Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween 07, Flight of the Imposter and the inexpensive light projection

Carving Pumpkins is underrated. This year, I really took the initiative to create a work of art out of what I had always considered a pastime for children. My inspiration for this was my newly acquired kitten appropriately named, Tofu.

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I had to use professional pumpkin carving miniature saws and a power drill. Not only does this bad boy look great lit up with a candle, but it also projects the image nicely onto a wall. Being in the business of light projections (among many other things), I figured I’d share this tip with party throwers across the globe.
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Now, onto my costume. Over the past few months, it's become apparent that I have an uncanny resemble to Bret from Flight of the Conchords (HBO hit series and New Zealand's fourth most popular digi-folk paradists). Check out their performance of "Business Time" here. I soon realized this would be the perfect Halloween costume. I went out dressed like this, and a total of 1 person knew exactly who I was, which was exactly the response I was hoping to get. Safe and easy, and I only had to go to 2 websites to find this exact sweatshirt.

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Comcastic Is Not So Fantastic

These days I feel I can - to be overly general - classify marketing into two types: the forced and finessed. Consider television commercials. When you're watching your favorite show on a DVR, when was the last time you actually watched all or any of the commercials? Now think about the last 10 YouTube links you got... I'd bet at least one or two of them were a funny or interesting commercial. So why do you avoid television ads during your shows like the plague but embrace them when they're on YouTube? The answer, my friends, is finesse.

For the amount of money being spent on clever marketing campaigns these
days, I don't see how you could afford to utilize the forced approach at all. I would go as far as to say I specifically DO NOT buy a product if the marketing ploy annoyed me. Maybe I'm a little extreme.

Case in point: Comcast's channel guide. Notice the amazingly large advertisement section at the bottom that is completely obstructing the view of more channels and even more annoying, as you scroll down, it actually gets selected. So not only is it minimizing the useful information I can get on one screen, it is wasting my time by making me use an additional click to scroll down.

For shame, Comcast. Not only do I completely ignore this advertisement, it has actually caused me to resent Comcast for implementing it and I have since canceled my subscription.

Now this ad on a restroom mirror has a little "wow" factor for its uniqueness. It also actively targets the right demographic. That, my friends, is a finesse play.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Livin' the High Life

I met Wendell (the featured comedian in Miller High Life’s 2007 commercial series) at the Miller distributor conference in Vegas this year. He was as brilliant in person as he is on TV. Wendell is what I like to call the perfect ambassador – always staying in character, always livin’ the High Life.

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If you haven’t seen the commercial series yet, (a) you’ve probably been living in a box, and (b) you should immediately go check them out.

As an advocate of non-traditional media, it’s hard for me to admit that these commercials are some of the best marketing efforts a beer company has put forth recently. But, it appears as though sales figures for this classic American brand are climbing, and I truly believe that MBCO has hit their market on the head with these commercials.

But, also, as an advocate of non-traditional media, I’m itching to see how Miller takes these ads into the experiential and online viral space. Only two of the ads are on Youtube. And what about experiential activation? I want to see Wendell’s army in honest bars all over this country – making sure everyone is livin’ the High Life.

So, c’mon Miller. Let’s see you flex your non-traditional muscle. Let’s get Wendell’s message out there, and bring this great brand back to the front!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Higher Veg-ucation

Last Spring, Michael Crigler from Birdhead Design was teaching a class at the Art Institute of Boston called, ‘Design Can Change the World?’ You’ll notice that the title of the class is a question, leading us to ask, “can the visuals that represent brands and products influence the choices we make as individuals?”

To really grasp his teachings, you would have had to attended one of his classes. I had the fortune of attending one, not as a student, but as a guest lecturer. He wanted to show his students examples of alternative ways of living that people were practicing in the real world. My purpose as the guest lecturer was to educate people on the history of fossil fuel use in the world and to show the class my 1991 300D Turbo Diesel Mercedes Benz that has been converted to run on B100, or more commonly known as Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO).

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The Students of this class were generally amazed at what I had to say and even more impressed that the vehicle we had converted actually worked and was achieving better gas mileage than when I was burning common Diesel fuel.

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I couldn’t reiterate enough to them that what I was doing was just an example of how there are alternatives to almost every facet in our everyday lives, and in NO way are was this the way of the future. Hopefully the children of today can learn from this and make the appropriate changes for their future. Please watch the video below for highlights from the class. For more information on the use of vegetable oil as fuel, please visit:
Grease Not Gas.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Dove and the Rise of the Anti-Ad

When I was nine it was cool to play with Barbie, but it was also cool to wear huge t-shirts and spandex (ah yes, my glory days). Now I see ten-year-olds with blond extensions and booty shorts. Today there is a constant pressure to be hotter, sexier, thinner and for some reason, always ingesting food on a long stick.
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Enter anti-advertising, the reaction to this push for unobtainable goals. On the forefront of this movement is Dove, whose newest campaign advocates the importance of realistic beauty and healthy self-esteem. Click on the picture below to check out their latest video:

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