Friday, August 29, 2008

everyone for themselves

I just saw this individual slice pan over here.

I instinctively found it quite sad. If anyone ever gives me a slice that has been baked alone I will refuse to eat it. So there.

McCarty rocks

I wish Brian McCarty could curate my dreams.

From TSS


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

real conversations

I just saw this over at the ad pit:

There are more entertaining pieces of content out there, but the idea is first class. Instead of sitting in a room thinking about what they could say to people, the folk behind this (W+K, I believe?) decided to actually engage with the fans of the Tiger Woods game.

They simply created a video response to a fan's video on YouTube.

See how easy it is when you strip away all the bollocks and just interact with people.

Imagine the thrill of the person that posted that video. He's a fan for life now.

You could easily imagine a dialogue developing between fans and EA in this environment.


P.s. If it turns out the original fan video was planted, then I retract some of the above and say "Why I oughta..."


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

scarecrow fesival

If you were in the village of Ickwell at the weekend, then I'd be bloody amazed. But, also you would have witnessed their scarecrow festival.

It was actually really fun. And the scarecrows were excellent. Made even better because you imagine a family making them rather than a hipster/hoxtonite. The above surgeon was my favourite.

Villagers each constructed a scarecrow and put it in their front garden and we, the public walked around judging them. Officially judging them, you understand - with bits of paper and pencils and everything. I didn't ridicule any to the point that the children that made it were in tears.

Not satisfied just making a great scarecrow, some people went to amazing lengths to create little stories.

Anyway, I don't have anything interesting to say, other than: Go to a scarecrow festival. Now. n-n-now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

samsung unboxing

Nice. Although the guy's voiceover makes him sound like he's about to make a seedy amateur porn flick. Which he does not.

Seen at Cross The Breeze

feelers & failure

OK. "Toronto, by mood, by me. A bit."

I launched I Feel Toronto on the back of the moderate success of NYC & London. I timed it to coincide with this national press coverage I was getting in Canada's The Globe and Mail.

Almost 400 people have looked at the maps. Only nine people requested an invite. And not a sole added to a map.

I can safely say I Feel Toronto was a failure. (Fighting the urge to do an unhappy face)

This whole thing has been very interesting for me.
It's easy to jump to naive conclusions with such small amount of data, but I can't help but feel that one of the biggest barriers for Toronto was that there was close to no entries on the maps when people arrived. It's all very well giving people tools and saying 'go add stuff', but that requires effort. With I Feel NYC and London, there was a good handful of entries by me and friends to kick things off. So people could browse a little and get some instant gratification.

And not to mention the overall clunkyness and deadness of the experience.

Anyhoo. I'm not put off. In fact, I've just teamed up with someone (who will be revealed soon) to relaunch the I Feel project with much richer functionality. I.e. Not made in iWeb. It will be much easier to use, much more rewarding and have social elements built-in. I still believe in the idea and I'm taking some of these learnings and failures to make sure round two works out better.

As always in the land of free-love/opinion, your thoughts, advise or ridicule are more than welcome.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

just watch it

I want to gnaw my own hand off.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

gestural design

Sounds a bit smelly and dark doesn't it.

I remember from my time working with Motorola that they were big on gestures. The thinking (I believe) was to change the way people held devices to ensure the 'design' was visible even by the pose of the person holding it.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I walked past a 'city type' at Liverpool Street Station using his iPhone. I guess I had noticed this before (perhaps subconsciously) but the iPhone user looks like an artist compared to the old Blackberry user.

The old (I.e. pre-Pearl) Blackberry user's gesture was all about the scroll-wheel. The user's actions were deliberate and regimented and linear. The iPhone user draws and taps freely on his/her screen with a finger; the hand arched over like a swan.

It's interesting how the culture of a device and therefore brand can be seen in the street from afar. And if you're into the idea of a brand being an interface, it seems especially poignant, although I'm not clever enough to analyse it in much more detail.

I guess this extends to a lot of things. If you're a high street brand how do people carry your shopping bags; by their side or over their shoulder? If you're a restaurant, how do people sit; relaxed or formal?

It really opens up the way you look at creating an experience if you consider the gestures and behaviours you'd like to see.

I'm lazy and didn't research this. I'm sure there are more interesting articles about it. Do share if you've seen one.

Monday, August 11, 2008

the calf staff get creative

The Calf in Clapham Old Town has the best staff-written signage. Above is the chalk board outside the pub yesterday.

This is also the same place that had this note to criminals.

They even have obscure messages, like "HUNGRY? Go to the bar and talk"

And on their tip jar was a note that read: "Tipping is sexy". Yeah it is. I tipped them. I'm sexy.

Calf staff, you're the best.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

aoc map

A map of the collaborators for Age Of Conversation 2:

[insert new map, Andy. Seriously do it. You look silly]


Thursday, August 07, 2008

a chart about charts

I tell people I'm a "creative strategist" which sounds a bit pretentious and meaningless. I got called a planner the other day. Not sure I liked that at all.

I do like charts. In fact, I thought that I would make a chart about how much of my time I spend making charts and that might help to explain what I do.

P.s. I realise that making this chart affects the chart. I will amend accordingly. Damn. I see a recurring problem.

well bad (that means good)

I've had a private obsession for ages about turning bad things into good things. It's what this post was all about.

Then Iain created Cock Spam, which turned spam email into a game.

Now there's Spam Recycling, which turns spam email into pretty pictures. I like the idea. The execution feels a bit too involved for me, but I'm a lazy fool.

Via Ramzi

free from faris

Faris is very clever and articulate.

Think of the post you've found most interesting on my blog, multiply it by about twenty, add a few sound bytes for repeating to friends, throw in some beard-stroking and a few new items for your Amazon wish list and you have a post from Faris.

Like this one.

why meaning can't be forced

A friend of mine was with his girlfriend for seven years before they married. Two years after their marriage, they still celebrate their anniversary on the date they met and not the date they wed.

I feel slightly dirty turning this into a marketing insight, but it is a touching reminder of how personal 'meaning' is. You can create new experiences and try to fast-track meaning, but life just doesn't work like that.

Scrabble vs Scrabulous, anyone?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

first frame interview faces

I love the awkward 'mid-speak-face' you see on the first frame of a video interview. Even with high quality videos like the one in the grab below, you instantly know it's a video; that peculiar shaped mouth; those glazed eyes; the chair slouch or sideways-lean.

You'd think editors would choose a frame thats a little more flattering, but no.

If aliens were to judge mankind by the first frames of video interviews they would assume we are awkward, illiterate fools about to let out a string of nonsensical murmurs. I suppose we are, really.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Kevin, Peter, Rebecca, even John will do

I'm making a pact. I'm not going to join any more* services with stupid names. I'm so tired of cutesy, made-up words designed to achieve .com status and create a new verb that makes us sound like idiots to say. There. I said it.

*Unless they're really good in which case I'll wait for the word to gather its own meaning that I can associate with something positive. Ahem.

last call

I went to Standon Calling at the weekend; a little boutique festival hosted by a guy I know, Alex Trenchard. Some background here.

Last FM sponsored the festival, but I was surprised that they had (as far as my eyes could tell) zero presence at the event.

Not only did I not see the logo anywhere, but they missed a great opportunity to promote the bands that were playing. Many of the bands didn't provide promotional CDs but were savvy enough to merely tell the audience to "search for them". Seems to be the thing to do now.

With the absence of promotional CDs, there was a great opportunity for Last FM to add real value for people and bands alike, simply by adding a Standon Calling playlist where we could find all the acts in one place. Maybe it does exist, but I searched for Standon Calling within Last FM and found nothing. And the music player on the official Standon website featured bands that weren't even there.
Even worse, Standon Calling isn't featured in their events section(!)

Standon is a great little festival (thanks Alex!) and I love Last FM - we even collaborate with them sometimes - but I think this was a massive opportunity missed. And a very simple one too.

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brilliant, as usual from XKCD

*pop* art

William Lamson via BB

Reminded me of this awesome balloon graffiti too scavenged from rubbishcorp:

bad 1 good 0

Am reading Fooled By Randomness and felt compelled to share a very simple but important insight:

It's scientifically proven (think white coats, crumbs in beards, that sort of thing) that we remember bad feelings more than we do good ones. Perhaps frighteningly for some brand managers, this means that your multi-million pound ad campaign can be wiped out by one bad call with customer services. Something to think about.

Friday, August 01, 2008

ffffriday, ffffools

historical maps on google earth

Fantastic! I may be almost two years late to this news, but David Rumsey has been working with Google to overlay his historical maps onto Google Earth. Simply locate a historical map icon and click to map it over today's globe.

It's a little crude at the moment, but imagine the possibilities: being able to watch the evolution of our understanding of the planet change as you spin the globe with your Atlas gloves! I think I just wet myself.