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  • Creatives, Know When to Ask for Help

    25th August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, technology

    Author: Kevin Roddy, Chief Creative Officer, BBH New York (follow at @tweetrod)

    Originally posted on Ad Age, August 23 2010 (link: http://j.mp/crf6Io)

    I have a theory about why some “traditional” agencies aren’t evolving as quickly, or effectively, as they need to: because their creative directors aren’t admitting that they’re stupid.

    Now, hang on a minute. Before you take a four-iron to my knee caps, let me explain what I mean. In my pre-creative-director career as a copywriter (you know, back when ads were written in Triceratops blood on cave walls) I never had to worry about writing for a small thing we now call the internet. Back then, an “integrated campaign” meant it had TV, print and radio. The definition of “interactive” was doing a print ad that required someone to turn the page. My colleagues and I never had to think of any solution beyond it.

    The path to becoming a creative director in those days was to be really good at developing work in those media, the theory being, the better you were at doing it, the better you would be at directing it.

    Today? Not so much. As someone who’s now responsible for directing creative people doing things I never even dreamed of in my copywriting days, I don’t consider myself solely equipped to make every kind of idea better. How could I? I’ve never done many of them myself.

    Sure, I can tell someone how to make a TV spot or a print ad better. I’ve done a ton of them. And, I think, I’m pretty good at them. But when it comes to creativity today — a new world that encompasses everything from iAds to augmented reality — it’s a whole different ballgame.

    I’m not alone. I’d venture to say there’s a whole industry of CDs out there who have the same difficulty as I do single-handedly creative directing today’s ideas. Some have even confided in me as much.

    So where does that leave creative leaders like me? Here are a few options:

    1. Ignore the new ideas. Hey, if we can’t make them better then let’s just dismiss them altogether!
    2. We can ask for new ideas, even demand them, but because we honestly don’t know how to improve many of them, we can just let them move forward in their “first-draft” state.
    3. We can admit that we don’t know enough about how to make technologically complex creative ideas better and ask for help.

    Hopefully, we’ll all be brave enough to pick option No. 3. Creative directors need to admit a weakness in our own ability to creative direct today and ask for help. Take down the walls and ask other people for suggestions about how to make the work better. Heresy, I know. (You’ll have to turn in your creative director secret decoder ring and conveniently forget the creative director secret handshake.) But the danger of pretending like you know how to do it mature sex all means great creative opportunities could pass through you agency without a chance of exposing themselves. I believe we’ll be more effective in our jobs if we get help revamping our creative departments to deliver the complex kinds of creative products clients require to engage consumers today.

    Note, I’m not suggesting you get others to do it for you. I’m simply saying get help. As creative directors it is still, ultimately, our responsibility. We are, like it or not, better qualified to judge and direct great creative work, of any kind, than anybody else.

    And if and when the “I need help” movement takes hold, I promise creative directors will look really damn smart (actually being smart, however, is a different story…hell, we’re creative directors not planners).

  • Beautiful Film of The Day – Giant Stinson Beach Bubbles (Canon 550D)

    24th August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in awesomeness

    Posted by: Seth Weisfeld, Digital Creative Director, BBH New York (follow him at @seth_weisfeld)

    As the summer begins to fade in our minds on a rainy day like this, its all too easy to forget the simple joys of a day at the beach. This film is a lovely reminder and shot and scored very beautifully. Enjoy.

    Be sure to watch in HD, full screen. Even more stunning.

  • 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.

  • Analogue//Digital – Target’s Light Show Spectacular, Standard Hotel NYC, August 2010

    22nd August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    (Image courtesy of Mother website)

    This is an extraordinary piece of work. Enormous kudos to Mother NYC for pulling off what must have seemed like a extraordinary idea on paper but a monumentally tricky idea to execute (think: no rehearsals, no back-up).

    Last week in NYC Mother NYC teamed up with Target to create this great installation at the Standard Hotel in NYC. Over 170 rooms were used, synced with LED lights, performers and a host of other action going on at ground level.

    It’s bold, surprising and certainly contains more than a nod to the type of visual effects more usually experienced in digital formats. But executed as 100% analogue.

    From Mother’s site:

    What do you call 20 sensory-overloaded minutes fashioned out of 60+ dancers, an original visual program created by Daft Punk’s light designers, a new pop symphony from one-half of N.A.S.A. and 170 rooms of New York’s Standard Hotel? You could start with “Spectacular,” but even that seems limiting. This one-time-only show for Target’s original fashion lines is just about the coolest and most unique event Mother’s ever produced!

    Enjoy the film (the visual treats really begin 40 seconds from the start).

    It reminds us of this video, by Etienne De Crecy, one of our favourites here at BBH Labs, but done on a monumental scale.
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    Etienne De Crecy Live 2007 Transmusicales de Rennes from Clement bournat on Vimeo.

  • The Planner Survey 2010

    18th August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in People, strategy

    Heather LeFevre has just published her annual survey of planners and strategists. It’s most definitely worth a read. And not just if you regard yourself as a planner or strategist.
    Of course, we’re particularly honored to see BBH named joint top as one of two agencies with the ‘strongest planning group’ (& congratulations to W&K).
    View more documents from Heather LeFevre.
    From Heather’s blog:
    The moment at least some of us have been waiting for! The results have been tabulated, analyzed and even designed this year. I’ve posted them on both SlideShare and Scribd so you can download them from whichever you prefer. All of my commentary is in the report, but please comment here after you’ve had a chance to read it. Would love to know what you think.
  • Media’s Various Roles Beyond Planning & Buying

    17th August 10

    Posted by Saneel Radia

    Posted in Uncategorized

    For some reason, the dominant conversation around media’s ongoing evolution concerns its fragmentation. Yes. Ok, it’s fragmented. What isn’t discussed enough is that the critical impact of said fragmentation is directly tied to brand behavior, not the difficulty of reaching and engaging audiences. How a brand behaves is now intrinsically linked to media environments. In fact, separating the content from the channel is becoming an impossible (and irrelevant) task. Think about music. Is music the same as it’s always been, just now distributed in “digital form”? Anyone following the evolution of music knows that music has fundamentally changed as a result of digital distribution. Not just the music industry; music itself. The impact of how it’s consumed (isolated from the context of an album, in varied interpretations and in environments not dedicated to “listening”) has literally changed what artists create. We’re just beginning to see the same thing with literature as a result of e-books. The content is impacted by the channel.  It’s why Twittering isn’t “micro-blogging.” It’s Twittering. The content is different because of the channel.

    As a result, we’ve been spending a lot of time at BBH New York recently rethinking the role of media across the organization. Specifically, we’ve been formalizing processes and deliverables enhancing its function as a fully embedded creative & strategic discipline. Media at BBH consists of the overlapping practices of Media Planning/Buying, Engagement Planning and Media Design*.  This happens because the role of media as an expertise is exceptionally broad.

    In fact, we view media as much as an input as an output. The following four roles of media require a specific mix of skills we try to develop, and create accountability around.  We’ve illustrated each by work we didn’t create, but have tremendous respect for as an agency.

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  • What We’re Planning at SXSW, 2011, & Why We Hope We’re Worth Your Vote

    16th August 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    On the road to Austin (photo credit: Bud Caddell, 2010)

    Anyone who knows us well will already know we’re big fans of SXSW. As conferences go, it’s a glorious, greasy, gratifyingly mad brain melt of great speakers and great company all located in the strangest city ever to find itself in Texas.

    Next year, we’d like to go back and do a little more than take copious notes during the day & earn our Super Swarm badges at the parties. So, here is a short outline giving you a quick rundown of the panels we’re hoping to be a part of. Many of them are around the same broad theme of agency re-engineering; we’re unapologetic about that, it’s what we’re especially interested in. Anyway, you know the gig, we won’t be doing ANY of these things without your votes and comments to help us on our way. So, this is also a huge advance thank you. We’re planning a party too, so hope to see you there over a beer and thank you in person (more on this nearer the time). In fact, you can come to that even if you don’t vote for us, but just pretend you did . . .

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  • 56 Sage Street: the story behind the game

    13th August 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, Gaming

    Author: Ali Merry, Creative, BBH London

    56 Sage Street – The Game – Game Play Video Trailer from 56 Sage Street – The Game on Vimeo.


    The first release of 56 Sage Street – BBH London & B-Reel’s game for Barclays – went live last month and, we´re happy to say, has just received NMA’s Campaign of the Month. Ali, one of the creatives behind the project agreed to tell us the story behind the game’s inception, how it got made and what the team learned along the way. Read full post

  • Street Slide from Microsoft, a new perspective on street view panoramas

    11th August 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in awesomeness, design

    This is fascinating stuff from Microsoft, hinting at a new and more immersive way to access street level information on mapping platforms such as Bing or Google Street View

    Here’s more information on the technology, and the project behind it (below). For further details, including Microsoft’s research paper and more films, visit their site, here.

    Systems such as Google Street View and Bing Maps Streetside enable
    users to virtually visit cities by navigating between immersive
    360panoramas, or bubbles. The discrete moves from bubble to
    bubble enabled in these systems do not provide a good visual sense
    of a larger aggregate such as a whole city block. Multi-perspective
    “strip” panoramas can provide a visual summary of a city street but
    lack the full realism of immersive panoramas.

    We present Street Slide, which combines the best aspects of the
    immersive nature of bubbles with the overview provided by multi-perspective
    strip panoramas. We demonstrate a seamless transition
    between bubbles and multi-perspective panoramas. We also
    present a dynamic construction of the panoramas which overcomes
    many of the limitations of previous systems. As the user slides sideways,
    the multi-perspective panorama is constructed and rendered
    dynamically to simulate either a perspective or hyper-perspective
    view. This provides a strong sense of parallax, which adds to the
    immersion. We call this form of sliding sideways while looking at
    a street facade a street slide. Finally we integrate annotations and a
    mini-map within the user interface to provide geographic information
    as well additional affordances for navigation. We demonstrate
    our Street Slide system on a series of intersecting streets in an urban
    setting. We report the results of a user study, which shows that
    visual searching is greatly enhanced with the Street Slide interface
    over existing systems from Google and Bing.

  • TEDGlobal: And now, the good news

    26th July 10

    This post is adapted from a piece written for Campaign magazine (22.07.10), also available online at campaignlive.co.uk later this week.

    Image by @LenKendall

    Founded in 1984 as a one-off event in California, TED (Technology Entertainment Design) has come a hell of a long way. The numbers tell their own story. Since the launch of TEDTalks online in 2006, over 700 talks have been viewed 300m times and the non-profit has, in keeping with its tagline “ideas worth spreading”, expanded into a family of conferences and content available on an ever-growing number of platforms. The latter now include the TED Open TV Project (allowing broadcasters to incorporate TEDTalks into their programming without license fees) launched in May this year and an iPad app out in a couple of weeks. As they put it, TED is becoming “an organising principle for ideas.”
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