Passion Brands: America and its Armed Forces

army.png  Sometimes a single article can sum up a whole nations state of mind. The correspondence on the Advertising Age web site just about catches everything you need to know about how America feels right now. The whole thing kicked off on November 12 when Bob Garfield wrote a fairly straight forward review of the new MaCann Erickson US Army recruitment TV spot. What followed caught everyone out. This posted a few days later HERE is just amazing. or rather as one reply simply put it "wow people...just wow"

Top Quote

I read a few geek blogs to help me understand the tech' side of brand communication issues. Greg linden has posted a great quote that actually very neatly sums up the morbid staffing issues in a few agencies I know.

"...companies cannot only be quick to create. They need to be quick to destroy. If something does not work, the company needs to move quickly. failures need to be acknowledged, all possible learning extracted and then the product should be eliminated..." 


Picture search prt 57


Draw crude pictures, retrievr matches to Flickr images. The world does not need more ways to waste time online, BUT this is really fun and absorbing, I am coming to it a little late as it was launched at the beginning of the year. Christian Langreiter from a bunch of work done by The University Of Washington. The interesting story of it HERE.


Talking about web 2.0

There has been quite a bit of follow up after my talk last week, most around a throw away comment I made about web 2.0 being a bit of a myth. I think I said perhaps we have missed something, all the talk about new web might actually be just that, empty comment, because the product's functionality (AJAX code, consumer interaction) is really not that new or clever, its the digital natives (young creative minds) that have used this tool in a way a digital migrant (like me) would not have considered, we had mobile phones and text messages, they went straight to Bebo and habbo hotel, which rapidly took them into: ziki / riya / odeo / flickrblog etc. I am still constantly bowled over by these fab new applications such as this new picture finder. from Felix Turner at Air Tight Interactive.

Growing up with calling your mates or texting under the covers, is very different to sharing thoughts online.

So the point being its the older generations (40 +) fascination with communication protocols of the young of mind that is driving the brand 'web 2.0' Because web 2.0 is after all a conversation topic rather than a product.

I find parallels with corporations trying to understand dance music 10 years ago.

picture finder.png 


Brands, what are they good for?

I was asked by Spiked to talk at there event last night. A top discussion kicked of by the always thought provoking professor James Woudhuysen. I talked in a rather excited manner about my experiences with brands that had enhanced the social status of disenfranchised consumers. You can read the text I based it on here. -my speaking style means this is only an outline of what I said and I completely skipped the bit about small people in sampling teams. My favorite quote of the night was "all brands start ugly" (use makes there beauty)


The power of Advertising

bernie.jpg  A work of genius I do so hope its real, even if it's a viral for a new PSP game its still funny. Thanks to the boys at biscuit media who found it, also for highlighting (again) that girl emily.

Great idea2 -just might work



Now this does look cool. A rival to Flickr. A picture hosting site called riya 2.0 that also doubles as a visual search engine. Looks like you can search not only by word but uploaded: pattern, colour, mood or even a person's face. Could be the perfect tool for people like me with goldfish memory. "I know what it looks like just can't remember its damn name" Its run by the same folks who recently launched Munjal Shah has a blog here that explains the excitement of getting this new product off the ground. 



Silent brands

I have been talking to a number of people about brands with silent names. Not sure if I am on to something or its a blind ally. The theory is that a number of new companies launched within the web 2.0 world have names that consumers only type or email. These are not spoken word brands, they exist only on keyboards. For example years ago I can remember feeling a complete nob when i described the then new sportsware firm NIKE as 'nick' in public. The current joy in street talk mispronunciation does not help. But who is to say how you pronounce: del.ici.ous or how you speak about; zopa or shozu or etsy or qoop or ziki or or so many other companies that in a rush to find a URL didn't think that outside of blogland, some consumers meet up in things called pubs and talk about  the nonsense of life. such conversations are of the non-inhibiting type and there fore something that is going to make me look a tosser is of the menu. I may email you a link to plazes but i'll be buggerd if i'm going to risk social ridicule mispronouncing it in public.


Great idea, too many features


I was showing this amazing new desk top environment (bump top) to the fish. She pointed out there are just to many features. She is absolutely right. the thing is quite amazing but the true beauty is its most basic operation. It is a classic case of someone getting too close to there subject and forgetting the user, In this case non web 2.0 natives who could use this idea to file and sort there digital lives like a pro. The First minute of the demonstration is all most people would want. Stuff all the menus, 'lasso piles' etc. what really appeals is a 3D desktop that acts just as your real desk, Piles of stuff only you can recognise the order of.


Ambiant media 2.0


My friend Bill has been getting very excited recently by 3D & 'smart' projections.

Is this the future of ambient media for brands in public spaces he asks - well they are more than next generation supermarket floor graphics.

Full 3600 3D projected objects here. (just ignore the massive rig that holds it!)

Stunning blowing grass 'smart' video wall here

The people who built the above are here. 

Drawing coming alive here.

The last one is an older MIT project - remember these guys also spent years trying to recreate the Princess Leia projection scene from Star Wars, The book  Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte had a bit about this ultrageek project.

The trouble often with this type of tech' is the size of the rig needed to make it work, so it ends up only being seen by delegates to the Berlin photocopier expo on the stand for the launch of the new Canon GP335-xq. rather than some really innovative lateral visual experience. Not with standing the fact porn and gaming are going to be pretty awesome on any of these three.

On the subject of oversized back-ends. one of the sweetest things about Honda's teenager sized Asimo robot is that it takes a staff of 50 to run him/her/it in public. There is a slightly creepy charm to technology when 50 people with very big brains spend there waking days looking after a child like figure - that is not really alive.

Final thoughts on the video's above. it  is clever stuff BUT Google Earth 4.0 with the 3D buildings turned on, can be as much as most people can handle. The fuzzy bit between reality and dream does unsettle the untrained eye. The proof if needed is the fact that acid never gained the popularity of E despite being cheaper and lasting longer. The element of human control is a deeply ingrained emotion. People are easily spooked when the ability to control your environment is unsettled or at the very least misunderstood (looks solid = is solid)

Any brand taking on these technologies needs to keep charm higher than wow for any messages to take hold.