— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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INTERWEBS

HemingwayGun

This is an exceptional idea. Hemingway allows you to edit and verify the quality of your writing based on readability. It’s a one of those platforms that you wish you’d had for ages, as once you start using it, you can’t stop. It makes your writing exceptionally tight and clear. Which, for someone who loves using rather flowery language, is a useful and vital tool. Especially in helping writing for presentations.

(Written on Hemingway obviously…)

Access here. The desktop version is $5. Get on it.

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AdAge recently drew my attention to this project from the always innovative and provocative Mother London. At the last Internet Week Europe, Mother decided to run an experiment in digital fasting. (I don’t think I need to point out the irony of that). No Internet Week.

I watched the entire piece, and instead of being nudged into rethinking my own internet habits, it infuriated me. Not because the message isn’t important, but that it’s delivered with such a sense of superiority and snobbishness, that it undermines it’s whole point.

The experiment actually starts off well. The diverse nature of the group selected shows how pervasive and cross generational the phrase ‘digital native’ has become (especially with it’s heavy associations with Millennials). The initial days of no digital interactions are actually quite revealing.

Then the wheels fall off.

The shift this film takes is one that you increasingly see across the digital landscape. It’s the idea that somehow ‘switching off’, taking an internet break, is a badge of honor, of one-upmanship, that the Internet is a stark choice of addiction or absolution. I myself have been guilty of this, a few years ago, I posted on here a post called ‘Cabin Porn’. It’s beautiful pictures of isolated cabins, sparked a moment in me where I felt I needed to curb, or at least revel in those moments that were not dominated by the internet. In the intervening years, this idea has gone ‘overground’.  Just today, I saw a rather excellent press ad from Guinness that talks directly to the pervasiveness of phones on pub tables. Bands are increasingly asking their fans to put away their phones and iPads (shudder) when at a gig. While these push-backs are relatively embryonic, they do illustrate a culture where the personal regulation of internet usage becomes a cultural norm.

It’s easy to forget that we are not even a decade into the smart phone era. Indeed, many people online were staggered to recollect that the iPhone only came out in 2007. We are still grappling with technologies that are barely out of their teens, and in the smart phones case, not even out of the 2nd grade.

But these aren’t arguments that this experiment is interested in dealing with. The point taken is that the Internet is somehow a life-sucking, disruptive, destroyer of relationships and interactions. Instead of promoting or contextualizing what smart digital usage looks and acts like, we’re left with a typically British (and deeply Calvinist) sense of self flagellation. That when we binge, we deserve to be punished. To have our toys taken away as punishment. There is no idea of moderation. Simply of absolution.

When sensitive, smart films like ‘Her’ explore our relationships with technology in very human and thought provoking ways, the shrillness of ‘No Internet Week’ becomes even more pronounced. Maybe if it treated the Internet and their behaviors with the maturity it deserves then maybe the insights would have been a bit more useful to others, not just the participants.

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It might be just over 5 months old, and suitably brief, but there is some great thinking here about how the less salubrious parts of the internet actually hold some relevant keys to helping evolve our relationship with advertising ‘on’ the Internet.

Having spent a fair amount of time in this ‘Deep Web’ (especially around streaming sites), their methods are exceptionally effective, but in the hands of these pseudo-spammers, deeply frustrating. The classic waiting for 30 seconds to access content could be a far more entertaining and engaging experience if these same units and tricks were manipulated effectively by creatives as opposed to just spammers.

Certainly this presentation makes you think beyond the ‘traditional’ ad units that we all becoming accustomed to and creatively expired by. I’m sure the deep web has many more secrets that can be unlocked to tell more effective Brand stories.

(From Amber Horsburgh  & Julian Cole)

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This is a hugely atmospheric and smart piece of work for Honda in Japan. The idea sees them tapping into their heritage in Formula1, and of course, the most iconic driver to ever slip into one of their cars. Ayrton Senna.

In 1989, Senna set the fastest lap of all time in F1 at the Suzuka circuit in Japan. Using the original telemetry data, the sounds of that world record lap have been recreated around the track.

Shot at night, the lights track the sound at the speed the car went around the track, combining to create a hugely atmospheric piece of content. It’s both a wonderful tribute to Ayrton Senna himself, but also re-affirms the long lasting influence that Honda has had as a car and engine manufacturer. It’s a nice use of (very obvious) data sets to tell a great story. Some of the cutaways capture people in sheer delight at this experience, and I can’t say I blame them. A fantastic piece of work.

(See the making of below…)

 

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forsman_bodenfors_volvo_swedish_house_mafia

I’m an unavowed fan of Forsman & Bodenfors. While remaning resolutely Swedish in their outlook, their philosophy and output blends digital nous with creative inventiveness and a focus on craft that is hard to beat anywhere in the world. But I find their most recent piece somewhat of a missed opportunity to build a fully integrated digital and film storytelling device. As much because the potential of this idea, is the equal of one of my favorite pieces of creative in the last few years (for the same client; Volvo.) North Kingdom’s ‘Cross Country Travels’ platform.

Leave The World Behind is a collaboration between Volvo and Swedish House Mafia. While not exactly over familiar with Swedish House Mafia’s oeuvre, it’s hard to ignore their international success and place at the center of the exploding EDM movement here in the United States. The collective has now split up to pursue other opportunities (by the sounds of it, Playing MSG to a bunch of bro’s isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – who knew?) Volvo saw an opportunity to create a campaign around this moment, imbuing it with a sense of grandeur and pathos not usually afforded to DJ’s & producers. It’s a smart bit of tactical strategic thinking, placing the brand at the center of a very contemporary piece of culture.

The resultant film – ‘Leave The World Behind’ is a beautifully realized piece that sees the three protagonists go their separate ways and follow their own paths, with help from Volvo’s luxury cars; all soundtracked by a spaced out version of the title track (One of their most famous songs and their ‘breakout’.) Sweden looks suitably epic and sparse, the cinematography giving the film an epic that befits the level of success they enjoyed. It’s part ad, part film, part music video, and it’s great.

But what lets this down is the digital experience. The website (www.leavetheworldbehind.com) has some really nice design touches, and feels immersive and overall well considered, but it also feels like a vessel for video itself, nothing more. It doesn’t contextulise their (or the brands’) story in any way. The journey that the Swedish House Mafia have been on is clearly one of a scale very few performers get to these days (whatever you think of their music.) And ties them closer to the brand than mere ‘Swedishness’. Their significance could be bought to life as a storytelling experience, augmented by avalanche of multimedia that exists around them. User generated and beyond. By ignoring their past in the main interactive piece, it lessens the impact of the film, and creates a disjointed effect. It lessens the drama that the film is trying to elicit. Which itself augments a weak call to action, which seems like a classic case of just sticking a hashtag on something and loosely gathering social sentiment. Whereas it should be generating the very nostalgia that the powers the myth and memory of the band.

You may ask why this is a problem. Well, I’m sure for many, it isn’t, and I might be picking on something disproportionally (which is not my intention.) But it highlights a problem that I’ve been investigating (see tomorrow’s blogpost for more…) of just sticking things ‘on’ the internet as opposed to building things ‘with’ the internet. By avoiding building a digital storytelling experience around this (albeit) beautiful film, we are robbed of the emotional resonance that an interactive, immersive digital experience could bring to the brand and band. What we are left with is an advert that happens to exist on the web, which is a missed opportunity all concerned.

(Via Creativity. )

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I really really like what Goodby Silverstein and Wired have done here. Blending digital media, editorial creation with brand storytelling, the team have created ‘The Connective.’ A digital magazine designed and written in 48 hours. (Seemingly with A LOT of coffee and Red Bull powering it.) that helps articulate Cisco’s point of view on ‘The Internet of Everything’ and the $15.4 Trillion opportunity that implies. What’s interesting for me is how editorial content is weaved through a Cisco storytelling device. It works with something that I’ve been calling the ‘Semi Internet State’. Where our connected devices create disruptions in traditional media consumption, helping us live in a perpetual semi internet state. For brands, this means they must work with the flow of this to truly have an opportunity to connect and build equity in their message. As opposed to building bigger and noisier distractions.

This work fits exactly into the narrative of the ‘Semi Internet State.’ It is smart, timely and useful. I hope it gains some real traction and this is more than just a one off between these brands.

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Over the last six months or so, I’ve got deeper and deeper into the world of Reddit. While this may not seem the most revelatory thing to say, or indeed, undertake, I’ve been completely fascinated with it’s community powers such diverse and seemingly random subject matters into one cohesive brain and identity. While Reddit is well known for it’s adoption of memes (try r/adviceanimals for more of that). It’s also increasingly focussing it’s eye on the business of news, and how news is consumed and disseminated. It’s also started to make it’s own news with the extraordinary coup of getting President Obama to undertake a AMA session on the site.

So it’s good to see people doing cool things with the Reddit API. Such as this example (via Big Spaceship) of developer Benji Lanyado using the API to skim for the best news content coming out of Reddit at this moment. It’s a cool thing to do, dead simple, and shows how much great stuff is out there in such a vast, and somewhat daunting site.

Check out Redditedit.com 

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