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Archives: November 2013

YouShouldTotallyMeet Attempts to Make Blind Dates A Little Less Awkward

YouShouldTotallyMeet, an online/mobile dating app built by four advertising workers from Toronto, is kind of like Tinder meets Linkedin’s endorse feature. Using Facebook networks, someone can get matched up with a date who is verified by mutual friends (or mutual friends of mutual friends). The goal is to take out some of the randomness, guesswork, and at times, flat out BS that spits out of big-name dating site algorithms. Even if the name is a few syllables too long, the idea seems to have some potential in the crowded dating-app ecosystem.

The creators are actively seeking $25,000 of funding on Indiegogo, and in a cool gesture of commitment to the project, one of the cofounders, Anne Ngo, is offering a date to anyone who donates $1,000 or more. There are other incentives, such as dinner vouchers, free premium access to the app when it’s operational, a professional photo shoot, etc., but at least you know the creators like their own product enough to use it themselves. And one person has already claimed a $1,000 contribution. Imagine if all ten $1,000 are filled by the end of the campaign. Plenty of dates for Anne. Are we sure this isn’t just an elaborate plan to fill up her dating card?

Urban Ministries of Durham, McKinney Want to Name a Small Item After You

Names For ChangeIt’s common for people to donate money to have a wing of a building or stadium named after them. But what about donating for items that really make a difference? Durham agency McKinney and Urban Ministries of Durham “are offering naming rights to every small item that, in totality, helps them change a person’s trajectory in life.” You could lend your name to a plunger, a light bulb, a bus pass.

The project, Names For Change, attempts to raise money for Urban Ministries of Durham so they can provide food, shelter and a hope for the future to those in need this holiday season. Names For Changes was created by Jenny Nicholson and Nick Jones, the folks responsible for Spent: the interactive game that teaches people how difficult it is to live in poverty by positioning the player as an unemployed single parent who must make it through a month with $1,000 left in their savings account. Names For Change wants to lend people’s names to every day items because they ”want you to see how critical every item is to helping us fight homelessness.” Like Spent, it helps raise awareness by educating people about the importance of things they take for granted.

The Names For Change site is well designed. As you scroll down the page, you see different items that you can donate to lend your name to. Next to each item is its cost. There are also inspiring audio clips from the Program Director and Head Chef at Urban Ministries of Durham, as well as current and former residents. At the bottom of the page is the amount raised, and the fundraising goal. Currently the project has raised just $10,332 of its $100,000 goal, or enough to help two people out of homelessness. If you’d like to help make a difference (and have your name attached to an everyday item that means everything to those who truly need it), head on over to Names For Change now. And if you haven’t already played Spent, give it a try. Then, make all your Republican friends play it.

 

The Folks Over at Firehouse Wish You a ‘Happy Twerky Day’

We hope you’re ready for Thanksgiving, because the Turkey Day items are starting to pour in. If you’ve noticed that the word “turkey” rhymes with the word “twerky” and find this funny, then you’re in for a treat. For whatever reason (blame Miley), twerking turkeys seem to be a thing this year, and the folks over at independent full-service Dallas agency Firehouse couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Maybe they were just in a celebratory mood after being named creative AOR for San Antonio-based Mexican restaurant chain Taco Cabana last month.

They’ve created a video full of twerking turkeys (actually people dressed in turkey costumes), entitled “Happy Twerky Day.” That pretty much sums things up: dudes holding speakers blasting dance music while people twerk, dressed up as turkeys. If you find that premise funny, you’ll get a good chuckle out of the above video. If you don’t, you’d probably be better off spending that 58 seconds elsewhere. And if all that turkey twerking still isn’t disturbing enough for you, try this GIF of a Miley Cyrus twerking turkey. Or don’t, if you’d still like to sleep at night.

Y&R Expands Relationship with BMO

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Nearly two years after forming a relationship with BMO, Y&R has now added more responsibilities for the financial institution as it’s now serving as lead agency for its client. What does this entail? Well, the agency’s teams in New York, Chicago and Toronto will oversee all brand and integrated retail banking marketing across traditional and digital media platforms, effective immediately. BMO CMO/head of strategy Joanna Rotenberg says in a statement, “Throughout the review process and in our experience working with them in the past, Y&R has consistently demonstrated superior strategic thinking, presenting thoughtful insights which have been closely aligned to BMO’s vision, brand and strategy. We look forward to deepening our partnership with their integrated North American practice to develop breakthrough, business-building creative.”

We’ve been told that there was a review in Canada for the BMO biz, which was previously handled by Cossette up north. The agency, though, declined to participate in the review. Y&R Canada’s first work as lead agency of brand and retail marketing is slated to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2014.

Tuesday Morning Stir

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-Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles has welcomed group account director/AKQA alum David Lowrie, former R/GA L.A. ECD Mark Laughlin and Landor/Siegel+Gale vet Marlon Hernandez as creative director.

-Omnicom/DAS sports/entertainment agency GMR Marketing has announced that both of its Bay Area offices will be consolidated in San Francisco’s financial district this month. The new space combines 85 employees within the agency’s consulting, consumer engagement, event operation and hospitality practices, which were previously housed separately.

-Minneapolis-based agency Preston Kelly has added welcomed Heather Kvidera as senior digital producer. Kvidera previously worked at hometown shops including mono and Carmichael Lynch.

-Tool has welcomed director Alec Helm to its roster. link

-NYC-based production company East Pleasant has hired Brad Edelstein as executive producer. link

Free Arts NYC, Red Peak Spell Out New Alphabet

Some brief morning news that combines philanthropy and creative design – Free Arts NYC, a non-profit that focuses on providing arts education to “underserved children” just launched a rebrand with Red Peak. The organization’s A to Z Project solicited artistic renderings of 45 letters, numbers, and characters from sources such as Warby Parker and Harper’s Bazaar. Presumably, the characters will be used on merchandise and as a new font for Free Arts, as outlined a bit vaguely in the promo video. The artwork itself is worth a look: most of the designs fall into a sleek, street-arty aesthetic that seems to fit the organization’s direction. If you’re interested in donating to Free Arts NYC, you can more find relevant information here.

Allen & Gerritsen, Neiman Bond Over RFID Pic-Tap-Toe

Five months ago, Boston-based agency Allen & Gerritsen acquired Philadelphia-based Neiman, expanding their staff to approximately 200. This gave both agencies the challenge of getting to know each other.

The folks 0ver at Allen & Gerritsen decided that simple names on emails amd faces in profile pics weren’t enough. What better way, they decided, than a friendly, cross-office game of Tic-Tac-Toe. But instead of simple Xs and Os, they decided to use nine “radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, a Wi-Fi enabled Arduino Yun, and Instagram” to put a new spin on the game. They dubbed their creation Pic Tap Toe. Here’s their explanation of the rules:

  • Each office takes turns by placing a special game piece on sections of a custom game board consisting of RFID readers and an Arduino.
  • Instead of Xs and Os, photos from employees’ Instagram streams appear on one of the 9 corresponding screens in each office.
  • Screens update in real time in both locations, becoming a digital connection point and a way to glimpse into our coworkers’ lives through the photos they’ve taken.

It’s a fun take on getting to know new co-workers, and an innovative use of technology. Beyond the immediate benefits to their newly expanded organization, Allen & Gerritsen see the game as a great example of the “huge opportunities in RFID and the ability to customize a message and communicate it wirelessly to an individual at point of sale.” Allen & Gerritsen sees RFID as a groundbreaking tool with limitless potential, and Pic Tap Toe will give their employees valuable experience with RFID while also letting employees from their different offices get to know each other. Check out the video above for a more detailed look at Pic Tap Toe and RFID and let us know what you think in the comments section.

 

AKQA Senior Art Director Makes the Logo Bigger with New Tumblr

Logo BiggerAKQA senior art director Andrew Wendling has, in his own words, “decided to finally give in and make the logo bigger” on his new Tumblr dedicated to enlarged versions of famous logos. We’re not sure where the perceived pressure for this project was coming from, but if you’re a design junky, this kind of thing should be right up your alley.

Logos featured on the site include Batman, Playboy, Starbucks, Red Bull, Panda Express, Shell, NBC, and others. So far the project includes two pages of blown-up logos, but check back for updates. Seeing the logos in the zoomed in, larger format does help cast them in a different light. The Starbucks logo, in particular, reveals details you might miss from the regular sized version.

This reminds us a little bit of  Nick DiLallo and Doug Zaner‘s project animating the evolution of famous logos, which we covered last month. Check out Wendling’s logo-enlarging project here, and sound off in the comments section with your opinion.

Mekanism Debuts Revamped Website, Which is Still Weird

Mekanism New SiteMekanism, the San Francisco/New York agency you may remember from this compilation of rejected pitch videos from director Tony Benna we featured last month, has always had a reputation for having one of the weirdest websites in the industry. Now, they’ve completely revamped their site…and it’s still really weird.

The new site uses “Parallax Effect which enables users to have a 3D visual experience by layering images and having them move at different speeds and perspectives to create depth.” Visitors to the site are instructed to scroll down for the Mekanism web experience, where they are told about the agency’s combination of “super smart strategy,” “innovation,” “design,” and “age old storytelling.” If you continue to scroll down you are brought to case studies highlighting some of the agency’s best recent work, including their halftime intro for Beyonce’s Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show, their “Datalandia” trailer for GE, their “Clean Happy” campaign for Method Home, “Coast to Coast Photo Post” for Samsung, their “YOUphoria” spot for Nordstrom, and their work promoting Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Mekanism also provides a list of awards they’ve won, from their Cannes Gold Lions Award in 2004 up to their 2013 One Show Interactive award for branded games.

Their “About” section is similarly image-driven, making full use of the Parallax Effect. There’s also a more complete “Case Studies” section, a list of work and clients, news, and contact information. The attention to visual detail makes for a dynamic web experience, and Mekanism’s unique sensibilities ensure that it’s a weird one. Let us know what you think of the new site in the comments section.

Schuster Out at McCann

schuster1After spending the last two years at McCann WorldGroup, specifically serving as head of its global creative unit Craft (formerly known as EXP), Fred Schuster is out at the agency, according to sources familiar with the matter. You might remember Schuster from his time at Ogilvy and CEO of its global creative production unit,  RedWorks. No word yet if there are plans to replace, but we’ll keep you posted.

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