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Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I can't really say that when we won the competition to produce the State Department's video on America's response to climate change that we fully appreciated all that we were getting into. The project as described was to be mostly interviews and the timeline very tight (about two months to get it done).
But we presented a different approach, suggesting that going on site, hearing from real people and seeing first hand some of the public and private initiatives around the country would be very powerful. And a potent message to counter the skeptics who felt that the United States had been asleep at the wheel on this issue.
Yes, the quick turnaround and complicated subject was a challenge, but an exciting one. We sent two producers to different sites around the country to capture a glimpse of the state of the art of weatherization initiatives, solar, wind, and nuclear power, cellugesic biofuels, carbon capture and storage, the future of electric cars and hydraulic hybrid technology, smart grids, and the like. And we had to become instant experts on those and other subjects. And while all that was going on, events made the content areas a constantly shifting target. But the entire GVI staff pitched in to make it happen, and our client tells us from Copenhagen that the video has been very well received. You can check it out for yourself on Youtube.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Esquire is Augmenting Reality

Okay, so if reality isn't real and varied enough for you, Esquire Magazine has come up with a whole new way to experience their magazine. You can read it, of course. But you can use their cool new augmented reality feature to watch magazine induced videos. Just follow the link to learn all about it. And even though they're really really excited about how you can shape your Esquire user experience, of course, someone else actually conceived, shot and edited the videos. And do you really want Robert Downey yelling stuff at you? Well, maybe you do. And it is pretty cool that you can imbed one format within another (we've been doing text on a video screen forever. So why not video on a text page?) Anyway, you can check it out, or read a longer piece about it in the Advertising column at the Wall Street Journal.

Up in the Air

Ever wonder about how they shoot in all those airport and airplane scenes for TV and film? Well, instead of complicated maneuvers miles above terra firma, or wading through a mountain of redtape to shoot in an actual airport, they're actuallyworking on an airplane set at one of two companies: Air Hollywood or Aero Mock-Ups. Hollywood and documentary producers go there to shoot everything airline, from baggage screenings to cockpit dramas to crowded jet interiors. You can read all about it at the Wall Street Journal travel section. Or watch a fun video intro to what they offer at the Air Hollywood site. It gives you a whole new perspective on air travel...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Capturing the Stillness

The New York Times' Chang Lee has another breakthrough with his piece on Wonjun Park, an artist suffering with cancer at the end of his days. Chang Lee's video on the NYT Lens site is beautiful in its simplicity and moving in its silences. It sets the tone with comments by Park anticipating the ending of his life, as we see him submitting to another round of chemotherapy "My body started to leave my spirit."

Feeling numbed by Western medicines' attack on the cancer in his body, we see Park struggling to give meaning to his life through his art. Perhaps that is how he will be able to honor his spirit.

Once again in his Second Chance series, Chang Lee mixes photography and video to create an indelible portrait. But most profound are the moments of stillness and his use of photography to stop time and allow us to reflect, just as Park is reflecting on his art and life and art. They beautifully interwoven in this video haiku.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Women in Film and Video

This week WIFV DC celebrated their 30th anniversary. I was just starting out as a film editor back then and remember very well when it started. It was just a handful of women who came together to help other women in a business that was totally male dominated at the time. 30 years later it's a vital organization with over a thousand members who generate millions of dollars in projects through out the Washington Metropolitan area. It's still a great meeting place for those starting out as well as seasoned professionals. And a wonderful example of the concept, "if you build it they will come."

Friday, July 24, 2009

The New New York Times

Perhaps no other newspaper is as forward thinking about the Internet and "new media" as the New York Times. They've been running a lot of video on their website, much of which I've celebrated on this blog. But where is it all heading?

According to a WSJ article, they have been giving advertisers tours of the living room of the future. Here's how the WSJ described it:

"a small room with a brown couch, a large flat-screen TV and four smaller screens on another wall. The set-up is designed to mimic how a reader will be able to receive Times content. In a demonstration, a staffer receives a Twitter message from a friend recommending a video from Times food writer Mark Bittman. Mr. Zimbalist (VP of R&D) touched the recommendation on one screen and dragged it to the flat-screen TV, which plays the video. A recipe associated with the video then appeared on Mr. Zimbalist's iPhone with an ad for a nearby Whole Foods store."

Hard to tell where the content ends and the advertising begins. But newspapers are in dire straights and they have to find new ways of making money. That's also why they're considering charging readers for access to their online content. If they continue to improve and add to their online content it very well may work. I find there's always something interesting that catches my eye. And I'm planning to write about another NYT Chang Lee video next week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cost v. Quality

What do you do when you need to respond to outside pressures, like cutting costs for example? Something has to give, right, but the choices you make can have long range implications.

When Martin Guitar was faced with that question, they decided they could not compromise the quality of their instrument. After all, that's what their reputation was built upon, and they knew that if they reduced quality they'd find themselves on a slippery slope. After all, Martin guitars have been the first choice of music greats like Elvis, Gene Autry and Eric Clapton -- who once said if he could be reincarnated as anything, he'd want to be a Martin guitar.

So they took another approach. Quality guitars are made by hand, and Martin did not want to lay off workers during the downturn. So they decided to produce the guitars just as they always had, but without the decorative inlay pattern that added a touch of style but didn't affect how the instrument performed. They picked this option during the depression and it kept the company humming along. You can read the whole story in the WSJ.

So what's the takeaway? Cost and quality can meet in the middle. It just takes some flexibility and planning. And like Martin Guitars, keeping your eye on the big picture.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seeing is Believing

What we observe is different than what we see. Because it's all about context. Walking down the street, for example, we notice someone's face. And we immediately recognize, yes, that face belongs to another person walking down the street. But within that moment of perceiving, we also often sense or create a context. People give off clues about themselves and we respond to those clues -- here's a business person, a student, an artist, a tourist, someone who's happy, sad, whatever. If we stop to think about how we respond to what we see, then there's a lot of additional information that kind of hangs around whatever it is that we are looking at. We only have to pay attention to how our thoughts are interpreting what we are observing.

A good example of what I'm talking about can be found in Jeff Scher's short animated video, "The Parade" Here's how Jeff describes his work in The Animated Life section of the New York Times website: We can’t help it. We are fascinated by faces and bodies alike. Every face tells a story, and the story is a mystery. The clues abound and we read them instinctively in the blink of an eye. Jeff is a painter and experimental filmmaker who sometimes uses his dreamy watercolors to animate his films. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts and at NYU Tisch School of the Arts

I like his work, it's playful, mysterious and insightful. And it reminds about how context operates like a shell around content. So you could say, seeing is believing. But the opposite is true too, believing is constantly shaping what we are seeing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Little Learning Goes A Long Way

I went to Yale University this afternoon to audit an American Lit class on one of my favorite writers, J.D. Salinger and his book, Franny and Zooey. As I listened to Professor Amy Hungerford plunge into the text to find deeper meaning in the story, I thought again about Salinger's terse style and his unique way of telling a story. And the really cool thing was that I didn't have to travel, or register or anything. I just listened to her lecture online, courtesy of an educational website, Academic Earth and their web video collection. Their site lists "thousands of lectures from the world's top scholars." And it's free! Prof. Hungerford's contribution is 25 lectures on the American Novel since 1945. What a great idea, placing all that knowledge and expertise online for for anyone who has a yen for learning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Letter to Michelle McNally

(Michelle McNally oversees photography for the New York Times)

Michelle, I wanted to say how much I enjoy the photography and video on your website. I've worked professionally in the film and video world for over 35 years, primarily as a writer and editor, and think what you guys are doing is the best video work on the web, by far. I include not only the emotionally-rich work of Todd Heisler in the wonderful series One in 8 Million, but the Lens blog, the Vows series and especially the work of Chang Lee, who’s eye for the telling moment is helping him create a new style of story telling. Of course, the news pieces are great, but I would expect that. It's the wide-ranging variety of work outside of news that brings a richness and vibrancy to the site that distinguishes it from all others. And it’s exciting to see what video on the web can be, in the hands of experienced and talented people. So I just wanted to say, I’m a big fan of what you and your staff have accomplished and look forward to all the good pieces still to come.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A New Way of Seeing

New York Times staffer Chang W. Lee is a master photographer. His beautifully composed images are regularly featured in the NYT website. If you follow the link above to visit his profile site, you'll see some striking international feature pieces that will make it immediately obvious why he's won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography. But as a still photographer, he's stayed away from working with moving images until a recent profile of jazz singer Deanna Kirk -- featured on the NYT Lens site.
I found his approach to creating her video profile fascinating. In one sense, I could describe his piece as a sequence of captured moments; a collection of images, some frozen and others unfolding. Just what you might expect, you could say, from a still photographer.

But I think he's accomplished much more than that. In a sense, he's presenting what amounts to almost a new way of seeing by stripping down everything to its' essence. With his approach to storytelling, he's moved away from the traditional tools of video shooting and editing. No zooms, pans, or cutting within a scene from wide shot to closeup or medium shot or what ever. And while he certainly moves his camera around as he shoots from a wonderful variety of angles, he uses just about every image to create its' own scene. (The traditional way depicts an event from a variety of angles and edits them together to build a scene with a beginning, middle and end.)

And with an artist's eye for the telling moment, his freeze frames and video moments work together to create a sophisticated and intimate portrait of a modern woman, jazz performer and engaged mother. Through his gently-paced images, we see Deanna as she tries to recapture the career she put on hold when her son was born and embrace the music that was her first love. And we hang out with her as she shares some of her hard-won truths about being a single mother caring for her young son. And as the stream of her words wash over us, the video images fade in and out or pause to heighten the impact and suggest a deeper exploration of the thoughts, gestures and moments that make up a life. In all, an innovative and stimulating approach to telling a story. And a very creative way of showing a life in flux.

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Old guys like me will still be calling it television"

If anyone has a crystal ball about the future of television, it's John Malone. Recently, at the All Things Digital conference he was interviewed by technology guru Walter Mossberg. They talked, of course, about money and how the web and TV are merging. I think we're really at that point of convergence that everyone was talking about a few years ago. And it's the iphone and its' imitators that bring me to that conclusion. Will we all be walking around with one little device that can do what ever strikes us? Sooner rather than later. Anyway, when asked about the future of television, Malone said: "Probably in five years old guys like me will still be calling it television, but I think it will come from anywhere... it's everything, everywhere, in increasing quality, increasing quantity and lower cost. That's been the whole trend."
And as far as the money thing, he talks about why cable has done so well -- because, in the viewers mind, cable was providing content by charging for connectivity. And, Malone says, in the future, people will pay for content if it connects with quality and convenience. And who will be providing that? Meet the Aggregators. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple. And maybe Liberty Media, Malone's company, too.
Okay, that's pretty much the future of the media and video world from one man's vantage point. But one thing I certainly agree with, is that quality matters. And putting quality work on all those everywhere devices will make it stand out above everything else.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jeff Zucker on the Future of Broadcast

All Things Digital (a wonderfully informative website, if you don't know it) recently held a symposium on the future of video for broadcast and the internet. Two interviews stuck out, one with Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC Universal and the other with John Malone (which I'll take up in the next blog). As you would expect, much of the focus was on money, but then again, that's what makes the televised world go around, right? So from Zucker's point of view, what works for television these days is the big event or the big drama or comedy series. But the programming "middle" is a muddle. Too much competition from other places, including the web. And, as far as the future goes, the the big issue is revenue. Zucker was quoted some time ago as saying that the media companies are replacing analog dollars with digital pennies. (Meaning the web advertising revenue streams are a trickle compared to what used to pour into the broadcast pond. Now, he thinks with Hulu and the like, they're swimming in digital dimes and he's looking forward to the day of digital quarters. So you can see the problem. And where will all the money come for programming? There's also a longer interview on the All Things Digital Website.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Now What is it Exactly That You Do?

Unsung heroes in the film and video world, editors are the interface between ideas and action. Still, it's hard to explain what we do. Ralph Rosenblum wrote a book, years ago, "When the Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins." He worked with Woody Allen, among others and has great dramatic films on his list of credits. I liked it, and it was a great introduction to innovative thinking and the creative moment in feature film making. And a quick check at Amazon lists hundreds of books about the subject. But the feature film world always has a plot, characters and a story. The documentary editor has to find a different way to create a story. It's an elusive goal and a good documentary editor does a lot more than just put a bunch of sound and images together.
Recently a BBC editor, Bill McKenna, was named "Editor of the Year" by the White House News Photographers Association. He put together a short video, The Power of the Picture Editor, to explain what it is, exactly that he does.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to make the boring desirable

All you need is Catherine Zeta-Jones and a wonderful imagination. That's what Unilever had when they created a Hollywood style promotion called "Alchemist"for Lux Shampoo. Now, don't take this the wrong way, but how boring is shampoo? Now, I like clean hair as much as the next person, but when it comes to something as mundane as all this, you're looking at a major marketing challenge. I mean, how do you get their attention? That's why I like what Unilever's Asian arm decided to do, which was make an everyday brand adventuresome, exotic and simply wonderful. Which the filmmakers accomplished in spades with their seven-minute commercial. Who says shorter is better? And another thing about it, as the story unfolds, you are wowed and let in on the joke at the same time, which makes it all even better. Just another great example of what can be accomplished when you allow yourself to re-examine the same old, same old.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Something to Howl About

Last year a new client asked us to help them change public policy in Alaska regarding hunters who track and kill wolves from Airplanes. It is the only state in America that permits it, other places ban the practice as unsportsmanlike and barbaric. We were hired to make a video to make the case for changing the law. A great challenge, since wolves are up there with snakes and vampires as creatures of the night that terrorize and kill. So, the first thing we had to do was show the other side of wolves. They are smart, loyal, devoted to their families, and symbols of the natural world, untamed and free. We made our video and our client put it on the web. Recently they gave us this feedback:

Nearly ½ million people have seen the video

The video recruited Ashley Judd to the cause

The video has been made into 5 ads targeting Gov. Palin

Video and the ads raised the profile of the Alaska wolf campaign during the presidential elections

Coverage of the issue on:

Tina Fey on Saturday Night live twice

Bill Maher, CNN Larry King Live, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NYT, Wash Post, AP, Politico and on and on and on

And Cine just gave it their highest award, the 2009 Cine Master Series Award in the Professional Non-Telecast Non-Fiction Division. That's alot to howl about.

One in 8 Million - New York Characters in Sound and Images - The New York Times

One in 8 Million - New York Characters in Sound and Images - The New York Times

Maggie Worth, the singing waitress, is just one of One in Eight Million people who make New York the greatest city on earth. She's also one of the people captured in the NY Times website devoted to profiling the men and women who inhabit that eccentric, charming and vital place that so many call home, New York City. Here at this site they answer the question, "who am I?" in their own words. Images from a professional photographer help bring their thoughts to life. Another innovative use of the web that I find fascinating. Maybe it's the voyeur in me, but I'm curious about people, who they are, how they live, what they find worthwhile, and how the world looks from their vantage point. And here it all is, featured as an innovative way of presenting the insightful moment. Featuring real people telling their stories. And a new one added each week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

strength in numbers

It's great when a client takes the time to give you feedback about the results of your efforts. Here's what one said about a complicated PSA project we recently completed involving several days shooting and nine actors:
This afternoon I had a brief conversation regarding the PSA.
"Mr. Y" is "delighted" with our approach and commented on the likability of the actors
and how well it was written for the audience in VA. As you may already know, this is
quite an accomplishment.

What distinguished this project, for me, was how it involved so many people from our shop. One person wrote the script, another produced it, another shot it, another edited it, another did the graphics and another managed it as Creative Director. All bringing their own creative vision to the project. And all working together seamlessly as a team.

On another recent project Ali, my co-editor, and I did "tag team" editing for a series of award videos for another client. Facing an extremely tight deadline, we decided to each play to our strengths to get the job done. So I created the structure for each piece and then handed it off to Ali for finishing. Not how we usually do things, but like everyone else here, we did what we had to do to make it happen. And that's one of the great strengths here - making our collaborative model with everyone working as a team, quite powerful. Strength in numbers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Guy's Manual

Being a guy, I was delighted to learn about the Guy's Manual -- powered, as they say, by Grape Nuts. I've always wanted a manual to help me with the finer points of being a guy and now finally there's a manual is full of helpful tips, like how to take your fiancee's poodle for a morning jog, how to install your own home entertainment center, or how to cram a whole nights work into four hours because you just got playoff tickets. You get the idea. All very droll, this Guy's manual. Full of Larry Losers and Hapless Harrys who learn to do the tough stuff with the help of good old Grape Nuts, all told in funny little video vignettes.
I should warn you though, just like Doritos, you can't just do one. And there are dozens of videos out there, dealing with sports, work, family, relationships and cars, all ready to grab your funny bone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sharing our stories

The New York Times website has a great interactive feature, inviting people to share their creative energies in describing living through hard times. The project is called The New Hard Times and it features reader created videos. At the site you have Jackson Pollack's descendants reading letters and showing art work he created during the Great Depression, another reader's photo montage of images from that period set to music, interviews with people who survived that devastating era and so on. What an innovative approach to discovering what we all can bring to the table of ideas. And a great creative outlet as well.

They've even posted their own video encouraging you to submit yours.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Crystal Ball Time

Every month or so this tech mag Streaming Media shows up in my in box. Like most of that ilk, it has long articles about which codec is the best for uploading to the web and which CDN is really hot. I mean, boring. But every once in a while I find something in there that peaks my interest. The January issue had an advertisement section asking web tech CEOs to tell us what they saw for the near future. As you would expect, most said that their particular technology was poised to help us all monetize and maximize the user experience. They seem to like that kind of language, kind of an arrogantly friendly approach to selling their wares.

But a few actually had something to say. Here are some of their more interesting quotes for your consideration.

"It's an exciting time for video on the Internet. Online video has become mainstream and represents a viable alternative to traditional television viewing. Video played a larger role than ever in the recent election with millions of people using their broadband connections to watch the presidential debates. Online video will become the typical 'web experience' that users associate with the Internet, and will become just as instantaneous and real-time as web page browsing is." --Grant Kirkwood, CTO of Mzima Networks

"We believe Internet TV is poised for new, rapid growth because of the financial downturn. As enterprises, associations and government agencies scramble to cut costs the potent value proposition offered by Internet TV stands out." -- Dave Gardy, Chairman & CEO of TV Worldwide

"I'm often surprised by claims that the rise of online video represents a huge shift in consumer behavior. Looking at the videos that people watch, the actual information being consumed hasn't changed - the medium of delivery has. Instead of surfing for a funny web page, consumers are now surfing for a funny video. The truth is ... video has become the vehicle for conveying that information." -- Dan Castles, CEO Telestream

So, I think what one see's in one's crystal ball depends a lot on attitude. There has always been an ebb and flow in demand for projects in our industry. But looking at the past few years the web and other virtual venues have created a whole new area for video. So just as the typical length of projects has shortened (remember when a typical client video would be 20 to 30 minutes?) the need for different forms and approaches (like podcasts) has grown. And I believe there will always be a need for good judgment, clear thinking and creativity. For me, that's what effective communication is all about.

Doing Well and Good at the Same Time

How do you make video that gets noticed? By thinking outside the box.

As reported in the WSJ, auto maker Fiat was strapped for cash and struggling to promote their brand. So a few years ago they came up with an audacious but attention-getting concept: show their Lancia brand as helping improve society. That's right, buy this car and make the world a better place. So they made a commercial featuring their cars and human rights activists, in a spot supporting San Suu Kyi, a democracy activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize living under house arrest in Myanmar.

And, because Fiat presents it as a public service announcement, networks in nine European countries (Fiat's big market) agreed to show it free of charge.

So let's think about this for a minute. So often we think the easiest way to get from point A to point B is a straight line. But what I see is that the memorable, standout moments come from the unusual and the unexpected. It's that juxtaposition of what you assume and the surprising discovery that make work stand out. It could be a new way of thinking, a new way of describing the commonplace or using familiar images words or music in an innovate way.

Years ago I worked a Governor's re-election campaign. He was an old time pol and what's worse, he looked like one. Middle age, wide of girth, and somewhat dull. So to give him some verve and buoyancy in his commercials, I used classical music in a celebratory style, like Vivaldi.

Suddenly, he had a friendly gravitas. The exuberant music made him seem fun, accessible and active.

Just like the pseudo-somber Fiat spot makes the Lancia seem a suitable platform for democracy's heroes. And taking the approach they did garnered a lot of attention and free publicity. Doing good and doing well, right?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lessons From a Turnaround Artist

Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, has made a career out of breathing new life into arts organizations once on life support. He recently wrote a how-to book about his experiences, "The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations" and just this month started an online hotline for troubled arts groups.

I think some of the issues facing struggling arts organizations are similar to issues facing some of our clients, so I read his interview in the WSJ with great interest. Here's what caught my attention:

"When there are economic challenges, the first things that staffs and boards cut are programming and marketing, and that's the worst thing you can do. You're guaranteeing yourself you'll have less revenue next year, and that's how sick organizations get really sick." He went on, "If you start by cutting the programming, rather than everything in the back of the house, you're signing a warrant that everything will just get worse, worse, worse."

His solution is "great art well-marketed."

I think what he's focusing on makes sense, namely that programming and marketing are really the beating heart of the organization. They're what make it vital and without it, how will people see the work?

Since we often find ourselves creating programs to help our clients market ideas and information, I'd like to offer three questions to consider before launching the next video project: How can we re-purpose the work to reach a broader audience? How can we reach new arenas and viewers? How can we insure a longer shelf life for the material?

We recently completed a video to introduce an alternative energy process that could have enormous potential in our battle to protect the enviroment. But the process is complicated and not everything could be adequately covered in the short overview video we created. Knowing this upfront, our initial proposal included re-purposing the material to create short video packages for the web, each one exploring in greater depth an issue raised in the video. Not only is it a good way to do more with less, it also opens up the possibility for greater outreach as well.

This is a more effective and cost-efficient way of working. And I think the key to all this is to spend some time thinking about programming and marketing from the very beginning. Planning for it ahead of time can really pay off.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meaning What?

An article on a recent front page of the WSJ described a city's angst over a controversial Mustang sculpture by artist Luis Jimenez. Here's how the paper describes it, "The mustang rears on splayed hind legs-his nostrils flaring, his eyes glowing red, his taut body a slick, sweaty sheen of blue. Anatomically correct - eye poppingly so- the 32-toot-tall sculpture makes quite a statement..."

The article, "A Horse of a Different Color Divides Denver" goes on to describe how Jimenez's sculpture at the gateway to Denver International Airport has the town in an uproar. It's been called "mean," "terrifying," "a demon horse" and a local developer launched a campaign to remove it.

But when I read this piece, I realized immediately it was a horse of a different color. Not too long ago we created a series of artist portraits for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. One of those featured Luis Jiminez. A gentle, soft spoken man, he was proud of his Hispanic heritage and had a great love of horses and the expressive moment. His work adorns the entrance to the Museum and is featured in public places across America. I was sure his flair for dramatic expression drove his creative impulse to create what he probably saw as a proud and heroic creature and an embodiment of the adventurous Western Spirit.

Unfortunately the artist passed away last year. But his widow was quoted later in the article: "You look at the piece and you know it was built with love." She said that the stallion's neon red eyes are an homage to the artist's father who ran a neon sign studio in Texas. The keenly articulated stallion's body is a symbol of freedom, strength and the American West. And it makes her think of his beloved horse "Blackjack" that hung around just outside his studio.

Which brings me to think about how differently people can perceive the same thing. Of course, that's why art exists, to make us think, feel and experience in new ways. But it also is a lesson in how we interpret and find meaning. And how easy it is to get lost within our own assumptions and ways of seeing without testing them in the outside world.

And we encounter this often in our work as we try to translate our client's needs into a visual language to effectively communicate their vision. And help them move from their organizational world view to reach and impact a wider audience. And with almost everything ending up on the internet, it's even more essential that we all get it right. So the meaning and intent will be clear. And the message will be heard.

Monday, February 2, 2009

deja vu all over again

While most people watch the Superbowl for the game, some put their focus on the commercials. It may be the year's most expensive advertising slot and a lot of creative energy and marketing dollars were spent honing a message. And now the spots can live on another day, namely on the WSJ website. I found it inspired. They have a feature front and center on today's homepage, inviting you to rate the best and worst superbowl TV spot.

For me, this is a great example of thinking outside the box. Here's why: they could have just had an print article about the spots or they could have put up a few sample videos of what they thought were the best spots. But by putting all the spots there and inviting readers to vote, they made the whole thing interactive and fun. And they branded each viewing with a WSJ logo and music. So you're constantly reminded the spots are brought to you by the Journal. It's an innovative and creative way to make yesterday's news fresh and inviting. And of course the companies like it because people get to see their commercials again for free. So everyone wins. Which is the best result for out of the box thinking.
You can check it out at


My favorite is the Bud Light Swedish commercial featuring Conan