It’s Green To Be Square

I love design. I love packaging. I love Earth. So when I see something cool that intertwines all three of those tenets, I have to pass along. Maybe there’s a little guilt involved here too as I just noticed how long it has been since I last blogged 🙂


Ever wonder why soda bottles/cans are round? I had thought it was primarily because of vending machines and the need for the bottles to roll. However, it turns out the main reason for a round shaped bottle has little to do with rolling, and more to do with the physics of pressurization.

“The cylindrical shape of soda cans is not for hand comfort. The sides of a rectangular container of carbonated soda would either bulge out or have to be made too strong and stiff to be cost-effective. The cylindrical shape resists bulging with much less material.

Soda cans and bottles are marvels of engineering. Over time, they have managed to use less and less raw material to make each one while still being able to contain a pressurized beverage without bulging or rupturing. If you think about a cylinder, the top and the bottom are both flat, and not as efficient at resisting bulging as the cylindrical part. Now you can understand why soda cans all taper a bit at the top (a smaller flat area resists bulging better than a large flat area) and why the bottoms are built bulging inwards (takes much less force to bulge a flat area outward than it takes to turn an inward bulge into and outward bulge).” via RID

However, plastic technology has come a long way since the industry-wide design choice to go round was made decades ago. Andrew Kim, a design student from the College for Creative Studies has released a set of images from his mid-term design project that takes dead aim at revolutionizing the soda bottle. Simple, ambitious, brilliant and very square.

I love it.






Entrepreneurs can change the world

dailypixel has been a happy customer for years. So when I heard a few months back that the company had bought a generic domain name and a re-branding announcement was on the way, needless to say I was intrigued. Sure enough in mid-April we received a letter from the founder/CEO announcing their new name, It was a brilliant move to say the least. However, having a kickass brand name / location is half the battle, it’s what you do with it (ie, your messaging) that makes it a home run. After watching this viral video, I’d say the Grasshopper team deserves some serious high-fives!

Is T-Mobile’s viral campaign a shining example of social media? Or is it a rip-off? Or both?

Is T-Mobile’s viral campaign a shining example of social media? Or is it a rip-off? Or both? I think these are fair questions in the wake of T-Mobile’s recently released commercial which features a crowd of 13,500 people singing the Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ in unison with celebrity vocalist Pink leading the way.

On the one hand, it really is an impressive commercial spot in terms of scale. They used over 2000 microphones and 40+ cameras to capture the event in a public venue. T-Mobile successfully used social media tools like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to bring awareness to the event, which is a genuine social media victory given the large turnout. The end result is a polished commercial concept that is successfully going viral on the internet and getting much attention from the frontlines of the social media crowd. But is this really what social media is all about? Is this what we should be pointing to when companies want examples of social media / viral marketing done right? I’m not so sure. If there is any social media brilliance in the T-Mobile ‘Hey Jude’ campaign it is in their use of social media to organize the large public gathering. But that is pretty much where the ‘social media’ aspect of this ends, and where the rip-off begins. This ‘sing-along’ concept was pioneered 30+ years ago by Coca-Cola. Do you remember that 1971 commercial? If you are 30+ years of age, I bet you do.

What makes the Coca-Cola spot so much more impressive than T-Mobile’s latest campaign is in the originality of the concept. Coca-Cola didn’t borrow a song from a world-famous band, nor did they hire a highly-paid celebrity to drive engagement and traction. Coca-Cola produced their own song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’ which was so original, catchy and effective that after the commerical aired it was re-produced into a stand-alone full-length single that reached #7 on the charts in the United States, #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. The best illustration of how vital the components of ‘originality and creativity’ are when measuring marketing success is evidenced by this live video…

That’s 10,000 people at an American Idol audition in Atlanta (2007) singing Coca-Cola’s song over 35 years after the commercial aired for the first time, and even more impressive is that the primary demographic attending that event were likely not even born when the original commercial was made. How much is that worth to Coca-Cola? Priceless. In my view, the best examples of any form of marketing, especially social media marketing, needs to have an element of originality to it. If you simply copy, borrow or outright steal concepts, you will never hit the same mark as the original, and more importantly, you will potentially lose the biggest benefit of social media marketing – timelessness.

Due to the saturation of brand messages in the marketplace, advertisers today should be trying to push the boundaries of aesthetics and originality more than they ever have. That is precisely what made something like the Eepy Bird – Diet Coke + Mentos viral videos such an incredible albeit accidental boon for Diet Coke and Mentos, or the Subservient Chicken campaign for Burger King. They were completely original concepts that will endure for decades. I’m quite certain if and when a large public gathering in the future spontaneously starts singing ‘Hey Jude’, it will have little to do with T-Mobile, and everything to do with a band called The Beatles.

Mac’s display ad campaign


Just stumbled across some of the new online display ads for the Mac vs. PC Guy campaign on They talk to each other from different ad placements on the same page. Very well done. I wonder what Seinfeld has up his sleeve for the folks in Redmond?I was talking to an ad exec recently who mentioned that the agency behind the upcoming Microsoft/Seinfeld campaign Crispin Porter + Bogusky almost exclusively use Macs in their office. When an agency lands a big client they usually begin using their products religiously, but apparently the folks at Crispin Porter + Bogusky have no intention of switching to PCs until they can convince themselves through their own marketing efforts that they should. Think they’ll switch to PC? Me neither.

McDonald’s attempting brand makeover


McDonald’s is really going for the gusto in an effort to shift their brand image. This billboard which ran near Chicago is an interesting concept. It literally grew into an ad. Check out the time-lapse ‘making of’ video.

In the United Kingdom, McDonald’s has just launched a $10M campaign to project an image of freshness, family and local food sourcing. Here’s the UK 60-second spot done by Leo Burnett called ‘Planting’ as part of this new campaign.  

Can McDonald’s successfully morph their brand into a cozier, healthier, fresher new image? I don’t know, but this approach, if genuine, can only help…

“We have grown in confidence and we have to be visible and transparent about who we are and what we do,” she said. “Part of that is putting our head above the parapet, and I would be surprised if someone didn’t say something [negative].”

Jill McDonald, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s northern Europe

In association with the campaign they also flexed some social media marketing muscles. An example of this would be their hiring of Vox Pops to hit the streets and get some reaction to their new campaign spot from the public.

image adrants

Apple’s marketing and Vista’s woes driving converts to Mac

Apple’s nifty, tongue-in-cheek ads and Microsoft Vista’s inability to resonate with consumers is proving to be a potent combination that is successfully converting Windows consumers to the Mac platform. While Vista has been a big albatross around Microsoft’s neck, according to Advertising Age, the effectiveness of Apple’s marketing should not be underestimated.

But then last year his friends started buying iPhones and making the switch — “guys like me, who didn’t really care for Macs.” And when the latest Windows operating system, Vista, came out, “It didn’t do anything for me,” Mr. Alison said. “The very initial version was really a mess.” So he went to an Apple store. The clean, simple and friendly experience convinced him it was time to consider a Mac, and now, six months after his first MacBook purchase, he has added a desktop Mac Pro and another MacBook Pro. (You can read more about his experience on his blog, Mr. Alison’s experience is not unusual. Blog after blog chronicles the move from Windows to Mac operating systems — and more than a few were precipitated by Microsoft’s now one-and-a-half-year-old Vista. And with the final door having closed on XP on June 30 — Microsoft is no longer allowing manufacturers to sell new computers pre-loaded with XP — it’s possible user frustration could translate to even more sales for Mac.

“Apple has told a good story, created good products and created a good [retail] experience for people to buy Macs,” said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. However, he added, “The whole Vista launch was such a debacle, and that has helped Apple.” The launch “debacle” he’s referring to is the January 2007 debut of Vista, which was not only delayed by more than six months, but also was “buggy,” with compatibility problems and uneven quality noted in many early reviewers’ and users’ opinions. And the estimated $500 million spent on the launch seemed only to draw a bull’s-eye around the operating system. Indeed, half of the eight “Get a Mac” ads Apple and its agency TBWA created so far this year mention Vista. And the latest, “Sad Song,” has the PC guy singing “The Vista Blues” about how Vista is causing people to leave him for Mac.

Read full article: AdAge: More Consumers Make the Switch to Macs On a totally separate note, but still Apple-related, check out this interesting music video that was done completely and literally, on a Mac.

Tastes great, more filling – Miller ‘gets’ blogging

Miller Brewing Company started blogging in July 2007 on a blog called ‘Brew Blog’. My first reaction when I read about this was ‘just another corporate blog’. 95% of the time, I’d probably be right in that assumption. But in this case, Miller did something different and I believe we are going to be seeing more and more companies follow their lead. Instead of blogging about all things Miller, they started a beer industry blog that covers everything, including their competitors and their products. And if you think they just slam their competition all day, think again. Their coverage is industry-wide and their reportage tone comes across as unbiased, and if there is bias, at least you know where it is coming from.

Brew Blog is the brainchild of Paul Pendergrass and Pete Marino, communications consultants for Miller who wanted the brewer to have more influence over what’s covered in the industry. In 2006, they recruited Mr. Arndorfer from Advertising Age and told him to cover the sector like a beat reporter would.

Miller has now become a publisher and they are filling up their industry niche with meaningful content. Miller is using the blog platform to enhance brand awareness in a much more powerful way than just an extension of their PR messaging. Cheers to Miller for thinking outside the corporate blog box. And hey, if you really get good at being a publisher, your competition will come to you…

The blog has enough influence that a staffer at a PR agency for Anheuser pitched a story to Mr. Arndorfer (Brew Blog) about Budweiser’s Superbowl ads. A representative for Tecate, a Mexican beer, inquired about running an ad on the site.

via WSJ

Without a brand, you’ve got nothing

How important is it to build a brand? I’d argue, without a brand, you’ve got nothing. Interbrand’s most recent report shows that Google is the most improved brand over the past year, up 44%. I’m willing to bet that some of the brand juice they have working for them is a direct result of their acquisition of YouTube. Consciously or sub-consciously, YouTube has helped mature and morph Google’s brand into more of an all-purpose media brand.

Google still has a long ways to go before it can rival the leading global brands ie, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE etc. Mind you, those brands have been festering in the marketplace much, much longer than Google.