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.

27 Oct 2006

audiovisual 10: ivan zacharias

Audiovisual at the Czech Centre last night. Focus - the work of Ivan Zacharias, who graduated the department of documentary film at FAMU, Prague, and who is, according to The Gunn Report, one of the best 10 Czech commercial directors. The reel we watched included ads for Honda, Heineken, Skoda, Stella Artois, Levi's, Ericsson and many others. And it also included the short below (Mulit - tragedy of the year in hairstyling).

26 Oct 2006

will somebody let them know ?

i found this great BBC documentary down at kottke.org. The documentary tells the story of the famous game Tetris, as well as its creator, Russian computer programmer Alexey Pazhitnov. Maybe i wouldn't have found the documentary so interesting, if i hadn't been completely fascinated by Tetris many years ago. I was very very young, i had a computer called HC2000, and Tetris was among the first games i played insanely, for hours, on that computer. Since i became all nostalgic (and since i've given my HC2000 to somebody a very long time ago), i started looking for pictures of the model on the Internet. What i came across is more than hilarious to me. Namely, the website of HC manufacturer: ICE Felix - Fabrica de Calculatoare Electronice (rough translation - Electronic Computers Factory maybe?). My first thought was: do they know what era we currently live in ? or am i just being really really mean ?

saw this today

random search

i was curious to see which is the first youtube video i come across if i search for "interesting". i came across the one above. i liked the idea of going to a library, picking up one hundred books at random, and copying the final two pages of every book, in order to get a clearer idea about endings. and it also reminded me about this post from Creating Passionate Users, in which Kathy Sierra gives her advice on how it's best (or at least better) to start a book, or a presentation or something, in order to get people actually engaged.

25 Oct 2006

Solar-Powered Music Festival

Georgia Nature Center, built on World Environmental Organization's 144-acre Indigo Preserve in Oconee County, Georgia,will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, October 22, 2006 with a Solar-Powered Music Festival from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. On a stage powered only by GEEnergy solar arrays, three of Georgia's finestsinger/songwriters will perform: Caroline Aiken, Heidi Hensley and Kate Morrissey.
from here.

getting inspired

My previous two posts reminded me about two posts from Signal vs. Noise: Inspiration is magical and Finding fresh inspiration. The latter starts from a wise anecdote told by Tony Bennett:
Bennett: Mimi Speer on 52nd Street taught me popular music and taught me to imitate musicians rather than other singers so I wouldn’t sound like somebody else and be one of the chorus of some famous star. She said, “You listen to the musicians on 52nd Street and pick [it] out.” I liked Art Tatum on piano and then Stan Getz. He had a beautiful honey sound. And Lester Young. Those three artists really gave me my start.
Tavis: Your teacher taught you to imitate musicians and not artists.
Bennett: Right.
Tavis: What’s the distinction? What’s the difference?
Bennett: Well, the singers — you know, Frank Sinatra was the rage in those days and his big competition was a guy called Dick Haynes and then there was Billy Eckstine. They were so popular that she said, “If you just sing like they do and imitate their voices, you’re going to sound like one of the chorus because everybody’s doing that”. She said, “To be an individual, listen to musicians and listen to what they’re doing and imitate musicians rather than the singers.” It was a very creative teacher that told me what to do about just being myself.

The anecdote was a starting point for Matt to expand a little the widely-used advice "find inspiration in everything": look to the past, look to a foreign culture, look to nature, look to a different medium - all of them very nicely illustrated with further links. Sounds like common sense ? Maybe. But truth is most of my creative colleagues keep on claiming that they do look for and find inspiration in everything - but what they generally mean is that they do look at loads of commercials and Archives and that they read many ad articles and interviews (and very rarely if ever go outside the ad box), and that they go out and spend time with people, by which they generally mean going to the same clubs with their very alike friends or simply going home mechanically, on the same road everyday. When they say they think about the people in the target audience, they mostly think about themselves. They just go with the flow, without even realising it. I'm not saying that this is wrong, i'm only saying that i don't think it's enough. In my opinion, "find inspiration in everything" implies, as the quoted post underlines, to actually look somewhere else and from a somewhat different perspective, when everyone else is looking the same way for inspiration, since this is more likely to bring a fresher view, idea etc.

going blogwider

Servant of chaos is by far one of the nicest and most inspirational blogs i read. And it was while reading this post from Gavin some time ago that i realised why i love blogging so much. It is because blogs indeed allow you to throw bits of ideas into the open (just as they allow you to "catch" bits of ideas). Which can lead to something way bigger, cause someone might get inspired by these bits of ideas and contribute to their development. Or people can actually help you get a clearer point on those bits of ideas and can actually help you understand better where it is that you were going with your idea. As Gavin says: "[blogging] allows you to start with a small idea. You can explore and create episodically. You can jump from one idea to the next and you can link out to other people and their ideas effortlessly. And the more you blog, the more that ideas and stories begin to coalesce. And as you follow the links, you come face-to-face with emotions, habits and brands. And importantly, you come up close to people ... because it is clear, in blogging, that you are dealing with an individual." Let's see what happens is an excellent example from this point of view.

On the other hand, i am becoming more and more of a National Geographic fan, and my interest in other cultures grows continuously. Which means that i read more and more about other cultures (and by this, i don't just mean United States, or England, or Western Europe countries - i mean countries in Africa, and Asia, and small islands and tribes and all sorts of smaller "cultures"). But while reading more and more of such articles and BBC and NGC and Discovery reports and Wikipedia and so on, i realised that i was getting more of an overview of those cultures, than actual insights into the life there. I got general data, the same way i get general data by looking at the exhibits in a museum. It's really interesting, but too general for me.

And i figured one first solution to this problem of mine would be to start looking for blogs from locals or from expats in these countries. I must admit it's a great experience to read especially blogs of expats discovering a totally different life. So i've started collecting such blogs, which i will soon list in the blogroll. I do not know where this will lead, and i haven't yet realised exactly how stupid the idea is, but i'll just see what happens.

And since i need to include a pic in this post as well: while reading the blog of an American "wife, mother, left-handed dog owner who loves the color red, reading, camping, water of ANY kind, including frozen" and who currently lives in Ghana, i came across this really simple and very suggestive outdoor.

24 Oct 2006

"do you have what it takes to play the great game ?"

as i was saying in a previous post, i am not too much into spies and conspiracies and stuff, which doesn't mean that i don't admire their techniques, that i don't watch crime&spy movies or that i don't occasionaly enjoy playing with codes and "tools of the trade" :). Plus, i love playing any sort of games which make me think a little or, even better, teach me new things.
Therefore, my latest such acquisition is a card game pretty self-explanatorily entitled "Spy File": "If you ever dreamed of being James Bond or Mata Hari, open the file and take the test. 120 questions, codes and color photographs reveal the secret world of espionage. Do you have what it takes to play the great game ? Find out by cracking codes, identifying the great spies in history, learning the tradecraft of spying and using the tools of the trade."

The game is developed by International Spy Museum, whose mission is "to educate the public about espionage in an engaging manner". And since "Spy File" even teaches you how to make invisible ink and how to turn common rocks found in parks into espionage tools and all other sorts of tricks, also providing suggestive images of objects from the very museum, i'd say it's quite captivating and engaging.

21 Oct 2006


i eventually decided to quit my current workplace...
image: gapingvoid

20 Oct 2006

and planners did meet

last night, with all these guys above looking at us, we had the first in a hopefully long set of "planner gatherings" (or the second, if we count the one with John Griffiths as a sort of a pilot episode). Unfortunately, i arrived way later than i hoped, only to find, to my pleasure and excitement, that people had actually come. Bogdana was there, obviously, and so were Costin and Ioana and Raluca from Leo, Stefan from Grapefruit, Doru from Kinecto, Alina from Vodafone, Luciana from McCann, Tudor from BrandTailors and others whom i'm kindly asking to forgive me for not mentioning (if you're reading this and you please leave a comment, you save me from the embarassment).

Luckily, i don't have the time to play the chronicler part which Bogdana always assumes i'd play extensively :), so i won't be saying much about Costin's tourments at the thought that his sister was about to visit him or planning.ro's server problems or any other similar or related matters.

Even though when i first talked about these meetings with Bogdana, we wanted to try to have an agenda, of course the discussions went on freely and jumped from one point to another. Briefly, we talked about trying to form a sort of an association or at least a more organized group, so that we can do something about bringing more and more impressive planners to Romania (not only planners, actually, cause there were also some interesting points about the meaning and importance of "efficiency", as they should be considered). We discussed IAA and BrandCamp and various administrative experiences/issues. And, of course, we talked about the future of these meetings - whether we should meet in the morning (as i would love to and as would be of help to Costin's biorhythm), whether we should meet in a different place, how often we should meet, whether we should try to engage other inspiring people rather than just planners, whether we should only focus on planning-related matters, or try and go as beyond them as possible and so on. Of course we also got into some lamentations, as well as into bits about concepts/information/media/briefs.

What i'm most interested in achieving myself from what we discussed is trying to turn from "all the planners" into "planners who do" (as Russell's blogroll says), that is do something meaningful, put into practice at least some of the projects i've been having in mind for some time now.

As for the planner's manifesto, which we had in mind for the first meeting, and which seemed stupid to Stefan, well...it was obviously left somewhere in space. However, talking about Microsoft vs. Apple, i remembered this little animation, which is a tribute to Roadrunner. I had watched it some time ago, and it made me think about some things: RoadRunner has one of the best, clearest positionings in animation - it's the fastets bird in animation. What does this bird do ? Well, it runs really fast. It shows its tongue and it runs like hell. In the mean time, poor Coyote, who's also hungry all the time, comes with all kinds of strategies and mechanisms and stuff to capture the damn bird, all making the show interesting. So Bogdana and i realised this was maybe a good analogy for what we do nowadays, as planners who have to challenge the big, well-established brands.

That's it for now. And looking forward to the next meeting :)

19 Oct 2006

reminder for tonight

in case there actually is somebody interested in joining Bogdana and me tonight, please come to Amsterdam Grand Cafe at 7 pm.

18 Oct 2006


Paul Colman asked: "Is there a 'how many planners does it take to change a light bulb' joke?"
To which Marcus Brown answered: "it's a very long, complex joke, involving 20 blogs, powerpoint, a conference and a cafe. In the end, the client changes the lightbulb."
this is in case you were wandering what planners actually do all day long, and, most important, how they do it :)).

terms"es&what should feel like common sense

from the Battle of Big Thinking Blog :
  • "insight – find the story that seems like common sense once you've told it"
  • "Russell's point of different was focusing on presentation as performance. Maybe it's the discipline of continuous blogging that tunes the mind to such an acute awareness of the audience. It was this conscious effort to be an actor on a stage that gave his presentation such power and won over the crowd. It was more about how he behaved, rather that what he said and maybe this is the biggest lesson that brands have to learn."

cause "creatives" are not the only ones who are actually creative

"The ArtLab studies represent a new type of research in which media consumers' own creativity, reflexivity and knowingness is harnessed, rather than ignored. In these studies, individuals are asked to produce media or visual material themselves, as a way of exploring their relationship with particular issues or dimensions of media. Examples, which appear in the projects section, include research where children made videos to consider their relationship with the environment; where young men designed covers for imaginary men's magazines, enabling an exploration of contemporary masculinities; and where people drew pictures of celebrities as part of an examination of their aspirations and identifications with stars." My favourite is one of the projects which they're currently developing, together with Lego Group, CEMP, and the Research Council of Norway, and which aims at exploring the ways in which creative construction of objects can unlock feelings and insights into everyday experience.

16 Oct 2006

how others dealt with it

On Friday, Bogdana and i were introduced as "very active on the internet, namely blogging and linking to each other". Which is apparently not so very far from the truth, now that i think about it :). Cause it was while talking to her the other days about the quality of outdoors and tube ads in our city, that i remembered this little campaign which i liked a lot. "The campaign's objective is to raise the level of consumer awareness about the quality of outdoor advertising in a city. The idea of the campaign - members of the public put stickers on advertising posters with their personal opinions about the quality of the ad. It's started in Berlin by Xgeronimo and continued on the streets of Seoul by Rebelbaby. Above are pics from Seoul, october 2006."

escape lamentation !

so i've been far lazier than Bogdana in announcing this, but it's something i've been craving for for a long time. So let's just start it and see what happens :).
Thanks to Russell and to Costin for the support.

13 Oct 2006


this little video is the first episode of Backspace, "a stimulating video podcast showing experimental short films to provoke your imagination". info which i've stolen from here. What's even nicer is that the creator of Backspace also initiated a youtube group which is meant to be "a place where you can show off your own videos designed to inspire the imagination." even though youtube is a huge inspirational resource anyway :).

11 Oct 2006

"Heaven has a new champion"

I was shocked today to find out about the death of one of the greatest snooker players. Paul Hunter, aged 27, died on Monday, after an 18-month struggle against a rare form of stomach cancer. More coverage on this dreadful tragedy here, together with tributes from players and supporters. May he rest in peace.
  • "I’m devastated. Paul didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone in the game and no one had a bad word to say about him." - Stephen Hendry
  • "This is a very sad moment for the game. I played many great games against him. Paul made snooker sexy. I’m completely gutted at the news." - Ken Doherty
  • "He was a very flamboyant player, a very attacking player. He had a heart like a lion. I’m sure that he would have been a future world champion. It’s such a sad loss to our game and his family." - Willie Thorne
  • "It's a very sad day, not only for snooker but also for the sporting world. [...]We've lost a great character and champion and a great friend. It's a shocking loss." - Ken Doherty

6 Oct 2006

who are you people ?

gareth kay talked about a book which i simply MUST have, especially since i have been fascinated by the idea of talking to extremely passionate people of all kinds for a long time (long before i found about this book/project). actually i'm still hoping that the proposition i had made some time ago concerning something more or less similar eventually gets through. Who are you people? is written by Shari Caudron and represents "a personal journey into the heart of fanatical passion in America". Does anybody around here happen to have it ?

4 Oct 2006

happy birthday !

Wireality by Grapefruit turned five yesterday. With its Weekly Wire and its email discussions, Wireality has been really valuable to me, by teaching me all sorts of things and providing all sorts of perspectives (our creative director had just told me something like: ok, you can deal with this planning thing from now on, but you're on your own, cause there's nobody around who can teach you or give you a hint about this. so i started searching and building up my very own hints, and Wireality was for some reason among the first of them) (i've noticed that i'm becoming lazier and lazier when it comes to blogging these days, cause i'm quite busy, therefore i come out with more and more ambiguous phrazes, need to change that). Happy anniversary ! and thank you :).

3 Oct 2006

Purdy the Dirdy Birdy

until i get the time to write about the many, many hours spent at the cinema during Anim'est, here's a little something from John Dilworth. And yes, i do post it as an analogy :D.

2 Oct 2006


I got tagged by Hippiekiller, so i'd better comply and answer the guy :). Seems like quite a "local" meme, so it feels a bit odd writing about it in english, but i'm not falling into the blog-language trap again, so that's it.

1. Three places i like in Bucharest (or at least three places :D)

- this small neighbourhood. Situated somewhere in the Baba Novac - Catelu area, this slice of the city often helps me forget about heavy traffic and pollution and nasty people and noisy Bucharest, in general. I really enjoy the "different" atmosphere (or maybe i just like small obscure towns too much. or "The prisoner" really got into me, when i watched it. anyway).
- Cinema(teca) Union. It's cosy, it's small, it's got air-conditioning, it's got air-refreshers and most people don't even know where it is. Ideal for somebody who loves movies the way i do. Also ideal for animations :D.
- Regina Elisabeta/ Kogalniceanu area. I'm still trying to figure out why i like this area so much, and i kinda suspect it's because of the fact that it gives me the impression of being old and deserted. By far, one of my favourite walking areas.
- Popa Nan area. Lipscani area. Mantuleasa area. And all sorts of small streets with old houses in general.
- St. Sava highschool :D:D:D.

2. Three places i hate in Bucharest

- Romana Square. I have always instinctively hated it. I even hate Nicu Alifantis - "Piata Romana nr. 9"
- Stefan cel Mare when i'm driving.
- Central Military Hospital.

3. Four places where i like to hang out with my friends

- the old center of Bucharest - choice of the exact spot according to the mood, of course.
- Metoc, Rendez-vous, Cotroceni
- wherever we can (like Space's home, for example)

4. Three things a foreigner wouldn't understand in Bucharest

- i don't really know. i won't really make assumptions.

5. The "fanciest" neighbourhood (not quite the exact translation) / The ugliest neighbourhood

- quite clueless once again, though i feel tempted to answer with "Pantelimon".

Further tags (i guess Bucharest will be replaced by "my city"): Bogdana, Alex, Claudiu, Gavin.