Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

30 December 2011

The Future is Now! -- Lumus' AR Glasses.

Israeli company Lumus has produced a pair of futuristic but otherwise totally wearable glasses that enable you to interact with the world via AR. They also display 1280 x 720 HD video -- also 3D-capable -- without anyone able to see what you're watching.
How they work:
Light pumps in the earpieces send and refract light down the lens. This moves the electronics away from the eyes, offering a lighter, more streamlined experience. The lenses are transparent and display an apparent 87-inch screen about ten feet away. Because each eye display works independently, you can also view 3D video.
"But wait!" you say. "Why not contact lenses? Aren't those sexier and infinitely more discreet?"

Don't worry, those are coming.

24 December 2011

Happy Hollydays, Internet Friends!

Please enjoy this X-ray of a Christmas tree and its gifts.

19 December 2011

Interaxon + the Evolution of Thought Computing

In April I wrote an article on how mind control technologies are worth keeping an eye on because they fall in line with how technology must become more intimate and less visually invasive. At Le Web, CEO Ariel Garten of Interaxon summed this up nicely and provided a roadmap to where "thought computing" is headed (included at the bottom of this article).

Thought computing is the process of eliciting responses with the power of your mind. It's still in its early stages, in the sense that the hardware can't yet detect words or specific commands, but basic interactions are now possible. We can also play with their possibilities via providers of low-cost headsets, like eMotiv.

These headsets work "by reading the electrical signals on our heads," Garten explained. "When you think, or engage in anything mental, your brainwaves change."

Among other things, Interaxon experiments with producing musical interactions and even levitation (example: as your alpha waves rise, so does a chair that's wired to respond to your brain signals). It also built a thought-controlled computing installation at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

16 December 2011

Virgin Galactic's George Whitesides on Space, Dreaming + Sustainability on Earth

Last week at Le Web, I got to hear Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides talk about the commercialisation of space travel. Here's an interview I did with him, followed by video of his talk.

Among other things, we discuss where the program is now, its potential for facilitating sustainable development on Earth, and product partnership opportunities. Dig in!

YouTube for Schools, Stanford Online: Liberated Education

In high school, the books fell apart in my hands. Most of our instructional videos were probably made in the '70s -- with the possible exception of the drivers ed program, which profits from frequent updates of the unintentionally hilarious "Red Asphalt" series.

Anywho, YouTube is launching YouTube for Schools, an education program that'll avail access to safe video content for schools. Content providers include Stanford, PBS and TED.

Given the dearth of funding in our public school system, programs like this can be hugely beneficial for teachers hard-up for content.

Another great liberated education experiment is Stanford's online course program, which enables you to follow some of their best courses online. It's free, requires that you do the homework, and enables you to ask professors questions on Google Hangouts. If you pass the class, you get a badge à la Foursquare. I've registered for three starting next year.

None of these efforts are going to change the state of our education system overnight, but they're positive, enterprising steps in the right direction. As for easier access to updated books -- that's in the bag, the 'net and tablets are making quick work of that problem.

08 December 2011

Karl Lagerfeld, Le Web + Fashion as the Ultimate User Experience

Photo: TechCrunch EU

Karl Lagerfeld opened Le Web yesterday morning, in part to announce the launch of a new online fashion brand, Karl, which he's producing in partnership with founder Natalie Massenet of Net-A-Porter. It goes live in January.

According to Massenet, the collection will be about "accessibility". I gathered this referred to it being online (free of geographical limitations) and more cost-feasible for shoppers. (I wouldn't expect Isaac Mizrahi for Target prices though.) This is a nice manifestation of something Lagerfeld said about social networks just prior: being over-connected doesn't make you well-connected. 

07 December 2011

The Declaration of Interdependence

"It's important to remember that technology is just us. It's not this separate thing."

Tiffany Shlain gives an emotionally rich talk here about how connections are worth little unless they're deep, and deep connections require attention -- something we lose if we don't harness the technology in our lives. She wraps with her four-minute "Declaration of Interdependence", which I quite liked.

In April I was lucky enough to liveblog Shlain's keynote for MIPCOM, preceding a screening of her film Connected: An 'autoblogography' about Love, Death & Technology. I love her way of weaving seemingly-unrelated topics together and infusing them with (sometimes overwhelming) feeling. She also invests technology with an importance, and an optimism, rarely experienced -- even while admitting that her family takes a tech break one day a week. 

05 December 2011

Augmented spaces: Nimble's Digital/Tactile Library

Nimble's produced this thought-worthy video on how augmented reality can be used to help people better navigate their way around libraries. It posits hypothetical solutions for finding books (even -- or ideally -- when the book you want is on a table somewhere), digitally interacting with what you're reading on paper, and sharing knowledge via social networks.

Sures Kumar, who built the concept and experience prototype, explains it thus:

Nimble shows what a mixed touch, digital, projection, and book-based library might look like. This is relevant because people still like the tactile feel of books and other printed media and they also like to browse.

It isn't immediately obvious to me how digital technology will be able to recognise and readily communicate with non-connected objects like books and newspapers, but I like the vision behind it: there will always be room for tactile objects, and we'll move between those and our digital "objects" with fluency. This also does a nice job of illustrating how important augmented spaces will be in the near future, as everyday and digital experiences build intimacy with one another.

High Culture Meets Tech Culture: Tweet Seats

Love this article on how theatre venues, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Raleigh's Carolina Ballet and Ohio's Dayton Opera, are beginning to incorporate seating for people dead-set on "livetweeting" highbrow cultural events. As PSFK mentions, this is a great way to introduce young, spendy techies to classical music, the opera and ballet. The only caveat: why stack them all in the back?

I'd pack these guys into boxed seats or give them front-row space, maybe at a relative distance from the audience, to ensure they get a stellar experience. That's how you properly earn your earned media.

Flash photography is a problem at these events, which is one reason why sites like Carnegie Hall or the Kennedy Center demand that patrons switch phones off (in addition to accidental ringing). Solution: make like the tech conferences and avail high-quality photos to people who have registered to the events as tweeters or bloggers. 

02 December 2011

Of all the things to dedicate your life to...

...why advertising?

A few days ago Jeff Kwiatek sent me this screenshot of a conversation that took place on Twitter between Mark Wnek and Edward Boches. It's interesting because it poses, aloud, a question people must ask in their heads all the time:

Why write about advertising? Even if we all agree that advertising can serve noble purposes, or at the very least has a great responsibility in its ability to influence, why write about it?

A few years ago, holed up in Ithaca and pushing out 16, sometimes 20 articles a day for two ad and marketing publications, I shot up out of bed and had a horrible realisation: I've given my life to a banality, something that really doesn't matter to anybody -- something most people claim to hate.

23 November 2011

On Profile Photos of Obnoxiously Hot Women

It's funny how quickly things change. In the MySpace days I would look at profile photos like this and think "low-hanging fruit", but today I just think "spambot".

22 November 2011

Yesterday I cried because my pants didn't fit.

Please don't ask me where I found this. But isn't it amazing?

The older I get, the more stereotypically psychotic I become during my period. I didn't used to be this way. I used to be relatively normal and to pride myself on that anomalous sense of control. But last night, feeling that familiar pressure rise up in the general location of my ovaries, I was inconsolable, dragging my feet and slamming into walls and falling onto my bed in abject despair.

I also ate all the candies.

This is a trend that worries me. Every time it happens, I can't help but wonder if it's time doing its work, or if I'm behaving this way because of what TV taught me to do.* It is hard to know. I wish I had a team of scientists.

18 November 2011

The Best QR Code Action I've Seen in Awhile

Look how useful and not pointless it is! Look how good it makes people feel, how it provides value (giving to the less fortunate) while compounding that with a captivating experience (animation)! I even almost forgot this was eBay.

We should be thinking more about intuitive integrations between the real world and digital. And, because you can't say that kind of thing without an associated buzzword, industry people are calling this golden solution "SoLoMo" -- a contraction of social, local and mobile. This combo has great natural implications for tourism and hospitality, but also consider how intuitive executions can change our everyday experiences, too.

Like this eBay thing. This time of year, everyone's susceptible to holiday altruism and the spreading of cheer, qualities which extend themselves nicely to social sharing. Make it as easy as possible for users to cash in on emotional investments they're already looking to make, all day long as they traverse those chilly streets, clutching their peppermint lattés and passing fleeting smiles of hope at small children and the grizzled homeless.


16 November 2011

Benetton to Politicians: Kiss + Make Better

Benetton loves itself some shock value, a superpower generally used for good but often too provocative for comfort. Its latest went live in Paris this morning under the campaign name "Unhate."

15 November 2011

This is Your Date on Heineken

Okay. You know how perfume and car ads are predictable, banal and basically always objectively suck? Beer ads have this magic way of being the opposite. Think Stella, think Heineken -- hell, think Budweiser for every last Super Bowl as far back as you can remember. What is it about the beer sector that takes a possibility and just stretches it beyond imaginable elasticity...? I have cream dreams about doing beer. (The ads. Not, like ... bottles.)

I'm late to the game in discovering "The Date" (Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam -- of course!), and probably wouldn't ever have seen it if I wasn't doing Epica Awards judging this year, but it has this fancy-free Shangri-La magic that makes you want to go back to the '70s and dance on a table or something.

The making-of is jam-packed with the same playful irony for double the time:

Think John Lewis for the Gifts You're ACHING to Give

Here's the requisite bittersweet holiday-countdown ad that yields inhuman cravings for tinsel and an advent calendar. (I have one already. It is sitting on the shelf and I twitch every time I look at it, because if you forget to start opening the little paper doors right on December 1, ALL IS LOST AND GOD HATES YOU.)

Anyway, this piece for UK-based John Lewis department store (now online and on mobile!) takes its sweet time building a nostalgic universe around an antsy boy in the days before Christmas. We can all relate to his impatience, even if his reasons turn out to be warmly opposite our expectations.

The ad is pensively punctuated by a delicate cover of The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by Slow Moving Millie. Catch the making-of, plus a link to download the music on iTunes, on the John Lewis website.

This cosy fireside holiday ham is brought to you by Adam & Eve.

14 November 2011

AdVerve Episode 80 - Halloweeness Edition

Download the show now. Or subscribe through iTunes.

Better late than ever! Primal fears will always make great movies, and we hit all the points this ep: our favorite horror flicks and why, the best villains, and an opening tribute to the best villain-slash-hero of them all: Steve Jobs. All that angry action, coupled with Halloween ads, reflections on the ethics of stealing, the mindset of startups, race in costume, and when the world will be ready for an evil unicorn movie. (Also, whatever happened to movies about sea monsters?)

Our movies of choice:
- The Exorcist
- The Shining
- Silence of the Lambs
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- The Nightmare Before Christmas

10 November 2011

Imagine if this actually did work in prisons. Wouldn't that be fun?

Not all digital ads are a flickering Technicolor ego-vomit. Amnesty International's slide-to-unlock "Prison Bars" effort doesn't just provoke, it's also elegantly done and message-relevant. Work by Garbergs Sweden.

Hat-tip, So Particular.


Sometimes we need some -- from Einstein, good designers and friends like So Particular who know when to pass along a good JPEG.

09 November 2011

Starbucks' AR Cup Holiday Characters

Blast Radius just produced Starbucks' first-ever augmented reality app, and you can swoop it up next Tuesday from your Android or iPhone.

Remember how you used to be able to collect all five mini Barbie dolls or Cabbage Patch kids in a McD's Happy Meal™? It's kind of like that, except not a choking hazard.

The app interacts with various characters that will appear on the company's trademark red holiday cups. When you point your phone camera at the cup, they come to life, and can interact with you or different objects (47 in all!) at the store, like bags of coffee.

Que Boire Que Manger: Shortcut to Wine-Pairing Mastery

If you have ever made the mistake of pairing an Australian Shiraz with curry, like I have, this will save your life ... or at least the 4 minutes at dinner your friends usually spend making fun of you while you're in the loo.

Que Boire Que Manger is a French startup that launched in summer 2011. Its proposition is simple: email a meal to, and in a minute you'll have a detailed and easy-to-read survey of the best wines to match it, any unique qualities they possess, a brief history of their territories, and price ranges (from € to €€€). The service works on any device that can send email, and an app is available on iPhone.

Today QBQM launches its free iPad app, whose intuitive interface permits you to match food to wine and vice versa.

07 November 2011

The Kinect Effect/L'Effet Kinect

The Kinect gaming experience is surprisingly delightful on its own, but better still are the hacks sprouting up as a result of what it can do.

This isn't just about its potential to bring Star Wars technology out of the fictional realm. My favourite hack turns tourists into statues, but a more dedicated gaming public will probably be more interested in Kinect's possibilities for cybersex.

All that's just iceberg tips. In a rare and beautiful moment of lucidity, Microsoft -- with help from twofifteenmccann San Francisco -- gives us "The Kinect Effect", a human and impactful piece of work that provides a survey of what's been done with Kinect so far, using a voice that both illuminates viewers and seems touchingly grateful.

04 November 2011

Because theatre should feel like magic.

In time for the reopening of the Bolchoi Theatre, Russian motion designer Anton Nenashev produced this video to celebrate the venue's spirit.

This is how the theatre-going experience should feel. The problem for most young people is that it takes a lot of imagination when you're actually sitting in those seats, watching what are obviously people in costume on a set. Then there's the issue of education: depending on what you're watching, theatre is one of those things you often have to prepare in advance for, either knowledge-wise or in terms of honing your listening ear.

But I think its stripped-down quality, its way of putting talent at the forefront and forcing you to penetrate its barriers in order to lose yourself, is part of the magic. It demands an emotional investment as large as what the actors are putting in, and the energy that results feels like nothing else.

Via Fubiz.

Acrobats + Wall Rats: Finally, You Unite!

Director Sébastien Montaz-Rosset plugs his upcoming documentary with a video that provides a quick run-through on the new free-flying: a combination of climbing, slackline and tightrope walking. Add that to the list of things I'll never do because I don't like the feeling of my heart leaping into my throat.

See a full 14 minutes worth of the docu at

The amazing is calling ... from a Nokia!

Buzzman does it again with The Amazing Calls, an ad that brings high drama to what is basically a catty grab (as evidenced by the hair pulling and necklace yanking. We still liked it though). Between 7 and 13 November, the Nokia Lumia featured on will ring. Be the first person in France to pick it up and something might happen that will "change your everyday". Take your best guess as to what that might be, based on the caller: anybody from Metronomy to Joeystarr to British sports journo Darren Toulett.

UPDATE: A video's just been posted, featuring Metronomy. They promise to do a live concert just for you and your friends if you manage to answer their call, slated for the 7th:

If you plan to play, it won't be easy. The website lags like crazy and the background music plays mercilessly. But maybe that's just a strategy for weeding out the weak.

01 November 2011

I Haven't Been This Excited About a Robot Film Since Wall-E.

Or possibly Bladerunner. Dvein was selected to produce the title sequence for Spanish director Kike Maíllo's film Eva, a "retro futuristic sci-fi thriller". The plot: a young scientist called Alex returns home to complete an unfinished project: a boy robot. The trailers feel vaguely Pinocchio, and the vintage-style filming is a delicious frame for both the miraculously human robot and his Minority Report-style workstation, The Hand Up. Handy PR description:

The Hand Up is the name that the script uses to refer to the machine that the main character of the film uses as the interface to manipulate the consciousness of the robots. We designed this interface and the titles are just some sort of a closer approach to this interface, like an aesthetic essay, so to say.
That's understating. The elegance and quality of the production is almost god-like. Find two trailers on the equally impressive (and fast-loading!) website, Eva Pelicula.

BeanCast 174 - Relationship Marketing Hits the Rails

The latest BeanCast, featuring me, Ted Rubin of Collective Bias and Mike Rynchek of Spyder Trap, is an accidental tribute to how much relationships play into the work we do. We cover rogue QR codes, malware, whether mobile advertising truly peaks at mobile display, brands young people like, and the UK's attempt to maintain a semblance of privacy on Google. Conversation gets hot and moody, just the way host Bob Knorpp likes it.

Read the full menu and listen to the show. You can also subscribe for autodownloading on iTunes.

PS. If you're wondering what's going on with the AdVerve podcast, we recorded a nice Halloween special for you. Just working out sound issues. Don't worry, it's comin'.

30 October 2011

'The Process' of Making a 686 Parka

We're approaching a world where you can print out your party shoes the same way you used to print out study notes. This makes it easy to forget what kind of work really goes into producing something you bought off a rack ... especially if it was hanging there with five other windbreakers that looked exactly alike, accounting for differences of size.

686 takes us to a factory in China to show us roughly what goes into producing one of its jackets. I still don't know how a sewing machine works and am afraid of learning at the risk of having my fingernails stapled permanently to their nailbeds, which is sort of embarrassing when you think of how many other people's nailbeds are at risk so I can have orange snowboarding pants.

29 October 2011

Poll: Favourite Monsters.

Someone once told me that you can tell a lot about a person based on their favourite monster. I think I have always liked vampires because of their hipsterish sadness. They have eternal youth going on, coupled with the whole "being alone in the dark with no one to love me is so lonely" thing. It's the human condition, except their cocktails of choice are alienating.

They are also nicely dressed and seem to favour the arts and solitary forms of leisure, I guess because what else are you going to do for all eternity between eating sprees?

So. What's your favourite monster and why?

28 October 2011

Because Your Eyes Have Better Things to Do. Like Dart!

In "Vision" for Verizon FiOS, McCann NY captures a moment we've all experienced and can immediately recognise once we see the punchline. We'll give you a hint: it puts you in a trancelike state of wait, but instead of relaxing you it makes you want to kill small mammals.

Very clever, and the pacing doesn't rush the message in. Nails a problem we've learned to live with (the worst kind!) right on its head.

A Story 'Framed' on an iPhone 4S

There's nothing flashy or tech-sexy about Maël Sevestre's "Framed", but that's what makes it special. Sometimes it helps to be reminded that, as handheld technology improves our production capacities, we can still tell timeless, slow-moving stories in addition to the hard stuff that dilates pupils.

This is also solid soft marketing for the iPhone 4S itself, which boasts an 8 megapixel camera that drive-by photogs, camera guys and citizen journalists can use to better capture what's going on behind their eyes.

19 October 2011

(Not so) Strictly ballroom + the private label content evolution

Sosh, a new mobile brand owned by Orange, has released this gorgeous homage to dance, appropriately titled "Danse(s)", with help from photog/director James Bort.

The Bortstah on its roots:
I wanted to pay homage to dance, all forms of dance, like a piece of music played with multiple instruments. The idea was to reunite seven dancers and as many universes, countries, styles, ages and personalities.
The casting call happened September 19 via a number of socnets, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Amateur and professional dancers are included. Production happened in early October at Paris Beaux Arts.

This is one of many fresh inroads in premium social branding. (Consider. And also!)

Proof that We Are Masochists

I didn't care much before, but now I really do want that goddamn 4S so I can sing to her and she can push me away in her coquettish robotic doing-the-best-I-can-knowing-I-can't-sue-you-for-harassment-because-I'm-not-human kind of way.

Siri, will you...?

Via the one, the only So Particular.

(FYI, is currently tumblr-transitioning so in the meantime I'll be impulse-posting here more than usual. Probably. I am still trying to think of personal things to say that don't involve poo but am having trouble. Oh! I got my hair cut today. And while gazing up at the spotlights during the washing part, I saw sunspots shaped like pixellated LOLcats. I swear to God this happened.)

18 October 2011

Scorsese's George Harrison Documentary...

...looks so epic that I'm getting stomach cramps. There's something about Beatles memorabilia that makes me feel desperately nostalgic for a time I didn't even live.* How does that happen?


*These kinds of feelings are like dangerous black holes that you have to watch very closely, because if you're not careful you could topple into them and become one of those wild-eyed dusty people whose homes are decked out in Sgt. Pepper posters and Beatles biographies. I sometimes also feel this way about Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Like, when I've had too much to drink and am feeling dejected, I am filled with the conviction that all my competencies would be appreciated on DS9, and I would be well-loved and witty like Jadzia Dax, and it seems wildly unfair that this world in which I so obviously fit is completely inaccessible -- not because it's the past, but because it is fiction.

This is the kind of stuff that can devastate you emotionally if you're not careful. So take a sip (in this case, WATCH GEORGE HARRISON'S BIOPIC) but don't fall into the bottle like Alice did.

07 October 2011

Air France, "L'Envol" + the Sublime

This ad by BETC Euro RSCG, an Air France piece called "L'Envol" ("The Flight"), is my favourite :30 thing in the world right now. It doesn't overexpress and leaves ideas about flying, trust, well-choreographed harmony and abandon simmering quietly under your skin.

Here's the making-of. The director's comments are great.


 I've just returned from MIPCOM in Cannes; more on that later. But this was passed to me by my friend James and was exactly what I needed after a week of "transmedia" chatter and too many watered-down vodka tonics. You want home, you want to feel safe, and you want all of it from the very beginning of the return journey.

22 September 2011

Dream a Little Dream.

I covered this for the AdVerveBlog today but wanted to toss it up here too because I miss posting stuff on L&U. We've got big plans over yonder, but shit just ain't the same, you know? This blog is like my bedroom (where, as luck would have it, George Clooney isn't. But I am used to life's hard knocks).

I need to figure out what to do with this space apart from talking about poo.

21 September 2011

Friends with Whom You Can Share All Things

The little bastards.

Me, 3 days post wisdom-teeth removal: I'm really sick of food I can't chew. Gazpacho, purées, pudding. It's not even really food. What is my poo going to look like?

Her, after a long and thoughtful pause: Angela ... your poo will be beautiful.

13 September 2011

AdVerve Episode 79: The Show-Stopper

Play the show now.

 First, an announcement. LADIES AND GENTS, WE GIVE YOU ADVERVEBLOG.COM, a labour of love that incorporates the magic of Make the Logo Bigger, Live & Uncensored and Darryl Ohrt's Brandflakes for Breakfast. (Some math: Bill + Angela + Darryl = BAD. THAT'S DESTINY!)

Here's our launch article. Follow with great enthusiasm and mass. Also, expect more Darryl action on future podcasts.

This episode kicks off on a battle of the films, then drifts fast and loose into TV show territory. Breaking Bad plays a starring role and I demonstrate once again that I can work a Buffy reference into any conversation -- in this case, Bill's reflection on the heroization of white male criminals. (Jack the Ripper wiggles his way in somehow, too. Who do you think he was, by the way? This guy or this guy?)

Movies we're dying (not literally though) to see? Red State and This Must Be the Place. WATCH THAT SHIT! You also find out what stars get us going and -- and! -- what our superpowers are. It's a show-stopper like no other.


Kevin Smith protests the protesters at his "Red State" Sundance - not mentioned on the show, still worth watching though
- The hyper-awesome OK Cupid blog
- Jetpacks' awesome AdVerve Blog post. Credit also goes to him for our Supergroup comic up top
- Caustic Soda's Jack the Ripper episode
- Dior's new Charlize Theron ad

06 September 2011

Ch-Ch-Changes: AdVerve the Blog, She Cometh!

It's with an inordinate amount of excitement that I declare the birth of a new era: the era of AdVerve.

You already know about AdVerve the Podcast, but this is next-level shit. Darryl Ohrt (formerly of Humongo and author of Brandflakes for Breakfast), Bill Green (Make the Logo Bigger) and I are joining blogger forces to produce AdVerve the Blog. It's going to be an explosion of face candy and inexplicable ear-licking awesome. Darryl will also be joining us on the podcast that started it all.

What does this mean for you? Three for the price of free, that's what. We'll bring multiple perspectives, irreverent views, a contagious love and occasional complete disdain for the industry that stingily issues our Wonderbread and butter. You'll find us all together -- still live, still uncensored -- over at

So what are you waiting for? GO SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW OUR TWITTUMS! We love you.

Fo' life,

Bill + Angela + Darryl (which equals BAD as in BAD ASSSSSS).

05 September 2011

I Don't Normally Advocate Reanimating the Dead...

...but in this case, the result is almost epic. And stacking Charlize Theron in the same league as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and other icons of glamour, under the roof of the Château de Versailles, doesn't smart all that much either. It was a quality choice. Requisite PR byte:
Our wish was to make everyone take part in a timeless, mythical and contemporary adventure, embodying the values of Dior. To help us achieve this task between dream and reality, we have chosen to put our trust into the hands of filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, who has risen to the challenge in a most remarkable way.
-- CEO Guillaume Pannaud, of TBWA\PARIS.

Pas mal, guys, pas mal. The campaign went live yesterday and I'm hoping to see more development around this theme, because it would be a shame to leap into the stars like this and then fall flat with a series of weak follow-ups. Or no follow-up, just an aggressive TV placement campaign. Which is what often tends to happen with even the best perfume ads.

A Not-So-Improbable Future

It's the stuff that looks and feels like our reality, but isn't quite (yet), that's the most interesting to watch. They're like messages from the Great Beyond. 

(Or Blind Films. Whatever.)

...Swarovski gas masks? The sex!

Written and directed by Yukihiro Shoda. Via.

01 September 2011

A Purity Message from Pharrell Williams.

When you think clean starts, you think Pharrell Williams and a full bottle of vodka, right? Because I sure do!

Any work involving Pharrell rocks well, but Cutting Edge's Darryl Ward also has his hands all over this. Whether it actually gets you drinking Smirnoff is your business -- that brand's got a long hard road ahead of it if it wants to shake off the stigma of all those high-schoolers looking to get CRUNK! on a hot weekend.

But maybe with a price hike and more work like the above we can get serious.

Via Fubiz.

31 August 2011

Following MINI + Vice to All the Wrong Places

The first MINI campaign I fell in love with was Profero London's "White Rabbit" execution in 2006. For me, it first positioned the iconic car as a symbol of whimsical pursuit. While Louis Vuitton positions travel as a single moment of static luxury, MINI is all about the spirit of the move, with chase starring both as adventure and game.

BSUR Amsterdam gave this approach an exciting new angle with ROCKETMAN, tying MINI back to its roots while imbibing us with a strong whiff of nostalgia -- not the stuffy kind, something more akin to patriocy. It also wed MINI's past to our future.

I talked to ECD Jason Schragger a few months ago about where MINI's headed and what it takes to build a MINI idea. He provided a vague sketch of what came next: they wanted to take the idea of exploring to cities around the world. Not cities everybody knows (New York, London, Paris), but places nobody thinks about. Then, instead of using the resulting ads to talk to those places, the ads about those places will be used to talk to us living in New York, London and Paris.

In short, work that makes people living in dream travel destinations dream of traveling again.

Those are the roots of the "All the Wrong Places" campaign, whose video manifesto you see above. Like MINI on Facebook for the chance to become a co-pilot. Here are the uncut TV executions:

29 August 2011

AdVerve Episode 78: The Rapture

Play the show now.

Wait, that’s the end of the world, innit. WELL IT’S NOT. We have more AdVervial goodness for you people and that other stuff will just have to wait. Pick a topic because like a potluck from hell, it’s in here. Movies to watch, commercials to avoid, and politicians to vote for. But wait, there’s more: Other podcasts of note and blog projects to read. I even dish on why Egypt is a swell place to visit and why the lira is was an even sweller currency. But we digress. Which is why you listen.

The Linkage You Need:

- Vintage Palmolive ad: "Most man ask 'is she pretty?', not 'Is she clever?'"
- Mohr Stories
- This Week With Larry Miller
- Big Lebowski
- Sarah Palin’s Grizzly spot
- The 3six5 Project
- The 3six5 Project, Chicago edition


13 August 2011

I Am Going Away! Far Away.

One of the nice things about moving to France is learning the importance of vacation time. It's even kind of imposed upon you because everybody basically peaces out in August, leaving you with nothing to do but ruminate over all those closed restaurants and ponder WHY YOU'RE NOT ON VACATION.

And one really nice thing about being expatriated is having suddenly-accessible friends all over the world. So about a week ago, I decided I'd shove off to Egypt and crash at my friend Candace's* swank-ass Heliopolis pad with all its Bedouin rugs. As a plus, I'll finally be able to hang with Sandmonkey.

My taxi arrives in about a half-hour.** I'll catch you guys in about 10 days.


*Fun fact: Candace is from Minnesota and we never physically met before she moved to Egypt and I moved to Paris. We have been friends for 8 years.

**Fun fact #2: as evidence of my general traveling wackness, I actually thought my flight departed at 13h30 today. It doesn't. It leaves at 06h45. And I found out because Candace checked my docs for me AT TWO IN THE GODDAMN MORNING. So also, I've had no sleep and way too many cigarettes.

10 August 2011

The Gods Are Waiting to Delight in You. Or Something.

Co-opting the powerful poetry of Bukowski, Levi's releases this ad-cum-manifesto in the wake of global strikes and riots. It's apt to see it now, given what's happening in London, but it would have risen more readily to its Grand Youth Anthem! potential if the agency resisted the urge to toss in that kissing-in-the-swimming-pool potshot that all indie ads need to include under penalty of death.

You could have been braver, Levi's. Kids are dying out there, protecting one another, painting their faces, camping out all hours and wielding makeshift torches. This is the one instance in which they didn't need to be depicted as whimsical and romantic; you could have just focused on the strength, gritty unity and insane heedlessness that animates the conviction of youth.

02 August 2011

Scrape Scraperteeth: Artgames Recognised as Gameification Seizes Our Souls

Scrape Scraperteeth is a new artgame by my friend Jason Nelson, who, with it, has received some much-deserved recognition (at long last!).

In his words:

The game was commissioned by the San Francisco Gallery of Modern Art for a series on interactive works. Hopefully this is a sign that, as the recent Supreme Court ruling stated, that games (even simple/odd ones like mine) should be seen/created as artworks first and galleries are recognizing the artistic potential of the game engine and playscapes.

What I love about Jason's games is that the rules aren't obvious. You have to learn and relearn them in the landscape provided -- a landscape so loaded with cultural cues that they're an exercise in themselves. Let me know what you think. (Jeff Kwiatek has already responded to me with, "Oh my god what is this? It's overwhelming ... the stress.")

Here are other games of Jason's that I've covered, over the years. I have always found that with him I don't just play, I linger.

01 August 2011

Old Spice Mano a Mano: The Concession Nobody Actually Should've Received

I think this was done because people freaked out at the (ludicrous!) idea of Fabio replacing Isaiah Mustafa as Old Spice guy, so kudos to W+K for the lightning-fast responsiveness it's demonstrated throughout this campaign. It's what's made it a living part of the culture.

But this still sort of hurts me to watch. It's kind of like, "Okay, here's what you want on a silver platter, and while we're at it let's make fun of Fabio's acting skillz and general incoherence."

Never mind the piles of Harlequin novels he punted with just a swish of his hair and a ripped-open vest. Wasn't he great at selling butter? I still want butter when I watch this guy. Credit where it's due, right...? Come on, guys, you're gonna ruin Isaiah for me.*

28 July 2011

We All Love a Cameo Ad.

Here's work that bounces by Sid Lee for Adidas' "All In" campaign. The famous faces and choice of music do a lot of the heavy lifting, but the production's focus on the strength, grace, sense of connectedness and power that animates the active female is what makes it electric.

I actually want to get out of my seat and go get streamlined to a soundtrack. Possibly in a hoodie. Although that probably won't actually happen until I get another back roll (nothing, in the end, is more motivating).

Want more? Visit the Adidas Women Facebook page. (Thanks to Adidas France CM Brice Mazenod for the linky-loo.)

Ad via Le Publigeekaire.

25 July 2011

It's Okay to Go Left Field...

...if you can tie things nicely back to the brand.

We all have a kid inside who's thirsty for stories, who's waiting to fall in love with a moment, and who wants to laugh. This walks a nice line between modern self-deprecating humour and taste. See? It's like the difference between a good comedian and a bad one: you can be ostentatious and provocative if you're hitting those deeper chords, but if you're crass just to be crass, you're shooting blanks.

22 July 2011

We Need More Stuff Like This.

Someone recently asked me if I am optimistic about the future of humanity. Despite dire statistics and the (anecdotal?) knowledge that people care more about maintaining quality of life than about big-context global sustainability*, I still feel that people work best at gunpoint. The worst may not yet have arrived, but neither has the best, and we have to traverse the former for the latter. That is just how we are. (Hopefully the wake-up call isn't full-on apocalypse, though.)

For as much waste and destruction we're capable of producing, we are just as equipped for producing miracles. There are some who say we are fascinated by our trajectory toward imminent tragedy. This isn't the case, and every little thing we do -- connecting with the world, self-organising for human rights, cooperative farming, purchasing locally, correcting wrongs, even advertising with greater care for both the long-term sustainability of the brand and our children -- makes a ripple in the sea of our collective destinies.


*There are currently as many people alive on Earth today as the total number of human deaths since the beginning of organised civilization: 6.8 billion. Is that not ostentatious?

21 July 2011

Bubblegum Love: All Candy, No Nutrients

Here's some pretty work by director David Lobser for production company Blacklist and MTV World Design Studio Milan (CD: Roberto Bagatti). One commenter, pointing out the jarringly obvious, has already observed, "inverted hearts look like ballsacks." The butterfly stomach explosion doesn't help matters either.

But it's still pretty work. I am vaguely reminded of Frito Lay's 2009 campaign, "Made for Each Other," except this wee :20 piece is less substantial. (Substance was never the strong suit of MTV ads, though; their stuff leans more toward short, ambient and otherwise without core.)

Your call as to where the actual bubblegum is.

19 July 2011

Audi + Bose: A Match Made in Minimalism

Today Bertrand over at VOTW bombed me with a bunch of ads I haven't seen, kindly catching me up after a short vacation. This was my favourite. For Audi's "A Big Idea: Condensed" campaign, BBH London expresses the power of the A1's integrated Bose speakers using imagery that pops hard and a cinematic voiceover. Both brands were served nicely. They didn't even need the full 30 seconds; 11 did the job fine.

Pack it small but pack a punch. Masterful work in a genre where little changes and little art is left.

Can't wait to watch and hoard campaign variations; it's healthy candy for the eyes. One last pretty pretty for the road:

11 July 2011

AdVerve: Spirit of 76

Play the show now.

Not just because it’s episode 76, but we were supposed to record over the Great American holiday that was the Fourth. Instead, work took over and we’re actually closer to celebrating Bastille Day as Bill and I kick it live and uncensored, French style.

So what’s new in this one? We actually cover a Wrap Of Cannes and my trip there on behalf of Yahoo! But wait, there’s more: Official French grammar watchdogs - yes they have them - why The Dude wears a bathrobe and why no guy outside of a Big LeBowski convention ever should. You will not believe the places we go. Or maybe you will. Listen you some.


- Paris Syndrome strikes Japanese
- Yahoo Scene's Cannes Coverage


08 July 2011

People Staring at Computers

"If we could see what our computers see, would we stare differently?"

Track the project on the People Staring at Computers Tumblr page.

07 July 2011

Google+ Could Change PR and Influencer Marketing

It's been awhile since I've written in, mainly because Cannes eats all will to live. Since recovering I've been fooling around with Google+, trying to decide where it fits into my life.

The super-short first impression: Google+ goes right where Google Wave went wrong. This time around, it's hitting all the right buttons, especially where privacy and ease of use are concerned.

Early on, adding random people to "Circles" (the idiot-proof version of Facebook's wildly complex Privacy settings), I got the sense it would change my web experience. Enough time has passed since that implications for marketers remain speculative but generally agreed-upon:

  • The +1 feature may change the face of SEO, tilting it further away from black-hat marketing tactics and more in favour of content usefulness.
  • Its ease of use and potential to scale will make the data accrued on it increasingly important for social media monitoring.
  • Content engagement is significant. It's easy enough to +1 something, but it's also re-enlivening comment culture. I made one comment today on a totally innocuous post and people from all over the sphere are leaping onto the stream, adding value to an article that would have gone unnoticed on Twitter, or that wouldn't have received much response on a blog.
  • This is a new avenue for influencer marketing. And while influencers may remain roughly the same, its unity of multiple useful Google properties will change how we treat content being shared there. To wit:

In terms of feel, posting on Google+ is about as easy as on Twitter, with a final publishing result that more resembles Tumblr or Posterous. Images and videos are beautifully presented.

It also has an advantage over such platforms in the sense that you don't have to work so hard at outset to build your community -- nearly everybody uses Gmail and is hankering for an in. (In Early Adopter-land, anyway.) Days after joining, over 100 people added me to their streams -- well before I'd posted anything, and most were people I knew and had already engaged with previously. That's a good figure.

As previously mentioned, Google properties like Picasa and YouTube are automatically integrated -- so if you're not already a user of these services, they are instantly more accessible. I generally favour Flickr and Vimeo but have already tested the photo-upload feature, which is ridiculously simple. Presentation is great and privacy settings are intuitive. This has basically made me a Picasa user overnight, and I'll probably use this for quicker video uploading and sharing, too (which will likely resuscitate my dead YouTube account).

I said in the title of this post that this could also change PR. When you write about ads and technology, you're heavily reliant on imagery and videos -- tools that help illustrate the merits of a product, service or campaign. Email is the traditional darling for getting PR messages across, but it isn't great for scrolling through imagery or videos in an intuitive way -- you usually have to leave your email client. And then there is the question of organising PR notices that you mean to cover, but never do, because it gets lost in your email.

These problems don't exist with Google+. (Not yet, anyway.) PR folks can write a quick piece, add imagery and videos in a snap, and publish only to a circle of journalist contacts (or the wider public). The publishing style feels like Facebook but is less ephemeral -- it is easy for people to skim, copy/paste from and return to later, making it more like Tumblr but in a closed ecosystem with great scale.

Then there is the "Hangout" feature, which enables you to video chat with up to about 10 people. Nice option for briefings, meetings ... or hell, just hanging out.

The main reason I think Google+ is interesting is because the barrier to entry is low, potential to scale is high and usability is fantastic. I can see people compulsively using this the same way they compulsively use Facebook, except they don't necessarily have to leave universes that are important, like Gmail or Google Docs. This is a bit like what Rockmelt tried to do except you had to download a new browser -- a small but irritating obstacle to use, which Google has the luxury of being able to skip.

It's also directly linked to the identities of most people via their email, connecting their social activity to their existing Google profiles and producing a broad picture of who you are and what you're doing on the Web. This also minimises spam inside the platform.

One critique thus far. My impression is that you can upload to your Google+ via mobile, but only from Android. That's not necessarily bad news, given that Android adoption is exploding, but it does cut out tech-savvy compulsive socialites who are anchored to iPhone or other smartphone platforms. Google's attitude is historically more open than its peers, so I hope this changes once confidence in the viability of Google+ grows.

23 June 2011

List of Young Director Award Winners

Last night the Palais Stéphanie hosted the 13th annual Young Director Awards, which promotes the work of young directors in advertising, short films and music videos.

Here is the list of winners (videos included when they were available). European and non-European entries were awarded separately. Note that some categories only awarded second prize winners:

Music Videos

Second Prize EU (two awarded):

"Esther's" by Director Charles de Meyer (UK). Production company: Tall Stories.

"Flames" for karl x johans (Sweden). Director: Gustav Johansson. Production company: Camp.

Eric Schmidt Talks Revolution + Consumer-Driven Innovation

Yesterday afternoon at the Lions, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt sat with VP-Google Creative Lab Andy Berndt to discuss innovation, imagination and the internet.

Schmidt kicked off the discussion by pointing out the internet is a special kind of business because it is highly Moore's Law-driven: "If you take a country that's got 40% internet penetration, and you see it in the next five years, broadband penetration will be up to 80%." Your business just doubled and you didn't have to do anything -- this doesn't happen in any other industry.

The idea that your business can be expanded as a function of users broadening your market, as opposed to you taking steps to expand in the traditional sense, is something we are still grappling with.

"The implications for this consumer-driven phenomena are not well-understood," Schmidt said, pointing out that the Middle East's current ongoing social media-driven struggles for democracy are a good example of the unexpected fruit such phenomena yields. This is just the beginning of users' muscle-flexing.

Read the rest of this nummy num-num on Yahoo! Scene, for which I'm doing Cannes Lions coverage this year.

'Transparency' Used to Hide Truths, Says Terry Gilliam

We had a treat on Tuesday night. Fast Company's Le Rooftop party played host to a short evening panel featuring American Express, Arcade Fire and Terry Gilliam, best known for his Monty Python work (and maybe also for Lost in La Mancha, because that was bloody magnificent).

Gilliam didn't speak much, but when he did it was with a kind but long-suffering smile -- the sort you give when you're tired of a topic but understand others' persistent curiosity. Of the things he said that one can easily scale from advertising to life, he half-jokingly observed that "transparency is a word used to cover the truth in most instances."

Read the rest of this nummy num-num on Yahoo! Scene, for which I'm doing Cannes Lions coverage this year.

The Cannes Lions Midweek Existential Crisis

It's hard to describe the state of you in Cannes by the middle of the week. By Wednesday night, it's likely you haven't slept in four days. The drinking starts around noon, and you're constantly being blindsided by huge vacuums of people who want to chat about their creative ideas, which seesaw between brilliant and horrific, depending on what fluid you just swallowed.

One guy spent a night regaling Ask Wappling and me about his "sublime" comic strip idea, in which men and women have short, terse exchanges -- sort of like XKCD but stupid. (Man: "Hi!" Woman: "I shaved my legs for this?") The men are always smiling penises, and the women are squiggles in the shape of their pubic hair. Squiggles can vary by size and type.

Be careful when you've been chosen for a creative revelation like this. The less convinced you look, the more insistent the person gets about his genius.

But the trauma I felt, watching those banal prattling penises and vaginas appear in front of me, is only a distant memory. It was Monday around 5 AM.

Read the rest of this nummy num-num on Yahoo! Scene.

22 June 2011

Bob Garfield on Creativity + the Ad that First Inspired Him

Creatives young and old have had a love/hate relationship with Bob Garfield, who for the last 25 years has produced his "Ad Review" segment on Advertising Age. (His position on this? On a scale of one to five, few ads are total zeros and few ads are prize fives. Over his whole career the average ad has received about a 3.4, significantly higher than the average true quality of industry television advertising output at large.)

Ad bloggers, whether or not they agree with his arguments, arguably see him as the person who began what they continue today. He's also the author of The Chaos Scenario and co-hosts National Public Radio's "On the Media."

I ran into Bob at the Carlton this weekend, then later Monday in front of the Palais, sporting a decidedly cannois summer hat. (I didn't know at the time, but it was also his birthday.) He thoughtfully agreed to sit and talk at a nearby beach side restaurant -- which we only later discovered is probably the loudest atmospheres in all the land.

Read the rest of this nummy num-num on Yahoo! Scene, for which I'm doing Cannes Lions coverage this year.

SapientNitro: Anatomy of a Culture Cult

Some moments after I sat down with SapientNitro’s Worldwide Chief Creative Director Gaston Legorburu and Creative Director John McHale, I got a hard sense of what our time together would be about.

“Our secret weapon is our culture,” Gaston said. And the culture is bred and nourished with conscious attention.

They reflected that they've never actually discussed this with the press before, and maybe because of that, they sat and outlined the entire blueprint.

Read the rest of this (EPIC!) nummy num-num on Yahoo! Scene, for which I'm doing Cannes Lions coverage this year.

21 June 2011

SpongeBob in Stop Motion

I don't think I need to tell you this is magnificence to the nth.

This reinvention of the Spongebob Squarepants opening theme, which bears new fruit without losing fidelity to the material of origin (like all good tributes should - consider), is brought to you by Screen Novelties. Added bonus: music by Cee-Lo!

It appeared in place of the normal opening theme for SpongeBob Squarepants' 10th anniversary episode (which I would now very much like to see).

Via The Curious Brain.

Jonah Lehrer at Cannes Lions: The Science of Creativity is Instinctive

Author and Wired editor Jonah Lehrer joined DraftFCB's Director of Strategic Planning Matthew Willcox to discuss the science of creativity, specifically what triggers it and whether it can be honed.

One major problem we have with creativity reveals itself in linguistics: we talk like it's singular, but it's plural. Our job is to think creatively the right way at the right time, applying the appropriate mental tools to the task at hand.

Relaxation Breeds Insight

To understand the different facets of creativity, it helps to know what precedes a moment of insight: alpha waves, closely associated with states of relaxation. Walking to the beach, taking a shower, daydreaming -- doing something you really like doing, in other words -- is what makes it possible for your mind to arrive at what we traditionally understand to be creative epiphanies.

The logic is simple. When we're not relaxed, we're too focused, producing both physical and mental tensions. Tension only restricts and builds upon itself, stifling any semblance of insight before it can even be born.

This is the first key: We assume productivity means we're at our desks, staring at a computer screen. But when you need huge conceptual breakthroughs, get away and bury your toes in the sand, or take a warm shower. Do whatever you must to release your mind from the manacles of the problem.

Read the rest of this nummy num-num at Yahoo! Scene, for which I'm doing Cannes Lions coverage this year.

16 June 2011

Because Every Dog Show Should Have a Rube Goldberg.

Then, more people would come.

This cheery piece of work, dubbed "Un chien conduit une voiture" ("A dog driving a car") in hopes of maximising YouTube spread, is by Ford France for the C-Max with Active Park Assist. (For a minute after the video, I thought the latter had something to do with helping you out of parks, but that's probably just symptomatic of sleep loss.)

15 June 2011

Find Us At Cannes. In PowerPuff Girl Outfits.*

With a little help from Cake Group, Yahoo's launched Yahoo Scene, a magnificent little destination that aspires to give you your industry conference + nightlife fix in the unhappy event that you can't dance on the kegs yourself.

Beginning next week, I join Steve Hall of Adrants and Ask Wappling of Adland in covering the Cannes Lions for Scene. It's going to be entirely too much awesome; what's more, Ask has already promised the whole internet we'll be coming as PowerPuff Girls. (I will be the angry one, Steve will be bubbly blue, and Ask, of course, will be Blossom.)

If you miss our coverage, you will die of sadness. But if long-form bloggage isn't your style, catch our up-to-the-moment tweets on who's where, who won what and desperate cries for attention: @adland @adrants @luckthelady.

Do not miss! Also, for a feel of the ... feel, catch my wrapup from last year, and this reflection on seaside smoking, and this interview with Richard Gorodecky whom I love more than highly productive anthills.

We are so going to rock your ad shit for seven whole days.


*Actually, not really unless Ask pushes hard for them.