Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Inbox of Immaturity

I've been too busy watching A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila to post my immaturity. You can have too much of a good thing apparently. Good luck to Dani. Sorry Amanda and Bobby, but T-squared deserves the best of both worlds. That didn't come out right. You know what I mean though. Actually, you probably don't...and you're definitely better off for it. She's just cool. Anyway, another excuse I have for letting the IOI slip is: I've been studying. Nope, not for the GMAT's or LSAT's or Jeopardy (What is quiche...anyone?); rather, I've been studying my maths...the math of rap, that is!

This is almost as good as The Village Voice's breakdown of This is Why I'm Hot: Rap Charts. A sneak peak of what you'll find (a couple of the more tame lyrics):

Wow. I really can enjoy that all day. But anyway, a few more links for the rock or folk music fans...
-This is not for trendy mustache wearers: Beards Rule
-This new sport may not catch on: Binocular Soccer
-This customer complaint is classic: Jimmy Dean Call
-This is a coldblooded prank: Cardinals Game
-This is for the margarita-loving and advertising-recalling New Yorkers: Dell Dude's New Gig

Those should hold you over for a while. Peace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Me? You? Me? Meme?

Catching up on some blogs a few days ago (oh yeah, that hot RSS action), I realized Kevin called me out in his meme...

No, I have not turned into Beeker from the Muppets. A meme is "a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation). For all I know this tagging experiment may be over by now, and now I'm the guy who is trying to restart a wave after it ran its course a few times. But either way, the question to be answered was do you respect the Mediasnacker (one who consumes content in bit-size pieces) when you blog? Here is the video:

And now for my answer, it depends how much time I have to write. As Winston Churchill said: I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. For this post I had Thanksgiving weekend. Bye.

Oh, Eric, Mike, Avin, and Misha - you're it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday 3 Months Ago

As I considered what to write the morning, I was still full from last night's Thanksgiving feast—aka Gaffney Fatfest 2007. Feeling like I even had stuffing stuffed fingers, I decided to check back to see if I had any draft entries sitting pretty for revival. Well, they were never really live, so maybe "vival" is more appropriate. And here's what I found from 11 Fridays ago...

At the suggestion of Amit Gupta (founder of Jelly and Photojojo), I attended my first coworking session. For those not in the know, coworking blends the appeal of an independent environment with the benefits of a traditional office by offering a space for people to work in the company of others. I won't get into the definition too much, just my experience. Here is the space:
Yes, I was the first one there at 9:30AM. The host was not even awake. I felt a lot less cool than I did entering the Chambers Street apt in my t-shirt from Buenos Aires, jeans, and high-top vans at 9:20.

Either way, by 10:45 or so it was packed. About 12 people, all with their laptops. And as suspected all of their laptops, Macs. I had never met any of them, but I did know a little bit about 'em. The beauty and fluidity of the Jelly NYC Wiki, which is the place where we all signed up for the Jelly session. Here is the wiki:
Yup, there really was a dude named Patrick Ewing and he had a sick keyboard technique. But seriously, overall it went down like this. Everyone introduced themselves as new peeps entered the apartment. We worked in relative silence for the most part - some indie rock played softly in the background - but every once in a while people would get up move around and show some of their work to each other. I commented on a few sites' usability, functions, and content and started to flesh out an idea I had for one of my clients (a hotel):

To host coworking sessions. Yes, that simple. To provide an area/open an existing area to this community. This "work together" confirmed that Jelly may become a victim of its own success. It was pretty packed even in the sizable Financial District apt., so a little more space would not only be appreciated but soon necessary. All it needs to provide is a comfortable space and Wi-Fi access. This hotel had the space (in fact it had a newly created space in its lobbies that was supposed to enable the same type of interaction). It could go above and beyond by offering free coffee and snacks, which is an expenditure it would likely recoup in people buying more substantial breakfasts or lunches. Regardless, it would do three things: (1) Build good energy in the hotel, (2) Build goodwill with entrepreneurs and creative types (which would hopefully impact future stays), and (3) Create the Hot Club Effect (which means people aspiring to be like these guys and girls as well as those wanting to meet these thoughtful people would come and stay).

In sum: Jelly, and the like, are really just forums to not feel alone, to bounce ideas off others, to meet interesting people, to inspire and be inspired while working. And really, that's more than enough. It happens naturally and seamlessly as you can see even from the way that people sign up to attend. It demonstrates the selflessness of the host and the power of the community. It's what every office that values creativity and collaboration should seek to create.

Other Resources:
Coworking Community Blog
Cream Cheese in Philly

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sold Out In New York

Nope, it's not just 30 Rock Live that's already sold out tonight in NYC. The second show of Birthright Israel Monologues is also completely booked. I wrote pre- first one here.

Now, I don't want to give anything away about my actual performance (you gotta wait for the DVD to go on sale as a stocking, and/or make one crazy night a little bit crazier), but I will give you a little behind-the-scenes/in-the-bathroom look at my pre-show ritual. The first 30-seconds is about right.

Triple C

In the interest of consistency, I've cut the list down to three...even if Triple C stands for cataloging cool communications.

First, I'm glad to see these Geico commercials back. So far I've only seen this one on TV with the guy from Police Academy—which is the one I was most excited for given my love for those movies; however, I'm a much bigger fan of the James Lipton spot I found online. (I also think "geico police academy" is a tag they want to give this video when posting it around since that may be how people search - I did.) Either way, just as I appreciated Geico's multiple campaigns each with its own message running simultaneously, I appreciate that they stayed with this campaign (to promote its service). This form(ula) certainly has longevity - what celebrity would you choose for next round?

The second thing I'd like to give props to is what I'm calling AT&T&T-shirts. (Yes, very original I know.) Basically AT&T has thought up a cool way to leverage its new campaign (which is about working wherever you go/live) by enabling participation through personalization. However, rather than just give these shirts away, they're selling them (like Burger King's Xbox games). Props to the team for creating a new revenue stream. (Props to me for rhyming.) Anyway, you can create your customized shirt starting at $17.95, and I've made mine here - shouting out my two homes (Manhattan and Dix Hills, NY - no glamorous international travel lately). P.S. You can also make mugs, stickers, and bags right here.

And finally, here's a great article about Tide's "Swash" initiative. I'm liking the pop up store and P&G's claim that its "intention is to gather consumer insights" from this group of Gen Y. Furthermore, encouraging re-wearing between washes is eco-friendly. It seems to me that Tide has taken interesting strides (double points for rhyming) in carving out a position as the most eco-friendly mass detergent option/brand. Its Coldwater wash ad is a prime example. I'll be keeping my eye on the Tide.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Buyer's Something

I'm not necessarily feeling buyer's remorse. Maybe it's buyer's confusion. Or more like buyer's obsession. At about midnight last night I was catching up on some feeds and happened upon this story from Cool Hunting.

In case you don't click the link, here's the deal. Reebok partnered with Graphic Designer/Associate Director of Research at MIT Media Lab, John Maeda, to create a limited edition (100 pairs) sneaker (based on the Reebok Ventilator). They are calling it the Reebok Timetanium, and it not only sports graphics based on John Maeda’s original algorithms and computer code, but the inside of the shoe is actually lined with his own hand-written calculations. Take a look:

So at 12:03, I'm on the site seeing if there are any left. There were 5. I think, these kicks are mad ugly. I watch him talk about the shoe. I think, that's a pretty tight story. Then I start convincing myself that owning a great marketing/infosthetics/design/simplicity case study is worth the money. Then I worry that I'm going to miss my opportunity. Then I realize I've never purchased shoes or any clothing besides custom t-shirts online. So I go check my closet for the size of my Reebok Pumps. 10. It's worth buying this type of thing (one that I usually have to try on first) online. It's a good learning experience I tell myself. Then I purchase. Then I can't believe I just spent $179.23 on a pair of sneakers. Who do I think I am? Turtle? But they're "limited edition", and it's like owning a piece of history...I guess.

Now I'm hoping they fit but cool if they don't because it's all about the experience. I've been on a buyer's roller-coaster ever since. I'll let you know when they arrive.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Give a Guy a Ball

Sorry for the suggestive subject line, but it conveys the truth I'm trying to capture (and want to document for future use). That is, if most guys (and I suppose some girls) a sports ball (soccer, soft, foot, tennis) or even some other round shaped object like a rock or something AND some space, they'll figure out a way to entertain themselves. Especially if there are other people around to watch and/or participate. Be astounded by their creativity. Idiotball (played on an Israeli kibbutz beach comes immediately to mind - which I'm still waiting for a friend to upload as does an unnamed game in Nantucket - though beer was involved so I'm not sure what inspired our imaginations). Be prepared to be energized to join in the fun. And prepare, in other cases, to be wowed by their stubbornness. And that is the perfect transition into this old clip I found today on True Hoop blog.

Besides the fact that cross-over athletes (Bo anyone?) are cool, I honestly believe Nash would have stayed out there until he got dragged off if he had not yet made the header into the hoop. And if it came to that, he would have had a lousy second half (maybe even trying to head the bball on a fast break). I love that this type of determination even in a goof-around expo is so obvious. Reminds me of every time I leave a court needing to hit my last shot (even if it comes down to a layup in order to beat sundown), every time I try a silly trick shot (like a between the legs bounce from the foul line) feeling the need to drop it (and pressure, which builds after each miss - notice how 3 tries jumps to 5 and then 10 and then...), and every time I lose a game of 2 on 2, wanting "one more run, same teams."

Give a guy a lemon and he'll start tossing it at a target. Give a guy a ball and he'll make lemonade. (Huh?)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ode to Goulet. Goulet.

Here's the thing: Just like I wouldn't hire a clown to fix a leak in the john, I wouldn't dare attempt to honor this man's passing on my own. Instead, I had to go the most passionate Goulet fan I know to get this ditty. That is my buddy Jake, who has been responsible not only for some of your favorite IOI links but also for some great comments—and outside of the blogosphere some fantastic work for the government and shirtless bar hopping. (Full bio of the author available upon request. Picture possible coming soon.) After a full 10 days grieving period, he has answered. Without further ado, I give you "Ode to Goulet. Goulet."

Since his passing and my subsequent vacation to Burbank to properly mourn the man, I finally feel compelled - nay, inspired - to pay homage to a great man. A man's man at that. One who was just as comfortable slapping you across the mouth for your insolence in trying to tear down the biz as he was in a velvet blazer and full turtleneck. I would go so far as to liken him to a real life James Bond without the license to kill. Although, if he were ever palling around with Neil Diamond, he may have been party to some ‘killing drifters for erection’ escapades. Lets look closer at comparison. They both drove cool cars (Aston Martin - Alpha Romeo), they both enjoyed martinis (Diablo - Shaken/not Stirred) and they both had the swagger of a modern day Greek god. Panties dropped at the mere whisper of their name. The only difference is that Mr. Goulet is a living, breathing, frieking Legend.

What makes Goulet so much better than his contemporaries you ask? I'll tell you. He had the great sense to poke fun at his larger than life voice and persona (probably stemming from his French-Canadian ancestry) starting in the mid 90s with commercials for the worldwide leader (ESPN for you sporting neophytes). It was this ability, not shared by other musical luminaries like the Chairman (Can you say Duets?) and Englerbert Humperdink, that enabled him to stay relevant to his dying day. He continued to stay on our minds through a series of skits on SNL and a wicked interview on Conan O'Brien by the comic stylings of Will Ferrell. Whether he was belting out hit rap songs or providing you with awesome ring tones, Goulet was staying modern. And, most recently he starred in a Super Bowl commercial the likes of which the world has never known. Mr. Goulet's foray into the nut business this past year will haunt me to my dying day. I will always be cognizant of the spectre of the post lunch food-coma bandit.

Will there be anyone else who can capture the essence of Goulet? In doing so, they would become a marvel for all mankind. My heart hopes so, but my brain says no. The current crop of stars just doesn't have it. Justin Timberlake is too pretty. He probably waxes his legs. Eddie Vedder is too dirty. The list is as long as Goulet’s resume, and each and every person remains flawed. For those of you out there who dare to mention that devilish, dancing, supernova that is Wayne Newton, heed my warning. He couldn't carry Goulet's jockstrap in a suitcase.

What I'm really trying to say is that Mr. Robert Goulet kept himself relevant by constantly reinventing himself and for this, he captured the hearts and minds of the world, not to mention my own.

Single Tear.

Jake Conte
Unabashed Goulet Enthusiast

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Get Grant's Green

Anyone coming here for the first time may not know my affection for alliteration. But it's well-documented. Regardless of your affinity for the technique, you should consider getting a copy of The Green Marketing Manifesto. Here is it in all its glory.
John Grant has been a source of knowledge and inspiration over my five years in the advertising world. His Brand Tarot blog has been linked to for a while (if anyone's coming to the site vs. RSS). So I'm sure it will be a fantastic read. And it could not have come at a more appropriate time. Whether you're tending to brands, starting a business, or making personal changes to promote an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, the green movement will have an impact on our future. As awkward as NBC's Sunday Night Football half-time show in the dark was and as cheesy as their marketing of their "Green is Universal" initiative is, I appreciate the thought and, more importantly, action. But it's clear that marketers especially need help from us in the agency world to figure out how the become more sustainable (probably how they define green in the first place) as well as how they communicate it (proving they believe it and aren't just looking to cash in (make some green, anyone?) from the "hot thing.")

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Refreshing Banner Advertising?

I, like most, am usually banner blind. (I've linked to this before but don't remember when, but originally got it from Noah.) However, these caught my eye the other day. Now, they're nothing really special, but for some reason I liked them enough to Apple Shift 4 them for blog use.

I'm a big fan of the tagline, "Tastier than Filet Mignon" - which Papaya King has patented (1975) by the way. Especially since I recently read a good post called if taglines were honest. While this may not be 100% true and tested, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Another classic: Carlsberg's "Probably the best beer in the world" was love at first site (sometime around 20.02 I saw it in on a coaster in an Irish pub in Spain) and has been a favorite of mine since.

The "look and feel" takes me back but not in a they have old food type of way. More nostalgic and makes me want to hit it up on the way home. I also think there's something appealing about having numerous and diverse messages on one skyscraper. Of course they are all related to the products PK offers, but I like the lack of single-mindedness and waiver back and forth between the line. (Yes, I know this little game is not typical.) It also find it interesting that these messages don't just highlight the frank and the fruit drink, but really hit you with all types of "sell": aggressively calling out the competition ("I don't want to get a movie hot dog. I want a Papaya King Hot Dog.") and even sticking it to Slim Jim ("They've got snap!").

Anyway, that's all. Just a little tired of putting up ads from Apple and Dove and Sony. Wanted to shout out some more obscure advertising companies out there.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Comment Victoriously

It's hard to get people to comment. I usually consider a post a big success if I get two (since, of course, I can respond to each and bump it up to 4!). I know some of my fellow Gen GuY bloggers agree.
Last week, a very well-respected (especially in the planning world), -liked (he once received hundreds of comments after writing a heart-felt post about blogging), and -read (actually that's an assumption; more appropriately would be "oft-read" on his blog and in Campaign magazine) guy named Russell Davies held a contest. The prize a copy of Mark Penn's Microtrends dictated the challenge: Come up with your own microtrend(s) and leave them in the comments to be voted on by Jeremy from Penguin. (I linked to the Penguin site for the book rather than Amazon to show love.) I'm happy to announce I was one of the winners.

My favorite happened to come from John Dodds, another planner I have been inspired by. It was: "The Unwell - people going online, erroneously diagnosing themselves with worst case scenarios on the basis of symptoms and no knowledge." So true. I submitted three and was talking with a few friends on Saturday night about them, and we all seemed to have a different opinion about which we liked most/least. It got a little heated with the Sake bombs flowing, so I thought I'd put it up to vote. (Plus, I like using Vizu polls as some of you know from the Flu Shot one I created - which probably supports The Unwell.)

Here are the descriptions:
Playground Papa's - think the prom king from little children (movie) or joe from brothers and sisters (tv). Men who embrace being the primary caretaker and man of the house-hold chores but also make sure they stay manly. (This does not require any infidelity though the ex's suggest it.) Also known as the triple P's (add Progressive) and/or Soccer Dads.

- You won't find diversity in major cities anymore, you'll have to go out to the surrounding suburbs. And that's what many recent grads and young families are going to do to have a more rich and multi-cultural life.

- People who grew up IMing, texting, blogging, etc. but now fail to use proper grammatical English in the traditional world. This slang/shorthand is not just used in emails but also infiltrates presentations, legal documents, and love letters.

I don't know how much crossover there is between our blogs. But I'm assuming that only a handful of people that come here daily also read him regularly. Even if he's got me totally covered, you may have not read his contest in time or you may not have had the time to consider or you may have felt you had to say something intelligent in his comment box. Rest assured—and I'm sure most of you know—you don't have to feel that sort of pressure here. (I'm a couple days away from posting my next Inbox of Immaturity, which amongst other things will have an officer's awkward pat down of a suspicious character on the street.)

So, if you have some microtrends to add to the mix, I'd love to hear them.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Jewish Update

Over a month and five or so worksessions/rehearsals later, I'm less than 4 days away from performing my original piece for Birthright Israel Monologues. You can read about my feelings before my first meeting here. I thought then that I would document this experience but after that first meeting, I knew I wouldn't. Not because it was secret, but because it became a very personal experience for me. No, not a religious experience, nor a transformational one. Just a very personal one for me and the rest of the people in the show. I didn't want to feel the urge to write about them, their words, or their growth. I didn't want to give anything away either. But now, in the final days (and now that I've finally completed my monologue) I thought I'd share something from night one.

We spent the greater part of an hour doing a timed writing exercise. This is a fairly common way to practice I believe but she referenced this book called Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg as a good intro for us. Back to the exercise: pretty simple, she would say a phrase, ask a question, play a song, show us a picture, etc. and we had to write what comes into our minds. The only rules were keep your hand moving and on the page, don't cross out (or worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation), and don't think to hard (or worry about making sense).

Honestly, it doesn't sound too unique or amazing, but at the end of the however long (40 minutes I'd guess) I felt incredibly rewarded. Not because what I wrote was so poignant, rather because liberating thoughts from my mind, giving them life on paper was something I hadn't done in a while. I should clarify that it's a certain type of thoughts—about Judaism/Jewish stuff mostly—; however, writing was a completely creative endeavor without any purpose other than to get comfortable writing. Still with a deadline (each new question she asked) but not a typical schedule deadline like sending the pov to a client for example.

Rather than use that train of thought to go into how I think this type of exercise would be appropriate for certain types of qual, I'll show you the first thing I wrote. (The whole point of this post was to pass on the date/time for my performance by the way.) It was my answer to "Do you have any Jewish memorabilia, like jewelry, an accessory, or even a t-shirt?"

Should I raise my hand - the first thing that comes to mind is that cheesy Urban Outfitters t-shirt. The one that I wore in public only once. Not for fear of religious persecution. But scarred shitless, as I should have been) of the fashion police. Yes, you know what I'm talking about by now - "Everyone Loves A Jewish Boy." Fuck. That wasn't therapeutic like I thought it would be. It was straight up embarrassing. Whatever. It sucks and I feel like a loser every time I pay to put it in a washing machine. Well, at least it's comfortable.

Re-writing it now (I suck at using the scanner in my office. Plus I don't trust it not to be found by anyone else.) is weird, especially since I think that "straight up embarrassing" line made me sound like Kenny from Can't Hardly Wait. Either way, I wrote a couple pages that night on everything from a freestyle group my friends Craig, Vaz, and me loosely created (meaning we'd break it down drunk at house parties or leaving bars our first year out of college) to female IDF soldiers to JAPS.

Onto the reason for the post, I've written something else for this Monday, November 5th at 7PM (doors opening) at The Slipper Room - 167 Orchard Street (Corner of Orchard and Stanton Streets). I think you're supposed to email to get on the list. There's also a show on the 19th of November, which I'll probably be more prepared for :) if you this is too short notice. Last night was the first night I saw everyone do their pieces and they are really different and really great, so as much as I don't think it would be the worst thing if no one I knew came, I do encourage you to try your best to make one of the shows.

Update: Ruvym agrees and offers his own encouragement. He's opening the show, and he's really awesome, so definitely be on time!