Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Rock

I found this online somewhere and didn't bookmark it. Anybody know who designed this?

Rampenfest is here

Check out this new film. The arresting cover image is what made me watch it. It's an entertaining and well-filmed story. The official story is that this is the creation of Jeff Schultz, an independent filmmaker. But word has it that its it's the work of two former Texas Creatives at GSD&M.

Read more at Stephen Gates blog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Please pardon the dust

Blogger is a pain. The Ranch is undergoing a complete overhaul. All links and portfolios will be restored shortly.

Monday, April 07, 2008

New British Currency

The British have new money and it is gorgeous.

From Simplebits

Update: The new $5 bill is out too.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The importance of college brand perception

disclaimer: For obvious reasons, the opinions expressed may, actually they probably will, contain a pro-longhorn bias.

A while back, I read an ESPN article about Todd Reesing and Chase Daniel. These two college quarterbacks are very talented and desperately wanted to attend UT-Austin on a football scholarship. UT didn't want them.

Like thousands of Texas high school quarterbacks before him, Daniel had wanted to be a Longhorn. But the Horns, who were in the midst of the Vince Young revival at that time, did not reciprocate.

When I read that, I realized what a true statement that is. In Texas, UT-Austin is the name brand school. Sports teams help define a university's "prestige" and brand image. Certain sports are always associated with specific colleges. Univ of N. Carolina, Duke, Univ. of Connecticut = basketball. University of Oklahoma, The Ohio State University, Univ. of S. California, Univ. of Michigan = football. Those sports also have a historical association with the schools. Commentators always say that school has a "winning tradition."

The clout developed in the community by successful sports and academics also helps define the school's brand image. Schools constantly tout their school rankings (based on the controversial US News rankings) and number of National Merit or Rhodes Scholars. Why? To establish themselves as having high standards. I noticed that Davidson College, this year's Cinderella team, even has this as their school statement.

Davidson College is a liberal arts institution founded in 1837 by ministers of the Concord Presbytery. Its 1,700 students come from almost every state in the nation and many foreign countries. A highly selective admission process brings students who are proven scholars and leaders to a close campus community in the small town of Davidson, North Carolina.

For those schools with unsuccessful athletics, advertising is helping them sell their brand image. Two Texas schools, Baylor and Texas A&M, hired two Austin agencies, Kolar and GSD&M Idea City, to help them. With the exception of Baylor women's basketball and baseball, those two schools have had few winning teams. It seems like no matter how well a school's branding is, the perception often comes down to historical prestige and athletic success.

update: I just read in the Dallas Morning News that there are different levels of universities. The highest is being accredited as a Tier One Research University. According to the Association of American Universities, only 62 universities in the US and Canada have this status. Texas has three: Rice, Texas A&M, and UT. Apparently, it's a big deal to be classified a Tier One Research University as that brings in a lot of money.

Robot ad

If Honda sells this to consumers, this and Segways will be two of the biggest wastes of money.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Modernista! angers Wikipedia gods

Modernista!'s new website, or whatever you want to call it, is making Wikipedia very mad. But before we get into why, I must explain that Modernista!'s website recently underwent a revamp and is no longer a website at all. In fact, when I went to, I was actually redirected to DARPA's website for no apparent reason. Anyway, the only thing that is consistent about Modernista!'s new site is a static, ugly red menu.

You see, Modernista! no longer has a proper "About" page. It just links to the Modernista! entry in Wikipedia. When you click this link, the red menu stays on top of the Wikipedia page after it loads.

Wikipedia's response:

The website for this company obscures our logo with their own, and may lead the viewer to believe that Wikipedia serves as their homepage provider. This is not correct. Wikipedia has no affiliation with Modernista and has requested that Modernista cease this use of our website.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written from a neutral point of view and does not endorse nor condemn Modernista, but is opposed to being used as a promotional mechanism in this manner for any third party.
Ooo, burn! Wikipedia even left off the exclamation point in Modernista!'s name! DOUBLE WHAMMY.

EDIT: I should add: Modernista!'s new site is an attempt to show the world they understand Web 2.0 by using Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube (among others) as the various "sections" of their site. Some have called it bold and brilliant while others say it's just plain lazy. Check it out and decide for yourself.

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LEGAL STUFF: The views expressed on The Ranch are not officially representative of the The University of Texas at Austin. © 2008. All rights reserved. Founded by David Wen, with Silver Cuellar's help, on a lonely February 14, 2006 in Austin, TX for the benefit of all.