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Where Have All the Nike Ads Gone?

The branding wizards at Nike are often ten steps ahead of everyone else, and they have more than their superior sneakers to thank. In the last decade, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company has more than doubled its revenue, to $20.9 billion in 2011 (an impressive 10% increase over the previous fiscal year), and assembed a stable of labels ranging from Cole Haan to Umbro. It seems counter-intuitive, then, that over the past few years, Nike has dramatically reduced its TV and print advertising. So, what’s the deal? Digital, my dear Watson.

“Gone is the reliance on top-down campaigns celebrating a single hit—whether a star like Tiger Woods, a signature shoe like the Air Force 1, or send-ups like Bo Jackson’s ‘Bo Knows’ commercials from the late ’80s that sold the entire brand in one fell Swoosh,” writes Scott Cendrowski in a feature on Nike’s “New Marketing Mojo” that appears in the February 27 issue of Fortune. “In their place is a whole new repertoire of interactive elements that let Nike communicate directly with its consumers, whether it’s a performance-tracking wristband, a 30-story billboard in Johannesburg that posts fan headlines from Twitter, or a major commercial shot by an Oscar-nominated director that makes its debut not on primetime television but on Facebook.” Having learned from its online stumbles (a late ’90s assumption that March Madness was of global, rather than domestic, interest) and successes (Nike iD), the company has high hopes for its Digital Sport initiative, which some critics say “are more about keeping retail prices high than innovating.”
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Connect with Social Media Marketing Boot Camp

Ready to get serious about that new year’s resolution to “harness the power of social media for fun and profit, but mostly profit”? Prepare to fall out for mediabistro.com’s Social Media Boot Camp, an online conference-cum-workshop that kicks off on February 16. Tomorrow, which also happens to be the 229th birthday of social media pioneer Daniel Webster, is the last day to take advantage of the early bird discount and save on an eight-week program that includes keynote speeches, live interviews, and practical how-to sessions led by social media gurus including Michael Brito (Edelman Digital), Morin Oluwole (Facebook), and Leslie Bradshaw (JESS3). Learn more and register here.

Neville Brody Named New Vice President of D&AD

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It’s been a red letter year for the relationship between the D&AD and Neville Brody. Just a few months back, he was handed their annual President’s Award, and now he’s just been named the organization’s upcoming Vice President for 2012. The legendary designer-turned-rabble-rousing-dean of the Royal College of Art, will serve in the position under new President and ad industry vet, Rosie Arnold, the second woman ever to hold the position. It appears to be fairly nice timing to have such a high-profile executive branch, given that next year the D&AD will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Here’s a bit about Brody’s ascendancy and a brief bio:

At the Executive Board meeting, Neville Brody was ratified as D&AD Vice President by unanimous vote. Neville is one of the world’s most renowned designers, and is the Dean of the Royal College of Art. Neville rose to promincence in the 80’s as the Art Director of The Face, before moving to Arena in 1986. He is a designer, typographer, art director, brand strategist and consultant, and his agency Research Studios has clients all over the world.

A Push to Join the App Store Lingers Behind Apple Design Awards

While most awards are given out in celebration of a person or firm’s work, thereby boosting their profile (and more subtly, often to increase the awards-givers notoriety as well), Apple has taken something of a new route by using it to help push developers into joining their still-relatively new sales outlet. For the company’s upcoming Apple Design Awards, a rule was put in place saying that, for Mac OS X (the operating system software used by Apple on desktops and laptops), only applications that are available in the company’s Mac App Store will be considered for an award. So if you’re designing software that only sits on the shelves at the Apple Store or Best Buy, or can be ordered online but not through the App Store, you’re out of luck if you were hoping to win an award. As Arts Technica puts it, this is better than last year when the company didn’t even have a category for products made for OS X, but it’s still a clever push to get developers to join in doing things the Apple way.

Home Depot’s Stealthy or Accidental Roll Out of Their New Logo

Fairly quietly floating around Twitter late today was this photo of a possible new logo for Home Depot, spotted on a self-service checkout kiosk screen. We’ve hunted around and seen no mention that the company has announced a planned re-brand, so is this the quietest roll-out of all time, perhaps gun shy after what happened to companies like Gap? Regional logo market testing (we believe the photo was taken in New York)? Or an accidental glitch that updated the image before the company could get around to unveiling it? We’ll leave it up to you to decide your opinion of it, so comment away.

The only thing that raises a small, suspicious flag in our minds is that the photo was taken by one Gavin Becker. As his personal site says, he’s the Executive Director of Digital Innovation & Strategy at the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. So should we also be wondering if this is some sort of viral-y experiment?

Are Awards Shows’ Posters Encouraging Unhealthy, Stress-Filled Lives?

We seem to be on something of a labor kick this morning, so why stop now? Over at the HOW and Print affiliated blog, Imprint, there was a bit of a row this week over the perception that’s depicted through design and advertising awards’ marketing materials, all spawned by the Art Directors Club‘s latest Young Guns award posters. Designer and writer August Heffner is upset and bewildered by the regular vision offered by awards shows that “to be the best, you must work long, hard hours” and generally live solely for your office and the project you’ve been assigned, with no time left for idle living. To Heffner, this depiction as gotten more pronounced and pervasive over the years and all it’s doing is perpetuating the idea that design and advertising work must be miserable to be rewarding. Imprint then asked Justin Gignac, committee chairman for the ADC’s Young Guns, to respond. While he understands Heffner’s concerns, he believes that his association’s material tries to capture the dedication these young creatives have for their efforts. “We’re not telling people to work harder,” he says, “we’re celebrating their hard work.” However you respond to either side, both essays are interesting reads and well worth your time, particularly on a late Friday morning, when we doubt you’re doing much work yourself anyway.

Mullen Makes Mouths Water, Eyes Widen with Mesmerizing Yogurt Commercial

The most innovative thing to happen to yogurt advertising in recent years has involved celebrity-deployed euphemisms for “regulating your digestive system”—until now. Greek yogurt maker FAGE (prounced “fa-yeh”) tapped Boston-based Mullen to create its first television advertisements in North America. The lead spot (below), which debuted last week, is pegged to Fage’s foray into non-fat flavored yogurts (think Mango Guanabana and Blueberry Acai). Mullen collaborated with Psyop to develop this poetic and painterly 48 seconds, awash in slow-moving liquids that are reminiscent of some recent and similarly hypnotic video works by artist James Nares—with the addition of a whimsical bit of verse, a cow, a Grecian goddess type, and a voice-over by Willem Dafoe. It’s anything but plain.

Waste Not, Want Not: Vitsœ Takes Stand Against Planned Obsolescence

Buy. Replace. Repeat. Vitsœ is not amused. The London-based furniture company is taking a stand against planned obsolescence with a new campaign that highlights the practice of designing, manufacturing, and selling products that are deliberately intended to have a limited useful life. (Who would do such a thing?) Best known for its Dieter Rams-designed modular shelving system (“a flexible and faithful servant in the face of a turbulent world”), Vitsœ was founded in 1970 with the aim of creating “furniture that moves with you”—whether down the hall or across the globe—and now the company is driving home the point with this short video. It takes its title from a Massimo Vignelli maxim, “Obsolescence is a crime.”

Award Shows D&AD and The One Club Form Partnership

Our sister/brother blog AgencySpy has reported on an interesting joining of forces between two of the ad world’s largest annual awards organizations. The UK-based D&AD has announced that it will be working in joint partnership with the NY-based The One Club in forming Pencil Rankings, a system that will tabulate the wins from both awards shows and factor them all together. While some readers commenting on AgencySpy’s post about the collaboration have called it simply a money making scheme or similar to a stripped down version of The Gunn Report, which collects and tallies award winners for an annual book that sells for roughly $200, the Pencil Rankings site is brand new and difficult to judge until it starts operating next year. The big take-away here, to us, is the collaboration between these two big shows. Will be interesting to see how it all comes together. Here’s a bit from the new site about how the two see the new system working:

Launching in 2011, the newly-created ‘Pencil Rankings’ will measure performance in these two shows alone. Awards achieved in each environment will accrue a defined number of points, which are then totaled to provide an index of performance across both shows. The Pencil Rankings will be searchable, so agencies and clients can see overall performance, or performance within a defined subset, such as region, medium or agency type.

Mad Men Gets Meta: Roger Sterling to Publish Memoir

Spotted by our sister blog, Galley Cat, the show Mad Men is further dipping its toe into reality, as well as cashing in thanks to a helpful subplot, with the upcoming release of the book Sterling’s Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man, a fictional memoir penned by the show’s fictional character, Roger Sterling. Galley reports that the book is to be 176-pages, priced at $16.95, and, to prove it’s an honest to goodness book, wrapped in a cloth cover. Will it sell? To that certain subset of rabid Man Men devotees, surely. But wherever there are aunts, uncles, parents who remember that one time you mentioned liking that show, or last minute gifts for people who work in anything close to the advertising business, it will sell like Sterling himself had put together the campaign for it. The only thing that really gets us about any of this silliness is the truly horrible cover. We’ll be cool with it if that wrap around the bottom turns out to be a removable insert used to move units, but if not, our eyes are going to scream every time we have to see this at the bookstore this holiday season.

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