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
At the tail end of last month, we were all too eager to celebrate Bring Your Dog To Work Day (aka Work From Home If You’re Allergic To Dogs Day). The entire office was full of of under-desk napping, rear-end sniffing, and begging for food or praise. And the dogs had a good time, too. Catch all the festivities from a pup’s POV with the video below.
Check out all the photos from the day here: http://gsdm.biz/1bodjBz
Forget the theories. This book shows you what account planners actually do on a daily basis and what the best account planners do when it comes to making advertising that is smart, strategic and culturally infectious. - Author Chris Kocek on his new book, The Practical Pocket Guide to Account Planning
You know you’re working at a great ad agency when some coworkers literally write the book about their career field and others branch out and start their own companies.
GSD&M has seen many examples of this. For instance, Luke Sullivan wrote the bible for advertising creatives, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, and Bryan Jessee and Mark McGarrah started their own ad shop, McGarrah Jessee.
Chris Kocek has now done both, writing The Practical Pocket Guide to Account Planning and launching his own strategic & design agency, Gallant Branding. After he finished his book, we talked about what it was like to write what could become the definitive resource for account planning.
There are many books about advertising and the business of advertising. What need do you see your book filling? How is it different from others?
I think a lot of books about advertising and strategy are at a 30,000 foot level. They talk about why planning is important, but very few seem to talk about what account planners actually do on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, I hope this book will give people an “on-the-ground” perspective of agency life from an account planner’s perspective so that planning is a little less mysterious and a little more tangible.
Who do you see as your audience for the book and what do you hope they get out of it?
I hope the book will give new and aspiring planners a better understanding of what experienced planners do so they can hit the ground running on day one. I also hope that it gives creatives, account managers, and clients a better understanding of what planners do so they know how to get the most out of their planning team/department.
What compelled you to write this book?
I talked to a lot of account planners over the years and I kept hearing the same story again and again. And it was a story I knew well from personal experience. Basically, every planner I’ve ever talked to has told me it took them about two years of confusion, chaos, and WTF moments before they really started to have a decent idea of what was going on and what they needed to do to be a more effective planner. I thought a book like this could help reduce that learning period from two years to about two hours.
Since this is your first book, what do you hope to get out of the experience? What was the experience of writing it like? How does it compare to now promoting it?
Who says this is my first book? I’ve got several unpublished books sitting in filing cabinets collecting dust!
Actually, this book started out in a completely different place. I thought it would be a thinly veiled piece of fiction – a bunch of short stories or vignettes from a planner’s perspective about varying assignments and all the insanity that goes into making different campaigns. But then I read Jim Othmer’s “Adland” – hilarious book by the way – and I realized that the book I’d been working on had already been written. Plus, the more I talked to planners and professors and advertising students, the more I realized there might be another opportunity – something a little more practical.
Once I switched gears and went the route of a non-fiction “guidebook,” it actually became a lot easier. Plus, I was doing some guest lecturing at UT-Austin and students kept asking me the same questions, so I started writing a bunch of one-page responses. Before I knew it, I had enough material for a short book.
Promoting the book so far has been interesting. We don’t have a multi-million dollar budget to get the word out there. It’s just a lot of phone calls, emails, and conversations with a very specific group of people – planners, professors and ad students. Hopefully though, if the book gives people what they’re looking for, if it answers their questions in an interesting, organized and entertaining way, then hopefully more people will want to pick it up.
If you’d like to pick it up click here to read more and purchase the book from Amazon or iTunes. www.practicalplanningbook.com
Follow Ben Thoma at @StrictlyCircus
Chris Kocek at @ChrisKocek
July 2, 2013
Posted by Interns
By Megan Jackson, Account Service
Globally, how many of us take public transportation to get to work? I know many of us at GSD&M, including myself, take the bus to get around Austin. Especially after a long day of graduate classes, I will rest my head on the window for the bus ride home. It’s a common behavior for commuters, and BBDO Düsseldorf (Germany) has capitalized on this potential new ad platform. According to Adweek, BBDO Düsseldorf has developed a special window for public transportation that uses a transmitter to silently release high-frequency oscillations that your brain will convert into sound. Essentially, the vibrating train windows transmit advertisements directly into people’s heads. Anyone without their head on the train window can’t hear it. The video states that this technology (called “Bone Conduction”) was previously only used for deaf and the military. Now, it is being tested on tired train commuters as a new medium for advertising.
Although I find this new technology fascinating, I also find it very invasive. Most advertisers strive for inspiring and interactive content. However, if people aren’t aware of this technology, the experience might freak them out. The targeted message may be lost in the confusion or it could leave a negative impression on the commuter. I don’t think I’d appreciate dozing off on a train to be awakened by a voice in my head.
What is your reaction? Could this really be an effective new advertising platform?
Initially, I was reminded of the public reaction to the War of the Worlds broadcast in which people in ancient times mistook a science fiction radio program for actual news and panicked because aliens were descending on our fair planet. You can’t buy that kind of organic mass-hysteria PR these days.
But this? This just seems insensitive and not very memorable. It’s hard to get excited for a zombie movie when the fake headlines aren’t far off from what’s actually happening in the world: humanitarian crises, people living without power in difficult circumstances, huge loss of life. It hit a little too close to home.
The Game of Thrones Season 3 ad in the NY Times, however, smashed this one to pieces in a game of rock-paper-scissors (dragons-zombies-journalism?) and remains one of my recent favorites.
It’s cleaner, it’s more clever, and it builds real excitement rather than crying impending doom. Plus, it doesn’t make the paper look like a false version of itself, even though the shadow was printed over fake articles (because how do you bill a dragon shape in ad space?). That is something that newspapers can’t afford when pundits and businesspeople are claiming their industry is dead on a daily basis. Plus, I’m sure more than a few print versions were picked up by die-hard fans as memorabilia.
The movie made enough in the days following its opening to open talks of a sequel, so I’m sure the agency and movie companies aren’t hurting from my criticism. But as a fan of both sci-fi and fantasy and newspaper reader, this one just wasn’t for me.
I am of the mindset: Advertising that “works” is rooted in proven science and math.
A few weeks ago, 10 people liked this Instagram photo within 3 seconds of posting, and it made me wonder: Is there a way to measure content “efficiency” – how quickly content moves through a medium (audience) towards a desired direction?
We constantly measure the effectiveness of content a la number of likes, views, RTs, etc. But, in the real-time digital world, speed is also an important factor. Speed combined with traction creates efficiency. And efficiency typically wins in our increasingly digital world.
If we want to truly understand the impact of content we’re producing, what if we applied physics concepts to digital advertising?
Physics: A science that deals with matter and space and their interactions.
Content Physics: A science that deals with content (matter) and its audience (space) and their interactions.
Velocity: The speed at which something moves in a given direction (positive or negative). If the object returns to its starting position, then the velocity is zero.
To calculate Velocity, V = Displacement / Time Taken
Content Velocity: The speed at which content (something) moves in a given direction (positive or negative). If the content (object) returns to its starting position, then the velocity is zero.
To calculate Content Velocity, CV = Displacement / Time Taken
The higher the absolute value of content velocity, the more efficient the content’s influence over that specific time period. And, at times when brands are in a low season, their content velocity may slow down, maybe even hitting zero on a day or two.
This could also dig into how conducive specific platforms are to high levels of content velocity. Just as how a ball may move at different speeds through different liquids, content may move at different speeds through specific platforms, depending on its properties – how tightly packed the atoms are, the viscosity, the density.
</ Nerd Moment>
Anyway, happy Tuesday!
June 24, 2013
Posted by Interns
By John Gasper
I’m not from here. I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and yes, let’s get it out of the way, Scranton is in fact the city featured on the popular NBC sitcom “The Office,” and not only is Dunder Mifflin a real company, but I am close personal friends with all of the famous and beloved characters from the show, such as Jim, Pam, Sherman, Michael, Dwight, Gary, and Edgar. All real. Close personal friends of mine. Scranton is real. I am from there. Ok? Ok.
So, yes. Texas. Here I am forming opinions, as someone whose entire experience of this state prior to May 30th was a 2-hour layover in the Houston airport on my way to Cancun in 2004, and also “King of the Hill” reruns. And so I’ve spent my first few weeks as a copywriting intern keeping my first impressions of life in Texas in an organized list. Everybody loves lists.
FIRST: Texans love this state. I know Texans already have this reputation, to the point where it’s almost a cliché, but it wasn’t until I came here that I realized just how well-deserved that reputation is. More things here have pictures of Texas on them than don’t, honestly. I have never seen this in any other state. Seeing Texas about one thousand times per day has made me realize how appropriate the Lone Star thing is, though, because if you look close, Texas sort of looks like a star. A star with a weird, rectangular top part, but still.
Pennsylvania doesn’t really have that kind of pride so much. Maybe part of it is because Pennsylvania is one of the most awkward state names to say. “Pennsylvania.” Just look at that word. Also, I think it’s partly because the state itself is weird-looking. We have the perfectly straight top and bottom parts, then that weird round area that borders Delaware, then it gets all wrinkly on the right side, and then in the top left there’s that chimney thing where Erie is. I can’t imagine seeing someone with a tattoo of Pennsylvania, is what I’m getting at. And my overall point is that Texans really do genuinely love this state, which is pretty cool.
SECOND: Austin is pretty much living up to its reputation as a real cool place to live. Great food, great people, great music, all that stuff. Though, it’s not cool in a literal sense. It has been at least 90 degrees here, nonstop, since I arrived. That’s not cool in any sense of the word. I know I am a pansy but I mean come on, even if you’re from here, that’s unreasonably hot. What do you mean, “if you’re from here that’s perfectly reasonable, you Pennsylvania baby”? That’s just mean. Why would you say such a thing? You’ve hurt my feelings. Way to go.
I have not been here long enough to formulate a fully coherent opinion of Austin, not yet. I’ll be here for at least a few months, and maybe I’ll get to stay here a while longer. But so far, I like it here. It’s definitely different from what I’m used to, but a little change every once in a while is a good thing.
THIRD: the only thing that I’ve noticed that is actually bigger in Texas, so far, is grass. Individual blades of grass. I don’t know what kind of mutant crazy grass Texas has but it’s giant and it’s almost a little intimidating. If you tell me not to walk on this grass, I will listen. Who knows what this giant, probably sentient grass is capable of? I am not willing to find out. Seriously, each blade of grass here looks like a steak knife. I am not trying to tangle with 1000 unnaturally bright green steak knives. It can only end badly.
The grass here even grows on walls.
Dang. This is longer than I expected. Guess the blog posts are bigger in Texas too.
By Megan Jackson
What do we need to know about the 60th anniversary of the festival of creativity?
There is so much going on this week during the Cannes Festival. Here’s a quick overview of the event itself, and then a look at my favorite ad “Dumb Ways to Die” that won in two categories.
What: The 60th anniversary of The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Where: Cannes, France
When: June 16 – 22, 2013
Who: There are about 11,000 members of the global creative communications industries that come together each year to be educated and inspired at Cannes Lions. This year is special because, in addition to the 60th anniversary, a record number of 35,765 entries from 92 countries were submitted.
The awards took place/are taking place:
Monday – June 17, 2013: Creative Effectiveness, Promo & Activation, PR and Direct Lions Awards
Tuesday – June 18, 2013: Media, Mobile, Innovation and Outdoor Lions Awards
Wednesday – June 19, 2013: Press, Design, Radio and Cyber Lions Awards
Saturday – June 22, 2013: Film, Film Craft, Branded Entertainment, and Titanium and Integrated Lions Awards
View the entire schedule here:
Click to enlarge.
Why: Cannes Lions provides the opportunity during a seven-day festival for thousands of global communications and advertising professionals to meet and exchange ideas. Additionally, these attendees from over 90 countries can attend workshops, screenings, exhibitions, seminars by industry leaders and more. Winners for each category are awarded the highly-coveted Lion trophy during the four awards ceremonies taking place throughout the week. Inspiring work is on display throughout the week.
Speaking of inspiring work, my favorite campaign “Dumb Ways to Die” won two of the four top honors on the first day of awards in the PR category and the direct category. This catchy animated tune is actually a warning to act safely around Metro Trains in Melbourne, and was created by McCann Melbourne.
I really liked the Australian tongue-in-cheek approach. The serious content about safety around trains was depicted in a silly way, so you would continue watching. The various animated blobs tell a story about dumb ways to die such as poking a grizzly bear, getting your toast out with a fork or selling both your kidneys on the Internet. Then, after all of these crazy scenarios, the blobs say acting dangerously around trains is the dumbest way to die. It’s both engaging and educational.
After watching this ad, I had the tune stuck in my head all day. It’s something that resonates with you, and I found myself watching the video multiple times. This advertisement was featured on TED’s Ads Worth Spreading, and it has garnered nearly 50 million views on YouTube.
Aside from being well received by the public initially, AdAge talks about why the ad won at Cannes. “Dumb Ways” represented a great strategic idea and pointed to the future of public relations, said Jury President David Gallagher, who is also senior partner and CEO at Ketchum, Europe.
“It wasn’t that long ago when most of our content was centered around a press release and we were pretty happy when a press release was distributed and received and maybe even used by journalists to engage and amplify a message to the public,” said Gallagher. “Those days are behind us. What we need now is content like this, based on real human insight that understands safety isn’t a fun message, that the way to reach children in particular needs to be fun, engaging and imminently sharable, and it needs to bring about real change.”
For more interesting reads about Cannes: