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  • BBH London is looking for a Digital Analyst

    17th October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in digital, People

    Author: Ben Shaw, Social Strategy Lead

    Does the idea of using data to tell stories and to inspire the very best creative ideas make you weak at the knees? If so, listen up – BBH is looking for a digital analyst to help bolster the existing team of hand-picked social specialists.

    What do digital analysts look like at BBH?

    They need to know digital & social metrics inside out, as well as having knowledge of the tools that allow us to get to these metrics (Facebook Insights, Crimson Hexagon, Hitwise, ComScore, True Social Metrics etc.).

    They are relentlessly curious and motivated; a person who understands how social fits into the bigger picture and can interpret this sometimes complex relationship, into simple and tangible terms for our clients.

    We need someone who can make our clients feel loved, by understanding their business objectives and translating these into social KPIs.

    Above all, they are someone who acknowledges the ever-increasing number of data points, but can demonstrate the separation between simply reporting  on and actually analysing the data – someone who avoids (the beautifully coined) ‘data puke’ in favour for concise analysis and pithy insights.

    Experience

    We’re  looking for someone who eats and sleeps social data – who is comfortable guiding both the clients and account teams on metrics that matter to them. Someone who is used to pulling together measurement frameworks tailored to each client. They will have been intrinsic in not only how campaigns should be measured, but in using data to optimise a live campaign to demonstrate the merits of reactivity.

    Knowledge

    In addition to all of the above, they will have an understanding of the crowded social technology landscape and have infectious enthusiasm for new tools & methodologies that will help us produce great work for our clients. They will have mourned the loss of Google Reader as a means to streamline the many blogs they read on social analytics – and importantly, have a point of view on the million dollar question of ROI. We want someone who can use this knowledge to evolve existing products and create new ones. Most importantly, they will impart this knowledge in an inspiring and approachable way to the rest of the agency – to help spread our objective of creating more socially connected ideas.

    Entrepreneurial Skills

    BBH is fortunate enough to have some of the biggest brands in our portfolio because we’re a restless company, constantly striving to do the best, most creative and innovative work possible. Creating socially connected ideas is at the top of agenda for growth so we need someone who has an entrepreneurial attitude to their work – enough to continue to grow the BBH social analytics offering.

    BBH Fit

    Ultimately like all BBHers, we want someone who is ‘good & nice’- someone who wants to make great work and work in a great environment.

    If you think you are one, or know of one, then send in a CV to: social@bbh.co.uk

  • The making of Nike Hypervenom: House of Deadly

    14th October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in digital, Events

    Author: Miguel Andres-Clavera, Creative Technology and Innovation Director, BBH Asia Pacific

    Nike HyperV1

    For some time now, artists, programmers and marketers have been seeking innovative ways to collaborate, to blur the line between art and technology, thereby creating complex systems that merge the real world with the digital world. As these new experiences transcend digital mediums and permeate our physical experience, we begin to witness the emergence of public performance as a spectacle.

    We had a great opportunity to explore some of these ideas when we were tasked to launch Nike’s new Hypervenom football boot collection in Southeast Asia. Our imagination ran wild at the thought of of creating an experience that combined real football with virtual challenges and got us really excited. In a way we wanted to allow fans to experience a whole new way of playing football, to make fans feel as if they were personally immersed in an epic video game.

    The challenge was to create an authentic experience that preserved the physical skills and attributes required when playing football in real life, then take the player through an intense emotional journey culminating in a ‘deadly’ twist, giving him or her a sense of empowerment from the game.

    The ‘house of deadly’ was born, a mixed-reality gameplay experience in a controlled environment where players were monitored and challenged to perform actual football skills but in a virtual context using an adaptive interface. Read full post

  • An invitation to party for #Good

    1st October 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Creativityforgood

    Author: Nicolas Jayr (@nicolasjayr), Team Manager, BBH London

    Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 21.45.10

    BBH & Wieden+Kennedy are joining forces to organise a fundraising party in the name of #GOOD to support the T.I.E. initiatives which I will lead in Brazil with Grupo Ruas e Pracas and Hanne Haugen (Account Director @WK) will lead in Uganda with The Kasiisi Project.

    Both of us thought it would be a great idea to unite our efforts and put up a night of music and entertainment to raise awareness of our projects and celebrate with everyone who will have contributed to the fundraising efforts.
    Venue and date as follows:

    Friday 11 October, 6PM to 12PM, Corbet Place, E1 6QR, Shoreditch.

    There will be music, dancing, DJs from both BBH and WK sides and a fantastic live act in the name of the Danish artist, MØ (check her out here).

    Most importantly, your presence will help support the work that Hanne and I will be doing for organisations that affect real social change.

    Tickets are £10 per head. 100% of that will go to Grupo Ruas e Pracas and The Kasiisi Project, my and Hanne’s respect and Hanne’s respective projects.

    To buy your ticket, simply check out www.cityofgood.me and click on the green ‘Donate’ button on the top left of the screen. Last minute tickets will also be available on the door on a first come first served basis!

  • Media Innovation: Lessons from the The Silk Road.

    26th September 13

    bbhlabs_silkroad

    One of the more innovative corners of the Web, is a dark and somewhat unscrupulous place. That does not mean that it cannot contain a wealth of innovative thinking, once you scratch the surface.

    Since it’s launch in 2011, The SIlk Road has pushed the value of bitcoins (the digital currency underpinning its operation.) by over 200 fold, to today’s worth which is over $100 USD. Since the rise of the Internet, no other online marketplace can boast so high a demand, that it lifts a digital currency to become the world’s most valuable. Aside from its huge product demand, there are a number of innovations on The Silk Road that will likely be adopted by the rest of online retailers in the coming years.

    US Senator Chuck Schumer summed up the site nicely as “the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen… by light-years.” He demanded that the website be shut down in 2011, but the Drug Enforcement Administration has yet to find a way to do so.

    To an outsider, how such a site still exists may not make sense: the buyer and seller are anonymous, they sell illegal drugs, and do so with an online currency. However, the mechanics to make this work so seamlessly are in fact, light years ahead of their time.

    The transaction process on The Silk Road is one of the most innovative systems on the Internet today and the population’s trust in the economy allows for an extremely simple system.

    Here is the user experience of a transaction:
    A buyer decides to make a purchase, they notify the seller of the quantity and their bitcoins are transferred from their wallet to The Silk Road. Their bitcoins are then held with The Silk Road, which acts as an escrow agent for the transaction. The bitcoins are only released to the seller after the buyer has received the product and leaves a review on the seller’s page.

    This very simple mechanic of mandating product reviews is an extremely smart step when dealing with a black market because the market becomes more intelligent with every single transaction. This mandate naturally lessens the risk of scammers and builds the trust in the market that it requires to operate. Quite simply, The sellers with the better products get the best reviews and buyers shop with more confidence.

    Online retailers like Etsy, Airbnb and Craigslist could benefit from implementing The Silk Road’s review-dependent transaction system. A major barrier for small vendors is garnering enough trust, which usually takes years and several purchases to gain. Although notorious for it’s drug-trafficking, beneath the pavement of the Silk Road lie a number of amazing innovations. happening in this surreal environment that we can all learn from.

  • Creativity from destruction

    23rd September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Creativityforgood, digital

    Author: Mareka Carter, Writer & Art Director, BBH London

    Rosalind Davis, 'I Will Wait For You', 2012

    Rosalind Davis, ‘I Will Wait For You’, 2012

    We know anyone reading this blog is interested in hearing about new digital experiences, and so we’re proud to announce a little probono project that a small team have been working on at BBH.

    Artist Rosalind Davis approached us to see if we could help give some exposure to an exhibition she was mounting of work made in response to the London Riots.
    With our connections in Tottenham built from the Keep Aaron Cutting project, we suggested a venue and then a concept – to turn fine art into a truly digital and immersive interactive experience.

    Inspired by Rosalind’s theme of using creativity as a means to repair after destruction, we have built her a website for her show, To The Light - which makes two of her artworks in the online gallery,  Splinters and The Distance Between, into soundscapes of archive from the time of the riots, combined with commentary and opinions from Rosalind herself and others. Snippets of sound are released as you mouseover the brushstrokes and structure of the image.

    The site encourages people to add their own thoughts to Rosalind’s work by recording voice memos and emailing them through to further populate the soundscape, which we hope will grow and grow.

    The show’s private view is next Wednesday 25th September between 6-8:30pm at the Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham.

    We’ve definitely enjoyed demonstrating Rosalind’s belief in creativity’s power to effect change and open up discussion, so please participate if you’re moved to, and do spread the word.

    Thankyou.

    The creative band involved: 

    Mareka Carter & Adam Powers on concept, Alex Matthews & Luke Kidney on tech and build, Heather Alderson & Xoch Ireland on connections and organisation, Izzy Barnes on PR advice, and Ian Lambden at the Mini Mill on sound engineering.

    Rosalind Davis. The Beginning. Part of the Halfway through the Dark Series.

    Rosalind Davis. The Beginning. Part of the Halfway through the Dark Series.

     
  • Get Lucky for the City of Good

    16th September 13

    Author: Nicolas Jayr, Team Manager, BBH London

    CityOfGood_Concepts_0000_1

    Could your career do with a one-on-one mentoring session from Sir Nigel Bogle?

    Or do you have a speech (or resignation letter!) that needs copywrangling by multiple award winning copy legend David Kolbusz?

    Or maybe your profile could benefit from an audit from BBH’s top social media strategists?

    These are just three of the dozens of unique experiences that will be auctioned or offered as lottery prizes as part of the CITYofGOOD project. Other items available include a wine tasting session with BBH founder (and vineyard owner) Sir John Hegarty, a racing top signed by Usain Bolt and a portfolio review from BBH Executive Creative Director Nick Gill.

    All money raised goes to support Brazil NGO Grupo Ruas e Pracas and is part of The International Exchange initiative which brings together communication professionals and NGOs working in developing countries.

    You’ve got until 10 October to decide which fantastic experience you want to bid for and make your offer. Follow @bbhcityofgood for updates and good luck!

    Nicolas is heading to Recife (North-East Brazil) in November as part of the TIE initiative to work with NGO Grupo Ruas e Pracas, whose mission is to empower children and adolescents living on the streets through an educational process based on street education.

  • The future of display is native

    9th September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in advertising, digital

    The final (for now) instalment in a series of cross-posts of some of the monthly tech columns we’ve written for Marketing magazine over the course of the year. This article on native advertising appeared in Marketing’s April issue.

    ***

    A wise agency head recently told me that, statistically, a person is more likely to die in an airplane crash than click on a banner ad. Not least because I’m writing this month’s column on a long haul flight to San Francisco (where I’ve been lucky enough to be invited by a client to spend the week immersed with them at Google’s Creative Academy), this is something I’m hoping not to be true.

     It is certainly the case that display ads are woefully ineffective, just witness the average CTR of a banner ad: at 0.2% in 2012 (from 9% in 2000, in case you’re wondering). Indeed, the death of display advertising has been declared so many times over the past decade or so, it’s astonishing it still has a pulse.

     And yet, it’s a sure-fire truth that when anyone declares the death of anything, it’s how often that thing shape-shifts and re-surfaces, alive and well, in a different form (check out one of my favourite articles of all time, ‘The Tragic Death of Practically Everything’ here).

     In the case of display, witness the inexorable rise of Native advertising.

    Most jargon makes my blood run cold, but this is a term I increasingly like for a couple of reasons:

    1.    The term evokes a sense of belonging and integrity; an opportunity for a brand to show an understanding of natural platform behaviours and a concern with user experience that isn’t associated with traditional display advertising nearly enough.

    2. It is one way publishers and media owners may manage to monetize their online platforms effectively, without sacrificing user experience.

    In short, the user, the brand and the media owner all stand to win. It’s that combination which makes Native advertising worth paying attention to.

     What native advertising is

    Relevant, paid-for content that appears within the editorial stream of a publisher’s site or social network. Current examples include: promoted tweets on Twitter, ads in search, sponsored stories on Facebook, Tumblr Spotlight, promoted videos on YouTube, paid-for editorial content. It’s where publishing, PR and creative content meet.

     What it isn’t

    ‘Understanding natural platform behaviours’ does not mean producing wallpaper. The very best Native advertising is thought-provoking, creative, even disruptive; witness BBH’s work for the domestic abuse charity, Refuge, featuring the YouTube star, Lauren Luke. Nor is it content that pretends to be genuine editorial. No user likes the brand that duped them by presenting commercial content in an editorial environment, with no demarcation from the publisher’s content or link to the brand involved.

    Some thoughts on briefing native advertising

    1.    Native advertising is a (paid-for) means to an end, not an end in its own right. Its role might to recruit new users or kick-start an offer or initiative. As such, it’s more a sign-post on a connected path or story, not pure branded content per se. Simple things like including a call to action or a useful link back to the brand can be overlooked, but are critical to progressing an interested user’s journey.

    2.    It’s equally important we make sure the team involved knows what constitutes natural behaviour on a given platform and respects it. Etiquette and UX, both crucial at the best of times, are disproportionately important here.

    3. Silo-ed organisations won’t fare well here. Look for the people who demonstrate they see the whole picture: they care deeply about user experience, have a strong grasp of your brand voice and the nuances of the different, constantly evolving platforms.

    Who knows, perhaps display isn’t dead, it’s just gone native.

  • On native apps versus the mobile web

    5th September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in design, mobile

    This is the third cross-post this week from a few articles we’ve written this year for a tech column in Marketing magazine. This one from the June issue looks at designing for mobile web versus native apps: as mobile moves to centre stage, should marketers design for every operating system and every device, or opt instead for the mobile web?

    **

    Last month’s column covered how wearable tech is likely to succeed for no other reason than it makes intuitive sense once you try it. Just as mankind ditched pocket watches en masse in the first half of the 20th century (albeit reluctantly at first: apparently your average British male stated they’d “rather wear a skirt than a wrist watch” until after WW1), it follows that we won’t carry around a smartphone when we can wear one instead and stay handsfree.

    When it comes to designing for mobile however, wearable tech throws up additional demands in an already quite complex space. Designing for different operating systems on a bunch of different handsets and tablets is going to look like child’s play when wearable tech fully enters the arena. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

    Enter the mobile web. I usually subscribe to the view that the more complex a task, the simpler the solution needs to be. Native apps increasingly dominate mobile traffic, currently delivering four times the volume of the mobile web and yet… why design separate solutions for different OS when you can have the broader applicability and lower costs of designing for the mobile web instead?

    In truth, there is no one mobile solution to rule them all. So how best to navigate development choices now, with one eye on the future?

    Here’s a dead simple guide to ‘what to choose, when’:

    1. Native apps

    If you’re designing a service or utility (task-based) app that requires real speed and you want to use the native features of the OS running on a given device, then for now your best bet is to code a native app, think Instagram.

    2. Web apps  

    In other words, apps that live entirely online and run in a web browser tab. If you don’t need the native features associated with iOS or Android, say, and the purpose of your app is primarily information-based – to the extent it needs constant communication with the server – then you’re better off building a web app. An example of this would be Forecast http://forecast.io/, the weather app built using HTML5. No need to go to the app store, just search, download to your home screen and you’re good to go. Forecast also puts to bed any assumptions that a native app interface is de facto better. As Forecast themselves say, it’s more a question of users getting familiar with the progress that’s been made:

    “It’s 2013, and mobile browser technology has advanced tremendously in the past few years: hardware accelerated transforms and animations have made it easy to create perfectly smooth, jitter-free, interfaces..”

    3. Hybrid apps

    As the name suggests: a native app, but built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. This speeds up the development process and makes it easier to publish across platforms, but there can be compromises in styling and performance. Netflix is a good example of one that works: using the same code base for its user interface on all devices allows Netflix to change the interface or conduct testing at will (whilst video streaming is done within the native layer, meaning it feels fast and ‘native-like’ to the user).

    In short, each of the approaches here have a role, it depends on what we’re trying to achieve. For marketers, I’d wager we default to a native app too quickly. The question to ask is “will this app provide genuine utility or entertainment that users will want to return to of their own accord in future?” If the answer is closer to “no, this is a short term campaign to promote a product launch” then let’s do everyone, including our CFOs, a favour and build a light, responsively designed web page instead.

    Further reading:

    Love this related post on cards as a design approach that solves many of the perennial issues around mobile – it’s must-read: Why Cards Are The Future of The Web, by Paul Adams @ Intercom.

  • On the rise of transience in social technologies

    4th September 13

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Brands, Social

    This is the second cross-post in a series we’re putting up this week from the tech column we’ve written for Marketing magazine over the course of this year. This post looks at the rise of Snapchat and the implications for marketers, it appeared in Marketing in July. Think of it as a sister post to Jason’s recent post here ‘Why the ephemeral is here to stay‘.

    Image: Bert Stern for Smirnoff via rafaelroa.net

    Image: Bert Stern for Smirnoff, via rafaelroa.net

    Reading of the recent death of Bert Stern, the photographer most famous for his ‘last sitting’ photographs of Marilyn Monroe and, closer to home, the advertising shots he took for Smirnoff in the 1950s, you cannot help but admire how iconic the work was. A perfect cocktail glass stands on sand, reflecting an inverted Pyramid of Giza as the sun glides down behind it. Carefully crafted, pure, timeless allure.

    Juxtapose that with the news that Snapchat, the free app that let’s you share video and photos that self-destruct in a matter of seconds, has been valued at a cool $800m during its latest round of funding. Unsurprising, perhaps, given its meteoric usage growth curve (200m images shared daily in June, up from 60m in February, according to Snapchat figures) and yet still somehow staggering. As the Financial Times pointed out, this is more than Instagram’s final sale price ($700m) after Facebook stock slumped. And this in the same week Instagram introduced 15 second video to compete with Vine’s even more microvideo service, not to mention Facebook’s own Poke, questionably – but deliberately – identical to Snapchat, launched at the end of last year.

    So is this super-light touch, technological transience nothing more than a superficial bubble, or a signifier of something deeper that marketers should pay attention to?

    Time will tell, of course. But, as any user of Snapchat will tell you (13-24 yr olds are the app’s current centre of gravity in age terms), it does offer a solution to a very modern problem. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s founder, says the service was designed deliberately to offer an alternative to the pressure social media can bring to bear on users to present an idealised version of themselves. Against a backdrop of carefully curated streams of perfect holiday pictures, users want to share the real, the immediate, the silly side to their lives without the photographic evidence remaining on Facebook to haunt them forever. And, yes, no doubt there’s sexting too but, as Spiegel is at pains to point out, the app is most often used to share what’s happening now; the extreme transience of the service “doesn’t actually make sense” in a sexting context.

    Brands seeking to reach a younger demographic are experimenting in the space, although inevitably the activity is largely promotions-based on what is still a nascent platform. Snapchat themselves are reported to be considering in-app transactions and native advertising as a route to monetisation in the medium term.

    Certainly the fleeting immediacy here may feel like an anathema to traditional marketing ideas that so often value carefully planned permanence over pertinence, but I can’t help but think that it’s healthy for us to explore technology that help brands get closer to the naturally transitory nature of users’ real lives.

    Perhaps what we are witnessing is a second wave in social media, where we recognise that users don’t want their every move and word captured and held in static perpetuity. If Snapchat doesn’t fit your brand’s value set, then witness the altogether more grown-up Tumblr.

    In his speech at Cannes this year, Tumblr’s CEO David Karp made a point of distinguishing the platform from the likes of Facebook or Twitter. In short, Tumblr values great content over constant social interaction “You can keep it small and do it in a campaign-orientated way”, versus the 24/7 newsroom approach brands feel they need to adopt on other platforms. Karp stressed the fact there are few publicly visible metrics on Tumblr, versus the follower/friend count on Facebook and Twitter: it’s a place brands can house content they can share with audiences, without feeling like they’re under constant scrutiny or trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Suddenly, brands seem remarkably like their users.

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