brutal focus, simplicity and consequence

An example of brutal simplicity and great (for some) value is this little alarm clock that goes off if it’s sunny, and you really should get outside, and doesn’t if the weather is shit. Perfect for weekends and holidays.

Nivea Sun, Sun Alarm App from AgênciaClick Isobar on Vimeo.

do your exercise or experience blackout

Slightly more advanced idea here, but brutally focused and determined to actually work. Many digital services can fail at solving the real “flesh life problem” because they can be forgotten about, overlooked or – due to laziness and self-deception – not used enough or discontinued altogether. Sure, positive motivational drivers can be effective or maybe even more effective than threat of loss, but that’s another discussion.

From PSFK:

The FitBit tracker is able to monitor and log in various activities such as steps taken, amount of sleep, and calories burned. The hack works by connecting WeMo, an Internet-controlled power outlet, to the FitBit device. When a certain goal isn’t achieved, the power outlet automatically turns off, shutting down connected electronic devices like a gaming console, computer, or even the fridge.

The online/offline marriage is really interesting when the two, if you will, have real consequences and effects for each other should [criteria] not be met. The quantified-self-fork from this years’ CES is one example where this is highly relevant. Let’s call it real life gamification, where the game ain’t necessarily all fun…

another kind of 2.0

I’ve recently come across quite a few articles and posts about technology, social media and how we use it and how it effects us. Not seldom in a negative way. Unsurprisingly there’s an upswing at the end of a year and beginning of a new. Wise to stop, and reflect over life in general. How to get more time over. Stay in better contact. Or the opposite. There’s this post (swedish) about digital downshifting and how it’s a trend and this post about Adam Brault quitting Twitter for a month, reflecting over the Dunbar number and how twitter is “outsourced schizophrenia”.

Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain

In conversations about interfaces, interaction and the roll of the internet in peoples’ lives, I keep arguing that the most used interaction method will be close to invisible. I don’t agree with those saying “touch is the ultimate method” because it demands of me that I’m interested in interacting.

Walking around on a sunday thinking about maybe going to the modern museum doesn’t mean that I want to interact with my fingers – all I want to know is the opening hours and what exhibitions are on. All I need is an answer. In a far future, when a chip is in my brain, and the internet knowledge is indistinguishable from my “flesh knowledge” questions thought are questions asked – and answered. Internet – interacting.

So I found this film very interesting. A very true 2.0 about technology is more about it being a bit boring. It’s when most of it is invisible. When it’s so obvious that we all can do almost everything but why should we.

Connecting (Full Film) from Bassett & Partners on Vimeo.

brands – coming alive to the world!

There were a couple of things shared last week that just made a full circle, like a triangulation that zeroed in on an often discussed matter in advertising (and brand management). That of brands being a bit like humans. Or not. Having POVs on issues, showing humor or not, being in the know and so on. Complex like humans. But let’s not get too deep into that.

Absolute Vodka

Absolute Vodka, with their artistic heritage, doing their view on what’s available to us all; more possibilities than ever to communicate and express our individuality. Less and less must conform to furmulas, more styles are in-style at the same time than ever before. You are never more than a couple of keystrokes or swipes away from your “cultural peer groups” wherever they may be in the world. Individuality and uniqueness for everyone.

Campbell Soup

Campbell Soup
image source

At first, Campbell opposed the Warhol artwork but thought again. Today, they’re recognizing that the Warhol artwork evokes so much more than a can of soup and welcome being part of pop art history by working with the Warhol Foundation to celebrate the 50 year anniversary. One can only hope they build on that and keep going beyond that, seen as it’s basically a boring ol’ can.

Oreo Cookies

Oreo Mars Rover Ad
image source

Brilliant ads with this little cookie as canvas.

“Oreo turns out to be really respiratory. When it celebrates Elvis, the Mars landings, or Bastille Day, it comes alive to the world around it. Playful, even. After all, who celebrates French holidays? And the brand has recently taken on the image of the Liberty Bell, the Dark Knight, and the Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower.”

– Grant McCracken in HBR

“It comes alive to the world”, what a fitting way to express it. Brands who look outside their immediate self, recognising and tapping into the world around us.

As there is usually a long time-lag between an advertising exposure and the actual act of purchase, effective advertising requires long-term memory (Ehrenberg et al. 1997, p.9). This associations in long-term memory are built on the one hand by repetition and on the other hand through all kinds of other brand exposures, such as WOM, brand usage, POS or even recalling memories. Once associations are stored in the long-term memory, they are hardly ever completely forgotten. As people build highly individualized memory-structures, “[p]ublicizing a brand is [.] about what consumers do with the advertising rather than what advertisements do to consumers […]” (Ehrenberg et al. 1997, p.10). So with long-term memory in mind, advertising’s task is then to find creative ways to publicise the brand, refresh and build new memory traces and “to make the brand distinctive rather than differentiated” (Sharp 2010a, p.353).

http://sophisticated.at/blogs/thomas/2012/09/3-2-1-3-advertising-as-creative-publicity/

Brands can act a bit human in more ways then ever before given social norms soaking the very fabric of most media technologies and platforms for communications. But brands are moved forward by organizations, and those organizations aren’t exactly littered with individuals who understand that we tend to buy more easily from brands who occupy a larger share of our memory. And that those memory structures do not have to be internally worshipped facts about exactly why to buy, and instead be thrilled that “…this ‘mere publicity’ perspective might actually be liberating for creatives, as advertising then becomes “making distinctive and memorable publicity for the brand out of next to nothing” (Ehrenberg quote from Thoma’s thesis).

intertextuality galore by Nike

I thought more than once in 2011 that, gosh it must be the year of intertextual ideas and executions given the vast amount of internet culture based ads. In Sweden, this was led by ComHem going all-in by trying to own associations to internet memes and all that’s beautiful with that.

Here’s a new, lovely, example from Nike. As usual the execution is perfect.

urban design – the language of the city

I’m really looking forward to catching this latest film, Urbanized, by Gary Hustwit. Urban design is really interesting when you think about how little you think about it. How cities work, help you, work against you and contextualize your every experience more or less. Think about memories from, say a park, and how that memory could be claimed to be “powered by” urban design. How different could memories be, if the context had been different?

I don’t want to draw ridiculous parallels back to communications planning, but a session we had in 2010 at APG Sweden (Theme being “creating for people”) was with a company called Spacescape who specialize in strategic urban and architectonical analysis. Stuff like spacial analysis, user studies etc. They end up with things like heat maps, showing the flow of people, and hence how changes in the landscape would “upset”, redirect or prevent that flow. That session proved to have a whole lot in common with communications planning. It also left me feeling a bit incredulous towards architects in general.

almost photo slow mo

8 Hours in Brooklyn from Next Level Pictures on Vimeo.

via melex

Photos are so intriguing because we stare at them for a while, scanning the full picture, not missing anything. Then our mind wanders for a bit, trying to set or understand the context. Thinking about the specific, noticing gaps, filling in gaps. Really slow-mo film comes really close. It moves, yet you have time for the above. That’s quite cool I think.

amex, small businesses and the concept of sponsorship

I vote for this guy not only because it looks delicious but because he seems like such a great guy.

But It’s a tight race because these guys are doing exactly what I’m missing; fast food that’s good for you. I just want some good ol’ fashion husmanskost on the go, but all I can find is fat dripping pizza on every damn corner. Hate that.

And I’m very impressed with the Amex Open Forum initiative and the momentum they have. Even though I’m disappointed by the card (at least in Sweden and online). From the small business saturday idea (below), to partnering with Facebook to provide “an Amex way” of paying for ads, and Vote Big Break above.

Being involved in a sponsorship strategy for another big global American brand, I can’t but help but reflect over the role of sponsorship. Simplified being about 1, brand awareness, and letting context/sponsored event/team/sport/etc indicate what the brand supports and affiliates itself with and thus 2, manifest position/meaning by getting a brand attribute rub-off effect. But there’s so many examples of very weak sponsorship strategies where all you get is your logo out there with very little meaning attached to this.

Not so long ago, It was impossible for Amex to do what they’re doing here, which is sponsoring small businesses and everything that comes with that; having to struggle, be a smart marketer (perhaps first time at it), smart with money, doing a bit of everything (balance sheets and tax laws anyone?), and being frustrated with hardly making ends meet. Sponsoring them by doing things for them is something that simply could not be done before. Not with this massive reach and impact. To a large extent this falls under sponsoring in my book. Supportive sponsoring. Extremely targeted and relevant. I think the concept of sponsoring is changing quite a bit.

arduino – a perfect open source wedding

Hadn’t seen the documentary about the Arduino project before. I was struck by the the 3D printer built on open hardware Arduino, printing open source coat hangers and how this is the ultimate wedding of the connectedness, collaboration and openness of the internet, and how that is power in numbers. I’ve been facinated by MIT Media Lab for a long time, so was happy to find that representatives of MEDEA Collaborative Media Initiative down in Malmö, Sweden, were part of the Arduino project, although started in Ivrea in Italy (Arduin being an important character for the city of Ivrea) and soon consisting of a great mix of people and co-collaborators. Watch the film, there’s an interesting story behind the hardware and an inspiring case of collaboration across boarders, based on mutual interest.

Arduino The Documentary (2010) English HD from gnd on Vimeo.

real-time translation technology and implications

Ray Kurzweil on Translation Technology from Nataly Kelly on Vimeo.

From Singularity Hub

I wonder if we have any idea (well we have some) of the possible implications of this? I mean, the obvious ones are, well, obvious. But what about the role language plays in keeping societies and cultures intact. That is, actually feeling like a specific culture as opposed to all other cultures. In socialization and learning a language amongst other things, you get spoon fed your culture (albeit small spoons). What you say where and to whom and in which situation is different between cultures, so imagine instant translation amongst foreigners. It’s bound to have an effect. Imagine not being able to keep things from foreigners?

It’s like the equivalent of people mistakenly posting a little too much on Facebook and hence to everyone, but in use of language. Instant translation gadgets would effectively force you to mind your every word and not just your every Facebook post. Ubiquitous real-time translation that you might not even be aware of in any given situation. Oops.