved: The Story of A Sustainable T-Shirt

    2nd November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Sustainability

    Source: dothegreenthing on Flickr - http://flic.kr/p/8NUsNV

    We’ve written before about our straight-up admiration for Green Thing’s focus on using creativity to switch people away from thinking of green living as something we ought to do, to something we want to do.

    This time around, they’ve applied their talents to t-shirts.

    As the blurb says: “Saved is a new sustainable product and anti-waste campaign that takes unwanted or unloved T-shirts, washes them, hand-stitches ‘Saved’ lettering onto them, adds a Saved story (saved from bad taste, saved from disrepair, saved from neglect) and in doing so makes each T-shirt a bit more fashionable and a lot more desirable.”

    Aside from the obligatory celebrity endorsement (stand up Marina and the Diamonds, Imogen Heap, VV Brown, Professor Green and Zandra Rhodes, who’ve all donated t-shirts) the thing we particularly like is the innovation and design Green Thing used at every stage of the Saved cycle. Including a “pay it forward”-style approach sarisin porno izle to delivery – already recycled, the packaging containing your t-shirt can be reused with a freepost label to send back one of your own old t-shirts to be Saved for somebody else.

    Find out more on @dothegreenthing‘s site here or watch the one minute video below.

    But more importantly, buy one on their Facebook page here.

    YouTube Preview Image
  • St John Ambulance: The Difference.

    1st November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Events

    YouTube Preview Image

    Around here we like nothing more than creativity put to great use. Last Friday night, in a cinema in central London, St John Ambulance (a BBH London client) staged an event they hope the audience – and anyone watching the film of what took place – won’t forget for a while. The film you see here was edited at speed over the weekend. Below, we catch up with one of the CDs on the project and share our starters for ten on what perhaps we can take from it.

    First up, inbetween edits, Adrian Rossi told us a bit about how the idea came about.

    “People eat popcorn in cinema. One of the main reasons people, especially children, choke is from eating popcorn. So we thought how do we make people in a cinema audience (and beyond) question the importance of First Aid. To shake them out of that lethargy that “It won’t happen to me.” Or “Someone will know what to do.”

    There were several parts to this. The first was writing and filming a commercial for popcorn that felt believeable as a real popcorn ad. Something that no one would even question. This meant trawling through bland commercial after bland commercial to get the feeling for the language, music and pacing. Even finding a unique popcorn name which felt real and which hadn’t been used before. This kept people in their ad comfort zone. These ads almost kind of wash over you in the cinema. Which is what happened when it played in the cinema, people carried on chatting, looking at their phones and of course eating popcorn.

    After creating this idyllic ‘ad family’, we shatter it by having the little girl choke and the Mum – understandably – completely lose it. The actress who played the ‘Mum’ was amazing.  She cried on cue so many times during the shoot itself, amazing to do it once – but to keep to carry on doing it – extraordinary. It was one of the most emotional shoots I or any of the crew had been involved with. Everyone was absolutely drained afterwards.

    Like all good stories there had to be a third act. Here, we had an individual in the audience volunteer to help, then run down the cinema aisle and disappear behind the curtains at the side of the screen, before you see her appear in the film itself. Getting the timing and her eyeline (so it felt the two actresses were actually looking at each other and talking to each other) right as she made her way through several hundred people and onto the stage, then behind the curtain to reappear a beat later in the film… that was the nerve wrecking part. This hadn’t been done before. It worked perfectly, the actress, Joanna, nailed it. Even reducing one corner of the cinema audience to gasp and point.

    For Joanna she was only half way through her performance – she had to reappear on the other side of the curtains just as her onscreen character leaves, after saving the little girl. This was the real feelgood moment – as she appeared, the entire audience broke into spontaneous applause. This wasn’t scripted, but it made for a genuinely uplifting end to the experience and worth all the effort everyone had put into it.

    I believe in this idea and St John Ambulance so much that even though I left BBH 3 months ago I’ve taken holiday from my new agency, Glue, to do all the rehearsals and shoot the cinema event itself. And that goes for almost everyone involved in this project from the beginning – too many people to mention have believed in this and have given up their time and more to make this the best it could possibly be.

    There was always that element of risk and nerves attached to doing a live performance as you can’t control entirely what might happen. In the end everyone went with it. Seeing a couple of people reduced to tears and the entire audience spontaneously clapping at the end makes you realise the power a message like this can carry. Strangely, people didn’t seem to be eating so much popcorn afterwards. . .’

    What can we do now?

    Not to put too finer a point on it, we can all be the difference. Here we’re celebrating the thinking behind this idea by sharing the film, as well as the accompanying campaign collateral (below). We hope you will too, either by sharing the link to the film which is up on the St John Ambulance site and/or YouTube.

    We believe there are a few things to take away from all of this – some are age-old advertising truths, some a little more new-fangled. Please let us know what you think:

    1. A clearly defined problem: St John Ambulance know there are 150,000 deaths every year in the UK that could be prevented if someone in the vicinity knew first aid.

    Newspaper coverage earlier this year

    2. A relentless focus: St John Ambulance could be about a lot of things, but they are focused on First Aid. They believe no-one should be out of reach of someone who can help in an emergency. Someone who can *be the difference*.
    arabada seks 3. Imagination + commitment beat money: this idea is more proof, if proof were needed, that big impact doesn’t rely necessarily upon big budgets.

    4. Coherency beats consistency: each component part of the campaign (print campaign, the cinema event, an iPhone app and a pocket-sized guide) adds layers of knowledge and usability. Different, connected platforms, not identikit, matching luggage.

    5. Awareness is not enough. The St John Ambulance team want this film to be watched and shared, but most of all they want it to acted upon. The advertising doesn’t simply tell a dramatic story, it a) gives us basic and top line knowledge about what to do in an emergency and b) gives us somewhere to go – text SAVE to 82727 in the UK for a free pocket-sized guide to Essential First Aid, which covers five common conditions where straightforward first aid could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved:

    Be The Difference Guide

    And if the booklet’s not your thing, you can try the branded iPhone app (note: the app costs £2.39):

    ***

    Credits:

    St John’s Ambulance: Scott Jacobson – Director of Marketing Communications & Fundraising

    BBH Creative Directors: Alex Grieve and Adrian Rossi

    BBH Producer: Olivia Chalk

    BBH Asst Producer: Chris Watling

    BBH Team Directors: Louise Addley, Nick Stringer

    Director: Jeff Labbe

    Producer: Gregory Cundiff, Gabi Kay

    Production Company: Sonny London

    Director of Photography: Daniel Bronks

    Sound: Wave Studios, BBH Voodoo

    Post Production: The Mill

    Editor/Editing: Sam Gunn, The Whitehouse

    Media Partners: DCM – Louise Trinder, Jill Cooper

    Digital Cinema Media and the Cineworld Haymarket - Ash Chaudry

    Special thanks also to the team behind the scenes: Emma Shepherd (PR Manager at St John Ambulance), Kevin Brown, Helen Kenny, Zak Razvi, Lucy Powell, Justin Abuzid, Christina Collins, Tracy Blyth, Andrew Southam, Romy  Miller, JoJo Jenkins, Gemma Smith, Hannah Gibson and Paisley Wright.

    St John Ambulance print campaign

    St John Ambulance print execution

    St John Ambulance First Aid App print execution

  • A New BBH 20% Project: The Knot Collective

    14th October 10

    Author: Steven Peck, Creative, BBH New York (@stevenpeck)


    When I began design school at the age of eighteen, it was the first time I was ever exposed to a large group of people whose individual skillsets, interests and backgrounds varied so differently from my own. I was thrust into a new intellectual and creative environment that was completely foreign. Little did I know then how much value that experience actually created. Over the course of five years, I built great friendships with people in a variety of creative disciplines – from automotive design to interactive design to fashion design to architecture and urban planning. Many of my closest friends in design school were in programs outside my own discipline and as a result, I did a lot of my graphic design work in the car design studio. Simply working in the same studio with people who were creating completely different kinds of projects had an immense effect upon my approach and process, and the feedback from respected people outside my own creative discipline was, in many ways, more valuable than the people within it.

    It’s been awhile since I was in design school. But looking at the world today, the need for a destination to house conversations that spawn new ideas, insights, and creativity is more pertinent than ever. Acquiring perspectives from smart, talented people with a different frame of reference, and the constant ability to see and experience creative work in the periphery of your own has a real, tangible, and positive effect.  The reality is fast becoming that collaboration is not just a new way of doing things – it’s becoming necessary to survive and be competitive in business. Technology is enabling creative people to work in more ways than ever before and bring great ideas to life. It’s certainly an exciting time to be making things.

    These beliefs led to my 20% project. The Knot Collective attempts to bridge the gap between these disciplines that are so often siloed to help share knowledge and cultivate thought leadership for creative businesses. We believe that cross-disciplinary collaboration is the future of innovation and design. We hope the site can serve as a valuable resource and build a thriving community that fosters critical thinking and lively discussion.

    My longtime friend and product/transportation designer Marc Reisen and I have been discussing and developing the foundation of The Knot Collective for over two years. After thinking about it, building it, rethinking it, and rebuilding it, we’re extremely happy to have launched the project last month. It’s been a long road, but a considered one, and a labor of love nonetheless.

    You can check it out here: www.theknotcollective.com (or @theknotcollectv)

    We hope you find the mix of disciplines as valuable as we do. We’d love to have you join the conversation.

  • How to do Propagation Planning

    13th October 10

    A few years ago I wanted to be a part of the next theory in strategic planning. Connections Planning had been around for about ten years (in 2009) and I wanted to know what comes next? That’s when I discovered the work that Ivan Pollard from Naked Communications had shared around Propagation Planning.

    Over the last few years I dedicated my ‘extra’ time to understanding and cultivating the theory, articles and case studies surrounding propagation planning. I shared everything I learned on my Blog. By sharing, others contributed and the ideas got better.

    Sharing and generosity are very important in the advertising industry today. They make all of us better. As they say, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

    Edward Boches, who is in the process of formalizing propagation planning at Mullen, wrote a great post this week asking a provocative question, “Do you give content sexs away because you want credit?” For me, I give content away to become a member of the club. A club of strategic planning minds that contribute everyday to a greater collective. This club is made up of so many people that I couldn’t possibly name them all here… but you know who you are.

    So I was thrilled when Mark Lewis and the Planning-Ness conference asked if Mike Monello (Co-Founder at Campfire) and I would share our thoughts on propagation planning. I hope that you can take something away from this deck and inspire your creative and social media teams to develop work that gets spread.

    (Best viewed by clicking MENU and FULL SCREEN)

  • “Yes. But….”: Challenging Short-hand Marketing Rules

    7th October 10

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in creativity, digital, process

    Author: Emma Cookson, Chairman BBH New York

    This bunch of charts comes from a BBH session at a recent conference organized by The Bellwether Group in New York. The subject of the day was ‘Creativity and content creation in a digital age”. So something of a wide canvas….

    My start point was the realization of how intimidated I felt speaking on the topic – and the further realization that this intimidation stemmed not just from personal neurosis or the breadth/complexity of the subject (although all that applied), but that I was also intimidated because there’s already so much great comment and advice in this area available. It’s one of the interesting by-products of an age of such extraordinary pace of change that we’re all frantically trying to keep learning, keep up to date, keep pace – and as a result there’s a whole slew of people working to satisfy that desire with tips and advice. Every day brings a deluge of advice and input on digital marketing/comms/business-building.

    My observation is that although so much of this advice and comment is truly fantastic, the flip-side is that within all the rush and deluge we are sometimes accepting and sharing – at speed and at face-value – assertions that maybe should bear closer examination and qualification. Perhaps all these assertions we read in the latest expert tweet or in the headline of that skimmed article are all broadly right – but maybe not in all circumstances, not right for all brands, not right in every dimension. Perhaps there’s a slightly more precise story to tell (see our recent post on a similar theme examining participation).

    So that’s where this presentation came from. And why it’s called ‘Yes. But…’ I note a number widely accepted truths about creative best practice in a digital age – and, without disagreeing with any of them, suggest that they might benefit from a little qualification. My contention is that – for example – escalating consumer control of brands is of course a real phenomenon, but it doesn’t absolve brand owners of deep responsibility for brand leadership and, yes, still a degree of brand control. Or that ’360 degree marketing’ is a good clarion call, until you start wondering if it really is right that the most powerful communication solutions really do always have to be deployable in every single channel, with every weapon available in our communication arsenal.

    Any comment or argument is greatly appreciated.



  • A Radical Proposal to Save Advertising on the Web

    8th September 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, interactive

    Author: Calle Sjoenell, Executive Creative Director, BBH New York

    (Follow Calle here: @callesjonell)

    After reading Chris Anderson’s piece in Wired about the web being dead, long live the Internet, I got a really uneasy feeling. Banner advertising has always been the weird step child of advertising. Few creatives wants to do them, clients don’t know how to approach it and nobody clicks on the ads. I always argued that it’s the ultimate test of stripped-down creativity, with lots of constraints, just 40K to play with and super-restricted space. It’s like creating wonderful music out of an old synth; just a few dials, but turn the right ones at the right time and wonderful things happen. On occasion, that can happen with banners. But maybe we have all missed the real problem. The first trouble with display ads is that people don’t know how to look at them. I believe the reason for this is the creative and the instruction for interacting with the creative is all over the place.

    Right now, internet display advertising is like driving through different towns where every town has invented their own traffic sign system. You need to look really carefully at every sign and interpret what they mean instead of brainstem reactions that would come with a unified signage system. Learn more, Click here, Fold There, plus signs, single arrows, >>, all in a box, or not. Underlined. Bold. !!!!

    We are just not sure what to do. So, in over 99% of instances, we do absolutely nothing at all.

    This is connected to a second problem with display advertising: that there is no clear way of knowing if you will leave the site or interact where you are. In the early days it made sense that you left the site you were on and went to the advertisers’ websites. That was how you used the web back then, hence the idea of ‘surfing’. Now people are on fewer and fewer sites and are reluctant to leave where they are. They’re also afraid of viruses and malware.

    Is there a solution? I propose we separate creative from instruction.

    I propose we create a clear set of universal instructions letting users know if they are staying on a site or leaving it. Or, to push it even further, what if every ad had two standard buttons at the same location, “Save for Later” (like Instapaper for display) and “Go to Website”. That way ads would behave more like we use the web today. A Universal System for display, in which everyone knows what to expect. A system that respects the user.

    Few have got this right to date. Google come to mind, with their Adwords text ads (& look at the impact of a user-focused design approach on their revenues). With Google, the parameters are tight and everyone knows what to expect. Facebook is also on to this with their standardized format that provides a redtube static picture and lots of text. These are fairly low on the creative side, but I think the creative part of a banner can be wonderfully executed through animation, API interaction or just a plain old static picture that says it all. Whatever it is, the instructions should be standard, simple and clear.

    This is one reason why I have joined the IAB and their Rising Stars forum, to drive forward this question of standardization. It might point to the way forward for creative AND functional display ads on the web that users know how to interact with. But there are a lot of people who need to agree and compromise to make this happen.

    So to save advertising on the web, who is willing to come to the table?

  • Creatives, Know When to Ask for Help

    25th August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, technology

    Author: Kevin Roddy, Chief Creative Officer, BBH New York (follow at @tweetrod)

    Originally posted on Ad Age, August 23 2010 (link: http://j.mp/crf6Io)

    I have a theory about why some “traditional” agencies aren’t evolving as quickly, or effectively, as they need to: because their creative directors aren’t admitting that they’re stupid.

    Now, hang on a minute. Before you take a four-iron to my knee caps, let me explain what I mean. In my pre-creative-director career as a copywriter (you know, back when ads were written in Triceratops blood on cave walls) I never had to worry about writing for a small thing we now call the internet. Back then, an “integrated campaign” meant it had TV, print and radio. The definition of “interactive” was doing a print ad that required someone to turn the page. My colleagues and I never had to think of any solution beyond it.

    The path to becoming a creative director in those days was to be really good at developing work in those media, the theory being, the better you were at doing it, the better you would be at directing it.

    Today? Not so much. As someone who’s now responsible for directing creative people doing things I never even dreamed of in my copywriting days, I don’t consider myself solely equipped to make every kind of idea better. How could I? I’ve never done many of them myself.

    Sure, I can tell someone how to make a TV spot or a print ad better. I’ve done a ton of them. And, I think, I’m pretty good at them. But when it comes to creativity today — a new world that encompasses everything from iAds to augmented reality — it’s a whole different ballgame.

    I’m not alone. I’d venture to say there’s a whole industry of CDs out there who have the same difficulty as I do single-handedly creative directing today’s ideas. Some have even confided in me as much.

    So where does that leave creative leaders like me? Here are a few options:

    1. Ignore the new ideas. Hey, if we can’t make them better then let’s just dismiss them altogether!
    2. We can ask for new ideas, even demand them, but because we honestly don’t know how to improve many of them, we can just let them move forward in their “first-draft” state.
    3. We can admit that we don’t know enough about how to make technologically complex creative ideas better and ask for help.

    Hopefully, we’ll all be brave enough to pick option No. 3. Creative directors need to admit a weakness in our own ability to creative direct today and ask for help. Take down the walls and ask other people for suggestions about how to make the work better. Heresy, I know. (You’ll have to turn in your creative director secret decoder ring and conveniently forget the creative director secret handshake.) But the danger of pretending like you know how to do it mature sex all means great creative opportunities could pass through you agency without a chance of exposing themselves. I believe we’ll be more effective in our jobs if we get help revamping our creative departments to deliver the complex kinds of creative products clients require to engage consumers today.

    Note, I’m not suggesting you get others to do it for you. I’m simply saying get help. As creative directors it is still, ultimately, our responsibility. We are, like it or not, better qualified to judge and direct great creative work, of any kind, than anybody else.

    And if and when the “I need help” movement takes hold, I promise creative directors will look really damn smart (actually being smart, however, is a different story…hell, we’re creative directors not planners).

  • 56 Sage Street: the story behind the game

    13th August 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Gaming

    Author: Ali Merry, Creative, BBH London

    56 Sage Street – The Game – Game Play Video Trailer from 56 Sage Street – The Game on Vimeo.


    The first release of 56 Sage Street – BBH London & B-Reel’s game for Barclays – went live last month and, we´re happy to say, has just received NMA’s Campaign of the Month. Ali, one of the creatives behind the project agreed to tell us the story behind the game’s inception, how it got made and what the team learned along the way. Read full post

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