Gwen Yip is a wonderful illustrator with a lovely warped sense of humor. Her life is cataloged and drawn on her blog. Each email message. Each memorable person she has contacted (including yours truly). Each kind soul. Even those she considers tough love. All are captured in pen and ink. She was on a working holiday in Amsterdam where she went to our offices there. She was on a working holiday in London. And then, I received an email from her about NYC. I have a question. What is this girl planning? NYC would fit her style. And then the butterfly transforms into its most lethal stage. Sometimes before you can hear you have to listen. Looking at Gwen's drawings you kind of feel like you're sitting in a tub of vanilla ice cream, listening to yourself being consumed by hungry eyes.
Might as well show a few other not-for-profits that I've engaged in and have been passionate about. This commercial was created by Steve Ramser and I during the war
in Yugoslavia. The spot is intended to bring the emotions felt by the inhabitants of Sarajevo during the siege of the city. The spot was shot in a crematoria using the children from Sarajevo. It features Vedran Smailovic, who played his cello for 22 days in the exact spot where 22 people had been killed while waiting in line for bread in the city
market. The 60 second awarded commercial ran across Europe. The client was the Stockholm Dramatic Theatre, led by actress Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullman in conjunction with Susan Sontag, Ingmar Bergman,and Rune Borg.
A quick word association game: Factory. Production line. Churn out.
When you hear these words and phrases in a single sentence, what do you think of?
Cars? Washing machines? Shoes? Handbags?
Did you think of “advertising”?
Rahul Welde did. Speaking (all too briefly) at an event in Mumbai,
Welde spoke of the future needs of advertisers in the context of the
changing media landscape, especially in-store media.
media would be as far away from the current paradigm of creating
communication that would be broadcast to millions on television,
requiring, instead of one TVC (with a few language edits), separate and
custom made communication for, say, different cities and different
branded malls and outlets.
Add to this the factor that the
success and failure of in-store media would be known immediately (by
sales, or the lack thereof), marketers would require their creative
partners to be able to create communication TODAY to replace the
current solution which has been found to be wanting.
the factory, that’s why the production line. A creative factory with a
production line that could churn out high quality and effective
communication consistently and cost-effectively.
Scott Goodson was sharing his views (over a drink, not in his keynote)
on the future of the “holding companies”. Their structure, he believed,
was built on the 30 second spot with budgets in millions (of dollars).
This allowed them, indeed encouraged them, to build in redundancies –
at a cost. A cost that is borne by the big-budget TVCs.
Take away the big budgets, and what do you have?
Let us overlay Welde’s views with Goodson’s, and let us bear in mind that Welde is a client and Goodson a communication expert.
And the twain do meet.
food for thought for the large agencies, especially in India. The
creative departments will need to be restaffed with young blood, with
those who can think at the speed that the Weldes of the world will be
demanding tomorrow. Young blood who understand the new technologies and
new media. Young blood that is not trapped by the “systems” of the old
(actually, current) way that advertising is being done.
Young blood that will not see creating communication in 24 hours, day after day, as the drudgery in a factory.
Young blood, all getting their highs seeing today’s germ of an idea selling shampoos in the aisles tomorrow.
blood who consume the media in the way tomorrow’s consumers will, and
will understand instantly when told by a client that a particular piece
of communication did not work.
Had a great evening with my clients last night at the UK v USA footie/soccer game at Wembley stadium last night. The USA lost to the UK. The NY Times wrote of the game "England didn't qualify for the Euros, but they did manage to beat the Americans". The UK won 2 - 0. Beckham was great.
Here are some shots from the evening off my iPhone
Entrepreneurs have a habit of describing their companies in David-and-Goliath terms. Now, some are taking cues from Eloise and James and the Giant Peach.
A mini trend in the world of public relations has companies replacing
their run-of-the-mill press releases with promotional materials that
look and feel like children's books.
When the Dutch advertising agency StrawberryFrog established its New
York City offices in 2004, it announced the news via a picture book
that told the story of a nimble frog that outmaneuvered its large
competitors, which were portrayed as (what else?) dinosaurs.
StrawberryFrog also advised Mega, the Montreal-based manufacturer of
Mega Bloks blocks and RoseArt crafts supplies, to publish children's
books. Mega created a book of illustrated adventure stories that tied
into the company's motto, "Creativity to the rescue."
According to StrawberryFrog's Chris Coots, mock children's books are
a way for companies to deliver their message memorably. "Anytime you
use something childlike, it hits an irony button," says Coots, the
agency's producer and editor. "Then people realize there's a bigger
The less a company has to do with children, the better the
juxtaposition of format and message seems to work. To promote the
Pacifico brand of beer, which had 1.2 percent of the imported beer
market in 2007, Crown Imports of Chicago commissioned Actividades de Pacifico, an activity booklet reminiscent of Conn and Hal Iggulden's The Dangerous Book for Boys (only with beer bottles). Similarly, when it unveiled the Windows Home Server, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) released Mommy, Why Is There a Server in the House?
Poking fun at children's titles that address thorny social issues, the
book explains a family's decision to buy a "stay-at-home server." The
book, which was cross-promoted in Microsoft's online campaign for the
product line, drew coverage in The New York Times. It also garnered enthusiastic reader reviews on Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), where it retails for $5.95.
Most small publishers can help a company create this kind of promo,
according to Jerrold Jenkins, the CEO of Jenkins Group, a Traverse
City, Michigan, publisher. His business, which has $2 million in annual
sales, maintains Booksaremarketingtools.com,
a website for companies that self-publish promotional materials.
Jenkins has worked with clients such as Bush Brothers, the maker of
Bush's Baked Beans, to develop children's books. Jenkins will handle
ghostwriting, design, editing, and printing arrangements, charging from
$2 to $10 per unit. Press runs typically range from 5,000 to 25,000.
Using children's books for PR does have its limits, however. Now a
mature agency with clients including Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and
Miller Brewing, StrawberryFrog is phasing out the frog-versus-dinosaur
narrative. Once your business grows up, it seems, it may be time to
tell a different story.
I created this film when I was stationed in our StrawberryFrog Amsterdam office to explain how our new agency model actually works. Against the big corporate holding companies, we bring together ground support of the best talent worldwide in a hub-and-spoke model - it is a faster, smarter, more effective and more efficient model than the big holding companies. It makes use of new technologies and new high-speed social network capabilities. A lot is done online.
This Frog Model which we pioneered in 1999, helped us deliver Heineken brand advertising in 155 countries, Daimler Chrysler Mitsubishi Motors in 42 markets and Asics Onitsuka Tiger globally to name a few.
Ok, ok..it was developed in Amsterdam! The spot was directed by Ms. Claudia Donati. In the film you will see some of the original StrawberryFrogs, including legendary guru Uli Weisendanger, the co-founder of TBWA, good friend, mentor and the Chairman of StrawberryFrog.
Gawd...I found these old pictures on my computer. Time flies.
These shots come from the very early days of StrawberryFrog, in the summer of 2000 in Amsterdam. The agency mascot was Z (Zorro) who as you can see from these images from our store-front office space, did pretty much everything.
The people in these shots include Mark Chalmers, Nicola Finn, Karin Drakenberg, Dylan Ingham, Roy Antoine, and Dan the man. This was early days - before many of the very talented pirates joined the Frog...people like Kevin McKeon, Shawn Preston and Roisin R Jones from BBH, and before Al Kelly and Michael Folino moved to Amsterdam.