Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:
Pocket launches new Mac app for cross-platform sharing and offline reading
With its latest client, Pocket is bringing the visual and functional experience of its iOS and Android apps to the Mac, syncing saved content across all linked devices. The Pocket for Mac interface consists of a two paned view, not unlike the expanded window mode in Reeder’s Mac client. On the left, there’s a chronological feed of all of your saved content, while the viewer falls to the right. For quick access to a particular item or category, users can search and filter articles by category using an array of controls in the left pane. Items can be read in their native format or in the classic stripped down, text-only and primary media view. By default, Pocket for Mac will automatically detect the type of content and determine the best view, though users can easily toggle between formats. Sign up for Pocket and get the desktop app here.
The 10 hottest trends in website design
I am usually not a huge fan of top 10 style articles but I thought this one was worth checking out. Claudio Guglieri, art director at New York agency B-Reel, lays out 10 key trends you should be aware of. Read the article here.
Maxipad Brand Goes for Blood in Brilliant Reply to Facebook Rant
A week ago, a man named Richard Neill posted a rant on Bodyform’s Facebook wall,humorously calling out the brand for false advertising—saying his girlfriend doesn’t have happy periods like those depicted in the ads, but instead becomes “the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin.” The post has gotten more than 84,000 likes. Rather than ignore it, Bodyform one-upped Mr. Neill with the video below, in which it pretends to fess up about its pathological lying. It is a brilliant move and you can read the article and watch the video here.
Rent the Runway: Our runway
Rent the Runway, a site that rents designer fashion dresses for cut prices, is letting customers shop for a dress via photos of real women in the clothes rather than models. You can search by size, age, bust or height to see pictures of “real” women wearing the clothes you’re interested in – or you can register to become a part of “our runway” and upload your own photographs. Explore the site and explore our runway here.
Read more of: My weekly inspirations: October 22, 2012 »
Lexus ran an ad in the October 15th issue of Sports Illustrated and I thought this was another interesting take on the intersection between traditional print media and digital devices. You place an iPad behind the print ad with Lexus.com/stunning loaded and the iPad will bring the print ad to life as the engine revs, the headlights flash, the wheels spin and the background pulses with color all set to music. You can see a video of the entire experience here. I am not convinced this will be more than a one trick pony but it is an interesting approach for how to bring the two mediums together with an experience takes on the qualities of 3D projection mapping.
Read more of: Lexus + print ad + iPad = CinePrint »
In what is probably the best combination of print advertising and mobile technology I have ever seen Volkswagen has launched a new campaign that shows consumers the benefits of their cars without them ever going near a real-life car. It was all done by Volkswagen Norway who created an app which allows users to ‘test drive’ the car within a print ad using Augmented Reality. The print ads appeared in some of Norway’s most popular publications and readers held their phone over the print ad to make the car ‘drive’ and test out three different features of the vehicle: lane assist, adaptive lights and cruise control. You can see it in action in the video above since I don’t think any of us will be getting any Norwegian publications any time soon.
Read more of: Volkswagen Print Ad Test Drive »
Burger King and Crispin Porter have launched a great new digital element to support their “Small hands” TV commercials where they are branding the error message on Digg.com. If you type in anything that yields no search results you will see:
Looks like your search had a typo. Maybe you’ve got tiny hands?
The $1 BURGER KING® Double Cheeseburger is so big and beefy it’s not for the tiny handed.
Click here to see why it might be too much for you to handle. Mr. Tiny Hands.
Like Whopper Sacrifice I think this new work shows a lot of really smart insight into the digital world by putting messaging in places where people do not expect it, where people will actually pay attention and where it will create a meaningful brand impression.
Read more of: Burger King gives Digg.com results tiny hands »
By now you have probably seen the new Domino’s Pizza campaign from Crispin Porter called The Pizza Turnaround where Domino’s monitored consumer comments about the brand on social media channels and according to this feedback they created new pizza recipes. Crispin did a great job with the TV spots and a slightly longer form documentary because it makes you want to give Dominos another chance. My wife who is a serious foodie even turned to me on the couch the other night after one of the spots aired and said ‘I always hated Dominos but after that I would give them another chance.’ The advertising did everything you could have asked of it because it changed people’s opinions and created an intent for them to act on it. Pop the champaign, make room on the trophy wall and tell the client to increase the advertising budget because we have a winner… or do we?
I went to the campaign site today to dig around a little more before I wrote this post about how successful the campaign has been when that feeling and my intent to actually try the new Domino’s came crashing down around me. On PizzaTurnaround.com you find the previously mentioned documentary, one news story and a Twitter feed that displays tweets with the tag #newpizza running down the right hand column. As you start to read down the column you quickly see that people’s love seemingly only extends to the campaign as I did not see one positive comment from anyone who actually tried the pizza. The first four found Tweets I read were “Tried the new Dominos pizza….. In my mind, collossal fail.”, “Meh it was ok…”, “im not feeling the new crust. i miss the old dominos.” and “not so great. Since when did “add more garlic/butter” = make things better?! Blech.”. That noise you hear is my intent to try the new product exiting stage left.
Using social media to give brand transparency to consumers can be a powerful tool but it has be used carefully and thought out to work correctly. In this case you are asking consumers to give your brand another chance and your advertising delivers that intent but it is a tenuous opportunity. From the time when you create that intent until the time when it gets paid off you can’t have any bumps in the road because the bond to the brand isn’t that strong yet. These Tweets are big bumps that are going to break that bond and kill the opportunity. I don’t know why this site didn’t take it’s cues from the video it was supposed to support and MAKE IT A TWO WAY DIALOG! Your video said you were listening to consumers and you were responding so why did that stop once the campaign launched? It makes the video feel like just an advertising stunt and that the brand really isn’t listening. You have a chance here to be transparent and let people post their thoughts BUT Domino’s has to be part of the conversation. They have to address these comments and not let them destroy what they are trying to build. It is the only way this is going to go from a quick fix to a real long term solution that will restore their business.
Back in August Toyota released the Prius Experience iPhone app that let you take a 360 degree tour the Prius interior, take a photo of a Prius ad to get a augmented reality version of the ad or draw shapes that will be added to the Prius environment. You are prompted to “draw a tree” but you can draw anything you want but i has to be done with a single continuous movement. That drawing them populates the landscape behind the Prius as it drives along. This week the app gives you a chance to move those interactive elements from your iPhone screen to the Reuters board in Times Square. The creations are updated on the live displays in realtime throughout the day and you can check it out via the livecams on the Times Square web site. When I tried it I got a warning that because of high volume, all artwork might not be displayed and that drawings will go up in the order in which they were received. I think this is a well worded cover for the their behind the scenes approval process which obvious is in place as I haven’t seen anything obscene go rolling across the screen.
I can see how they are trying to pull everything together with the campaign theme of “Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine” and the play between the app and the Times Square board is an interesting twist but it is done on an old execution (the Nationwide Insurance ‘Life Comes At You Fast’ Times Square site I worked on launched 4 1/2 years ago). In the end the app as a whole falls short because it feels like a collection of the latest techniques that never really come together to make anything really conceptually or executionaly breakthrough. The Times Square functionality is still live so you can download the app now and decide for yourself if ti makes you want to buy a Prius.
Read more of: Toyota Prius iPhone App lets you draw on Times Square »
Crispin Porter created a nice online extension of their Tony Stewart School of Endorsements TV spot (see below) with BK Finds Out The Truth About Tony microste. The site is a video stream of a polygraph test that was given to Nascar driver Tony Stewart as he answers consumer submitted questions about he is he really loves his primary endorsement – Burger King and the Whopper. I have always believed that advertising needs to work out from a core concept and that the interactive extension of a campaign should take advantage of the medium and not just be a straight port of the offline creative. When you watch the TV spot and experience the site you clearly see that was the case here and the benefits of this approach are obvious. The total video is about an hour long and you will have to watch it to see the final results for yourself.
It is also a small thing but orange home bar that runs down the left edge of the site that opens to the content of the BK.com home page is a really elegant way to keep micro sites like this one from developing into individual islands that are disconnected from the main brand site.
Read more of: Burger King wants the truth from Tony Stewart »
Looks like Verizon is finally fed up with Apple’s continued iPhone exclusivity with AT&T and has decided to do something about it with a new phone called Droid and a new campaign called “iDon’t” that takes the biggest swing yet at the iPhone. The visual design of the campaign clearly mimics Apple’s typography and music style while the content uses copy like “iDon’t have have a real keyboard, iDon’t run simultaneous apps, iDon’t take 5-megapixel pictures, iDon’t customize, iDon’t run widgets, iDon’t allow open development…” to get their point across. If you are going to poke he bear you better have the goods and early tests with the phone has generated some really good press but can good performance generate the same kind of breakthrough appeal and sales that happened with the launch of the iPhone?
Read more of: Verizon iDon’t play nice with Apple »
What do a drowning mime, a Japanese businessman and a pile of teddy bears have in common? They are all part of the new Imagine campaign created by BBDO as the follow-up to the award-winning 2007 Voyeur campaign. The campaign launched last Thursday with a video cube installation in New York’s Meatpacking District. The videos on the cube are two two-minute short films shot from four different angles. The cube was in NYC for three days and is now moving on to Philadelphia on Oct. 1 and then Washington, DC on Oct. 8. If you can’t make it to one of those locations then you can go to HBOImagine.com which has 41 video clips, audio clips, photos and newspaper clippings displayed in a 3D web. Each time you watch a clip then new footage is unlocked and linked together to complete the story through non-linear storytelling. The addition of this non-linear story telling is a key change from the Voyeur campaign where the story was very linear. I have just started to explore all of the content and will have more thoughts once I have been able to make my way through it all but if you get there first post your thoughts in the comments.
Read more of: HBO Imagines a new Voyeur »
Obama’s Design Director of New Media talks about how design and interactive helped win the White House
Over the past year I wrote more than once about how much I liked what the Obama campaign did with digital design and media during their run to the White House. A few weeks ago I had the chance to meet and hear from the guy behind that work named Scott Thomas who spoke at the 99% conference. This video culls the highlights from his presentation at the conference and catches up with him afterward to find out more about his theories on simplicity and his plans for working in politics in the future.
I also have to give props to Scott Belsky who I am lucky enough to know, is the founder of Behance.com and one of the masterminds behind the 99% conference. I had sworn off conferences all together because of my previously documented conference coma but this one conference I will return next year. Also if you have a chance to hear Scott speak take advantage of it because he has a lot of great insights from talking with a lot of great creative minds and groups about how to make ideas happen.