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  • Twitter’s most radical idea yet: advertising that adds value

    11th May 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Guest post by Patricia McDonald, Planning Partner, CHI

    This is a rare event for us, a guest post from an ex-BBHer, Pats McDonald. Pats has written a fair amount on related topics in the past here and we’re delighted she agreed to do this follow-up.

    Hotly anticipated at South by SouthWest but held back for the first ever Twitter developer’s conference in April, Twitter unveiled its long-anticipated advertising platform last month. While the announcement has been slightly overtaken in the hype stakes by the launch of the Facebook Open Graph, the iPhone OS4 and the Apple versus Adobe showdown (quite a month we’re having), there is nevertheless some serious food for thought in the nuances of the Promoted Tweets platform.

    I’ve written before about some of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies the very idea of sponsored tweets and more recently about the very real danger that by polluting the stream, over-advertising in social media may strip the medium of much of its value. So it was intriguing both to see Twitter’s home grown platform and to see reactions to that platform in the Twittersphere. Teeth gnashing was-perhaps surprisingly-at a minimum, although there was some inevitable concern about the proposed long term shift from advertising around keyword searches to advertising in the stream. Read full post

  • Status of Africa: the Facebook app with a difference

    10th May 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, social media

    amref_fb

    As we’ve said many times before, we like nothing more than a great idea put to good use and we’re very happy to say BBH London have just created exactly that for AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation).

    Kim & Mareka, the creative team who dreamt up the idea, told us more about it.

    Read full post

  • Is the iPad the new campfire?

    7th May 10

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

    ipadfire

    Over the last two weeks I have noticed an interesting phenomenon around people with iPads. Maybe it’s because I haven’t got one yet (I’m trying to refrain until my birthday) so I’m more aware of those who do have them already. Right now I can have more of an outsider’s view on this new device.

    That said, it’s become apparent that I’m far from an outsider. Barely an opportunity goes by for someone with an ipad to share something with me. “Check this out”. “Look at this”. “Let me show you something”. Users seem to want to show off new apps, cool new vids (and of course the device itself). I am very often drawn into the experience others are having around the iPad. We literally gather round, pull up chairs.

    Unlike a laptop, it’s super easy to ‘turn and share’. Unlike the iPhone, it’s genuinely shareable (the iPhone is unashamedly personal, even private). With the iPad you can gang around at least three, four people to see something together. It all feels very natural.

    So I’ve been thinking, is this one of the true revolutions with the iPad? It’s the first truly communal computer. Almost like sharing stories around the campfire.

    If that’s the case, how should that impact how we design content and applications for it?

  • An idealist who wants a realist form of government: the UK election candidate offering digital democracy

    30th April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in crowdsourcing, culture, digital

    Author: Kirsty Saddler, Planning Director, BBH New York (@keava)

    getavote

    BBH is strictly non-partisan and typically avoids politics, but is intrigued by an independent candidate standing for Hackney South and Shoreditch this election who has taken mainstream digital behavior and applied it to politics, so offering a new model for voters.

    Denny de la Haye is no career politician and has never had any party affiliation. He is instead motivated by a belief in a better political system. So he is standing with no policies and the promise of direct democracy; if voted in he will poll constituents before he votes on any issue or piece of legislation.

    He believes that while there is apathy about political voting, people’s support for issues is rising – as digital has facilitated more activism and support for issue based organizations.

    “If you allow people a forum and a say they will use it, but they are not motivated to vote politically as they are disillusioned by the system. The UK political system has people in positions of power who answer to a party, before their voters”.

    De la Haye is aware that his system relies on people remaining consistently engaged, but this is where his experience as a web designer kicks in and he draws on participation models like Digg and Reddit.

    For issues and legislation he will endeavor to get people reading around the issue to inform themselves. To do this he will post an objective synopsis of government’s texts online – inspired by Simplyunderstand.com ‘translation service’ – links can then be added to the synopsis by constituents, which can in turn be rated so the most valuable rise to the top.

    It will be crowd-sourced information, without any party bias.

    De la Haye’s model would become more valuable over time, as people realized the power of influence they could exert as exemplified by Obama’s election campaign and the model would build a representative picture of constituents views and how the constituency had changed over time, which can be tracked and learnt from.

    If followed through it would also do away with the need for party politics, however it is still likely people would cluster around ideologies – but perhaps more their own, not those dictated by a small group of people.

    So . . . back to BBH’s real interest here which is how could this work in the business and marketing world. What would happen if shareholders were done away with and there was a model based more on interest invested by people through contributions of time and/or ideas?

    This suggests a world of crowd-controlled brands and an open dialogue where the brand does not assume a position of authority or expertise but is accountable to its public. It does not necessarily work for all sectors, but surely more brands could open themselves up in this way, know their place and just facilitate?

    Where has this worked before and where has it failed? Could this ever really work? Love to know what you think.

    www.getavote.org

  • The Cool Hunting Cadillac iPad app in action

    22nd April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in awesomeness, design, technology

    We recently announced our first iPad application, the Cool Hunting app initially presented by our client, Cadillac, and developed in partnership between Cool Hunting, BBH New York and Front Ended. If you missed our original post explaining the design challenges, take a look here.

    For those who’ve not got their hands on an iPad yet, here’s a short film giving a taste of what it feels like to use. One thing we’ve noticed in using the iPad so far is that there’s quite a gulf in user experience between apps developed specifically for the iPad versus those developed for the iPhone.

    This Coolhunting app is definitely in the latter category, and whilst we learned a huge amount about how we’d do things next time, we’re pleased with our first experiment on this newest of platforms.

    Download the Cool Hunting app (here) and see what you think.

    Cool Hunting / Cadillac iPad App from Steve Peck on Vimeo.

    Thanks to @BBHNewYork’s @GriffinFarley for the prompting to post this.

  • So what exactly is a Chief Culture Officer?

    21st April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in culture, social media

    I first met Grant McCracken a long long time ago when he was writing on the anthropology of consumer culture.

    Grant (@grant27 on Twitter) now splits his time between his academic research into the anthropology of American culture, and consultancy work with big brands focusing on the area of the role of culturally aware visionaries and leaders within organizations.

    His most recent book is Chief Culture Officer. McCracken argues that every company needs a chief cultural officer to anticipate cultural trends rather than passively waiting and reacting. CCOs should have the ability to process massive amounts of data and spot crucial developments among an array of possibilities; they will be able to see the future coming, no matter which industry they serve, and create value for shareholders, move product, create profit and increase the bottom line.

    In this video, brought to our attention by We Are Social’s Nathan McDonald, McCracken outlines in brief what a CCO is, and why it matters.

    Challenging stuff; who is the Chief Culture Officer in your business (or which group performs this function)?

    Do you think you need that function in the first place?

    Did you *ever* have someone or a group performing that function?

    Who does it well, which companies?

    YouTube Preview Image
  • What do you get when you put together a hamster, a cuckoo clock & Fats Waller?

    21st April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in creativity, online video

    Everyone at BBH New York is excited about the new work we’ve just launched for Google’s Chrome browser, follow-ups to the work we produced at the end of 2009.

    The first film is for Chrome Extensions, and demonstrates how users can personalize their browser. The music used is Fats Waller’s (Do You Intend to Put an End to) A Sweet Beginning?

    The second film is for Chrome Translate, the range of translation features that are built in to Chrome, and that enable users to seamlessly translate Internet pages from one language to another.

    Both of these films are quite unlike most other tech product demos. They use lo-fi, hand-made elements and simple metaphors to show how the products work. There’s no hype. No extravagant claims. We instead try and keep everything simple.

    As with our previous work for Chrome at the end of 2009, we worked with the extraordinary production team at 1st Avenue Machine in New York. The films were directed by 1st Avenue Machine’s Aaron Duffy & Tim Brown.

    We hope you enjoy them. They look particularly great in HD on YouTube (click through the videos and then select the HD button).

    And watch out for more new work for Google to come in the next few weeks.

    YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

    Credits

    Client: Google EMEA

    Titles: Google Chrome Extensions/Translate the Internet with Google Chrome

    Agency : Bartle Bogle Hegarty New York

    CCO: Kevin Roddy

    ECD: Calle Sjoenell, Pelle Sjoenell

    AD/CW: Maja Fernqvist

    AD/CW: Joakim Saul

    Head of Broadcast: Lisa Setten

    Senior Producer: Melissa Bemis

    Business Director: Ben Malbon

    Acct. Manager: Rossa Hsieh

    Production Company: 1st Avenue Machine

    Director: Tim Brown

    Co-Director: Aaron Duffy

    DP: Zak Mulligan

    Exec. Producer: Sam Penfield

    Line Producer: Keeley Gould

    Editorial Company: Lost Planet

    Editor: Charlie Johnston

    Assistant Editor: Christopher Huth

    Exec. Producer: Krystn Wagenberg

    Producer: Meagen Carroll

    Telecine: Company 3

    Telecine Artist: Billy Gabor

    Online Facility: Black Hole

    Online Editor: Tim Farrell

    VFX Company: Black Hole

    Producer: Tim Vierling

    Audio Facility: Plush

    Audio Engineer: Rob Fielack

    Music: Extensions

    Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lasxurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

    Title: (Do You Intend To Put An End To) A Sweet Beginning Like This

    Artist: Fats Waller

    Music: Translate

    Music Supervisor: Sara Matarazzo, Anna Lascurain & Stephanie Diaz-Matos

    Title: Plastic Sunshine

    Composed by: Steven Stern and Stuart Hart

  • Myspace Fan Video & The Webbys

    20th April 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in awesomeness, creativity

    Posted by Dean Woodhouse, Creative, BBH London

    picture-3

    Our MySpace Fan Video campaign (which Fran shared here a few months back) has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award at this year’s Webbys, which we’re just a little excited about. And yes, this is an unashamed plug and request for your support.

    The category is Best use of Online Media, this is the Myspace entry. All you need to do is sign-up (it takes 20 seconds) and then you get an email that lets you vote.

    Whilst we’re here, it would be wrong not to mention our friends at BBH Shanghai’s awesome WWF Fate’s in your Hands in Experimental & Innovation, BBH NY’s Google Chrome in Online Commercials, BBH NY’s Axe Balls in Viral Marketing and Hal & Masa’s (BBH NY) promo video for Sour’s ‘Hibi No Neiro’ in Best Editing.

    We’re up against good work from some great agencies like W+K, TBWA, AKQA and Glue, so a win would feel even better.

    Deadline for voting is 29th April, so not long to go.

    THANKS very much for your support.

  • Introducing The Barn – BBH New York’s New Internship Program

    13th April 10

    Posted by Ben Malbon

    Posted in Uncategorized

    Posted by: Heidi Hackemer, Planning Director, BBH New York

    screen-shot-2010-04-13-at-40018-pm

    Just about nothing consumes us more than making sure we have the right people working here at BBH.

    So this summer we’re excited to be hosting the beta of The Barn, our new agency internship program, run by three of BBH New York’s finest Barn Masters, Heidi Hackemer, Richard Schatzberger & Dane Larsen. The idea behind it is simple: get some smart people in here, house them in groups of three and have them work together all summer. We’re not recruiting by discipline; rather we’re looking for smart, fun, positive, lover-of-ideas types who get into brand, culture and communication, and can work collaboratively.

    The Barn itself is one part Harry Potter, one part Golden Girls, one part Dragon’s Den and one part Lady Gaga.

    Harry Potter (community)

    We’re taking in six candidates – the six will be split into houses of three. Their house is their life and the houses will live on to the next term when we get a new set of interns.

    Golden Girls (support)

    The houses will each have an agency advisor and will also work on two pieces of business each – i.e. plenty of people throughout the agency overseeing them, helping them and teaching them about different facets of all things BBH.

    Dragons’ Den (competition)

    In addition to the warm and fuzzy client business, each house will get a bespoke brief upon arrival that they will work on all summer. At the end of the term, the houses will present their solution in an open forum against the other house to BBH bigwigs and clients.

    Lady Gaga (fame)

    The houses won’t only be judged on their immediate solution, but also on how well they blast their BBH experience out during the term.

    We’re starting the inaugural class with a group of six: three interns from our 4A’s partnership, three from the open recruit. Then we’ll mix up 4A’ers with the open recruits into the houses. Check out the application site at http://www.bbhbarn.com/, follow on Twitter @bbhbarn.

    Applications are due April 22nd at 6:00 pm.

  • Acts of collective creativity: the art of using the crowd

    13th April 10

    Posted by Mel Exon

    Posted in creativity, crowdsourcing

    Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

    Image taken from The Johnny Cash Project

    The Johnny Cash Project has been doing the rounds on Twitter and the blogosphere recently, for good reason. Anyone initially sceptical (“another crowdsourced music video?”), very quickly realised it was something pretty special. Digging a tiny bit deeper, spotting Aaron Koblin was heavily involved, things started to click into place for us. It’s a well-conceived idea, beautifully done – textbook Koblin.

    Something else clicked into place at the same time. So much talk about crowdsourcing, so much experimentation, almost all of which we’re in favour of. Nonetheless, there is an art to how we use the crowd.

    Last night I saw Ennio Morricone at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The maestro was conducting some of his best known compositions (including soundtracks to many of Sergio Leone’s films – last night The Ectasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was unforgettably good). On their own, the soprano Susanna Rigacci, the Roma Sinfonietta orchestra and a 100-strong choir were all world class, together they were extraordinary. Morricone is famous for using singers less to tell a verbal story and more as an emotional, ‘human’ instrument. Last night was no exception: there was something completely mesmeric watching orchestra and singers working as one.  It was an act of collective creativity.

    No question, a lot of us in the audience felt moved, even elevated.

    YouTube Preview Image

    In a similar way (although perhaps the reaction is less viseral, given there’s a little more distance when something isn’t live and in front of you), The Johnny Cash Project is elevating. There is something profoundly brilliant about making the work of many hands *entirely* visible. It feels 50 times as powerful for its sense of mass mobilization behind a creative act. Its strange quirks, differences, non sequiturs…versus how you’d imagine the same task performed by an individual working alone. Suddenly, one artist in isolation feels one dimensional, ironed out, as if the output would lack vibrancy and surprise.

    Sure, centuries of art prove me wholly and irrevocably wrong on that last point. But when I think about how we might most usefully use the crowd, it strikes me crowdsourcing has the potential to be most palpably powerful – to lead to richer outcomes – when we use the crowd as a creative collective.

    Right now, with the honourable exception of the likes of Aaron Koblin, a number of innovators in music promo creation (including early initiators Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura at BBH New York & their buddies Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura – whose lovely video for Sour’s Hibi No Neiro is justly famous), our industry seems most interested in using crowdsourcing primarily to:

    a) drive down cost
    b) give the crowd something to do – in other words, the ‘crowd’ are in fact a target audience and we want them to feel ‘involved’ with a brand
    c) broaden choice – lots of responses to a stated question or task, only one winner

    Those are all reasonable things to attempt and we’re not suggesting there should be only one use of the crowd, it just strikes us that focusing on using the crowd as a collective creative resource is something we’re doing less of. And yet, oddly enough, it might be the most powerful use yet.

    What do you think? Are there a host of examples of brands using crowdsourcing as collective creativity that we’re missing?

    For more on The Johnny Cash Project, check out Maria Popova’s blogpost here.

    For more on Sour’s Hibi No Neiro video and our interview with Rick Liebling about his e-book on crowdsourcing, see the BBH Labs posts here and here.

    A version of this post was originally posted on melex.posterous.com.

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