Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good bye 2008 – Hello 2009

The year behind will be remembered as one full of action. In the first 6 month prices exploded and it seemed that everyday goods become luxury, in the last 6 month the economy slides into a proper world recession. As business is psychology for a big part, people were first manic and are now depressive. It would help us all if we would think a bit more balanced, unrealistic exaggerations in the one or other direction are causing disappointment. Every recession is also a good time to think about values. Are money and goods the only thing making us happy? Or the most important one? If so, we deserve being hit hard now. However: Good and bad times in economy happen in waves, so at the bottom line only one thing is sure: It can only get better. 
Welcome 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking web films to the big screen

Some news from my former home town Amsterdam where the guys seem to be innovative without a halt. The latest initiative is called upload cinema, which is basically a film club bringing web films to the big screen in a real cinema. Once per month people are gathering and enjoying a new form of cinema. Sounds fun, and I am sure that the initiative can work as role model for other countries and cities as well. Anyone, Helsinki?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Berlin bars - or why it pays off to be different

Berlin is different. Still. The city is unique in the world, also due to its history and also due to the creative mass of people. One part which makes Berlin unique are its bars and restaurants - especially the ones with a special concept. You can find basically something for any taste, and you can also find things you'll never expect. I have to mention the Finnish bar and restaurant which serves traditional snacks with original recipes – exotic for Berlin people. And one more tip: If you go to Berlin, make a stop in Pony bar. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sock and awe - Quick ideas vs Big ideas

It didn’t take long, actually just a day, that the net community celebrated the bizarre attack on George W. Bush with a shoe in a press conference. Many flash games popped up, one of them, where you naturally have to throw shoes. Many brands nowadays react quickly as well on happenings in their context, bringing quick reactions and being part of the discussion topics. Some parts in the advertising community even feel that quick reactions replace the big idea, a big concept, while others just believe in the big idea. To my opinion brands should follow naturally both paths, no need to have a hassle quick idea or big idea.

Ode to design (and some words on competitions)

Design is a good idea, a famous quote and true indeed. Product design, graphic design, type design, interior design and all the other disciplines are one of the most important parts in marketing and often give people the reason to tick. I love good design, so I take this discipline as a key factor, also due to my heritage in this field. It seems that in 2008 design has come (once again) in the focus of the advertising community. Naturally advertising and design are connected with each others, but in 2008 the biggest advertising festivals Cannes Lions and Eurobest have introduced a design category to their competition cluster. Lots of works were submitted, so the introduction of these categories was a success. On the advertising festival in Cannes I spoke with the Design Lion Grand Prix winner (Turner Duckworth London for Coca Cola), and they were very pleased to stand in the center of attention for a while - not a bad thing. My view on design categories in these competitions is a bit split, however. I would like to encourage people to take part in design only competitions, which have a long heritage and a better reputation within the design industry. Red Dot, Type Directors club, if awards, you name it. Long live design!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Season greetings teach us a lesson, again!

It’s christmas time, and my e-mail inbox and mailbox is full of season greetings and cards. Quite some 80 % of them are made so boring and without any love that I feel harassed and dump them immediately, with the bad feeling that it would have been better not to receive anything. This can be seen as a parable for marketing communications in general: In 80 % of the cases people don't like the ads, commercials, brochures, websites and all the other touch points. If, however, things are made well people are happily spending their time with the ad, commercial – or the christmas card. What does this tell us? Let's skip 80 % of the crap and concentrate on the 20 %, and people won't be harassed by marketing anymore. Crises solved. Too simple?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The secret behind Barack Obama’s visual identity

Two videos on youtube which explain nicley how the logo and visual identity for the most important campaign of the last years have been developed. They show also alternatives, which haven't made into the final. Very interesting – have a look and click on the title of this post to be guided there. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Branded spaces and pop-up stores

Branded spaces and pop-up stores are more popular then ever, as they enable real physical interaction with the often distant brands. People feel good in a nice pop-up store like the latest opening of Reebok in NYC. The pop-up store is located in an old gallery and charms with great graphic design and bright colors. If people enjoy branded spaces on the one hand and reject classical advertising on the other, we can guess where some parts of the budgets will shift in the future.

Monday, December 15, 2008

100 best fonts of all times

For some they are the center of their doings, for most they are something they never think about actively: I speak about fonts. Fact is that they play a major role in branding and advertising, and demand deep knowledge for perfect application. Now fontshop Germany has issued an interesting collection with the 100 best fonts of all times. Naturally the selection is subjective, however gives an interesting insight in this beautiful craft. Have a look by yourself!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Time to say goodbye, GM.

The car industry is in trouble, the US car industry is in big trouble and GM is… shortly before the end? It seems to be that the time for these fossil car brands is over. As the car industry is depending on long-term planning changes which are taken now come into effect in several years, too much time for a company which is generating losses of 3 m $. Per hour. What we can learn from that? We have to be innovative at any time, the future is now. We need more business creativity and brave decisions to have success - trying to repeat the success stories from the past is a good recipe for sudden death. Good by, GM.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

English Russia

As a planner in Finland the Russian market is of great importance, as many clients are doing business in Russia. The website "English Russia" helps to stay in touch with the market and people and gives daily updates on Russia, in English language. One of my favorites!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alternative to Advertising Festivals II

’The Feast gathers the world's leading creative mavericks, entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, radicals and innovators together to inspire action to change the world.’ The next session will be in New Orleans on February 6, 2009.

Consumer Trends 2009

Forecasting firm has issued the free end-of-year briefing including six consumer trends for 2009. Always interesting to get a quick overview what others think will happen. I like the happy ending, it is always nice to know that it can't get any worse. Or can it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Alternative to Advertising Festivals

Cannes Lions, Eurobest, Epica and every year some new and others: Advertising Festivals are big business. If you have seen them all and feel that it is time for something new I recommend TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design): Inspired talks by the world's leading thinkers and doers. The annual conference is challenging the speakers to give the talk of their lives, and that in just 18 min. Interesting concept, fresh thinking and less ad clowns. Sounds good to me! The next TED Global in Europe will be held in Oxford, England from 21st - 24th July 2009. Until then you can listen to some of the most inspiring speeches of all times from the TED site, if you click on the headline of this article you will be brought there.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh great - The Economist

A "The Economist" spoof cover running through the blogosphere shows how simple and effective viral communication can be. Although it is not the real cover it describes precisely what happened in the last year, when the finance crises has proved international stock markets to be global online casinos. It might be that this spoof cover will be seen much more often as the real covers, and actually it doesn't matter if it was done by a private person or marketers. Let go - brands are shaped and build as well by consumers nowadays.

Rampenfest by BMW

Although it is not a very new case anymore I like to post this great piece of communication done by BMW, as it is a rare occasion that I am really excited about something. Maybe it is because I am German, so it is always nice to see people playing around with German clichĂ©. Basically it is a 37 min documentary about the small village Oberpfaffelbachen and the dreams of their residents who want to become famous by launching a 1-series coupĂ© with help of a giant ramp to USA. The whole story is fiction, and played over all channels the web 2.0 has to offer. With this very unusual approach BMW made it even to the main CNN news for 10 min. The narrative is so brilliant that I'm sure this case will be one of the winners in Cannes 2009. Take me by the name!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Forecasting the recession

Forecasting is one of the deals a planner has to handle every week. However, I am very careful with this business. Why? It is not longer than 4 month ago that all the great wise people were forecasting an oil price of 200 $ per barrel. Further investment specialists forecasted that gasoline and diesel fuels will never be cheaper again. Needless to say that all that was great bullshit, now we have an oil price of 45 $ and the certainty that forecasting is a delicate issue . But hey, why learning from the past? The show must go on, and the so called experts are forecasting a long and painful recession and the end of the economy as we knew it. We have to go our own ways and see our own realities to avoid psychological mass phenomenon created by irresponsible "experts" and media which are only benefiting from sensations, either extremely good or extremely bad. And if you now still want to know what the ape featuring this post has to do with it?
Well, a blindfolded ape was choosing with darts his investments, while being benchmarked with highly professional investment specialists. Guess who had the best performance…

AD, Copy and thinking silos

Agencies often complain about clients and their marketing silos. Arguable, yes, maybe companies should act more flexible and have a more open marketing organization. However, the agencies are not any better. Instead of sending a flexible team of wise people to solve the challenge, way too often an Art Director and a Copywriter are locking themselves up in a dark room for 48 hrs to present the magic results - often a really really funny TV commercial. Cool. A lot of things have to change in this industry, still. Luckily I can influence the way of doing things. Otherwise marketing and communication business would be a sad place.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whopper Virgins

There has been a lot of discussions in the web about the new Burger King campaign. Is it ethical? Is it an arrogant sign of american imperialism? To my opinion it is a nice peace of communication, entertaining and targeted. I am so bored about all pseudo moralism out there. Let's don't make things bigger as they are, and let's concentrate and more important things.

Social Media

Some words about social media, or better said, a definition which came to my mind:
”Social networks have always been there. Friends, work fellows, family etc. The digital technologies have turned them into a media, as they can be reached now fast and convenient.”


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