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    • The Power And Perils Of Participation

      18th September 10

      Posted by Mel Exon

      Posted in interactive, social media

      This post was originally written for the Likeminds blog. More about them here, and check out their Creativity and Curation event down in Exeter, UK, 28/29th October.

      Ulysses & The Sirens by Herbert Draper

      Don’t get me wrong. We’ve argued long and hard here in favour of brands embracing new behaviours if they’re to drive real cultural and commercial impact. To invite participation; to get out there and allow their customers in. And in terms of audience appetite for this, we’ve even gone as far as to question whether Jakob Nielsen’s 90:9:1 rule – that states the vast majority of visitors to any website are only there to lurk – will hold water for much longer in this post last year.

      We’re going to continue arguing the case for new behaviour, not against. Nonetheless, there have been a couple of instances that have given us pause for thought recently. Read full post

    • Raging Against The Machine: A Manifesto For Challenging Wind Tunnel Marketing

      16th September 10

      Posted by Mel Exon

      Posted in Brands, Insight

      Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

      This is the second of a two-parter by Jim. For the introduction to Wind Tunnel Marketing, check out his earlier post here or read both pieces in today’s Campaign magazine (available on campaignlive.co.uk next week). As always, we’d like to know what you think – please share any thoughts in the comments.

      ***

      1. Seek Difference In Everything We Do

      “Is it different?” has been relegated to the last question, the afterthought, the bonus ball.  But the last should be first.

      We should tirelessly seek difference in the people we talk to, the questions we ask, the processes we follow. “Is it different?” should be the first question we ask when we look at work  – both in terms of content and form.

      2. Kick Out the Norms

      We’ve become addicted to backward looking averages. But norms create a magnetic pull towards the conventional. Norms produce normal.  The new frontier doesn’t have norms, but it does have endless supplies of data, and a rich diversity of tools with which to mine it.

      We should create a data-inspired future, not a norm-constrained past.

      3. Only Talk to Consumers who are Predisposed to Change

      Where there is change, there are people that lead and people that follow.  In research we mostly talk to followers, because there are more of them and they’re cheaper. But ultimately they are less valuable.

      If we’re seeking to change markets, shouldn’t we talk exclusively to change makers?

      4. Embrace Insights From Anywhere

      We’ve lived for too long under the tyranny of consumer insight. Of course consumer insight can be engaging, but it can also be familiar.

      Surely insights can come from anywhere and we’re just as likely to find different insights from an analysis of the brand, the category, the competition, the channel, and, above all, the task. Read full post

    • Wind Tunnel Marketing (in today’s Campaign)

      16th September 10

      Posted by Mel Exon

      Posted in Uncategorized

      Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London

      Jim wrote a post here a few months back which we’re happy to say Campaign magazine (campaignlive.co.uk) asked him to expand on further for today’s issue. We’re sharing the article in full here now, so anyone outside the UK can see it simultaneously. This is one of two posts – we particularly like his solution to the issue: Raging Against the Machine: A Manifesto for Challenging Wind Tunnel Marketing, which you can read here.

      ***

      Have you noticed that all the ads are looking the same?

      Perfectly pleasant, mildly amusing, gently aspirational.

      The insightful reflection of real life, the pivotal role of the product, the celebration of branded benefit.

      Advertising seems so very reasonable now.  Categories that were once adorned with sublime creativity are now characterised by joyless mundanity.

      Some of you will recall the day in 1983 when we woke up and noticed that the cars all looked the same.  There was a simple explanation.  They’d all been through the same wind tunnel.  We nodded assent at the evident improvement in fuel efficiency, but we could not escape a weary sigh of disappointment.  Modern life is rubbish…

      Are we not subjecting our communications to something equivalent: Wind Tunnel Marketing? Read full post

    • Painting with Light, using an iPad. An ace film from Dentsu, London

      16th September 10

      Posted by Ben Malbon

      Posted in animation, technology

      The team at Dentsu in London collaborated with a team of geeks at Berg London, and, using all sorts of crazy computer modeling and animation techniques, created 3D light-paintings by playing a “CAT-scan” style animation on the iPad while sweeping the iPad through the air. Then, by repeatedly sweeping through the air with various 3D models, they were able to create 3D light painting stop-motion animations.

      Words don’t do it justice, take a look.

      Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

      There are far more details and some good insights around the technology behind the project on the rather good Dentsu blog, written by old BBH Labs collaborator (Google Chrome) & ex-Glue London head of strategy, Beeker Northam.

      We look forward to seeing a ton more experimentation in this space.

      We came across this on PetaPixel, again via @finnbarrw.

    • What do go-karts, used mannequins, indestructible soccer balls, flame-retardant garments, & a painted toilet stall have in common?

      10th September 10

      Posted by Ben Malbon

      Posted in guest, storytelling

      Author: Jeff Johnson, Creative, BBH New York (@fittedsweats)

      Late in the spring, British Airways gave us a great brief for North America. Last year they held a contest where they gave out hundreds of free international flights (and shipping) to small business owners in the U.S. so that they could do business face-to-face rather than just via email, iChat, Skype and…fax. They hold the belief that face-to-face contact helps seal more deals rather than just staying put and hoping for the best—which in the current economy, we’re probably more likely to do. Stay the course. Take less risks. Tread water. Shutter the place. Etc.

      We immediately told them we would use the entire budget to make a feature length-documentary about the death of the use of the fax machine in Sacramento-area small businesses between ’98-’08, while also weaving in our commentary on the dearth of new ideas in leather belt holsters for mobile devices.

      They pushed back. Gently.

      Actually, that last paragraph’s not true. BA were giving away more free flights this year, and thought last year’s winners—in telling their own unique success stories—would inspire other small business owners here to enter this year’s contest, and go see their clients and prospective clients face-to-face.

      Meeting real people who’ve dreamt up their own business and are ambitious enough to make it a reality was the fun part. Working with a budget that didn’t allow us to send clients, directors, producers, account people and creatives back to far-flung locations to recreate face-to-face meetings was the challenge.

      Tireless creatives Jessica Shriftman and Zac Sax teamed with director Chris Bren and Picture Farm out of Brooklyn, as well as photographer Todd Selby, and BBH editors Mark Block and Jonah Oskow to bring stories from a handful of the most compelling businesses to life. Throughout the summer, the group was fueled for the most part by Kombucha tea and it’s startling before-taste.

      The films (and the chance to win) can be found at British Airways’ Face of Opportunity site, and, we hope, elsewhere.

    • Pac-Man Performed in Stop-Motion with Humans as Pixels

      10th September 10

      Posted by Ben Malbon

      Posted in awesomeness

      This is fun. Albeit slightly pointless fun.

      The latest in our recent series of brilliant non-digital awesomeness (see also the incredible projection show in Kharkov & Target’s spectacular light show at the Standard Hotel in NYC).

      French-Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond created this stop-motion video showing Pac-Man being played at a movie theater in Switzerland last month. The project had 111 patient volunteers sit, shift, and change shirts over the course of more than four hours.

      This is the fifth video in Reymond’s GAME OVER project, in which he recreates classic arcade games with humans as pixels. See more here (including Pong, Space Invaders & Tetris).

      (via Laughing SquidPeta Pixel & Finnbarr Webster)

    • Googley Lessons Blog Tour (In Full Effect)

      9th September 10

      Posted by Saneel Radia

      Posted in media, Search

      We’re lucky enough to be hosting a stop for Aaron Goldman’s virtual book tour, in support of his new release Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google. Aaron has worked across many facets of search and media in his career, so we were intrigued to find out that everything he knows is a direct result of a BBH client. The book is comprised of “Googley lessons,” one of which he has promised to address in the video below. As a *special bonus* [or, to quote Aaron, a potential "train wreck" - Ed] to viewers, he’s agreed to free-style rap at the end of the video, a clause we’re considering adding into all guest post contracts. Enjoy.

    • Like this – Bob Dylan ‘demos’ Google Instant

      8th September 10

      Posted by Ben Malbon

      Posted in Uncategorized

      More kudos to the folks at Google’s Creative Lab for this short film.

      And here’s a little more info on Instant, if Bob’s demo leaves you slightly confused. Apparently Google Instant will save 350 million hours of user time per year.

    • A Radical Proposal to Save Advertising on the Web

      8th September 10

      Posted by Ben Malbon

      Posted in creativity, interactive

      Author: Calle Sjoenell, Executive Creative Director, BBH New York

      (Follow Calle here: @callesjonell)

      After reading Chris Anderson’s piece in Wired about the web being dead, long live the Internet, I got a really uneasy feeling. Banner advertising has always been the weird step child of advertising. Few creatives wants to do them, clients don’t know how to approach it and nobody clicks on the ads. I always argued that it’s the ultimate test of stripped-down creativity, with lots of constraints, just 40K to play with and super-restricted space. It’s like creating wonderful music out of an old synth; just a few dials, but turn the right ones at the right time and wonderful things happen. On occasion, that can happen with banners. But maybe we have all missed the real problem. The first trouble with display ads is that people don’t know how to look at them. I believe the reason for this is the creative and the instruction for interacting with the creative is all over the place.

      Right now, internet display advertising is like driving through different towns where every town has invented their own traffic sign system. You need to look really carefully at every sign and interpret what they mean instead of brainstem reactions that would come with a unified signage system. Learn more, Click here, Fold There, plus signs, single arrows, >>, all in a box, or not. Underlined. Bold. !!!!

      We are just not sure what to do. So, in over 99% of instances, we do absolutely nothing at all.

      This is connected to a second problem with display advertising: that there is no clear way of knowing if you will leave the site or interact where you are. In the early days it made sense that you left the site you were on and went to the advertisers’ websites. That was how you used the web back then, hence the idea of ‘surfing’. Now people are on fewer and fewer sites and are reluctant to leave where they are. They’re also afraid of viruses and malware.

      Is there a solution? I propose we separate creative from instruction.

      I propose we create a clear set of universal instructions letting users know if they are staying on a site or leaving it. Or, to push it even further, what if every ad had two standard buttons at the same location, “Save for Later” (like Instapaper for display) and “Go to Website”. That way ads would behave more like we use the web today. A Universal System for display, in which everyone knows what to expect. A system that respects the user.

      Few have got this right to date. Google come to mind, with their Adwords text ads (& look at the impact of a user-focused design approach on their revenues). With Google, the parameters are tight and everyone knows what to expect. Facebook is also on to this with their standardized format that provides a static picture and lots of text. These are fairly low on the creative side, but I think the creative part of a banner can be wonderfully executed through animation, API interaction or just a plain old static picture that says it all. Whatever it is, the instructions should be standard, simple and clear.

      This is one reason why I have joined the IAB and their Rising Stars forum, to drive forward this question of standardization. It might point to the way forward for creative AND functional display ads on the web that users know how to interact with. But there are a lot of people who need to agree and compromise to make this happen.

      So to save advertising on the web, who is willing to come to the table?

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