Sep 29, 2007

My New Credit Card

I saw this 'credit card' when visiting Key West and I decided I have to have it. It synthesizes in one card a lot of things that I am, plus some others that I have become since I moved to the US:

1. I always felt like an Alien in this world, just because at least half of the time the world does not make sense to me.

2. By coming to the States the 'alien' term became more real: while in English (you know, the original) I would be called a 'foreigner', in American English they refer to the ones like me as 'alien'

3. I am here with an H1B visa..., now in the process of getting my "green card" =))

4. My dog's name is Soy (If I ever have a corporation I would not discard the Soylent name)

5. I plan to live long ;)


Before you ask, no, I don't look SO weird. Just a bit... ;)

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The Eden Goes Museum

Some time ago, I heard for the first time about the "Creation Museum", a 'museum' dedicated to illustrate the tales of the Bible. It really troubles me that no one seems to oppose to that definition.

I do understand the 'freedom of speech' as well as the freedom to believe in what you want, aliens included, but the use of word 'museum' really really (REALLY) bothers me. To start with, they have replicas, not originals. But to make things worst, they say that: "The Creation Museum presents a 'walk through history'. Designed by a former Universal Studios exhibit director, this state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life" what clearly means that is not a walk through history, but a walk through a story, as Disneyland presents a 'walk through Cinderella's story'.

A place like that could be called 'Bibleland' but shouldn't be allow to use the word Museum. The Museums Association definition (adopted 1998) reads: "Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artifacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society."

I wonder if this place is safeguarding the apple Eve gave to Adam or the skin of the snake that precipitated the expulsion of men from paradise.

Definitely, the fact that this place is using the word 'museum' to describe their show, is a disgrace for all the museums in the world.

Below, their advertising.


video


I would like to know how long it will take for someone to come up with the "Alien Invasion Museum"!

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Sep 27, 2007

A Shocking Campaing (not possible in the USA)

The "Nolita Campaign" has hit Italy and France hard. The ads are not exactly 'pleasant' ones and some consider the images “too crude”.

Of course they are crude because for a change this campaign works with the real world behind the 'beauty' world, and is a reality that none of us really want to see in such a direct way. Is crude, is direct, is controvert, because it is about anorexia.

The campaign coincides with the Milan fashion week and this has helped to optimize its impact.

The photos used in this campaign features a 27 year old French woman named Isabella Caro who has been struggling with anorexia since she was 15 years old. With mere 31 kg (68 pounds) , she admits that for a long time she hid her body, but now she wants to reveal herself for the camera in order to demonstrate how the disease impacts the body.

The Nolita campaign received the backing of the Italian Ministry of Health. However many have been shocked by the graphic nature of the image.

The photographer selected was the very well know Oliviero Toscani, someone who never shied away from images that many find deeply disturbing: he was the man behind the lens that captured the powerful image of a man dying of AIDS that was used in Benetton advertising campaign.

You can see here the images for the Nolita campaign. I am including both, in small size but you can click to see them larger if you want (and if you can stand them).









I believe this campaign wouldn't be possible in the US. Not only includes nudity ( I guess that the puritan's background of this country has made nudity as terrible as killing) but I am sure that also some lawyer or some group would find a reason to sue or to get it banned.

On the other hand is true that (north)America is far away of having anorexia as one of their top health problems. Of course there are anorexics here as I guess they are everywhere, but the mainstream problem when it comes to health and diet is more the opposite, obesity.

What makes me think... would someone have the guts to make a similar campaign to address the obesity problem? Or it is still more bearable to see this extreme (on the skinny side) that the opposite on the obese side?

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No Comments Needed


Whoever has been through the experience of working in a campaign and in the presentation to the client is probably laughing and crying at the same time --in a weird and hysterical way.

More GREAT cartoons related to branding and marketing at SkyDeck Cartoons.

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Ever Seen a ResumeMap?

More and more often, job seekers are doing whatever it takes to catch the attention of possible employers (remember the Marijuana Smuggler Resume?).

Lately the buzz has been around the video resume. Call me outdated and antiquated but I would never go that way except if it was a specific request from the employer and I was extremely interested in that company and position.

But today I came across a really different resume: a resume done over a Google Map. Ozgur Alaz, trendspotter, brand planner, and one of the writers of an interesting but kind of abandoned marketing blog (marketallica) made his resume using Google Earth.

You can see his 'map-resume'(?) here.

I would not use this resume under normal circumstances BUT as someone said in Ozgur's blog, it clearly says that "I believe in the power of technology and i’d like to differentiate myself from .pdf masses".

Probably useful to present at Google or at a techie gaming company, but not recommended for the average HR manager...

If you have stories of weird resumes, or you have been really creative with yours, send us the story if it is good it will be published!

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Santa Claus Is Coming to Town...

...in the form of an IKEA store! Yes, yes, yes, we will finally have an IKEA in SoFla. It seems that the opening will be pretty soon, right on schedule (according to their press release from last year the opening was planned for this Fall).

I pass by the site everyday in my way to work (NW 136 and SR 84). The building is almost finished by now and a couple of days ago I have seen their first ad in TV (local ad). Just a branding ad, no announcement of the opening, not an address, but the fact that they are doing branding already make it clear that the Swedish Santa is coming to town pretty pretty soon.

I can't wait to see if they would also launch some type of guerrilla marketing. They have done some outstanding ads and marketing actions in the past, like dressing up bus shelters in NYC (see below) for the “Everyday Fabulous Exhibition” hosted in NYC last year.



You can see here more of their actions for the NYC exhibit and some other ads and actions done around the world.

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Sep 25, 2007

Spanish "Momentum"

A very nice commercial that could also be called, "A Big Applause for Spain". A Spanish ad from Nike that uses Flamenco to highlight the importance of the fans when it comes to sport.



Y Olé!

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Sep 24, 2007

Amazon Widgets and Google on the Moon

In the last couple of weeks two releases from the 'big names' have finally seen the light. One was long due, being that one the Amazon Widgets. If you are an Amazon Associate, now you have more ways to present products and one of the new widgets allows you to create links on the fly. I bet a lot of people will be grateful about that one!

I tried one, the clouds tag but without too much luck. Supposedly, it learns from your content and offers products related to it. I understand that it 'needs to learn' but I couldn't find any relationship between my blog and their offers so I took it off. Patience is not one of my virtues and I don't like to have totally unrelated products in my store. Nevertheless, if you want to check the new widgets Amazon has to offer, just click here and take a look.

The other release, this time from Google, is Google Moon. Pintoresque, cool, something new, no doubt. Personally I am much happier with the fact that they finally fixed a couple of annoying usability glitches in their home page. I am all for 'Eyes in the sky, feet on the ground' (meaning, aim high, but meanwhile take care of your actual products).

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Sep 22, 2007

What if...?

I really love the slogan that the Sci-Fi Channel have been using for some time now: 'What if...?'

It goes perfectly with the content of the channel, but the reason I like it is because it is the type of question that I enjoy. A question that open doors, that challenges imagination, that helps creativity flow.

I am just guessing here but I think that this interesting ad from Smirnoff/London may have very well been conceived after a 'what if' moment... What if the sea could purify itself? What would happen? Here is one possible answer:




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Random Thoughts

When the police speed to tase a student for being passionate and extending his questions beyond his time (UF episode) is WAY faster than the police speed to realize that there is a student killing other students (Virginia Tech episode)... don't you think that 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark'? (Replace Denmark with US, of course).

Disclaimer I: I know we are talking two different universities, two different States and two different events. Still, I believe is a valid comparison that says a lot of what is going on.

Disclaimer II: I don't want to become another "America-centric" blogger, so for those of you outside the US that may have no idea what thing I am comparing, here are links to both episodes UF Episode - Virginia Tech Episode

Disclaimer III: For those in the US that are thinking "how someone may NOT know about these two events?"... I have news for you... there is a world out there, with their own local problems!

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Sep 21, 2007

"The Thing" (the Artsy Way)

I am not talking about the movie, nor about the Marvel Comics superhero that was part of the "Fantastic Four".

This is not an ominous 'thing or..., who knows? Because for real, the big catch of 'The Thing Quarterly' is that you really don't know what you will get in each delivery. You will get a 'thing' of course, and a thing designed by an artist --but you don't know what exactly.

I like the idea, I really do. Sounds like a different way of delivering art. Now, I would've expected their website to be a bit more 'artsy', but I guess they can improve it as soon as they finish sending their first 'batch of things'.

Check them out at: The Thing Quarterly

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Sep 19, 2007

The "Good Ol' Days"

When I started teaching 'Creativity applied to Advertising', I got my hands into several historical reels donated by ad agencies. It didn't take too long to realize that the advertising history of a brand may say a lot about how the brand has changed its positioning, but it can also tell how much the world has changed.

I am not talking superficial changes --the ones that we all recognize, like hair styles, dressing styles or make up styles, or how our phones have changed and our way of using them. I am talking about values and perceptions.

Social changes can be studied by just seeing old ads, and you can find here two very good examples, that I believe speak by themselves.

1. Winston cigarrettes 'a la Flinstones':

2. And from Argentina, a Quilmes (beer) ad, in a hospital environment, with doctors and nurses drinking beer
:


Both ads are from the early 60's and we know that none of this ideas could even be suggested today.

BTW, if you have other examples, please let me know!

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For Those Who Believe in Slogans...

I can't help but noticed that some people believe in slogans with their eyes closed. One perfect case is the ones that DO believe that Fox is "Fair and Balanced". If you share their views, that is fine with me (well not really, but lets fantasize) but the fact that you share their views does not mean that they are in fact "fair and balanced". It just means that they think like you.

Anyway, if any proof is needed of how unbalanced and unfair they are, here is a very nice and simple one. Watch not only the numbers of guests at the end, but the minutes during the video:



If you want more "elaborate" proof you can read my previous posting about Fox's ugly star, Mr. O'Reilly (warning, it requires READING and can be considered as 'intellectual' either of which Fox lovers tend to dread!)

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Sep 17, 2007

Online Video Editing (a review)







The moment Google acquired YouTube (around October 2006) I thought they would add a video editing tool to go with it, immediately.

Time went through and nothing. Good tips about what software to buy, but no tool online. Finally around June/July they start offering a 'Remixer' in Beta and while the tool is pretty decent, is not an in house development but a tool powered by Adobe, that it is still on Beta. You can find it at TestTube.

Now, this weekend I got an email from Huffington Post, inviting people to do a candidate's mashup video, using the new tool from Yahoo, called Jumpcut, another pretty decent tool so far.

There are not the only free tools available online, of course. You have also Eyespot and Mojiti but the last one seems to be more useful to subtitle or make comments than to 'mashup' editing from different videos at the same time (still, a very useful tool for websites like mine, where I know that if I can have some of the videos with captions in Spanish part of my 'readers' will thank me for taking the time to include them).

Going back to the main issue of this article: we have now at least 4 tools for editing videos online for free! So start playing, friends acquaintances and readers! Use your creativity and show the world your ideas editing videos, either yours or using the ones online. There are no more excuses!

As I haven't used any of these programs enough to recommend one over the other one, if you play with them and have any tips on which one worked better for you and why, we are all ears! (well, eyeballs in this case...)

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Sep 16, 2007

Reading...

I don't read books as much as I used to. More than half of my reading is online now, but I confess I feel bad about not being able to read more than 2 or 3 books each month...

What I am reading now?

The last book of Umberto Eco. I bought it while visiting Argentina last July, but that has not been released yet in the US (of course!). Still you can pre-order it through Amazon.

In English is going to be called: Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism.I prefer its title in Spanish that would literally translate as "Walking like a crab" (obviously the idea is that the world is walking like a crab, ergo, backwards).

On the "lighter side", I am finishing The Greatest Dog Stories Ever Told, a collection of dog tales by Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and Rudyard Kipling among others.

Waiting in the nightstand, meanwhile, I have:

The Omnivore's Dilemma (A Natural History of the Four Meals) by Michael Pollan and Cell (Stephen King).

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You Have Been in... Too Long When...

Surfing around as I do on regular basis, I found an old post from what seems to be an American expat in Japan. He collected a long list of sentences that makes it clear when a foreigner has been in Japan for too long.

Here is a sample of that collection....

You have been in Japan too long when:


...you find yourself bowing while you talk on the phone.
...you don't hesitate to put a $10 note into a vending machine.
...people stop complementing you on your Japanese, and start asking you where you had your nose and eyes done.
...you have mastered the art of simultaneous bowing and hand-shaking.

The original list is longer of course and you have to at least have been to Japan to understand some of those statements.

Nevertheless, it got me the idea to start lists for some other countries... for example:

I guess that you have been too long in Argentina when:


...you are a man and you kiss another man (in the cheek, one kiss) without feeling awkward.
...you believe that 'vegetarians' are similar to 'vulcans' or 'romulans' (people from outer space that either you can see in TV or that they "are among us" but difficult to identify), and you are conviced that eating red meat 5 days a week is a perfectly healthy diet.
...you know that an "early dinner" means around 9 pm and that a late dinner is around midnight

And I believe that you have been too long in the USA when:


...Oreo Pizza makes perfect sense to you
...you start to understand how that feeling that Americans call "road rage" is developed
...you start calling people by their 'politically correct' label, so no one is blind or deaf or stupid anymore but (fill in the blanks) impaired.
...early dinner equals late lunch (5 pm!)
...you know how to ask for a coffee in Starbucks without missing a bit
...you got a pill for every mood in the dictionary and some there are not

I guess my lists could be way longer and that those of you that are living in some other countries (from Singapur to Chile and from Poland to Brazil) could help me giving your list. Of course, you are also invited to include more entries for USA or Argentina.

So please feel free to include here more examples of "you have been too long in XXX when..."

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Sep 13, 2007

That Round American Obsession

At first I thought it was just a coincidence. Oreo milkshake, ice cream with Oreo crumbs, Oreo Blizzards, Oreos everywhere.

One day, watching the Food Channel, I learned about the 'fried Oreos'... I don't care how good they are (and my guess is that they probably are!), I know I gained 5 pounds just by saying out loud "Fried Oreos" while my cholesterol raised too, to the point I felt a heart attack was near... all that without even trying them!

So there was the confirmation I needed. Yes, Americans are obsessed with the black round cookie to the point that they 'shake' it, they blend it and the fried it...

There is not too much more that you can do with an Oreo right?

WRONG!

Dominos Pizza now offers an "Oreo Pizza" as dessert. Yes, an Oreo Pizza and so far I haven't seen many people surprised by this offer. Maybe is my italian blood, but I can't stand the idea. I am not going to try it (just in case I like it!) ;) and at some level I find it a bit of an insult to call that pizza. But again, I am not (north) American, I am not obsessed with Oreos and I have a great respect for good pizzas.

Their ad for this novelty on the other hand is slightly funny but slightly gross, at least for me. You can watch it here and below you can see a picture of the monster.

Now, a couple of innevitable questions:

1. How much do YOU like the idea of having an Oreo Pizza for dessert?
2. How come people are still 'worried' about obesity growing in this country and still eat fried Oreos and Oreo Pizza?

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ID for Cows (yeah, I am not kidding!)

Bureaucrats and goverment authorities tend to be the worst to think out of the box for efficient solutions. We have enough examples here in the US, but these news from India almost top any brilliant idea from the Bush Administration (almost!).

Authorities in India say crime syndicates find it easy to tamper with branding or tattooing of the cattle -- hence the idea for photo identity cards which should be 'difficult' (?) to falsify.

Valid for two years, each laminated cattle ID card displays the picture of the animal and its owner. It also carries vital information about the animal, such as its colour, height, sex and length of horns, as well as the owner's name and address and sometimes other details about the animal -- like one "horn missing" or "half tail lost".











Does anyone really think this will improve security? Or it would just create a new industry for faked cow ID's?

Original post at BBC, found via Scheiner in Security (thanks to Mauricio)

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Sep 12, 2007

SUV for Babies

How much is an SUV? How much you spend on a baby? Is it worth to have a a baby to get an SUV? I don't think so and I would like to think that people would become parents for better reasons than to get an SUV....

Still, it seems that in Russia one way to get people to have babies is to... give them prizes, being the grand prize an SUV! The catch? The baby has to be born on Russia's national day, June 12.

That is not all, the governor wants couples to take a day off at work to have sex. Of course, they are having a demographic crisis (as almost all Europe) but this is a good example of creativity THE WRONG WAY.

As seen on BBC

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Sep 10, 2007

Dairy Milk Seen in a Different Way

An interesting ad. A bit of a stretch how it is related to the product, but a great movie to watch anyway and I bet will have people talking.

It seems Cadbury has invested £6.2 millions in this campaign for Dairy Milk. I am not sure if this is the only TV piece of the campaign but I will research more about it.

The 90-second film, which was written and directed by Sony Bravia creative director Juan Cabral of Fallon London, launched during the 'Big Brother 8 UK' final on 31st August 2007.




I would love to know if people will call this ad the Cadbury Gorilla or the Phil Collins gorilla...

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Sep 9, 2007

In the Bush Era...

...a new Dictionary is needed, no doubt. So here it comes Unwords, to fill that void. Their slogan is "Changing the English language one word at a time." (thanks Rob for the lead)

I couldn't help but laugh with the new word "Bushspeak" and its definition, that reads:

"b. (adj.) bush-speek. Totally incomprehensible. A statement that does not make sense.

Example: Your bushspeak language makes me feel dumb for talking to you."


What surprises me is that no one has entered "Bushit" yet. Seems an appropiate word to replace "bullshit" during this Administration and could be defined as the veracity of any statement made by Bush.

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Sep 6, 2007

Addicted to Labeling


Another 'game' that can be addictive, this time from Google Labeler...

They have NOT done a good work at explaining how it works, so here is some insight (after playing more than a couple of times).

Once you enter, they will pair you with someone else. You and that person will be shown pictures, some easy, but most of them difficult to interpret (sometimes because they are blurry). You have to enter words that you would use to 'label' that picture. Once one of your words matches a word that the other person has entered, you (both) get points and a new picture is shown. You have 2 minutes in total, so the more words you enter, the more quicker you may get a 'match' and a new picture will be shown to both of you.

Now (very important) if the other person requests to "pass", you too hit pass. If you don't hit pass, you spend your 2 minutes with that picture, entering words without any possibility to match the other one, because s/he is not entering any word.

In some cases, they will give you a list of "off limits" words, so you are NOT supposed to use those words for that picture, making it a little more difficult.

Once you finished (2 minutes later) you can see for each image more info, including what words the other person entered. This is (for me) the most interesting part. You can not only enhance your vocabulary, but you can also notice how sometimes we REALLY see different things when seeing the same image... and believe it or not, sometimes by the labels you can tell the level of general knowledge of the person on the other side!

About the points: you get 2 results, your "Today's ranking" and your "all time ranking". They are way different: the first one is related to the pair that made more points as a team that day, while the other is your 'personal' all time score (if you have signed in with a nickname, of course).

So, here is the link to play the game. And just in case, if you find yourself paired with 'scbr'... that's me and the game is on, baby! :)

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And I Thought my Memory was Bad!

I insist. This Administration should be called the "Alzheimer administration" (now Bush "can't remember" how a decision as important as disbanding the Iraqui Army was taken, see article here).

Now if you are not so naive, you can call it instead the "lying administration". As easy and directly as Keith Olbermann did it yesterday, just watch the video:


video

Not his best 'special comment' but it is nice to see someone (for a change) calling things by their name...

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Sep 4, 2007

Subtle (?) Advertising

Well, not so sure is subtle really, but kind of funny anyway. I feel bad for the little guy, as we say in Spanish, "so much swimming to end up dying at the shore"!

Beware: VERY graphic content.

video

Thanks Paulita!

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Sep 3, 2007

Size Matters...

...and I am not talking about the type of "size matters" that our daily spam delivers to us. I am talking about online 'widgets' those that you copy and paste a code and voila, you have added something to your site.

I must confess I am a sucker for these widgets and not necessary for the 'useful' ones. I love things like the ones that you can see below, that are not really useful, but a type of disguised advertising with sense of humor (in this case the site is mingle2.com). NOW: it is not true what the spam wants you to believe that is all about BIG size... no no no, is always about the RIGHT size. By "right" size I mean a variety of sizes that allows us (the end user) to choose how we would insert that widget in our site.

For example, I would have included one of these images in the right column of this blog if I had an option for a smaller size, what would have give the image (and therefore the advertising) more exposure. Where they are, in this posting, they will be in the home page for more or less a week... while if they were in the right column they would have stayed for longer in the home page.

Well, these are the results I got from a couple of tests:




And based in its content, this blog is rated:


Sadly, this information will never make the right column, because 'size matters' ;)

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