Friday, September 29, 2006

I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting some content from Hugh Macleod's amazing website Gaping Void. His entry on blogosphere design for Stromhoek is a fantastic example of the way that blog lead packaging design can work.

I encourage you to click here and find out what the fuss is all about.

"We've got a great litte wine from South Africa, which I've been blogging about.

Then we sent out some bottles to other bloggers, no strings attached, to see what they had to say about it. As they're fond of saying in the blogosphere, to start a conversation.

To see the leaflet that got sent out with the sample bottle click here.

I did this not because I wanted to turn bloggers into wine pimps, but because, hey, I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be disuptive. I thought it would be my kind of thing.

So far it's working. The groovy cats at Stormhoek are happy. By interacting with the blogosphere [I call it "Taking the Cluetrain seriously"], it's changing the way the company see themselves, and the the way the wine trade sees them.

It's changing the brand. It's evolving the brand. Sales are up. Good things are happening, whether they want them to or not.

So what's next?

The bottle design.

99% of people who go into wine shops do not read blogs. They've never heard of Stormhoek. A very small percentage may have read about it in the mainstream press (a lot of British wine writers like it, happily for us), but who can remember all those wine names you see in the Sunday papers? Sure, all the Cluetrain/Hughtrain stuff I'm doing for them is great for "The Internal Conversation" and "The Porous Membrane" etc etc, but as I've said again and again, 95% of Stormhoek's marketing to the customer happens on the supermarket shelf, in three seconds or less.

We need a new bottle design. A new label. Something that JUST. ISN'T. ABOUT. THE. FRICKIN'. WINE.

I told Nick Dymoke-Marr the Managing Director of Stormhoek: "You're not competing with Jacob's Creek or Blossom Hill. You're competing with Google and Microsoft and Apple and Skype.

Yes, the product category is always irrevelvant. It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it etc etc.

So I'm now on the hunt for a label & bottle design that better reflects the whole post-Cluetrain/Hughtrain schtick that Stormhoek is slowly becoming internally, that telegraphs this instantly to the external market.

Why shouldn't a small wine company see Apple or Google as its competition? Think how more interesting the world would be if more small, non-techie companies thought the same.

I'm looking for a new "look" for the bottle that sits there on the supermarket shelf. The look may require a new label a new bottle, or both. Something that conveys everything I've been talking about above.

Something that conveys what the brand is becoming in this crazy, post-Cluetrain, wired age of ours.

So here's the deal. Instead of the usual going to a graphic designers and giving them a formal "Cluetrain-savvy" brief (which 95% of them wouldn't understand properly, anyway) I thought I'd start the conversation by asking The Blogosphere if they have any ideas.

No, you don't have to be a graphic designer. An idea that works on the back of a cocktail napkin is just fine by me.

It's the idea, not the execution, that interests me at the moment.

Anybody who comes up with the winning idea, an idea we can actually run with, we'll pay them £1000.00 (roughly $2000 US). If you have an idea that might work, feel free to post it or a link to it on the wiki. Thanks.

If you know of any blogosheric designers and creatives out there, please pass this message along. Though yeah, this idea isn't just restricted to them."

The debate and flow of ideas continues and offers a brilliant insight into how blogospheric design can work. It engages key influencers, devolves some of the brand to the consumer and is fresh and exciting. The posts that follow share ideas of how to revolutionise the design. The caucus way of doing this seems to inspire some excellent ideas from a vast range of people. Often the best designers aren't designers at all.

Someone has created this little thought video which is a really interesting way of sharing ideas.

All the ideas are collected in this Wiki. It's a great way of bringing disparate minds together.

Great thanks to Gaping Void for this. It's one of the best marketing sites ever.

And here's the winning bottle:

Simple, but very clever. This label develops a little blue boat when the wine is at the optimum temperature.

From Italian Wine Labels:

"The label on the Mar de Frades 2003 AlbariƱo, a crisp, fruity white wine produced on the northwest coast of Spain that is just perfect paired with seafood, uses thermo-sensitive ink to let you know when the wine in the bottle are suitably chilled.

In fact, when the wine reaches its optimal serving temperature of 52°F to 55°F (about 11°C to 13°C), a little blue ship appears on top of the aqua waves.

The label was introduced by William Grant & Sons, importers of the Mar de Frades winery, who used it for the first time on the 2003 AllbariƱo wine."

This is a brilliant example of how to go about getting consumers to design your packaging for you. Budding desingers, keen consumers and students compete to win a grand prize of... having their design made for real and a prize worth $267.

From Finkbuilt

"The initial run of FINKZ Tomato Ketchup will be bottled using 100% recycled 9.5 FL OZ Starbucks frappuccino bottles, the pertinent dimensions of which are illustrated above. Check one out in the grocery store if you need to get a better feel for the bottle. Your label design will need to fit this bottle. Please reserve space for a Nutritional Information panel.

The labels will be printed on a color laser printer, so no foils will be possible. Neckbands, top cap labels, and odd shapes are welcome.

Feel free to add any zippy slogans, catch-phrases or pitches that you think appropriate.

If you know a stitch of HTML, you can make your submission by simply posting an img tag in a comment to this post. Images posted in comments must be no wider than 400 pixels. If you prefer, just email me your entry in any common graphic format and I will post it for you."

Here are some of the designs:

Yet another parody of the Absolut ads but this time in actual circulation!

This is the Bucharest Police Force's anti drink drive campaign.

From Adrants and AdPunch.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

From Adverblog.

"We were just part of something refreshingly new. Heineken Netherlands hosted a live concert through Skype, using the new feature Skypecast. This feature makes it possible to talk online with 100 people at the same time. Dutch band Johan played some songs of their new album and listeners were able to ask questions and applaud from behind their own computer. And so did we! Even though the quality was not that great, the first concert through Skype idea made up for that."

Click here to go to the website.

Thanks to Paul Crowe again for this.

KLM brings fridge magnet poetry
to the web; oh yeah and there is a contest tied to it. Simple, engaging and fun.

Thanks to Paul Crowe for this.

3pointD reports:

"Advertising agency BBH (aka Bartle Bogle Hegarty) — whose client roster includes companies like Levis, Vodafone, Johnny Walker, and Sony Ericsson, among others — is setting up shop in the virtual world of Second Life, according to a press release from the company. The agency is being brought in by virtual-world services company Rivers Run Red, who will also have a hand in developing virtual offerings for the company’s client base, it seems. The build (which looks great, based on the pic above) sounds like a full-function SL office installation — complete with avatar receptionists!

According to the press release, “The BBH office will be a functioning office, with client meetings and new business presentations. Departments have planned activities across the building. The agency will be holding seminars with speakers from the agency. More broadly, BBH will be hosting forums with Second Lifers to discuss challenges and involve these digital advocates in new business problems. Avatars of BBH’s receptionists will be manning the front desk.”

The office will be located on an island sim currently being set up for BBH. While the press release boasts that BBH will be “the first advertising agency to open a virtual office within Second Life,” public relations and marketing concerns have preceded BBH, though this is certainly the first entrance of such a high-profile real-world ad outfit. It will be interesting to see just how BBH uses the platform, whether they market to avatars, leverage the platform for a real-world PR boost, do some futuristic branding or some combination of all those ideas and more. Me, I’m waiting for my virtual 501s."

Monday, September 25, 2006

A new site called Mr Picasso Head, allows you to get in touch with your inner Picasso and create your own masterpiece. It’s the adult version of Mr Potato head and it’s actually quite fun. It's quite similar to the idea in the Starbucks Salon where you can do self portraits.

This format could very easily be tweaked to allow bottle redesign and consumer generated designs for brands seeking ideas from their consumers.

Thanks to Sunita for this.

These guys are great...

"Newmindspace is interactive public art, creative cultural interventions and urban bliss dissemination based in New York and Toronto."

One of their stunts was an organised, impromptu pillow fight...

Another was an Easter Egg hunt...

Comments on the Easter Egg idea can be read here.

They are open source and make use of Flickr, google maps and blogs to support their movement. So far they are only doing stuff in New York and Toronto... hopefuly they'll do something in London soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hot on the heels of the Ryder Cup starting is this Urban Golf promotion by Jameson's which was advertised in the Metro this morning.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Banksy's show in LA has opened to the usual media storm. To check out more of his work from the exhibition click here.

For a decent article in the Times click here.

Walking through Gatwick on Saturday I saw this packaging from Hine Cognac which looked fantastic and stood out from all the other cognac brands.

The Ice Jacket is a brilliant invention that both keeps you spirits super cool and looks awesome.

"IceJackets are molds that fit around vodka and other liquor bottles that you can fill with water and then freeze, producing a vodka bottle that's encased in a jacket of ice... You can even do things like suspend flowers... and other detritus in the ice."

Thanks to Boing Boing for this.

Davis Wolf from Ice Jackets has responded to our inquiry about costs with this:

"Thank you for your inquiry. Please allow me to report the following in terms of Ice Jacket pricing and availability. The product should be available for delivery by January 1, 2007. I am taking steps toward securing a distribution resource within the UK in order to minimize oversees shipping costs. List price for the 750 ml model should come in at less than US $40.00. I have not considered what we will do in terms of Euro conversion, but perhaps we will make use of the exchange rate and simply include shipping from the UK distribution center in the delivered price.

I will save your message and be sure to place your link on the ‘insiders’ list. Thanks again for your support. More as it happens."

Thank you Davis.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why is there only one monopoly commission?

From Three Minds:

"If you needed any more proof of the importance of advertising and consumer brands in popular culture, look no further than the latest edition of Monopoly, the world's best-selling board game.

The Monopoly Here & Now Edition updates the traditional board pieces for the 21st century- with McDonald's fries, a Motorola Razr, Starbucks coffee, a Toyota Prius, and a New Balance running shoe. What's even more amazing is that none of these marketing icons paid for placement in the game.

Rather, Hasbro wanted to offer consumers modern touchstones that might resonate more strongly than Turn of the Century household goods like a top hat or a smoothing iron. They also let the public vote on new landmarks and US cities for the board, and raised the "Pass Go" bonus from $200 to $2 million."

As predicted several weeks ago adidas have entered Second Life.

From 3PointD:

One of the questions about real-world brands coming into Second Life has been whether they would arrive with products that fit the world, or whether they’d simply show up with some money, hang out a shingle and leave it at that, hoping to garner whatever marketing pop might accrue. Most projects thus far have proved a pleasant surprise, and the latest is no exception. The Adidas outlet built by Rivers Run Red in the virtual world of Second Life has opened with an introductory product, the a3 Microride. Like the real-life shoe, the Second Life counterpart provides “the ultimate blend of bounce and flexibility with minimum weight.” In fact, it’s a great virtual-world product, acting like a kind of pogo stick for your feet, and with the option to keep bouncing you around as long as you’re walking over open ground.

The shoes are a good, fun translation of a real-world product into the virtual realm, and at L$50 (about US$0.20), they’re affordable by pretty much everyone. Pick yours up at adidas (104, 182, 53). [<--SL link] (Also read Rik Riel’s take on the store.)

One thing that’s interesting here is that the initiative pre-supposes SL will be a good viral marketing tool, which has yet to be really demonstrated. But it’s encouraging, in a broader metaversal view, to see that the Adidas project is looking for more than the print headlines that come from merely setting up shop in a virtual world. The idea here seems to be to get a3 Microrides out all over the Grid. While this may be distasteful to some, especially those who want to preserve SL culture as hermetically sealed off from the physical world, what I find encouraging about it is that Adidas is taking SL members seriously as a demographic. Their view seems to be that it’s to their advantage to have lots of avatars running around in their bouncy shoes. This gives a bit more weight to the avatar — and by extension to the person behind it — than most previous marketing initiatives have done.

So do we look for a spike in sales of the real a3 Microrides? It will be interesting to see whether the virtual shoes are a one-off for Adidas or part of a continuing effort. In any case, you kind of have to like the respect Adidas is showing the virtual world with the a3’s. Bounce on."

The march into Second Life is continuing apace with brands becoming increasingly switched on to what they can and can't do.

Also see this for the Contagious updates.

Incredible new viral ad from Carlton Beer...

Thanks to Paul Crowe for this.

I went to the Life Signs launch party on Wednesday which was fascinating. It's the social networking offshoot of Future Laboratory who do excellent future trends briefings.

If you are interested in signing up to the LifeSigns network just click here and fill in a profile and you will be admitted to a fantastic virtual world of creative social networking.

Some of the speakers at the launch party were excellent. In particular Paul Kemp-Robertsonn from Contagious magazine gave an excellent account of the exciting possibilities of the digital world with loads of cool stuff from Second Life. For extracts from Contagious click here.

He's been kind enough to send us a copy of the magazine which looks brilliant and a month's free subscription. So sign up to LifeSigns, read Contagious and think about getting a subscription.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

From PSFK:

"Earlier we mentioned that Uniqlo was setting up temporary container stores around NYC until the new flagship is ready in Soho. Yesterday we trekked uptown to 86th st. where it was set up in a street fair to see it in person.

The setup is small and pretty efficient. The blue exterior has a few logos and strip windows cut into it. There is an external generator that powers the interior lighting and cash register. The door and ramp fold on hydraulic struts. Our eagle eyes noticed something else near the bottom of one of the corners. It's was a label crediting LOT-EK as the designers. We should have guessed this earlier as the firm has a history in container created projects. Their web site has a series of photos and project details listed.

The interior of the container is lined with laminated cubes which contain folded apparel. The selection seemed to be more basics driven. I was interested to see if there might be some special edition 'container only' items, but that's not the case. But as most new yorkers know, summertime street fairs occur on nearly every street at some point from spring to fall. The container store is well suited for this use."

Uniqlo has posted the location of its container shops on a google map:

Thanks to Paul Crowe from Publicis Toronto for this follow up to the earlier post about Pop up bars and Restaurants:

"When I read the section from Tuesday on the "Pop-up restaurants/bars" I thought of this bar in Melbourne Australia called Section 8. It is a bar created out of old shipping containers. This sort of design could easily lend itself to the pop-up bar scenario."

"Section 8 Container Bar: All Melbournians know the harder the bar is to find the better it is. Section 8 proves no exception to this rule, rising from a former car park in a nondescript Chinatown alley. Two shipping containers make up the bar, bathroom, and store room; the sky doubles as a roof; and wood packing crates and shipping palettes serve as furniture. The bar has quickly become the place to go for a few beverages before heading for a spot of karaoke or hitting one of the many dumpling restaurants in the surrounding streets. For those who party really hard, Section 8 serves “slow food” breakfast sandwiches in the morning hours.

Section 8 Container Bar
27-29 Tattersalls La
Melbourne VIC 3000

For another link to articles about Section 8 click here.

The harder the bar is to find the better. If anyone has any other examples please send them in.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Amazing ad/video made by a random consumer! Many brands would give their right arms for this kind of consumer engagement - this isn't a one off for Laphraoig either. They have a really well written Wikipedia page demonstrating how much love the brand has as well as loads of photos of their brand being portrayed in a cool way on Flickr

Better still is Johnny Fubar's Laphraoig photoshoot on Flickr. He's basically taken 42 pretty stylish, arty photos of Laphraoig and posted them online. To see more click here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

At one of their coffee shops in NY Starbuck's are running a month long Salon concept. It's designed to be a cultural hot shop with artists, musicians, poets and a host of other creative people contributing to the Salon's make up. It describes itself as a "nomadic interactive coffee house" that plans to pop up all over the world.

One of the coolest things on the site is a tool to let you draw a self portrait. Give it a go here.

Watch how Banksy doctored Paris Hilton's new album and secreted them into HMV stores all round the country! "Watch him doctor the packaging then secrete 500 copies in stores across London and the UK like some latter-day Willy Wonka." From Londonist.

Before long the the CDs were being sold on Ebay for hundreds of pounds. Poor old Paris hey!

For images of the prank click here for the Flickr set.

For more blurb about the stunt click here.

Coke has received a range of feedback from genius through to abhorence. Either way it's a neat idea and a sign of things to come.

Made by Wieden and Kennedy and Nexus Productions.

I can't help thinking that other brands would be more suited to exploring GTA's possibilities. A brand with negative baggage such as Coke is always going to be accussed of interference and ulterior motives whereas a brand more in keeping with GTA would have been more successful.

Thanks Mike for this.

Pop up restaurants have been an exciting phenomenon in Holland in recent months. Now they are set to hit London. In the Observer last weekend, there was a brilliant article about it. Here's an extract:

"First came the 'guerrilla store'. In warehouses or disused buildings in the hippest parts of London or New York, fashion designers would set up shops that lasted only a couple of days, allowing them to off -load stock or try out new creations to an audience restricted to those hip enough to hear about the openings by word of mouth.

And now we have the guerrilla restaurant; usually housed in makeshift structures and situated off every beaten track, with top chefs but a deliberately limited lifespan. For those drawn to restaurants with three-month waiting lists and secret phone numbers for the privileged few, this is the next step - a restaurant so exclusive that there's no advertising, it's very hard to find, and that if you're not in the loop it will have vanished by the time you even discover it.

Earlier this year, the Antwerp restaurateur Vinko Pepa opened a temporary dining space called Mist, crafted with postmodernist flair from rough, cheap materials and designed to vanish after five months. 'A temporary restaurant allows for more risk taking,' says Pepa. 'I had some talented chefs, Njegosh Kalicanin and Tim Teck, whom I wanted to give free reign to in the kitchen. It also allowed us to experiment with the interior. You can surprise people.'

There have been supperclubs across the world for some years, with club promoters taking over existing restaurants for one night only - Modern Times, for example, the London based retro jazz club, hosted a dinner at the old Titanic space this summer and at the Chelsea's Bluebird Dining Rooms last year. The guerrilla concept merely takes the exclusivity to another level - it's the foodie equivalent of the Eighties rave, where finding that elusive field somewhere off the M25 was all part of the experience."

The article likens these guerilla restaurants to the foodie equivalent of an 80s rave. Excitingly, Bistrotheque is planning to open an underground guerilla restaurant in the near future...the buzz has already started.

Whilst some of these ventures are commercial operations in many ways I find Ghetto Gourmet's model more interesting. They are a group of people in America who meet up regularly for spontaneous banquets organised entirely using the web.

They use Flickr to share their community's pictures and have a video on You Tube to drive support. It's a great example, although a bit rough and ready, of how to create a cult movement and keep a community alive.

The concept of a pop up restaurants is rumoured to have started in Cuba with the secret restaurants that Castro banned called Paladars. The most famous of which is La Guarida where I can personally recommend the seared tuna with sugar cane and lobster sauce followed by vanilla creme brule with a curry sauce!

It would be great to launch and underground, guerilla bar movement supported by one of our brands.

Thanks to the amazing Sarah Cowie for finding the Observer article.

Bud is set to launch a TV website next February and will spend 10% of their budget on internet marketing.

From Herald Tribune:

"The site — called "Bud.TV" — is aimed at consumers between the ages of 21 and 27 who routinely visit popular sites such as and YouTube, said Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of global media and sports marketing.

"The use of the Internet is clearly a space that this generation has grown up with," Ponturo said. "The main reason that we're doing this is that we need to connect to these new beer consumers."

The Web site will have seven "channels" of original programming, said Jim Schumacker, who will oversee Bud.TV. The channels will feature sports shows, standup comedy and reality shows that are set in bars and restaurants.

Schumacker said one channel will imitate the YouTube phenomenon, letting views produce their own skits and advertisements featuring Anheuser-Busch products like Budweiser and Bud Lite.

While the shows will be original, Anheuser-Busch will not make them itself, Ponturo said. The company will act like an executive producer, choosing ideas to fund and buying completed shows to broadcast."

From Ray Bacon's blog:

"Anheuser-Busch will use its Super Bowl commercial time to launch a direct to consumer network called "The Bud Screen." The network will offer all manner of programming, branded content and advertising delivered to the desktop or an iPod. The brewer intends the network to be long-lived and to eventually be named "Bud TV." We've said it before and we'll say it again, the middleman - the networks - just aren't needed any longer. When a brand or program producer can deliver content directly to the consumer, there's no need for the current TV network set up. Oh sure, big changes are years away but it's happening and it will continue to happen faster and faster as more brands and content producers realize they can have their own channel of distribution."

Several alcohol brands already have pseudo TV channels such as Crown Royal, Cuervo and Jack Daniels but their content simply derives from their TTL marketing materials. Bud is set to embrace the "" trend and we will watch with interest.

Thanks to Mike Iskas from Zenith for this.


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