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The place

Attending XOXO Festival last weekend surfaced an array of themes that referenced the world we live in. In a festival full of digital makers, interactive thinkers and technical doers, it was easy to forget about the power of the powerless. The place. 

A place doesn’t have to be architecturally complete to foster culture. 

If that’s the case, I’ll take the powerless over power please. 

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Any misfit can make a name for themselves

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When all else fails, look up. 

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How to Think Wrong

Till death do us part, innovate.

It is not farfetched to say that the misuse and overuse of this eight-letter directive has sucked the meaning out of it.  

Call me a hypocrite, but here is my version. 

Innovation is thinking about tomorrow, by using insights from today. 

Innovation is public pressure to not live in the moment. 

Innovation is stealing people’s ideas and changing them to make them better. 

Innovation is crowdsourcing answers to age-old problems and picking out the less obvious ones. 

When thinking about advertising, you don’t strive for innovation by first seeking out game-changing technologies, products and services. If you did things this way, you’d be forcing a match made in hell. In other words, you’d be reinventing products that don’t relate to your brand.

I used to do this all of the time. The comparing and contrasting drove me crazy. 

To avoid this step in the process, start with a brand and learn everything there is to know about the industry that surrounds it. 

Think outwards.

Ex: Coke should know what tomorrow’s vending machine is going to look like. 

Thinking outwards creates relevance that could potentially lead to more innovations in this field.

Innovation influences culture. 

Innovation doesn’t try hard. 

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Radical Reuse 

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Original ideas are created by original people, people who either through instinct or insight know the value of being different and recognize the common place as a dangerous place.

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Media at W+K

Last week, we had the privilege of chatting with LTA, former managing director of Tokyo and current global media director of W+K. His role here spans over 20 years so naturally he had a lot to say.

LTA’s talk covered an array of Wiedenisms and his point of view on the role of media in an independent, creatively-led shop. It was fascinating to hear the creative process involved in a traditionally non-creative role. 

At W+K, media is involved earlier than people think. Media planners are brought in at the architecture of the idea in order to influence its development and distribution.

Media planners and buyers should not only understand game-changing technologies, but also be heavily consumed in pop culture. Old Spice Muscle Music was made possible by integrating culture with platform. That combination led to the first ever fully interactive and sharable music/video player on Vimeo. You can check it out here.

Another piece of advice when developing media plans is to stay hungry and skeptical. The ideas we create should be provocative enough that people are going to pay attention. 

Provocative ideas are informed by focusing less on data and more on the architecture that builds out storytelling. Data and technology are used not as a bible but a tool, positioning media planners as part financial advisors, part idea strategists. 

Sounds good to me. 

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You can get away with just about anything, as long as you are not boring.

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Google’s homepage design: less more is more.

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When was the last time you did something for the first time?

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New Age E-Commerce through the Eyes of Google 

It is to no surprise that the biggest search engine in the world would break its own rules to benefit from E-commerce marketing. I noticed the other day two changes on Google’s advertising offerings. The first stemmed from Google’s insight that people are in the mindset to purchase things when searching on Google Images. For the first time in Google history, Ads are not going to be placed in what used to be considered “prime advertising space” (on the top and side of the webpage). Instead, these ads will be the first two images in your image search. The beauty of the ad space is that they work more like instant check out than traditional online advertising. People who are searching for an item on Google Images are presented with sponsored images with price tags that will lead them directly to the website’s online check out system. 

This goes hand in hand with Google’s recent advertising that boasts the credibility of their ad platform. If companies sponsor more Images, does the Google image user experience change for the worse? If I searched computer, would I be presented with competitor brands fighting for prime image space? Google images is used for many thing different things and one is to download and save images. If that is no longer a feature on the first page because of ads, Google’s user-experience is tarnished and may  no longer be regarded as a reliable image browser source. 

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Sabine Ducasse, a Shanghai-based designer used digital art as an inspiration for her 2012 collection. Each piece is brought to life by ironing Perler beads until they stick together. 

I love when technology can be re-imagined to create something new. When that something is less technical and more visually stunning than the technology it originated from, we’ve re-imagined well. 

Looking forward to seeing some more Ducasse in the future. 

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That’s what we’re going to be working on over the next few years. We’re going to change the look the sound the feel of the scene. That’s what we do. We’re scene makers.

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The Work Comes First

When working with creatives at arguably one of the most creative agencies in the world, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep the work in the best interest of the client and the agency. 

Often, you’ll hear at Wieden from time to time the work comes first. This simple phrase is the bread and butter that keeps this place alive. It is what allows us to create campaigns that challenge a client’s business objective, but manages to exceed expectations at the same time. 

In order to maintain such an ironic ideal, the non-creatives in the building have to continuously fuel their team’s creative steam. Here’s how you do it: 

1. Subtly try to make the creative’s ideas better 

2. Always make your team know that you are working and thinking in their best interest.

3. Don’t ever make it seem like you’re out to kill or change an idea, unless the change truly makes the idea stronger. 

If you do all of these things along with some magic of your own, your team will know they couldn’t have done it without you and they won’t want to do it without you next time.

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Sometimes, a new perspective is all it takes.