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    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    Youtube Graffiti: Vidavee

    As we mentioned previously in our hack article, users are proactively modifying programs and products to their suiting. Youtube has pretty much blown up video on the web and it was only a matter of time before consumers took to hacking Youtube. Enter streaming video hacks.

    Vidavee Graffiti allows users to add effects, animations, graphics, and text onto any video. This is classified as a “legal form of artful vandalism,” the effects are dragged onto the video clip and the start and end time can be selected in a timeline. Once the video is customized, a new embedded tag/code is generated and can be posted and shared elsewhere on the Web. Reminds us a bit of DIY Pop up video and its absolutely a sign of the times. Its still a little rudimentary for our tastes, but look for better tools that allow for greater artistic freedom in the near future. Our culture seems to be consuming media and culture in general as "snacks" or bite sized bits. There is no sign of this slowing down in the immediate future. So get out there and tag!

    [Ed. note: Thanks for the link from psfk, those searching for another alternative site can check out bubbleply. All of these emerging forms of technology are pretty rudimentary, but look for more killer 2.0 apps shortly.]

    Throw it Up
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    Monday, February 26, 2007

    Lifefilter: Sapporo Design the Night Work

    We generally disagree with dicussing our work on the blog. Enough time has passed and the campaign is old by now, so we dont give a...Plus we are particularly fond and proud of our work for this client.

    A year or so back we had an amazing opportunity to work on the Sapporo brand. These guys were a fantastic client and it was an excellent rebranding opportunity. When at MFP (its heyday with best the roofdeck in the city) I had a quite the talented crew to help with everything from party planning to video mixing. Finally we were able to post 2 bits up on Youtube. The first is a Sapporo brand video I created internally. We ended up presenting it to the client at their annual strategy meeting. Videos like this can really help bring a strategy to life, as well as invigorate a client and their subsequent associates. This was mixed by the wonderfully talented Ali Mao.

    The second video is more eye candy than anything. Created by our A/V whiz Gary Waldinger, he morphed these images into a sweet medley of liquid sunshine for our hip club patrons. Gary can pretty much solve any video need you might have, so drop us a line if thinking about creating a brand video to a commercial. A component of our strategy involved product seeding at underground establishments and we often found ourselves staring at dark tv screens. Occasionally you will see another component pop up in the photo section, but to stop the emails now, no the shoes aren't avaiable for purchase. So we just thought we would throw it up on Youtube where it can get anonymously lost in the mix of videos created by 11 year-olds with nothing better to do. Oh and we have no idea why youtube has butchered our logo but if you really miss it just check out our other clips.

    Design The Night
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    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Free La Fonera Unboxing

    Several weeks ago we signed up for the free La Fonera cited by Gizmodo. I had signed up for La Fon about a year ago and got a very normal looking Linksys router with instructions on a piece of paper. I kid you not and its still under my couch today. La Fon allows you to securely and fairly share your WiFi with FON, the largest WiFi community in the world, and get your own private encrypted connection. The idea is at home you are king of your wifi, but on the road you must beg for it. So if you share it at home, on the road you can borrow from another fonera. Um yeah. The b/g router has both a private and public access point, and you can share your broadband with strangers in exchange for free access to other Fon user's APs around the world, or for cash when non-Fon users pony up. Yada Yada Yada. This is great for Europe and urban areas with close proximity but in the wild wests of America, the range probably won't do diddly.

    As you can see from the unboxing the router is quite small, but looks nice compared to every router except the Apple stuff. I think its pretty rad i can get a "free" router but i actually believe in the Fon proposition. I think that wifi should be free, just like a library card and i think this is a great way to do. Not that i support some brand making money off of it, but in spreading the goodness of the Net. Course this won't in places like Mountain View CA where google has the place blanketed with wifi, but its something to watch. Will setup up soon and let everyone know if this device does anything notable.

    Fon Home
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    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Get your Widget On: WidgetBox

    WidgetBox is a great tool that lets you turn your blog or webpage into an embeddable widget. Even put it up on myspace. Customize it, go forth and spread thy widget!

    Macophiles have been using widgets for a bit, but in Vista is starting to get in on the action. These mini java hacks are just starting to explode. Blogger is a great blogging tool, because it is optimized for open source edits like Widgetbox.

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    PSFK's MindDance

    PSFK has an upcoming conference that is shaping up to have a ton of heavy hitters. Should be a great meeting of the minds! Will be there . Come say hi!

    Mike Byrne of Anomaly
    Scott Campbell
    Kacy Coll of Naked
    Wendy Dembo
    Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records (tbc)
    Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat
    Doug Jaeger of TheHappyCorp
    John Lee & Jiae Kim of Theme Magazine
    Floyd Hayes of Cunning
    Grant McCracken
    Sascha Lewis of Flavorpill
    George Murphy of Fitch
    George Parker
    Peter Rojas of Engadget
    David Rosenberg of JWT
    Lauren Rosenwald
    Elizabeth Spiers of Dead Horse Media
    Ken Rother of Treehugger
    Kevin Slavin of AreaCode
    Scott Witt of Droga5
    Simon Sinek of Sinek Partners
    Steve Hardwick of StawberryFrog
    Rony Zibara of Fahrenheit 212

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    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Wii All Vote: Consumers Divulge Secrets

    Nintendo recently launched an interesting channel on the Wii. The system allows up to six players per console to vote on regional and worldwide polls. Players can predict the results of the polls, and track their predictions in a "How Tuned In Are You?" mode.

    I just read a great quote from Sony during the 80's that said they "don't do market research because consumers don't know what they want in terms of innovation". This was the 1980's when Sony developed the Walkman and completely disrupted the market. Disruption was much easier and more significant without the expanse of the Internet. Now to speak those words, might mean certain death. Oh well Sony, you were good in your heyday! Clearly as is the case today, the market dictated by consumers requires some sort of lifeline between the brand and the consumer.

    Nice to see Nintendo opening up a consumer dialog channel, even though its pretty blatant as marketing within the platform. Microsoft has done an excellent job of using bloggers such as majornelson for this. Nintendo clearly needs to listen to consumers after the strap fiasco(trust me, i almost had my wiimote go through my friends ceiling). I myself have noticed quite a void of good games, which normally wouldn't bode well, but the system is still in hot hot demand. A consumer channel can allow Nintendo a more immediate conversation with consumers and for crying out loud make them realize that consumers enjoy using broadband for more than downloading mario brothers and streets of rage!

    Interesting that Nintendo brands it on its own platform, but im sure more Ninty has more tricks up its sleeve. Feels slightly forced since its more of single answer responses than open-dialog. With that in mind, i think it limits the consumer response to the brand, in that they are given choices for responses. Would be better if this was more open of a channel. Nintendo has always been quirky and consumers don't seem to shy away from it. Highlights certain brands with affinity amongst consumers can get away with almost anything.

    Hanging Wii
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    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Is American Idol Bigger Than Music?

    An interesting thing occurred the other night but i have been too busy to speak about till now. The other night was the 49th annual Grammy Awards. It was also an American Idol night. Im not really a fan of either, with the Grammy's always ignoring my favorite category of electronica, and nominating bunk artists with terrible songs. Is madonna electronica's finest? Um not even slightly. I won't get started but i tend to the think the award show is more for publicity and well-known folks. Ive never been a big fan of idol either, but its ratings continue to average 30 million plus viewers. I digress...The "Idol" audience on Fox was 28.3 million while the Grammy Awards were being watched by 15.1 million people from 8 to 9 p.m. EST, Nielsen said.

    Wow. So that means people would rather watch a contest about making it to the industry instead of seeing the industry heavyweights themselves? Several things are at play here:

    1)Consumer Decides- This is a Nike maxim, but as seen from Time's person of the year to the lame cop-out ads for "design your own Super Bowl ad!". Clearly their interests lie with a more compelling story of American Idol than with a star-studded event like the Grammy's.

    2)Authenticity- While American Idol seems somewhat contrived to me, consumer's love it when they show the terrible singers. Everyone identifies with it and LOVES it. Hey i am that terrible singer. And people have more in common with that than Beyonce gyrating on stage. Also the celebrities shown at the Grammy's really don't reflect society. Do we need to pay them more?

    3)Story- Idol catalogs every aspect of the contestants lives from the initial stages on to the end. Everyone loves a story, better brands tell better(or have) stories, and its takes something of interest to grab consumers attention and affect their behavior. The Grammys are just about hoopla and performance. How could they do a better job of captivating the audience and convincing them to watch?

    4)Landscape- I thought this was the death of Music as so the industry says?- Music is now consumed digitally, not in record stores. How does the changing landscape matter in this? DIY consumers are everywhere, meaning Idol is a legitimate platform for them to strive for and reach the mainstream. In fact it seems like the most attainable way to get a deal, judging by the numbers of contestants. Why aren't there more platforms for people to strike it in the industry?

    5)Access- This may be under the story category, but Americans love reality tv. Clearly with sitcoms falling by the wayside and everything being "real-life" this is part of culture. Idol is able to go behind-the-scenes. Grammy's are the glossy paint job on the brand new car. While fans know what went into the albums up for awards, there is little time or look into the history of albums or anything behind the music. Providing access to even the album of the year nominees could capture a greater audience's share.

    6)Personality- We know more than we could ever have asked for about the judges. Sometimes they even outshine the contestants on idol. Grammy's have none. Nuff said..

    So what do the Grammy's do?
    Involvement- Things like Justin Timberlake's duet generated massive amounts of chatter. Involving consumers in the process, show and behind the scenes would go a long way to establish the Grammy's as an award show for the people. Two-way conversations are how brands and consumers should interact.

    Point of Difference- The Grammy's need to do a better job celebrating why American Music is special, different and how it can continue to grow. Make me want to absolutely not miss a minute of the Grammys.

    Reason- Award shows are a dime a dozen. Don't be afraid to embrace change. Consumers adopted downloading without you. While they won't run away, they will turn their heads and their attention. I should want to talk about it the next day at work.

    Take On Me
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    Manhattan Penthouse

    Sorry for the lack of posts. Work has been craaazy. I did get a nice view yesterday though.


    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Vice TV

    Vice has taken it upon its(hilariously and questionable sober self)to launch a video portal. The favored hipster magazine is aiming to attract new users and move its base onto the internet. The streams look really really good, and it definitely looks better than the youtubers of the world. Content is straight-on classic Vice such as David Cross making fun of some guy's tattoos, a documentary on a cute female taxidermist, and a series of documentary shorts by Jackass videographer and Spike Jonez/Michel Gondry documentarian Lance Bangs. Spike is the executive Creative Director, meaning this ship won't stray too far and should have a wealth of clips in no time. That is unless hipsters revolt against technology and cameras again( it happened in brooklyn let me tell you!).

    Will we see more brands seek to establish themselves as the master's of their content? Certainly as digital identity management (PSFK's redcoat theory) becomes more important, brands might seek to retain there content closer to the source. Could too many media channels create disfigured/mismanaged brands?

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    The Benefits of Web 2.0?

    Gizmodo posted this web 2.0 commentary from Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology( i love that title. One of my favorite classes in college was a culture class, PT Barnum anyone?) at Kansas State University. Its a brilliant commentary on the evolution of text to web to web 2.0. Michael brings up some great questions on how we define censorship, authorship, copyrights in this day and age which borrows so heavily from the world around us. Can someone own html? Where does open-source fit in? How will our ethics change? He doesn't add much forecast on this but thats really besides the point. The benefits of 2.0 have already been absorbed as normal by today's generation. Now I only want to know more about the changes in the future.

    Best quote from Michael "We're teaching the machine, and the machine is us. Time to rethink the world. The network is the machine; the machine is us."

    And it needs to be fed...
    Hard Link
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    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Digital Goes Ink

    The world's oldest newspaper founded in 1645 by Sweden's Queen Kristina, has become a Web-only publication as of Jan 1st. Its sparked a bit of debate with past editors weighing in that "it's a cultural disaster," said Hans Holm, who served as the chief editor of Post-och Inrikes Tidningar for 20 years. "It is sad when you have worked with it for so long and it has been around for so long."

    Queen Kristina used the publication to keep her subjects informed of the affairs of state, Holm said, and the first editions, which were more like pamphlets, were carried by courier and posted on note boards in cities and towns throughout the kingdom. The paper has morphed into more or less legal announcements for corporations and government agencies. Apparently its circulation was only around 100 subscribers now. Despite its online transformation, Post-och Inrikes Tidningar remains No. 1 on a ranking of the oldest newspapers still in circulation compiled by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers.

    The questions are 1) is Digital so bad? 2) Will it help? 3) How is this culturally significant?

    Nostalgics will say its bad, and it is always bad for a cultural landmark to disappear but on the other hand, saving a few trees is never bad.

    The internet is a much larger audience than the newspaper could have possibly achieved before, meaning it can be revived through proper linking and readership.

    The big question is how does this affect us as a society? Surely it cant be preserved in its current state since the majority of younger generations do more reading online. The death of the newspaper was a worry once the advent of the Internet was beginning to be realized. Books and newspapers will never fully disappear but become integrated with online context that allow for greater audiences as well as being more eco-conscious. Even that is debatable with the creation of e-waste. Google has been running an e-library project which digitizes 1000s of books in various educational institutions. How will digital life impact this information and what change will take place in how its absorbed in a new format?

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    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Super Bowl Ad Watch: Aftermath

    Thorough disappointment with last night's SuperBowl ad spots. The ads weren't particularly good, nor were they particularly bad but they didn't make a statement either way. Major letdown all around. A few solid ones in there. Maybe next year can be slightly memorable.

    This is the preview clip but i actually like Ford's spots (first time ever). The assembly one was a pretty cool take and it caught my eye.

    Theme: Animals, animals, and more animals. Everyone seemed to be taking the happy safe route with humanized creatures. Overkill.

    I thought this was hilarious. Goodby delivers the goods here. Best ad of the night strategically too.

    Theme: Animals. Budweiser seems to be taking this weird direction. Animals or strange situations that remind people of the logo which is some crown for king of beers. They don't play the King up like BK though, which has really done well with the notion of the king. Budweiser gets a smile, but no sales from me.

    Cool: Coke was out in full force and this ad had some really nice CGI. Nice spot, not spectacular but good.

    Ad Recap on Gizmodo
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    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Super Bowl Ad Watch

    The Superbowl is an interesting time of the year for advertising in America. Its the primetime of hours, with an enormous audience. After doing some work for a major cable television network, its quite the contrary to how people normally handle advertising. Most shun it, love moments that hardly sell products, rate admen below used carsalesmen and call urban branding "urban spam". The Superbowl though is advertising in the US of A's time to shine. Many companies blow their budgets in one shot, others just to get their message in front of millions. To those of you with spots, goodluck. Everyone else will be watching and commenting tomorrow. Some people even watch just for them. Sit back and enjoy. Look for a you-tube list, LF debate and vote tomorrow.
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