“It’s great, but what, on earth, does it have to do with the product?”

Last year, EVB launched a campaign for Juicy Fruit that featured a Serenading Unicorn, singing hits from the 80s. The social content campaign took the form of a microsite, Facebook application and viral video. It was enormously successful and has single-handedly helped revive a nascent brand. This year, EVB and Juicy Fruit have upped the ante, re-launching the unicorn with a fresh collection of songs and well-known celebrity talent.

The majority of feedback is great. People seem to love the unicorn. With very little media air cover, the campaign is blowing up once again. As I write this, the videos have over 500,000 organic views on YouTube and thousands more mentions on Twitter and Facebook, and we are just getting started.

The one piece of criticism that I have heard, even from the advertising community is that the unicorn “has nothing to do with the product or the brand.” This comment is surprising, even shocking to me, that people who claim to be experts in marketing and advertising have so little tolerance or understanding of what it entails to create and support a character.

It made me wonder if these same people asked

“What does a tiger have to do with breakfast cereal?” or
“What does a duck have to do with disability insurance?” or
“What does a elves have to do with cookies?” or
“What does a clown have to do with McDonalds?”

I could obviously go on and on here. There is no shortage of characters and icons that have been created to support brands throughout history. I am guessing that there must be some sort of initiation period before a branded character is accepted by the advertising industry. The pubic, fortunately, doesn’t seem to have the same standards.


EVB Launches Fax Holiday Card

Remember fax machines? Everyone’s got one, but no one uses it. For our holiday card this year, we decided to go unexpectedly low-tech and figure out a way to utilize the one piece of digital technology that the internet revolution has overlooked — the trusty fax machine. The fax machine is pre-loaded with hundreds of fax numbers for advertising agencies around the US. If you need to send a little last minute digital to physical love to a co-conspirator in the ad industry, visit EVB Holiday Fax.

In Defense of the “Digital Ninja”

Last week’s evisceration of Faris Yakob, a self-described Digital Ninja at MDC, by an angry mob of agency creatives, struck a familiar chord with me.  I don’t know Faris.  I have never worked with him.  Never even met him.  But, after ten years of owning my own Digital agency, I am not surprised that this tension between creatives and Digital planners is finally coming to a head and it’s pulled me out of a blogging hiatus to add my opinion to the clutter.

For those of you out of the chatter loop, Digital Ninja is increasingly popular title referring to a career which has emerged in the past few of years with the explosion of social media.  The title may also be known as the social media expert, social media guru and many other self-anointed titles.  Most of the people obviously embrace social tools and utilities.  If 5 minutes goes by between tweets, it’s a slow day.

What do they tweet about?  Usually it’s stuff that they think is interesting, insightful or useful.  For most of these Ninjas, believe it or not, surfing the web or spending time on Facebook or Twitter, is actually their job.  They surf the web, follow interesting people and tweet (and re-tweet) the stuff they find.  The theory is that they spread knowledge, insight and inspiration around the companies that they work for.  But spending all your time in social media doesn’t leave a lot of time to actually do, or make, anything.  This is the tension that inspired the flaming of Faris.  To add fuel to the flaming, the venue that Faris was speaking at was a Boulder Digital Works workshop called “Making Digital Work.”
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Workflow Art

This is the coolest thing I have seen in a while. IOGraph

Ro-sham-bo Glove

I don’t know why I think this is so cool. (via Make).

TV Medley with a German Accent

Augmented Reality Goes Bio


Augmented reality just got a whole lot more interesting. A post in Wired’s Gadget Lab focuses on the health benefits of these new digital contacts that are being developed at the University of Washington. It also touches on the idea that, if you add LED, an antenna and a radio chip, you can use augmented reality to overlay an image or text that only the wearer can see, essentially creating something that isn’t really there.

Who knows how far along these are or if they will ever actually launch and be adopted, but the effect they could have on marketing, advertising and content delivery is fun to think about. Marketers could create one-to-one targeted outdoor campaigns, roadsigns, price discrimination, entertainment, etc. Imagine a movie poster for the next Pixar movie where the characters re-enact a scene from the film on the sidewalk in front of you. Then there’s the “Terminator effect,” like data and stats streaming before your eyes when you are shopping, watching sports or traveling in a strange city.

It’s hard to believe how far augmented reality has come in such a short time.