Cool for Useful’s Sake

It’s Monday of my second week on the job — and let me tell you — I LOVE IT.

Love, love, love it.

BSSP is an amazing (and so much fun) environment to learn and grow in, and from day one I was so confident that I’d chosen the right career path.

Oh, and remember how I told you I’m living on a boat? Well, it’s a pretty sweet setup; despite the fact that for the first time this weekend, we fell asleep knowing we were on a boat. It was a bit like if someone was gently rocking you to sleep, if said rocking was the slightest bit terrifying.

My roommates are great, and we’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff (like the Chipotle Cultive Festival and wandering around Haight Ashbury). We might be bums during the week, but I intend to make the absolute most out of every weekend we’re here.

Spent time in the Bay Area? I’m open to any and all recommendations!

Anyways, my job (planning) involves lots of reading. From Adweek and PSFK to Trendspotting and the most obscure of blogs. What’s great is that, in essence, it’s a lot like what I do for this blog and for AWSC. Only more intensive.

It’s awesome to see all of the cool executions that come out of markets other than the US. Last week, I found two that really stood out.

So many cool things come out of Brazil (like this clever use of Vine from @heinekenbr or this ad for Peugeot).

This is just the latest:

Award fodder or not, the execution is pretty amazing. Sure, it’s tangentially related to the product (Nivea’s new sun protection line); but still, the idea of an ad that harnesses the power of the sun to charge your phone? That’s insane. Difficult to execute, but extremely well-done.

And who wouldn’t want that surprise in their beach read? I certainly would. How useful! And memorable.

The second execution that stood out to me comes out of Paris, where Scrabble (no, not Words With Friends, we’re talking the classic) took it upon itself to provide Wi-Fi to the masses — so long as they were able to spell.

In places where there wasn’t any WiFi, Scrabble armed vans with a portable Wi-Fi connections and then challenged people to join the ‘Scrabble Wi-Fi Network’ to win their free minutes by turning Scrabble words into passwords.

What I love about both of these is probably something I’ve said before. They weren’t just ‘cool for cool’s sake’ — they actually had a purpose, and a useful one at that. By doing so, both brands gave consumers something tangible to remember them by (and likely laid the groundwork for awards season, too).

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California, Here I Come

Tomorrow I embark upon a new adventure. I’m moving to San Francisco. To work as a strategy intern at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. And live with two other interns. On a boat.

Is this real life?!

It is. And this is how I feel:

Luckily for me, I don’t just watch Game of Thrones; I’m in the process of finishing up A Dance With Dragons, and I’m pretty confident in Lord Snow’s character progression.

I asked the junior strategist who I’ll be working under (and who also attended the Brandcenter – as I’ll do in August) for a bit of advice. What he told me was incredibly valuable:

My advice at this point would be to be a sponge. Everything from now until even after you finish with the Brandcenter is a learning opportunity. Be curious. Ask naive questions. Connect the dots. Have fun.

Up to this point, I’ve tried my best to learn as much as I can. I’ve taken extra classes, I’ve read too many books to count, I’ve asked questions. But it’s just the beginning.

I’ve never had an advertising internship before, mostly just sports (unless you count blogging for AWSC), which either makes me terribly unqualified or usefully unique.

Either way, I’m the ultimate sponge. And I’m so ready to soak up more than just the California sunshine (even though I’m pretty excited about that, too).

I’ll be sure to keep my blog up to date with all of my adventures, academic and otherwise.
But for now, here we go!

 


Happy Summer! Plus: Technology + Creativity FTW

It’s been a while, so let me update you. Since you last heard from me, I’ve finished up a lot of exciting things and started prepping for the next steps in my life’s journey. I finished up my independent study, which ended up being way more interesting and engaging than I imagined going in. It’s called “Brand Personification in the Digital Age: How has the evolution of social media impacted consumer-brand relationships?” and if you’re interested, you can check it out here. Exactly one week ago, I graduated from the University of Michigan. Which is absolutely insane — I miss Ann Arbor and all my friends already, but I’m excited for my next steps.  A couple days ago, I signed a lease for my first year in Richmond at VCU Brandcenter with a couple of GREAT girls! AND I found out I’ll be living on a BOAT in Sausalito, California for the summer as part of my internship at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners!

I plan to use this blog a great deal throughout the summer to keep everyone up to date on my experience in San Francisco, so keep an eye out. And my latest AWSC post should be all the way live real soon — I’m SO excited about this one. It’s all about digital vs. traditional publishing and how we love on the interwebz. If you haven’t already, take a look at Robin Sloan’s revolutionary tap essay, “Fish” — promise it’s worth your time.

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Moving on, I’ve had this link on my desktop for a while now and finally found the time to share. There’s been a lot of great work circulating as it relates to cause marketing lately; but the most powerful example I’ve seen is Grey Spain’s work for Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation (ANAR for short).

The outdoor ad made use of “lenticular printing” in order to create an ad that changed based on the perspective you viewed it from. Adults (well, those over 4’5″) see an image of a sad child with the copy, “Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” Children, on the other hand, see bruises on the child’s face and the copy, “If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you.” Brilliantly executed, the secret message allows a child to see the message even when accompanied by his or her abuser.

Grey Spain uses lenticular printing to create dual-images.

Digiday put it best — “It’s a powerful message that’s enabled by technology, rather than overwhelmed by it,” an issue that often comes into play when technology is put into play for technology’s sake only. Sure, it can be cool, but does it add anything? It most certainly does here.

This gets me so excited to work alongside the talented art directors and creative technologists at VCU Brandcenter in the fall. With such amazing technology at our fingertips, I can’t wait to see what we’re able to produce together.


I’m Back! Plus: Netflix Gambles, Wins Big

I know I’ve been a bad blogger lately. On all fronts.

But that’s about to change — with Advertising Week Europe all the way live in London, you’re about to hear a lot from me. And while nothing’s firmed up yet, I might have some exciting news to share soon on the contributions front.

Speaking of exciting news.

Since the last time we talked, I’ve been accepted into the VCU Brandcenter Communication Strategy program AND I’ve accepted a position as a summer strategy intern at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in San Francisco!

Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy. And I’m SO excited to share all of my future learnings and such with you.

Now, let’s get back to business. I meant this for an AWSC post, but with the backlog that is #AWEurope, I figured I’d share here first.

Here we go:

I’m the biggest proponent of digital culture out there. I believe staunchly in non-traditional media. I cringe when that, excuse my language, asshat of a codger Tom Hammerschmidt tells Zoe Barnes, “Twitter, blogs, rich media, they are all fads. They aren’t the foundation this paper was built on.” But if you asked me whether Netflix’s $100 million gamble was itself one big flimsy house of cards, I would’ve said absolutely.

Now I’m 7 hours deep (upon writing, I was 7 hours deep. update: binge complete) into a Kevin
Spacey-fueled binge and kicking myself for doubting the online giant’s strategy.

Sure, this isn’t Netflix’s first foray into original programming (that distinction belongs to Lilyhammer); but it is the first time the company has taken a hands-on approach to production, tapping big names like David Fincher, who directed the series’ first two episodes.

Pre-release, consumers and pundits alike questioned the streaming service’s ability to succeed – and what’s more, to not lose money – by dropping an entire season at once. Blasphemy, said traditional media.

HBO, the reigning king of original programming, fails all the time. How could this “fledgling” hope to win by going all-in on the first try? They simply couldn’t, right?

Well I’ll be damned. This show is good. It’s really, really good. The acting is top-notch, the plot line is full of intrigue and beautifully developed characters, and the production quality is second to none.

And to those who questioned how “dumping” the entire first season of HOC out in the market at one time could possibly be the right move?

Don’t pull a Hammerschmidt.

This is the way of new media. We’ve grown up with DVD seasons, Netflix and Hulu binges, and the reliability of our DVR. Of course this would work. Appointment viewing has gone the way of paper-only reporting: it’s a relic. Sure, it’s still there, but it’s in no position to not take its newfangled “fad” competitors seriously.

Spacey’s Frank Underwood tells Zoe regarding Slugline (the series’ Politico 2.0), “If freedom and exposure are what they’re offering, I would say that is a meeting worth taking.” This same argument is valid for Netflix, who noted, “For viewers, Internet TV is a better experience because of the freedom and flexibility it provides.”

Steven Rosenbaum wrote for Forbes, “This is a series that deserves to be savored – not ‘binged’ on;” but he couldn’t have been more wrong. This is a 13-hour movie that people are dying to see, not to mention, a 13-hour movie that might just change the landscape of traditional television.

With House of Cards experiencing enviable success, and similar treatment coming for cult-favorite Arrested Development in May, Netflix is paving the way for an internet-TV revolution.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained to investors, “In baseball terms, linear TV only scores with home runs. We score with home runs, too, but also with singles, doubles, and triples.”

Well, Reed, you certainly knocked it out of the park with this one. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.