Sometimes it can be hard. Really hard. Unless it’s brilliant. Then it was easy. Wasn’t it?
By Nicole Corley & Nathan Hardy
In celebration of Founders’ Day, we’re taking a quick trip through time. A lot has happened in 42 years around here. From winning Jack Morton’s Menswear in 1971 to winning Lee Jeans in 2013. From writing copy off a typewriter to becoming a leader at SXSW interactive. From growing out of our 50 sq. ft. office on UT’s campus to taking over three acres downtown Austin. It’s been an adventure around every turn. So today, we take a moment (or six) to revisit the road that lead us to where we are today. Cheers.
View it on Instagram here: http://instagram.com/p/de-RXDiOCX/
You’re walking down the street. You see someone in front of you. Walking. Running. Mosey-ing. Maybe he has weird shorts on. Maybe she has weird hair. Or maybe they’re walking lockstep while sporting identical business attire. From your point of view, which is directly behind their point of view, things are different. You see what they can’t. Some call it “social stalking.” Others call it “observational humor.”
I call it #rearpov.
When I was little, I used to “people watch” at the airport (still do.) My parents were divorced and lived in different cities which made me a frequent flyer at a very young age . So my mom would take me to the airport a few hours early and we’d just sit there and watch all the people going who knows where. I didn’t much like the flying part, or those little plastic wings they gave you, but I did like the people watching while I waited for the plane. Sometimes we’d come up with a name and/or a quick story about that person. Did we have too much time on our hands? Yes. Were we being judgmental? Probably. But I think that’s where this whole #rearpov idea started—somewhere in the terminals of Love Field. Maybe.
People are more interesting when they don’t know they’re being photographed. They act normal, relaxed. They buy the beer they the like. More importantly, they don’t pose or have any pretense about them. Sometimes I just take pics of people from #rearpov because something makes me laugh. Okay, that’s really the only reason.
The people I see from #rearpov have stories. Funny stories. Sad stories. Complicated stories. Unfortunately, I don’t know their stories. But I like to imagine what their stories might be. Where are they from? Is she famous? Why does he walk with a limp? And are those really embroidered crabs on his shorts?!? These are the things I think about when I’m not at a computer.
It’s all fodder for writing. More often than not, these little #rearpov photos lead me to think about character development, and character development can lead to stories, and stories are what people care about. Stories and live music.
Some of the best #rearpov pics are the ones I’ve received from friends. Like @jaytaco. And @brewerscott. And @arthurstewartjr. That’s the great thing about #rearpov. Anyone can do it. In fact, I think you should. All of you. But watch your back. @chaydeng just might #rearpov you.
August 21, 2013
Posted by Maureen McFee
Cable TV. Who needs it, right?
Although I work in an industry so closely tied to television, I pride myself in being a cord-cutting evangelist. When my friends and co-workers take the bold step to break up with their cable company and the hundreds of networks, DVR, on-demand and time-shifting goodness that go along with it, I am on the sidelines wildly cheering them on. But this cord-cutting cheerleader has always been too chicken to do it herself. Even worse, I layer my juiced up cable tier with Apple TV, Xbox and Roku just to cover bases. Hulu Plus, Amazon, Netflix, Crackle…I use them all.
But my TV utopia recently came to a screeching halt. A home renovation landed my family in a relative’s home with no cable for 3 weeks. We have a Blu-Ray player with access to Netflix and Amazon and a host of other TV and movie video apps. As a news and politics junkie, I’ve found myself missing the constant hum of CNN and MSNBC that have become part of our morning and evening routine. And the kids miss their favorite shows they hoard on the DVR. Full House is their current favorite, so, this arrangement does have a small silver lining. Sorry, Uncle Jessie. But what adds insult to injury is that Shark Week happened…or didn’t happen in my house. SHARK WEEK!
Since Netflix is now at the center of our TV universe, we picked up on House of Cards. HOC is, hands down, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen…and it strangely satisfied my appetite for politics, too. The show picked up 14 Primetime Emmy nominations. That’s impressive, but what’s really newsworthy is that Netflix was nominated at all. For a technology company whose business model hinges on buying and distributing content, not creating it, this is a big first. Netflix now has the street cred as a producer to bring in massive audiences to their original programs. I can’t wait to gorge on other Netflix shows like Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove. I see Netflix in a new light now…like an HBO or Showtime…without the $100/mo cable subscription.
Although under temporary and reluctant circumstances, my family is part of the growing cord-cutting movement. According to The Diffusion Group, pay TV households (cable and satellite) have been on a steady decline, and are expected to fall 6% by 2017. It’s not surprising when cable service keeps rising in cost and “over-the-top” digital TV alternatives like Netflix’s House of Cards and original series on Hulu make ditching cable more and more appealing. Just last month, a Cowen & Co. study revealed that 20% of Netflix subscribers have cut the Pay TV cord. This has major implications for the marketing and advertising industry given that many of these platforms (most notably, Netflix) lack advertising.
As my own 3-week adventure in cord-cutting comes to a close this week, I think about how drastically it changed our family routine. Cutting the cord is a little like giving up sweets…it’s tough at first but after awhile you don’t miss it and you actually feel better. The house is more peaceful and we’re spending less time mindlessly channel-flipping. TV has become more “by appointment”, which is a good thing.
Time will tell whether our household officially “cuts the cord,” but this experience has fundamentally changed the way I look at television…it’s not defined by screen size, commercials, Nielsen or Time Warner…it’s about great content delivered in a way that puts audiences first. So, whether you’re a cord-cutter or not, it’s an exciting new era in “television”.
More often than not, I get requests from hiring managers asking for:
A digital designer who can create beautiful and intuitive interactive designs, but also can screen-print, build furniture, and make 8-foot-in-diameter pizzas.
A strategist who has the brain of a quantitative researcher, heart of a qualitative researcher, and a side hobby of being a Nascar racecar driver.
An account manager who has robust ad agency experience, robust client-side experience, robust broadcast production, robust cutting-edge digital work, robust management skills, paired with a slice of robust manchego cheese.
This is what I call the hunt for a unicorn.
Here is how I go hunt for unicorns:
1) Locate a large, dense forest with a reflection pond.
2) Wear a hooded and footed bear costume, rubbed with the essence of eucalyptus and juniper ash.
3) Fast for a week, to strengthen my inner resistance to any and all forms of disturbance.
4) Become one with the forest.
These four steps have led to a natural discovery of many unicorns – beautiful creatures whose gallops announce salvation, whose manes breath hope, whose horns sear triumph.
Every time I pass one of our many unicorns in our mystical forest, I am reminded of the magical-ness and uniqueness of each one.
It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs: I love unicorns!
But I dare not, because to remain a dweller amongst unicorns, I must not scare them off, or disturb their habitat.
I must lightly skip across the pond, the way unicorns do.
I must glisten in the sun, the way unicorns do.
I must defend my ground when savagely cornered by the enemy, the way unicorns do.
But, I also must be tame to a kind person’s touch, the way unicorns do.
I too, must become a unicorn.
In ACL Live’s latest roundup of its upcoming events, you might have seen a listing for the All ATX showcase at Moody Theater on September 24. What is special about this event is that Austin music legends Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Ray Benson and Christopher Cross and many others are coming together for a one-night only concert, all in support of HAAM.
On top of that, an album featuring all the great artists from this event is being produced by Gary Keller and available for purchase at Waterloo Records and HAAM’s website, among other local hotspots.
The album design, created by music-crazed GSD&M creatives Ben Hodgin, Sean LaBounty, Hayden Gilbert, and Justin Miller, uses two tones to take the eye on a musical road map.
“HAAM came to us with the assignment of making a ‘best of’ album to promote their benefit and concert,” said Sean LaBounty, creative director at GSD&M. “They knew we wouldn’t be able to fit all the best from the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ onto just one album. That would be a gigantic box set. Too many greats would be left off.”
“So we thought of a cool way to help the world get to know the epic Austin music scene a little better—an annual All-Star list if you will, ‘The ALL-ATX’ with a vintage design through a modern lens—clean, bold and powerful,” LaBounty added. “And we’re hoping to get a [ALL-ATX] baseball team going soon.”
The passion behind this album is no surprise. GSD&M started its relationship with HAAM over ten years ago and since then, will find any way to assist with marketing of the organization.
“There is no other organization that offers affordable healthcare to local musicians like HAAM. This is our hometown too, so contributing to the Austin music scene and its culture is critical to its survival,” said David Rockwood, VP/Community at GSD&M.
“So when we were approached of the idea of a benefit cd, our creative teams jumped at the chance to be part of such an important project,” Rockwood added.
Tickets for this event go on sale Friday, August 2.
July 30, 2013
Posted by Interns
By Regina Flanigan, Communications and Isabella Naranjo, Business Development
Fans of Harry Potter who are unable to travel to London to see the Harry Potter set at Warner Bros. Studio can now stroll down Diagon Alley in Google Maps street view. Inspired by the opportunity to virtually geek out, here are ten more places (in no particular order) we wish we could visit on Google Maps.
1. Heaven – obviously. What does it look like? Who is there? Is there guacamole? (of course there is guacamole).
2. The city of “Hey, Arnold!”– the 90s cartoon that is still a great watch today takes place in a fictional city based on Seattle, Brooklyn and Portland, OR called Hillwood. This show was a great introduction to urban life for a kid growing up in suburbia – remember the vacant lot Arnold and the gang used to build a baseball field? Those resourceful city kids! We should also be able to see inside Arnold’s room, the coolest a kid could wish for.
3. The worlds of Firefly – if Google can map Mars and underwater terrain, then they can create a clickable version of this fictional corner of the universe for fans to explore. Sure, there are maps of the ‘verse out there, but I want to be able to explore down to the street level.
4. Wonderland – wouldn’t it be cool to explore the Queen’s garden and hang with the Caterpillar? Bonus points if Google Maps includes a version of the trippy early 90s show Adventures in Wonderland, which has one of my favorite theme songs of all time.
5. Metropolis – full disclosure: I haven’t actually seen Metropolis yet. But since the city from the 1927 film laid the foundation for nearly all sci-fi cinema dystopian cities to come, it deserves to be explored.
6. Wan Shi Tong’s Library – I would love to explore everywhere in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe (not the movie – we don’t talk about the movie), especially a library built “with the intention to preserve all the world’s knowledge” that has been buried under a desert.
7. Thugz Mansion – Tupac’s version of Heaven houses some of the greatest artists of all time like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Sam Cooke. Definitely another building I want to see the inside of.
8. Atlantis – Probably the best scuba diving expedition you’ll ever go on and you don’t even have to get wet. Keep in mind you won’t get to collect any buried treasure since the city is still, in fact, lost.
9. King’s Landing – Let’s be honest, a street view tour is the perfect opportunity to scope out a path to Joffrey’s bed chamber and plot to get rid of the little turd once and for all. I’m sure there would be great sights and handsome knights gawk out while we formulate our fictional plan of attack.
10. Krypton – Decades of fawning over the Man of Steel and finally we’re able to make him take us home with him… and man, what a home it is.
Honorable Mentions: The Death Star, The Land of Ooo, Oz, Gallifrey, Gotham City, Neverland, Downton Abbey, Middle Earth
Did we forget any amazing places? Let us know!
July 18, 2013
Posted by Curiosity
By Michael Griffith
Remember when you were a child and received your first big wheel? The smell of new plastic. The rock-crunching rumbling on the concrete. You could tow anything with that thing. And you looked pretty damn cool on it too. Ahhh, the memories. If you don’t remember this scenario, then your childhood was probably terrible. But alas, there’s now hope to bring back a once forgotten, nostalgic memory.
GSD&M has started a new tradition: The Big Wheel 500 — an annual event held in May that hosts teams of overgrown adults, bringing out their inner child for fame, glory and beer. The rules are simple: win and look ridiculous doing it. Teams are set up to race around a track for 20 laps, alternating team members after a certain amount of laps. Each team has their respective name and attire. And of course there is a trophy and champagne bath to the winners. This year, we were privileged enough to have teams from T3 and Proof Advertising join us in the fun and Proof took home the first place trophy. It’s a great event that we hope to continue for years to come!
Check out the recap video:
Photos from the event here: http://gsdm.biz/16F7Np5