The fine folks at the Barbarian Group just launched another “why didn’t I think of that” site —, a really clever promotion for Aquent (purveyors of contract creatives). You can click on each section of the page to learn more about the skills and people needed to get a modern website up running (as illustrated by the animated GIF below). And to top it all off, if you visit the website (and act fast), you can get a free t-shirt (and probably a lifetime supply of calls and mail from Aquent). You can read more about the site on the Barbarian Groups blog . Screenshot - it's animated!

Would You Like a Pony?

Excellent hidden-camera style spot from ally bank.

On a totally unrelated note, this blog has been woefully neglected over the past few months in favor of—in no particular order—getting Creative Cohort off the ground, a couple of extensive freelance projects, gobs of activity at the regular gig and livin’ life. More posts to follow soon, probably a short burst of activity followed by another month or two of dead silence. Such is life.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

I ran across this post in Google Reader and I was about to re-share it, but I think the link warrants its own post…

The basic premise revolves around ad/creative/media agencies adapting to the changing landscape of communication (most unsuccessfully). I’ve seen a lot of these types of posts recently (either due to New Year’s resolutions or the economy), but this particular post really stood out to me.

Basically, I think you can take two approaches to radical shifts in the way the world works: think/discuss/worry about it or jump right in—just try something, learn what does and doesn’t work and go from there.

Wait for it…

With the wait and see approach, you probably won’t fail (immediately); you continue doing what you’ve done so well, maybe jump in when the time is right and if your timing is good, you’ll continue doing well. On the flip-side, you could jump in too late (or not at all) and when the balance shifts, you’ll be left in the dust.

Just Do It

With the latter, jump right it approach, the odds are you’re more likely to fail than succeed, but you’re likely to learn a lot more in the process. Your assumptions will change. You’ll have a clearer picture of what your audience actually wants. You could make money offering consulting services to the Waiters : )

In the projects I’ve been involved in recently, I’ve been better served by diving in—I tend to procrastinate, so the time I normally spend thinking about what I need to do (aka putting it off) is better spent just working on the problem and iterating as needed.

Which camp are you in?

Burger King – Fresh?

Burger King and Mess Marketing recently opened an Art Gallery/Event Space/Think Tank/Hipster artist collective in Chicago dubbed Burger King Studio. The concept is kind of interesting; you can mingle with artists at the occasional event and buy and customize t-shirts on the site. All-in-all, a great fit for BK’s well-known “have it your way” brand position, but there are some pieces of this campaign that have drawn a little too much inspiration from the creative community they’re aping.

Figure 1 – Inspiration?

This is a shot Burger King Studio’s Store side-by-side with — note the similarities in the presentation of the t-shirts, the use of hipster models and solicitations to participate/create your own shirts. Despite the similarities, I could give BK a pass on this one as more of an “inspired by” than a rip-off.

Figure 2 – Rrrrrrrip

Unlike the Figure 1, this example is a 100% rip-off of a classic design created by Experimental Jetset. In fact, this design has been ripped so many times that Experimental Jetset has a section of their site dedicated to cataloging the infractions.

Not only is the t-shirt unoriginal, it kind of made me think of the old McDonalds Big Mac jingle. You know, the one where they sing the ingredients…

Figure 3 – mixed messages

The jingle is about 15 seconds in…


What do you think? Should they get an “A” for going through the effort of trying something new in a well-trod space or is this simply another clumsy corporate co-opting of creative culture?

2 Campaigns, 2 Approaches to Microtargeting

I’ve run across a couple of nice examples of microtargeting on behalf of the McCain and Obama campaigns; it’s interesting to see the contrast in the use of technology here.*

Obama’s campaign is running ads in Burnout Paradise on XBOX 360. Fittingly hi-tech, these ads appeal to younger, connected voters; encouraging them to vote early. (via)

The McCain campaign is taking microtargeting literally with this more grass roots/lo-fi approach, This example touts McCain’s economic policy — presumably suggesting it’s “the sh**”*. (via)

*please note the saracasm

All Kinds of Awesome

Here’s some of the stuff that’s caught my eye recently that may be worth your time, too:

The Price is Right (Isn’t It?) Why shouldn’t made-for-web productions should have budget as big as their televised counterparts? This article aims to lay the groundwork putting a fair price on your digital blood, sweat and tears.

Springwise – This is a recent addition to the Review category in my RSS feed. Basically, it’s a steady stream of new business ideas—some new interesting, some stuff that’s been in the market for a while. Kind of a Trend Hunter with a business focus. Worth a look. recently relaunched as mobiForge. I hadn’t really spent a lot of time exploring this site before the refresh; there’s a ton of content available. They have resources for developers, designers, marketers and more. It looks like a great resource for anyone who’s involved in the mobile space.

And if your mindset is more design thinking/trend hunting/cool data, mobiForge has a sister site, mobiThinking. The content’s not as deep as the main site, but it’s worth an add to the ‘ol feedreader.

Wecome to the social (media) revolt – the gist: by its very nature, the web is in a constant state of change and its always been about making connections, so why is social media seen as a new, groundbreaking idea?

I have to agree with Joshua’s angle; the fundamentals haven’t changed, but the tools we all use to connect/socialize/etc. are getting easier and easier for non-geeks to use, which allows more people to participate and brings the “social” bit of social media to the fore.

A simple idea that provided hours of entertainment this summer is popping up again: John McCain Is Your Jalopy and Sarah Palin Is Your New Bicycle’s Flat Tire. I think the web will be a little less entertaining once the elections are over.

Hindsight’s 20/20

By now, everybody’s heard about (and commented extensively on) Microsoft’s $300 million campaign to rebrand Windows as a indispensable tool for a billions-strong community of like-minded individualists living a life without walls. The good people at CP+B have set the interwebs abuzz with criticism and praise for the campaign. Time will tell whether that buzz equals a successful campaign, but if history is any guide, the answer may be staring us in the face.

Fire up your flux capacitor and look back at the June 2008 issue of Fast Company—the issue with a smirking Alex Bogusky gracing the cover. By the time this issue hit the newsstands, many in the ad world had already heard about CP+B’s relationship with Microsoft and all the talk centered around what the campaign would look like. As it turns out, the answer lay in the opening spread of the feature article, pictured here:

That headline again? “Believe it or not, he’s a PC.” Theme theme of the recently-launched campaign? “I’m a PC.”

If only we’d know then what we known now…