Friday, December 18, 2009

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine: "

Picture 38

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a sad sign of our times: With one click Web 2.0 suicide machine takes you off all social networks so you can have a ‘real’ life again. (I find the name of the app/service fairly disturbing. Wish they would have used a more uplifting spin.)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AIGA Austin Annual Membership Party

AIGA Austin will host its annual membership party on December 17th from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Mohawk Greenroom and Deck on 912 Red River in Austin. AIGA Austin will celebrate the chapter’s accomplishments in 2009 and recognize all members for their contributions throughout the year. Featured speakers will be AIGA’s National President Debbie Millman on what national is providing for members and AIGA Austin’s President Jennifer Idol will introduce the new board and local initiatives.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009’s Top 25 Most Ridiculous Uses of Photoshop

This is great and guaranteed to brighten your Monday.

Via Kineda.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Introducing the ADvent-Calendar

Instead of the traditional Christmas calendar with the Jesus story, XIPAX has launched The ADvent-Calendar. Every day from December 1st through December 24th, a new, wonderful, and international ad will be featured.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The best Black Friday deal

This holiday season's hottest item is nothing. The U.K.-based sustainability outfit Do The Green Thing is using creativity to combat conspicuous consumption and thoughtless consumerism. While innovative, this tactic of "selling" items to promote a cause or a non-profit has been done before.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

adidas and $1 training shoes

Adidas, in response from the idea of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, is going to make trainer shoes that cost about $1 for people around the world who cannot afford to buy shoes.

Via London Telegraph and Brand Channel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Doubleclick is not going to like this

Now you can "hijack" the ads on any webpage with a plug-in. The DoGooder browser plug-in hides the current ads and displays ads supporting positive social change and green initiatives instead.

Via Osocio.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Advertising and PR Speed Networking Event This Thursday

Advertising and PR Speed Networking Event, Nov. 12

Event: Advertising and public relations students and alumni are encouraged to bring their business cards and elevator speeches to a Speed Networking event hosted by the Department of Advertising.

When: 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 12, 2009

Where: The West Atrium of the University of Texas West Pickle Research building (formerly the MCC building) at the corner of Mopac (Loop 1) and Braker Lane. A map is available online.

Background: This networking event is intended to foster quick introductions among students, alumni, faculty and friends of the Department of Advertising.

Attendees bring business cards and their "elevator speech." In a timed, organized rotation we'll introduce pairs of people. Each pair has three minutes to "elevator speech" each other. Where mutually appropriate, they exchange business cards. A timer sounds and the cycle repeats itself.


Gene Kincaid
Department of Advertising Lecturer
AdGrad Founder

Video from Rebecca.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making Shiner an icon

When the beer is synonymous with the town, the branding has to speak for both. By using Shiner’s own voice, McGarrah Jessee has taken a quaint Texas town’s charm and spun it into a national brand. Don’t miss out on the Shiner brand story, the discussion afterward, and the beer throughout.

Austin AdFed Presents:

Turning an Assignment into a Legacy:
Shiner Brand Case Study by McGarrah Jessee.

Nov 3, 2009 • 6-8p

Scholz’s Biergarten

Click here to buy tickets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Foreign Public Transportation Ads

This is in response to the American Public Transportation Ads post.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank you to

One of my UT advertising friends, Assaf who's now teaching at Cal-State Fullerton, told me that The Ranch is featured on Guy Kawasaki's web headline index site Alltop. Scroll down a little bit and you'll see it. Or do ctrl+F (Firefox) or command+F (Safari) to search for it.

Thanks to for thinking so highly of The Ranch!

Red Bull street marketing

While brilliant on Red Bull's part, I think that this would be more ideal for a NASCAR marketing move as it introduces the northeastern US and urban dwelling crowd to a mostly rural and Southern-based NASCAR product.

Via Bized.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Would this make you take the stairs?

" Stockholm’s Odenplan subway station, the staircase has been retrofitted to resemble giant piano keys, which produce real sound, to encourage commuters to climb the stairs rather than ride the escalator. According to this video — which seems to be part of a Volkswagen marketing initiative, though it’s unclear — it’s been a raging success."

Via Freakonomics.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Big Wig Voting for Ausin Ad Fed

It's that time of year again for the Austin Advertising Federation's Big Wig Horror Show (Awards Show). The Ranch bloggers Matt Crump and Jocelyn Lai are nominated in the "Best Up-and-Comer" and "Ad Person of the Year" categories, respectively. In the "Educator of the Year" categories are also several worthy and deserving UT professors.

Go. Make your voice heard. Vote.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

News Roundup

Image from

  • After a 50 year family feud between the two brothers who founded Adidas and Puma, there is a reconciliation, sort of.

  • celebrates its first birthday. Stefan Böck and Helmut Kosa founded on September 26th, 2008 and now there are more than 13.000 ads online.

  • Piryx Inc. partners with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

  • Perfect Fools has created a global online experience for H&M's Auto Fashion Collection.

  • There's a highly provocative new breast cancer commercial by Rethink (Vancouver) featuring MTV Canada host Aliya Jasmine Sovani.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Microsofts follies in global marketing

These are images from the Microsoft USA-Business site and Microsoft Poland-Business site.

Microsoft USA

Microsoft Poland

Via Digital Inspiration. Read more about the controversy at Tech Crunch.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is Google biased against certain nonprofits?

I received the following email about How Google and Social Entrepreneurs Perpetuate the Digital Divide Among Nonprofits. The attention grabbing title caused me to read the entire email which is unusually long. This particular excerpt caught my eye as it relates to advertising.

In the past few years, Google has “given away” $300 million worth of free advertising to nonprofit organizations through Google Grants. Following Google’s value of employee input, Google leaves most of the grantmaking decisions to regular employees. In the United States, Google’s employees are disproportionately White and Asian and from elite schools. These employees then give grants to organizations with interest like theirs and people they know, which most often are also White or Asian and from elite schools.

The advertising industry is not well-known for cultural diversity and this most likely affects advertising campaigns. For example, how would you expect college-educated people who grew up in the suburbs to figure out the "cool factor" of apparel targeted toward a more inner-city and urban demographic? How would a largely caucasian creative team understand the differences between Latinos or Asian-Americans (Chinese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, et al.)? How does this affect casting decisions? Not understanding demographics also relates to age. How would a creative team with an average age of 40 understand the 18-25 yr old demographic?

Read more of How Google and Social Entrepreneurs Perpetuate the Digital Divide Among Nonprofits below.

By Andrew Sears,
Executive Director-TechMission

In the past 10 years, I have been working to address the digital divide, which is the gap between those who have access to and training with technology. I serve as the Executive Director of TechMission, which runs the largest association of Black and Latino led nonprofits addressing the digital divide and manages, which is one of the most visited web portals of Black and Latino nonprofit leaders. During that time, I have seen many effective initiatives in addressing the digital divide. At the same time, I’ve seen many efforts that have been very well-intentioned, but in the end may have only made matters worse.

I grew up in the inner-city, but later went to MIT and co-founded the Internet Telecoms Consortium with on of the fathers of the Internet (David Clark) to study the social and business implications of the Internet. The most important thing I learned while studying complex systems at MIT is that often you make a change to the system and the result is exactly the opposite of what you were expecting.

Case in point: my wife and I went to Woodstock ’99—a complex system of people, alcohol, drugs, bands and unusually hot weather. At the concert, there was a nonprofit group wanting to promote peace, and it gave out thousands of “peace candles.” The result was the opposite of what they had intended because they had not thought through the consequences of giving candles to thousands of people who were inebriated and enraged from the extreme heat and exploitive prices at the concert. The result was that people used the candles to start hundreds of fires and burn everything in sight. A group wanting to promote peace at Woodstock unintentionally became a catalyst for riots, and in the worst circumstances, this is how complex systems work.

Addressing the digital divide and trying to help under-resourced communities is an extremely complex system. My assessment is that some of the largest efforts to address the digital divide by social entrepreneurs, including those at Google, may have unintentionally made matters worse among nonprofits.

Is Google Grants Hurting Black and Latino-Led Nonprofits?

In the past few years, Google has “given away” $300 million worth of free advertising to nonprofit organizations through Google Grants. Following Google’s value of employee input, Google leaves most of the grantmaking decisions to regular employees. In the United States, Google’s employees are disproportionately White and Asian and from elite schools. These employees then give grants to organizations with interest like theirs and people they know, which most often are also White or Asian and from elite schools.

This creates a bias in the process, but that is common in the nonprofit world. In fact, according to a report from the Greenlining Institute, foundations only give 3.6% of their funds to organizations led by people of color although people of color make up 52.4% of poverty in the USA. This bias is shown graphically in the adjacent diagram.

If that bias were the only effect Google Grants were having, then they would be no different than most foundations. The problem is how Google Grants works, by giving away “virtual money” that people can then bid on ads, they have essentially flooded the market for nonprofit ads with $300 million in virtual money.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The truth about bottled water

Bottled water is safer and more pure than tap water. True or False? According to Tappening and Start a Lie, it's false. Some facts from Tappening are below.

    • Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water

    • Worldwide, 2.7 million tons of plastic are used each year to make water bottles, and in the United States, less than 20% of these bottles are recycled.

    Via Adverblog.

  • Thursday, August 06, 2009

    The World’s Largest iPod

    Jonathan Ive, the man behind the design of Apple iPhone and iPod, recently created a giant iPod model that he sent as a gift to British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith on his birthday.

    Via Digital Inspiration.

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Nike remake feat.

    Ice Cube's 1993 hip-hop classic “It was a Good Day” was recently remade in to a Nike commercial featuring Paul Rodriguez (P.Rod). Because it's shot in LA, stay tuned for celebrity cameos.

    View extended version at Kineda and the 0:60 second version at Adland.

    Agency: W+K
    Creative Director: Ean Lensch
    Producer: Craig Smith
    Nike Skate Group Creative: Jon Humphries
    Production Company: Harvest
    Director: The Hoffman Brothers
    Executive Producer: Bonnie Goldfarb,
    Scott Howard
    Head Of Production: Rob Sexton
    Director of Photography: Max Goldman
    Editor: Mark Hoffman
    Sound Design: Ravenswork
    VFX Company: The Syndicate
    Music Artist: Ice Cube
    Song: It Was a Good Day

    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Help a non-profit win a social media makeover

    I'm back from China now and I'm catching up on emails. Jan Brown, Founder & Executive Director-Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women, sent me the following note.

    Each year, MindComet, the interactive agency behind the CommuniCause campaign gives back to the community by providing non-profit organizations free-of-charge agency services and donations. This year they are allowing America to nominate and vote for their favorite charity that they'd like to see win the grand prize of a Social Media Makeover valued at $25,000.

    A winner will be randomly selected from the top ten charities that receive the most votes and upon awarding the winner, MindComet will provide the winner with expert consulting services to help improve their social media presence and fundraising outreach.

    Please go to our website, click on the help my cause button at the top of the home page and vote for DAHMW to win a social media makeover...our ranking is starting to go up and we need you all to vote in order to win! After you have voted please send out this notice your friends and family and ask them to do the same.

    Monday, July 06, 2009

    Beer Ad in back of Taxi

    ZhuJiang beer has a really clever ad placed on the windows of taxi cabs. I agree with the original blog post author in that the brand gets lost as the window rolls down. The message of "it's ok to drink as long as you get a taxi" may be hard to understand too.

    Via Little Red Book.

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    The Top 40 Real Men of Genius commercials

    As a former intern at DDB Chicago, I had the good fortune of meeting the creative team behind these ads. Before interning, I thought that these guys just sat around all day and came up with funny ideas. After hanging out with them a little bit, I realized how focused one has to be to do humor.

    View all 40 ads at Epic Carnival.

    Via Hot Clicks.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Making Old-World Advertising Work - 10 Ways Twitter Will Change American Business - TIME

    Making Old-World Advertising Work - 10 Ways Twitter Will Change American Business - TIME

    Shared via AddThis

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Where are we headed?

    I would like to open up a discussion on how should we create new business models for the ad world. It's pretty apparent things are changing. We've lost in some way credibility and the working model is begging for new thoughts from the core.

    What do ya'll think? Some think that we should work based on results, but then how do we justify the overhead of our people. Either way, some accounts work on a 'pitch the project concept' and we're having that problem anyway.

    Love to hear perspectives.


    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Congrats to Matt

    Congrats to Texas Creative Alumni Matt Morris for his work on the DVD-ROM based on the PBS- Andrew Jackson microsite. The DVD-ROM was featured in the 2009 Communication Arts Interactive Annual: Interaction Design.

    Sharon Hannon, KCET, writer
    Philip Dunn, KCET, creative director
    Matthew Morris, designer
    Jimmy Mooney, JM Interactive, information architect
    Peter Grant, KCET, illustrator
    Kate Fulton, KCET, associate producer
    Dan McDowell, KCET/Douglas Varchol, KCET, producers
    Jackie Kain, KCET/David Neiman, Sketch Interactive, executive producers
    JM Interactive (Austin, TX)/Sketch Interactive (Los Angeles, CA), project design and development
    KCET, client

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Perils of Internet Advertising

    I know it's a system of looping ads, probably based on an algorithm, but this has to be one of the worst ad placements.

    via Jalopnik.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Cannes Young Lions 48 Hour Ad Contest 2009

    Check out and vote for the submission of the super jr. creative duo of Ashley and Krystha.

    Agency: Y&R San Francisco
    Jr. AD: Ashley J George
    Jr. CW: Krystha Barrera

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    Google Reader (1000+)

    "When people can no longer tolerate one problem, their tolerance of all their other problems bottoms out."

    Such wise words from such a young soul, ms. thompson. It was just put really well and I wanted to document it.

    Via Google Reader.

    News Roundup

    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    American Public Transportation Ads

    These are two recent—2009—ads for American public transportation companies.

    Via FortWorthology

    Via Commarts

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Simple is The New Black

    Simplicity Becomes a Selling Point
    Foodmakers Emphasize Uncomplicated Ingredients
    By Jane Black
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, April 7, 2009; A01

    Haagen-Dazs's new line of ice cream, Five, doesn't hide the ingredients in tiny type on the back of the carton. Every one -- milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla bean -- is prominently displayed in bright-orange capital letters. The fact that the brand's regular vanilla bean ice cream also has just five ingredients is beside the point. Food marketers have come to realize that simplicity sells.

    Advocates for healthful eating have long tried to steer Americans away from highly processed foods that contain dozens of unnatural and unpronounceable ingredients. Now, driven by a drumbeat of food recalls -- ground beef, peanuts and, most recently, pistachios -- consumers may be more inclined to heed the call.

    Last week, Snapple Beverage unveiled a reformulated line of drinks and an eight-figure marketing campaign emphasizing that its iced teas are made from green and black tea and "real" sugar. Frito-Lay is boasting that its potato chips, tortilla chips and even Fritos are each made with just three ingredients. The hope: that consumers will equate fewer ingredients with healthfulness, even when it comes to ice cream and chips.

    "It's a convergence of health, food safety, taste and traceability," said Phil Lempert, a food and consumer behavior analyst who calls himself the Supermarket Guru. "People are reading labels more carefully than they were previously. When they pick up a product and it has 30 ingredients and they don't know what half of them are, they are putting it back on the shelves."

    The message of simplicity and purity is just the latest in a long line of marketing strategies employed by food manufacturers. In the 1980s, product labels trumpeted low-fat credentials. In the 1990s, even packages of bread crowed about low levels of carbohydrates. "We've reduced fat and calories; that's reductive," said Aurora Gonzalez, a Frito-Lay spokeswoman. "Now we look at how can we add pluses. Whole grains are a good example of that. Another part that is complementary is the simplicity of ingredients."

    On one hand, the move is a victory for those who have long preached the glory of simple, less processed foods. In his best-selling book "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" (Penguin, 2008), Michael Pollan writes that the first rule is to avoid any food products with more than five ingredients and those that contain unfamiliar ingredients (or high-fructose corn syrup).

    But such advice was not meant to suggest that anything that contains a large number of ingredients is bad. A home-cooked stew or a Spanish paella, for example, has dozens of ingredients but is what Pollan and others deem "real" food. Sugar, in contrast, is just one ingredient but can be harmful in large quantities.

    "It is better that the food be simpler than more complex," Pollan said in an interview. "On the other hand, this is another case of food manufacturers reformulating to reflect whatever the latest critique of their food is and turning what it is a criticism into a marketing strategy to sell more food."

    Five is not a great departure for Haagen-Dazs, which has always catered to consumers who value high-quality ingredients. But it approaches the message in a new way, stressing wholesomeness and purity over indulgence.

    For Frito-Lay, a focus on real ingredients is a new way to help consumers overcome their guilt about eating snack chips. Last year, the company redesigned the back panels of bags of Lay's potato chips, Tostitos tortilla chips and Fritos. The Lay's bag shows a pile of fresh potatoes. On Tostitos' bag, an ear of corn has the husk pulled back to show it filled with corn chips. "It's anecdotal, but we've had people tell us that they didn't know there were potatoes in potato chips," Gonzalez said. "What it is trying to reinforce is our agricultural base. People forget corn chips come from corn."

    A new series of television ads drives home the message of purity. In one Tostitos spot, a young woman at the grocery store reads the ingredients on the back of a bag of another brand of tortilla chips. "Thirteen ingredients. That's more people than I invited to the party." Instead she chooses a bag of Tostitos. "White corn, vegetable oil and salt. Three ingredients is good."

    In a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign, Snapple also promotes natural ingredients. The decision, said spokesman Bryan Mazur, was prompted by broad consumer interest in where food comes from and company research that showed that most consumers, even those loyal to Snapple, had little idea what each bottle contained. According to one survey, only 32 percent of Snapple customers knew that its tea beverages were made with real tea leaves.

    The new Snapple label boasts that the drink is "made with green and black tea leaves." "We don't consider it rebranding but continuing to deliver 'the best stuff on Earth,' " said Mazur, the company's vice president of marketing, quoting the company motto. "What the best stuff on Earth was then is not what the best stuff is right now."

    Will such products help Americans to eat more healthfully? Pollan is not optimistic. Successful marketing campaigns have led many to feel virtuous about eating large quantities of low-fat cookies or low-carb pastas, even as obesity among U.S. adults continued to rise.

    Some experts dismiss such complaints, however. Government figures predict food prices will increase between 3.5 percent and 4 percent in 2009. Fresh fruits and vegetables already tend to be more expensive than processed foods, a gap that is more pronounced for families during hard times. A recent survey showed that 81 percent of U.S. adults are making some effort to limit spending on groceries; 40 percent are eating less nutritious foods as a result. Low-income people were hit hardest, according to Multi-Sponsor Surveys, a Princeton, N.J., research firm. Of those categorized as "down and out," 65 percent reported they were eating less nutritiously. The figure was 59 percent for those categorized as "on the edge."

    "Processed food -- whatever that means -- is not all terrible," says analyst Lempert. "The reality is that in the next 20 to 30 years we're going to double the number of people on the planet. We need to figure out how to feed people in a good, affordable way."

    Up next for food manufacturers' marketing plans: going local. The concept is the current darling of sustainable-food advocates and environmentalists because food sourced or processed locally tends to be fresher and have a lower carbon footprint. Frito-Lay's Gonzalez noted that the company has 32 plants around the country and that, for example, Tostitos sold in Washington area stores were produced 70 miles away in Aberdeen, Md. The company is working on new messages to connect their products to local communities.

    For Pollan, a local pedigree and fewer ingredients may be better. But ultimately, he says, "It's still junk food."

    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Enrich Your Résumé

    Matt Crump and Jocelyn Lai (see their portfolios in the portfolio section in the sidebar) have launched a new business called Vitamin CV. They fortify and strengthen resumes and cover letters through enhanced typography and diction.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Chinese Environmental Ads

    For those unfamiliar with traditional Chinese ink paintings, the paintings usually depict the majestic jagged and sharp mountains of China which are different than the more rounded and wider mountains of the US i.e. The Rockies. This campaign has swept the advertising awards shows in Asia. Who says the Chinese don't care about the environment?

    View the TV and print ads at Coloribus

    Client: China Environment Protection Foundation
    Agency: JWT Shanghai
    Production Company: One Production
    Director: Hailong Li
    Executive Creative Director: Yang Yeo
    Art Director: Lillie Zhong, Yang Yong Liang
    Copywriter: Jacqueline Ye, Rafael Freire
    Editor: Chun Huang, Jing Li
    Agency Producer: Jane Zhang
    Producer: Xue Wu, Yuncheng An
    Music: Vision Unit Production
    Artist: Yang Yong Liang
    Composer: Jiangzhou Feng
    Client Service: Betty Tsai

    A Trillion Dollar Ad Campaign

    In Zimbabwe, the hyperinflation of the currency has gotten so bad that foreign currencies are being accepted in to circulation.

    TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris has created this unusual outdoor campaign for The Zimbabwean, a newspaper produced by a group of exiled Zimbabwean journalists. The Zimbabwean is sold in the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe but when entering the latter is charged an import duty of 55 per cent, making it unaffordable to the average Zimbabwean

    Via Creative Review UK

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Final Round: Vote for Anu

    Anu has made it in to the final round of the STA World Traveler Internship 2009! Her first round video is here. She has until April 1st to get as many views, positive comments and ratings as possible.

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Embracing Multiculturalism the Wrong Way.

    McDonald's attempt at celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage month: My Inspirasian

    Please take special note to the following:
    1. The "Shock Your Friends" on the bottom...because knowing how to speak a different language is shocking and unexpected. You should not be fluent another language, or else this game will not be fun!

    2. In "Shock Your Friends," Koreans are kimchee, Indians are henna, Japanese are jeepney, Chinese are dragons. Congratulations, this is stereotyping in its finest form!

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    A different kind of car commercial

    From The Midnight Show @ UCB

    Written by James Adomian
    Starring Andy Richter & James Adomian with Michael Busch
    Directed & Edited by Peter Atencio
    Produced by Michael Busch & James Adomian
    Co-Produced by Megan Reeves & Joe Wagner
    Special thanks to Zack Oldham

    Via Autoblog.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    News Roundup

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    New website for UT Advertising

    Change has come after eight years. Check it out.

    Vote for Anu

    This is Anu's entry for a traveling contest. There are 10 days to get as many views, comments and positive ratings as possible so check it out!

    On a related note, Assaf has posted a top ten list for social traveling.

    Social traveling is focused on PEOPLE, not so much on PLACES. Sure, I get to see a lot of cool places along the way, but much more important, I get to share amazing experiences with amazing people, make a ton of new friends all over the world, save a lot of money on things I could care less about, like expensive hotels or restaurants, and most important, shape the way I see the world and keep on learning and becoming.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Speaking of public transportation

    Letter to college students from a mom

    Sonja at Ft. Worth mom blog has written a very insightful post chock full of advice for college students.

    1. College students are special. Not everybody can complete a four year degree. Don’t act like it’s not something to be grateful for, to be in a school, even if it’s not Harvard.

    2. If you’re in college, someone is investing in you. They want something for the future. They want an educated you.

    3. The reason they want an educated you is for our family, our country, and our world. You will have the opportunity to give back when you’re older, and not just by paying off your student loans, though we expect that as well. When you pariticpate in our society, whether by being a doctor or a teacher, a parent or a volunteer, and you do your duty, you will be making the world a better place. The expectation that you’re going to do this is why we send you to that ivory tower on this hill with the wide green lawns and big lecture halls.

    4. If you’re a college student, you’ve received a double gift. First, from the universe, in terms of ability to study. Second, from your countrymen, the actual resources to be educated. It’s up to you to decide what to do with your gifts.

    5. At the UT, the fight song is “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You.” I want to say that that is true not just in Austin – the eyes of America are on all our college students. We have sacrificed so that you can study today. Don’t take it lightly. This is your job and our patrimony, our joint heritage, your college degree. We’re doing this for you and for America. So be grateful, and don’t mess it up.

    Balls, Paint, Play-doh, and Foam

    Here's a wonderful recap of the Sony Bravia "" campaign. It looks like all the youtube videos have been taken down so here's the obligatory wikipedia entry.

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Let them eat cake

    In this time of junk bonds greed, corporate fraud, and mismanagement of government bailout funds, Cessna-one of the major private-jet manufacturers- has launched a proactive campaign to combat the criticism of CEOs flying in their products while their companies are laying off thousands of workers.

    Via Cliff Kuang at Fast Company.

    Thursday, February 05, 2009

    Recession is caving in. Now what?

    This is from Amr. His portfolio can be seen on the portfolio section in the right sidebar.

    In The Beginning, There Was Panic

    The economic inferno is here. Recession is no longer a word i hear over the news.
    I, who strived for a year to get a job, who redid his portfolio four times, who slept on people's floors and yet managed to work for big names like Crispin and AKQA, have just been laid off. So much for bragging now.

    Remember Jack from Lost? Yeah, that dude had a cool tip he gave Kate on the first or second episode. When fear knocks on your door, let it in, for a moment, and then kick it out and don't let it near you again. You know what? It actually worked. I crawled up and felt sorry for myself for about an hour. I made sure to feel as miserable as I could. Then I dried my tears and dusted off my pants, put my air on, and went for a good meal, with good company. I set out to see "the blessing in disguise."

    Yeah, yeah. It's that same old granny's phrase. It does stand true though.
    You see, getting laid off has just given me the time to rethink what I'm here for, what I have to offer, and how i should really be selling myself.
    Panic is unproductive. It's a waste of energy. Time to play Recession.

    Playing Recession

    To beat Recession, you have to be well prepared. And in order to do so, this whole scenario should be approached much like a business problem, like risk management.

    So I stepped outside myself for a second and started going over "Who is Amr?", as though I were talking about a brand.
    In other words, when I looked at the matter objectively, I realised that I have to write a freakin' brief about myself!

    What is the most relevant and differentiating idea that will surprise creatives or challenge their current thinking about me as a newbee?

    What is the psychological or social tension associated with my job application?

    How can I turn the disadvantage of being a new comer into an advantage?

    Talk Value.
    What are my core skills? What do I kick ass at? What assets can I work with?
    What factors are against me?
    What about my class and/or within my popular culture in general?
    It could be the little things that I identify with.

    I caught myself reshuffling my priorities. Is it art direction or design? Is it art direction or film? is it art direction or concept generation?
    Shall I keep trying at Amsterdam, or should i pack and leave?
    Is this the time to go to film school? To volunteer? To see the world? To make money?

    A thick notebook came in handy as I wrote away drafts of ideas about new products, about film scripts, most importantly, about how I see myself.
    i opted to take one last crack at this job market before switching gears to filmmaking.
    I will give it my best shot.

    Boot Camp

    At this point, you, like me, should make your job search and application as aggressive as you possible. No one is hiring. And you will need something to work with. The money is important, especially now, but so are the skills you don't learn at school. What really doesn't matter all that much is your geographic location. It's global baby.

    If you're in a good situation financially and can afford taking internships, keep taking them. Good internships, that don't involve fetching food for others, are the best junctions to learn on the job. The industry is not very forgiving and not very patient. When you're a full-timer, there are high expectations all over the place, expectations that you can do a multitude of things, and that you're amazing at every single one of them. It's unrealistic, but it is the case.

    So why don't you take the time to practice in the lion's den?

    I don't care what you're passionate about, just go for it. if it were up to me, I'd go and intern at a production house, work with filmmakers, concept designers and directors. Or maybe an experiential agency, since it's all about that now.

    What matters is not to let recession be a reason for stagnation.

    If you have any spare time, practice imitation. Yes, mimic other people's styles, just copy designs once or twice, and then break them down and fuck them up and watch your own style evolve. There is no time to do that on the job, future art directors! The same goes for writers. Long copy or short copy is an obsolete question. It's irrelevant. You should be doing everything from a radio script, to calls to action. You should be writing stand-up comedies and Shakespearean-isque drama, until you figure out what you're best at. Till then, keep disecting other people's work.

    Very intriguing what you can get as an art director when you take a piece of copy and convert it into visual into your head, or as a writer when you make a story out of an image. Keep shuffling.

    It's also 2009, which means everyone should be reading blogs and watching youtubes, and lots of them. This is your much-needed voyeaur time to examine what people talk about. Also, read the autobiographies of thinkers and watch some . Amd when in doubt about something, just do yourself a favor and google it or wikipedia. Stay in the loop.

    With all of the above in mind, set one hour a day for exposure, and one hour for practice, next to your job. it's almost like being an athlete getting ready for the olympics. Put in more time when you can. Malcolm Gladwell is absolutely right about the ten thousand hours rule. The earlier you start putting the hours, the sooner you will be ready to hit the ground running.

    What Agencies Want

    Creatives are looking for campaigns that are simple, single-minded, and that can trigger a social movement.

    Words like "social currency" and "community platform" recur a lot, especially in digital and experiential agencies.
    That's why they love facebook, blogs, twitter, and above all, Youtube. Any cool viral is king.

    How to test your work-- Ask yourself the question:
    If my target market sees the work, would they go "Oh, fuck! That's cool" and then forward it to their friends with a "Hey, check this out"?
    Is it something that they will talk about a year from now? A few months from now?

    Examples: youtube any of these
    Nike: "Take it to the next level"
    Nike: "supersonic"
    Nike: "Put it where you want it"
    Nike: "midnight madness:
    Office Max: Elf Yourself
    Burger King: Whopper Freakout
    The Truth Campaign

    Agencies are not in love with typical print or tv ads anymore.

    As yourself another question:

    If a piece of work gets people talking or participating, is it making them participate in a way consistent with the brand philosophy?
    Will the brand leave a social mark, or just a gimmick?

    One important thing creative directors keep asking about: what's the story that you're telling me?
    If you can narrate the social action as it propagates from stimulus (your ad) to action (consumer response) then great.
    If you can expand the campaign to make it live through further stages, even better.

    so for a typical campaign in your book or your website, it needn't be the good ol' three pieces.

    You'll get reactions like "this book looks like everyone else's".

    This is more like it:

    1. The Social Tension: a blurb about the brief. that's your build-up
    2. A Resolution: a bumper that summarizes your big idea. perhaps it's a logo in the middle of a black sheet, with a clear, single-minded statement of this campaign's proposition
    3. Core Execution: your hero piece, or a strong visual to explain the event, etc.
    4. Other executions across various media: be specific to what you know is impactful, and be ready to justify it.
    5. Community: how your campaign lives as a social currency. how it propagates. should flow effortlessly from your concept, like pieces of dominos
    6. Expansion: how it lives beyond this year... other ways you can take the idea farther. how you would partner with other brands, or hijack relevant calendar events.

    Most agency presentations are delievered now through powerpoint and PDF decks.

    I imagine a creative director would be ecstatic to see a website which is essentially a series of those Bumpers, in the form of thumbnails. when you click on one, it opens a PDF deck that takes him from A to Z with through a single campaign. If you mouse over the Bumper thumbnail, you read something that sparks some curiosity, like, i don't know... "Supersonic: How Nike Made London Run to a Different Beat."

    A Final Note

    Recession is a great opportunity to see the world for less money. You're at an advantage point because your dollar, however weak it is, still beats a lot of currencies around the world. If you want to be culturally rich, go somewhere where the dollar can make a difference, like Peru or Indonesia. Use your savings to teach yourself. Some great design schools and firms are in Brasil for example. At this stage of your career, I would stay away from Dubai unless you just wanna make money, or have an amazing business proposition that needs investors. Their creative level there is subpar, revolves about award-winning rather than striking a social chord. Meaning, there is only a shallow learning curve out there.

    Finally, never under-estimate the value of cultural immersion, watching street artists, or monitoring creatives of no particular disciplines. Their work is the stuff agencies daydream about.

    Some Resources
    These resources and more can be found by scrolling down in the sidebar topics on the right.

    Get Good :)


    Wednesday, February 04, 2009

    Be the change

    The Austin Ad Fed has helped start a website connecting creative professionals and non-profits in the name of public service.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    new fatherhood PSAs

    More than 79% of Americans feel "the most significant family or social problem facing America is the physical absence of the father from the home." Research shows that the lack of a father in the home correlates closely with crime, educational and emotional problems, teenage pregnancy, and drug and alcohol abuse.

    In an effort to show dads the critical role they play in their children's lives, the Ad Council has partnered with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse and volunteer ad agency Campbell-Ewald to create a new PSA campaign that communicates to fathers that their presence is essential to their children's well-being. The campaign provides fathers with the information they need to become better dads.

    Watch the whole TV campaign on youtube. See the radio, print, and TV campaign on the Adcouncil site.

    Does anyone know the full credits for the campaign?

    Thanks to Tim for the link on facebook.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009


    Advertising Agency: Exclam Comunicação, Curitiba, Brazil
    Creative Director: Lipsio Carvalho
    Copywriter: Peterson Klug
    Art Director: Alexandre Miyaki
    Published: September 2008

    Read comments about these ads. On a related note, here are the top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs. My favorite is

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    The Tmobile Dance

    Friday, January 09, 2009

    Top ten posts of 2008

    The criteria for the top ten list was a formula of degree of humor, topic matter, number of comments and a bunch of fuzzy numbers.

    10. Two new startups from recent UT ad grads. Conjunctured and Piryx.

    9. Although this is student work, this monopoly redesign is still excellent.

    8. Happy Promiscuous Mother's Day!

    7. Your first job doesn't have to be your dream job.

    6. Rampenfest.

    5. Some new ways to tell a story in the 21st century.

    4. Photoshop Disasters.

    3. GSD&M has a new Executive Creative Director.

    2. Modernista arouses the Wikipedia gods.

    1. What I've learned in the past 42 months.

    Friday, January 02, 2009

    News Roundup

    • A new viral campaign for UBISOFT Rayman Raving Rabbibs TV Party is out. These were shot by Director Brian Belefant.

    • Pepsi is trying out social media. Via Bill at Make the Logo Bigger.

    • The Arcadia Project is out from the ECD/CEO of Gyro Worldwide, Steve Grasse. His bio doesn't sound like the typical CEO bio.
      "Steven A. Grasse is a conceptual artist, author, and entrepreneur born in Souderton, Pennsylvania. Best known as the CEO and Executive Creative Director of Gyro Worldwide, Grasse is the world's first conceptual artist to use advertising itself as a medium for critiquing contemporary culture. Grasse has used every sub-medium of advertising--print, outdoor, packaging, live events, branding, guerilla marketing, Internet work--as a vehicle for his art"

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