28 Dec 2006

to-be-ignored ego moment

today's my birthday. and that's the first card i received.

21 Dec 2006

the unseen video

Found the unseen video on Fallon’s Blog some time ago, and considered it to be a brilliant idea, and today i was also reading Leland's post The Rise of Branded Software? over at Whistle Through Your Comb starting from the site's idea.

"The Unseen Video is much more than a normal, static music video. It is a video that is affected by the weather and local time from the position of the viewer.
We want to create new synergies between the music, the video and the surroundings of the viewer. Every little change in your environment ensures that you will never see the same video twice. The look of the video might slightly change within an hour, but will have a whole new character in a few months."

18 Dec 2006

false-memory effects of advertising

Collision Detection is a very interesting blog written by Clive Thompson, who collects weird and interesting pieces of research of all sorts. Such a research was developed by Ann Schlosser, a business professor at the University of Washington, and will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The study proves that interactive websites can produce false memories, the result being people who think that a certain product has features/can do things which are actually "false". These results came out of a simple experiment: Schlosser had two groups of people check out two websites devoted to the same digital camera, one static, the other interactive; and then, she further tested their ability to recall details about the camera. It turned out that people in the group who had played with the interactive site were far more likely to "remember" certain details which were false, but plausible enough to have been true.

The reason why Schlosser believes this happens is partly because interactivity encourages more "certainty" in our memories, and thus increases the likelihood that we'll believe suggestively false details to be true. The conclusion is that "These findings suggest that marketing managers should test their campaigns for both true and false memories. Although it may seem advantageous for consumers to believe that a product has features that it actually does not have (e.g., by increasing store visits and purchases), it may ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction. Because false memories reflect source-monitoring errors—or believing that absent attributes were actually presented in the marketing campaign—consumers who discover that the product does not have these attributes will likely feel misled by the company."

17 Dec 2006

50 Lost Movie Classics

The Observer had this cool initiative of asking a panel of critics and filmmakers to make a list of "neglected masterpieces that have moved, inspired and disturbed us but somehow missed the commercial boat." The result is here, and tops Salt of the Earth, Petulia and The State Of Things.

15 Dec 2006

holy grails

Wardomatic has this excellent post about the "holy grail of animation": "The other day, Brandon, our resident "Technology Specialist" here at Primal Screen, came up to me and asked, "Ward, what do animators consider as 'The Holy Grail' of animation?" He asked me this because he was considering flying to New York to see an extremely rare screening what many cinemaphiles consider as "The Holy Grail" of cinema: Out 1, a 13 hour long 1971 film directed by French New Wave director Jacques Rivette. There is only one English subtitled print of the film, and that one print will be screened at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NYC this weekend.".
It's very interesting to find out what various people who are extremely passionate about one thing or another have been looking for for ages with no result. I remember i first thought about this when i was 8 or 9, i was in primary school and we were simply crazy about collecting Action Man stickers to fill in a catalogue that would have brought us a toy in exchange. We ate loads of Action Man chewing gum at first, after which we kept on buying the shit without further eating it. Because while most of us had filled in almost the entire catalogue, there was one sticker we simply couldn't get hold of. It was "the jeep". We even started asking ourselves whether there was any jeep sticker anyway, but without actually abandoning the race. Nobody in my school at the time ever found a jeep sticker, but, boy, how much we've tried!!
Then, I remember when i first started being so crazy about old movies: i had tons of holy grails and some of them simply seemed unreacheable - the www wasn't what it is today, downloads were not what they are today (and i didn't know much about either anyway), you couldn't find anything on the market, i did not have too many connections, oh well. And, even today, i still have plenty of movie-holy-grails.
I think there's something really wonderful in these quests - and it's not only interesting to find out about what holy grails of passionates/fans/collectors are in various fields, but it's also extremely interesting to look at the process they go through in order to try and get hold of them. Especially since this process usually brings out a certain interesting side of a person.
In the mean time, here are three shorts from two of my favourite directors: Six Figures Getting Sick and The Alphabet are David Lynch's firsts (and the soundtrack from "The Alphabet" stiil hounds me every once in a while), while Vincent is Tim Burton's first.

14 Dec 2006

holiday cheer

i have just realised that i haven't been talking about anything related to planning and brands on this blog for like ages. must add some posts really soon.
In the mean time, it's time for some holiday cheer, which i dedicate to Bogdana, since she bought presents for everybody except herself. Don't worry, that's just a preview for the "real" present i'm gonna get you :). And i also dedicate Hardrock, Coco & Joe in particular to Diana (dunno if you're reading this), for the sake of old times :).
Probably this is meaningless to everybody except old-fashioned me, but i really am fascinated by animations, and their history, and these little videos have a great sentimental value for me. "Frosty the Snowman"(first animated representation ever) , "Hardrock, Coco and Joe" and "Suzy Snowflake" are three animated classics which were produced back in the 50s and were regularly broadcasted on WGN-TV.


i've been a fan of podcasts ever since i learnt about them, because i walk a lot, and it's great to listen to loads of ideas coming from smart people while walking on lonely dark streets. But i must admit i've always kinda took them for granted. Things have changed now that we're trying to get our own toy going. The more people agree to talk to us, the more concerned i am about getting the interview fairly ok. Do i worry too much, i wonder ?
In the mean time, i thought i'd ask people reading this (in case anybody is) which are the podcasts they listen to or prefer.
As far as i am concerned, I sometimes visit The Podcast Directory in order to find new inspiring podcasts. I was very happy when Podio was launched as the first Romanian podcast and wait anxiously for their every new episode. I am a great fan of American Copywriter, Paul Coleman podcasts, Russell Davies podcasts, 15 minutes of fame, Science on Guardian Unlimited, The Web 2.0 Show, Ted Talks, Digital Photography Tips From The Top Floor, BBC podcasts such as File on 4, From Our Own Correspondent, Front Row Interview, In Our Time, Radio 4 Choice, Woman's Hour Choice. I also love podcasts such as Woolster Collective podcasts and The Illustrative Desginer podcast. And the list could go on and on. Anybody else ?

13 Dec 2006

strategic objective

change the world, 500 words at a time

Probably everybody knows this by now, but i still feel like posting about it. Hugh Macleod had yet another brilliant initiative: he asked people to change the world, 500 words at a time. The collection of mini-manifestos which resulted (and which is far from being completed, hopefully) is a very good, insightful, fresh and inspiring resource, which tackles all sorts of issues, not all connected to marketing, brands, communication and related.
However, one of the nicest examples is Rodrigo Dauster's Elusive Consumer Manifesto.
1. Listen, don't ask
Don't ask me what I want. To ask is to admit you don't know. If you don't know, it means you haven't been listening. If you haven't been listening it means that you don't care about me. So why should I care about you? Every day I express what I want and what is wrong with what I have. If you care about me, observe the joy I get from company; how hard I laugh at your jokes; how happy I am to by the time I get to the front of the queue to pay; the pleasure I take from drinking that coffee; how often I return.

2. Be honest
Yes, I am a fool some of the time. I don't have the time to be smart about everything; to always make the most informed decisions. That means others can profit from me in these moments of weakness, busy-ness or fatigue. But I don't forget. So if you rip me off; I won't trust you again.

3. Help me want less
Stop telling me what else I need to be happy. We all know that more this and more that will only lead me into a down-ward spiraling, unfulfilling consumption binge. If you really want to add value -- to be different -- show me how I can get more with less: simplify, defeature, unbundle, open up.

11 Dec 2006

life in colours

wonderful to hang out with wonderful people

Iain is right: "It’s nice when people you know start good blogs." Razvan has a brand new blog about which i found out yesterday. He's part of Oricum, a really amazing guy, and a sheer delight to hang out with. And while we were having coffee yesterday, i remembered a little nice quote from addicted to the hustle:
"I don't bother "networking" anymore, instead, I try to build relationships with people I find interesting, and who I think are doing interesting things. And I make it my mission to help them in any way I can to achieve their mission. I find this much more satisfying, much more honorable, and much more fun. And this is the cool thing about people....When you help them out in this way, they help you out. Not because it's a tit for tat deal, but because both parties are engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship that extends beyond the next favor."

to make things even clearer

brand new podcast

As we have been threatening everybody for some time now, Alex and I have finally started our podcast thing. It's called DoerCast and will hopefully contain various bits and pieces from people we admire, learn from, and, most important, can actually talk to and record. The first episode features Sofa Surfers, and we hope we can update it as often as possible. Enjoy !

10 Dec 2006

experimental travel

Speaking of books, I've just bought an absolutely lovely travel book. It's called "The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel" and it invites you to forget about package holidays and classic travel routes and predictable journeys and the clutches of tourist traps, in order to follow a potentially more challenging and interesting approach - "a novel approach to travel that starts with a quirky concept and can lead anywhere from Bora Bora to a bus stop". In other words, the book invites to a playful way of travelling, establishing a clear methodology (you're given hypothesis, apparatus, method), but never a clear destination.

The great exercises include and analyse tasks such as "explore the city through the eyes of a chess piece", "discover a city while looking for love", "let Ariadne lead you through the labyrinth of a new city", "explore a city via the lyrics of a famous song that pays tribute to it, using the words as both itinerary and travel guide", "use the number 12 to compose a travel itinerary" and many, many other obstructions, all showing just how wonderful experimental travel can be. All you need is a camera, and the willingness to stay open to interestingness.


some time ago, i got tagged by Bogdana - i'm supposed to recommend a book and explain my choice in one paragraph. Well, if i were to pick a book, i'd pick Paul Auster's "The Book of Illusions". Mostly because this book lit up both my passion for (older) movies, and my interest in movie therapy. And because i think it's true that "Man has not one and the same life. He has many lives, placed end to end, and that is the cause of his misery."

Rules of the tag here. Further tags: Alex, Razvan, Ago.

6 Dec 2006

no more planner meetings, right ?

well, apparently i got excited too quickly about the great planning team i was supposed to be part of. Therefore, among my current dilemmas, there's also one connected to the planner meetings Bogdana and I started some time ago. They weren't supposed to be something like formal, organized meetings of strategists, they were simply supposed to be some pretexts for meeting for a cup of something and a talk. That's why, while Costin insisted it was too early to "release the concept of planner meetings", Bogdana and I were stubborn enough to consider that certain likeminds don't mind meeting with each other, and don't necessarily need something that organized in order to have a challenging and fruitful chat. We thought that planners like to exchange ideas and to meet people, so that's why we initiated the whole deal; and we'd gather for a talk anyway, so if anybody was willing to join us, the more enjoyable the talk. Problem is, i am apparently left all alone. So, i guess the whole deal is off. I really am sorry.

26 Nov 2006

part 4 - magura

I first got to this village by complete accident about ten years ago. The sun was shining beautifully, and discovering a whole community out of the blue, after climbing for what seemed like ages, was something that settled down in my ten year old mind. This time, the road seemed short and accessible enough, but i was still overwhelmed by the beauty and silence of the place. And this might sound silly, but Magura is very special to me because it reminds me of Heidi (i used to be a huge Heidi fan, who wasn't, by the way?).

part 3 - trees

i am absolutely fascinated by trees - call me crazy, but i really enjoy looking carefully at a tree and trying to figure out its story - it's a small imagination exercise i particularly like to practice during walks in the woods.

part 2 - bran

Everybody's been to Bran - it's the castle each class of pupils is taken to during at least one trip. It's the sight where children are taken to by their parents during educational escapades. It's a place where you end up somehow - and everybody i talked to says you don't end up there just once. I have been there each year for some time now, and yet i hadn't noticed these colourful castle shutters.While this notice sign inside the castle reminded me of highschool times, when i was part of a theatre team, and we played S. Beckett's "All that fall". I was Maddy Rooney, and this was a line somewhere inside the play. Then, there was this adorable story-like small house:
And i had a traditional meal in Vila Bran :
Which sounded far better than this meal offer:

25 Nov 2006

yet another trip - part 1: rasnov

This is going to be yet another series of long, boring posts containing loads of bad photos and silly musings. But i had a great and relaxing time, and i must admit it felt really, really bad to leave those places.

I've been wandering around Brasov, Poiana Brasov, Rasnov, Bran, Zarnesti, Moeciu, Cheile Gradistei - which i must admit is far from being spectacular as chosen location; but still, i tried to make the best of it.
I haven't been to Rasnov for a very long time -- last time i went there, the fortress was closed for restauration and i could only visit it because i made friends with some locals. This time, the fortress welcomed visitors, offered gorgeous sights and archery options. They're still restoring, renovating and rehabilitating the place, which is very promising, given the preliminary results. What i liked a lot about the way the museum is introduced to its visitors was the appropriate musical background - something which is very rare in museums around this country.

21 Nov 2006

off bucharest

i want to make the most out of this free week between jobs - so, on saturday i went to relax and explore some of Brasov's surroundings. i came back this evening in order to attend BrandCamp and hopefully tomorrow i'm going back to finish my program - which includes some mountain peaks, a visit to a special small village and some paragliding.
details on the trip, on BrandCamp and on my new job as soon as i get back :).

13 Nov 2006

many happy returns

this is going to sound silly, but today this entire resignation business somewhat felt exactly like in the "The Prisoner".

nothing is boring by default

i was having this weird conversation last week with a creative who kept on claiming that some things/ products etc are simply "boring by default" and that's why he cannot come up with something too original or too creative for them. He gave me the example of movie credits, saying that nobody has the patience to watch movie credits, and that not even cute animations dancing on the screen on a cool, funny sountrack (Madagascar was mentioned) managed to turn credits into something interesting enough to keep people's attention alive. Which made me think about the opening credits for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Yes, they are opening credits, which means that you are more or less obliged to watch them, cause they are at the beginning, not the end of the movie. But still - I think they're funny, and they get you and keep you interested, and stir curiosity cause they develop a story of their own which gets you curious and makes you at least smile. Or, of course, it might be just me. But I really don't think anything is boring by default - it's all about finding a story.

why blog ?

CK asked people : "What is the single greatest point of value you receive from blogging ?". The resulted collage is "a compilation of why -- above all else -- we invest the thought, time and trouble to blog."

11 Nov 2006

this week's planner gatherings

There were basically two attempts to organize a planner’s meeting this week. On Monday, John Griffiths continued his tradition and was kind enough to be in Amsterdam and meet with whoever was willing to come. Adrian, who is currently part of BBDO, came and so did Stefan of the same BBDO. Since earlier during the day we took part in John's "Extreme research" training, we went on a bit discussing “extreme” research methods, but also creative ways to deliver the results of the research in an inspirational way. Russell and Jeffre and their understanding of "creative research" were naturally brought up, and so was the wonderful episode of Arthur commenting Stefan's monster book.
Since the morning training mainly focused on client and consumer knowledge, and getting research done, while i was also really curious about further introducing relevant research results to creatives, a considerate amount of the conversation was dedicated to creatives. John thinks there is no such thing as bad creatives, there’s only bad creative management. At which point he showed me the "Brand Tarot" pack of cards, as well as a wonderful little blue book called "Simple Truth about Advertising".

Richard Huntington's controversial "I don't get digital" post was also debated. And so was “blog anxiety”, which made me think quite a lot about this blog and what i should do with it from now on. Anyway, the meeting was extremely enjoyable, and John somehow always gives you the feeling that he's listening and taking into consideration what you're saying, no matter how stupid that is - which is great, cause it gives one some self-confidence.
Then, on Thursday, there was the second "local" planner meeting (featuring - in order of their appearance). Alex (Prezent PR), Coco, Miruna and Andrei (both from V+O) and Alina (Vodafone) were supportive enough not to leave me all alone in the coffee house (thanks a lot, guys !). Being so few, and not having priorly established any sort of agenda, we didn't actually get into any sort of deep and meaningful planning considerations. But as far as i'm concerned, the meeting was great anyway, because we got to know ourselves a bit, and because it gave me a far clearer idea of how i see these meeting further on. Andrei and Miruna helped me remember about a sort of project i wanted to start some time ago, one which involves a collection of social experiments. And perhaps, they'll even help me get it started somehow.
We talked about the local planning arena, about local telecom communication, about how it feels like to switch from agency to client side (like Alina did), about the recent trainings brought by the Napoleons and John Griffiths, and about ways to turn these meetings into something more organized, and, most important, more knowledge-beneficial. Once again, as i had also settled with Bogdana earlier, we decided that the two of us will hopefully meet clockwise on Thurdays, every two weeks - the only thing yet to be established being the location (The Living Room which we tested on Thursday doesn't seem like quite a solution either). And anybody willing and supportive (like Alina, Andrei and Miruna proved to be) is more than welcome to come. We'll also hopefully have a blog and an agenda for each meeting, staying as open to suggestions as possible :). After all, it's not much yet, but it can hopefully grow.

2 Nov 2006

fakt 48: fakts still exist even if they are ignored

I guess there are times when everything seems to be going really, really bad, or at least really, really confusing - or simply really really bad and confusing. Like these days, for example. And yet there is a small thing which makes me feel instantly better, no matter how wrong things seem to be going.

Namely, watching Harvie Krumpet (yep, that's the link to the whole movie) - Adam Elliot's brilliant animated biography of an ordinary guy who is sort of pathologically cursed with bad luck. Plus, i adore Harvie's book of fakts - both for the concept, and for the clarity and simplicity of the slides :).

1 Nov 2006

TED Prize 2007: The Winners

"War photographer, James Nachtwey, one of the world's most prominent scientists, E.O. Wilson, and President William J. Clinton, are the winners of the 2007 TED Prize. Each recipient has been granted ONE WORLD-CHANGING WISH to be revealed at the 2007 TED conference, in Monterey, CA. Many members of the TED Community, and a group of world-class companies, have pledged support to help fulfill these wishes. Each winner will also receive $100,000 to be spent however they choose in support of their wishes. "

28 Oct 2006

bull energy

I saw this Pitbull energy drink and it made me laugh. It is (obviously) not Red Bull, but it isn't Hip Hop Beverage Corp's PitBull energy drink either. Apparently, it is actually a product manufactured by Bulgarian firm Nova Trade PLC.