Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did I Just Click That? – April 30, 2008

Sometimes you browse the web, and most of the time you never notice the advertisements. However, sometimes there are some ads you have to click on because they are soooo ridiculous. Here are several examples of those types of ads:

So like an idiot I had to click on one of them, I mean wouldn’t you have? It ends up taking me to a site for Toyota, "The Other You", of all places, where it immediately asks me if I want to prank a friend.

Naturally, I say yes, just so I can see where it takes me. I end up filling out a decent amount of info to prank one of my colleagues, but the site freezes up on me. I try several more times to complete the process, but to no avail. The site freezes every time. Now I’m actually kind of pissed I wasted my time.

However, if it had worked I would have “pranked” my friend for a series of 5 days according to this schedule provided by Toyota:

- 3/13/08: The Mystery Caller
- 3/14/08: We Know Where You Live
- 3/15/08: The Coronett Motel
- 3/16/08: The Sign
- 3/17/08: The Grand Finale

Good thing the site kept freezing up on me!!! (serious sarcasm)

Moral of the story: Dear Toyota, learn how to build a website, or at least hire someone who can. Oh and by the way, Toyota, you’re still an annoying car company. In all honesty here's what Toyota could have done to make the site experience that much better:

1. Lose all the weird crap that is meaningless in the micro-site. It's too distracting, and doesn't add to the experience

2. Better explain the stages of the prank up front

3. If you're not using our information for wrong doing, then why the need for agreeing to terms and conditions? Explain why I have to read through 6 pages of stuff just to play around with the site

4. Make sure the site doesn't suck, and make sure it works in a timely fashion (it doesn't take 20 minutes to do)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dunder Mifflin Infinity – April 28, 2008

Oh the Office, such joy and hilarity. Even though the original British version was still funnier, I’ve become accustomed to the American version (FYI, my favorite character by far is Dwight).

In the latest Office episode, the once intern now corporate mogul, Ryan, mentions that Dunder Mifflin’s Web 2.0 website, “Dunder Mifflin Infinity”, had issues with the social networking feature being infiltrated by sexual predators. Much of the staff complains about why this feature is even necessary. See the video below:

(Props to NBC for actually embracing video sharing across the web via Hulu!)

I’ve come to find out that NBC actually launched this social networking site. You can actually go and become apart of the Dunder Mifflin team!!!

This is one of smartest tactics I’ve seen by a corporation (NBC) to aggregate its fan base utilizing web 2.0 technologies (i.e. social networking). Besides the pure kitsch of receiving an official email from Dunder Mifflin saying I’ve been hired by them, NBC has managed to figure out how to sustain engagement within the site, and encourage users to participate over time.

“Employees” can decide what branch office they want to be apart of, they can upload photos, vote on polls, enroll in “tasks”, upload videos, write comments, browse the employee manual, and so much more. Anytime the “employee” does any of these tasks, they are rewarded with funny money (“Schrute Bucks”) that they can redeem to buy items to decorate their desks. Additionally, the more money one acquires the more likely one is to be “promoted.”

Overall, I think NBC did an awesome job of getting their fans to participate with the Office in a way that they couldn’t do so before. What’s even more incredible is that they did it outside Facebook or MySpace, which unto itself seems like a miracle since most companies are seeing that it is incredibly hard to start a community versus leverage and existing one.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Play Day Friday - April 25, 2008

I came across these two websites, and thought you guys might enjoy them. First off the bat, customize a Kleenex box! Yay, so cool...kinda at least.
Secondly, dress Devendra Banhart, which is pretty much what you do. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Logos - April 24, 2008

I'm in the process of finalizing a logo for my little business, and I wanted to share with you some inspiration that was needed to aide in the logo development process. Creating a logo isn't easy. Where does one start? Step one, figure out what you don't want. For me, that meant I didn't want some really stupid looking Web 2.0 logo, which means one that is all happy and glowing (kinda like a cartoon version of a real logo).

Step two was getting a book filled with hundred of logos, and marking which ones I liked. Step three is figuring out why I like them, and figuring out how to incorporate aspects of their design into my logo. Step four is actually making some logos and figuring out what works.

I wanted to share with you the logos that I liked. I chose them because I liked the smart/edginess to them, and because they are fairly simple. Also, I wanted a logo that didn't need multiple colors to bring it to life (although I did choose one or two with cool colors I liked).

Hopefully, my logo will be developed in the next two-three weeks, which I'll be happy to share with everyone.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Web 2.0 "Now With More Dudes" - April 23, 2008

So I went to a Digg party last night. In case you don't know Digg is that service that only promotes/surfaces content that users vote upon.

Anyways, they threw this party, partly because the Web 2.0 expo was going on in town, but also because it's cool to throw parties, right? Long story short, the entire place was filled with dudes. I want to say there were like 15 guys for every girl, at least! Basically, I've come to the realization that anytime there is a big tech event of sorts, it gets bombarded by dudes...maybe because we're more into gadgets and shiny things.

I managed to bump into iJustine, which was cool, given I had known about her for some time now. Other than that, the Digg party was a bunch of dudes (mostly overweight and old) playing Rock Band.
p.s. click here to see my YouTube video of barging in on a lifestreaming party with iJustine

iFLY - April 23, 2008

I took my brother and sister to go indoor skydiving. Basically one of those wind tunnels that makes you levitate. Here are some of the results:


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Type Are You? – April 22, 2008

Do you sleep with your iPhone strapped to your leg, or have you no idea what e-mail is? The Pew Internet & American Life Project wants to know! I love Pew because they produce great reports that are not only free, but contain oodles of great information. Pew puts brilliant thought into the construction of their research executions, and the ways in which they solicit information about internet users that they need to know.

I noticed on their site the other day that you can find out what type of Internet Typology you are, so naturally I clicked on it. Given that I do sleep with my iPhone, I had a suspicion I would probably fall into some obscure group of users that is constantly connected. Sure enough, that was the case.

Here’s what they said:

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Omnivores typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic.

Omnivores make up 8% of the American public.

Basic Description
Members of this group use their extensive suite of technology tools to do an enormous range of things online, on the go, and with their cell phones. Omnivores are highly engaged with video online and digital content. Between blogging, maintaining their Web pages, remixing digital content, or posting their creations to their websites, they are creative participants in cyberspace.

Who They Are
They are young, ethnically diverse, and mostly male (70%). The median age is 28; just more than half of them are under age 30, versus one in five in the general population. Over half are white (64%) and 11% are black (compared to 12% in the general population). English-speaking Hispanics make up 18% of this group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many (42% versus the 13% average) of Omnivores are students.

Take your own Internet Typology quiz here!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Social Media Presentation - April 21, 2008

As promised, I wanted to share a presentation that I recently gave to my agency. The idea was to bring them up to speed on where the Internet is now, how people are utilizing it to share information and create communities, how word of mouth spreads via the web, show a couple of brands that have utilized social media to their advantage, and give them on advice on how to think of social media when thinking about incorporating it into a campaign.

Trumer Pils makes beer in Berkeley, but they just don't make any old beer. Trumer specializes in making a Pilsner that follows the same recipe of an ancient Czechoslovakian brewery. The big claim to fame for Trumer is that it's not beer off the boat (Heineken, Stella Artois, etc), but fresh European style beer from our own backyard. I have to admit, it's actually pretty good, even if they are one of our clients.

Just recently, Trumer decided that they want to associate themselves with a nationwide cause. Trumer decided to go with Earth Day. In respect to this great planet, Trumer is giving out little Blue Spruce seeds that are implanted in a biodegradable Trumer seal (see the picture above). All you have to do is soak the paper seal in water overnight and then plant it in dirt. Then you get yourself a Blue Spruce. Yipee!

I actually think it's really cool, and I hope to see more blogs talk about this.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Little Music for Thursday - April 17, 2008

I use music to make the day go that much faster at work. So, with that in mind, I wanted to share a great new music site I came across, and a nice little gadget that will help you share music.

First off is Hype Machine. This great little site allows you to listen to the latest and greatest, or the classics. You can search for songs by artist or track name.

The Hype Machine tracks a variety of MP3 blogs. If a post contains MP3 links, it adds those links to its database and displays them on the front page. You can listen to all the music they've got on the site, and if you so choose, you can go buy them at the appropriate place.

Now for a little gadgetry fun. This little device called the miShare allows two iPods to hook-up and transfer files, be it audio, video, or pictures. No computer or cable is needed, and it's super easy to use. Just attach the source and target iPods and press miShare's big button to start the transfer. Unfortunately, DRM protected songs remain protected :(

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Your Crest - April 15, 2008

Okay, I swear I won't barrage this blog with tons of ads that I like, but I just can't help myself with this one. Toyota sells cars. Yippee, right? Well, Toyota did some thinking. My guess it went something like this:

CMO - "We need to connect with the youth market dammit, what can we do?"

CMO's lap dog - "I agree"

Smart person in the room - "The trick about getting youth to pay attention is to give them content they care about and are intrigued with. Let's make an ad banner that allows kids to create their own crests, like the ones that used to go on top of a Cadillac. Once they create their own, they can save it and use it as wallpaper, and send it to other friends. If we do this Mr. CMO, then you can say you did something with user generated content and rich interactive media at one of you stupid conferences!"

CMO - "That's impossible!"

Smart person in the room - "Sit back and watch"

Okay, so probably the story went absolutely nothing like that, but let's pretend it did. I found one of these banners and ended up making some of my own crests. It was freaking awesome. I only wish that there were more options and colors.

I think that this banner is extremely successful because it follows these rules:

1. Low barrier for participation – all you have to do is roll over the banner and begin to play

2. Visceral – directions were cut and clear, and it was easy to create

3. Intriguing – Crests are cool

4. Engaging – It lures you to be able to make your own crests at no cost

5. Noninvasive – You don’t have to navigate away from your current page to enjoy creating your own crest

In summary, please have more campaigns like this Toyota. All the rest of you marketers out there take note!

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Poll Feature Enabled - April 14, 2008

Yeah It's Ad Tech Time - April 14, 2008

I'm headed to the Moscone Center the next three days to soak up Ad Tech. I'm actually only planning on attending about 10% of the entire show, because I don't believe that Ad Tech is the type of place where really ground breaking stuff is going to be uncovered. In general I go to conferences to validate my thinking, or inspire me in a different way. Maybe something good will come of this year, versus last year, which I found profoundly boring.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Speedo LZR – April 11, 2008

What’s faster and smoother than human skin? Speedo’s new LZR (pronounced laser). suit of course!

Back in the day, I was a big time swimmer, so much in fact that I can still smell chlorine in my hair. After retirement (yes I can say retirement since I did swim for 13 years competitively), I’ve taken a back seat to staying in tune with developments in the world of swimming. However, recently Speedo launched this kick ass new suit called the LZR.

The LZR was designed in coordination with NASA. Yeah, that’s right, freaking NASA. It’s caused quite a ruckus in the swimming community, so much in fact that some are calling it “technological doping” or “drugs on a hanger.” Why all the fiasco? Basically, the suit is made of this ultra light weight material that is water repellant and steamlines water off the body. Additionally, the panels that make up the suit are designed to serve as a support harness of the athlete’s body, as to reduce muscle oscillation and vibration that causes muscles to tire faster.

Check out the video:

This is huge improvement from when I first started swimming, when all we had was a triangular shaped lycra or nylon speedo. I’ve seen several advances from the infamous paper suit (shrinks on you when in the water) to the Aqua Blade (striped suit that channels water off the body) to the Fastskin (lighter weight special fabric that also channels water off of the body).

I can’t wait to see how these perform in the Olympics.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recovered Notes to Myself – April 10, 2008

I was sorting through a bunch of stuff after my big move, and I came across a note that I wrote to myself back in 2005. Based on the content, I must have been extremely bored with my job at the time. The note is an idea to launch a series of t-shirts, mugs, and mouse pads that embody the clichés, realities, and day dreams of the workplace.

There isn’t much structure on how to make this happen, just a bunch of words and phrases written down that could be printed onto any office item. Without adieu, and in no particular order, here is the list:

- Power Lunch

- Corporate Ladder (Climber optional)

- Middle Man

- TPS Reprots

- Sans Question

- Executive Executive Assistant

- Whipping Boy or Fall Guy

- Bureaucratic Bitch

- Upper Management

- Expense Reporter

- Copy Machine Expert

- Photcopying Sensai

- Slave

- Yes Ma’am

- Yes Sir

- Of Course, Immediately

- Cream or Sugar?

- <$30K

- Cubicle

- Copies Anyone?

- First Thing

- Collate – Stack – Staple

- Office Party Incident

- 9 – 5

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rampenfest – April 9, 2008

Since I’m in advertising, I actually admire when campaigns are done really well. I won’t go on to name all of my favorites, but I do want to highlight a current love of mine. It’s from BMW, and they’re promoting their 2009 BMW 1-series. Rather than create a stupid typical car campaign where they show you flashy shots of a shiny car filled with beautiful people zooming through a modern city, BMW took a different approach. Here’s the skinny.

It all begins when an amateur videographer named Jeff Schultz captures footage of this peculiar 454 meter tall ramp he happened to find in a Bavarian town named "Oberpfaffelbachen” while travelling Europe. The story unfolds from there.

Basically this town built a ramp to launch a BMW into America. It’s pretty funny, there is even like a 30+ minute movie about it. Here are all the links to entertain yourself.

Read Jeff’s Blog:

See Jefff’s YouTube videos:

Check out his photos from the town:

Visit the town’s website (special section “Miss Ramp”):

Watch the Rampefest movie:

Add Jeff as a Friend on Facebook:

Become a Fan of the Ramp on Facebook:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Word I Never Knew Existed - April 8, 2008

Grand Guignol (pronounced Grahn Geen-yol') refers to any dramatic entertainment that deals with macabre subject matter and features “over-the-top” graphic violence. It is derived from Le Theatre du Grand Guignol, the name of the Parisian theatre that horrified audiences for over sixty years. The theatre was founded in 1897 by Oscar Metenier as an extension of the naturalist movement, which had been popularized by André Antoine's Theatre Libre. A typical evening at the Grand Guignol Theatre might consist of five or six short plays, ranging from suspenseful crime dramas to bawdy sex farces. Lots of horrific scenes (eye-gouging, throat-slashing, acid-throwing, or some other equally grisly climax) occurred, which resulted in an average of 2 people fainting a night.

Solicit Yourself – April 8, 2008

We all know the job market is extremely competitive, and that it sucks to go through the process of redoing your resume, updating your portfolio, and going through endless rounds of interviews. I know this feeling all too well, as I just got finished moving jobs three months ago.

There’s nothing better than having people come to you with job offers in hand. Hey, what can I say I’m lazy sometimes. So, how can you make that happen?

Here are the must do’s:

- Actually let your friends know what you do

- Have a LinkedIn profile with a full description of your job and skills, which are supported with recommendations

- Link your Facebook and MySpace profiles (and blog) to your LinkedIn profile (but not the other way around)

Here is the one thing that will really draw attention to you:

- Share your expertise

o Answer LinkedIn questions (huge opportunity)

o Write a blog about your thoughts concerning your industry

o Become embedded in social media communities about your industry

o Start creating like-minded groups on LinkedIn and Facebook

o Publish your thoughts to industry focused sites

o Share your great presentations on SlideShare

Friday, April 4, 2008

Need Booze? - April 4, 2008

Sometimes you need to find free booze because you might have spent all your money on something stupid, like a pet octopus. Maybe you are just a cheapskate or thrifty spender and want to save up so you actually have money to buy a pet octopus instead of throwing it onto your credit card. Either way, MyOpenBar is the best solution to locating free booze in your hood.

It's simple, you go to the website, tell it what city you're in, and it tells you where the free booze is and on what day it happens. I highly recommend.

Pollution on a Stick - April 4, 2008

I was recently in a presentation with an outdoor media company who showed us all the latest and greatest when it comes to outdoor advertising. I think outdoor is one of the coolest mediums, because you aren't restricted by anything expect wind shear. One of my favorite places to check out some of the savviest billboards is at Billboardom.

After the presentation I was sick to my stomach because I could only think about how all of the vinyl used to make the billboards is thrown away. It's simply a major waste. I asked the presenter what happened to the vinyl, and he gave me an interesting answer I didn't expect. Basically, three things can happen to the vinyl. One, it gets trashed. Two, artists use it to make stuff. Three, it goes to Africa and South America to use as tents for people without homes.

He then proceeded to tell me that there are literally hundreds of old vinyl billboards that get sent to these places, and shantytowns will pop up using the billboard supplies. I tried to find some pictures of this, but I was only able to get a few. This one is from Wesolson on Flickr.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Social Media???!!!??? – April 2, 2008

Social media is a term that gets thrown around more than a midget in a frat house. What exactly is this social media? Is it user generate content? Is it a social network? Is it YouTube? I’m here to end the conversation. After a brief chat with Jeremiah Owyang last week, I’ve confirmed my suspicions about the definition of social media.


Social Media is participatory media - content that is created by users and intended to entertain and inform the public in the confines of designated spaces.

That’s it! So basically social media is any of the following: blogs, wikis, video, wall postings, podcasts, social networks, pictures, Internet forums, message boards, etc. See the picture for some specific examples.

So why are people participating in social media? Well there are several reasons, but these are the most prominent:

- To express oneself (Flickr or Yahoo Live)

- Persuaded by a behavioral or emotional trigger (Join MySpace)

- Because they were influenced by someone else (“poked”)

- There was a deep amount of content to wade around in (YouTube)

- It was easy, only one click away (Leave a Comment)

- It had a level of novelty or utility (Stumble Upon)

I’ll be posting a presentation to SlideShare later about Web 2.0 and how it plays into social media and marketing/advertising. Stay posted. I’ve got to present it to my teams first, then you guys can get it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Secret Wall Drawings - April 1, 2008

I recently moved out of my ghetto apartment building! And by recently I mean the past two days. 19 hours, 7 car loads, and many aches and bruises later I'm in my new place nestled in North Beach. In homage to my old apartment I snapped photos of the secret drawings littered amongst the chipped plaster in the stairwell.