Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Footprint Chronicles

just finished a post over at the Interwoven Threads Do Better Blog on what might just be the most transparent, socially responsible act i've seen a company take to lighten its carbon footprint. check it. you won't be disappointed.

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you know you're getting old...

...when you receive a Crock Pot for your birthday. yup. my parents came over last night to have dinner and celebrate my birthday. at one point, i remarked that this was the first year i actually felt "old." this was most likely exacerbated by the boy across the street who remarked earlier in the day, "how old are you?" and then "woah. that's a lot." i then reminded him that i can drink legally and headed inside my house.

so as i'm opening gifts, i get to the above Crock Pot. granted, i wanted one. in one of those, "that would be handy" passing-comment ways. now it's mine. and i'm pretty excited about the new "set it and forget it" opportunities ahead.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Monday, check out this jidouhanbaiki

when i lived in japan, one of my favorite japanese words to use was "jidouhanbaiki," which means "vending machine." i would make up all sorts of sentences to include this word. the good news was, japanese jidouhanbaikis were fascinating and provided plenty of justification for my attention to them in conversation.

via psfk, a post i fell in love with immediately because of its inclusion of two things that interest me: photos taken daily to record minute change and japanese vending machines. hoorah for the well-titled blog, I take a picture of the vending machine every day (or so). I’m very sorry.


Friday, September 21, 2007

National Park(ing) Day

i posted on National Park(ing) Day over at Interwoven Threads' Do Better Blog. check it
...some relevant experiential marketing examples.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dylan goes viral

adverblog pointed me to a pretty kick-cheese viral experience to raise awareness for bob dylan's new "greatest songs" album. sure, i love viral marketing. i love bob dylan even more. and this site's combination of the two is just spectacular. who would have thought Subterranean Homesick Blues could have been a made-for-viral video? play around. then buy the album.

many times viral executions just don't make sense...they try to hard to fit a brand or product. but this one fits like a snug leopard-skin pill-box hat.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Leveraging reality

i agree with agency spy and their love of the new adidas work featuring the rubgy team All Blacks. this outtake-turned-viral video is one of the brightest uses of outtakes i've seen. i just love the reality of the moment. helps that the father-son duo plays well off of one another.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Stress out your brand

(george hincapie's tour of missouri victory)

Olivier Blanchard has an intriguing post on adaptive progression (and what it means for your brand) over at the Brandbuilder Blog. not only is the post dead-on when explaining the cyclical nature of brand development, it does two very important things in my mind:
1) Justifies the importance of consistent brand planning and strategy
2) Explains the need to stress out your brand.

number one is easy to understand, number two however is something we agency folks and our brand-side clients are extremely guilty of. when Olivier puts it in athletic terms, it is obvious: stress out your body, build muscle, perform better. i see this translated (in the brand world) as taking chances. doing something unprecedented. scary. stress out your brand.

i'm talking about the ideas we have that may not see the light of day after they are discussed to death. or the executions that are so unprecedented that the fear of the unknown neuters the concept. or marketplace communication that differentiates the brand instead of follows the same old structure. these are the brand stresses that have the potential to truly strengthen.

sure, stress comes with risk. just as i took a risk yesterday bolting out and pushing my speed up a notch during my last long run before the Chicago Marathon. i could have pulled something. i could have crashed at mile 20. but i didn't. and because i extended - progressed - i finished the run at a higher level than i'd started. it was worth the risk.

proper brand planning creates the same powerful base that athletes rely on to propel them into peak periods. allowing that base to build a brand to the point of peaking (through great executions, risks, big ideas) can yield huge gains.
there's merit in thinking of your brand within Olivier's above training cycle. it's what we often address in annual planning. but there's even more reward available in pushing those peaks past what you're used to. unfamiliar brand territory. brand stress.

great post, Olivier. it's a visual i'll use to remind myself of the importance of not just a solid cycle, but the progress that must be attained within.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Green billboards?

great post from Agency Spy on this green outdoor option. we all know the green movement's roots are firmly planted in the marketplace, our industry now will be forced to respond in many ways - i like this execution. what other green communication have you seen/are embarking on?

as always, more green thoughts can be found on Interwoven Threads' Do Better Blog.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The three W's

Who are you?
Why are you?
Where are you?

i was going through my bloglines last night and saw sethy g's post on kevin garnett's interview with john thompson. i am not a fan of the NBA. nor am i a fan of paying attention to things that last more than 10 minutes. good news is, this indescribable interview is nine minutes. so i watched. if you can spare nine minutes, watch this now. you won't regret it. it's quite possibly the best nine minutes i've spent in a while. more woolardspeak after the jump.

this video is a perfect illustration of what i call the three w's of life. not sure how long i've been using this framework, but it's come into play in most of my life decisions. if you get these things answered, you're good. most of us though, can only answer one. or two. and that's where the kilter is thrown.

kevin garnett simply answers the "who are you" question. he's a winner. he is a leader, passionate and dedicated.

he's answered the why: "I was built that way." beautiful statement. seth asks the question, "What are you built for?" and i think that's a great question. but it's only one part of this larger line of action. where kevin is coming up short is WHERE he is.

alright, i know i'm getting sappy on you, so without heading into deep water here, i'll lighten this for a second.
  • if you hire people, make sure they talk like kg.
  • if you manage people, make sure you notice when they get pissed off. angry. hurt. it's the ones who accept losses that you need to worry about. the restless ones can change your organization...or leave for, as coach thompson says, "greener pastures."
  • if you're looking at your own life, figure out what activities/people/professions charge you up to the point that you could show the type of raw passion kg shows.
so back to the three W's. Who are you? Why are you ________ (enter profession/passion/goal)? and finally, Where are you?

when i used to talk to college folk about finding their first job, the "where" was always the focus. find people you love. find a place you love. be part of something. find a culture. the company you keep, as your mom used to say, is still important.

finally, a focus on the reason for kg's statements: he's losing. sure, it's not the entire issue here, but it's the straw that breaks down all the emotion you see in the interview. i'm not sure when people decided losing was not that big of a deal. you know those people? those who sugar coat it. throw blame around. find excuses. it's "a learning experience" or "not our fault" or "nice being second." no, it's losing. it's not winning. whether you're getting schooled on the tennis court or had creative shot down in an internal review, a loss is a loss. and sometimes, the harder, the more personally you take it, the better the next attempt will be.

but kg's right: you can't teach that. you can't make that. people are built that way. some people can take a loss. some people can't. figure out which one you are and then surround yourself with similar hearts and minds.

what if we approached today - our jobs, our family, our friends - with the passion kg shows? the absolute aversion to anything but the best. a hatred for coming up short. what if we demand it of ourselves, and we demand it of our peers? that could be a helluva success.

Andy Woolard, or mouthpiece for hip-hop truth

i pride myself on having my finger on the pulse of urban culture. many of my more suburban friends often call and ask, "Yo, what's the beat on the street?" and i tell them. so, it's only natural that i weigh in on the hip-hop battle of the century/decade/year: Kanye West v. 50 Cent(s). both released albums yesterday. only one can be king of the chartz.

first, the results according to iTunes. Kanye's got the top album. and the top song (Stronger). reports Kanye's winning (they also factor in the much-awaited Kenny Chesney release - seriously?). both albums use one word for their titles: Kanye West's Graduation and 50 Cent's Curtis. I'm guessing Curtis is Fiddy's real name? maybe it is French for "not as good as Kanye." but that's about where the similarities end. i realize i'm not Fiddy's target, and am more in line with Kanye's work, but still, homeboy's thrown his hands in the air to "In Da Club" a few times.

watch the video for "Stronger" - it will give you a good idea of the innovation found in the rest of Graduation.

the video is amazing, and shows a great use of 80s sunglasses. i'm not even going to post the link to Fiddy's "Ayo Technology." it's just poor - and perverted. and it features Justin Timberlake (immediate disqualification) and Fiddy following women around with binoculars. but back in the camp of "fantastic" is comedian Zack Galifianakis' video of Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothin'." hilarious.

both albums are filled with guests - from producers to artists - but easily the best guest appearance in this duel is Chris Martin on Kanye's "Homecoming."

you can troll the internets for reviews from "music reviewers" and "journalists," or you can trust this mouthpiece for hip-hop truth and buy "Graduation" right now. then proceed to rock your body. you can listen to a few more tracks at Kanye West's MySpace page and 50 Cent's tunes on his MySpace page.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tour of Missour Stage 1

i couldn't have asked for a better day to tool around KC on my bike. the weather is just great, the sun is out. i met my friend moe for breakfast, then rode a new route to work. about noon, i jumped on my bike and rode from the crossroads to the Plaza down main street and was just in time for stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri.

first of all, i was floored by all the people. the turnout was awesome. many people did what i did and biked down - seemed like the easiest thing to do. i was also able to represent the Sunflower Outdoor and Bike gear (there were a ton of Sunflower T-shirts throughout the crowd, guys).

like many of the other spectators, i huddled around Team Discovery's van as they exited one by one and rode through throngs of people to the start. it was nice to be part of what will surely be a historic race for a historic team.

here are some photos. if you're able to run back down to the plaza around 4 or 5, do it. the finish will be just ask exciting as the start of this stage. and surely there will be some great milling about with the teams and vendors. i'll be heading back down there, so look for me in my blue and white kit.

support vehicles lines the plaza

Kodak/Sierra Nevada holds a special place in my stomach

George Hincapie exits the van before navigating through a roaring crowd

right on time, the stage 1 pushes forward

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall and Team Discovery in Kansas City

just headed up the street for some afternoon coffee and was met with that great fall'll be here in KC for about another hour, so go outside and try to break a sweat. my coworker and i both agreed it's perfect running weather (after we'd had perfect running weather all weekend, finally). and i'd get out and run in this, but i'm headed to the Trek Store with some buddies to see the folks from Team Discovery. this is about as exciting as when i was four, and my parents took me to the mall to see santa. santa hincapie, santa liepheimer and tour winner santa contador (wait, that name actually sort of works) will be in town, among other teammates.

Disco's here for the Tour of Missouri, which starts tomorrow. i'm going to try to break out of the office for an extended lunch to head to the Plaza for the start. or maybe that persistent cold is back....if you're a cycling fan, own a bike, or are just a sports fan addicted to high performance, try to catch tomorrow's circuit stage. the finish will be back at the Plaza, around 5.

i can't underscore the magnitude of hosting such an event. we're talking tour of california, USA cycling championships. not to mention the last tour Team Disco will be riding as Team Disco. this is a huge deal for kansas city, where our athletics (loose term) are located as far out of fans' way as possible and we have more arenas than interested professional teams. but we do have Jayhawk football. and that arena team.... so now's your chance, sports fans, to check out a true top-notch sporting event in your backyard.

*UPDATE: we showed up to the Trek store at 5:30 and there was a line of hundreds...yes, HUNDREDS of people wrapped around the SM Parkway strip mall. about as many inside where Disco had set up autograph tables. the rules were: buy a 10 buck ticket ($ went to the Headstrong for Jake and Major Taylor foundations - helmet safety and bikes for underprivileged kiddos, respectively) and then hope you're either one of 200 people to get inside, or are inside before 6. needless to say, we didn't pony up the dough for autographs. we sneaked some peeks inside, then headed to what is quickly becoming one of my favorite KC joints: Stonewall Inn for pizza and brews. few things make me venture past 75th street, but Stonewall has joined the list of a few apartments, Backwoods and The Great Mall of the Great Plains (damn you, cosmic mini golf).

anyway, i've decided to bike to work tomorrow, and take a long lunch to ride down to the Plaza and catch the start. should be easier to get around on two wheels, than four. plus, i might just sneak past the hay bales and don my Woolard Racing jersey for a fast spring out of the gate.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

God bless this spot

via Agency Spy, an incredible spot selling, well, Christianity. no joke, this spot from Alpha Course not only nails the strategy, it effectively communicates against a universal-truth insight of humanity: there's got to be something more than this.

use it as momentum to create a better weekend. avoid the cog. jump the grid. etc.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

End your day on this note

if you're having a hard time getting back into the work week, click here. seriously, click here if you're not having a good day and need to end your 9-5 on a high note. but just a warning, if you're currently having a good day, or if you've spent your afternoon pilfering wireless from a stand-up festival, clicking here might send you over the happy threshold.

this might be the best bit of branded content i've seen in a long, long time. not only is it completely unexpected from the brand, but strategically, it's fantastically effective. i would have loved to be with the creative team (anyone know who has the cadbury acct?) when they were brainstorming off the simple insight: chocolate makes people happy. after you've viewed, hit the "Eh, come again?" button for an explanation.

kudos to whomever can take credit for this. i never sign up for branded content, but put my e-mail address right in that little system in the hopes of seeing what comes next.