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  • From Broadcasters to Benefactors (Part II)

    24th September 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in media

    The second and final part of a pair of posts (read the first here). Today’s includes an interview with Darren Garrett at Littleloud.

    Author: James Mitchell (@jamescmitchell), Strategist, BBH London

    There is such a thing as an Art Gallery. If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely you’ve been to one before. An art gallery’s purpose is to house paintings and art so that they can be viewed… and yet today, it’s entirely possible for me that selfsame content – say, Guernica – for free, in a heartbeat. Indeed, thanks to the power of the internets, I could do what was previously impossible and view an annotated version which explains what on earth is going on in that painting. And yet millions of people choose to take the time to visit the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Or the National Portrait Gallery. Or the MoMA. And if you asked many of them what specifically they had come to visit, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. They’re not there specifically to clap eyes on one item. They are, in the old terminology, browsing.

    MoMA, New York (source: eschipul on Flickr)

    So how have Art Galleries – or Museums, or certain kinds of shops, managed to retain a sense of identity independent from their content? I believe the answer lies in a sense of purpose. Purpose is when you take a long, hard look at what you deliver, identify the root cause behind all that delivery, what you were trying to do in the first place, and actually make something out of that cause, and try to satisfy that, rather than just letting the momentum of “same method, same content” pull you along until you become like everyone else.

    So if we were to apply this thought process to a channel, what would we find? Channels talk to people en masse. They impart information. They excite the emotions to get their point across. They tell stories with the aim of making us feel something, and through the aggregation of their content they build up a certain vision of the world we live in. All the same essential qualities of Public Service. Public Service activities try and impart thoughts and feelings with people, that ideally lead to action. And they do so to people en masse, in a way that tries to galvanise people together. And And if it happens to entertain, all the better for perceptions of the TV channel. This was the thinking behind Channel 4’s new interactive adventure game blockbuster, The Curfew.

    I caught up with game developer Littleloud’s Creative Director, Darren Garrett. Read full post

  • From Broadcasters to Benefactors (Part I)

    23rd September 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in media

    This is Part I of a two-parter. In tomorrow’s post, James takes a look at what’s already being done to address the provocation he makes here – with an interview with one of the men who’s behind the TV turnaround.

    Author: James Mitchell, Planner, BBH London (@jamescmitchell)

    Imagine a bath with four very discrete taps: each tap is your access to a very particular supply of water; they cannot be mixed, and you may only turn one tap at a time. This was TV in the twentieth century. In this situation, the pipe and what it carries are basically interchangeable, and your view of a TV channel could be largely made up of the programmes it transmitted. And so, people watched channels – but this idea is crumbling. The perfect storm of several forces is occurring: the multiplication of channels (and the resultant drop in general programming standards), on-demand media via the net, time-shifting and recorded viewing.. they all mean when I go home tonight I’ll be watching nothing but Channel James. If you’re interested, tonight Channel James is probably showing a marathon of streamed Peep Show, a Radio 4 documentary on Russian spying, and my housemate’s bootleg of The Human Centipede. And if any of these things bore me at any point, I can sack the station’s controller and rewrite the schedule. I’m not watching channels, I’m watching programmes.

    TV, yesterday. I like to think that the slightly menacing one bottom-right is Fox News.

    Read full post

  • Old Record Player + Stop Motion + Lights + Tron Legacy Soundtrack = Awesome

    20th September 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in awesomeness, technology

    This is great. Almost too great to be true. But take a look and see what you think. Hot on the heels of Dentsu London’s clever use of the iPad to paint pictures, something altogether more lofi but equally excellent.

    Light Drive from Kim Pimmel on Vimeo.

    Stop motion form and colour, using light painting techniques.
    Lighting: Kim Pimmel
    Sound: Tron Legacy trailers

    From Kim Pimmel’s Vimeo site, more detail:

    I’ve been interested in taking my Light Study photo series and evolving them into motion pieces. I shot a lot of footage for a VJ gig for FITC San Francisco. So I edited together those stop motion sequences, mashed up some audio from the Tron Legacy trailers, and out came Light Drive.

    The video is stop motion, so every frame is an individually shot photograph. Each photograph is a long exposure photo, with exposures reaching up to 20 seconds in some cases. youporn To control the lights, I used an Arduino controlled via bluetooth to drive a stepper motor. The stepper motor controls the movements of the lights remotely from Processing.

    The light sources include cold cathode case lights, EL wire, lasers and more.

    via @finnbarrw (the constant source of the most magical films and special effects)

  • 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 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 ( 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. rokettube 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 ktunnel sex 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)

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