Milan Design Week is traditionally full of interesting and fascinating collaboration’s and experiments. My own experience of this was back in 2002. While still at Central Saint Martins, I got to experience ‘Grand Hotel Salone’, a hotel concept pairing famous architects’ with cities to re-imagine the future of the hotel experience. It was pretty full on; a lavish affair all round.

In 2013, as with everywhere else, digital creativity and innovation is at the heart of some of the experiments that help fuel the fair. Heineken, while not noted as a designer of furniture, launched a rather fascinating interactive concept for the future of the humble bottle.

In collaboration with Tribal DDB, they have launched ‘Ignite’. While not world’s first interactive bottle, (See Work Club x Strongbow’s RFID controlled bottle) Heineken’s version uses micro sensors and wireless networking technology to sense motion and lights up in response to sound and vision accordingly, or cued to respond to specific songs, or visual stimuli.

There’s a few things that pique my interest around this project. Firstly, I love the insights behind Ignite. How it takes possibly the most mundane experience of being in a bar or club, the (holding of) a bottle of beer and imbues it with energy and life that is in perfect sync with the club. It has the potential to turn the dormant bottle strewn in the corners of clubs into equally compelling spaces to interact with the music. It’s smart from Heineken’s perspective as if it works, the value of having the brand in your club rises exponentially.

I love how it stays true to one of the most relevant ideas knocking around the marketing-sphere at the moment. I’ve been particularly taken with a line that Russell Davies of the GDS (That’s Government Digital Service to you non-Brits) used when describing how the collective team arrived at some of their decisions for gov.uk (the recent UK ‘Design Of The Year’)

“The product is the service is the marketing”

The holistic relationship between these elements has not been summed up better IMHO. It’s so blazingly obvious, yet frustratingly and frequently elusive. It’s a line that opens up ample opportunities for new thinking around creating valuable experiences for Brands. It puts the infinite bandwidth of digital creativity right at it’s center. While I’m sure the mobile and innovation units at Tribal DDB (there’s a great blogpost on their process here) did not necessarily have this line in mind when they were concepting the idea, it’s sentiment lies at the heart of what makes this a great project. Yes, it’s an experiment, and an expensive one at that. But  you would like to think that even if just a sliver of of Heineken’s marketing budget was directed away from fatous endeavours like this (sorry W+K AMS) to developing and rolling out this idea en masse then many more people would be compelled to ‘Open Your World’ than currently do.

It’s worth thinking about.

(P.S. Let’s not talk about the awful Brostep soundtrack in the video above…)

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In my return blogpost yesterday, I talked about the sort of projects that I wanted to cover. The one’s that fell through the cracks. With so much stuff constantly being pumped out onto social networks, it’s so easy to lose things that actually are quite relevant or interesting both for their successes and their failures. Especially if the ‘hive mind’ might have missed it.

I came across one of those examples last week. It made Adweek’s ‘Ad of The Day’ but other than that just seemed to drift into the void. Which is strange when you consider who was involved, but less so when you actually examine what this piece of work is meant to do.

Hudson Rouge, the WPP bespoke unit for Lincoln Motor Cars, teamed up with Beck and Radical Media’s Chris Milk (He of the Chrome Experiment’s fame,) to create an interactive ‘In the round’ performance of David Bowie’s (seemingly everywhere these days…) 1977 hit  ‘Sound & Vision’. At HelloAgain,  the user can switch between various cameras of the performance, including distorting them to create striking kaleidoscopic visual treats. Combined with a distinctive use of sound (Sound and Vision geddit?) that enhances the interactive experience no end, you would think this would be an absolute winner from the get go.

But, somehow, it just doesn’t all come together. Certainly as an Interactive piece, it’s just too clunky, with far too many moving parts, even though it was clearly a huge technical challenge. (Read this article over at Wired for the full run-down.) Then there’s the role of Lincoln the brand. Apart from the fact that someone has been spending too much time on fffound (check the ‘Hello Again’ pseudo Hipster Branding,) Lincoln feels exceptionally removed from the overall story they are trying to tell. Which means this just becomes a very expensive badging exercise. A great idea drowned in it’s sense of self importance. Which is a shame as the combination of art and technology on display here should really ramp up to something more.

However, judge for yourself… Becks version of Sound And Vision is rather stunning if nothing else.

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It’s been a long while since I last blogged. After 4 years of almost constant blogging, with a few glitches in between, I just stopped. New job, a new life in the USA saw me take my eye off the ball. It happens.

Close to 6 months later, I find myself at the heart of a great digital agency, in a city teeming with digital talent and digital stories to tell and a country that spits out more of these innovations and inspirations than any other.

I was ‘on the fence’ on a renewing this relationship. (As that’s what it feels like). Going back to the Society of the Spectacle is more than just starting to write again. It’s (a soon to be) redesigned site, that reflects something new and intriguing, it’s also a thematic refocus.

A couple of events helped push me back onto the art of blogging. One was an email from a friend, out of the blue, short and sweet, that professed how much she enjoyed the blog. Nothing more, just a word of respect and encouragement. Last Saturday, someone else enquired where the blog had gone. How he had used the blog as a resource for himself, and shared the stuff I had written about with fellow colleagues. In short, what I blogged about had relevance and value to people.

Most of the time, blogging can feel like a selfish act – an isolated place. I never expected my blog to be anything other than a small slice of the creative and strategic world, a bit of a messy hybrid, hopefully getting some clicks and hopefully building a core little fanbase that used it. The Society of the Spectacle was no BBH Labs. But, something about blogging is still hugely therapeutic and cognitive. It allows both long form arguments and little slices of creativity to nestle side by side with each other and have helped shape my own thinking.

Turns out it was more than I anticipated. It was helping to serve people with ideas and thoughts that might have slipped through the cracks. The nature of social sharing these days means we can always see the biggest creative ideas around, but sometimes we miss the these ideas and projects that push and fuel the boundaries of creativity, technology and beyond. It’s the little hacks, the people playing about with things, that are fueling some of the most inspiring work around. If the blog helped formulate my own thinking on digital creativity and culture, I didn’t realize it helped others too, so maybe there is still a small space for something like the Society Of The Spectacle.

So here’s what this blog will be from now on: This is a blog that helps articulate how and where the internet is changing creativity and culture. Showcasing the things built by and for the internet. Not just the creative that goes on it. This as digital practitioners is now our biggest challenge, to help frame this understanding.

The Society of the Spectacle, is named after Guy Debord’s manifesto for the Situationists. Debord’s arguments centered on ‘detourment’. The involvement of “using spectacular images and language to disrupt the flow of the spectacle”. I’ve always felt that detourment is the Internet’s go to truth (just in less pretentious forms); it is the ultimate disruptor of our times. It lives by constant evolution and revolution. Our business (Advertising) is fundamentally changing as a result of it. These detourment lies at the heart of what I want to uncover and put out there for people to see and understand.

It’s time to live again by this mantra from the 1968 Paris Student Riots:

‘Under the paving stones, the beach’.


Thanks for joining me on this new trip.


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We are a world, saturated in photos. Social platforms have given more opportunities to log our lives than ever before, the Hubble Telescope takes photos of planets and systems billions of kilometers away, the Mars Rover gives us close up details of Mars like it’s a Flickr photo. And of course, where would be without Instagram and it’s billions and billions of photos of people taking photos of food. So when project come along such as One Momento, dealing in scarcity rather then abundance, it’s always worth further investigation.

So what is it? Well it’s an iPhone App that doubles as an Art/Experience/Photographic project. Coming from the excellent minds of RehabStudio, it asks the photographer  to commit to the project. This can either be a shot you’ve already taken, or one that you might want to capture in the future. It doesn’t demand attention, but sits there as a space where you can pick ‘the one’.  The overtones from the hugely successful ‘Beauty Of A Second’ Project from Wim Wenders & Montblanc last year are I’m sure deliberate. What I like about it more, is the power you can imbue with just that one shot, that captures a second of time. The project forces you to take consider both longevity and story. As with the greatest photographs ever taken, there is the moment that it is documenting, the story it is conveying, and the impact that it’s release has within a wider culture. Now, I’m not arguing that One Memento will capture anything as graphic Robert Capa, or chilling as Don McCullin, but it does force the photographer with One Memento in their hands to consider what they want to say with their one shot, more than any technical manipulation. Collated alongside the 250,000 other participants, it will be fascinating to see who and what people commit to film. Hopefully it should mean alot less flowers and food pics… Petapixel has a good round-up of how to use the app here.  

(I’m Memento 2839 BTW).

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If you ever ventured down to Portobello Road on a Friday or indeed, a Saturday, for many years you would have (hopefully) stumbled upon the world of The Vintage Showroom. A stall that was truly ahead of it’s time in the whole mens vintage game. It’s influence, and sharp eye for authentic pieces, has been instrumental in bringing to life a whole world of highly authentic Americana. The sort of stuff that dominates Tumblr blogs from New York to Tokyo and back again.

The Vintage Showroom is now fully established in Covent Garden, (with their first book hurtling into stores soon). Over on (my new favourite site) PORT Magazine. The boys behind the Showroom, Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett gives us a peek behind their vast collection and give us some of their opinions about where mens fashion is going. But what I love about this video more than it’s crystal ball predictions on fashion, is the passion and clarity the guys bring to their craft. It’s a simple message to keep at the back of our minds as creatives. Be focussed, be passionate, and always be authentic.

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A smart and unsettling art project here from Paolo Cirio; a New York based digital artist. He prints and pastes the ‘ghost’ images of people captured in Google Street View, in the exact places they were online. Very much a comment about how Google handles (or mis-handles) data such as this, it’s an unsettling, but also important project. One that fits neatly into the other street-view art projects that have sprung up around the platform. With the whole Apple Maps debacle bringing accuracy of data to the fore, it’s an interesting time to bring a project that highlights the consequence of that accuracy to the fore

Full slideshow of the project can be found HERE.

(Original post inspiration over at Rubbishcorp®)

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A hypnotic piece of work to start your working week. This collaboration between Mother, PORT Magazine & the Director Anthony Austin is a visually stunning and emotionally engaging ode to The Fitzroy Lodge. One of London’s oldest, and most beloved Boxing Clubs, situated on the Lambeth Road in South London. Centered around the story of Mick Carney MBE, the founder of the club, (who died last year), we see and hear what Boxing means to both young and old at the Lodge. Their melancholic, emotionally powerful words are matched perfectly with an atmospheric art direction, each element perfectly surmising why places such as The Fitzroy Lodge are such crucial and vital sanctuaries for generations of people. This dedication and humbleness is more often than not over-shadowed by the glitz of big time boxing, but here, soundtracked by a perfectly selected piece from Alexandre Desplat, we are treated to a look inside the other, more noble side of the art.

(Via It’s Nice That)

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