Saturday, December 29, 2007

the cog effect spreads

First came Cog.
An exhaust pipe hit a spring, which knocked a Wunderbaum (or something) and we all applauded excitedly. Since then there's been an onslaught of adverts inspired by this domino mechanic. I don't need to bang on - we know which ones they are. These Guinness and Verizon ads represent recent efforts from the UK and US respectively.

It seems the cog effect has spread to digital (if you avoid a discussion about whether an ad on YouTube is digital). I just found this rather charming intro animation for Dutch company Hema (via Popgadget).

What is it with our fascination with these sequences? I guess they present us with a quick-paced narrative we can't look away from in case we miss something. I'm not going to analyse that any further here. Weeee - they're fun. That'll do for now. I wonder where this idea will turn up next.. a domino ralley from my letter box up to my bed to deliver me my paper? That would be nice. Come on Fallon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

7001% more awesome

I was in New York a few days ago and saw a Crunch billboard that doubled as a voucher for a gym pass. It simply told people top snap a picture of it and take it into a Crunch gym. Really nice, simple way of making a poster interactive. Much better than 'text this number' nonsense.

Incidentally, Crunch (or Mother NY, presumably) is also responsible for one of my favourite bits of copy writing ever:

That's what I'm talking about.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the world according to tim key

Tim Key, a friend of mine, but more significantly, a comedian/actor has just published a brilliant book called 25 poems, 3 recipes and 32 other suggestions.

Trying to explain its content would be futile. So instead, check him out on Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe (watch from 4:48) and take a look at a few of his poems on his site above.

Great Christmas gift. You can order one here.
I'll leave you with one of Tim's poems:

Some girls
Were having a chat.
A pervert
Stared at them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

premix culture

Yesterday I sat looking at my blank browser, with its address bar favourites gleaming at me and my bookmarks sprawling themselves familiarly to my left when something strange happened. I didn't do anything. I didn't visit any sites. I was paralysed.

The reason? Google Reader.
I only began using it last week (late starter on this one) and it's had a huge impact on me. Most significantly, it has removed the need to actually visit any of my usual sites. Which I'm strangely a bit sad about.

It hit me hard that re-appropriating content has entered a new age where the re-presented precedes the presented. Finding things, playing round with them and re-releasing them is old news. The new game is intercepting content and re-presenting it before it reaches the eyes and ears of its audience in the first place. Obviously Google Reader does this for efficiency, not to recontextualize the contents' meaning, but the principals are the same. This isn't remixing, it's premixing.

This is a stark commentary on the evolution of our cultural playground. We are reducing things even more acutely to the moment. Narratives are not merely being fragmented, they are being dismantled in terms of space and time. Emphasis will increasingly be on what any one person is doing with a bit of content or an idea at that moment and where it fits into their other pieces, not so much where it came from, what its original meaning was etc. Everything is a building block or a sub-widget in a universe of individual, momentary expression and regrouping.

Bit of a brain dump. Probably a few contradictions. I'm going to stew this a bit more and see if I can say anything more useful...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

truth pulling

I just found out last night that a major US entertainment magazine has shut down its 'fact-checking department'. Made me chuckle and speaks volumes about shifting values in this space. Another nail in the coffin for 'authority over opinion'?

However, this coincides with me starting up a fact-checking department. So I'll get back to you over the next month or so to confirm or deny this story.

Monday, December 03, 2007

death mapping

Maps showing where people die in Half-Life 2. Really like this. Not sure why.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

machine watchable

Robots fighting in Tokyo. These things normally look rubbish but there's a few cheeky moments worth seeing in this. I like the one that knocks its opponent over by firing its balloon head at it. You heard.

the 20 toy ploy

After getting excited about being always in beta, I was reminded of a great example of this experimental philosophy. Last year (I think), New York based Toy created Elf Yourself for Office Max. If you don't know what this is I recommend you have a play.

What some people might not know is that when briefed to come up with an online xmas idea, the folks at Toy decided to instead create twenty different ones. They understood that there wasn't a magic recipe for success and threw out nearly two dozen different ideas to see which ones stuck.

Some might think this is a strange tactic, but I think it's brilliant. Instead of spending lots of brain power rationlalising and selling one idea and trying to make it perfect to increase its success, they probably spent the same amount of time creating a load of quick ideas. We've all been in that situation where clients have asked: So, can you absolutely guarantee this will be popular? And we've gone: Er, no. And I also don't know if it will rain on your holiday next year.

I think this is a great philosophy for digital solutions. If you put a kid in a room with twenty toys he's bound to be drawn to a couple of them. And you can't look desperate because only the ones that are received well make it into people's consciousness.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

la vie en rose

Saw this a few hours ago in North London. It's a Chrysler. It's stretched. And yes, it's pink. And why not? No seriously.. why not? I think we should compile a list..