Beatles Rock Band

I am assuming that this is the opening cinematics for the new Beatles version of Rock Band.  Well done.

Content Amplification with Earned Media

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This is an ecosystem chart that we created for a sports drink client a few months back to show how content could flow upstream through seeding, UCG, social media, etc.  I thought it was interesting and could be useful to somebody out there.  Almost all of EVB’s successful earned media projects followed this pattern.

Elf Drama Continues

A lot of people don’t realize that the 2007 Elf Yourself site almost didn’t launch.  At the 11th hour a company called PixFusion emerged from nowhere and claimed to have a patent on the “upload your face” mechanism that made EVB’s site (and 1000 other viral sites) work.  PixFusion threatened a law suit and, after, weeks of negotiation, OfficeMax and PixFusion settled and the site was able to move forward and, as you may remember, received 193MM visitors that holiday season.

Now, after three years of continued success, the “patent-holder” has contacted EVB and requested that the agency take Elf Yourself out of its portfolio website.  It’s irritating when you develop an amazingly successful property, or icon for a client and then are not allowed to even take credit for it in your portfolio.  Well, we are proud of what we created and the elf is staying in our portfolio.  We’ll see where this one goes.

Boston Named #1 Most Innovative City

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2thinknow has just released a study that indexes the most innovative cities in the world. Granted, I live in San Francisco and I am insanely biased, but WTF?? San Francisco is tied for 2nd with Amsterdam and Hamburg? The last time I was in Amsterdam, I think most people were still using 28baud modems. And Stockholm is number twenty-seven? Does this sound right? Here is a link to the entire list.

Human USB Power

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Just read a about Dvice about Dalton’s BioLogic FreeCharge that hooks up to your bike and uses resistance from the wheels to generate enough power to charge an iPhone or other USB device. Assuming that it is kinda like those old “generator” headlights.

Pretty cool that you can actually do something good for the environment AND charge your iPhone. These should launch March 2010 and cost about $100. Sign me up.

Defining “Digital”

When a client says, “I am only looking for digital ideas from your agency,” what does that even mean these days? When Levis puts a video up on YouTube and it gets 3MM views, is that a digital idea? When T-Mobile films hundreds of people singing “Hey Jude” in Trafalgar square and distributes it on the Web, is that a digital idea? When McDonalds includes a SMS link in a billboard that gives you a code for a free Shamrock Shake, is that a digital idea?

What I have grown to learn over the years is that they definition of digital is every-changing. Every new idea is considered “digital.” In the early days, that meant CD-ROM, interactive TV, websites and the online advertising. As new, technology-driven, ways to connect with consumers emerged, they were added to the “digital” list. They included search, mobile, in-game advertising, digital outdoor, kiosks, installations, viral, social media, etc. etc.

It has become much easier to define “traditional.” Print, broadcast and outdoor are never-changing and forever stuck in time. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t perfect elements to a campaign, it just means that there definition will not evolve. It is almost easier today to define digital as everything traditional isn’t.

But, let’s face it, none of these labels matter. Consumers don’t see a difference between digital and traditional, they are simply living their lives the only way they know how. They snack. They browse. They sample. They move effortlessly between digital and traditional mediums and don’t look back. This is precisely why the best ideas out there don’t begin and end in a single medium. They mix media and use the right platforms to tell an engaging story that connects with consumers.

By asking for “just a digital idea,” we are artificially limiting the potential of a great idea.

Where are the “Super Producers?”

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Sometime in the mid-nineties, the advertising industry identified the need to blend, or “integrate,” digital and traditional tasks within agencies.  Account people, strategists, planners were relatively easy as they focused more on the consumers and the marketing strategy than producing a creative deliverable.  That said, it still took about five years to get there.

Creatives came around later.  Generally speaking, they tend to gravitate toward interesting work that earns them notoriety and is seen by a lot of people.  Prior to 2004/05, the Web didn’t offer enough of this.  An increase in budgets, production value, notoriety, etc started to make the Web more interesting and we saw an influx of traditional creatives actually <i>wanting</i> to learn more about digital.  In most small shops today (under 100), creative teams are handling both traditional and digital assignments.

The one key role which hasn’t seemed to budge much in the last 10 years is that of producers and/or project managers.  I have interviewed hundreds of producers and still find that they consider themselves a “print” producer, a “broadcast” producer or a “digital” producer.  I am having a hard time figuring out why.

One could argue that producers are the most important role to be integrated.  This person sits at the center of a project and needs to manage details across every channel. In most forward-thinking agencies, rarely is the media prescribed at the time the brief is written.  When we start a project and EVB, we have no idea what the final deliverable will be.  It could be an iphone app, TV spot, live event or anything in-between.  It would optimal to have a team of producers who could support, and even guide, creative teams as they develop ideas for any medium.

Falling budget alone should be a force that drives the need for integrated producers.  For low budget, multi-platform campaigns, it is not practical to support a separate producer for each medium.  We identified the need for integrated producers early on as we were creating multi-platform campaigns for clients like adidas and 2K Sports and, frankly, couldn’t afford to multiple producers.  We, maybe unfairly and with limited success, asked producers to play several roles outside their comfort zone.

So, why is it so hard for broadcast producers to grasp digital and vice versa?  I wish I had the answer.