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Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Wind Tunnel Politics

    12th May 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, culture

    Post by Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

    Clegg, Cameron and Brown (image courtesy of Campaign magazine)

    Clegg, Cameron and Brown (image courtesy of Campaign magazine)

    It was going to be the most important Election in a generation.

    It was going to break the mould of British Politics.

    It should have been so exciting.

    So why did it all seem so unfulfilling? Why did our eager anticipation of the first debate turn to a stifled yawn by the third? Why did our ardour for the new kid turn so quickly to complacency? Why did we shrug at the glossy manifestos, put the recycled thinking straight into the recycling bins?

    This was the Sunblest Election. The Election when all the mighty forces of Marketing created three soft, medium sliced, plastic packaged loaves. Designed to please, guaranteed not to let you down. Perfectly pleasant on their own terms, but curiously unsatisfactory.

    You see, all three candidates and campaigns had been put through the same Marketing Wind Tunnel.

    Read full post

  • An idealist who wants a realist form of government: the UK election candidate offering digital democracy

    30th April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in crowdsourcing, culture, digital

    Author: Kirsty Saddler, Planning Director, BBH New York (@keava)

    getavote

    BBH is strictly non-partisan and typically avoids politics, but is intrigued by an independent candidate standing for Hackney South and Shoreditch this election who has taken mainstream digital behavior and applied it to politics, so offering a new model for voters.

    Denny de la Haye is no career politician and has never had any party affiliation. He is instead motivated by a belief in a better political system. So he is standing with no policies and the promise of direct democracy; if voted in he will poll constituents before he votes on any issue or piece of legislation.

    He believes that while there is apathy about political voting, people’s support for issues is rising – as digital has facilitated more activism and support for issue based organizations.

    “If you allow people a forum and a say they will use it, but they are not motivated to vote politically as they are disillusioned by the system. The UK political system has people in positions of power who answer to a party, before their voters”.

    De la Haye is aware that his system relies on people remaining consistently engaged, but this is where his experience as a web designer kicks in and he draws on participation models like Digg and Reddit.

    For issues and legislation he will endeavor to get people reading around the issue to inform themselves. To do this he will post an objective synopsis of government’s texts online – inspired by Simplyunderstand.com ‘translation service’ – links can then be added to the synopsis by constituents, which can in turn be rated so the most valuable rise to the top.

    It will be crowd-sourced information, without any party bias.

    De la Haye’s model would become more valuable over time, as people realized the power of influence they could exert as exemplified by Obama’s election campaign and the model would build a representative picture of constituents views and how the constituency had changed over time, which can be tracked and learnt from.

    If followed through it would also do away with the need for party politics, however it is still likely people would cluster around ideologies – but perhaps more their own, not those dictated by a small group of people.

    So . . . back to BBH’s real interest here which is how could this work in the business and marketing world. What would happen if shareholders were done away with and there was a model based more on interest invested by people through contributions of time and/or ideas?

    This suggests a world of crowd-controlled brands and an open dialogue where the brand does not assume a position of authority or expertise but is accountable to its public. It does not necessarily work for all sectors, but surely more brands could open themselves up in this way, know their place and just facilitate?

    Where has this worked before and where has it failed? Could this ever really work? Love to know what you think.

    www.getavote.org

  • So what exactly is a Chief Culture Officer?

    21st April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in culture, social media

    I first met Grant McCracken a long long time ago when he was writing on the anthropology of consumer culture.

    Grant (@grant27 on Twitter) now splits his time between his academic research into the anthropology of American culture, and consultancy work with big brands focusing on the area of the role of culturally aware visionaries and leaders within organizations.

    His most recent book is Chief Culture Officer. McCracken argues that every company needs a chief cultural officer to anticipate cultural trends rather than passively waiting and reacting. CCOs should have the ability to process massive amounts of data and spot crucial developments among an array of possibilities; they will be able to see the future coming, no matter which industry they serve, and create value for shareholders, move product, create profit and increase the bottom line.

    In this video, brought to our attention by We Are Social’s Nathan McDonald, McCracken outlines in brief what a CCO is, and why it matters.

    Challenging stuff; who is the Chief Culture Officer in your business (or which group performs this function)?

    Do you think you need that function in the first place?

    Did you *ever* have someone or a group performing that function?

    Who does it well, which companies?

    YouTube Preview Image
  • How The Masters Changed the Game

    12th April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in culture, technology

    Author: Steve Peck, Art Director, BBH New York

    picture-344

    If you follow golf, then you know that the Masters and the word ‘innovation’ don’t usually belong in the same sentence. In many ways, that still holds true – The Masters certainly isn’t changing the game in how it’s played. But, in the way the Masters site functions, it is changing how it is experienced. Here’s how:

    Multi-Camera Live Streaming Coverage - Choose one of five cameras to watch a live broadcast (full screen if you prefer). You can also view an additional camera with the picture-in-picture feature and swap back and forth between the two. Not a bad live viewing experience.

    Time-Based Viewing - Watch tagged highlights throughout the day for each of the set cameras. If you’re watching the camera for holes 15 and 16 live at 4pm, you can scrub across the timeline to see thumbnails of previous highlights earlier in the day. So you can go check out that long birdie putt that Mickelson laid in at 11:30 am. You can return to live viewing at any time.

    Scorecard-Based Viewing - The leaderboard offers another unique feature; not only does it provide updated scores in real time, but the score from each player on each hole, but a yellow outline around the score denotes a video. It allows you to track an individual player’s highlights throughout the round as it’s played.

    User-directed Viewing Experience - Essentially you can view the tournament from a specific vantage point through a live camera; historically in a timeline throughout the day; or through any one individual player’s round. The Masters iPhone app further provides a multitude of features including: live mobile tv; video highlights; streaming radio; leaderboard; news; photos; and a course overview. The mobile app extends the Masters reach and is available for free. It is very useful for the audience since most people are at work during live coverage throughout the day Thursday and Friday. The web and mobile features allow the audience to stay current and decide what and how they want to experience the tournament.

    Take a look at how the site felt to experience in this film:

    YouTube Preview Image

    So how did they make all of this happen?

    The Masters has a limited media and sponsorship structure and is fully supported by only three (admittedly large) companies: AT&T, ExxonMobil, and IBM. The Masters doesn’t run many commercials and all of them come from those three companies. While AT&T and ExxonMobil operate like traditional sponsors, IBM’s participation is unique and extends further than pasting logos around the event and running television media during live broadcasts. In fact, IBM actually utilizes their technology and expertise to power the masters.com website. Rick Singer, VP of client executive marketing at IBM says, “We provide virtually all of their technology needs from beginning to end. That includes a wide range of tasks such as: core infrastructure and data center management; website design and interactive content development; networking and security; and golf scoring and player statistics, a.k.a. “data management.”

    More information about the technical specifics are available here.

    An important thing to note is that IBM is actually proving their product functionality through this sponsorship. They are demonstrating their technology management capabilities in providing an engaging experience online and in the mobile space. It’s about *doing it*, not just saying it.

    The Masters is a great example of how the interactive space can change and enhance the viewing experience. It’s way more dynamic and personalized than broadcast and provides more useful tools and information. This would have been outstanding for the Winter Olympics earlier this year; you might have been able to see earlier ski races you might have missed, for example, or watched Shaun White in training. It will be exciting to see how implementing this technology will develop into the future. When watching football, you could go and view a video clip of each touchdown or scoring drive (let’s wait and see how the coming World Cup in June turns out – there’s surely innovation to come there). When watching baseball, you could click on your favorite player to see clips of all his hits for that game (or any game).

    We say kudos to the Masters and to IBM for taking up the challenge and setting an exceptional benchmark in changing the game for live events.

    What did you think? What might have been different or better? What did we miss?

  • TIE: Exchange For Good

    9th March 10

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    When we first heard about The International Exchange (TIE), we were immediately impressed and a little scared in equal measure. TIE is a rare and radical thing: a magical combination of social change and personal development, with a difference. This isn’t a series of talks in swanky conference centres: TIE puts you on the ground where you’re needed, testing everything you think you know about the communications industry along the way.

    In a sentence, TIE marries the skills of an individual in the communications industry looking to be stretched professionally and personally, with a project in a developing country needing their time and skill (at this point in time TIE’s focus is Brazil). The experience is like no other, as people who’ve taken part so far testify:

    YouTube Preview Image

    Check out more case studies on TIE’s site: they are an inspiration and an education in equal measure.

    We’re happy to say BBH has signed up to take part, so we caught up with Philippa White, TIE’s founder, to hear more about the idea. Read full post

  • The Economies of Small

    1st March 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in business models, culture

    'Frenzy' by Amayu, courtesy of Flickr

    'Frenzy' by Amayu, courtesy of Flickr

    “The money on the table is like krill: a billion little entrepreneurial opportunities that can be discovered and exploited by smart, creative people.” Landon Kettlewell, fictional CEO Kodak/Duracell in Cory Doctorow’s “Makers”

    I’ve finally finished reading Cory Doctorow’s new novel “Makers” and – like a lot of people I suspect – needed to take a little break afterward to put my brain back together again. It’s the usual Doctorow high octane cocktail: stuffed full of imaginative near-future action & immutable human frailty, at times the plot veers close to depicting a post-capitalist, economic Armageddon. I’m not going to spoil the book for anyone who hasn’t read it by saying more.  Instead, against an ever-increasing backdrop of recent pieces examining crowdsourcing (here are two of our own, here and here), I wanted to dig quickly into a single thought that the book provoked in me within its first few pages.

    What if, instead of thinking about sourcing from the crowd, we reverse engineer that thought. In other words, why not send the company out into the crowd?

    As Doctorow’s character Kettlewell (more force of nature than human being) puts it:

    “Our business plan is simple: we will hire the smartest people we can find and put them in small teams. They will go into the field …capitalized to find a place to live and work, and a job to do. A business to start. Our business to start. Our company isn’t a project that pull together on, it’s a network of like-minded, cooperating autonomous teams, all of which are empowered to do whatever they want, provided that it returns something to our coffers. We will explore and exhaust the realm of commercial opportunities, and seek constantly to refine our tactics to mine those opportunities, and the krill will strain through our mighty maw and fill our hungry belly. This company isn’t a company any more: this company is a network, an approach, a sensibility.”

    Read full post

  • Burberry Global 3D Fashion Show – Watch it live here at 4pm GMT / 11am EST

    23rd February 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, culture

    BBH Labs will be streaming today’s Burberry London Fashion Week show live in the below video players from 4pm GMT / 11am EST.  Thanks to some clever player tech, the show will be broadcast on 73 other websites including Vogue, Grazia, CNN, Sky News, The Times, The Daily Beast and Yahoo. The player is also optimised for iPhone viewing.

    High Definition

    Standard Definition

    Over at http://live.burberry.com the video stream will be complimented by live comments from global Burberry fans. Visitors can log in with their Facebook / Twitter sign in and post comments live as the new collection comes down the catwalk.

    Finally, in a fashion and technology first, the show will also be broadcast live in stunning 3D to global VIP events in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Dubai and Tokyo. You can read more about the project here:

    In Vogue.

    In Grazia.

    In The Daily Telegraph.

    Thanks to VideoJuicer for some very clever player technology.

    BBH is a strategic digital partner of Burberry.

  • Can you lend us your room for an exhibition?

    22nd December 09

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, culture

    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 ben.malbon@bbh-labs.com

    THANKS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS

    Here are the films:

    YouTube Preview Image

    And here is a film about how we made them:

    YouTube Preview Image
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