Business Week Magazine

Zoe Strauss is my favorite photographer because of her knack of capturing moments of utter desperation and making them seem not so desperate, just realistic. Read more on a [blog post] from last year. Said Zoe at the time, “My work is about showing the humanness of life. Sometimes what is human is hard to take. It’s ugly, or upsetting to look at, but it’s human.”

I like the below commentary from a NY MAG reader, particularly her reference to odd beauty. It’s true, no matter how grim the situations are that Zoe photographs, there’s always a sense of raw, abstract beauty.

Don’t miss Zoe Strauss’ solo show at Silverstein! Her confrontational images show a side of American social reality that is usually ignored and unseen — poor working class people in South Philly. Their existence is often grim and desperate, “down” as it were, but far from “out.” Strauss approaches her subjects with uncompromising honesty and compassion, as well as a sharp eye for the ironies and odd beauty of our urban landscape. Her show is a breath of life amidst all the cynical and clever stuff out there.

Advertising Age reported Friday that Moore’s new film, Sicko, “a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth”, has been pirated and is widely available for free download on the Web at BitTorrent and peer-to-peer sites.

The breach follows Moore’s move last week to stash a copy of the film in Canada, in case the federal government decided to impound it over an apparently unauthorizes trip to Cuba made during its filming.

Moore didn’t seem to mind when his Fahrenheit 9/11 found its way to the file-sharing world–he even encouraged piracy at the time. However, that pirate ship didn’t sail until after the film was out in theaters. The official release date for Sicko is June 29, known in the Apple world as iPhone Day.

If, like me, you get incredibly exasperated by the efforts of constantly refusing mounds of napkins and plastic cutlery when you order take-out (followed by the incredulous looks of staff – why don’t you need six forks and ten napkins to eat your lunch?), there is hope.  Enter, a group of volunteers who have started contacting delicatessens, restaurants and all kinds of food service establishments about Eco To Go – a new expression that will hopefully save tons of paper and plastic from becoming trash and pollution.  How does a Truck GPS work exactly? When you use the catchphrase, participating eateries will give you only one napkin – and no forks and spoons. This means you and me have a further opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and be greener, smarter consumers.  Well done to Anna Ayers and Fabian Lliguin for having the commitment and vision to actually do something about an exceptional bad New York habit. Get with the lingo and join the campaign to reverse global warming.

An Interesting Article 

Apparently, after the historic giant leap of landing a man on the moon in 1969, there followed the moon and the ghetto problem, “If we can land a man on the moon.  It got me thinking about successful brand initiatives and breakthrough products and services that have the “sticky” factor. It’s not about some bright spark somewhere having an idea and hey presto, that great idea changes the lives of millions overnight. No, we all have great ideas, but the life-altering ideas are ideas that have relevance and can be translated into tangiable products and/or services that will be accepted by the masses.

Know-how is that special skill of introducing a brilliant idea to the world in a way that is socially acceptable. Anyone that has every worked in the realm of new product innovation will have come face-to-face with the Know-how dilemma before; your idea could be brilliant, but if the marketplace isn’t ready for it, no amount of promotion will make it a success story.  That the design process evolved so that there was no such thing as a fully finished product. Instead, a phase 1 product was launched by a firm/designer with the intent that it should be improved on and modified by others.

We are already witnessing the start of everything beta mentality in the programming field. The more companies open their APIs for the wider community to build on, the faster you and I get better, more reliable goods and services.

 

 

 

From Around the World

Rainforest

Being an active participation in the “evolution of advertising” conversation I’m always on the look out for integrated, engaging campaigns that reflect a brand’s true values in a way that isn’t intrusive and annoying, but instead surprising and quite simply delightful.

Take Westin’s Campaign

Westin lives and breathes the values of personal renewal, what with their special programs for business travelers, in-room gyms, superfoods menus and their [Find Renewal] website that delivers insightful tips and reminders for better living when not melting into a Westin heavenly bed, (and I know this because they’re my client and I helped build The Find Renewal site!)

Little wonder then that their recent advertising campaign in the cities of New York, Chicago and Boston would be cleverly integrated into their renewal brand message. Via a series of transformative experiences which occur on subways, highways, airports, escalators and elevators the weary traveler (moi) gets to escape from the hum-and-drum of Midtown-madness and feel invigorated, even if for a moment of two. So, not only are the advertisements themselves creative and clever, but they’re present in all the right places – the places were you literally need to be transformed somewhere else.

I’ve always thought the best brand experiences are those that envelop you – seriously, you know that feeling when you are so overwhelmed by an emotion or thought that you really believe you are somewhere else. Well, watch the “RUSH HOUR” video clip in the sub-media section…for a moment there I was having flashbacks to Playa Paridiso in Culebra.  As for rush hour this evening, I might just have to take a detour via Grand Central and hop on the shuttle to check out the Iceland Shuttle Wrap. In this heat, Iceland is just where I’d like to be right now.

Running

After running 6.5 miles yesterday Derick and I discussed the many factors that contribute to a good, or not so good, run. It’s the sum of the total that can make a runner go the extra mile or fade to the back of the pack – the right clothes, the right temperature, the right about of sleep, the right food & drink, the right mindset.

One thing is for sure, runners like to run light – lightweight clothes & shoes, and minimal gadgetry and accoutrement. Of course, when it’s 90 degrees outside, hydration is crucial – water is a must, but carrying a heavy water-bottle is not so cool. The boys at [Venture Design Works] clearly know that feeling too. So, they cleverly decided to design a few things to make the runner in all of us delightfully glee.

Like the guys behind iConcertCal, the founders of vDw are creating products to satisfy their own need. Reads their webiste:

“Offering a full suite of product design services, vDw applies a unique, user-centered design process to help clients improve their business through innovation. Rather than let clients have all the fun, vDw also designs and markets innovative products for the man gear intensive activities the founders like to partake in.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the products and services that satisfy real needs, that make our lives easier or better, are the ones that consumers will be drawn to.

An excerpt of my reading on the subway this morning:

“Our ultimate success will not come from our brains or our gifts…It will come from our belief in ourselves. It will come from The Power of One…The power of one determination! The power never to compromise your beliefs or you art or your science, to believe that you are capable of anything if you listen to the small voice, to the single truth. If you have the fortitude…the guts! If you have the stamina for the long haul. The power to triumph over the odds you will have to face!….And there will be odds! Politicians and power mongers will want to buy you and direct you. They will bend and twist the universal truths and they will try to swaddle your conscience with hyber-bole and rationalisation! Only a sustained and invincible belief in yourself will allow you to maintain your integrity and achieve the goals you have set for yourself. You must be utterly determined to believe in your ability to prevail no matter what!”

“The Internet isn’t just about e-mail or the Web anymore. Increasingly, people online are taking the power of the Internet back into their own hands…It’s the emergence of the Power of Us. Thanks to new technologies…people are getting together to take collective action on an unprecedented scale…encouraging people to get together in the real world, not just online. MeetUp, for instance, has many thousands of groups that get together regularly, from English bull-dog owners to scrapbookers in Singapore”