Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

31 March 2011

Marketing 2.0 Paris: An Impromptu Interview with #RamonWOW

See Ramon De Leon's full talk at Marketing 2.0 Paris. It is well worth the watch:

Ramon De Leon's Domino's Pizza store is a modern legend - not just in the social space but for the city of Chicago's actual inhabitants. Ordinary people come in just to say hi. They tweet when they drive by. They get excited about meeting THE #RamonWOW (@ramon_deleon) in person.

It's not hard to see why. He's enthusiastic about what he's doing, which catches like crazy. He's also a keen observer of people: how their habits are changing and what motivates them. And he acts quickly to profit from that knowledge: giving shout-outs to his Foursquare mayors, shining the limelight back at anybody who even momentarily casts it onto him. He's a human retroreflector, perpetually ricocheting warmth back at you.

What's more, Ramon records everything: what he sees on the street, cool signage, food. (We had dinner later in the week and he photographed all the entrées.) His own talk at Marketing 2.0 Paris was online an hour after he stepped offstage. I managed to catch him in the process of uploading.

30 March 2011

I Would Totally Buy Mendelssohn Milk.

This is one of those ideas that seems incredibly unlikely, unwieldy and volatile. But once execution starts, with the conviction and seriousness that would accompany something infinitely less insane, you find yourself captivated.

How to sell a concert hall? Concert milk! You're like, "...No." I know, right?!

But it works.

The example also shows how we resign ourselves to thinking about our product the way users (or the apathetic) do: classical music makes me sleepy, I can't dance to it, I don't want to listen, there is no place for these sounds in a blue collar space. You're now thinking of the product - in this case, classical music - as mere sound, something that can only please and penetrate the ears.

But it isn't the case. Music is ambiance, experience; in this case it literally (well, supposedly) changes the way milk tastes. Then, in a way, it becomes ingestible. On top of that, you have the packaging: the relic that educates users in an art that once felt remote and inaccessible ... while empowering them to tell and retell this story.

That's a truly transformative way to approach a marketing challenge.

Work by Jung von Matt for Konzerthaus Dortmund. And thanks to Kelly Eidson for sending me the video. :)

24 March 2011

The MIT Media Lab's Algorithmic Logo

There are few ways to credibly reinvent the logo. (Consider.) But as our perception of what is grows more fluid, I suppose it only makes sense that people are trying to lend the same freedom to logos without compromising what they're supposed to stand for (the fixed aspect of a brand's spirit).

The MIT Media Lab found a really cool way of doing this: the algorithmic logo. It lends just enough fluidity to yield 40,000 different image variations - without losing any of its core qualities. In that way it's the perfect representation of this media space: fixed, but not; consistent, but flexible; unchanging but dynamic by nature.

Using three colors plus black, the algorithmic design features three intersecting spotlights that can be arranged into 40,000 unique shapes and 12 colors. Researchers can individualize the logo for their business stationery yet still link themselves to the Media Lab. The concept is geeky, serendipitous, and a melding of math and design to arrive at a different way of looking at things.

Fitting that the logo now spearheads a brand that hasn't been able to settle on a visual identity for decades.

Work by Brooklyn's own E. Roon Kang and Richard The of The Green Eyl.

23 March 2011

The LEGO Antikythera Mechanism

Toys are never just toys. (Ask any agency with a foosball table.)

What you're looking at is a fully functioning Antikythera Mechanism, built with LEGO blocks.

The Antikythera Mechanism was built in Greece around 100 BC and is the oldest-known scientific computer. It was recovered from a shipwreck in 1901, but it took over a century to fully understand its purpose. The machine is an astonomical clock that determines the positions of celestial bodies with a precision that can only be described as pristine. In the example above, you'll see that it can predict a solar eclipse in 2024 down to the half-hour.

I'm reminded of a geeky quote from Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (highly recommended): "What the body creates is as much an expression of its DNA as the body itself."

What are we expressing? What are we playing with?

21 March 2011

AdVerve Episode 69: Supermoon to Super Mario

Play the show now.

We hit you with some old-school 5 for 5, running the gamut from natural disasters to sports marketing. Bill also wilds out on pet rights, I express abject disinterest in the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and the whole thing basically devolves into a rumination on horror cinema. Vampires and zombies manifest heavily as usual, but no opportunities for a Twilight or Buffy joke are taken. (This means we’re maturing.)

Hell, there's even a little tangent on hot music streaming sites! We hope we lead you to something magic for your ears.

17 March 2011

Adidas, All In

It's a sexy and energetic ad, a montage of dopamine-driven personal climaxes and all-eyes-on-me moments of glory, given a personal touch: the dramatic infusion of stars we know well.

Will it change your life? Nah, it's just a sports ad. But this is a fine example of how to do (or is it rock?) a sports ad, especially if you want to look exactly like Adidas and Nike. (To be fair to the tenacity of this marketing strategy, people are fickle about sneaker brands. They fall in and out of love in the space of a few months - the time it takes before new kicks are needed on the schoolyard. But Adidas and Nike have held their own for years, across generations, lifestyles and age groups.)

"All In" went live yesterday on the Adidas Facebook page. It's enjoyed nearly a thousand "Likes" already: modest praise for a brand this size. See screenshot:

16 March 2011

Super Mario: Revisited for the SXSW Crowd

It's like Nintendo meets Baz Luhrmann/Fear in Las Vegas! On E!

This is at least one reason why I'm morose about not being at SXSW, even though I wouldn't like half the people anyway and would probably just complain about spending too much money on ice that tastes vaguely of vodka.

The other reason is, Austin is awesome, and if something awful happens to California I highly recommend colonising this city and claiming it for our own.

11 March 2011

Oh, of Course

Ariel, another compulsive owner of gadgets. (And gizmos.)

: Chéri, I really think I need to have this.

Him: Of course! It's not even that expensive. We should also get one of these.

Me: We're like those sad gadget people.

Him: We're nothing like those people. All our gadgets are useful.


When you decide to turn a small occurrence into something bigger than the sum of its parts, your life can change in unexpected ways. I love this story of a guy who found a roll of film in the middle of a blizzard in New York, then committed himself (and his girlfriend) to finding the owner by broadcasting the photos and turning them into a project bigger than himself ... and bigger than their origins.

It's a quest that brings them to Europe for the first time and culminates in a number of new experiences and friendships. His reflection on the owner is also telling: everyone they met along the way "opted in" to participate in this project, but her own participation was not her choice. It is something that happened, something that brewed and mutated on the other side of the world while she was back home, living her life. Eventually it found her and drew her unwittingly in, a tidal pull whose impact vastly outweighs the mundane act of losing a roll of vacation film.

10 March 2011

All Eyes on Libya

Countries, like people, in positions of power have enormous and nuanced responsibilities. When you see recurring evil and do nothing about it, you are nourishing a young and virile hatred that will grow with a new generation. And it will dedicate itself to the destruction of your institution.

Image credit: Al Jazeera.

09 March 2011

Video: Starbucks Logo Unveil

Here's some footage I took of Starbucks unveiling its new logo at the Opéra store in Paris, the first French Starbucks location to open seven years ago. The logo unveil happened yesterday in New York, London and Beijing. The marquee didn't show up that well on the camera, so to see the different logos (and read what each represents), click here.

There was plenty of symbolism behind this gesture, from the grand to the mundane: every logo change has represented a change in the Starbucks story, and this one, according to US President Cliff Burrows, represents the "liberation" of the Siren - which also, as previously discussed, liberates Starbucks to explore new paths to profit.

The logo change also coincides with the brand's 40th anniversary. Back in Paris, proofs of its strengthened commitment to go green are also visible in the revamped store (for which we also fêted its 7th year in business): nearly everything down to the Haussmann doors has been recuperated for reuse. (I did wonder where all the old aprons and cups with the old logo went, but nobody seemed to know.)

Finally, champagne and a round of "joyeux anniversaire" kicked off concurrent celebration for store manager Nicolas' birthday. What a happy coincidence. Are the stars aligned over Seattle?

I'll have footage of my interview with Burrows up in a bit. More videos below the drop.

AdVerve Episode 67: Politicosi

Play the show now.

Did we go off on a thematically classic – for us anyway – stream of consciousness sojourn? Bet. Our love for Franco-American political discourse was matched only by our love for Franco-American recycling schedules.

We then became winners as we discussed the fall and further fall of Charlie Sheen, replete with fond tales of rehab glory. How else to complete this trifecta of gray matter than with a look at the Oscars. THIS SHOW HAS IT ALL... AND NOW YOU DO TOO.

Also, quick note: when I talk about "redistribution," I'm referring to redistricting. >_<

08 March 2011

Making the Singularity

A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid that it makes the future after the singularity qualitatively different and harder to predict. Many of the most recognized writers on the singularity, such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence, and allege that a post-singularity world would be unpredictable to humans due to an inability of human beings to imagine the intentions or capabilities of superintelligent entities.
Although Claude Shannon made inroads, in general we're finding that it's incredibly difficult to teach robots how to learn. The process involves a number of factors: recognising mistakes, determining what elements of a situation are worth incorporating into the refinement of a method, recognising the real-time value of a factor whose value may change from one situation to the next, etc.

But we've also discovered that the best way to teach a robot how to learn is to expose it to as many humans as possible - humans willing to teach it how to be better by giving the robot naked insight into their behaviour.

The rock-paper-scissors-playing computer that The New York Times has built is a perfect example of this. Instead of randomly generating moves, it gathers data based on your decisions, to "exploit a person’s tendencies and patterns to gain an advantage over its opponent." Throughout the game, the computer will tell you what it is "learning."

07 March 2011

Rabbit Holes

None of the images are real in the factual sense, but they are treated as precious talismans of a lost moment, a documented super-reality, whose message, like that of all myth, transcends the small realities of the day to day world.
- Photographers Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison

05 March 2011

Inklust #10: Agora

When Newton identified the laws of gravitation he did not assert that they held sway everywhere, but wondered whether "God is able ... to vary the laws of nature ... in several parts of the universe." The physicist Ernest Rutherford, whose experiments exposed the structure of the atom, was so skeptical about drawing grand implications that he threatened to bar from his laboratory any scientist who so much as uttered the word "universe." When the astronomer Edwin Hubble established that the Milky Way was one among many galaxies, he called them "island universes" and questioned whether "the principle of the uniformity of nature" pertained across such enormous distances. This is the opposite of starting with a deeply held faith and accumulating evidence to support it. Scientists have a story of discovery to tell, dogmatists a story of obedience to authority.

-- The Science of Liberty, Timothy Ferriss


What the dickens is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.

AdVerve Episode 66 - Relationships in Advertising

Play the show now.

Friend and fellow podcaster Bob Knorpp of the notorious BeanCast (@TheBeanCast) joins us to get intimate about relationships in advertising:

  • How your personal life gets affected by strange work, weird hours and random traveling

  • How love can bloom in the damnedest ways

  • How a combination of loneliness and drinking can make even the most stalwart ad soldier a slobbering mess of hold-me-closies

  • How intimacy can bloom in many awesome, dangerous or dangerously awesome forms. We talk Father Figure Complex!

  • Prioritising personal + professional time

  • NEPOTISM <-- this is Bill's favourite

The whole thing wraps nahcely with our homegrown takeaway relationships-in-advertising advice. And there’s a few stories in there that as usual will probably get us all into trouble. We live dangerously in these here internets.

03 March 2011

What Television, Even Torrented Television, Can Do

Him: I told them, let me think about it. I don't know. This whole idea of a contract doesn't appeal to me.*

Me: Are you Don Draper now?

Him: People want what they can't have.** I'm just saying.

02 March 2011

Gucci Guilty: All the Elements of a Story ... Except that There Isn't One.

This is the problem with perfume advertising. Grab an awesome director (in this case Frank Miller), tint the frame to fit his style, toss a couple of docile actors into a series of fragmented, unrelated scenes that somehow involve both passionate sex and the promise of a tragic burnout love; and lace the whole thing together with a hipster band (Bat for Lashes).

And there's no real story, you know? No logic, no sequence. Nothing about this ever really makes sense.

Cases in point (some good, some bad, all bad in the sense that they remake the exact same vapid mousetrap):

Come on, guys. When dealing with perfume, what else comes to mind besides "seduction" and "sexy lingering essence of you"?

'Litany' by The Independent

"Litany," by Lowe Worldwide for The Independent, launched in 2000 and still makes a nice, melodic watch.

You will occasionally feel provoked. You'll wonder what this is building to, what revolutionary slogan you're about to get sandbagged with ... but the conclusion is simply the product itself, quietly parked on a porch step with a last accompanying "...don't read."

You are moved, but not overworked. You understand.

What finesse.

Via Georges Mohammed-Chérif of the infamous Buzzman, which most recently graced us with a convoy of falling angels.

Geek Hierarchy of Needs

Via @loulouk.

01 March 2011

35MM: The Message, The Medium, The Message

The speed with which awesome stuff is being created, published and shared today is whiplash-inducing, exponential.

35mm from Pascal Monaco on Vimeo.

I can hardly keep up. And I have trouble imagining a time or place when true creative work was rare and had to be passed, intact but tattered, from hand to hand, or only recounted: a treasure whose survival relied on the willingness of a living vessel to carry and spread it with fidelity. Now our art stands alone and often runs, with little motivation on the part of the creator.

So much of the beauty we're making now is just mash-ups and homages, like this (or like this!). These are great to watch because you can see how a message manifests itself to another person, how we can never, none of us, see exactly the same thing behind our eyes, and how the seed of that ingested mass communication grows and mutates into other messages we can't control.

And yet somehow there remains an underlying known aesthetic, a cue or value that we can recognise...

Proof that My Commitment to Evolving Communications Technology Has Changed Lives, Broadened Experiences...

So I recently found -- and finally read -- the email you sent about the launch of that one site. It was when I was redoing Riz's bathroom. So I would leave it open while chipping away at her wall - shirtless, you know? ...Because it's sweaty work. And every once in awhile I'd turn around and there'd be some random guy just sitting there. Watching me. Wanking off.
- Kito, New Years, reminiscing about ChatRoulette.

Iran Threatens to Boycott London 2012 Olympics Because - Wait for It! -

The logo, a jagged representation of the year 2012, has been said by its critics to resemble many things, from a swastika to a sexual act, but the Iranian government argues it represents a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

Sometimes I feel like the world is being run by kids playing dress-up. You know? Same arbitrary logic, put together by the trigger-happy wack kid who made sure he grabbed the snappy red man pants before anyone else could get to them.

The Silver-Bullet CTA ... If You're a Panty Vendor.

You can always rely on German e-boutique Liaison dangereuse to come up with an angle its counterparts haven't considered. (Remember sexy burqa girl?) But this is one of those ideas that seems so tie so naturally into the free and fetishist world of lingerie that you wonder why it wasn't done before.

"Striptease Shopping" is exactly what it sounds like. For Valentine's Day in Germany, men were drawn to the site via banner ads and invited to pick out a lingerie set for their honeys. (A full set isn't cheap, either, and if Dude will get some anywhere but Frederick's of Hollywood, any woman worth her box of Cailler finds herself awestruck ... and touched.)

The killer call-to-action: men were drawn to one piece or another by a seductive dance, but a full striptease was performed only after the sale was closed. Traffic rose 155% that day, and sales hit a 50% high: an enormous margin for lace.