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Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

  • Interview with Dan Light, Part III: The role for brands in transmedia

    16th July 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, storytelling

    Author: Ben Shaw, Strategist, BBH London

    http://www.iamironman2.com/home/

    In the last of our blog posts with Dan Light we’ve saved the trickiest questions for last. What, if any, are the roles for brands in these transmedia extensions of the narrative? Can it ever get deeper than product placement and, if so, can brands ever make a legitimate contribution to the storytelling experience?

    In the past decade we’ve seen that the music industry had to get screwed before it would change, the newspaper industry is struggling and the film industry is being forced to reinvent itself. Can entertainment industries transform themselves? Where do you see the film industry going?

    I think the film industry is going to polarise. I think you’re going to have your Avatars – they will be big 3D events that will be 15-year projects and will command bigger and bigger sums of money.

    At the other end will be the classic independent films, built around a good story but also written from the ground up, with a view to all the ways in which that story can be told, developed and audiences be found.

    So brands need to find new ways to engage audiences and clearly sponsorship of this kind of content is a legitimate path, albeit it represents a fairly transactional relationship with the producer. Is this how you see the role of brands developing?

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  • Interview with Dan Light, Part II: the intricacies of creating transmedia content

    15th July 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, storytelling

    Author: Ben Shaw, Strategist, BBH London

    http://www.vimeo.com/11229983

    Last time we left off talking to Dan about the role of transmedia in extending the relationship between entertainment properties and audiences. As expected we soon moved onto Dan’s favourite topic, creating transmedia content for today’s multimedia world. This was just after Dan managed to pour an entire cup of fresh coffee all over himself.

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  • Interview with Dan Light, Part I: engaging online communities

    14th July 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, storytelling

    Author: Ben Shaw (@BenShaw), Strategist, BBH London

    Iron Man 2 transmedia marketing

    Dan Light’s profile description on Twitter (@danlight) reads: “Interactive marketer (and maker) of movies”. Although the bio may be short, his experience certainly is not. Dan has recently left Picture Production Company (PPC), where he led an award-winning interactive team producing some of the most innovative online marketing campaigns of recent times. In previous Labs posts we looked in more depth at the work they produced for Watchmen last year here and for Iron Man 2 here.

    Working primarily on blockbuster movie releases, PPC Interactive has produced a variety of transmedia marketing materials serving to promote and extend the narrative of the story beyond traditional media. Those who know Dan will know he can talk for Earth about any topic he’s passionate about. We’ve split the interview up across 3 different blog posts which we will publish across three consecutive days. We spoke to Dan about his thoughts on engaging online communities, his extensive knowledge of transmedia entertainment, and the potential role for brands in this space.

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  • What Not To Wear: The Six Items Or Less Project

    18th June 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, culture

    Author: Heidi Hackemer (@uberblond), Planning Director, BBH New York

    gm

    What do our clothes say about us? Why do spend so much time on what we wear? What happens when we don’t?

    Starting Monday, June 21st, a group of people from California to Dubai are going to take part in a little experiment: each participant gets to choose six (and only six) items of clothing and pledge to wear only these six items of clothing for a month. They’ll share their experiences via a group blog throughout the course of the month.

    People have asked what the philosophy is behind the experiment and most assume it’s a statement about consumerism. In reality, we haven’t dictated a driving thought. Rather it’s about putting a challenge out there and seeing what people bring to it and do with it. Even in this pre-experiment era it’s turning out to be a nice brief: tight enough that there are walls and consistency, loose enough that the output will be varied and ripe for discussion.

    To understand what people are bringing to the table, the one question we ask at sign up is “why”? So far, the primary motivation falls into one of four camps:

    1) anti-consumerism

    2) the mental freedom that comes with a uniform

    3) creativity (“let’s see how inventive I can be with this limitation”)

    4) masochism

    sr

    There are a few things that we’re really liking about this experiment that will hopefully make us smarter about people and communities down the road:

    1) The experiment itself. We’re deadly curious to see how the month will go and what it will unveil about the participants and their relationship to their clothes.

    2) The speed at which it went from a little idea amongst two friends (myself and my former colleague at Fallon London, Tamsin Davies) to an idea that has been embraced by people globally and how digital tools are allowing to manage and keep pace with the spread.

    3) The fact that this isn’t about an agency or a brand, but rather it’s first and foremost about collaboration with a community of curious people. The experiment has grown and breathes with that community and if we can help it continue to do so, should be quite interesting. That being said, in true spirit of BETA we’re the midst of updating the blog so it can handle a larger community (should be ready by Saturday) and also looking to add in some data capture and perhaps a sponsorship mechanism into the site experience.

    It starts Monday the 21st – brave enough to give it a shot? You have until Sunday to sign up, details are here.

    If not, please still let us know what you think about the project here and follow along @sixitemsorless or sixitemsorless.wordpress.com.

    six-items-or-less

  • Wind Tunnel Marketing, The Sequel: On the Need for Divergent Insight

    21st May 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, creativity

    Post by Charles Wigley, Chairman, BBH Asia Pacific

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/breakfastcore/3114817008/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/breakfastcore/3114817008/

    Jim Carroll’s excellent post on Wind Tunnel Politics reflects an idea he came up a couple of years ago – the notion of ‘wind tunnel marketing’ – an idea that Emma Cookson (Chairman, BBH New York), Jim (Chairman, BBH London) and I have been chatting about a lot again recently.

    Given the traffic, RTs and positive comments the first post got, we felt it was perhaps time for a more thorough analysis of its impact on what most of us reading this do for a living – the development of brand communications.

    We’d like to get the debate going and involve people from all sides – client, agency and research. So please let us know what you think.

    Here we’ll look at three things to start the conversation:

    I.                The origins of the problem;

    II.               The results; and

    III.              Some potential solutions

    Then we’d like your point of view.

    1. The Origins of the Problem

    Pretty obviously the world is now crammed with very good, largely parity products across most sectors.  With the consequent decline in any real, viable notion of product USP’s the industry has increasingly turned to understanding the consumer as the key source of competitive advantage.

    The Holy Grail is a breakthrough ‘consumer insight’.  Something that cracks open consumer motivations around a category in a new and fresh way and as a result allows a brand to more powerfully pitch its product or service.

    Indeed many companies now have entire departments focussed solely on consumer insight. Some of you reading this may have it in your job title.

    And, looked at one way, it makes a lot of sense.

    After all, isn’t the whole notion of marketing about  ‘satisfying the wants, needs and desires of consumers ‘ ?

    There is, however, one rather significant problem with it.

    Everyone is looking the same way and largely following the same path.

    Frequently doing the same research, with the same consumers via the same research companies on essentially the same products.

    The result won’t surprise anyone – they get to very similar places.

    So while marketers and their agency partners consistently (and rightly) talk up the critical importance of differentiation, most of our industry is wedded to a ‘best practice’ process that inherently takes them another way – to greater sameness.

    2. The Results

    Are self-evident and everywhere (ever noticed how hard it is to think of major brand examples of ‘great’ outside of the usual suspects?)

    From mid-range family salons that, when unbranded, even car fanatics fail to recognise ( and can you remember the make of the ‘reasonably priced car’ on Top Gear ?…….you’ve probably seen it about 30 times ) to entire categories where the work is just too interchangeable (looked at any skincare advertising recently?)  Even brands aimed at youth (where one would assume a greater leeway to pursue difference) seem to be merging into one – an event with a DJ and some free form skateboarders anyone?

    From a marketer’s point of view all this serves to do is to make it a game of scale of resources again.

    He or she with the biggest distribution network / media budget / sales team wins.  The cost efficiencies of genuine brand differentiation are notable largely by their absence.

    Yet, because large organisations inevitably (and understandably) need logical ‘handrails’ for staffers to follow, few are challenging the standard, solely consumer insight oriented process currently in place.

    3. Potential Solutions

    People need systems. Very few of us are individually brilliant enough to be able to operate day in day out in the trenches without them.  So an imploration to just ‘go free-form’ is unlikely to be of much use to most companies.

    It seems to us, however, that the handrails that need to be put in place need to actively force diversity of thinking.

    They need to be ‘hydra-like’ in that they need to regularly have the potential to lead to many different places – not always back to the same spot.

    The CIA ‘Problem Definition Checklist’ does this (if you want a copy let us know).  When properly followed, the Disruption model does it. Interestingly, in his latest thinking, Adam Morgan is suggesting a far more diverse range of different types of challenger brands (and no doubt different ways to develop them).

    For our part at BBH, we are re-committing to one of our oldest strategic tenets (and simplest of thoughts) – ‘insights from many sources, not just consumer’.  The product, the brand, the way category operates, the retail experience, the media landscape, etc, etc. – all are ripe for investigation – and all should be.

    We are also re-committing to the future.

    There’s something interesting here.  As per the famous Akio Morito quote - “we don’t ask consumers what they want ; they don’t know.  Instead we apply our brain power to what they need, and will want, and make sure we are there ready” -  the future is surely what we should be trying to work out the likely terrain of, rather than analysing that of the present or the past. Perhaps the most powerful model we are now trying to get grips is a fusion of brand insight with consumer foresight. Note – not consumer insight – but rather an understanding of where the market is likely to go rather than where it has been.

    As we said at the start, we’d like to hear what you think. If this rings true, what are your thoughts on potential solutions?

  • Get a Life: What’s Your 20% Project?

    19th May 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in 20% project, creativity, culture

    Image from Zach Hilder's blog: http://deathfrom.blogspot.com/

    Image from Zach Hilder's blog: http://deathfrom.blogspot.com/

    Author: Heidi Hackemer (@uberblond), Planning Director, BBH New York

    We just went through recruitment for our upcoming internship program, the BBH Barn, and since we announced our six interns from the 150+ applications we’ve received a lot of questions about our selection criteria.

    Whether literally or figuratively, the candidates that made the cut had a two-column resume. In column A, we saw an interest and understanding of advertising and/or consumer and brand interaction. It doesn’t mean that these interns are advertising experts by any stretch of the imagination, but it does mean that they have an appreciation for it and may know a bit of their way around our world. 98% of the applications checked off this column quite well.

    The second column is where things got interesting: we also looked for candidates that had a bit of “mess” in their resume, i.e. a curiosity, a drive to think about and do things beyond pursuing the perfect advertising career. As a result we have filmmakers, activists, dancers and a guy that has worked in third world development.

    We believe the mess is just as important as the “proper” education and inputs: advertising is one of those fields that should collaborate not only internally, but with culture at large – to be relevant and human we should inhale the world around us, circulate it in our lungs a bit and then exhale our response. The minute that we get too obsessed or spend too much time focusing on what happens within our walls or the minute the great love in our life becomes a widget or :30 second idea is the minute we lose the oxygen that we need to make great work.

    Let’s face it, the people that are purely obsessed with advertising (and we all know them and have phases in our own lives where we’re guilty of being one of them) aren’t the people that contribute much to a truly sparkling dinner party or a stupid fun night out or bring a perspective that really changes things.  So we wanted to make sure our Barn was filled with the dinner-party-rockers of the future. We think it will make for a more interesting summer and better work.

    So here’s where it gets cool:

    We were thinking of the above criteria, that we applied externally, and we thought we’d check internally how well we were doing. We asked BBHers in the NYC office to send along their personal, out of office, projects. We had a whole bunch of stuff submitted. Some highlights included:

    Calle Sjoenell @callesjonell wanders around new york and puts up basketball nets where there are none. http://www.flickr.com/photos/callesjonell/sets/72157621869375075/

    Harper Reitkopf @itsharper pretty much lives at the honey-space gallery to help artists do their thing http://honey-space.com/

    Dane Larsen @dlarsen is documenting the life and times of his Brooklyn backyard this summer http://bklynbkyard.com/

    Brad Haugen @hoogs throws his passion into being the Director of Marketing and Brand for Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that helps build schools in third world countries http://www.pencilsofpromise.org/blog/2010/04/bring-out-lead-forth/

    Zach Hilder keeps an awesome blog of his drawings and photographs http://deathfrom.blogspot.com

    Saneel Radia @saneel is working with a team to figure out the next big thing in coffee cups http://www.thebetacup.com/@thebetacup

    Kris Chu @kris_chu documents his struggle to banish cable from his life: http://suckitcable.blogspot.com/

    Colleen Leddy @colleddy blogs tips about being the impeccable bridesmaid http://holdthebouquet.squarespace.com/

    Kenji Summers @kenjisummers gives time to the Marcus Graham Project, a network of diverse advertising, marketing and media people @MGProject

    Kirsty Saddler @keava has taken her personal passion for corporate social responsibility and started a think tank/action group within BBH called the Hive @BBHhive

    Chris Araujo @cornfedchris is working on a soon to be unveiled project that’s all about making the world a better place and that’s all I can say about it right now upon fear of death.

    Miranda Kendrick @mirandakendrick has two culture grabbing blogs: http://workingitatwork.tumblr.com/ that shows off the beautiful people of BBH and http://nyink.blogspot.com/ that shows off the beautiful tattoos of the world.

    Hal & Masa have been busy working on the follow up to their Webby-winning music video for “Hibi no Neiro” (Tone of everyday) by “Sour” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfBlUQguvyw (watch this space)

    And me? I’ve started the Wilhelmine Project, a mini-gallery that is hosted in the display window of my converted storefront apartment in the East Village http://thewilhelmineproject.com@wilhelmineprjct

    The most striking thing about all these projects is that people just did it. Google have their awesome and rightly famous 20% policy; we don’t have that at BBH, at least not formalized. So what makes the above particularly cool is that people just went out, made time and did. No one told them to, no one asked for the time. No permission was sought, or given. We think this is emblematic of the kind of creative business we strive to be, that the energy, thinking and output from these personal projects explicitly and implicitly makes BBH a more interesting and smarter place professionally.

    So our question today is, what’s your 20% project?

    Are you busy waiting for permission?

    Or are you busy just getting on with it?

    Let us know what you’re up to. You never know, there might be some common ground; we could collaborate.

  • Status of Africa: the Facebook app with a difference

    10th May 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, social media

    amref_fb

    As we’ve said many times before, we like nothing more than a great idea put to good use and we’re very happy to say BBH London have just created exactly that for AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation).

    Kim & Mareka, the creative team who dreamt up the idea, told us more about it.

    Read full post

  • What do you get when you put together a hamster, a cuckoo clock & Fats Waller?

    21st April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, online video

    Everyone at BBH New York is excited about the new work we’ve just launched for Google’s Chrome browser, follow-ups to the work we produced at the end of 2009.

    The first film is for Chrome Extensions, and demonstrates how users can personalize their browser. The music used is Fats Waller’s (Do You Intend to Put an End to) A Sweet Beginning?

    The second film is for Chrome Translate, the range of translation features that are built in to Chrome, and that enable users to seamlessly translate Internet pages from one language to another.

    Both of these films are quite unlike most other tech product demos. They use lo-fi, hand-made elements and simple metaphors to show how the products work. There’s no hype. No extravagant claims. We instead try and keep everything simple.

    As with our previous work for Chrome at the end of 2009, we worked with the extraordinary production team at 1st Avenue Machine in New York. The films were directed by 1st Avenue Machine’s Aaron Duffy & Tim Brown.

    We hope you enjoy them. They look particularly great in HD on YouTube (click through the videos and then select the HD button).

    And watch out for more new work for Google to come in the next few weeks.

    YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

    Credits

    Client: Google EMEA

    Titles: Google Chrome Extensions/Translate the Internet with Google Chrome

    Agency : Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York

    CCO: Kevin Roddy

    ECD: Calle Sjoenell, Pelle Sjoenell

    AD/CW: Maja Fernqvist

    AD/CW: Joakim Saul

    Head of Broadcast: Lisa Setten

    Senior Producer: Melissa Bemis

    Business Director: Ben Malbon

    Acct. Manager: Rossa Hsieh

    Production Company: 1st Avenue Machine

    Director: Tim Brown

    Co-Director: Aaron Duffy

    DP: Zak Mulligan

    Exec. Producer: Sam Penfield

    Line Producer: Keeley Gould

    Editorial Company: Lost Planet

    Editor: Charlie Johnston

    Assistant Editor: Christopher Huth

    Exec. Producer: Krystn Wagenberg

    Producer: Meagen Carroll

    Telecine: Company 3

    Telecine Artist: Billy Gabor

    Online Facility: Black Hole

    Online Editor: Tim Farrell

    VFX Company: Black Hole

    Producer: Tim Vierling

    Audio Facility: Plush

    Audio Engineer: Rob Fielack

    Music: Extensions

    Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lasxurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

    Title: (Do You Intend To Put An End To) A Sweet Beginning Like This

    Artist: Fats Waller

    Music: Translate

    Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lascurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

    Title: Plastic Sunshine

    Composed by: Steven Stern and Stuart Hart

  • Myspace Fan Video & The Webbys

    20th April 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in awesomeness, creativity

    Posted by Dean Woodhouse, Creative, BBH London

    picture-3

    Our MySpace Fan Video campaign (which Fran shared here a few months back) has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award at this year’s Webbys, which we’re just a little excited about. And yes, this is an unashamed plug and request for your support.

    The category is Best use of Online Media, this is the Myspace entry. All you need to do is sign-up (it takes 20 seconds) and then you get an email that lets you vote.

    Whilst we’re here, it would be wrong not to mention our friends at BBH Shanghai’s awesome WWF Fate’s in your Hands in Experimental & Innovation, BBH NY’s Google Chrome in Online Commercials, BBH NY’s Axe Balls in Viral Marketing and Hal & Masa’s (BBH NY) promo video for Sour’s ‘Hibi No Neiro’ in Best Editing.

    We’re up against good work from some great agencies like W+K, TBWA, AKQA and Glue, so a win would feel even better.

    Deadline for voting is 29th April, so not long to go.

    THANKS very much for your support.

  • Acts of collective creativity: the art of using the crowd

    13th April 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, crowdsourcing

    Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

    Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

    The Johnny Cash Project has been doing the rounds on Twitter and the blogosphere recently, for good reason. Anyone initially sceptical (“another crowdsourced music video?”), very quickly realised it was something pretty special. Digging a tiny bit deeper, spotting Aaron Koblin was heavily involved, things started to click into place for us. It’s a well-conceived idea, beautifully done – textbook Koblin.

    Something else clicked into place at the same time. So much talk about crowdsourcing, so much experimentation, almost all of which we’re in favour of. Nonetheless, there is an art to how we use the crowd.

    Last night I saw Ennio Morricone at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The maestro was conducting some of his best known compositions (including soundtracks to many of Sergio Leone’s films – last night The Ectasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was unforgettably good). On their own, the soprano Susanna Rigacci, the Roma Sinfonietta orchestra and a 100-strong choir were all world class, together they were extraordinary. Morricone is famous for using singers less to tell a verbal story and more as an emotional, ‘human’ instrument. Last night was no exception: there was something completely mesmeric watching orchestra and singers working as one.  It was an act of collective creativity.

    No question, a lot of us in the audience felt moved, even elevated.

    YouTube Preview Image

    In a similar way (although perhaps the reaction is less viseral, given there’s a little more distance when something isn’t live and in front of you), The Johnny Cash Project is elevating. There is something profoundly brilliant about making the work of many hands *entirely* visible. It feels 50 times as powerful for its sense of mass mobilization behind a creative act. Its strange quirks, differences, non sequiturs…versus how you’d imagine the same task performed by an individual working alone. Suddenly, one artist in isolation feels one dimensional, ironed out, as if the output would lack vibrancy and surprise.

    Sure, centuries of art prove me wholly and irrevocably wrong on that last point. But when I think about how we might most usefully use the crowd, it strikes me crowdsourcing has the potential to be most palpably powerful – to lead to richer outcomes – when we use the crowd as a creative collective.

    Right now, with the honourable exception of the likes of Aaron Koblin, a number of innovators in music promo creation (including early initiators Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura at BBH New York & their buddies Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura – whose lovely video for Sour’s Hibi No Neiro is justly famous), our industry seems most interested in using crowdsourcing primarily to:

    a) drive down cost
    b) give the crowd something to do – in other words, the ‘crowd’ are in fact a target audience and we want them to feel ‘involved’ with a brand
    c) broaden choice – lots of responses to a stated question or task, only one winner

    Those are all reasonable things to attempt and we’re not suggesting there should be only one use of the crowd, it just strikes us that focusing on using the crowd as a collective creative resource is something we’re doing less of. And yet, oddly enough, it might be the most powerful use yet.

    What do you think? Are there a host of examples of brands using crowdsourcing as collective creativity that we’re missing?

    For more on The Johnny Cash Project, check out Maria Popova’s blogpost here.

    For more on Sour’s Hibi No Neiro video and our interview with Rick Liebling about his e-book on crowdsourcing, see the BBH Labs posts here and here.

    A version of this post was originally posted on melex.posterous.com.

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