Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FYI: Blog Changes

To my three dear followers:

Just wanted to let you know that I've changed my blog URL, so you can now find me at www.fromthetinydesk.blogspot.com. You know... just in case you want to update your readers, bookmarks, etc.

Now don't everybody do it at once, you might crash my blog!

Urbanathlon Uh Oh's

I've never run a 5K race.

Don't get me wrong, I've run a 5K in a gym, but I've never actually participated in a race. Believe me, I want to and I've even gone  so far as to sign up for a race... only to decide that it was in my best interest to go out drinking instead of going to the race. (Hey, the charity still got my money, so I'm not a bad person). You can chalk it up to the the crowds and all those people watching me and my competitive nature and the high likelihood that I will humiliate myself and just plain nerves. Not to mention, the hangover.

Despite this, in a moment of what I can only describe as insanity, I signed up to do the Men's Health Urbanathlon - an event that consists not ONLY of a 5k run, but also a bunch of ridiculous obstacles, like this one:

Alright, fine, I'm crazy but I've paid the fee and I'm going to do it, right? I mean, who cares that I haven't been working out regularly and can't remember the last time I ran 3 miles, this should be a breeze.

That was before I checked out their Facebook page and saw this:

THAT'S my competition? Are you kidding me?? Even at the peak of my fitness (which I am about 4 months of grilled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli away from) I looked nothing like that woman!! (is 'woman accurate? my mind keeps screaming she-man.)

Ah well, looks like I'm back in training... *dusts off old Foreman grill*

**Stay tuned for the trials and tribulations of training to be the next she-man.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Music Finds!

I think I'm going to make my musical finds a regular feature of this blog, more for myself than anything else.(Hey, it is my blog after all!)

This week isn't a discovery as much as it is rediscovery. It's an acoustic concert series called 'NPR Tiny Desk Concerts' which are 'intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen in the NPR Music office.' It typically features indie-rock artists of the small-time variety and is a must-see for anyone who enjoys acoustic music, jammin', and friggin' fantastic music from some passionate, lesser-known greats (there's more hyphenated words in that sentence than I've used in the past year!).

Check out their YouTube channel as well as two of my favourite performances (below)


(He makes it look so easy)

The Magnetic Zeroes:
(The lead singer is so into the music, its hard not to get into it too)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blending social media with traditional media

Social media has been heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread and everyone wants a piece of the action. Consumers and brands alike jumped on the bandwagon, determined to be a part of the 'social media revolution'. Twitter and Facebook grew at dizzying rates, and buzzwords like 'tweet, friending, status updates, stalking' became part of our everyday conversations. People began brainstorming on how to leverage these platform for their personal gain. and brands began talking about a social media strategy.

But now, with a few years under our belts, we know this: you don't need a social media strategy.

According to Eric Weaver at DDB, what we need instead, is a blended approach - one that seamlessly integrates social media with traditional media. Social media is not an afterthought, nor a platform of it's own; rather it supports and supplements traditional media messages (look at the presentation below to see how DDB did this with 'Salty'). When thinking social media, brands are best served to think of this medium as one of influence, engagement and activation. You should be using it "to get your customers to interact with the content, to share it with their friends, and to get off their asses and and DO something."

View more presentations from Eric Weaver.

And Old Spice is doing exactly that.

This entire week, the dashing and debonair Isaiah Mustafa (the Man you want your man to smell like) is responding to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers, Reddit questions, and blog posts about him and his brand new Old Spice commercial. He responds to everyone from Ellen Degeneres and Perez Hilton to anonymous Internet users, all with the same pompous, outrageous, and hilarious tone from the commercials.

And to top it all off, Old Spice is a promoted trending tweet today.

Bravo Old Spice. You're making sure that you're the brand we wish our brands were like.

Some Isaiah vids from today:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Branded love from the Ad Warrior

There are three main reasons why I started writing this blog. 

1) I love writing. Plain and simple. I love writing, and I don't always have something creative to write about. So I'm channeling my passion for writing into this blog, and also keeping on top of all my other passions - advertising, fitness, the interwebz - two birds, one stone.

2) To have an opinion. Stupid, ill-informed, and possibly poorly written, but mine, nonetheless. I have it, and I'm going to put it out there. Take it, leave it, or argue with me about it, the choice is yours. I'm open to it all.

3) To keep a record. A record of all the interesting, insightful, funny, fantastical, though-provoking, and something ridiculous things that I come across, online and in real-life. Also, to record some of my own photography and writing, however amateurish they are. 

And that third point brings me to the article below. Written over at 'Ad Warrior', this is hands down one of the best posts I've read, both in terms of writing, as well as content. He's hit the nail squarely on the head with this one and I'll admit, it's one of those posts that made me go 'Damn, I wish I had written that!' It's also one of those posts that I know I'll want to revisit many times in my career to ground myself, and for that reason, I want to repost it here so that I can recall it at any time.

But that's enough from me. Read on to see what I'm talking about.

"The Apple iPhone and the elusive image of branded love. 

Last week as I watched one news report after another showing hundreds of people lined up outside Apple stores across America, all of whom hoped – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say needed – to be among the first to get the new iPhone in their pink, sweaty hands, it occurred to me that this, at least from a corporate standpoint, is what love looks like. These people were willing to suffer for a product in a way that few people in the twenty-first century are willing to suffer for a cause. For a brand, it really doesn’t get any better.*

Very few brands will ever sniff the thin air that surrounds this mountaintop. Nonetheless, it’s important to know it exists because it reminds those of us who toil within advertising’s smoky factories of what what we’re supposed to be trying to achieve. As agencies focus more and more on the arcane sciences of data analysis, ROI measurement and predictive modeling, it’s easy for advertising to begin to feel like something that’s akin to strip-mining. Don’t let it. If you’re doing it right, it’s about love. It’s about generating passion for the brands you work on. It’s about tapping into visceral desire.

So how do you get there? How do you “ladder up” (an odious bit of corporate English) to a more emotional connection between the consumer and the brand? With apologies to the great American philosopher Frank Zappa, I have borrowed and altered slightly a few phrases from a song called “Packard Goose”** (it should be noted that the lyrics owe no small debt to a T.S. Eliot poem called “The Rock”–seriously) to remind us of our obligation to elevate the brand grist we are given and turn it into something that arouses passion:

Data is not information.

Information is not knowledge.

Knowledge is not wisdom.

Wisdom is not truth.

Truth is not beauty.

Beauty is not love.

Love is the only thing that matters.

When one ponders these words, it’s apparent that they’re a pretty good re-telling of the Apple story. The company has taken a bunch of ones and zeros and through a bit of sorcery transformed them into products that do extraordinary things – things for which people will leave their loved ones and the comfort of their overstuffed sofas to stand sweating with the faithful in the heat of summer. May the rest of us one day be so lucky.

* For causes, I grant you, it is a bit disheartening.
** You may find Mr. Zappa’s original lyrics here."

Source: Ad Warrior

Friday, July 9, 2010

Duck Face

Why haven't I seen this before today?!?!

After seeing this epic video, I went on facebook to look for my own shameful 'duck face' pictures and I'm glad to report that the most recent one (i.e. 'I'm trying to look sexy' not 'I'm making fun of dumb bitches') dates all the way back to freshman year. In my book, that means I have a clean slate. *phew*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Huggies - "The Coolest You'll Look Pooping Your Pants"

This is freaking hilarious. Also, what's with the denim craze lately - jean leggings, jean diapers... what's next??

To be perfectly honest, I can't see any reason in the world to buy my kid jean diapers, except maybe the humor value. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chicago Issues A Throwdown to LeBron James

When you want NBA all-star LeBron James to play for your home team, you don't ask... you don't beg... you look him in the eye and you dare him to do it. 

Chicago, with the help of a couple of sports-loving ad guys at the city's Leo Burnett agency have done just that in a creative, bold, and hopefully successful four-day campaign featuring a fresh challenge each day.

On Monday, they sent to his house the classic red, white and black Air Jordans and asked if he could fill those shoes. Tuesday it was a case featuring seven empty ring boxes, representing one more championship than Jordan won here, and the question, "Can you fill these boxes?" Wednesday was a mock-up of a Chicago Tribune 10 years hence - still going strong, by the way - and the headline "Sweet Throne, Chicago: With Title No. 7, It's Officially King James' Court."

And finally, on Thursday, the agency ran a two page ad in the Akron Beacon Journal, James' hometown paper that read - "LeBron, the fans of Chicago have a question for you... can you cast a shadow this big?"

The image is of an outline that looks a lot like Michael Jordan's, in the iconic, ball-in-one-hand pose, spread out over the Chicago cityscape.

Let me just pause to say, Chicago, you da man!

Moving on... I have to say, I'm incredibly impressed by this campaign for a couple of reasons.
1) The insight - Instead of tip-toeing around it, these guys have grabbed the bull by the horns (pun intended), and addressed the real issue here - that James is bound to be living in the shadow of the superstar Jordan's legacy. No doubt that hordes of people will be waiting to see if he can fill those big shoes, and tons of MJ adorers will be hoping that he fails miserable. Frankly, who needs that kind of pressure?

2) The strategy - Instead of kowtowing to James and selling him on the product — the advantages and needs of suitor cities New York, Cleveland and Chicago — the campaign focuses instead on "the role the product could play in (James') life... They appeal directly to James' competitive spirit and challenge him to outdo even Jordan, who always loved a good challenge himself."

3) The risk - It's a ballsy move to be so direct with the guy, considering how much they stand to lose, but I firmly believe that with great work like this, there's great reward. Isn't that what great advertising is all about... or should be all about?

I got my fingers crossed on this one...