Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category
22nd February 10
Posted by: Richard Schatzberger, Director of Creative Technology, BBH New York
BBH is looking for a rare breed of person to be part of the evolving Creative Technology team in New York. Creative Technology at BBH is the fusion point between bleeding edge technology, the creative teams, brands, & people. Inventing and discovering new ways to connect with people and bring rich creative ideas for brands to life in the digital world.
Does this sound like you? Read on . . .
First and foremost you are a creative visionary with a deep passion and knowledge of the digital world; most importantly, you actually *make* things.
You never stop tinkering, playing with things, hacking and combining to create new species. Your life is a digital social experiment; the way you live exposes the way you think, and what you make defines who you are. You love to watch people and uncover the nuances in life where you can make a difference in peoples lives. Technology is your oxygen you need it every second of the day and always want the freshest air, but you understand that not everyone is like you, so you can translate it into natural consumable language.
If so, email your resume and examples of things you’ve made to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Creative Technology’ in the subject.
(Read more about creative technologists in this AdWeek piece).
22nd January 10
Posted by Fran Hazeldine (@franhazeldine), Planning Director, BBH London
‘Myspace is dying’. How many times have you heard or read that in recent months? It’s not a hard conclusion to reach from recent visitor trends.
But speak to some of the guys here at BBH London and they’ll tell you a different story. For the past few months they’ve been working with our Myspace clients on the UK relaunch of Myspace Music. It’s a revolutionary platform for the stream and share generation, and they’ve created some really smart and engaging work to promote it. Will that be enough to kickstart a turnaround? Only time and data will tell. But it’s a good excuse to share some wider thoughts on the kind of work we get excited about at the London office.
The campaign started back in December, when 9 artists revealed the music they love in a series of interactive films showcasing the new music player. The idea was to bring fans closer to their favourite artists, reinforcing the core Myspace offer of music community.
Building on this idea, the team have created a new set of films starring Fiddy, Florence, Furtado – and you. Visitors to Myspace.com/fanvideo can create a playlist of videos, log in with Myspace ID or Facebook Connect, then sit back and watch as the artists take turns to make a personal dedication. If you’re feeling friendly, you can also give a load of your Myspace / Facebook pals the super-fan treatment.
Sure, most of us have seen personalised video apps before. But I do think the Fan Video app moves things on a bit. In fact, I think it’s made with three fresh ingredients that will be part of the mix in most of our best BBH London work this year.
1. LOVEABLE MAGIC
Agency types get very excited about whizzy new technologies. Apparently, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. And boy, do we love magic. It’s what our clients pay big bucks for. We spend countless hours trying to conjure up little bits of it. So when ACME Tech serves up another massive blob of ready-made magic there’s a rush to give it a branded twist. AR bog roll? Awesome!
Problem is, some of this pure techy magic is losing its allure. Out in the real world people are suffering innovation fatigue. They’ve seen a thousand tech firsts and the give-a-fuck bar is iPhone high. You can dress that bog roll up in in AR magic clothes, but it’s still just bog roll. Where’s the good stuff? The funny, emotional, cool stuff? What’s there to LOVE?
With the Myspace Fan Videos, the magic isn’t in the tech. It’s in the moment when 50 Cent hangs a picture of you on his wall, or Alicia Keys sings you a song. Sure the magic is tech-fuelled, but it’s the twisted cultural content, the playful reference to things I love or hate, that really makes it. Tech is the means, not a magical end in itself.
Tech magic is out. Loveable magic is in.
2. COLLABORATIVE CRAFT
One of the things we’ve become more and more sure of as an agency is that we can’t do everything. Not on our own, anyway. And certainly not to the ‘best in class’ standard our clients demand. We’ve got bags of creative talent in the building, but to make truly awesome, loveable magic, we need the help of great craftsmen from outside BBH. These aren’t just suppliers or production companies. They won’t settle for a white label. These are creative partners who respect the vision, shape the execution and share the credit.
I spoke to Dom Goldman, the BBH Creative Director on this project, and it was refreshing to hear him say that the Myspace Fan Videos couldn’t have been made without Pulse Films (who shot them), Absolute Post (who did the post production), and Domani Studios (who built the application). More importantly, they couldn’t have been made without genuine collaboration between that network of partners. Let’s call this process ‘collaborative craft’.
If you watch the Alicia video carefully, you can see the reflection of your Facebook profile pic in the glossy piano surface. That isn’t off-the-shelf tech. That’s collaborative craft. Dom’s creative team obsessed over those art directional details. Absolute advised on special filmic effects. And Domani coded away until they were subtlely, perfectly achieved.
3. SIMPLE SOCIAL
We sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that people can’t wait to participate in marketing, and will happily jump through branded hoops.
Most personalisation apps I’ve used in the past have asked me to answer several questions or find and upload an image. Sharing has tended to mean entering lists of email addresses or choosing from lists of buttons. Those are pretty big demands at every step of the experience.
By focusing on the simple and specific request for your Facebook Connect login, the Myspace Fan Video app makes that experience faster, simpler and more spreadable (auto-post your fan video to newsfeed, batch-create fan videos for your friends). The use of Connect also amplifies the magic. You don’t know the app has scraped your Facebook profile image until you see it spinning round on David Guetta’s turntable.
Stepping back from the content, it’s just very cool to offer Facebook login for a Myspace promotion. That’s confident, user-centric behaviour. It makes my life a little more convenient. It says “we’re not trying to replace Facebook, we’re different”.
And isn’t that all Myspace need to say, really?
Check out the work here and let us know what you think:
22nd December 09
We need your help.
We’re after a big room, studio or small stage in NYC for three days in January (14-16th). We’re trying to find a space where we can re-create the Chrome Features short films we’ve just made for Google.
For a start, we want to have a little party, and January seems like a good time to be doing that. But we’d like to open it up to anyone who wants to come along and have a look at how they were made.
The space needs to be around 60 x 40 ft, with – ideally – some good height to the ceiling. If you have somewhere you can lend us, or you know someone who might, please email me at email@example.com
THANKS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS
Here are the films:
And here is a film about how we made them:
17th December 09
Posted in creativity
We’re super proud of the new work we’ve just created for Google in Europe, for the Chrome browser. If you haven’t seen it, take a look below. Hope you enjoy it.
We took Google’s ingenuity & innovation as inspiration in developing the idea for seven short films (& an intro), demonstrating the benefits of Google Chrome. Every creation is built by hand, filmed in camera, with no special effects added. Even the music where Jacqui, the harpist, is playing is live on set. As it should always be with Google, the product is the hero. We celebrate the Chrome product, but we hope in a “Googley” way.
The films work as a longer single film of around 4 minutes, where the 8 films are merged together. We’ve designed annotations into the experience on YouTube; these are effectively hyperlinks to other films embedded into the film itself – like roll-over hotspots with links behind them. We hope this makes YouTube even more interactive. The transition device between films (the ‘notice board’) is based on annotations.
The project was especially fun from a collaboration point of view. BBH New York, BBH London & the team at Glue London worked super closely together with the Google team on the development of the strategy, creative and media. The Director was Aaron Duffy and the production company were 1st Avenue Machine in New York.
Here’s a peek into the production process where you can see a little of the intensity and excitement that results when you gather a bunch of geeks, designers, artists and a harpist together in a small studio. The knitted props were actually knitted by the Director, pretty much there and then.
A lot of people worked very hard during an intense but awesome process. The Google clients (based in London) were very much part of our team too. It was fun. I hope that shows.
Here are a few photographs we took on set.
6th November 09
Posted in creativity
We’re full of respect for the way co-Chairs of the ANDYs, Michael Lebowitz and Ty Montague are shaking things up with their “Elect The Jury” platform for the election of 2010 ANDYs judges. Involving the industry in collaboratively determining who should judge what is ‘great work’ is a more democratic and more interesting way to put together a broad-ranging panel of top notch creative people. It’s also an opportunity for the industry to create a jury that doesn’t just judge and reward the past, but in some way tries to sketch out a vision of where this thing we loosely call ‘creativity’ is going.
I’ve caught up with both Ty and Michael over the last few days to ask them how it’s going, what they’re learning, and what’s next (though what follows is my view, not theirs, necessarily).
The first thing to note, and to celebrate, is that as an experiment, it’s clearly already been a success.
They’ve pissed some people off; always a sign that you’re doing something right.
They’ve curated a brilliant list of some truly phenomenal people across an extensive spread of creative industries, art and culture; this seems pioneering.
They’ve provided a platform for debate about the role of technology in creativity, the role (or not) of big ideas, and the role and value (or not) of awards shows; about time that happened.
But we also need to look at what’s happened as a result . . . where we’ve ended up, with less than 10 days to go.
We’ve ended up with a fairly conventional – dare I say it, expected – list of the top 25 jurors. It is a list that glitters with talent, experience and in many cases, legends. It has some unconventional entries, which is great (Shepard Fairey, Marc Jacobs). It has some super worthy judges who might not normally find their way on to the shortlist (Vivian Rosenthal of Tronic). But the remainder of the shortlist seems to be the ECDs from the top large agencies, mostly in the the US.
Below ‘the cut’ (at least currently – voting doesn’t end for a few days yet) are some phenomenal people who both define and in many ways embody an emerging sense of what creativity is, or perhaps even more, might become. I’ll list a few of my personal heroes here. These are people who excite me when they talk about ideas. These are people I’d collectively describe as hacking creativity, media, interactive art, or culture. They are at the forefront of trying to mutate formats, channels or content into new forms. They are not all in creative departments, but they are in some way creative people.
Kevin Slavin of area / code; John Winsor, latterly of CPB, now of Victors & Spoils; Faris Yakob of McCann NY; Noah Brier of Barbarian; Benjamin Palmer of Barbarian; Mike Monello of Campfire; Yugo Nakamura of Yugop; Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody”; Hashem Bajwa of Droga.
Let’s be blunt about something. They are possibly not the people to go to for craft skills in art direction, film or typography (to name but three); craft skills that are still critically important in so many ways to creating magically good content. But they are the kinds of people who might create new crafts altogether. And that’s why they’re interesting &, I’d argue, relevant.
I believe that alongside the Legends of Creativity who already populate the ANDYs shortlist (many of whom are also clearly completely at home blending technology with creativity), we need more people like this judging and guiding creativity.
So here’s my suggestion.
Let’s try and persuade Michael and Ty to take the great list of creative talent they’ve carefully curated and stage a *Second Round* of their experiment. Before they have to finally appoint the jury.
Let’s try and persuade them to create empty categories. To take the entire 150+ curated list and ask the people in the industry to help allocate judges to categories. Once judges are in categories, then people can vote up their favorites so that we end up with a crowdsourced final list who go on to to be jury members.
And this time people can only vote once for their top 5. Just like real politics.
We might end up with a broader definition of creativity, and some helpful pointers to the future.
What do you think?
15th October 09
“This is it. One day, one issue, thousands of voices.“
Robin Beck, Lead Organiser, Blog Action Day 09: Climate Change
Blog Action Day has it all: a social experiment on a mass scale, for the good of the planet. And, whilst it’s been pretty awe-inspiring to witness thousands of people write about the same topic in one day, it’s fair to say we’re most excited by that word in the middle: Action.
With that and #BAD09′s climate change focus in mind, we’re using our post here to share the work of Sebastian Copeland, the photographer, environmental advocate & polar explorer. (Full disclosure: I’m proud to say Sebastian is also my cousin).
Aside from the fact we’re not-so-secret fans of exploration in all senses of the word here at Labs, the thing we most admire (as we’ve discussed on a more than one occasion) is the killer combination of ground-breaking creativity put to great use. In Sebastian’s case, it’s one thing to have enviable creative & technical skill as a photographer, director, writer & speaker, it’s altogether another thing when that’s combined with a fearless appetite for physical endurance and a single-minded commitment to putting climate change issues front & centre.
1st October 09
In this film, recorded in NYC last week during Advertising Week, Bob Greenberg (Chairman, CEO & Chief Creative Officer) & Barry Wacksman (EVP, Chief Growth Officer) provide smart, grounded, food-for-thought around agency model re-invention, and particularly around the role of technology in the emerging shape of agencies, post-recession.
It’s of value for a number of reasons. First, because they’re talking from experience rather than about theory – always preferable. But second, they’re not just talking about themselves or about how great they are (though they are clearly very good within the niche they occupy). And so it doesn’t feel preachy. It feels honest and useful. And so no matter whether you’re a tiny & groovy start-up with six people or a networked mega-shop, there are provocations here.
The dissection of the very real differences between CAMPAIGNS, PROGRAMS and PLATFORMS is useful, not least when it comes to resource implications, processes and structures. This seems the key take-out. And two numbers have stayed with me: 25% of their headcount are technologists (where do they get *that* much great talent?). They produce 95% of their output in-house.
Their model won’t be right for the great majority of agencies – they’re still production specialists in many ways – but they at least seem to have a model, and can talk coherently around why it’s right for them. They seem to have worked out how technology can work for them, rather than the reverse.
Smart people. Worth watching.
25th September 09
We like nothing more than a brilliantly innovative creative idea that does its bit for the planet, as fans of iSaw and Papercut will know. Throw in a fashion angle on top and we’re totally sold…. so when our friends at Green Thing told us about their Glove Love initiative, we were delighted on at least three levels.
Launched to coincide with London Fashion Week, Glove Love is part of Green Thing’s anti-waste initiative All Consuming and is their first sustainable product to help people do the Green Thing in the physical world. Very simply, they will take lonely single gloves that have lost their original partners, wash them and then pair them up to create new and unique Glove Love pairs. You can get involved by donating a lonesome glove yourself and/or buying a pair for just £5 plus postage & packaging.
Glove Love has received some great support from the likes of Emma Thompson, whose voiceover immediately gives their ‘Glove Story’ promotional film a decidedly Working Title rom com-esque feel:
We particularly like the fact once you place an order a mystery pair of gloves are despatched to you lovingly labelled with their life stories. And of course you can add comments to the site and as a proud owner you’re invited to upload a photo to the site gallery.
Glove Love is creative, ethical, slightly silly and has the ability to offer that little frisson of surprise life so often lacks. What’s not to love? Go donate a lonely glove or even better buy a pair at the dothegreenthing.com shop
27th August 09
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
I recently attended an excellent Made by Many event hosted at BBH which featured a re-presentation by Manuel Lima of his 2009 TED talk on data visualisation. Manuel is the curator of visualcomplexity.com and is an eloquent, modest, charming pioneer in this fascinating field.
As a novice myself, I could not help wondering why we are all so immediately and instinctively attracted to the best of data visualisation.To start with, I’m sure there is some fundamental truth that for most of us data become meaningful only when we can see scale, change, patterns and relationships. Seeing is understanding.
It’s also very reassuring to discover that complex, seemingly chaotic data sets and networks can be expressed as elegant, colourful, ordered maps and models. Perhaps there’s something akin to what the Enlightenment scientists felt as every new discovery revealed the endless beauty of nature.
Indeed the best examples of data visualisation have their own aesthetic beauty. (I felt a nostalgic pang as I recalled time spent with spirograph in my bedroom as a child.)