MNSTR, Lacoste, The Australian Open, and the Small Screen.

If you work with video, animation, or motion graphics for advertising, or promotional materials you should probably start thinking heavily about mobile outlets and how you will deliver content. Case in point, the video below from MNSTR for Lacoste and the Australian Open. This video showcases the work MNSTR created specifically for the small screen, and even more specifically for the short time frame, touch points like Instagram and Snapchat require. Simple, short, colorful animations paired with high quality sound design help to make these work. MNSTR did their homework and got their heads wrapped around the space these would presented in and pulled it off. This series of short animations were dribbled out over the two week event helping to extend the total reach of Lacoste’s efforts. 

Every 2016 Super Bowl 50 Commercial Right Here

SB50Well this Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, and frankly my give a rip factor is at about zero. It’s not that I’m anti football, it’s just that I really don’t care to watch the Bronco’s play in another one. This is what, number 9 since 1977. I would say I’m going to record it to watch the commercials but the reality is why? All the commercials are now leaked online before the game, so if you really want to see them you can. No need to tune in and sit through the Super Bowl in order to catch some “million dollar thirties”.

Which brings me to this question. Have Super Bowl commercials jumped the shark?

I would have to say yes, because there is no point in forking over that kind of money, for a spot that will air once, probably be missed, not heard, or forgotten, and will only be re-aired as a cut down fifteen second spot for even more cash. The Super Bowl has marquee factor, but if your thirty or sixty second spot is supposed to make an impact, sell a good or service, and be memorable I’m thinking it has less of a chance these days. Every Super Bowl party I have been to, people are yacking it up and having a good time. When the commercial break happens, it’s hard as hell to hear it, sometimes see it,  let alone remember what it was for.

So, if you are  like me and just don’t give a damn about the game this year, but do want to see what a few million buys you in TV advertising, all the commercials are right here. Oh, and a number of these are the full 60 second extended version of the ad.

I think I’m going to go see a movie Sunday night. I’m pretty sure I’ll have the theater all to myself.

Get Inspiratored by Bentley Motors.

Earlier today a friend sent me a link to the Bentley Inspirator, which is an iOS app that uses facial recognition to help determine and configure the Bentley you should purchase. For some reason I felt compelled to download it and try it out. Surely the Bentley app would know to put me into a Continental. It did not. It put me into that ugly ass new Bentley SUV the Bentayga, and it chose the color brown.

The app itself  is pretty slick. Using the camera on your iPhone or iPad it tracks your expressions and eye movements as it shows you a series of photos and then determines which car is right for you. If you don’t want to use the facial recognition, you can use the touch version and physically make your choices.

Now, even though the app is pretty slick I think the reason it put me into the Bentayga, is because that is the only real choice. It looks as though this app is specifically promoting that product. The reason I say that is, after going back through the app several times, using the touch feature instead of the facial recognition feature, I always got the brown Bentayga. No matter what images I chose.

Its a well made app that links back to the Bentley site which also very well put together. The production value of the video components in the app are really well done, which you would expect from a brand like Bentley. And it is an engaging form of entertainment wrapped in advertising for a product that is geared to those that can afford it.

 

 

Makeshift – Bicimaquinas.

More often than not when we think of design, we think of beautiful, or elegant, objects. Or we think in terms of type, color, balance, gestalt, tension etc. The reality is, good design is the product of solving a problem. Filling a need, and many times the end result is not the most beautiful looking thing, but instead the most practical for the problem it needs to solve.

The video below from Makeshift Magazine is about that very fact of good design. “Bicimaquinas” solve a problem. How do you provide tools to the people of Guatemala when the average salary is two dollars a day, and a large portion of the  people can’t afford electricity? The answer is Bicimaquinas. This is a great story about how one individual has set out to provide a force of change through the design and build out of tools that are powered by the remains of discarded bikes. Believe me it’s worth the 3 minutes it takes to watch it.

Every Issue of U&lc for Free.

When I first started my career in graphic design, inspiration came in the form of printed material to the mail box. Digital design was for the most part a foreign concept. Almost all work was done the old fashioned way, analog, and the internet wasn’t available. I used to wait anxiously for the next issue of Upper and Lower Case magazine to arrive so I could check out the latest trends in typography, graphic design, and get industry news. It was a go to source for many years, and probably still would be if it still existed. The articles were always interesting to read and the publication felt and read like a newspaper.

“U&lc will provide a panoramic window, a showcase for the world of graphic arts – a clearing house for the international exchange of ideas and information.”

U&lc began publishing in 1974 and for 26 years it was a faithful source of information and inspiration for it’s readers. Each issue was 25 to 30 pages in length, printed in black and white, tabloid size, and except for a few times, hit it hit your mailbox with complete regularity. Now thanks to fonts.com, every back issue will be made available in PDF format. All 26 years worth.

Every month fonts.com will publish an entire years worth of U&lc, and it will be available for download via the fonts.com blog. Now, with that said, be warned the files are a bit big. Not unmanageable, but large. Around 85 megabytes in size. fonts.com also says the files aren’t perfect, since they were created from scans of original materials. Some of the pages are sometimes faded, cracked or torn. There are over 9000 scanned pages for you to go through if you so desire. I plan to go get as many of these as I can. It was a timeless source of inspiration and information back in the day, and still will be.

 

MNML Sisifo.

I’ve spent most of my weekend trying to figure out just exactly what the previous homeowners were doing when they finished the basement in my house. Nothing is square, the wiring is a fire hazard, and the plumbing is a joke. I was going to try and fix the problems, but instead decided to tear a section out and start from scratch. After 6 hours, it’s break time, and break time led to the Internet. The Internet brought me to Sisifo, a minimalist light designed by Chicago-based firm MNML for Artemide.

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Sisifo places a disc of light, balanced above a weighted base on an articulating pole. The pole allows for 360 degrees of rotation, and for the disc to placed at the most useful angle for the end user. Designed with a small footprint, the weighted base and double ball joint were designed for minimum resistance, allowing the lamp head to effortlessly float above the base and be adjusted. Sisifo also features an intuitive on/off touch dimmer control at the front of the base that invites tactile interaction. Using a fresnel pattern, the light source is diffused eliminating any harsh shadows, creating even uniform light. Yeah I kind of want a few of these.

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The IKEA Home Tour Series – Digital Marketing Done Right.

It's about to get all real on this office space.

It’s about to get all real on this office space.

A few months back, I received an email from IKEA for the IKEA Home Tour contest. The team was coming to Kansas City and they were looking for entries. All you had to do was make a short video of your space in need and send it in. So, I busted out the iPhone shot some down and dirty footage of my sad basement office space, cut it together, sent it in and thought “That’ll be the end of that.” Much to my surprise, we made the finalists for the area, and to my surprise again, we are one of the two chosen. Today, the team arrived to shoot video, check out the space, and plan out what they are going to do with the space.

This post is not about the makeover though. It is about how IKEA continues to take excellent advantage of digital media as a marketing tool for the brand.

HomepageIf you go out and look at the Home Tour site, you see a polished website that leverages video, a blog, social media, product placement, and tips to extend the IKEA brand. With each short video, product that is used in the redesign is featured and linked back the IKEA page where the product lives. The Pinterest section leads back the dedicated Pinterest board where recipients have posted their images as well as the team, and there are hooks to related boards, all of which drives back to product and enforcing the IKEA brand. The design blog takes you to a curated section with short right ups and videos from the Home Tour teams progress. And then there are the videos.

Video is the fast growing consumed media on the web, your phone, and in other digital spaces. It has rapidly taken over because of its ability to tell a story in a short digestible bite, and the ability to link back to longer form content if needed. In addition, with prices on gear falling, the availability of high end editing software, a DIY maker movement, and the ease of sharing content, it is possible for a skeleton crew to put together  a solid bit of video work that has tremendous impact. The crew at my house today consisted of 5 people. 2 of them were producing the video. This is the same crew on every makeover, doing each shoot. They have a limited budget, and tie frame, but they are creating solid work with definite reach and penetration for the IKEA brand, which brings me back to the fact that IKEA gets digital marketing better than most. I’ve posted a number of articles on what I KEA is doing in the digital space and this is just one more.

To date the team has produced 203 video segments according to the numbering on the site. Pretty impressive when you think about it. 203 videos that average 3 minutes in length. 203 videos that show the problem, the fix, and then go through and talk about the IKEA product used. Think of it as a long form commercial that is less about in your face selling, and more about how IKEA helps you solve a problem.

That is a winning marketing solution and another winner from IKEA’s marketing division.