More than just an effect: Ken Burns on storytelling

May 23, 2012

Sometimes, as creatives, it’s all to easy to forget what it is that we actually do.

Maybe you’re on a deadline to come up with the most stunning ad visual out there, maybe you’re trying to come up with the perfect identity that will transform the perception of that dull old client, or maybe you’re coding some CSS3 that will energise the web pages of the latest mobile offering from your dream client, don’t get too carried away with your own genius to forget what it is that you’re really doing…

…Telling a story.

Because in every ad, in every logo and in every mobile friendly, HTML5/CSS3 fuelled, parallax scrolling web page there’s a story. Even if you’re writing a couple of lines for a Google ad you’re writing a micro story that aims to grab the attention and emotions of its audience. Emotions that will drive an action. And and action that will get a result.

If you don’t know how to tell a good story, then I’d suggest you learn. And why not learn from one of the best – Ken Burns. After all you’ll never stop listening to stories and, as a creative, you’ll never stop telling them – in whatever medium you work, so you’d best be as skilled in the art as you are in your chosen profession.

So find out how to empower your creative ideas with Ken’s powerful storytelling formula 1+1=3.

For me that means – tell a relevant true story and you’ll sell a truly meaningful experience.  That might sound a little manipulative – but isn’t that the point!

Heineken: QR conversation starters

January 9, 2012
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You know what it’s like, you’re rockin’ out at a festival, there’s a load of new people to meet, but you can’t be expected to talk to them all. That would be silly. There must be a way to streamline the tricky art of the conversation opener, find the people you want to chat to and avoid all that time consuming rejection!

At the Heineken Open’er Music Festival in Poland, event goers could visit the Heineken U-Code Dome to setup, personalise and print their own QR code stickers that would, when scanned by any others at the festival, connect strangers together to hopefully start a conversation!

The idea, created by Leo Burnett Warsaw, is an interesting one. It certainly a compelling way for brands to use QR Codes to help their fans reach out and connect with one another. One just has to ask whether it’s also adding to the death of the subtle art of verbal conversation?

tags: Life,Social

Predicting the future: Mother’s Psychic T-shirts

December 19, 2011

Do you want to know what 2012 will bring? The let Mother‘s Psychic T-shirts tell you…

One hundred blank T-shirts have passed under the hands of Los Angeles-based psychic Lucinda Clare. Miss Clare has used her extraordinary spiritual powers to predict the destiny of the future wearer. The prediction has been printed on the T-shirt, and now awaits its wearer. Could that be you?

The T-shirt already knows… yours will find you at

Nice idea, even nicer that every penny (of the hundred quid) goes to Age UK.

Can you find beauty in a second?..

November 3, 2011

…Well that’s the task in Montblanc‘s new campaign site The Beauty Of A Second.

The site is essentially an online competition aimed at driving brand interest.  It takes the shape of a short-film contest, where the user is challenged to capture perfect beauty in a one second long video.

It is a good idea, and one the obviously matched the brand really well. Viewers are encouraged to capture their beautiful second via a digital device of their choice. Once uploaded the videos can be stitched together to create a perfect feature made from a myriad of beautiful seconds.

The winner gets to go the Berlin to meet Will Wenders and the Montblanc team.

The Future – according to Microsoft

November 1, 2011
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This one’s been doing the rounds, but incase you’ve not seen it, here’s Microsoft’s vision of the future.

It’s full of interesting ideas, both with regards to the devices we’re all going to be using to connect with the ‘network’ in the future and the interfaces we’re going to be interacting through.

Although it all seems a little futuristic and far fetched, the film just seems to feel very believable. Whether that’s because we’re all now tunned in to the possibilities of our future tech, through all those Hollywood flicks, or whether it’s that Microsoft have just painted an achievable, and even inevitable future vision.

Bring on 2020.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

A sad day. The world loses a proper creative.

tags: Life

WWF paperless reality

December 3, 2010
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Somewhere along the route towards a paperless society we got something wrong. We started printing more. All the infinite amount of digital content we create everyday is great for the dissemination of information, but oh so bad for our planet – we just love to print stuff.

I’ve done my fare share, believe me. But I’m not proud. What we need is a really good idea…

…WWF Germany has created a .wwf file format which is a .pdf that cannot be printed. Save a tree, download the WWF software, save your docs as .wwf and protect the environment.


Play the lottery of life

September 9, 2010


Ever wondered who you’d be if you where born in a different time and place?

With their campaign site ‘The Lottery of Life‘, Save the Children show us just that.

Visit this great site – created by B-Reel and Lowe Brindfors – and you’ll find out all about your new life. Connect via Facebook and spin the ‘wheel of life’ and you’ll discover who you are, where you come from, as well as your new life opportunity – your typical illiteracy level, your chances of being in poverty and whether corporate punishment will be unleashed on you if you do something wrong.

The site used a mix of social networks including Flickr, YouTube and Google Maps to really get you learning about the new you – your new place of origin, what you can expect from life and the problems you may face.

I found the rewarding experience of getting to know myself an immensely engaging way to understand the Save the Children message – it brings the plight of our global children into sharp focus, and highlights what a difference the lottery of life can make.

Once you discover who you could have been, you get the chance to do something about it, and help those who could have been your best friends. Then, the real you can Tweet or Post about who you might have been – spreading the word and helping more of our children in need.

tags: Life,Online

Making babies – and Thingies

July 13, 2010


Preloaded have launched a new educational game – Thingdom for the Science Museum. The game is one of the center pieces of the museum’s Who am I? display, where you’re are challenged to think about what makes you uniquely you.

Thingdom is a brilliantly tactile game, where players choose their Thing, nurture it, then take the mating challenge and breed new Things. Along the way you’ll learn about Traits, Cells, Chromosomes, DNA and Genes.

Yes, it’s aimed at a younger audience, but it’s fun, interesting and educational for everyone. The Things themselves have a lovely ‘soft’ feel about them (I’m sure a coding triumph in their own right) and the environments seem to perfectly match the pre-developed world.

Carrying on their award winning tradition of online game creation for the Science Museum, Preloaded’s new work is a fine follow up to the wonderful Launchball. I suspect they’ll be needing a little extra space on the shelf when we hit the awards season again!

The question “How do we get our technology depended kids to learn the basics” is often asked, the answer seems to be call the guys at Preloaded.

Thingdom is another example of how good creativity is solving everyday problems – one of simple education. It’s an engaging experience and one that keeps you popping back to see how your little Thingies are getting along.

hope for a Brand new future

November 26, 2009


On 7 December 2009 leaders from 192 countries will gather at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark to determine the fate of our planet. Leading up to this event Ogilvy began working with the United Nations and the International Advertising Association to create ‘Hopenhagen‘, a platform for citizens of the world to connect to their governments and world leaders to help decide our collective future.

One critical event. One uniting idea. One driving platform. One inspiring brand. Lets all hope together that the leaders of the world act as one and truly deliver their promise.

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by____ Gavin Johnson