Monday, March 31, 2008

Creatives Beware

Starbucks recently launched a new social media site called My Starbucks Idea ( that is designed to give customers a voice in shaping the future of Starbucks. 

I do like the broad concept because it gives the customer a direct link into the company and it's a very smart way to do some market research. But the more I thought about the purpose of the site Startbucks is really just looking for FREE ideas to better their company. I'm not a huge fan of this especially because there's really nothing in it for the idea generator besides a little personal satisfaction. Seems hardly enough if someone actually comes to them with a really great idea.

I guess my point to all of this is that as a creative community we are supposed to get paid for our ideas and creative thinking. I hope that Corporate America doesn't continue to turn creative solutions into a commodity.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reducing Your (Creative) Carbon Footprint

If I hear the word "green" one more time I'm switching everything back to plastic. All of this green talk seems insincere to me because it seems to all be happening at once. I wish business would of been leading the green movement over the years and integrated that part of the story into their communications rather than rushing to shout it louder than their competitor.

At any rate, here are 6 simple solutions to reducing your "creative carbon footprint".

- The average American office worker throws out about 150 pounds of paper per year. This one is obvious. Just recycle everything, print on both sides and do as much as you can electronically.

- Get rid of multiple water bottles and invest in a water filtration system.

- Do not leave taps dripping. One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 litres per year.

- Turn computers off before going home instead of letting them just go to "sleep".

- Choose suppliers who take back packaging for reuse.

- Take a mug to Starbucks or Caribou instead of using a new paper cup (and a plastic lid) everytime you get coffee. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Boise Or Bust

Sometimes a change in the environment can inspire some creativity. Here's a quick collage of some images taken while I was in Boise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Marketing That Melts In Your Mouth

I can't believe that I have 2 postings about Welch's on my blog already but I guess they have been developing some innovative ideas that have caught my eye. This Welch's ad that is running in People magazine is the first that I've seen with a lickable sample in print. That technology is brought to us by the people at

I really liked this idea at first but the more I think about it the more I want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. I haven't actually tried one of these flavor strips yet but I'm sure it tastes a little like grape and a little like paper and ink (from the smell of the magazine itself). At any rate I think this technology has potential but magazine ads might not be the best placement for it. 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Building Great Creative

To announce the new UK Volkswagen website Tribal DDB, London crafted this great spot. From the music to the casting everything comes together to capture and communicate this idea in an engaging way. To me this is the magic of great communication because it feels like it "just happens". Nobody is getting caught up in a line of copy or if this ad is selling hard enough. The other bit of magic that isn't happening enough these days is the seamlessness between online and offline efforts. This isn't a typical drive to web tag at the end of a Ford Focus commercial for lack of a better example. VW is a brand who knows who they are and how to tell their story without getting tripped up between agencies and mediums. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creativity For Change

If one publication is consistently creative it's definitely The Onion. Sometimes just tapping into an obvious place that others are fearful to go is the key to connecting with people. The writers at The Onion walk the line between social commentary and utterly bad taste, but somehow, someway they deliver a simple message with humor that even Barack wouldn't want to change. 

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Few Quotes For The Week

Good design is good business. — Thomas Watson, Jr.

Not everything is design, but design is about everything. So do yourself a favor: be ready for anything. – Michael Bierut

Advertising isn't a science. It's persuasion. And persuasion is an art – WIlliam Bernbach

Sometimes, love forces people to become graphic designers – Rick Valicenti

Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it. — David Lee Roth

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where does design end?

This is a great little article (that I pulled right from the pages of Comm Arts, November 2007 written by D. Miller) that shows that when you apply "design thinking" to your business you'll uncover more opportunities for growth and innovation. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Killing Me With Sweetness

Every year the Girl Scouts sell up to $700 million of their cookies to Americans everywhere. I don't really eat cookies that often and I never buy them at the grocery store. So why do I buy these? Because of guilt and peer pressure. It's like I'm the bad guy in the office if I don't lay out some disposable income. 

So what have the girl scouts ever done for me? All I've gotten is a lot of guilt to make and impulse by and a few thousand extra calories that I need to burn off. But going through this buying process reminded me that there are certain truths that motivate people to make impulse buys. Guilt and peer pressure are powerful especially when it's served up from a 3rd grader. I'm not sure if this is a strategy that I would of thought of to sell a product but I have to give the Girl Scouts high marks on creatively selling their product and for tapping into the fear and guilt that lies in the very core of my soul. 

Friday, March 7, 2008

The New Marketing Reality

Almost everything I've been reading about the creative industry (in regards to brands and branding) lately is how much change is happening. I've started to cobble together some rough ideas around what it will take for creative teams to move brands forward in this new marketing reality.

The first part of the slide on the right is a draft of what I'm calling the new brand expression. Just having one insight into a marketplace isn't enough to build a robust brand anymore. In the new marketing reality we need to go beyond traditional insight and discover how technology is influencing or distorting customers brand interactions and how cultural factors can shape experiences.

This is transforming brands from what I was calling a "closed brand" to an "open brand". There has been a lot of talk about how the consumer is in control now. I'm not sure I totally buy into that idea but there is a big shift in the architecture of brands. There's a lot more "doors" for customers to come in now.  

I've worked on several types of creative teams and only recently has the art director + writer model really started to change for good. Again this is a draft but I think this will be the core creative team that brands will need to surround themselves with to deliver big ideas in the new marketing reality.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just keep creating.

I've mentioned in previous entries that I've always been inspired by musicians because sometimes it takes so incredibly long to see their ideas come to life. Here's another artist that hasn't quit. Edgars keeps his music moving ahead and it's sounding better than ever. You can check out the latest at:

Monday, March 3, 2008

What if I gave you a pie?

The measure of any brand is its value to its customers. The Whopper Freakout idea from Crispin Porter + Bogusky is such a great example of the connection between a brand and its loyal customers. Would your customers react this way is your brand changed or your product disappeared?