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Archive for the ‘digital’ Category

  • Brands + Gossip: What Could Go Wrong?

    1st November 11

    Posted by Griffin Farley

    Posted in digital, social media

    Brands like people talking about them in a positive way. Brands love when fans adore them and signify that their life is better because Brand X is in it. This is the Pleasantville of marketing. Reality isn’t so generous. Sometimes the product doesn’t live up to the brand and sometimes the brand doesn’t live up to the product.

    Questions, speculations, myth and fan expectations can turn a product and/or brand into consumer gossip. Apple announced the launch of the iPhone 4S, still a kick-ass phone but not the iPhone 5 we were all hoping for. What does the ‘33’ stand for on the Rolling Rock bottle? Why are AT&T cell phone signals so bad in New York and San Francisco?

    Photo Source: Forbes.com

    We spoke with our good friend Nick Denton, self-proclaimed Gossip Merchant at Gawker.  We asked Nick how can brands navigate the gossip about them and how Gawker can help them. He brought up three really good points that changed how we view things over here at BBH Labs:

    1) Are we listening to the right crazies?
    We let people with more time on their hands be more influential. Nick wants this to change. He doesn’t think time is a true metric of influence. He wants to emphasize those that are actually interesting in what they comment about. Why can’t brands do the same?

    2) Create a safe space for conversations
    Earlier this year BBH Labs wrote a post about Social Flings and this particular tactic falls into that camp. Brands need places where they can answer honestly and openly without general fear of attack. Perhaps AT&T invites an Engineer to explain the cell phone signal issues in New York and San Francisco? Lean into the controversy and squelch it. Gawker network wants to be that safe place for brands with a new offering launching sometime next year.

    3) Brands need to be interesting as well
    Brands (or brand hired celebrities) can join the conversation online and be a peer. Brands have a point of view on the world beyond their primary business. One example we like to use is, ‘If Red Bull the brand left a review on a skateboard that was being sold on Amazon we would find that review credible.’ If brands appeared in these spaces it could change consumer perception in a very interesting and unboring way.

    What do you think of these points? Are we missing anything? Can we look at brand gossip in a new way?

  • Internet Trends – Mary Meeker’s 2011 report

    21st October 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in data, digital

    Author: Adam Powers, Head of UX, BBH London

    KPCB Internet Trends (2011)

    This week ex-Morgan Stanley research analyst, now at KPCB, Mary Meeker delivered her latest Internet Trends presentation. As always, Mary’s distillation of trends is always good value and genuine insights are peppered throughout.

    For the time starved amongst you, here are some highlights:

    World view:

    • Though still with some ground to make up, it’s striking the number of Chinese and Russian internet companies popping into the global top 25.

    • What’s more, between 2007 and 2010 China accumulated 246million new internet users – that is more than exist within the USA.

    Mobilising the people:

    • Mary notes that even in recessionary times breakthrough technology and services can breakout. One need only look at the extraordinary first weekend sales of Apple’s iPhone 4S to confirm this.

    • 2010 QTR 4 saw more mobile devices (which includes Tablets) sold than PCs and signs that Smartphone sales outstripping feature phone sales in US/EU

    • That said. still enormous unconverted user base with 835 million Smartphone users against 5.6 billion mobile device subscribers.

    • Apple getting plenty of headlines right now, but it’s Android mobile devices with the remarkable quarter on quarter ramp up – jumping from 20million to 150million units shipped in between quarters 7 and 11 post-launch.

    • Global mobile success story continues with app/ad revenue up by a factor of 17 between 2008 and 2011 to a figure of $12billion.

    Touchy, feely:

    • Meeker calls out the latest trend in the evolution of human computer interaction being from text command lines to graphical user interfaces (GUI) to natural user interfaces. Yes, Steve gets a name check too.

    Cash is no longer king?:

    • E-commerce story continues to be one of growth through tough economic times but plenty of room to grow.

    • Again the big story is growth in mobile commerce with ebay and PayPal doubling or more their gross mobile sales/payments since 2010.

    • The uplift in mobile e-commerce activity has been of particularly benefit to local commerce through the plethora of location aware discount offer aggregators.

    Power to the people:

    • Meeker identifies overarching mega-trend as the empowerment of people via connected devices.

    • She references the Twitter traffic patterns post Japanese earthquake, the fact that 200million Indian farmers currently receive government subsidy payments via mobile devices and 85% of global population are now covered by commercial wireless signals versus 80% being on electricity grid.

  • Fuel for Little Gamers

    29th September 11

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in digital, Gaming

    Author: Pablo Marques (@pablo_marques), Creative Director, BBH London & BBH Labs

    YouTube Preview Image

    A few hours ago we introduced Weetakid to the world, together with his arch-enemy, Evil Eater. The game is a playful execution of Weetabix’s brand strategy and a great example of an idea as a direct solution to a clear business challenge.

    Weetabix’s boxes are making into families’ cupboards in great numbers, but they are just not making it out of there often enough.

    If we could increase the number of times the box makes it to the breakfast table we would be able to increase consumption and sales.

    So Weetakid was born to do just that. It is a game targeted at kids, especially those from 7 to 11 years old, as they are the gravitational centre of the household during the busy hours of our morning rituals.

    In the game, kids take control of Weetakid, a creature who has just seen his little world robbed of all its energy by Evil Eater, the galaxy’s villain. The game involves a quest to retrieve the items stolen by the Evil Eater which can be found through playing a number of engaging mini games.

    But Weetakid like any other kid, needs energy, especially if it is going to travel the galaxy to rebuild its world. So every morning kids will need to feed Weetakid to ensure that they both have a day full of fun and adventure.

    To feed Weetakid, players will need a box of Weetabix. And that is what makes the idea so special.

    To enable the interaction between the the product package and the game we’ve used a set of technologies more notoriously known as Augmented Reality.

    That link between box and game is a special and symbiotic one. It doesn’t get in the way of the experience, but actually enhances it. And it does it in a way that not only helps us solve our business problem but also enables us to start driving consumer behaviour to a place closer to our brand messaging, Weetabix is your fuel for big days.

    The pack has also become the place in which we are launching the game. With widespread distribution and wide readership (the back of pack is arguably one of the most read items in the household) it will be a perfect way to reach our audience and promote the game.

    A multi layered production challenge

    Weetakid, albeit a small game, was a big integrated production puzzle that involved many different disciplines. We had to create bespoke songs, write films, direct and record voice overs, create characters and animations, design a game and make a website, among other things. And we had two months to do everything.

    We had two amazing integrated producers from BBH working on it and coordinating the whole joint effort.

    As Dani Michelon (@danimichelon) our lead integrated producer on the project puts best:

    “By the time we contacted our partners we had gone a long way into the game already, we had game flowcharts, schematics and storyboards. We had a good picture of it in our heads but there was still a lot to be done to make it reality and it was humbling to see how all the people involved collaborated so well. It was great fun to work on it and see it coming to life.”

    Firstly we contacted Yum Yum London (@yumyumlondon) and worked with them to develop the characters and animations to bring our universe to life and to design the back of the Weetabix boxes.

    Secondly came Radium audio (@radiumaudioltd) to create the amazing music that players will enjoy in the game and North Kingdom (@northkingdom) to actually put the game together and code all of that magic in.

    We also engaged society46 (@society46) who designed our Weetakid website.

    And finally The Mill (@millchannel) helped us produce our trailer.

    So after many long weeks and nights we pulled the game together; an effort of epic proportions. It was a clear labour of love and the amount of fun myself and the creative team (Felipe Guimarães @think_felipe and Lambros Charalambous @creativelamb) felt borderline illegal.

    We hope you and your kids can enjoy playing it as much we enjoyed making it. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

    Full project credits

    Creative Direction: Pablo Marques (@pablo_marques) / Dominic Goldman

    Art Direction: Felipe Guimarães / Pablo Marques / Yum Yum London

    Writer: Lambros Charalambous

    Game Design: Pablo Marques / Felipe Guimarães / Lambros Charalambous

    Lead Producers: Daniela Michelon, Jo Osborne

    Strategy Director: Nina Rahmatallah

    Business Director: Nick Stringer

    Team Manager: Luke Algar

    Legal: Henry Rowan-Robinson

    Character Design / Awesomeness: Yum Yum London

    Music / Sound: Radium Audio

    Sound Producer: Sam Brock

    Game and interface programming: North Kingdom

    Trailer edit: The Mill

    Website design/production: Society 46

  • Revenge of the Microsite

    9th September 11

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in digital, interactive

    Author: Calle Sjoenell, Deputy Chief Creative Officer, BBH NY

    These are probably words that will haunt me forever, but I must write a tribute to the microsite, currently going through a Phoenix-like transformation known as the web app.

    The microsite was originally created to capture a single minded idea in one destination. So sharp and elegant in its purpose, the concept spread and made everyone visit.

    For me, it started with IKEA’s Dream Kitchen, one click and hold and I spun in a whirlwind of kitchen options. Minimal input, maximum output, the product at the dead center of the idea. And it sold truckloads if kitchens.

    But as with all great ideas, there where thousands of bad executions, wasting clients’ money with little to show in scale or engagement as a result.

    Then, of course, marketers had to make a rule about it. We can only build things where the audience is already hanging out. “Fish where the fish are,” and all that. This is in fact a worse sin: creating a blanket rule that microsites don’t work. It’s like saying investing in Internet companies doesn’t work.

    This is why I’m musing over the next marketer and publisher obsession on the Internet: the web app. The functionality of HTML5 and its related technology brings us out of the tyranny of page to page style navigation on the web. We will probably laugh at our text and picture based catalogue websites in a few years, a world where each step took 10-15 seconds of mental processing to solve. The web app brings single minded functionality with new interactive capabilities. Just look at the web app versions of Tweetdeck, NY Times and Angry Birds and you see the potential. Eerily like a microsite.

    But we can never forget the cardinal rule of communication that now rules all media channels, even TV.

    If you make something great, they will come (or watch). Otherwise, they won’t.

    Damn, did I just make a blanket rule?

    Long live the microsite.

  • Introducing: BBH Asia-Pacific Data Snapshots

    26th April 11

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in data, digital

    Author: Simon Kemp (@eskimon), Engagement Planner, BBH Asia Pacific & BBH Labs



    The digital landscape across Asia-Pacific has seen significant change in recent months, with enthusiasm for social media driving the broader adoption of a wide range of connected services and tools.

    Although Internet penetration levels remain low in many Asian countries, the sheer size of those countries’ populations means that the numbers must be seen in context; for example, internet penetration in China stands at just 34%, but the number of social media users in that country exceeds the total population of Russia.

    It’s also critical to understand how people in the East access and use the web. Read full post

  • 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.”

    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.

  • The State of the Web 2010

    17th November 10

    Posted by Griffin Farley

    Posted in data, digital

    Every year Mary Meeker from Morgan Stanley amazes us with her State of the Web presentation, and this year is no exception. The presentation is immensely valuable to our profession because it highlights shifts in internet culture and identifies opportunities for businesses and marketers alike.

    The most provoking part of the presentation is the Disruptive Innovation slide. PSFK had a great blurb on describing the importance of this theory:

    Disruptive Innovation is what’s to blame for the success of smaller, nimbler but sometimes cheaper products or services that manage to disrupt the success or complacency of larger, traditional brand players. Think of Amazon’s continued growth and eventual ‘breaking’ of Barnes & Noble, or Netflix’s killing of Blockbuster. Meeker’s presentation lays out two ways in which this disruptive innovation can happen

    The two ways that Disruptive Innovation can happen. The first is a Low-End Segment Strategy by offering a product or service at a very low cost and then move up market. The second is called a Non-Consumption Strategy which basically means true innovation where consumption didn’t exist prior to the product being available.

    We have the presentation embedded here for your enjoyment. Please tell us what you found interesting? What worries you about this data? What excites you about this data?

  • “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.



  • Making Digital Work: Voices from Boulder

    23rd August 10

    Boulder Digital Works recently put on a two-day Executive Workshop around the theme of ‘Making Digital Work’. Industry leaders – who on paper are ‘rivals’ – came together for an intensive, collaborative and interactive program around evolving agencies and agency talent in readiness for the emerging landscape (there’s a bunch more detail about the Executive Workshops right here).

    In this short film, put together by the tirelessly enthusiastic & ever-disruptive Edward Boches from Mullen, Gareth Kay (GS&P), Matt Howell (Modernista), Kim Laama (AKQA), Brian Morrissey (AdWeek), Kat Egan (Exopolis) & David Slayden (Executive Director of BDW) share their thoughts after a two-day executive session at Boulder Digital Works. This gives you a sense of the energy and enthusiasm of those who come to teach and learn and share at BDW.

    Making Digital Work: Voices from Boulder from edward boches on Vimeo.

    Follow Boulder Digital Works on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bdwcu

    To learn more about Boulder Digital Works go to their site, here.

  • Behind The Scenes Of The ASHERROTHMUSIC.COM Project

    19th May 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in design, digital, music

    Authors: Brad Haugen, Hal Kirkland & Masa Kawamura (@BBHNewYork)

    ar4_bio

    Asher Roth is an artist who is uniquely in touch with his fans. After all, his brand was brilliantly built on the back of the web community Ning. This platform forged bonds and fostered conversations between Asher’s team and their fans. Since the end of his first tour, everyone was simply waiting for what he would do next.

    So while this project arrived at an extremely busy time at BBH New York, the opportunity to work directly with an artist who encouraged creative freedom, and to experiment both conceptually and with new technologies, was super exciting; a luxury not often afforded within every advertising brief.

    Luckily Asher, an incredibly web-savvy and prolific blogger knew what he wanted from the start.

    “I want my website to really show my fans who I am. I want them to realize that I am just like any of them, and that I’m human. It has to engage them on that level.”

    It didn’t take long before the idea for the site began to evolve. Of course, after some initial concepts were discussed, we had to make sure what we were suggesting was even possible, hence partnering with the geniuses at AID-DCC in Japan, a production company renown for pioneering the introduction of augmented reality into Flash.

    The way the site works is simple; an illustration of the website is printed on a card around the size of a credit card. Whenever a photo is taken of the card by Asher or one of his buddies and uploaded, that photo instantly becomes the top-page of asherrothmusic.com. Meaning Asher can literally carry his website in his wallet and fans can follow him wherever he goes.

    When fans visit the site, the first thing they see will be the latest updated picture, which could be anywhere from Asher holding the card on stage at a performance, to Asher watching TV with his buddies. Each image is dated and labeled, so fans can make a connection with the context in which the photos was taken.

    ar2_howitlaunches

    Using FLARToolKit, the program tracks the design and shape of the card and then literally launches the site’s interface from its surface. Each graphic element then matches the exact color of the card therefore enhancing this illusion and giving the site a visually organic quality that matches Asher’s style.

    ar1_top

    ar3_photos

    ar5_media

    The next step for the site is to connect with the fans even more and to get them to submit their own photos. The next album release will have the card featured on the cover. In this way, fans can become a part Asher’s site as well and help to build the already pretty crazy library of photos.

    The platform is also totally geared to maintain engagement. Several sponsorship and competition strategies will be implemented over the course of the year, each providing both fans and sponsors a reason to keep coming back.

    BBH-ers have worked on music projects before, not least for MySpace (see: http://j.mp/7nFiYF). But this project taught us many things about the music industry. While it’s a creative industry, for the most part, music labels tend to be a little old-fashioned and somewhat formulaic when it comes to promoting their artists. Even though an artist may be promoted via many channels and social networking platforms, sometimes the user experience can come across as a bit of a box-ticking exercise i.e. must have Facebook page, MySpace, blog, etc, instead of thinking an original way that the artist can legitimately connect with their fans.

    With Asher, we were lucky to have an artist who is also a creative thinker and is willing to take a leap of faith in order to keep his brand authentic, especially since the technicalities of the concept were difficult to articulate in the beginning. On complex projects like this it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutia, rather than merely concentrating on the bigger picture. Asher really gave us some breathing room, and the project benefited greatly as a result.

    Asher has really opened a window so that he could share his day-to-day life and experiences with his fans. It’s a direction that many others in the music industry could learn from. Of course, it helps a great deal if the sentiment is as sincere as his.

    Overall, the site is far better represented by exploring it for yourself, in which case we hope you do.

    It would be great to hear any feedback as it is in a constant state of development.

    But before we go we’d just like to put a big thanks out there to everyone that made it possible.

    THE TEAM

    Creative Directors: Masashi Kawamura, Hal Kirkland

    Art Directors: Masashi Kawamura, Hal Kirkland

    Technical Director: Tomohiko Koyama (Saqoosha)

    Designers: Yuri Morimoto, Masayuki Nishimura

    Business Director: Brad Haugen

    Account Director: Lindsay Kopec

    Content Director: David Wilsher

    Project Manager: Yoko Yamazaki

    Flash Developer: Tomohiko Koyama (Saqoosha), Kenji Mori

    Programmer: Masaru Kinoshita, Tomohiko Koyama (Saqoosha)

    Illustration: Yuri Morimoto, Yumi Yamada

    Music: Asher Roth

    Production: AID-DCC, Katamari

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