August 21, 2013
Posted by Maureen McFee
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
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?