A really cute idea from Acne Production to drum up awareness of the new webstore Swedish Hardware chain Clas Ohlson. They destroyed the old website, and turned it into a game. Users could saw, drill or hammer away at the old site, and gain points and badges for the proficiency. A cute idea that shows even the most mundane of activities can be turned into something fun and engaging.

(Via my Swedish ICOM friends Smorgasbloggers)

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Richard, July 2006. Amazingly, this is London Fields.

Dazed Digital have quietly launched a little online experiment in collective memory. One that is actually close to my heart, as it seeks to immortalize (or memorialize?) East London from 1997 – 2012. The Secret History of East London, from it’s about section, is as much a response to the Olympics and the changes they have imposed on East London as much as looking back at the rapid evolution of a district, that in 15 years, Shoreditch, and then wider East London lodged itself firmly into the cultural conciousness of the city, and the world.

It also serves as somewhat of a pause. A moment to reflect (certainly for me) on a district lived, loved and loathed in equal measure. I vividly recall my first visit to Shoreditch in early 1999. The bars, such as Dragon and Showrooms were just springing up, the Blue Note had passed, the 333 was an essential stop. The area felt new, dangerous, and alive. I’ve still got (almost) all the Shoreditch Twat fanzine’s from that time. (They are still funny BTW). St Martin’s days were inevitably followed by a blur of nights and days in the east-end playground. The move eastward to Hackney started full time in 2005. Shoreditch inexorably became it’s current Essex horrorshow, (punctuated by mini revivals of interest with nights such as Boombox). Then London Fields become a cramped and cliched caricature, full to bursting. And now most recently, Dalston go from no go zone to must be seen zone in under 2 years. The Secret History of East London is an apt title, as it does feel like there is nothing ‘secret’ left in East London. Different venues and experiences get assimilated in record time. (See the breakneck speed of Chatsworth Road’s emergence as an example). The thrill of discovery and pioneering in East London has been blunted. It’s finally just another part of town.

So an online exercise like this has the potential to be a strong nostalgic moment. The guys and girls who were 20/21 tearing up the east side of town back when the Libertines were rolling out of the Albion Rooms, are now 30+ and moving up, and in some cases, moving on. Whether settling into an urban (whitewashed) suburbias of Islington, DeBeauvior, Clapton or Stokey, or jetting off to find their fame and fortune. There is (and should) be movement afoot. East London has rightfully established itself as the playground for the young, the carefree and more often than not, the skint. When we were all at St Martin’s it felt right to be there. Safe in the knowledge that it would be that stepping stone. So, when you want to go and earn the big bucks and the power (whether it be in Advertising, Fashion or wherever else) you head to Paris, Milan, Tokyo or my own personal exit strategy – New York City.

But East London has matured, it’s not that stepping stone. It’s a home. A place to settle, and bring up kids. In fact, it’s more of a playground for those (like me) who want to (and can) have their cake and eat it. They can still be plugged into the hipster urban middle class consciousness, but also afford the trappings of expensive meals, and fine wines. The very people who dulled the East London experience, are the ones who made it fun and interesting the first time around. Dazed’s online mausoleum shows shows off the best of East London as it found it’s feet, and some of these moments highlight the best of what made(?) the area so special. But doesn’t answer the question of what’s next. That’s probably half the fun.

So as the warehouses raves fall away to memory,  (I *vividly* remember the Output Records 2005 warehouse party) and are replaced by the gastropub’s and the handmade boutiques, this digital wake for East London is a reminder of all the best things about this contradictory part of town. Dazed might be right, it might not have a future full of innovation, and certainly I might not love London much anymore, but I’ll always have East.

Check the map here.

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This app from the visual artist Rainer Kohlberger looks very interesting. It turns your photos into abstract arrangements using a variety of patterns and shapes. There are 9 different combinations available, as well as cute bit of UI when you shake the iPad, it generates a random selection of patterns and shapes. The UX overall is really nicely done too. Bold and clean. For 69p, it’s probably worth the cash. Download here.

(Via The Creators Project)

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Mid-way through 2011, the formation of PARTY was announced. The brainchild of some of Japan’s and New York’s most interesting Interactive Creative Directors, including Masashi Kawamura, (he of SOUR fame), as well as creative from W+K Tokyo, BBH and beyond, it caused quite a stir. (Their inception is covered in far more detail here on Creativity).

With this sort of firepower, their first projects were eagerly awaited. They have not disappointed. I originally had a whole post set up just on the Toyota ‘Fastest Painted Website’ concept, but having seen the newest work for Japanese band Androp; it seems only right to bundle this creativity in one easily digestible morsel.

PARTY is developing quite the folio of work. Blending mystery with storytelling, with online and offline experiences, a commitment to pushing the technology, mashing together business models and shot through with humanity and charm. Their new work for Androp expands on all these themes. “World.Words.Lights.You” is music video/advert, and potential merchandising behemoth. With the cutest robots this side of the Little PrinterThese cute robot types have a dual role. To bring a smile to your face, and a crisp note out of your wallet, as the sale of these robots (on eBay) is what constitutes the revenue stream for the agency. (Note the lack of the word ‘fee’ there). Shifting their model as they go is both smart (I can’t imagine many creatives who wouldn’t want one of those toys), as well as typical of what you would expect from guys as smart and forward thinking as this lot.

All in all, just another reason to follow PARTY closely.

The obligatory ‘making of’ film.

(P.S. This isn’t the first time that PARTY and Androp have collaborated. See ‘Bell’ for further details…)

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Mid way through last year, I worked on some ideas for a new campaign for Lynx (Axe to all those not of UK extraction). The ad script ‘Anarchy’ that I read at the time immediately stood out as one of the most interesting and exciting that the brand had attempted in a while. Full of the verve, wit and fun that AXE is (in)famous for. (To be fair, it’s also quite a neat concept from AXE too).

So it’s great to see that the commercial (even in it’s trailer form) seems to have managed to translate so well from script to film. However, what makes AXE campaigns so much fun to work on is usually the stuff that goes on around the initial ad concept. This proves yet again to be the case with this digital idea from BBH New York. Another example of digital platforms bleeding into traditional media disciplines, and creating something fun and innovative with it.

The AXE Anarchy Graphic Novel mashes together ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style narrative with participation from AXE fans around the world. Add them together and you end up with a ‘real time’ comic (all illustrated in the Marvel/DC Comic Book tradition) that incorporates the users whose suggestions won out. It should make for an interesting story, and would be interesting to see where this is taken, surely a printed version, or development of the characters further would be a great way to continue to build on the assets already established.

It’s a novel combination that, from the looks of the promo video, has been executed with flair and passion. (The AXE site from the brief glimpses you can see looks well done too. The YouTube channel is here).  With the full release of the commercial coming up, and add in some ideas I worked on (natch), it’s looking to be a strong start to the year from one the world’s consistently strong advertisers.

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One of the most consistently inspiring companies out there is the guys from Northern Sweden, North Kingdom. There year has been punctuated by many excellent projects. From Volvo Cross Country Travels (Which I blogged about last month), to the extensively chronicled ‘Three Dreams Of Black’ project with Google Creative Labs.

That last project provides one the examples in this presentation from Alfredo Aponte. Entitled ‘Enhancing Experiences with Animation’), it shows how animation (not in it’s Pixar/Dreamworks configuration) is one of the most essential elements to any genuinely successful product, project or campaign. The metaphors he draws upon to describe great UX are smart and help demystify and clarify in equal measure. So this presentation works well as both an introduction to the subject and and clear opinion piece for those with a keen interest  in the discipline. Well worth a read.


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An interesting experiment here from Playstation Store. To promote the website and concept of ‘Great Films Fill Rooms‘, Studio Output and Marshmallow Laser Factory have created 3 virals. The trick is that all of these spots are created in real time. The contrast of human interaction (with the strange mimes directing props in varied directions) and the admittedly impressive digital visuals is at times pretty jarring. You could make an argument that a concept like this removes the ‘magic’ of creating ads like this, (see Brylcreem ad from a few years back), but, the visuals themselves, and the general spirit of the executions helps it win out.

Here’s the other two. Transformers and Pirates Of The Caribbean.

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