Saturday, November 21, 2009

moving along

I am leaving my role in trendspotting at JWT and heading to TAXI to be a planner there. I am soo excited about this move!! I've enjoyed working at JWT, there are a lot of great people there. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

please leave the dancing to the Gap

Just because a brand can move its' feet, doesn't mean they can dance.

Dance in marketing/advertising is usually a pretty good schtick for getting me interested. BUT. Jumping on that booty-shakin' band wagon just because you know how to make a youtube video and can press play on a stereo is not the way to go about it.

I'm referring to Microsoft's recent non-trad attempt in their new California store. The Apple store wanna-be retail spot created a 4 minute video of their employees doing the electric slide in the store. It was wild, it was crazy, there was clapping, there was sliding, over and over and over again. For 4 minutes.

More than 300,000 people have now watched the video on Youtube and it has a 1.5 star rating. I rest my case.

See for yourselves:

Monday, November 16, 2009

social web game and inter-office smack talking

I have been competing for mayorship of JWT on Foursquare with some guy whose name on the program is Aface K. I tried to figure out who he was by looking through the company's address book with no luck. After I managed to steal it from him twice, he decided that he needed to figure out who his competition was. He called the receptionist and asked who "Katie F." was. He just walked up to my desk and said "you keep stealing my mayorship and it's not cool!" Haha! Some day I'm going to gather all 4 of us at JWT who play this game so that we can compare points and smack talk.

I recently commented on Gareth Kay's blog about a post he wrote concerning It's an online game where you gain points for doing good deeds, volunteering, etc. The points that you gain on BFA and 4SQ are fairly meaningless. You don't really win anything by playing, but frequent users are obsessed. Foursquare I was told a few months ago had an active user base of 50 percent - which is huge. 

These games keep it simple, they play on the competitive spirit and the human desire to win. Behavioral psychologists have found that competition in sports helps people become better athletes. So is competition in social media helping us become better at social media? Better at using it, better at building it, better at analyzing it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i would research

Need to start an on-going list of things I'd like to research (though will likely not have time to do), like my on-going stream "why i love."

If I had time, I would research:

Since graduating from grad school I have been asked numerous times "is the job market harder to day than before the recession."

My answer is: Since I headed straight to grad school after undergrad, I don't have any real experience job searching outside of a recession to compare today to. What I have experienced is real support from those in my position. My peers, who are also desperately seeking work, are hooking me up with people they know and sending me job openings they’ve seen. They are consoling me with their own personal stories and giving moral support.

My hypothesis: Those in the Millennial generation are helping one-another find job opportunities more than any previous generation helped their peers.

The Millennials are savvy, connected, and optimistic. Tough times are their motivator and digital skills are their arsenal, where opportunities do not exist, this generation will create. I also think that the idealism that often influences Millennials’ decisions will lead to many trips and falls along the way.

If anyone's done research on this, let's chat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

cloud computing's where the money's at

At a beer festival, a friendly stranger asked me what things he should invest in, assuming that since I do trendspotting I must also know how to work the stock market. Right.

Well, what I told him to watch for the expansion of cloud computing and for opportunities to invest in that arena. He had no clue what I was talking about. I said that given that people are creating endlessly larger amounts of digital data, much like we need trash dumps to store our garbage, we need spaces to store our digital junk. At this point we buy gigs or terabytes of external storage space to keep all of our stuff. Eventually though, the average Joe will be annoyed that he doesn't have his external with him when out and about or that he has multiple externals that he has to search through for one darn file. Joe will begin to wonder why all of his files aren't accessible in the way that his emails on Gmail (who uses cloud-computing) are. He will head to services like iDrive who do remote data backup or cloud computing.

I was proud of my prediction today when I read in a Wired Magazine article, "The Good Enough Revolution," that Microsoft is moving into cloud computing. Apparently Office 2010 will be largely cloud-based. To add to it's cloud-computing operations, Google is developing a cloud-based operating system that will work in tandem with the company's Chrome browser.

Who knows? Maybe I could do alright in the stock market game.

Monday, November 9, 2009

tech ed.

Loads going on in the academic space using technology that's changing the academic world.

Just read that several universities are participating in a pilot program with Kindle Readers. While this will certainly help students' backs, will reading all their textbooks on a screen hurt their eyes?

VCU stopped giving out university emails this year. Instead students have Gmail accounts. I can see how this would be easier on VCU servers. But I wonder what kind of deal they've had to make with Google?

I also read that Google Wave has been made available to a few universities. I recently started using the Wave and while I think it is a useful chat program, I'm not sure how often uni students will conduct meetings, building documents over it?

Another thing I noticed about the academic space with regards to the Web is the utility of websites created for them. True that most are awful, Blackboard and pretty much every mail server made me want to throw my computer across the room. But, going through the list of entries for the Adobe MAX Awards this year, I noticed that the entries for academic space seemed 10 times more useful than those done for brands. It's pathetic really. I hit on this in another post about brands creating websites that suck. Below are a couple screen shots of academic sites and brand sites, may be hard to judge from these small images.You may want to read the descriptors on the site.

Games by brands:
2 games that involve driving a car around, one involving a digital claw-machine game.

3 educational sites. One that charts a students progress, one that is a network for educators around the world and the third a piano-teaching program.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ford – profiting despite it all

Ford posting a profit of $997 million in the third quarter comes as a surprise especially given the fact that it took no bailout money from the government. The Cash for Clunkers program helped create this profit without a doubt, but Ford has also made major changes internally, cutting operational costs. Strong product launches have also helped, the F-150 doing especially well next to competitors. Less incentives have been necessary to offer in order to sell the cars, which is a good sign as it shows that consumers have faith that a Ford is worth the price. While there's still much to be done, the 3rd quarter results are the light at the end of the tunnel for Ford.

Ford has a history of prevailing in the face of great global challenges. It has weathered the storms of the Great Depression, two world wars, the gas crisis of the 1970s and a few recessions before this one. It defined a new form of industry when Henry Ford invented the moving assembly line and taught us that you can’t always ask the consumer what they would like.

Perhaps the rebound shouldn't be such a surprise, coming from a company whose history of resilience has a way of repeating itself. The battle cry of ‘prevail despite it all’ is a needed one during this period of doom and gloom and one that would be smart for a company like Ford to shout from the roof tops.

Monday, November 2, 2009

irony in simplicity

Hope everyone had a lovely Halloween. I got stuck in the rain and ended up getting shoved into NYC's Halloween parade while trying to cross the street.

I loved the costumes that were simple and ironic. I contemplated being a potato because I knew people would over-think it. A friend of mine was a bush - the plant version, not the presidential one. Halloween is a chance for us to take on the shape of something or someone new and sometimes the simpler you make it, the more ironic it can be in a sea of overly complicated costumes.

Thinking about this in the shower this morning, I started to apply this to the packaging design around me. In the packaging world, sometimes being a more simple design can make your product a winner - think about Method products for example. It's funny then that packaging designs are so complicated. They shout every benefit the product could possibly provide in a flashy, sparkly font. Why does it have to be "vitamin enriched, volumizing, shine inducing" shampoo? Why can't it just be shampoo?

I would like to design refillable packaging that simply states what it holds - shampoo is "shampoo" and hand soap, "hand soap." I feel like it could surprise visitors to your home.  Would they feel unnerved and ask what brand your hair spray was? 

 As it goes 'being a good designer means not adding as much as you can, but taking things away until only what is necessary remains.' We've all heard the phrase, but rarely do brands apply it.