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  • A short post about long form

    10th November 10

    Posted by Jeremy Ettinghausen

    Posted in culture, media, mobile

    For years we’ve been talking about and developing communications for the shortening attention spans of consumers. We are bombarded with statistics about the average dwell time on a web page (43 seconds according to Comscore) or the lifespan of a tweet which, if it isn’t retweeted within 60minutes, will never be, according to Sysomos.

    Today, we’re ascending the slopes of Mount Sinai, the computer ready in our pockets and the promised land of ubiquitous always-on connection is on the horizon. But before we get there maybe there is a place for long-form communications to occupy us at those times where we can devote our attention to a piece of content but cannot easily surf away when our attention wanders.

    Certainly the uptake of instapaper and its integration into all sorts of web and mobile apps suggests that people are saving more articles to read later and longreads recent revamp makes it even simpler to get long form textual content onto your mobile device.

    So is the decline of attention as inexorable as previously thought? As well as video we are both producing and consuming more text than ever and today’s devices allow comfortable on the go reading of long-form narrative.

    Time to consider whether a digital communications strategy needs to allow for both a wide, shallow spread and a long, deep dive.

    Long live attention.

  • 11.11.10: Coding for Dummies with Google

    3rd November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Events

    Joint authors: Tom Uglow (@tomux) and Mel Exon (@melex)

    We all know what a page is, and HTML, and a server – but did you ever want to code? Well, our afternoon of coding for beginners in London next week won’t make you into a ninja web developer, but it is a light-hearted, activity-led series of hour-long sessions for the most (and we mean ‘most’) inexperienced web wannabe.

    We will show you what an HTML page is made of and then you’ll make one yourself. There will then be an hour on CSS (or making it pretty). An hour on javascript (or making it do stuff). An hour on API’s (or adding cool stuff) and then an hour on HTML5 and and the future . . .

    Think of it as Blue Peter meets O’Reilly – by the end of the day you should have your own toilet-roll and sellotape rus porn webpage and a few new skills. You can come for any of the hour-long courses or for the whole afternoon. We’ll bring some experts (a couple of awesome Google engineers, along with BBH London’s Head of Technology, Jim Hunt and Head of Creative Technology, Jon Andrews). You’ll need to bring a laptop and some enthusiasm.

    There’s limited availability, so please RSVP to carrie.murray@bbh-labs.com

    This is our small contribution to Internet Week Europe, follow them here and find out about other events during next week here.

  • Saved: The Story of A Sustainable T-Shirt

    2nd November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Sustainability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    YouTube Preview Image
  • Our top ten reads from the last 7 days: 1st November, 2010

    1st November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in BBH Labs

    It is not the same to talk about bulls, as to be in the bull ring”
    - Spanish proverb (HT @juzmcmuz)

    We’ve mentioned before that we pick just 10 links we like the look of every week (provocative, challenging, useful and/or entertaining tend to be the order of the day) and send them to our friends at BBH around the world.

    It’s heavily based on the @BBHLabs twitterstream across 7 days, but filleted, honed and whittled to a Top Ten for anyone who fancies a filter between them and the 24/7, 365 days a year drenching in data that is Twitter.

    So here it is again. Feel free to pass on. As usual, ideas on making it more useful always welcome.

    “140 chars is not a limit, it’s a shape” – exceptional interview with @discographies on Big Spaceship’s Think blog: http://bit.ly/bXzMkz

    ‘Ball Droppings’, a Chrome HTML5 experiment: http://bit.ly/9ua0s (via @timogeo @seth_weisfeld)

    The history of mankind in a minute – a great stop-motion animation for BBC: http://bit.ly/aFhOUN (via @motionographer)

    Super cool – Stamen Design’s 2 week long series of race data visualisations for W+K London’s Nike Grid is live: http://sta.mn/x3g

    Not sure why this took so long. Augmented Reality app that lets users graffiti buildings. Interesting “steal” feature too: http://gizmo.do/bHdwRm

    *Extraordinary* short ‘Nuit Blanche’ – if you’ve not seen this, think Brief Encounter + CGI – by Arev Manoukian: http://bit.ly/bEnTvw (via @finnbarrw)

    Two handy infographics from Flow Town: How Important Have Apps Become? http://bit.ly/awjgWY & The Social Buying Universe: http://bit.ly/coPzse

    NASA turns its attention to sustainability challenges right here on Earth, with its LAUNCH initiative: http://launch.org/ (via @jess3)

    How Money Follows Attention, Eventually – Kevin Kelly on the commercial future of mediators who boost the signal: http://bit.ly/dfGfun

    “The first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly; to dream.” – big thinking from Ray Ozzie: http://bit.ly/a3RsM5 (via @Techcrunch)

    ***

    And a bonus 11th, Power to the Pixel guest post on Labs: Powered by Pixels – on new storytelling: http://bit.ly/pttppost

  • St John Ambulance: The Difference.

    1st November 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Events

    YouTube Preview Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What can we do now?

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

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

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

    Newspaper coverage earlier this year

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

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

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

    Be The Difference Guide

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

    ***

    Credits:

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

    BBH Creative Directors: Alex Grieve and Adrian Rossi

    BBH Producer: Olivia Chalk

    BBH Asst Producer: Chris Watling

    BBH Team Directors: Louise Addley, Nick Stringer

    Director: Jeff Labbe

    Producer: Gregory Cundiff, Gabi Kay

    Production Company: Sonny London

    Director of Photography: Daniel Bronks

    Sound: Wave Studios, BBH Voodoo

    Post Production: The Mill

    Editor/Editing: Sam Gunn, The Whitehouse

    Media Partners: DCM – Louise Trinder, Jill Cooper

    Digital Cinema Media and the Cineworld Haymarket - Ash Chaudry

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

    St John Ambulance print campaign

    St John Ambulance print execution

    St John Ambulance First Aid App print execution

  • Powered by Pixels

    29th October 10

    Aside from the smart, engaged and talented colleagues here at BBH and likeminds the world over, at Labs we are lucky to be in close proximity (in the same office in fact) to the smart, engaged and forward-facing Power to the Pixel team. Their mission is to explore new ways of getting stories in front of increasingly fragmented audiences and support media producers wanting to make the sometimes difficult transition to digital and cross-media distribution.

    Audiences no longer think in silos – the recent 2Screen evening demonstrated the power of creating compelling behaviour drivers and experiences across multiple platforms. Power to the Pixel’s recent centrepiece event, the Cross-Media Forum in London, brought together leading thinkers and pioneers from across the media industries who are instrumental in changing the way stories are conceived and are reaching audiences.

    Below, PttP’s CEO Liz Rosenthal and COO Tishna Molla picks out some themes that are emerging from their work and, for anyone interested in new tools for storytellers, links to deeper thinking from the Pixel Report.

    Story experience

    “The best storytelling devices are, and have always been, rooted in human behaviours and desires,” says Mike Monello, Founder of Campfire and Co-Creator of The Blair Witch Project. His keys to creating a successful story experience are;

    • Communal experience
    • Making it tangible
    • Fostering discovery
    • Making it personal
    • Building a world larger than your characters

    Story = brand

    Whilst marketers have long been used to advertising products across multiple platforms, do they really understand how to keep audiences engaged? How do you begin to find your audience, let alone engage them? How do you decide which platforms to use to tell your story, let alone work out how to use them? Director Jon M Chu, is an expert in how to not only reach, but to sustain an audience. He conceived The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD) – “a living, breathing comic book” – first and foremost as a brand, enabling connections with different audiences across multiple platforms.

    Power lies with the audience

    With the impact of new technologies has come a shift in authorship and access. Audiences have moved from passive viewer to active collaborator, stakeholder, co-creator, marketer, distributor, even financier. There’s a new breed of storyteller emerging, one that understands the new technologies, tools and services that are changing the way that stories are told, how and where audiences can interact with them and, as a result, the whole business of storytelling.

    Lance Weiler (@lanceweiler), US filmmaker and story architect, grew his audience for Head Trauma - a fusion of feature film, live performance, mobile interaction, porno video online gaming and remix – by allowing the audience to discover and expand elements of the story, moving them from one platform to the next in the process. Audience numbers grew in direct correlation to the number of access points made available to them.

    Finnish director, Timo Vuorensola is an expert at collaborating and engaging with his audience throughout the development, production and distribution of his films. Crowd Controls is one great example of a tool that he uses to harness the power of the audience.

    With technology advancing so rapidly, the possibilities for storytelling and audience interaction seem limitless or intimidating, depending on your point of view. No-one has all the answers anymore (if they ever did) which makes it essential now, more than ever, to share information and foster new networks, collaborations and partnerships. Which is what we do @powertothepixel.

  • ZAG NY Open Call

    26th October 10

    Author: Erin Riley, Brand and Communications Director, ZAG NY

    BBH Labs has become a watering hole for inquisitive, enterprising, and forward thinking minds.  Thus, it is a fitting place for ZAG NY to make its first open call for ideas.

    ZAG, a wholly owned subsidiary of BBH, is focused on brand invention.  We invent brands by exploiting brand lags – where consumer activity outpaces brand activity.  redtube The trick of course is not only scouring technology, media, breaking trends, and cultural & consumer insights for what consumers want and need, but then uniquely satisfying those needs in a delightful and profitable way.

    ZAG is fortunate because via BBH we have a unique network of collaborators who provide expertise in areas fertile for brand invention.  Now, ZAG NY is looking to extend that network beyond the BBH walls and tap an even larger bevy of creators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and anyone else with a brilliant idea.

    This slideshare serves as an official call for ideas which will be formally evaluated this November to feed the 2011 pipeline.  While we’ll entertain ideas throughout the year, this marks one of three annual formal reviews that will garner the most focused attention from the ZAG team.  Pitches will be heard live or by phone/skype/virtual meeting starting week of November 8th.

    To stay up to date on ZAG news and thought starters follow our Blog.

    (Presentation is best viewed by clicking MENU and FULL SCREEN)

    ZAG NY Pitch Guide

    View more presentations from BBH ZAG NY.
    Tell us what you think? Here are some idea starters:
    - Do you think ad agencies can bring new products to market?
    - What should ad agencies do to cultivate owned IP?
    - What do you wish this deck included that it doesn’t?
  • Why Our Misuse Of Metrics May Be A Cultural Issue

    20th October 10

    We’ve discussed “wind tunnel marketing” quite a bit recently. As a result, we’ve been thinking more and more about one particular facet of the issue: the misuse of metrics and data. Few industries more regularly confuse their objectives and metrics than marketing. I’m referring to when marketers take digital proxy indicators of progress, and make them the destination, even when they’re multiple degrees removed from the objective. This is distinct from our use of data to adapt our efforts. Maybe it’s karma for collectively turning to display advertising in the late 90’s to save our business, unknowingly opening the Pandora’s box of click-thru-rates that’s held us back for over a decade since.

    We reject the notion that is due to some psychological need for validation. If it’s about validation, there can only be an empty feeling elicited from the knowledge that the metric isn’t the objective. Thus began our Inception-esque voyage into the psyche of marketers.

    Operating under the assumption we’re rational at some level, it was easy to see the correlation between this seemingly irrational behavior and a code of conduct prevalent throughout our industry: self-preservation. Maybe most professions exhibit this behavior to some degree, but the level of self-preservation in marketing is extreme. Scientifically speaking, Cover Your Ass Syndrome is an epidemic amongst us. It couldn’t simply be that opportunistic, self-preservation obsessed humans just naturally tend to find their way to marketing, right? We couldn’t possibly be like baby geese following the first thing that moves, in our case another human that shows as much self-centered focus as ourselves— suddenly and inexplicably asking “what do you do for a living and how can I start?”

    Perhaps we’re victims (wait, is that the self-preservation talking? We’re in too deep to tell). Maybe this misuse of metrics isn’t, in fact, innate survival behavior to ensure we’re not left holding the bag when things go wrong. Perhaps this is a learned behavior we’ve created as a result of our environment. Our environmental analysis turned up three factors that seem to be directly responsible for our rampant metrics abuse. The first is the obvious reality of impatience, prevalent throughout shareholder demands and modern human nature. Let’s put that one aside as it’s been discussed ad naseum via analysis of CMO tenures and the fault of modern capitalist markets. It’s the next two factors that are more interesting- and more productive- to analyze. At the surface, they don’t appear linked to our misuse of metrics, but in fact they are due to their impact on behavior and culture within marketing organizations, from clients to agencies. Both are addressable, but would require an organization’s senior leadership to operate in very non-standard ways.

    1. Pre-defined Bonuses

    When companies define bonuses of marketing executives based on specific metrics like site visits or total audience engagement or- gasp- product sales, it’s human nature to pursue that bonus at any cost. In fact, the existence of black and white bonuses regularly takes a metric for success and makes it someone’s personal objective. What’s best for the company, calculated risk taking and long-term innovation planning go out the window when considered against school tuitions or new drapes.

    Although controversial in many business cultures, why not solve this environmental issue by creating subjective bonuses– ones where employees are judged on rational, subjective contribution to the company? Did the risks they take make sense? Did their approach add some broader value? If the objective is what’s best for your initiative, rather than a metric that is only one of many proxies for that success, shouldn’t a bonus be tied to that?

    Compensation subjectivity makes people uncomfortable, but with good leadership in place at a company, it’s likely a more intelligent option. Those that truly want what’s best for the organization will trust their leaders.

    2. Crediting Systems

    In today’s marketing landscape, the way ideas manifest is complicated. All the various executions of an idea involve more moving pieces, multiple partners and blurrier lines between disciplines. Yet, somehow we employ the same crediting system- from awards to inter-company recognition- as we did 30 years ago.

    Our credit list may be extensive, but it’s still partitioned by execution: creative, strategy, production, media (assuming media people even get credit). This is true external to the organization (award shows, press releases), but also true internally at most organizations (departments, recognition).

    Why? If lines are blurry, why must we categorize contribution? If this sounds ridiculous, please interview young talent in our industry. They have a tough time defining their role by agency verticals and almost always pride themselves on their organic contributions to an agency output. We love that, and in fact look for T-shaped individuals when hiring.

    It’s when marketers credit by specific discipline that metrics become disproportionately emphasized. We may call it a team effort, but we take a Hollywood approach to “team,” defining it as a collection of individuals. So, digital-era metrics like sharability, clicks and participation must be measured because they reflect individual contribution (“my part of the project”). As a result, we make decisions that emphasize metrics instead of simply contributing to the broader objective. Credit is needed for survival in this marketing habitat. As a result, metrics are exaggerated and the overall objective goes by the wayside, the remaining vestige of community achievement in a market that deals in only individual currency.

    At the end of this pseudo-scientific examination, it’s clear the environment is polluted. The result is a cyclical reality that few companies and brands transcend; even fewer do so consistently. The environment impacts the inhabitants and the resulting means of survival requires substituting metrics for objectives. That said, we remain optimistic that in the near future, leadership of marketing organizations will nurture a culture that shifts our archaic approach to incentives and crediting. This will cleanse the environment itself, breaking the cycle of rational argument for or against the use and application of metrics. The work will no doubt benefit as a result. Ironically, the beneficial impact of the change toward correcting our use of metrics may at first go unnoticed.

    Hey, maybe we should put a measurement in place for it….

    Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

  • Participation Inequality, by Arts Alliance

    15th October 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Cross-platform, media

    Earlier this week @saneel and I were at Power to the Pixel’s Cross-Media Forum, contributing as part of a jury looking at 9 different projects competing for an ARTE Pixel Pitch Award (see who took part here). Whilst the talent and ideas were impressive, this post is to share something the founder of Arts Alliance, Thomas Hoegh, showed at the very start of the day. Thomas had just one slide, but it was killer. So simple and useful, we photographed it (badly) and then re-drew it for posterity:

    Participant media model by Arts Alliance

    We like the way it breaks down Jacob Nielsen’s 1:9:90 rule of participation inequality into something a little more chewy. The best bit about it? According to Thomas, this slide is 15 years old.
    yesilcam porno Our friend Dan Light (@danlight) live blogged Thomas Hoegh’s excellent keynote which you can check it out here.

    For more about Power to the Pixel, have a look here or follow them on Twitter @powertothepixel.

  • A New BBH 20% Project: The Knot Collective

    14th October 10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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