A pen for today: The Cosmonaut

March 31, 2011

Problem: How do you create a pen for today’s digital world?

Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost of Studio Neat have solved the problem in a manner that’s totally obvious in hindsight: The Cosmonaut, a stylus that feels more like a dry-erase marker. Dry erase markers, of course, have solved this low friction problem with a tip that has a bit of give, and a fat body that adjusts to the lack of grip you find in a “low fidelity” user situation. (via fastcodesign)

To raise cash, the team are turning to Kickstarter – the largest funding platform for creative projects – to get the required $50k goal. Shouldn’t be a problem as with 21 days to go they’ve already managed over $64k pledged.

A brilliantly simple idea.

Push the button

March 30, 2011

DDB Paris created this simple, fun “Escape Machine” experience for the French travel company Voyages SNCF.

Menacing, glowing black cubes wait till someone goes close enough. Then the cube asks where the person would like to travel. Pushing the red button produces a crazy celebration, complete with gigantic walking kisses, and provides the wishers large, customised mock tickets to their destination. Watching the faces of the onlookers is just as much fun as the experience itself!

DDB show us not everything interesting has to be digital!

A winning brand? Marussia Virgin Racing

March 29, 2011

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If you were watching the start of the 2011 Formula 1 championship at the weekend, you will have witnessed, albeit briefly, a new brand in action.

On Sunday Poke‘s new brand for Marussia Virgin Racing got off the grid and made it all the way to the checkered flag, but alas they were not the first to achieve this! Still you’ve gotta start somewhere…

Now I don’t know Poke for their branding work, so have only mentioned the website before. So I thought it would be interesting to take a quick closer look.

Poke say the brief was to: Create and launch the Marussia Virgin Racing brand; a Formula 1 racing team heading in to their second season and hungry to be noticed.

And Poke’s answer: A strong, simple brand identity and a brave look and feel that differentiated MVR from the pack before they even hit the tarmac. The solution included a visual toolkit, production design for the pit garage, driver suits, trucks, motorhome, website, business cards – everything but the car. Check out the creative results here.

But does the brand work?

Having had a little experience with F1 teams, creating work for British American Racing (B.A.R.) and Force India Formula One Team, as well as the wider motorsport sector with Prodrive, SWRT and Aston Martin Racing, I’d have to say ‘Yes’.

I think the key point Poke make within their achievement statement is the need for ‘Differentiation’. Throughout my involvement with motorsport a key theme has been the need to stand out and present a face different to those of the competition. But that’s quite a hard thing to do within a sport drenched in glitz and glamor. Not everyone is brave enough to do so.

From what I’ve seen, Poke have achieved this differentiation by stripping back some of the clutter, building on a strong somewhat simplistic structure, and by creating a set of iconographic ‘hero’ shots. Certainly the use of strong imagery is key to communicating the passions within the sport – as we created for B.A.R. Poke have opted for a very striking, very retro style, conveying a sense history and heritage (perhaps yet to be earned!), but powerful all the same.

Overall, it’s strong, simple and emotive. Communicating a passion right at the heart of the identity. And a winner amongst the marketing tends – now lets see if they can replicate that on the track!

Sprite Revolution

March 28, 2011
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Following on from recent revolutionary thoughts, here’s one from Sprite – I’m feelin’ it!

Adidas web in motion

March 25, 2011

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All the predictions are that the web is soon to be a very ‘moving’ place. With 35 hours of video content (and growing) being uploaded to YouTube every minute, these types of predictions very much ring true.

But what’s this motion oriented web going to look like?

It’s going to be an interesting couple of years in webville, assessing the quality, and more importantly the effectiveness, of such video content as it gets assimilated into the average corporate’s digital strategies, and eventually their websites. How many CEO’s are going to suddenly get all celebrity on us?

Clearly it’s going to take some clever thinking and creativity to produce video content that has purpose, place and really resonates with its audience.

It’s easy to see how richer content can be integrated seamlessly, and with relevance, into the strategies on those companies who have a passionate subject matter, and the products to foster such visually engaging motion content. This is the place to start looking for a route map forward…

KOKOKAKA (for Sid Lee) have produced this nice marketing site for Adidas’s football boot – adizero F50. The campaign – light makes fast – uses quality video content to tell the story of the boot, and its benefits to the wearer. The nice thing about the site (as is becoming the trend) is making the video interactive, inviting the user to ‘drag’ video elements in order to continue the experience.

Supporting the main motion feature, a ‘how to’ style of video content has been shot to communicate the boots key features and to draw the user into the sale. It certainly makes the whole experience more engaging that a text based solution, as well as adding a real connection with the subject and the brand.

Nice work and an indication of how a motion based web experience could deliver true consumer connections as well as driving real business return.

LinkedIn hits 100m

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The other day LinkedIn achieved 100 million professionals in their network. To celebrate they created a rather nice infographic. (more…)

Bright Idea

March 23, 2011

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Illumination this year’s Brit Insurance Design of the Year awards, British designer Samuel Wilkinson, together with Nik Roope (also ECD at Poke) and product design company Hulger, have won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2011 for their stunning redesign of the low energy light bulb.

The judges said – The Plumen 001 is an imaginatively sculpted energy saving light bulb, its beautiful silhouette and organic form was chosen as the overall winner from the seven category winners as the Brit Insurance Design of the Year.

Absolut(ely) exceptional

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Shining a light on the brand is what advertising is all about – here’s a great example of a brand utilising Social Advertising to illuminate the qualities and connections they’d like to foster in the minds of their audience.

For Gringo’s new project for Absolut Vodka in Brazil, users were invited to tweet what makes them exceptional, and those words were transformed into light art, in order to make the present exceptional.

There’s nothing new with the individual elements here – who’s not seen interesting light art images, or driven a campaign through a social network – but the combination delivers a somehow more personal connection. Interesting.

Nike recycling ads for a Better World

March 22, 2011
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I’ve posted about W+K‘s smart Nike Better World site before. Checkout their new film made from 100% recycled ads.

So, is recycling ads the way to make a better world?

Co-creating a hit record

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How much buzz is this event getting!?!

Coca-Cola is sponsoring this interesting experiment by Maroon 5. The band will open the doors of its recording studio to allow fans contributing to a new track.

Over 7 thousand fans have already signed up for the event on Facebook, and there is a good reason to spread the word about it: if 100k fans will download the track after the recording Coke will make a donation on behalf of the music fans for the RAIN Foundation.

With a little over 6 hours to go, it’s going to be interesting to see, or more like, hear the output of the musical crowdsourcing extravaganza. It’s an interesting idea – for the band, the brand and the fans.

Could this be a new future for an industry so transformed by the digitally social revolution?

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by____ Gavin Johnson