Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bye Bye Blogspot

I'm moving my blog over to elgaffney.com.


It will be hosted by WordPress. In two weeks, I will start to redirect this url to its new home.

For all subscribers, you may have noticed this change already. You should be fine and still getting the feed. (That's why I used Feedburner but please check.) But, as many of you also may have noticed, it's not running perfectly smoothly...yet. (Hopefully within the week.) So apologies if all past posts have been refreshed in your reader and if full posts are not being displayed right now. And finally, if you're not already subscribing and would like to you'll see nice big Subscribe in the upper right hand corner of the newly-designed blog.

A huge thanks goes out to Eric, who in addition to helping me register and manage my domain names as well as make the transition, has been invaluable in giving me blogging advice.

For the love of god man, when you write your last post on the blogger platform, get to the f-ing point! I'm paraphrasing but check the first line of the post. Message received, man.

Why am I changing platforms? I wanted my blog to grow up. More than just wanting and being ready for a change (which would send me off on a political rant), I felt like this blog design and url were actually impacting my writing. This is partly true because it was boring me a bit to have the same template for almost two years. (I made one change about six months into blogging.) Yet, it is mostly due to the fact that everything from the brown wallpaperish background to the left column of widgets to the width of the space used to the blogger search bar on the top to the address (elgaffney.blogspot.com) had put me in a box and the walls were starting to close in. A serious post didn't really feel like it fit. A more thoughtful post didn't either nor did the design inspire these types of posts. (Forget for a fact that schedule doesn't always permit either.) While I've heard there are also benefits of power/speed and utilities/plugins, I really just wanted to be re-energized around this blog, and I want to make it better.

I'll be making some changes over the next couple weeks, including going back and tagging + categorizing all my posts (which I failed to do here). But it's going to be pretty much the same El Gaffney (whatever that means to you). I hope you all enjoy the new and improved site.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Work and The Work

I've been pretty much ignoring this blog save a few running for charity and trying to start a non-profit posts.

What a good guy!

But truth is, most of my time has been spent trying to get you people (especially the sports fans among ya) to feel a deeper, stronger connection to ESPN. I do this primarily, as many of you know, by developing interesting strategies for their variety of properties. These ideas serve as platforms for our creative work.

That's what we call what you call "ads" here at W+K, the "work." I wanted to use this post not only to make an excuse about being super busy with work but also to show you the most recent work I have been a part of bringing to life (in my own small way).

When most sports fans think of ESPN's advertising, they think "those SportsCenter commercials." And that's a good thing because most of them 'em. I do too (even if they don't require a "planner" and brief). When we set out to announce the start of SportsCenter going live in the morning, however, some strategic thinking was essential. Planning's role (my role) was as much about tonal approach as it was about message. The news itself was not wildly important news to sports fans nor would it have a huge impact on the show, so we had to be honest, transparent even, and make the campaign the news/entertainment. The tagline (as it often does) encapsulated our strategy "More work for us. More better for you." You seen it (and my handwriting) here already.

In addition, I am particularly jazzed (yeah, I said it) about latest work we did right after the Olympics. Our clients smartly wanted to be proactive about making a statement that celebrated this global event (which of course ran on NBC, not ESPN). We framed the challenge to figure out a way to be true to our personality without being self-serving. We turned the work around within a week and the response to our ad in the Sunday New York Times has been great.

Also very recently, we launched our campaign for Monday Night Football on ESPN. The idea is simple, Monday Night Football helps you get through Monday. Was this a planning breakthrough? Hells no. But it's the truth, and in my career as a planner, I've found some of the campaigns I'm most proud of working on have started with identifying a clear truth like Mondays suck or You need a vacation (Bahamavention). Back to the MNF campaign, I'm really happy with how it turned out...and only partly because MC Hammer is in one TV spot. (Whose beeper keep beepin' and beepin'!?) Check out Creativity's nice write-up.

Other than that, I've been working to get our office's blog in full swing, updating my Tumblr, and of course wishing I was responsible for the brief that led to this work.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Marathon Update

Two months and one day left until I Run the NYC Marathon to Stop MS.

Perfect time for an update. Well, to be honest, tomorrow would probably be the perfect time given it will be exactly two months. But since I can't guarantee there will be time write this post tomorrow, I'll say today is the perfect time to write and tomorrow is the perfect time to read it. I'm glad we were able to compromise. Wait, but then I wonder if I should change that first line to address the many readers (double digits at least), who have better things to do than read this on Labor Day. At least those New Yorkers, who have been blessed with a beautiful one for tanning and barbecuing. (Okay, "blessed" is a bit much). And especially those people, who'll be headed back to an office with a desk in it with a computer on it that they'll be sitting in front of all day tomorrow. Or is it today? Tuesday? You there? Here?

Exhausted yet? Confused perhaps? I promise there's a complete sentence. In the future. The update:

Since I (officially) started training on July 15th, I have run approximately 130 miles. That includes everything from my first 4 miles with the Run MS crew on that Tuesday night to yesterday's 10K (6.2 mile) Nike+ Human Race, a global race which I ran solo on the West Side Highway and in which I'm currently placed 2936th (out of how many I'm still unsure). My longest distance has been a little over a half marathon, so I'm going to have to step up the mileage in September in order to have a nice taper toward mid October. That means stopping drinking and wearing white pants. (I don't know which will be more difficult!)

In addition to training, I've raised $3,345 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—only $105 short of reaching my total goal. And with 2 months left, while I'm hesitant to explain why I chose $3,450 as my initial target (fine, it was because I'm aiming to finish the marathon in under 3 hours and 45 minutes), I'm less hesitant to shoot for a new fundraising goal of a nice even $4,000.

That's right. Four large. (I think that's what large stands for but if not, just refer back to the four thousand dollar figure.) Before running at that goal, I want to thank all the people who have helped me to (just about) reach my (old) donation pledge:

Jess April, Stephanie Redlener, Andrew Tchabovsky, Hara and Michael Cohen, Matt O’Laughlin, Robert Nelson, Lisa Michel, Kirsten Shiroma, Eric Friedman, Kim Nguyen, Jeff Friedman, Jason Brupbacher, Steven Krammer, Sherri and Jeff Feinman, Matthew Jung, Mark DiMassimo, Vince and Ila Gaffney, Paul Garvey, Zach Lev, Eric Mishlove, Tom Theys, Larry and Linda Fields, Erica, Dave and Noah Ellenbogen, Barry Blyn, Jen Giroux, Eve Silverman, Jason Oke, Pete Brown, Justin Eshak, Ron and Diane Kaufman, Michael Katz, Matthew Johnson, Steven Fields, Leah Zamkow, Donna and Ed Mishlove, Tori Greene, Marie Shadi, Lee Goldstein, Chad Blakenship, Slyvan Garfunkel, Arthur Marino, Phyllis and Jarrett Pikser, Aki Spicer, Noah Brier, Evan Schepps, Sarah Saline, Sean Cox, Kamila Prokop, Genna McKeel, Steve and Patti Cohen, and David Buxton...so far :)

Once again, I really appreciate all of your support. It's both touching and motivating. Almost as motivating as my new "Power Song" (which may or may not have been featured recently on The Hills - don't judge):



For anyone else wanting to make a donation and see their name in the bright shining lights (read as: text) of this blog, you have plenty of time. Just click on this link to donate.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Please Vote for HourMission!

Yes, I went there; I put an exclamation point in the title. I'm already second-guessing it. But moving on...

Yesterday, my buddy Matt and I submitted an idea we've been working on quite a bit (especially lately) to American Express' Members Project. If you haven't heard of Members Project, it is a contest in which people can submit their ideas that make a broad positive impact as well as rate, discuss and vote on all the submitted ideas. We would love if you would take all three of the latter actions (rate, discuss and most importantly VOTE - all caps is my latest punctuation faux pas). The entry deadline has passed unfortunately for those interested (though fortunate for us, since we don't need any more competition than the other ~1200 ideas in contention).

The voting deadline is September 1st. The top 25 projects advance to the next round, and the top 5 get some serious cash money. (Eat your words, Wilmer. And then go volunteer.) We would sincerely appreciate your support by voting and if you're so compelled passing this post or this information—

1) Please log into: www.membersproject.com (Yes, you have to be an Amex Cardmember, which is definitely a bit annoying. Hopefully you are already and have a login.)
2) Search for: CKGW4D (HourMission: Volunteering Made Easy)
3) Click: "Nominate This Project"

—to your friends, family, do-gooders and do-baders you know (we'll get them out of guilt).

Here is the widget I've downloaded from the site. Click on the blue hourmission link within it to go vote. (Punctuation is self-censored at this point.)


And for those interested in more info, here is a brief presentation we put together a while back:

hourmission 2.20.08
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: nonprofit time)

Lastly, if you're still with me, here is a sneak peek at the new logo we're working on with the extremely talented John Cornette:


Hope you found that interesting. Hope you have been inspired to vote (if not get your ass in gear to volunteer). No better way to end than with a rhyme.

P.S. Any feedback on the idea is greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just Blog It


Inspired by the image below (via tokyohanna) and of course this Nike commercial (via our Portland office), I made that note to self (and anyone else needing a reminder) above. That's about as artistic as I get. (Though did I mention I have commercial-worthy handwriting?) That's all. Now, how about that kiss.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Doctor Is In The Middle

The original title was "Just What the Pretend Dr. Horrible Ordered. Pepper." Yes, it was even more obviously a way for me to connect three related pieces of content (four if you count the content link) and serve them to you with very little (read as: no) added value. Hopefully, one or two of you haven't seen one or two of these things and find them entertaining.

First, our Portland office created a new site for Old Spice Pro-Strength Antiperspirant. It allows you to get your TV Medical Doctor certification. Here's mine:


You may have seen the commercials which feature Neil Patrick Harris. They're pretty good too but couldn't hold the stethoscope of (NPH as) Dr. Horrible. Greg March put me onto it with these two posts. Give it a watch:


And finally, Leland recently posted an interview of Stephen Colbert with the guy who wrote OBD (Obsessive Branding Disorder)...brought to you by Dr. Pepper. Check it out:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ESPN Will Make My Penmanship Famous

First, I'd like to thank all of my teachers from pre-school through fourth grade, my parents, G-d and the guy that made banana-grip for pencils and pens. While I'm at it I'd also like to thank the guy, who invented the piano key necktie. He didn't help me develop my handwriting per se, but he inspired a bit of this drive for perfection. And that perfectionism (word check? - yes, others have called it being anal), may have led to me needing an extra 30 minutes for all written homework and test including essays, it also led me here. To becoming the hand behind the man.

The man is Steve Braband. He is the face, body, voice, feet and everything else but the mind (not entirely at least) of our new campaign for ESPN's SportsCenter. A quick history: ESPN came to us wanting to know how to communicate the news that SportsCenter is going live from 9AM-3PM weekdays. We worked with them to create a brief and most importantly figure out the right personality, attitude and tone to bring to this simple message. Our creative team's idea wowed everyone. It was literally a personality...Steve.

They wanted to find and follow an ESPN employee just about 24/7 for two weeks leading up to SportsCenter going live and broadcast this employee live on ESPN during commercial breaks. It (IMHO) is less commercials or ads than it is content. This is quite possibly the work I'm most proud of being a part of (in crafting strategy more than copyhandwriting, believe it or not!) Here's one of my favorites so far from Day 2 of following Steve. Gotta love the running clock he has to keep with him at all times. Sports version of Flava Flav!



So where does my talent come in? Come on - don't tell me you missed it! Go back and peep that card at the end of the video. "More work for us. More better for you." Yeah, more work for me, writing that and everything on the site, Steveislive.com, (going live tomorrow - sneak peek for my readers) and banners driving to it. And that tagline, "Live" and "9AM-3PM" is shown at the close of each spot we do!

Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I'm about to get a hyperbaric chamber to keep this hand in tact. Next up, making my sunglasses famous like the Aussie Spicoli's.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So What, Wieden+Kennedy New York?

So what goes on at Wieden+Kennedy New York? I've heard this question numerous times since working here. In fact, one of my highly viewed posts is the one announcing my start. I know I asked Whudafxup with W+KNY way before I ever interviewed at this place. Sure, we get that one line in the AdAge Agency Report Card every year that reads something like "Lastly, the NY office continues to pump out entertaining work for ESPN." Which, of course, is better than nothing or hate-hate-hating. But when you've got your one other U.S. office, the global HQ in Portland, doing its thing for years and for clients like Nike, Coke, Old Spice, Heineken, Target, CareerBuilder, EA Sports, Starbucks and who knows what else; and you've got London winning Nokia, bringing it for Honda and killing it with their blog; and other global offices opening or coming strong, to put it simply: Pimpin' Ain't Easy.

So what did I do when I got here? Nothing at first, except absorb and understand the culture of this office. I identified a couple of opportunities to better our internal collaboration and our external brand. I set objectives, I drew on past experiences, and I started experimenting with solutions. Along the way, I certainly faced some challenges...and I know I'd be a fool to believe it's smooth sailing from here.

So what am I actually talking about? The creation of Wieden+Kennedy New York's blog.

I guess the idea was considered way back when I was a prospective employee, working out at Fallon Minneapolis and ready to move back to my home, NYC. The agencies on my radar were the ones people were talking about. They were the ones getting written up. They were part of the conversation, and thus, my consideration set. Wieden was always a favorite agency...too bad they were in Portland.

Yet it wasn't until shortly after I arrived that John Jay came through our office on his "we're AdWeek's Global Agency of the Year" tour that I totally believed in the importance of developing our office's unique culture and voice. The benefits that could be gained from sharing within our walls, across our network, within the industry and international creative community far outweighed the risks. I really believe this. And I have already seen how much more involved people become once someone takes the very little time to teach them (about the platform or a post).

So, I got people smarter than me to help create it. I enlisted people more interesting than me to populate it with content.

Now doesn't come the statement, "This is not an agency blog!" Of course, it is. Are we going to be different that some of the others? I sure hope so. And that's not a comment on agency blogs stinking - there are some fantastic ones that serve as inspiration to me at the very least. We obviously hope to be different because there's no need for the same content to be regurgitated.

On a related note, while it is an agency blog, it is not a planning blog. Nothing against them. I still read a bunch and enjoy each! But as of now, I'm the only person with that title with a login. We have a design, media director, copywriter, cultural curator (yes, sick title), search director and project manager all set up with logins (though not all have posted). And yes, past experience has shown the heavy lifting will likely be done by me and a couple of others.

So what do we hope to bring to the blogosphere? A window into the world of Wieden+Kennedy New York and New York culture through the lens of our people. So you won't get someone like me who's still listening to FutureSex/LoveSounds hollering about the underground music scene. You'll get a music-junkie. You won't have me and my Johnston & Murphy zip-up boots poppin' off about the latest kicks. You'll get a sneaker-head. And so on. Plus, you'll get way less alliteration and rhyming!)

This blog is supposed to interesting. It is supposed to be fun. It is only supposed to be self-serving in that we benefit the same way that any blogger does - from engaging in the conversation, learning by doing and learning from others. Hopefully you'll find it entertaining and every once in a while inspiring. As you'll see from the archives, we've been working on being interesting and honing our collective voice since February - and we're still a work in progress. (Yes, always in beta - but I'm sick of that phrase.)

So that's all for now. Come visit and say hi. But don't leave me...I couldn't bear it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7 Weddings and A...

There are a ton of ways I have considered finishing that phrase. Thankfully, "Funeral" is not one of them. But "Hangover," "lmost Broke," "nother 4-Day Work-Week," "Missed Holiday...Again" and "Ripped Pair of Tuxedo Pants" all would have been appropriate.

This is definitely not living up to the "Plethora of Marketing Ideas" blog subtitle...unless you see something I don't. But I know there's a new business idea in here somewhere. I've had tons since the first wedding-related event I attended this year—my buddies' joint bachelor party in Vail, CO in March. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a single one that would be profitable. (So Web 2.0 of me.) But I'll have time to keep thinking during my 5 more weddings (and countless surrounding events) this year.

So the two aforementioned guys with the co-bachelor party have gotten married. The weddings have been worth the cost (see above considered post title endings). I think you'll agree after seeing one quick video from each.

Kiran and Sheetal's Wedding in Mahwah, NJ:


Rubes and Dre's Wedding in Washington, DC:


If you couldn't tell, most of my friends love to dance. (And yes, there have been a few business ideas focusing (on) that passion alone.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Training Starts Tuesday!

If anyone read that in the Gap Girls "Diet starts Monday" voice, you need to email me immediately and be my new BFFALAW (Best Friend For At Least A Week)! If you have no idea what I'm talking about watch the famous SNL skit here. (Unfortunately it cuts off before Farley laughs and says the aforementioned "Diet starts Monday" line.)

Back to the point: Today, after work, I officially kick-off my training for the NYC Marathon with the NYC Chapter of MS. I decided to Run MS for a few reasons, which I will talk more about in future posts. The first of which is quite honestly that I wanted to run the marathon and thought running for a charity/cause would be a win-win. I would get guaranteed entrance (after being rejected a few years back) and the organization would get a dedicated champion of its cause. (Jen was also an inspiration for this.) When I got to Wieden, I saw that one of our pro bono accounts was the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I was extremely interested in working on this account for two reasons. The first of which was to offset my not helping the world in advertising guilt. The second was a lot less selfish—my friend's mother has had the disease and in recent years had to fight harder against it. Therefore, I wanted to help by both learning and doing. And I'm proud to say that NMMS has recently become a client of mine.

Please check out My Personal Donation Page. As you can see, I have not started to raise money yet. (The 100 spot was what I dropped initially to get the spot in the race.) And as you can also see, my goal is to raise $3,450. 3 G's (not to be confused with the iPhone 3G) is the bare minimum and I don't want to be someone who is thought of as doing the bare minimum when it comes to fundraising for a great cause or wearing flair. But the amount is not arbitrary; it correlates to the time I hope to finish the marathon in - 3 hours and 45 minutes. I ran my first and only marathon (Twin Cities) in October of 2006 in just under 3:48.

While this seems like a conservative goal, three minutes is a lot to cut in running even over the course of 26.2 miles and the temptations and running routes in NYC are greater and lesser, respectively!

So all that said, you're going to be hearing more about my training and about MS. And I'm going to be asking you (hopefully not harassing) for some support in the form of cash money (PayPal or checks) until November 2, 2008. Starting, well, now if you feel the urge. Thanks for reading everyone. More to come.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Not Blogging to Make Friends

Actually that's not true at all. But as an admitted reality TV addict, most of you know by now this type of compilation (can we call it a montage, Team America?) is right up my alley...


Quick shout-out to the Real World Hollywood crew for becoming friends even without being polite...and in the process putting on quite a show. (Yes, all 9 of you.) Half shout-out to Jesse (or as I like to call him, Travis from Clueless), who was able to make friends and win DeAnna's hand in marriage on this season of The Bachelorette. Zero shout-out to Kristy for making friends but then deciding she didn't like winning Tila's heart.

That was therapeutic. Please be my friend.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Finish that F'in Book Already

Continuing the theme from my last post about the video digestibility, I was just introduced to a service by Eric that take continuous media snacking into account...and given I haven't made it to the final page of a book in more than two months, should be right up my alley. (I hope.)

It's called DailyLit and true to its name, it provides literature in bite-sized quantity via email or RSS feed daily (or on the exact schedule you'd prefer, so you don't have to receive text on weekends for example). And to answer your next question, if you have more time you can receive the next installment (and more) on-demand.

According to the founders:

We created DailyLit because we spent hours each day on email but could not find the time to read a book. Now the books come to us by email. Problem solved.


I know Matt is going to wish he thought of this given this post of his detailing the challenge laid out and solved above. As someone who hates starting something and leaving it incomplete, such as the three books I'm stalled on right now—Sharp Teeth, 1776, and A New Earth—I thinking very seriously about browsing/signing up pronto.

Actually upon further investigation, I found this incredible idea/service they are providing free of charge: Book Reading Groups via Twitter. How sweet is that! And it's rare for me to quote something a CEO says for a press release but you really get the sense that DailyLit's Susan Danziger is sincere:
We’re interested in exploring new ways to make books more accessible to readers, and sending book installments via Twitter is an innovative way to do just that. I also love the idea of creating a group experience by having folks from different parts of the world read books according to the same schedule.


Very cool idea and very smart execution.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Length Matters

This is a short post about short-form content consumed in large doses on the web (in one sitting in front of my laptop each time). (And with oh so provocative a title!) It made me think about how much length (of video content in particular) matters given the many different situations, mindsets, needs or more importantly from an entertainment perspective wants and constraints (time, screen size, ADD, etc.) which people bring when they "go online" every day.

It started late Sunday afternoon after getting home from watching the Euro 2008 Final. I read a post over at Paul's blog about Inside Sudan on VBS.tv. I watched the 5 approximately 4 and a half minute about Sudan and then moved over to Vice's Guide to North Korea and knocked out the 13 part series (average 4 to 5-minutes each) like it was my job. (Actually, that'd be a pretty sweet job - Shane Smith's job or a job watching all VBS's content.)

Then on Monday night, I was exhausted but then as I was catching up on Kanye's blog (by the way, peep this ridiculous thing he just did for Absolut's Artist Series), he noted how Jay-Z killed in the U.K. So after the controversy, I wanted to see for myself. And I did. For almost an hour (ending after midnight), I watched the 9 parts (median time of ~8 minutes each) of Jay-Z live at Glastonbury on YouTube.

My feeling is (and behavior would suggest) that the smaller chunks of video content are more appealing to a time-crunched (perception even if not reality) web audience because they seem more digestible/watchable/doable. (Lunchable?) In fact, I think a short piece of content (like sampling) is critical to getting people to "invest in the rest." (I'm considering trademarking this phrase.) I, personally, am also more likely to get through books with more, shorter chapters than few long ones. Each I read is a sense of accomplishment. However, I'm not buying a book based on this criteria. On the Interweb, most often you get it all for free, so engagement is more important. Thus, how the content is served up is more important.

One difference between the two viewing experiences is that on YouTube the next clip played without me having to click. This was not a necessity to keep me engaged but certainly a nice to have. Plus, I didn't necessarily have to watch the performance the entire time rather could listen with surfing, so the autoplay was nice. However, back to the point, I couldn't help but wonder if our Brawny Academy back at Fallon would have had more success had it made its ~15-minute episodes shorter (if we had cut each in half). It's not about the sum total time of the content (which is the same either way), it's about the length of its parts (which can be made more palatable, enticing to the audience).

Monday, June 30, 2008

You So Want My Job

Well, besides for mom and dad and Noah (who has got a cool new gig) and my rich private equity friends - oh wait, blogs and YouTube get blocked at your company. So when I print out this post and bring it to you at dinner tonight - oh wait, you work a 120 hours/week, so you won't be there. So check your mailbox at your ridiculous, modern doorman building and then be jealous of my hours and freedom for about 3 seconds until you take the elevator up and turn on your 60" plasma.

Anyway, Heather LeFevre conducted and finished putting together the results of the fourth annual Account Planning Survey into a sweet PowerPoint, which she then made available to all on SlideShare. With just under 800 completed surveys (up from 466 a year ago - congrats, Heather!) and questions ranging from salary to experience to blogging to schooling and even negotiating, it provides a global (US-centric though just to manage expectations) and detailed snapshot of the planning world.

This included the answers to one question I couldn't help but notice...and be proud of:

To be clear, I was in the stay "where I am" majority (just in case my boss or head of HR is reading this and is thinking of an upgrade - it would not be an upgrade of an ingrate). I know why I'm a fan of this place but would still love to know what the outsiders think led to this lead.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The New School vs. The Old School

For those of you not up on the latest hip-hop feud, I recently read on Kanye West's blog (and was reminded today on Chet's) about the beef between Ice T and Soulja Boy.

Rather than embed each of the now 4 videos central to this rivalry, I'll just link to them and describe the history as best I can to get you up to speed.
1st: Ice T disses Soulja Boy on DJ Cisco's UrbanLegends Mix Tape it gets posted on YouTube by RealTalkNY.net
2nd: Soulja Boy comes back at Ice T through a webcam and posts it on his site iSouljaBoy.net and YouTube
3rd: Ice T responds to Soulja Boy through a video taken in his home by RealTalkNY.net which then gets posted to YouTube
4th: Soulja Boy makes this animated video as a response to Ice T

Whether you agree with T that SB single-handedly killed hip-H-O-P is not important to me. (Rhyming, as always, is!) I'm more interested in how it highlights the digital divide. That is, this conflict seems to really capture the new school vs. the old school mentality not only towards hip-hop but also towards the new digital mindset. This is more than merely the comfort with using Web 2.0 technologies such as YouTube (or as Ice T calls it, "the YouTubes" and such); it is the way that the collaborative nature of the Internet changes our way of thinking and acting.

Sure, Soulja Boy gets in a few jabs on Ice T like calling him older than the Internet (I don't even want to know what he thinks of John McCain's age). Sure, he calls out Ice T based on the things he finds out about T from Wikipedia. Sure, he looks straight into his webcam to make the video and does so with friends around. But more importantly, the Web helps him see the world as a place where we can all win. He doesn't see the hip hop game as a zero sum game. In fact, we probably have a better chance if we collaborate with others. We actually have an even better chance if we involve our audience, our fans. He redefines the competitive set. He believes in the power of coopetition.

As a Gen GuY and GalYs on the edge of X and Y (see sidebar with links), I feel we are in a unique position to empathize with both sides. We have an ability to understand Ice T's gripes and Soulja Boy's retort quite naturally. We feel disappointed by Soulja Boy's lack of respect and lack of command over the English language as well as by Ice T's lack of appropriate language and lack of constructive feedback (mentorship or solution). Most of all, though, we want to bridge the digital gap through better, more constructive and instructive communication. On- and off-line.

We're down for whatever. Holla!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why Didn't Your Brand Think of That Utility?

I was just reading an Adweek article, Nike embracing brand utility specifically on the web, and it reminded me of a couple things I've come across recently online on some of my favorite blogs. Since I haven't written about the subject since my U.S. Open (tennis, sorry Tiger) AMEX experience post, I figured I'd do so now. Plus, I'm now remembering that inspiration has come from Ed Cotton's post on now being a great time for brands to offer real value to people.

First, Russell Davies writes about Booklert, which allows authors to track the rank of their book(s) (or competitors') on Amazon and receive updates via email or Twitter. As Mr. Davies notes that this is the type of thing a major book business should have thought of to offer as a service to its authors.

Second, Brand Flakes for Breakfast posts about the Awesome Highlighter, which allows you to highlight the exact text or image that you want someone to read/see on any site and them send them a new highlighted link. As BFFB wonders, "why isn't Staples sponsoring these guys?" Taking it one step earlier, why didn't they come up with it?

I'm out of town for a friend's bachelor party starting tomorrow, and thanks to Mike's Hard Lemonade I have a better reason. Not quite a utility as much as entertaining and somewhat useful content (made for a good OOO email). If only they embraced the 4-day weekend like I am.

I think more words are linked than normal text. It's late.

P.S. Admittedly this is a bit of a stretch for this post, but why isn't Sharp or some other HD TV company coming up with (via Consumerist) such an interesting way to explain the HD difference?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Take It to the House, The White House

It's hard not to be into the U.S. Presidential race this year. But with the Democratic primary ending a couple weekends ago (suspended not ended, right?) and the NBA Finals in full swing, I was not expecting last week to be a particularly political one. However, as I went through my feeds (horse, not elephant or donkey - okay, that was weak stuff), I found the most intriguing posts and articles were politics-related. And though this blog is not focused on this subject, it's also not very focused, which affords me the opportunity to combine interests and pass on the stuff I find interesting.

That said, I was extremely delighted to see my buddy, Jake, back on the blogging horse (again, bipartisan horse) with his take on the Veep Selection. As he holds a degree in Philosophy from my alma mater (and mathematics for those counting - I can't help myself) as well as has lineage in Congress (my father's father was a mechanic...), I always like to get his perspective in this area. And his thoughts on whom each candidate should choose for the VP position are definitely worth the read.

Out of respect to Tim Russert—did anyone else watch the Remembering show this weekend? So moving—, I wanted to keep the intersection of politics and immaturity to a minimum last Friday. Though the mourning period isn't over, I did want to pass on these things that made me cringe before they are too out of date:
1. This fake McCain and Montag correspondence.
2. This real Fox headline.

Finally, for anyone who hasn't seen Obama's Fight the Smears yet, take a look. There's a reason he keeps getting positive articles written about his web strategy. Tools like this one, which to paraphrase BFFB re-frame the conversation (smears, not claims) and allow you to spend more time having the conversations that matter to the American public.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

M&M Now In Purple

A few weeks back I wrote a post, ACDC like you've never seen before. It was about a new generation's ACDC, the Adam Chu Dance Crew named for its leaders Adam Sevani and Jon Chu. Once again, I have pulled the ol' bait and swizzy by getting (at least some of) your hopes up with this title. Maybe you all should have chosen differently in 1995 when you had the choice between pink, purple, and blue and voted blue in by a landslide (54% of 10 million votes). As I was saying, this M&M is not melting in your mouth or hands; it's the M&M Cru, named for its founders Miley Cyrus and Mandy Jiroux.

Unfortunately, I never caught this teaser or the friendly reminder one week ago so I'm a couple days late (but I'm still in there before the millionth viewer). I guess it's possible I'm not in the online dance-off's target audience as a 26 year old guy. Either way, I was glad to see the response—even though I don't think it comes close to the previous ACDC video—and to know that the battle isn't over. (You need to watch until the end to see that the final round will be in-person. Details TBD.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Wieden Your Blog Reading

See what I did there?! I could have said "expand" or "add to" but then you wouldn't have started off your week with that nasty double entendre. Oh yeah, I'm on fire this Monday morning. Literally. I'm still sweating from the walk into work.

To the point. In the now half-year I've been working at W+K NY, I've met some amazing people (cue violins) and some of those people have blogs. Sure, amazing people does not always mean amazing blogs, but these two are top-notch on and off line. Thus, I'd highly recommend anyone interested in the Internet/Digital Life/Social Media check out:

The Gist of March: Greg March is media guru here with an uncommon understanding of the digital space. I use "uncommon" purposefully as he recently offered some insight into McCain and Obama's friend situations on Facebook and Myspace. One of my favorite posts of his has to be What Wu-Tang Taught Me About Social Marketing.

Geeky is a way of life: Melissa Sconyers is a search guru here and digital native, passionate and expert. I, of course, have to give her some love for her term-coining abilities based on her Befoogled post (Befoogled = "Not having time to Google somebody before you meet them in real life.") I was hooked from the first post that I ever read of hers about the work-life balance giving way to the work-life blend (cite: Adrian Ho).

So they're both worth reading and meeting.

P.S. I am now realizing there's very little chance that "Wieden" is a double entendre given it's not a verb in the English dictionary. Racecar. That's better. Palindromes usually do the trick.

P.P.S. Given I hit up the Tumblr party last night I thought I'd also give a shout-out to three things friends put me onto this morning. I "reblogged" cool things from Chet, Katie and Amit this morning.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Girl Effect

You know I don't often post Wieden work here but I just an all-agency about something compelling our team has been working on with The Nike Foundation. Asked to brand the idea of investing in adolescent girls, they—partnering with Glow Interactive—came up with The Girl Effect site and this video below:

Monday, June 02, 2008

Seth Gaffney: Secrets

I fully expect most of my readers to have made the Conan O'Brien Celebrity Secrets connection when reading this post's title. If not, NBD (No Big Deal, for those same peeps who didn't make the Conan connection) but just remember that the best thing about being seen as the nicest guy in Hollywood is that nobody searches your backyard for bodies. (That's according to Tom Hanks, of course.)

Anyway, for those hoping I'd reveal some deep, dark, light, juicy, and/or funny secrets now, I'm sorry to disappoint you. (Though I have shared my real given name with the few who have emailed me "Hello El...") I have been remiss in updating about my participation in the Age of Conversation since here in March. Once again, it's a collaborative book—mostly bloggers participating as you'll see below—with proceeds going to Variety, the Children's Charity. And it's due to be released at the end of August.

I've linked to the entire 270 co-authors in my first post, so I thought here I'd show some love to the 20 contributors to my chapter, which is all about keeping secrets and, I'd imagine given my submission, privacy and sharing. I've never met any of this crew IRL (In Real Life) and I've only exchanged online words with one (Scott Monty about Sherlock Holmes), but I'm sure they wrote up some enlightening—dare I say, revealing—pages. So without further ado, I wanna give a shout-out to:

Bob Carlton , Colin McKay, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darryl Patterson, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Jeroen Verkroost, Joanna Young, Julie Fleischer, Matt Moore, Phil Soden, Rob Mortimer, Ron Shevlin, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Steve Portigal, Tim Mannveille, Troy Worman, and last but not least Veronique Rabuteau

I'm really interested in what compelled each member of this smaller group to choose this topic from a list that included marketing manifestos, moving conversation to action, accidental marketers, and marketing failures, amongst others. I, for one, wrestle with how much of my personal life I share online. I wouldn't call it a struggle, but I definitely realize my lack of complete openness when failing to fill out my interests in my Facebook profile or post video from my best friend's wedding, for example. I've seen a decrease in how many services or communities I'll register for. I've seen an increase in my use of things like Twitter and Tumblr.

These (surface) inconsistencies made me interested enough to write on this topic. Who knows maybe some of my "Keeping Secrets" colleagues will drop by (after seeing the link) and let us in on their quick story.

In closing, I Believe It's Butter. Thanks Fabio.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You Say You Want a Transformation...

Well, you know, we all want to change the world.

Wow. That's just about the cheesiest way to start off a post whose purpose is to link you to one of the most inspiring reads I've had in a while.

My friend, Leland Maschmeyer, now the Director of Strategy at COLLINS: (soon to be Director of Concept Design and Storytelling, I believe, as it is a more appropriate description of his job there) has recently posted "On Life Support: A Transformation Design Speech".

Let me start off by saying, it is fantastic. And not in a "Man, that Leland is a smart dude...I got through 66% of that post and understood 39% of it and of that 39% approximately 90% was f-ing brilliant" sort of way. I read the whole thing, comprehended all of it (I think) and found it very compelling. And I've been trying since our breakfast yesterday morning to figure out a way to expand on his thoughts. But just as Lee feared he'd never post his speech if he waited for every element, I fear I'll never pass on this link if I take time to build on it.

His observations/examples range from JFK to DJ Dangermouse, from Sao Paolo to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, from Target to BP to tell the story of transformation design. Which he defines as "the process of developing a system of activity that enables organizations to support or create in individuals the positive change he or she desires." Because as he posits:

The companies that will thrive...will not be those with a great sales pitch. It will be those with a great support system.

He started out just wanting to make better marketing. But the opportunity seems quite a bit bigger (like changing the world bigger).

Enjoy reading the speech here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This Is Not Quite How You Do Viral


But it's not all that bad either. There are definitely some things working here—although "working" (as defined by ad/marketing people across the world as number of views on YouTube) remains to be seen as this most recently uploaded version only has about 300 views as of this posting. But taking a more comprehensive "view" of this viral attempt, I appreciate a few things:

1. Solid Timing: With the French Open just starting, tennis and Rafa are top of mind for (a handful of) sports fans.
1a. It seems Kia has been able to make this connection to one of the Grand Slams without actually paying for an expensive sponsorship of the tourney at Roland Garros.

2. Rewarding the Crossover Fan: Kia uses this top tennis star to promote its sponsorship of Euro 2008 soccer (yes, my readers are still predominantly American). Yet I'd venture to guess that many European soccer fans know Nadal. Some may also know (and Nadal fans of course know this and his Uncle Tony's past as a professional player) the Spaniard (not THE Spaniard) used to play futbol in his youth ('cause he's so old now). Anyone who has seen him on the tennis court has likely seen him sport some nasty foot skills. And word is his dream was to play striker for Real Madrid.

3. Catchy Title and Interesting Execution: "Nadal vs. Alien" is short and sweet. I know what I'm about to see but have no idea what I'm about to see. Therefore when both he and this alien take the form of MTV Celebrity Deathmatch claymation, it is unexpected and grabs my attention. The sound effects/Nadal noises are also pretty entertaining.

Yet for all this stuff that "works," one main thing is just not that cool. Let me direct you to the video description to the right of the video in image above. Yup, see that right there. Yup, there. Where they Kia (presumably the company or agency is user "euro2008kia") refer to its own video as "viral." Not so fast my car-y. (Pronounced Car E and in the creepy voice of the Wicked Witch of the West. It is not pronounced like Carrie - sorry all you SITC fans.) Anyway, this may not be the best move to make your video go viral. If you have to say it is, it probably isn't (like "cool"), and the corporate speak (even though you're not hiding that it's an ad, we really don't care if you didn't buy broadcast media) is a bit of a turn-off.

I do like that Kia actually responded to viewer feedback and made changes quickly (assuming it wasn't just some last-minute changes based on a senior marketing guy or gal's feedback) but truthfully you should have anticipated that having Nadal put his foot up a mini-Nadal's ass would stirred the pot. Either stand behind it (not so close and toes on the ground) and let that controversy propel you to this viral status you're so hoping for or put the more tame one up from the start so you don't have to start from scratch with the number of views. A bigger number equals greater security that you're passing on a gem. (Don't worry others thought it was funny too!)

Lastly, take a look at the bottom right of the image above. There is another upload of 11-seconds from this same user. I don't really get this. Are you worried that the web viewer is too starved for time to watch 2-minutes? This one actually has a stronger call to action at the end. It doesn't just show the site url and expect you to visit. It gives soccer fans a reason to visit—"Win a ticket" Euro 2008. Can someone tell me why this less than 2-second CTA didn't appear in the 2-minute version? I know it wasn't that it didn't fit into the traditional TV commercial time space because this isn't a TV ad! Did creatives convince you a promotion take away from the coolness, emotion, integrity and thus brand equity of the spot? Jokes!

Either way, I applaud Kia's entering the online space with something unexpected (definitely different from their good but mostly forgettable TV spots). This, I just realized, does deliver on their tag-line, "The Power to Surprise." Now imagine if they started taking this tagline more literally and using it as a platform for communications (if not product development, etc.). That could be fun.

Watch the full two-minutes of "online viral content," which I'm calling Rafakia (not to be confused with Rafiki from The Lion King) because I like mashing up words to create new terminology, here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This Is How You Do Viral

A few months back Absolut Vodka approached Zach Galifianakis to make an ad for them. He said, yes...as long as he could do whatever he wanted with no restrictions. Then they said (wait for it), yes!

There is a reason Absolut approached him in the first place. Likely they felt that his type of humor connected to their target of LDA-25. (That's a guess, and LDA = Legal Drinking Age for anyone who has not worked with a liquor, spirits, alcohol company.) Sure there were definitely a few rules in place, such as: no underage drinking, binge drinking or death. But otherwise, AV gave him the creative freedom. They realized that there's no worse way to lose authenticity and relevancy with your audience than to change (even subtly) his brand of comedy!

Zach enlisted Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Coincidentally or not (depending on Zach's motive for bring those two in), the sign-off to their show is Tim's father rich saying, "Abso...lutely" and their production company is called Absolutely. (Apologies followers for having to use the term awesome.) And as of now, the first in a series of I hope more than two has around 55K views on FoD, where it was first launched. Don't let that (low?) number fool you, though. It has 280K on YouTube as well as 138K on MySpace. The second, which was added about two weeks ago, is at about a quarter of that total number. But even if it this number didn't even reach that illusive 6-digits (the 100K view mark on YouTube I'd say is the metric lots of clients set), I'd call this a successful foray into the world of branded entertainment.

BONUS: As you'll see, the comedians (I'm assuming) even came up with a great tag-line for the content: "In an Absolut world, friends would get together more often."

Here's Part 1:

And Part 2:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Comcast is Caring/Twittering

We all love to hate the cable company...as well as all the phone companies according to Noah's observations on (his creation) Brand Tags. But especially the cable company and especially because of their lousy customer service. To be fair, they're definitely in one of those "we only notice when things go wrong" industries. But truthfully, considering most of us don't ask very much of them—like Clotaire Rapaille's code for America, we just want it to work—it seems they could do more to delight us. The first part of that phrase, SURPRISE, goes without saying, but is also the entire reason for this post.

So it was with great interest, enthusiasm and yes, shock that I heard a couple weekends ago Comcast was jumping into Twitter. I have Time Warner, who I, of course, despise—the guy who replaced my second cable box was more than pleasant and only a bit late yet he also acknowledged that "all these new DVR boxes are havin' problems"—so it is no direct help to me. Yet, I figured I'd holler at @comcastcares to see how this experiment may work.

In no more than 10 minutes I had these responses:

I'm sorry but that is aweso- I mean fantastic. Hopefully it will invest more heavily in this space (perhaps IM service like Delta has now) and apply what it learns to enhance customer service across the company. Who knows how quickly they can start to change its perceptions on Brand Tags.

And yes, I also know this is not the biggest piece of Comcast news today.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The NBA Is (Way) Younger than John McCain

Between work, jamming to get my Age of Conversation chapter done, running, NBA Playoffs and brainstorming excuses, I've had limited time to scour the Internet for things that make you go ha. (Yes, that's a C&C Music Factory reference.) So, some of these are old and coldplayed out but I hope a complete waste of time in a good way.

First, let's kick it off with some links connected to my excuse. Here's a little action about declaring for the NBA Draft (via kenyatta via kottke) as well as an NBA nickname generator. (I'm Seth "Margarine" Gaffney.)

Second, for any of you players or playettes going out this weekend, take a quick look at this text dating primer. For those staying in watching reruns of SBTB the College Years, this Onion article is all you.

Third, and getting a bit grosser, peep yet another instant Nick Thune classic on FoD. And I dare you to tell me that Nick doesn't look Palek from HBO's Tell Me You Love Me. That makes me want to pull a Sue Simmons (via @akispicer).

Fourth and lastly, I've rather enjoyed this site: Things Younger than Republican Candidate (and Oh, Did I Forget to Mention "War Hero") John McCain (via avin on Fallon Planning Blog).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Awesomed Out

It all started with this Verizon commercial starring Michael Bay. First couple times around (and besides for the nerdy Verizon employee), I have to admit I was kind of into it. But then I started noticing this word appearing (not always so centrally to the script) in ads all over the place. Within communications where it made sense as well as within others that didn't feel so natural. But now it's been around so often that it's getting in the way of any other (main) message that the brand's using it are trying to throw my way. (Yes, if this was an argument with a specific person, they'd be going: "Like when/where? I need EXAMPLES." I don't really have the time to look right now, but hopefully you've noticed it too. Or else you're just fast-forwarding through them.)

Last night it came full circle with another Verizon ad (this time for a phone deal not Fios). In this one, an unsuspecting young Asian guy opens his door to a quartet singing about this phone (I think) and (lastly) how it's "awesome." (If anyone can find it online, please pass it on.) I thought I had lost my mind. I may be. But I am certainly losing my capacity to be objective about communications containing this "hot" adjective. Case in point:

I was definitely fan of this commercial for the first 55 seconds. Then I saw Discovery's new-ish tagline, "The World Is Just Awesome." I - okay, I'm going to walk away for a day. In the meantime, what do you all think?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tale of Two Superstars

Thanks to new mash-up, TimeTube, which lets you search YouTube videos and creates a visual historical time-line of the search term whether it's person, place or thing, I happened upon this video from February 2006. In the studio making "Bittersweet" is the first result for Kanye West and second for John Mayer (Eric Clapton duet is his first).

Kanye's latest is result is home-girl singing/rapping Jesus Walks, and Mayer's second to last is him calling a Japanese baseball game. (His last is a Perez Hilton lie detector test, which is not worth watching.)Yet what most of us Internetters know is that John Mayer in fact has release something more recently and with many more hits. And that's this awesome video on his creative songwriting process.

Now I'm not going to launch into a diatribe on how you can't get the whole story on YouTube anymore or how it is losing its cache as the home of great homegrown content. But as I've talked about specific to FoD (Funny or Die), it has major competition from other more specialized (and often high-quality) content sites that house videos as well as those that curate cool/funny/etc (even if they don't know how they do it). Not to mention, if you want more of these guys specifically you can find them at their own blogs.

Instead, I'm just going to say how interesting it can be to see where a quick, innocent search takes you...whether it starts on someone's blog, twitter feed or one of the many new tools out there like TimeTube. This search was short and specific. And thus the story (above) was framed in such a way. But it is nice to know that a less directed search can take some unpredictable turns if you let it (stumble), and it can lead to an even more random and intriguing story.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Keeping Me Busy, Keep U Busy

It's been (unofficial) brief week over here at Wieden. I knocked out an average of one a day, though Wednesday was the craziest with three. Note to new planners: knocking out briefs is not a good habit to get into but sometimes necessary - like when clients give you less than a week turnaround for creative on an assignment. Note to self: see above.

Anyway, this morning I caught up on some hot RSS action (I still use Netvibes) as well as started to prepare for the IOI. That's when BFFB tipped me off to this pretty awesome interactive piece from Uniqlo promoting its t-shirts. I created my loop using a series of 1-4-3's as a shout out to the beeper code for I luv u. Yeah I just did that - two u's...not to be confused with the two yoots or youth-s as Someone else's Cousin Vinny would say. Without further Freddy adU:



So go make your own if you're bored or straight chillin' on a Friday.

Monday, May 05, 2008

ACDC Like You've Never Seen Before

Honestly I can't think of a better way to kick off a Monday than with this sick display of dancing. I have to admit (to those who don't know already), I'm a huge fan of You Got Served and specifically David and Elgin's crew. So you can imagine my excitement when I caught a tweet from @andrewbaron about a Dance Battle between Miley Cyrus and Jon Chu (director of Step Up: The Streets). Apparently Jon and Adam Sevani (main actor in the movie) called out Miley and Mandy (aka M&M) a couple weeks back on their video blog. M&M responded with a strong number to Madonna and JT's 4 Minutes. Now it was on ACDC (Adam and Jon's crew), and they took it to the next level with the help of Lindsay Lohan, Adam Sandler, Amanda Bynes and Chris Brown as well as MTV's Best Dance Crew, JabbaWockeez.



I hope you enjoy. I know Michael K. will he enjoys dance battles as much as I do. And P.S. I want to trade places with Rob Hoffman. P.P.S. That's Dellicious with two l's. You have to accentuate the 'l'.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Preparing Immaturity for Cinco de Mayo

Any frequent readers know I'm pretty obsessed with Someecards (also note you can now follow the company on twitter). So if you're not a freq like me (props to Adina Howard) or you're just forgetful, take a look back at that site in order to get some send-worthy stuff for Cinco de Mayo. Like this perhaps:

As for some other immaturity to get you through the rest of Friday...
via ROFLcon

Bill Hicks on Marketing via Stuart Smith email - not to be confused with Gil Hicks of Mallrats fame who kisses like a jackhammer in with some pressure and when he's done you're not the same...you're changed.

Geek pants via @gaeyia

And lastly, I saw this on the news last night and Jake reminded me about it today. It's not funny...except for the part when the boy says his punishment should be a weekend without video games.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Everything I Need to Know About the Internet, I Learned at ROFLcon

Attention, class. ROFLschool is in session.
Come on. You're telling me that you wouldn't have felt like you were transported into a scene from Good Will Hunting too? (That's too as in as well, not too as in the sequel like Look Who's Talking Too. And thank goodness for that because you can't mess with a classic.) The conference was held on MIT campus classrooms and lecture halls but instead of Professor Gerald Lambeau lecturing at the front, we were graced by the presence of such "Masters of the Internet" (TM pending) as the guys in this picture below.
That panel about Making Money on the Internet included (from viewer's left to right): Andrew of Rocketboom, Alex of Million Dollar Homepage, Kyle of One Red Paperclip, Ian from Chuck Norris Facts, Andy of JibJab, and Joe Mathelete of Marmaduke Explained. Unlike one of the audience members, I learned their names. I also learned (from Alex of MDH), "If you try enough times to be a fluke, you'll be a fluke eventually"; Andrew of Rocketboom had an ah-ha moment about the democratization of media (like in Wayne's World) and asks himself wwbbllivf (what would boingboing look like in video form?); Kyle of ORPC now helps the Canadian government "think outside the box"; Ian of CNF is being sued by Chuck Norris after revitalizing Chuck's career; and a story's novelty an lead to attention that people are willing to pay money for.

I clocked in about 60 tweets over the course of the 2 days, which I think was both respectful of the speakers and my followers. However, I understand that conference-tweeters can be annoying if you're not there or if you don't care about the subject. So in the future you may want to make use of twittersnooze, which allows you to temporarily block individual twits you're following. (thanks to @chroma for the find)

As I was saying though, I thought it was worth revisiting the >140 characters posts I sent out to the to find the best of the bunch and add a bit of context to a few. (Because if I didn't copy/paste some shit, there's no way this post would have been completed.)

First things first, I got to the conference. Then I found a great seat in between two groups of peeps I didn't know. See:
But instead of sitting there with eyes buried in screen awaiting the first speaker, I sat there with eyes buried in screen to conduct a little experiment...

-@roflcon virtual introduction - two guys sitting next to me in red and black and in front in hat with kindle - whatup!

And as I reported, it "took less than three minutes to make non-virtual intro with dudes next to me after they saw it in tweetscan". Tweetscan and Twemes are both really great tools for connecting with other twittering conference-goers, not just to meet them in-person (though this is something I always find gratifying and took advantage of over lunch to catch up with Katie and Kristen from Wexley and Conner from Fallon for lunch (as reported) - advertising peeps unite!) but to increase your insight intake (let's go planner speak!) in panels you're attending or missing based on your "track" selection.

Yet all this twitter action, blog posting, live commenting, etc. in Wi-Fi enabled conference halls and rooms has a had another—arguably less positive—effect - the lack of visual attention paid to the speakers. Surely, there's no way Prof. Lambeau would stand for it. But for a conference that brought the Internet together, it was kind of a given. Still it led me to consider how I would have handled a job moderating a panel or giving a keynote (a boy can dream)...

-new presentations skills r going to have to b taught to connect w/ a connected (twitter, laptop, etc) audience

I have to point out that I was excited to see Anil Dash based on this and he did not disappoint. He was quite a good moderator on a heavy-weight panel that included from Drew of Fark, Alexis of Reddit, Matt of Metafilter, and DJ Pretzel of OCremix. And we all were quite impressed when the panel finally got rickrolled. Here I learned that Timbaland isn't quite as cool as I thought he was and started to better understand the distinction between aggregators and curators as well as how communities often reflect their creators. For example, Fark sees itself as the chef at a great restaurant - sure he didn't make all the ingredients but he's cooking and serving it up in a unique and compelling way.

A highlight for me was definitely seeing the Brothers Chap, who are behind the infamous (using this term to mean "more than famous" like Steve Martin assumed El Guapo was in Three Amigos) Homestar Runner...and one of my favorite characters of all-time, Strong Bad. These guys have never "sold-out" and never will. I remember checking out their site back in my first agency job, thinking they would be great to create something for Crunch Fitness and seeing an FAQ to advertisers that said something to the effect that they are happy just doing what they are doing. But besides for hating ads, these guys hit another interesting theme of the conference:

Inspiration can come from where you least expect it. So next time you're considering hitting up a museum or movie, consider a "depressing shopping center - an inspiringly depressing one" like where they work. Or consider soaking in your boredom and then creating something to eliminate it (like Chuck Norris Facts, which actually started with Vin Diesel facts on a lonely Friday night for the then high school senior). Making something you find really entertaining or useful was the key for many of these people's success on the Internet. (Million Dollar Homepage, on the other hand, was all about making money from the start!) And once you're inspired to make something, remember that "perfection is the enemy of credibility."

Alice Marwick gave a fantastic talk about celebrity and how Internet celebrities fit into the framework. As David Weinberger said, "We know how fame works in a world of scarcity, but we're still figuring out how it works in a world of abundance." Thankfully I don't have to describe the types of promoters out there, the public image vs. public appearance phenomenon (see Magibon) or pseudo-celebritis because Alice was kind enough to post her notes on her site. Awesome! Definitely worth a look, and back to that presenting to a digitally-inclined audience point, she may find a new career in it. Bonus points for Heidi and Spencer example as well.

I unfortunately missed Christian of Stuff White People Like, but his attribution to fame and fortune (luck) is captured here. Most importantly, you'll learn he is a fan of Back to School, a favorite movie of this blog. I did get to see the LOL peeps in action, who were thanked on behalf of stoners everywhere. Their advice was to find memes with built in audiences and keep in mind that tiny iterations of popular stuff are more likely to be hits than breakthrough new ideas. And though the tail recursion for lolcode went way over my head, I found Adam Lindsay talking about how the passionate (computer science) community completely outpaced him in creating the code.

Marketers, here is your quote from "Cheez" the CEO of I Can Has Cheezburger:

Every second you spend on the haters is a second not spent serving your fans

I caught Justine of iJustine (whose audience is now mostly female believe it or not), Dino of Bert is Evil (who was contacted by the CIA), Ji Lee of The Bubble Project (who is looking for a way to do the bubble project over shitty commercials), Eric of ACLU (who was on fire) and Leslie of Gem Sweater (who sadly, I missed perform on Friday night). I laughed, though not necessarily while rolling on the floor, and I met some really interesting people.

I'll leave you with a quote from ACLU Eric:
Ad people want to order a viral like it's a cheeseburger.

And I'll add "No pun intended." Can't wait for ROFLcon 2009.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rolling on MIT's Floor Laughing

Not yet. But yes, I'm at ROFLcon and from the looks of it so far besides for David Weinberger (author of Everything is Miscellaneous and co-author of Cluetrain Manifesto) and some Rocketboom peeps, I'm looking like the chaperon.

And as "cool" as W+K may be in the ad world, there's very little street/campus cred gained with this "hostname":

In fact lots of the Harvard students have crossed out their username (which had been their parent-given names) and put their screen names in their hostname space (which had been blank because they go to school). Dope...I guess.

Mad amounts of blogging and twittering going on. (Yeah, I said "mad". I haven't felt this old since Georgetown's Homecoming two years ago.) That feeling is compounded by the fact that I refuse to put this crap in my system:

It is a pretty funny thing to give to people as they register though (especially for those who've seen Idiocracy). It's starting up in a half-hour over here on in MIT's Sala de Puerto Rico...and that's a place El Gaffney can get down with.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How Real Do You Keep It?

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know I missed Do Day yesterday. I was in Chicago and Charlotte working focus group facility back rooms, so I was unable to get my interview on. Plannin' ain't easy. And research ain't sh*t but M&M's and Twix. I don't actually believe that; however, it did flow off the keypad.

Speaking of stream of consciousness typing (or as the kids say, "straight off the dome"), I thought I'd hit you all with a solid piece of advice on blogging from Seth Godin that I copy/pasted back in the day:

Don't let the words get in the way. If you're writing online, forget everything you were tortured by in high school English class. You're not trying to win any awards or get an A. You're just trying to be real, to make a point, to write something worth reading.

So just say it.

In addition to prompting me to recite a line from Clueless (yes, again) and then an entire Chappelle's Show skit, it made me want to profess the following:

I write crappy titles for my blog posts.
I rely way to heavily on my weekly features—"Inbox of Immaturity" and "Do Day"—to supply titles.
I am way to literal when I actually do have to write a title.

Ah, that felt good. Honestly though, it is something that has come up a few times lately—for example, when seeing titles like this that really pique my interest. It's basically a cardinal rule for increasing blog traffic. But more importantly, as someone who prides himself on being creative (and loving those sassy one-liners and Sex in the City-esque puns - who's getting excited for May 30th!!! ;)), there's no excuse not to put in the extra few minutes to come up with a relevant and captivating title.

So this is me keeping it real and calling myself out on a Thursday. In addition to thinking more about my post titles, I'll be going back and labeling my old posts so as to free myself even on Wednesdays and Fridays when you'll be getting inspiration for doing and distractions for not doing, respectively.

F that, I don't like people playing on my phone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

As Discovered On Long Island

This weekend I headed back home to Long Island to spend the Passover holiday with my family. I took that LIRR (the train, for the non-NY-ers) on Friday night and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that my mother had made one of my favorite meals (non-Jewish, since Passover started Saturday), Corned Beef and Cabbage. (Yes, it's so good it deserves capitalization.) Not that you care, but Saturday I hit up a nice run around the neighborhood in order to make myself feel better about the amount of food I was going to consume at our Seder. Brisket, Cornish Hen, Matzo-stuffing and of course, my mom's (from grandma's recipe) famous Matzo Ball Soup. (Yes, still capitalized for tastiness and grammatically correct because we don't mess with the gefilte fish.) Hagaddah (prayer book) sponsored by Maxwell House—and watch me tie this back into advertising now:

The publication of its Passover haggadah by the Joseph Jacobs Advertising Agency beginning in 1934 made Maxwell House a household name with many American Jewish families. This was a clever marketing strategy by owner Joseph Jacobs, who hired an Orthodox rabbi to certify that the coffee bean was technically more like a berry than a bean and, consequently, kosher for Passover. Maxwell House coffee was the first to target a Jewish demographic, and the haggadah continues to represent a synthesis of American and Jewish interests.

After gorging ourselves, we went back to the living room and relaxed—this time to something other than Pope TV—and brainstormed the big evening event. Predictably, we found our way to Fandango, picked Forgetting Sarah Marshall, went and didn't regret our decision for a minute. Heavy Recommend for my weight at the time and level of enjoyment. That's all I'm going to say. I don't want to spoil any amazing scenes, cameos or one-liners. Go see it.

One of the other benefits of going home—besides eating like a king, suburban running, getting out of the city and generally spending qt with the fam—is picking up some new reco's and ideas from each of them. (Hence, the "As Discovered" rather than "As Seen" post title.)

1. How I Met Your Mother (Sis reco): I'm sure many of you are reading this and wondering how it is possible I'm only catching onto this in its third season. I'm sure others are thinking I jock (yeah, I was back on Long Island) Jason Segel. Hopefully there are a few of you whom are looking for a sitcom to get into and I just tipped to view. Because it's fantastically current and insightful. Who doesn't love NPH. (No, that wasn't a question.) Especially since he now blogs Doogie-style. Who doesn't love a good Canadian viral success like Robin Sparkles. (New video features the Beek from Dawson's Creek.) I want your life!

2. Cash Cab (Dad reco): I only saw a couple episodes of Cash Cab: After Dark (where the prizes are greater because it is later), but was sold. All the talk of surprise and delight recently, this is a show that delivers (even if some of the cab-goers are pre-screened). A general knowledge trivia show that starts the second you get in the cab and ends when you reach your destination (unless you get three strikes and the boot out in NYC) with a host, Ben Bailey, who as a comedian has the perfect sense of humor for it.

3. Limoliner (Mom reco): It's a 28-passenger silver shuttle that goes to and from the Hilton NY and Hilton Boston with business-friendly wi-fi, outlets, news TV channels in headrest and reclining leather seats as well as complimentary snacks. Though none of us have actually taken this service yet, I may give it a shot on Thursday as I head to ROFLcon. Who's coming with me?