Category Archives: Creativity

Weekly Round-Up 6/5/2011

It was largely the week of the API for us.

Speaking of killer apps and creativity, something about virtual world hopping into real world engagement pretty much ensures virality on YouTube–4mm views and counting for this top-app, Angry Bird in a T-Mobile video:

Weekly Round-Up 5/02/11

Shameless Plug

  • For more about Social/Local/Mobile, see us at the Social-Loco Conference—I’ll be speaking on the “Big Brand” money panel.


  • Wrap your mind around this:  Escher’s Waterfall has our mind boggling!
  • Check out Little Thor, a miniature hero who gives this year’s favorite Super Bowl character, Little Vader from the Volkswagen commercial, a run for his money.
  • Will Turnage, VP, Technology & Invention for R/GA, shows off a shirt he hacked for a South by Southwest session.  This shirt not only flashes when he taps his phone through a Bluetooth control, but also lights up when someone tweets his twitter handle.


  • AppNation brought the growing consumer application trend to the forefront of the minds of all those who were fortunate enough to attend.
  • Drew Ianni, Chairman of AppNation, joined us at Anthem Worldwide in San Francisco to share his view-from-the-top of the Apps Ecosystem.


Global Social Gaming Overview

On Tuesday April 12 we presented a sweeping overview of Social Gaming from its scope, scale and size in the US to the development of this space around the world. We shared how marketers can engage consumers in the space and wrapped with some informative case studies by Toyota. Some impressions, slides, video and links follow. Continue reading

Change Everything

This post presents the content and discusses the process in my journey to create the “This Can Change Everything” presentation for iMedia Breakthrough Summit on March 21, 2011. It was a 30-45 minute discussion where I covered So|Lo|Mo, Gamification, Maker-movement and Social CRM/Caring after a hat-tip to Moore’s & Metcalfe’s laws combined with the “People” coefficient. With an extra 15-minutes allowance, I may have added connected TVs as a potential “return to the Family Room” theme. Regardless, these themes are ones that I believe can change everything in the coming years.
Continue reading

Dirty Brand Secret (video)

for the love of cleanOn Thursday, January 20, 2011 Method Brand Co-Founder+Chief Brand Architect and evangelist, Eric Ryan, dropped by our offices to take on our current theme of Social Mission/Causes. You can’t talk about Method as a brand without punctuating it with their rallying cry “People Against Dirty.” Or, said in the affirmative via their tagline: “for the love of clean.” Slogans that are rallying cries and tag lines that convey passion? These are more than just tools for a company with the stated goal of being “in business to change business.” In the hour or so that Eric spent with us he shared how this inside-out approach to their brand has driven revenues and retail success along with employee and consumer passion to the level of starting a small movement. And, as we’ve seen of late in global news, if you’re taking on established, incumbent power you need a different tool kit and approach. Continue reading

Weekly Round-up 2/07/11

Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers #jan25

Following Egypt

Despite an Internet blackout, Egyptians still got their word out by combining Google’s speech-to-text recognition and Twitter’s hashtagging

For greater texture about the environment in which they’re doing this, World News blogs on the state of reporting in an uprising. And Wired covers tech at ground-zero in Tahrir Square.

Al Jazeera, who’s been covering developments in Egypt, launched Twitter and Meetup Campaigns to bring broadcast to U.S.

Social Media was key in Egypt and Tunisia for expression and assembly. The question arises then, under a totalitarian, repressive regime – Is Facebook a human right?

AdWeek's "K Cole's Day in a Nutshell"

You’ve probably heard about Kenneth Cole’s poor judgment on Twitter that fueled an appropriate storm of backlash. Here is the top 10 list of parody tweets in response. My tweet take: “this really seems basic, but there are some conversations marketers just don’t belong in: porn, religion & politics are the most obvious.”

Tech & Government

Following the innovation-focused State of the Union Address, Obama announced the Startup Investment Campaign, with Facebook, Intel, IBM, TECHStars and others all pledging their support for the initiative

Startup America. The White House is paying attention to what’s working – tech entrepreneurship.

Super Bowl

BrandBowl2011 Ad Scores

Our friends at Mullen teamed up with and Radian6 to showcase the top TV ads based on Twitter volume and sentiment. It’s a great way to see the real winners and losers from over 1/4 of a million tweets vs USA Today polls of a couple thousand people. Although the sentiment analysis is imperfect, this real-time view and measurement of ad impact is great to experience. You can see the aftermath of the engine at You can also see my #brandbowl tweets reacting to the ads in real time.

Catch all the marketer Superbowl spots at AdAge. And you can find all the spots including Hollywood trailers with ratings on Fox’s round-up site.

Eminem was considered unofficial MVP for the BrandBowl. In addition to the Detroit/American anthem spot for Chrysler where he represents a powerful metaphor for redemption,  Slim landed in a Lipton Brisk Iced Tea as a claymation character. That’s Brisk Baby!

PepsiCo’s Jill Beraud and Ann Mukherjee talk PepsiCo’s return to the Super Bowl with Doritos and PepsiMax User Generated Content this year ; “Crash the Super Bowl

Here are the Top 10 Super Bowl ads with most Twitter pre-buzz–worth noting that several advertisers chose not to reveal their ads until they aired for the Superbowl. And we’ll be tracking other post-mortems for next week’s round-up.

Other News

AOL Acquires Huffington Post for $315m & appoints Arianna Huffington Editor-in-Chief. Long article, but worth the read as it shares a lot of ideas around the future of media including AOL’s 80:80:80 focus–80% of domestic spending is done by women, 80% of commerce happens locally and 80% of considered purchases are driven by influencers. Also, at the end of this article All Things D discloses that the were in talks with AOL as well last year but stayed w/Newscorp’s Dow Jones.

Cause marketing is taking off. Peter Jackson raises $2 million to go after cause marketers at The Experience, a niche site where people who care deeply about a particular topic can share their experiences with others.

Facebook introduces a credibility score with new social commenting plugin

Design Happiness

WarmGun 2010 Designing HappinessOn Friday 10/08/10 Dave McClure (follow) of 500 Hats (blog) & 500 Start-ups (angel) hosted the “Warm Gun” design conference. Original in many ways, this event emphasized design from a usability and technical perspective and still managed to be about design. You can pull down the slideware from and view the videos at –Developer path is /warmgun and Designers are /warmgun2

Big takeaways for me: an enormous amount of design and marketing talent lies deep within the walls of every major digital media and service provider. They’re thinking broadly about the implications of their data and usability across channels, in different media and devices as well as within different contexts. The new breed may have more science than art in their make-up, or at least more than they may have had to express in previous generations. And, as with every walk of creative life, they’re generally open, curious, opinionated and a lot of fun to be around.

As marketers expand their skillsets and embrace their inner-publisher/media-mogul by necessity, they’ll find a well-trained workforce available in the Valley. That’s not to say there won’t be competition, simply that there’s a farm-league for this talent within hundreds of digital companies and agencies. And, they’re really smart, connected and resourceful. Tip of a hat to Dave McClure and Christen O’Brien for bringing us together.

The entire event’s tweetstream is available via new aggregating service,—if you’re an event organizer be sure to check them out!

And, as the event had the heart, imagination and inspiration of John Lennon who would have turned 70 on conference date, here’s a tribute video in honor of the Man and the Idea:

Relevance through constant reinvention

In two unrelated acts I found myself reacting to the work of our business in very different ways. It’s really a story of where advertising has been and where marketing is headed. Our main characters are Delta Airlines and Red Bull. Maybe you already see where this is going…

I was compelled to comment on AdWeek’s column by Barbara Lippert reviewing Delta’s new “Climb” advertising as much because of the advertising content as for the product it’s trying to represent in a positive light. Unfortunately, Delta and many other old-line airlines have been re-framed by newer and more relevant airlines like Virgin America, my current favorite, through a series of continual micro-innovations including: in-seat USB & DC power supply; in-flight wifi; seatback ondemand entertainment systems; microbrews and beverages of this decade/year/month; and more surely to come. These should be easily replicated commodity benefits for the industry to defy attempts at re-framing, but instead they respond with extra baggage fees and these ads/cinematic masterpieces.

Lippert quotes the famous David Ogilvy line to which I subscribe, “the fastest way to kill a bad product is to give it good advertising.” Eric Ryan, at Method Products–another company defined more by innovation than an advertising artifice–like to say advertising is a tax for sucking. Real Branding should be the honest, multi-faceted, self-aware expression of the most dramatic truths about a brand. In these spots, we get only some commodity industry truths and very little about what makes Delta special–because it isn’t. Ultimately, Delta has no recourse but to create big, interruptive and, yes, beautiful distractions to carry their brand advertising, because their brand truths simply don’t stick or attract you. They have to interrupt you because you wouldn’t invest the time to hear their false case any other way.

In Contrast:

I was just as compelled to post this video to my Facebook wall. Really, nothing to add here except this: Red Bull consistently creates engagements with super-influential categories and associations that inspire in all ways, from the Idea to execution. I was cheering for The Clutch at the end of this piece. I wanted to watch and share. I was drawn to the story and inspired by this piece of marketing. I look forward to how Red Bull will inspire us next and in what compelling form. I feel the power of their truth in their deeds, actions and expressions.

Red Bull gives wings to inspired marketing and represents the new marketing model in which “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” are all one line:

  • where any act can inspire and add to your brand’s marketing fame
  • where advertising draws you in and invites you to stick around versus interrupting like a loud, rude–albeit good looking–guest
  • where a local-market tactic can project as large as a national spot
  • where truths are core and essential and lies are exposed or simply ignored
  • where digital and social aren’t just media or a channel, but core to connecting and discovery with new brand recruits

It’s an example of the dynamic of “Magnetism” which you’ll hear more about more frequently here. Welcome your thoughts and contributions.

Hallelujah-Top 10 Covers

Just finished watching KD Lang sing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ for the fifth time on tivo. Like everyone else, I naturally went to search for it to share. In doing so, I discovered something pretty amazing: this one song covered by so many A-list and pop-culture acts routinely earns 2-million views when covered (hint to emerging acts wanting to show their reverential side).

Here are my top 10 examples:

The man himself, Leonard Cohen, about 1mm views

Rufus Wainwright with Joan Wasser and Martha Wainwright from the brilliant biographical Cohen film, “I’m Your Man,” nearly 20mm views via 6+ other ‘related videos’ versions)

Jeff Buckley’s version, almost 14mm views

kd lang. 2mm views

Allison Crowe, almost 5mm views

Sheryl Crow, 2mm views

Amanda Jenssen, Swedish American Idol, almost 5mm views (there’s another post with nearly 800k views as well)

Four Norwegian singers including Kurt Nilson, almost 20mm views

Jason Castro, 2mm+ views

Bon Jovi @ MSG in 2008

What’s amazing about this song–also frequently referred to as “The Shrek Song” by the YouTube generation–is that other versions earn 10s of millons additional views. For example: Alexandra Burke, about 8mm views and John Cale, over 2.5mm views.  If you’ve been doing the math within this post, you’re at over 80mm views of this one song and this is just from YouTube, not inclusive of other video sharing sites. We’re also counting just the head, not the tail versions of these videos. In aggregate I wouldn’t be surprised if viewership on this one song is over 200mm when you add all the long-tail occurrences. As with any longtail, I also expect that KD Lang’s performance tonight for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies will earn a lot more views per video.

I believe these number dimensionalize what Carl Jung meant when he quoted ‘the Chinese Master’ in Miguel Serrano’s “Jung & Hesse, a record of two friendships“: “a man thinking rightly in a room can be heard 3000 miles away.” Leonard Cohen, the master of word and song-craft, will be heard in every corner of the earth for ages to come.

When Every Little Bit Really Does Count

The Good Cause

The Good Cause

Tonight at 9:12pm David created a blog post for a friend in need. Daniela, with her three youngsters, made the courageous decision to exit a physically abusive marriage. Now homeless and far from home and support, her friends came to her aid. David posted a picture, an entreaty for donations and included a widget from ChipIn–a PayPal enabled payment system–to raise money that would provide Daniela the means to rent a small apartment for her family. His target was $5,000 and within two hours it easily passed $7,000 in donations.

To be fair, David is just any guy. He’s David Armano,  or @Armano on Twitter where you may already be one of his 8000+ followers. I am. You should. He puts great thinking and creativity into the SocialSphere everyday through his Logic+Emotion blog, twitterstream, twitpics, flickr visualizations, slideshare decks, bookmarks and more.  David populates and prolifically fills his SocialMap with an abundance of original thought, discoveries and insights. So, when he finally asked for something in return, the community answered his call. When he posted to his blog, he also asked in addition to giving that people help him spread the word by “retweeting” his link. They did and the response was immediate.

The widget allows you to track progress and it’s clear by the decimal point movement that people were making payments of all sizes, including very small, but meaningful ones. Because with The Long Tail and micropayments, a little can add up to a lot. In this case, a families dreams of a better life. Currently 218 donors have raised $7,099.31 or $32.56 per person on average.

To bluntly and awkwardly bring this back to the business of digital marketing and Real Branding, here are some lessons David delivered tonight:

  • Brands that create value have the right to make the ask on occasion and their fans will respond
  • Micro is the new black. Sure widgets have been around for at least three years when RockYou put its code up on MySpace and started tearing at the walled gardens creating a distribution and value-creating revolution. But now they’re getting people elected, or into their new home
  • Blog post alone isn’t the solution as Forrester’s Jermiah Owyang has recently discovered; need to add viral and urgency through twitter. Add a twitter url and hashtag for your followers to use, making it easier to promote, track, aggregate through search and measure
  • We digital folks never fail to be amazed when our magic works for us–and it does

Thanks David and family for the lessons from the heart. Every little bit counts. You can help the cause by clicking over and making your donation now (I don’t know how to embed widgets in WordPress otherwise you would be able to do it right here; don’t tell anyone :-). Be Great.