The Fun Theory – Piano Stairs

The Fun Theory – Piano Stairs

I work in the advertising industry and one of our biggest segments over past few youtuberific facebooktastic years is social media. So, user or company generated content that will be passed virally around the blogosphere, email and of course social networking sites and micro-aggregators like Twitter. Ideally they are produced at a fraction of the cost of TV and are seen by more people than the series finally of Friends in like 5 minutes.

The problem is noone has perfected it yet. There is a delicate balance in this medium of people not wanting to be marketed to and wanting better and more interesting online content.

Plus there is an argument being made that, aside from a brand touch by seeing a logo, there is no payoff for companies. Are consumers converting from viral video to purchase or at least brand awareness at rates that make it worth it? Or does the normal Youtube user go from a branded video strait to a video of a cat bathing itself in the kitchen sink, and forget everything that came before it?

I say it is worth it. Indubitably. Unequivocally. If nothing else, it shows that a company understands their customers. Where they are, what they are doing. That says a lot in the minds of the general population. Second, a well done video or app will direct individuals to websites where purchasing, more information and further brand impact can ensue. And lastly, it’s cheap. It should be anyway. And if something doesn’t work, change it, evolve it, take it down, put it back up. We live in a world of immediate gratification, corporations need to get in on the chaos. Let consumers tell you what they want either through views or comments and be open to changing to oblige.

Here’s a good example of a video, campaign, idea that is shareable, socially aware and delicately but seamlessly branded.

Volkswagen. like a whisper right there at the end. But the company’s long established brand makes sense here. It doesn’t feel forced as it would with even another car company like Ford or even BMW.

I don’t know if it is tricky editing, but I love the old guy (see photo above, or 1:23 in the video) who is going for the stairs. That guy is awesome, he’ll probably play Chopin all the way up.

I think this idea will work, and will be really interesting as it moves forward. And even if it doesn’t, 7,000 people in one day are now aware that VW is trying to make the world a little more fun.

See more of the campaign here, in German. I guess the english site is not up yet.

Ogilvy tweeted this today, which is where I saw it.

Art Inspires Art…

Art Inspires Art…

I heard a story on NPR All Things Considered yesterday and found it really interesting.

Listen Here:

Dave Brubeck, one of the most respected Jazz musicians of all time, along with his son, are taking the photos of the late great photographer Ansel Adams, and composing the music that they exude. Art inspiring art.

You know Ansel Adams, he’s the godfather of the black and white landscape photo. He wasn’t the first to shoot in the style, but he did it really well. He probably took that photo in that black and white poster you always see, and say, “I could have shot that, I’m not paying $250 for this.” I know I do.

The truth is you probably can’t, and I know I can’t. Ansel had an amazing way of taking his vision, what he saw both physically and creatively, and using his camera to achieve exactly that. Plus, no photoshop, no digital “I don’t like that one… DELETE,” just tedious and intentional exposures and development. He was a pioneer in bringing photography away from its existence as a way to document history and taking it to the realm of a legitimate art form.

According to the story, Ansel had the chops to be a concert pianist before he was sidetrack by his photographic endeavors.

“And many of my friends would beg me not to think about photography as a career, because I apparently was a fairly good pianist. And they would say photography is not an art; the camera cannot express the human soul.”
-Ansel Adams

And aside from the tremendous appreciation for the art, this is why the 88 year old Brubeck is interested in Adams and his photographs.

As I say, creative and artistic people have a tendency to derive inspiration from other art forms that they appreciate. As a graphic designer, I find that Paintings that I really like tend to have elements or roots of the graphic space in them. Movement. Direction. Simplicity. Layering. And a gridlike sensibility are all characteristics I look for, and that carry over even into my preferences of Music and Literature.

Similarly, I think that Dave Brubeck sees the same thing in Ansel Adams’ Photography. Brubeck sees the pianist in Adams pouring out. I think I agree, though I’m no expert. The inspiration that Adams shoots from comes from the perspective of a pianist partial to the works of Bach and Chopin. Subtle, yet expansive. Polarizing. Suspended movement.

Do you see it:

Anyway the Brubeck composition is entitled Ansel Adams: America and it premiered last night in Stockton, California. Not far from where Adams grew up. It sounds amazing, and if you can go by Brubecks track record it definately will be.

Here is some Dave Brubeck music to carry you through your day:


And here are some of the most popular and my favorites of Ansel Adams:

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: