10th August 09
We’re super proud of our friends at BBH London who’ve produced something very special for Johnnie Walker. “The Man Who Walked Around the World” is a six-minute piece of storytelling that features Robert Carlyle walking through the Scottish Highlands. Carlyle tells the story of the brand’s birth, growth and development via some dazzling copywriting from BBH’s Justin Moore. This alone is an achievement – to keep the viewer listening intently for six-and-a-half minutes in a world where 140 characters constitutes ‘engagement’. Clearly Carlyle plays a huge role here as well.
What’s even more impressive, for us, is that this was all achieved in one take, with no editing done afterwards. Apparently there were 40 takes in total, and this was the last, completed at 8pm on the last day of the shoot. When you see how finely timed this is you’ll see why we’re in awe of the production.
There’s a great interview with the Director, Jamie Rafn, on the Shots site which goes into detail about how the piece was shot and some of the considerations that affected how it turned out. Definitely worth checking this out. Rafn took on a challenge many others thought impossible. As Mick Mahoney, BBH London Creative Director of the project told us:
“Every director we spoke to told us that it wasn’t possible to do what we wanted. That we would need concealed cuts and so on. Which would still have made a good film, but it’s the undertaking, the commitment, of doing it all in one take that makes it. Jamie Rafn was the only director who felt the same. Getting Robert Carlyle to do it then just took it up a gear. He has exactly the screen persona that we wanted. Tough, uncompromising, enigmatic.”
10th August 09
A potentially strong application of collaborative intelligence . . . with a twist.
(Un)classes starts with the premise that everyone has something to teach, and much to learn. But, pragmatically, few of us are going to sign into formal programs. Casual learning (as they frame this form of education) is aimed squarely at people who lead hectic lives but still want to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.
(Un)classes is thus in effect a marketplace for matching interests with passion, simply connecting people who’d otherwise have few ways of directly collaborating in this way. It’s deliberately informal, with few rules and none of the stuffiness that could surround what is in effect a ‘learning’ service.
(We’re also reminded of the campaign BBH New York helped create for one of BBH’s clients, NYC & Co, around using one’s skills, passions, and willingness to help address some of NYC’s most important issues: What’s Your Blank?)
The depth of the (Un)classes offering seems quite shallow at the moment, but as people sign up, and choice and quality deepen, it will be interesting to see whether the idea takes off. We wish them luck.
More details at: http://www.unclasses.org/about
3rd August 09
Author: Adam Glickman
Following our piece looking at journalism (a review of the transformational change at the Telegraph Media Group) and fiction (interview with Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Penguin), our interest in the profound changes occurring in the publishing industry continues with this look at the opportunities in mobile.
We often talk about the future of mobile media and what it will all look like, but what about the future of the mobile media of the past? The notion of carrying around your reading as reams of inked paper might disappear, but the written word certainly won’t. So it seems a very natural progression for print publishers to move from paper to digital by simply reformatting for small screen mobile devices. But the considerations are vast. And more importantly, how much do people really want to use their phones as reading devices anyway?
We recently met a company called ScrollMotion, a New York-based iPhone app developer that is hard at work answering these questions. The company have been steadily creating a suite of new tools for traditional print media companies to better engage their readers via apps on mobile phones, and in the process, quietly making publishing deals with a wide range of top-notch publishers. Their growing client list is impressive and includes Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., Tribune Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Wiley.
30th July 09
“There are always at least two ways to tell a story”
Launched last month under their Puffin label, We Make Stories is the latest in a long line of digital publishing innovations masterminded by Jeremy Ettinghausen (@jeremyet), Penguin’s Digital Publisher. This is the second piece we’ve done in recent months looking at the publishing industry as a whole. Back in May we wrote about the transformational change going on at TMG in the UK (also check out the ever brilliant Nieman Lab for a far deeper examination of journalism in this respect). Why are we so interested in what’s going on here? In short, we’re witnessing a radical re-shaping of an industry we believe we can learn a lot from. An industry which – aside from its sheer cultural importance in the first place – has been experimenting with new creative & organisational solutions for some time now.
The launch of the new service from Penguin was a good excuse to catch up with Jeremy and find out what he’s learned from this and other past projects, as well as ask him to share his thoughts on the future of digital publishing, the struggle to monetise content & services online, the impact of the web on storytelling and finally, what role he sees for brands in this space. So just a couple of meaty topics then…
14th July 09
For a good while now we’ve been hearing about the death of the big idea (put that phrase into Google and see what you get back), but before the coffin gets nailed down once and for all, I’d like to check for life signs. Not so that we can limp on, clinging to an old familiar industry cliché, but to make sure we’re not systematically talking ourselves into killing off something that still has the power to bring tangible and intangible value to the brands we serve. Read full post
9th July 09
How many marketing campaigns can you name that are properly innovative, laudable in their intent (cheap to produce & for a good cause), blindingly simple to interact with and delivered with laugh out loud wit? Here at Labs at any rate we reckoned we would be pushed to name one. Then along comes something that completely blows us away, the brilliant i.Saw and its sister product, Papercut.
We first heard about the whole idea when our friends from BBH Asia Pacific got in touch. Inspired by mountains of uncollected pages on the printers in the office, they’d developed a unique, downloadable sound effect application of a chainsaw, designed to drive home a straightforward message: printing unnecessarily = killing trees.
Peter Callaghan, CD on the project, explains the brilliantly simple idea: “Papercut is a simple reminder of where paper comes from. When you press ‘print’, you’ll hear the roar of a chain saw. It is not to make you stop printing, just print less, using only what you need. Reminding people that printers run on trees.”
The next step was to orchestrate a campaign to encourage people to download the app. The team given that task, Noel Yeo and Shawn Loo, explained they were intrigued by the idea of creating a product, rather than a classic viral. And with that, the i.Saw was born. An entirely spoof creation, the i.Saw is a USB-powered chainsaw (the answer to all your office needs, natch) complete with its own lovingly created product page.
‘Pre-ordering’ the i.Saw on the site initially generated a classic, automated email response thanking you for your order. Now a banner informs us that pre-ordering is closed, click here to find out why… which takes you to some brief copy revealing the spoof and offering you the entirely free, downloadable sound effect app. Genius. Read full post
8th July 09
Posted in design
Mulling over the various excellent posts springing up on why there isn’t more great work in the digital space it struck me that one area rarely discussed is the fundamentally different definitions of what constitutes “great”.
Traditional agencies are instinctively drawn to disruptive work-work that stops the consumer in their tracks and forces them to pay attention. Digital specialists on the other hand are focussed on a smooth and seamless user experience. Ideas that disrupt this experience risk increasing bounce rates from a site for designers working to the 10 second stay-or-go “rule” . This tension between disruption and usability is so profound it’s hardly surprising that we struggle to find a common understanding of what great looks like, much less deliver it.
Traditional agencies in the digital space (and indeed traditional digital agencies) are easily seduced by the power of Flash and the wonders of animation; we want attention and spectacle but what happens next? Why should the user stay, what are we asking them to do and where should they go next? The campaign microsite is perhaps the prime expression of this tendency-as Iain Tate puts it, impressively punchily, in Campaign:
“No one cares about your bloody microsite. In 2009 the flashy high production value microsite is finally starting to feel irrelevant. Sites that seem to do everything, but deliver nothing.”
3rd July 09
Wow, we’ve all become over-exposed to the hype around augmented reality, but we’re starting to see applications emerging which genuinely seem to add value and utility, rather than just make you go “cool!”
We spotted this simple, still slightly rough-looking, but potentially amazing app for the iPhone, which works off the phone’s video function. Currently only available for the London Underground, and for those lucky enough to have a 3GS, but follow-up apps across broader geographies and platforms can’t be far behind.
When you load the app, holding it flat, all 13 lines of the London underground are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many kilometres and miles away they are and what tube lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons.
Geo applications and brand experience-based applications seem to be emerging as two of the most interesting playgrounds for AR – we’ve certainly started putting our heads together on a couple of the brands we work with. Watch this space.
(For some existing BBH work that uses AR, see BBH Asia-Pacific’s work for WWF).
Thanks to Tim Bradshaw (@Tim) for bringing this to our attention this morning.
2nd July 09
Posted in Uncategorized
It’s turning into an unexpected week of musical delights here at BBH Labs. After the success of BBH New York’s work on the new Oasis LP launch, awarded Titanium at Cannes last weekend, comes something equally close to home.
Just launched today is some work for the band Sour, directed and produced by Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura (BBH New York), & their buddies Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura.
We caught up with Hal & Masa (in between all their awesome work on paying client briefs) & they explained how the project came together. We we’re particularly struck by the challenge of starting with a budget of $0. Makes you think differently.
The project initially had a few challenges. The first was the nonexistent budget. The second involved the inability of the directors to film the band members LIVE, due to the band living in Tokyo and the Directors living in New York. On top of this they had their day jobs at BBH to contend with.
Rather than hinder the ideas, this ironically provided the framework from which the idea was born. Webcams as a medium were chosen because these days everyone has seems to have one. Sour also had a relatively strong fan base that paid constant visits to their fan site.
A message was sent out from there to ask fans to volunteer for the new music video. The production was inundated with responses from people all over the world the most surprising being a fan from a small town in Portugal.
The next few months were spent choreographing the performance. This was primarily done by the directors literally acting out and filming every part themselves so as to a detailed animatic, that in-turn would make it easier for their friends online to follow.
Once that was buttoned down the filming of over 80 people began. The directors wanted the action to be created from timed choreography to give it a more realistic feel and to make it more human. Relying on editing alone would have taken away the charm and from the spectacle of the coordination of so many individuals.
In case you’re curious, the song is about discovering your own color or voice in this world. It speaks of embracing your individuality in order to embrace what the rest of the world has to offer. So the use of the webcam and the idea of capturing people’s individual expressions as they collaborate to make a greater whole, made a lot of sense. We love it – the perfect way to start a long, sunny Independence Day weekend.
Sour is a Japanese post-rock band formed in spring 2002 by hoshijima (gut guitar/voice), Sohey (eub/bass), KENNNNN (drums/toys). They have released 3 albums to date, and the track used in this video is called ‘Hibi no Neiro (Tone of Everyday)’ which is the lead single to their first mini album ‘Water Flavor EP’ released on July 24 2009. For more information about the band, please visit their website: http://sour-web.com/
Here are some previous music videos that Hal & Masa have done for them:
‘Hangetsu (Half Moon)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMGSH0J0dUU
‘Omokage no Saki (Beyond your memory)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vVWb1M_rQk
Masa Kawamura – email@example.com
Hal Kirkland – firstname.lastname@example.org
Magico Nakamura – email@example.com