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    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Hacks: Homemade in the 21st Century

    People have always been looking for shortcuts. Efficiency often leads to innovation and progression. With the technological wave of the lst century, a new consumer has been highlighted (thanksTime!). DIY has evolved into a huge trend in society known now as hacks. While hacks started on phones with phreaking and jamming in the 70s, its now seen in everything from computers to cars. Consumers are taking products and ideas and building on them, making them better and giving them away for FREE. Flick is an excellent photo program but its fanatics have compiled a hacks list here. Sites like lifehacker and hackaday have immensely popular simple edits for various technologies. Consumers are no longer satisfied with just making their products as is. DIY means being more emboldened to modify them to their own standards, needs and uses. It also means sharing with others. Maker Faire is a newfangled fair that brings together science, art, craft, and engineering in a public forum. Here consumers not only get to celebrate hacks on existing technology, but innovate sectors. In the future look for hacks to become as prevelant as software programs themselves. This blog incorporates a dozen hacks which wasn't thought to be possible when the program was conceived. As long as consumers dream for a better product, there will always be those ready to service those dreams with a shortcut.

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    Monday, January 29, 2007

    Where we spend our time online

    Stumbled across this fantastic blog, compete. Great look at our online habits aka the attention economy. This is a fascinating look at how people spend their time accordingly on the web. The data is good because its based on the daily web usage of more than two million people and Compete calculates and estimates total traffic and rank for nearly every site on the web. It reminds me how savvy Google is with a radically different approach to generating hits and its power. Talk about a branded utility.

    Key Observations:

    * Only 20 domains capture a whopping 39% of all our time spent online.
    - These portals dictate the flow of traffic on the internet to an extraordinary extent. Look for their power to only grow as the web becomes more search focused and it coverges with TV. AKA Google is going to blow up even further.

    * Only 2.1% of our time is spent on (includes all sub-domains).
    - This is interesting. Pretty much everyone googles, but the actual amount of time spent is very low. Demonstrates Google's ability to be a facilitator almost automatically. They piggyback off others surfing habits, allow them to be the "tidekeeper" of the web. They literally go with the eb and flow of web users, always staying relevant. Still surprising despite the number of applications Google has unleashed recently.

    * "Even if one adds time spent on (#12) to’s (#5) tally — it still only adds up to 2.7%, and is well below time spent on (#4)".

    * "MySpace (#1) is miles ahead of Yahoo! (#2), however Yahoo! impresses. Yahoo holds a significant lead over, and Yahoo simply needs to merge with MSN to take #1"
    -Good point here, but some of these sites probably wouldn't overtake myspace even if they combined since they directly compete with each other and users are often loyal to homepages/portals.

    * The presence of on this list is surprising, but demonstrates the power of myspace.
    -Myspace dominates a specific need consumers are searching for on the web. Companionship or human interaction is natural. Myspace demonstrates the "popular" way. Adultfriendfinder shows the other end of the spectrum. Same need, just different way of going about to get it. Also its amazing to see how facebook jumps up too. It has really created a niche and done nicely to fill it out. Those guys are going to make benjamins when they sell it.

    The breakdown based on actual minutes

    All in all, by the looks of it, people are still wasting time.

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    Need a visual way to brainstorm your ideas? Try, a simple yet useful mind mapping application. Great for all the young planners out there!

    Very simple concept here: write thoughts in bubbles, connect to other bubbles, eventually creating as diagram(complex or simplistic as you want). It's a super simple way to quickly jot down and map your ideas(or you could write them on paper, but this is tree-friendlier)

    [via lifehacker]

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    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    NYC Snowboards

    Gotta give credit to NYC Parks & Rec. They can do things most others can't. That includes throwing not one but two, huge snowboarding rail jibbing huckfests in the middle of New York City. On Thursday, February 8th, the world's top pro riders will converge upon NYC's Union Square to compete in the city's first ever major pro snowboarding competition. The Union Square Street Sessions presented by(insert wanna-be-cool sponsorship here) Jeep will attract top snowboarding pros such as Marc Frank Montoya, Eddie Wall, and Lucas Magoon to compete Head-to-Head for a prize purse of $30,000. 24 Men and 8 Women will participate in a rail jam format on a customized urban rail, the largest ever built in NYC. The custom rail is being built at the Jib Lab in Mountain Creek NJ(clearly jersey is the capital of snowboarding). On February 10th the city is throwing its WinterJam which is open to those who won't sue the city should they rack themselves on the rail. Oh Yeah! San Francisco already did this in a much cooler way (they have real hills) as pointed out on the Lifefilter right here at Icer 2005. So laugh in the face of global warming with the rest of the New Yorkers, as the event will go on snow or no snow.

    Street Sessions
    Winter Jam
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    Dangerously Funny?!#&*

    [Warning: Editor rambling at its finest] I have been giving the role of humor a ton of thought lately. Many brands attempt to be sticky by having a funny advertisement, most notably a television spot. Has Bud Light done anything without humor in the last 10 years? I think humor is one of the most understood emotional drivers in advertising. Its also one of the most polarizing. When done right it can certainly imprint an idea in someone's head, but it doesn't equal success by any means. Done right, your brand can be sharp and witty as they come. Done wrong and your brand looks like a coalition of idiots. Having spent a bit of time looking at the pizza wars lately, almost every major pie maker users some form of humor in its promotional work. Granted each runs a high-volume of ads that generally quick promotions and there really is little differentiation amongst brands, humor is one of the key elements of these brands hedge their bets to generate awareness and ultimately sales.

    Humor is an integral part of advertising in nearly every category. Just look at today's Adcritic Top 20 from deoderant (old spice) to beer(any brand) to electronics (apple)to media (Comcast). We all know how many Superbowl ads try to capitalize on humor. Does this signal something about us as a society or more so about us an industry? Are we avoiding looking at ourselves or the pitfalls of society in a self-insulating escapist manner? Why is humor such a predominate human emotion in marketing?

    a few thoughts on this..
    1. UNIVERSALITY Everyone enjoys a good laugh, possibly brands are look to entertain there way to sales
    2. GOOD TIMES Humor is easier to remember than sadness, no one wants to remember that bad times. Possibly brands are still scared to remind people about what might happen otherwise.
    3. PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS Having a good time and a maybe a chuckle is motivational in some low-achievement type of way.

    But what about the dark side of humor? Can too much humor make your brand a joke? I look at Geico, which has done an enormous amount of excellent work all using humor. Those caveman spots are a delight. Id really like to know what the consumer thinks of the brand though. Is it possible to project humor on TV and attempt to establish a credible brand online? Im sure there are examples of this working, but doesn't your brand begin to become a joke itself. Bud Light probably won't be taken seriously for the next 10 years, no matter how hard it tries.

    Now ive gone off a bit from my original intentions and turned this into a rambling bit, but i think if anything this is a conclusion that humor is one of the most dangerous elements of communication. While it can be the holy grail, even when done best it can never quite achieve everything a brand wants or needs. If anything its a distraction. So many consumers seem to get stuck on the humor and not the message, price point, or any original intent of the communication. Humor is dangerous disruptor that is subject to interpretation, with the joke squarely sitting in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes spots only need a little dash of info and more of a splash of humor, but just like a good joke should be used in moderation. No one wants to be the guy telling that joke from 5 years ago. And no one wants a "funny" brand unless you are a comedy house.

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Diagnosis Disneyland: Lines and More Lines

    The Re-Imagineering blog (Pixar and Disney employees going at it over the design of the Disney parks) has a great post on the fact that you have to wait in five lines just to get into Disneyland. The employees banter on about the missteps of the planning while offering tenable practical solutions. Amazing amount of thought clearly has gone into getting people pre-conditioned to waiting in lines. Either that or extremely poor planning, but betting on Disney I am sure it has been thought. This blog is a great example of collective thinking. Most notably discussed are the 5 lines and average of 30-60 minute wait to get into the park. Also discussed is the parking garage which is the first and last experience of the trip. This vital environment, amazingly remains a barren place of concrete and asphalt, void of any Disney presence.

    I think this demonstrates the potential power of blogs as a brand health diagnostic tool. In this case it has a dual purpose for consumers and internally for the company. Its a looking glass straight to a potential problem for the brand. Potential visitors can plan ahead with a little digging to find an accurate line prediction time. It also allows employees to voice their opinions in a forum with other employees, creating a collective voice and implementing change. Blogs like this a great look at any potential "health" risks to a brand.
    Most Wonderful PLace On Earth
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    Monday, January 22, 2007

    All Macgyver Needed

    All Macgyver ever needed was a simple paperclip to escape any situation and he could have a cage sprung, door greased, car driving or boat cruising in a nanosecond. I don't know whats more outrageous: the fact the premise is so over the top or that Americans were actually buying this.

    I do really love the idea though of this "utility" item. What would a planner's utility item be (beyond the internet)? Certainly this is where different styles would be evoked the loudest...

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    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Nike AF1 Interactive Osaka

    In celebration of the Air Force 1's 25th anniversary Nike has created an interactive "digital shoebox" of sorts in Osaka. This vitrual archive is full of hot, hot kicks with many Asia-only editions. This is some nice eye candy for all my fellow sneakerheads out there. We have seen a few interactive billboards/flat screens, but nothing like this. Whats the story Jeff?

    New Hotness
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    Top Ad Campaigns: Advertising's Golden Age??

    AdAge has released its top 100 advertising campaigns. Of last century. Really questionable here, but hey everyone can have an opinion. Every ad in the top 10 is deserving i have to agree with the Volkswagen ad being especially brilliant. If you haven't seen the spots, this helped further introduce the bug to the US with inviting us to believe small was the new big. Shots such as the bug pulling into a silhouette under an aqueduct and comparing it to the Roman's building skills are savvy indeed. I had heard somewhere on the blogosphere that W&K won't consider campaigns if they don't think it has the legs to run for 3-4 YEARS. Yes, YEARS. When you look at the campaigns below, anyone in advertising can probably recall most of these campaigns even if they weren't alive when they were created. The number 1 rule is that the communication changed culture itself or became entrenched in it. We are still seeing this today with the whole DIY movement. Indeed an important factor. Criteria number 2 asserts that it became no.1 in its category. I don't necessarily agree this makes for brilliant spots, as good spots don't always equal sales and sales aren't necessarily the result of good advertising. Sometimes things such as Redbull create a category without any "advertising" per say, depends if you count the crushed cans outside raves and urban legends as licensed communications. These days thats disputable. The third criteria is stickyness. Good. Looking at the top all are sticky, i have no idea if they reached no. 1 because of it, and most likely these were relevant cultural icons. But thats where it breaks down. Maybe this is because im in the younger crowd, or its because i cant relate to Steinway's 1919 ad about instruments for immortals but where are the ads of the 80s, 90s? Coca-C*la cracks in at no.86 with "Always" but dare i say that Apple hasn't been innovative in not only changing the category of electronics, but culture and consumer's habits themselves? 1984 is a legendary spot but other comapnies have had some worthy work over the years. Technology is just one area, and i realize this is a historical look but i think there must be more a more weighted look to newer ads. One might even say advertising is more difficult today with increased media in a 24/7 flat-world. If anything this Adage list proved to me that they still live in the past and reminded me why i don't enjoy reading it.


    1. Volkswagen, "Think Small", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1959
    2. Coca-Cola, "The pause that refreshes", D'Arcy Co., 1929
    3. Marlboro, The Marlboro Man, Leo Burnett Co., 1955
    4. Nike, "Just do it", Wieden & Kennedy, 1988
    5. McDonald's, "You deserve a break today", Needham, Harper & Steers, 1971
    6. DeBeers, "A diamond is forever", N.W. Ayer & Son, 1948
    7. Absolut Vodka, The Absolut Bottle, TBWA, 1981
    8. Miller Lite beer, "Tastes great, less filling", McCann-Erickson Worldwide, 1974
    9. Clairol, Does she...or doesn't she?", Foote, Cone & Belding, 1957
    10. Avis, "We try harder", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1963
    11. Federal Express, "Fast talker", Ally & Gargano, 1982
    12. Apple Computer, "1984", Chiat/Day, 1984
    13. Alka-Seltzer, Various ads, Jack Tinker & Partners; Doyle Dane Bernbach; Wells Rich, Greene, 1960s, 1970s
    14. Pepsi-Cola, "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot", Newell-Emmett Co., 1940s
    15. Maxwell House, "Good to the last drop", Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, 1959
    16. Ivory Soap, "99 and 44/100% Pure", Proctor & Gamble Co., 1882
    17. American Express, "Do you know me?", Ogilvy & Mather, 1975
    18. U.S. Army, "Be all that you can be", N.W. Ayer & Son, 1981
    19. Anacin, "Fast, fast, fast relief", Ted Bates & Co., 1952
    20. Rolling Stone, "Perception. Reality.", Fallon McElligott Rice, 1985
    21. Pepsi-Cola, "The Pepsi generation", Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, 1964
    22. Hathaway Shirts, "The man in the Hathaway shirt", Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, 1951
    23. Burma-Shave, Roadside signs in verse, Allen Odell, 1925
    24. Burger King, "Have it your way", BBDO, 1973
    25. Campbell Soup, "Mmm mm good", BBDO, 1930s
    86. Coca-Cola, "Always", Creative Artists Agency, 1993

    1) If it was a watershed, discernibly changing the culture of advertising or the popular culture as a whole
    2) If it itself was credited with creating a category, or if by its efforts a brand became entrenched in its category as No. 1.
    3) If it was simply unforgettable.

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    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    Sony's Monkey Got Me Into Advertising

    Well not really, but a bit of sad nostalgia today. When i was a young(er) lad back at UNC, i really had no clue where i wanted my life to take me. I did take an introduction to advertising class and i remember seeing this powerful spot that made me want to learn the ad gig. I was actually moved by a monkey listening to music.. Sad to report that Choromatsu, the "meditating monkey" who starred in a Sony spot that eventually won best commercial in the late 1980s, died this past Sunday after living for 29 years. Im not sure how "monkey years" go, but my first thought at seeing this spot was h#$y S$%t thats a real monkey. Course i was seeing the spot about a decade after it aired, but I still gravitated towards it. Good advertising tells stories that captivate you and really get your noggin going. The Sony Walkman was such a revolutionary piece of electronics, its probably a couple notches higher than the iPod since it introduced portable music and really started the whole smaller, more accessible, roomier format explosion that we see today in its digital form. I don't think this is the exact spot i remember seeing, but very similar. I seem to recall it having lots of "gorillas in the mist" feeling and water. RIP my monkey-friend, you can now live forever on YouTube.



    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Banksy Prints

    Banksy is at it again. Sort of... With his popularity skyrocketing, he is out against the countless bootleggers selling pirated prints of his work on eBay. Banksy has now released a selection of huge, high-rez files of nearly a dozen works for FREE on his website. These are the instructions that comes along:

    “Serving suggestion:
    Prints look best when done on gloss paper using the company printer ink when everyone else is at lunch.” —Banks

    Right on.

    What more do you want?


    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Interactive & Open Source Brands: A-Z Skateboarding

    It seems these days that the consumer is being attributed success to every aspect of marketing. While that is really just laziness, there are a few projects that wouldn't be possible without the work of zealots. DXInteractive has done an incredible amount of research to create a visual encyclopedia of skateboarding tricks. This interactive reference has tricks and terminology, that has been verified by skaters themselves, much like wikipedia. Skateboarding terminology is often subject to localism and tricks can actually have two different names despite accomplishing the same result. This open source experience has become one of the defacto guides for skaters through its open-sourceness along with its meticulous trick list. Great example of consumer created content, but i wouldn't give em the bank yet.


    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Apple Keynote Speech: Shock and Awe

    ed. note [update] iPhone announced today. Ipod + Phone + Internet. Our cell phone might as well be a tin can with a string now. Check out a full transcript from engadget below.

    iPhone Interface

    Full Specs:
    Screen size: 3.5 inches
    Screen resolution: 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
    Input method: Multi-touch
    Operating system: OS X
    Storage: 4GB or 8GB
    GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
    Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
    Camera: 2.0 megapixels
    Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing, Up to 16 hours Audio playback
    Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
    Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

    Here is a live link to all the giddy Apple Keynote speech mayhem! Enjoy


    Jobs to set off Nuclear War: Macworld Live Look

    With today's impending Steve Jobs announcements scheduled for 12 EST, stay tuned for a Lifefilter live link on all the fun. Click the link below for a list of sites carrying today's impending live feed.

    Right now the rumors range from Increased Airport express support to iTV to a Cingular iTelly to a Mac Controlled Brain (jk)
    Live Links


    Monday, January 08, 2007

    Content Creation: 3D printing

    While content creators have a vast digital landscape to create, many times they are limited by the output methods. This is all about to change. Many believe, including Chris Anderson author of The Long Tail that three dimensional printing could be the future. While 99.9% of printers these days output on good ol paper (weeping trees), printers in the future could carve carbon to allow people to create physical objects. From that point, its only a short hop skip and jump till consumers are creating all kinds of content on their printers. Sears now has 3D printing in the form of this $1800 computer-controlled Craftsman CNC machine. It can "print" your 3D designs on wood and other materials, either from a direct PC hookup or a memory card. Amazing possibilities here in content creation. One day someone may be able to create a 3D object, email it, and have someone print the object on their 3d paper, eliminating many logistics problems. Its not exactly a teleporter, but might eliminate some needs for one. Carpenters are lamenting everywhere as we speak.
    It Prints Munny
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    Friday, January 05, 2007


    Oink is a new private torrent site in the UK that caters to those rare b-sides and hard to find tracks on P2P networks. The service is fairly balanced in that people must be sharing to be receiving. Its invite only (please send us one at right now, so you will really have to work or know someone to get on board. The net is buzzing with people trying to join this elite circle of music lovers. This sounds like the crate digging, indie scene record crowd, so the tracks inside are probably top-notch audible delights, hence the clamor. Keep your eyes peeled for more things like this in the future as technology will further enable niche groups to segment themselves from the mass. This really spins the idea of P2P on its head, but private p2p networks could be a sign of things to come.


    Thursday, January 04, 2007

    Visualizing Trends 2007

    PSFK located a great visual trend map from Nowandnext and Future Exploration Network. Its a mash of subway meets trends but it covers some relevant stuff from culture to media to food & drink to transport. The intersections of trends is the most appealing to me. Its great to see how the interconnectivity of trends creates some macro ideas. Kudos to those who spent the time to map this out and PSFK to host the pdf.



    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Yahoo Newsies: You Witness News

    Calling all pro-active citizen journalists! Yahoo! News has just launched a new "beta"(DIY-synonymous anyone) site called You Witness News. It's a consumer content/citizen journalism site that allows people to submit photos and video directly to the editors desk of one of the better news site on the web. All photos go through Flickr, but we at Lifefilter love that.

    Selected photos will be packaged into Yahoo! News reports with credit to the photgrapher and seen by the millions of viewers around the world. In a later phase of the project, You Witness News will work with their partner Reuters to further select photos that will go out on the Reuters' wire service where photographers can get paid for their newsworthy photos.

    This seems like a better version of Current TV with submitters getting their stuff packaged a little more closely with the brand as well as dropping more instantaneously. Current is excellent, but it goes into this vacuum where it gets filtered quite a bit. Who is to say this won't either, but we love the idea of anyone generating news for a Reuters post.

    Can I get a Witness?




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