February 28, 2011

How to approach Babyboomers, Gen. X & Y

This is a follow up on previous blogpost: A social media generation report that gave you a schematic and statistic insight into how Babyboomers, Generation X and Y uses social media in their daily life.

Today's link gives an instant and more psychological approach to the mentioned generations with a "must read" recommendation for those who want to dig deeper into the subject. 

To read article:  Emotional branding for the generations

Should I stay or should I go ?

Room with a view 2011
Here's an article discussing reasons for why we follow and sometimes leave in regards to social media.

It is interesting to read and important  knowledge. On the other side it's difficult to please them all and if you try; the danger lies in becoming general, soulless and not very interesting. In the long run stay true to who you are and what you have to offer. If you need to expand and reach out to larger groups and segments make sure you approach with different marketing strategies and tools.

At last a lighthearted tip to listen to the song "Should I stay or should I go" by the Clash, which actually points straight to the matter for any social media generator. (which again just confirms the fun fact that social media have many similarities with relationship issues).

February 25, 2011

Blue Music

Ever wonder how colors plays out in music? Here's some great examples with the color blue.  The video pick's are based on the color either appearing in lyrics and / or in a visual presentation. Some would may question why I not mention blues music as a genre. There is of course a link between the color blue and blues music, but this is such a vast area to cover that it is more than worth a blog post alone. And in a humble way I do know a thing or two about that. My mom loved music and she was a great fan of Billie Holiday. So against odds, as a child I grew up with blues music. I do comment about it in my project, ref. Have a colorful new year. Sometimes a little overwhelmed with only spare time and weekends to work on it - but it is moving forward, still in the process ; it may turn out to be a publication in some sort. Time will tell!

But back to the music! 

I was amazed finding this video with Dorothy Moore with the song that originates from her album dated 1976. There is no special effects, no lady Gaga costumes, the backdrop is so simple and in front a natural,  sometimes quirky, not choreographed singer with a big voice and a lot of soul. This video has restrictions in regards to copying so you have to click this link to see the video on you tube: Misty Blue

Moby's "Into the blue" resonates towards explaining the blue color as a communicative color and the video incorporates the use of relevant elements:

Moby - Into the blue - 1995

Bob Dylan recently appeared on the Grammy's award and for new generations an older ramblin' unknown guy with lyrics difficult to pick up. But he had (and may still have) an enormous impact on the baby boom generation. I can only encourage to explore his career, his impact and maybe most importantly his lyrics. In regards to this video clip "Tangled up in blue" is not a typical blues tune. In that sense I could have easily served you B.B. King's "Why I sing the blues" or another classic blues song. But this live video clip of Bob Dylan, gives other explanations to "why you sing the blues", about life known as complicated. Also the use of blue light on the cast of the video is interesting.

Bob Dylan - Tangled up in blue, 1974

Research versus gut-feeling

One thing that is important to remember in regards to "gut feeling" is that it is not a magical crystal ball. A gut feeling is eventually the result of everything you are, including your academical background, your experience and all the information you read. So keep on gathering; whether it is commercials on a subway train, browsing the internet, studies at a university or visual information from your surroundings. Your gut feeling feeds from all this. 

Nevertheless, research is important and should be an integrated part in any project. My blogpost "An uncomfortable discussion" could be a practical example. Make sure, either alone or with the support of others that your idea is unique. 

Soon in a internet 3D city near you!

Oh I can't wait to hook up my internet with Garmin like 3D glasses and drive into the  info cities and twitter towns! 

To read the article: The Internet in 3D

February 24, 2011

When art hits the hard reality of ....reality shows.

Van Gogh self-portrait - 1887
Here's an interesting article from Jonathan Jones, The Guardian that draws a bridge between art , modern pop culture and our perception. Philosophically speaking it should give some food for thought in our world of expecting everything from art to revolutions to be a success story as long as there's honesty and talent behind it.  But that is not always what happens. The truth is that Jonathan Jones is right. Van Gogh would not have won the X Factor, being like he was; a sometimes clumsy, silent, moody and difficult artist. He would probably have ended up in a big argument with the whole production crew of X-factor.

Modern pop culture is a world of diversity and Susan Boyle is an example of the opposite. She would never had been  discovered if it wasn't for the reality talent shows. All odds were against her, until she opened her mouth and started to sing and it was the moment of surprise that captured the audience. But thoughts go out to other artists where talent is obvious, but due to personality, looks or not being able to meet the demands of the star factory there is no audition or chances. Something to think about in regards to Van Gogh and the legacy he left behind as one of the world's most celebrated painter.

Here's the link to the article: Van Gogh would never have won The X Factor

The worlds best newspaper

Here's a chance to take a look:

"In its 32nd annual The Best of Newspaper Design™ Creative Competition, the Society for News Design has named Portugal’s i newspaper, a daily that launched in 2009, the World’s Best-Designed™ Newspaper."

To see the newspaper: 
"World's best designed newspaper"

Mountain climbing

Anirban Biswas from Kolkata, India.
This blogpost made me think of a saying from the world famous moutain climber Arne Naess: "The first step of a mountain climb is just as important as the last one".

This is actually life knowledge that goes far beyond any mountain hill and should be an important reminder to everything we do in our lives; whether it is climbing mountains or creating marketing materials. 

It again translates into the importance of putting some passion and research into the work you are doing, and not to assume all info you receive on your desk is valid. Do your (mountain climb) research !

To read the blogpost: In Groupon Ad, Even the Mountain Was a Problem

February 18, 2011

Absolutely wonderful !

Here's a look at the new design for Absolut's Wild Tea Vodka. Absolut is one of those companies that has a long heritage in regards to innovative design; always cutting edge and studying the design through several decades you will also see the design adapting to modern culture, art and fashion trends.

My take on the new design is that it represents a naturalistic and organic style in sync with tendencies in other markets and packaging design in general (Ref. blogpost: "Imperfect is the new perfect in packaging trends")

From press release:
"For thousands of years, oolong – or “black dragon” tea has inspired kings and cultures all over the world. Now, its dark tones and mysterious richness have been introduced to the wild, delicate character of Nordic elderflower and harmonized with a smooth, mellow vodka base." 

Check this link for a fun and interesting video about Absolut's history and design development: "The Story of Absolut"

Here is a link to another blogpost about the new design with a video from "behind the scenes" in the making of Absolut's campaign material: "Wild Tea Vodka? Yes Please!" 

February 14, 2011

Passionate food

Roasted Beets, Orange & Fennel Salad
Raspberry & White Chocolate Heart Cookies
Happy Valentine's Day! 

It's said a shortcut to anyone's heart goes through the stomach, so this is how SeeBe tries to accomplish just  that! Making a minimalistic but still passionate Valentine's menu by combining colors, creativity and some interesting ingredients into the dishes.

The salad to the left is incredible  together with different kinds of grilled food, but especially nice to grilled chicken or turkey. The beets are roasted in the oven with a  mix of brown sugar, olive oil and rosemary. After roasting, the beets are cut and mixed together with delicious sweet Florida oranges and Fennel which is considered as an aphrodisiac. Combined together with an oil dressing transforming new colors into a fabulous and heart healthy salad. At last topped with hazelnuts. Poor the wine please!

As an after dinner treat this year I decided to go for the more unconventional white chocolate (which really isn't chocolate at all!) combining it with fresh raspberries to achieve a romantic color into the batter. These cookies are really fast to make since they're made with baking powder.  (It doesn't have to take more than 30 min. including oven time!) The best of all: they're delicious !

February 11, 2011

Citysumers on the rise II

An updated version of article posted Febr. 11th, giving  a more practical perspective about this consumer trend: 

"..many brands are already delighting citysumers around the world. In the eight areas highlighted, where do you see opportunities for the brands you represent?"

To read article: 

The Rise of The Citysumer - Part 2 

This is the original link article posted Feb. 11th, giving you in dept information about the consumer trend:  "Citysumers - The future consumption arena is urban"

Priceless art

"The Scream" - 1893, Edvard Munch
This is "the scream" Hitler hated. Painted by Edvard Munch banned along with other artists by the Hitler regime as creators of degenerate art. (Of course any reminder of human pain must have been an ordeal for a dictator causing so much it). An almost laughable anecdote is that Hitler and his regime were art fanatics and had a big thing for earlier painters originating from the same country as Munch. Painters representative for the art style  national romanticism  (1840 - 1960) "Ref footnote"

"The Scream" has survived several burglary attempts and belongs in the same category as "Mona Lisa" and "Starry Night" as priceless paintings. It's absurd trying to figure out a value but the insurance of 200 mill dollars should give an idea.. Hypothetically,  if this painting were to be sold estimates are around 300 - 400 mill dollar.

The main reason for this blogpost is to open up new perspectives about Edvard Munch as an artist. It has for a long time been known that he wrote texts and passages in letters. But through research and release of new texts it is clear that he was a writer composing literary texts as a vital part of his life as an artist. The Munch Museum have a new exhibition this year from January 11th through April 25th called "Text & Image" Here is an introduction (in English) to the exhibition giving insight to Munch's  literary works : 

To visit the museums web page (in English): "Munch Museet"

Footnote: National romanticism is an art style celebrating cultural and national phenomenons and folklore, strongly influenced by philosophy, medieval and ancient Greek values, encouraging the use of what we in these days would call "special effects" (fantasy). So in regards to the last, Hitler enjoyed this art style based on his own conditions and adopted it as representative art for his regime. Ironically fantasy and dreams belongs to a free mind which clearly is on a frontal collision course with any suppressive totalitarian regime controlling peoples right to expressions. A couple of examples representative for the style:
"Bridal party in Hardanger" - 1848 Tiedemand & Gude
"American Progress" - ca.1872 John Gast

A social media generation report

Chinese character/symbol for "Old"
 A useful report from 2010 mapping out the different use of social media among generations born between 1932 and 1992. With a focus on senior generations including the baby boom generations and an underlying message not to underestimate the influence of these groups Especially if you use social media for marketing / PR purposes.

To read article:

February 10, 2011

Digital Museums

"The Merchant Georg Gisze" - 1532,  Hans Holbein the younger
Hooray - more art - Thanks, Google! This link give you the chance to visit several famous museums around the world. And the best part, technology has made it possible to go real close to study the artworks.

Give it a try!: Art Project powered by Google

To read more about the project, check this article from New York Times: The Work of Art in the Age of Google

February 9, 2011

Design & healthy food habits

Neon Melons 2008
We can discuss the role of packaging to promote healthy food until our faces turns blue. But there need to be a demand that creates initiatives and thereof budgets to produce healthy food products.  This is when designers and creatives can start to create delicious irresistible branding and packaging, tempting the consumer to a different purchasing decision.

There are already many nice examples of food packaging promoting healthy products on the US market. Some general examples are water,  fruit juices (not all of them so healthy though) and specialized food products found in the deli section, taking packaging and design to another level. (The design as an integrated part of the branding where the consumer also buy into image and lifestyle, not only the product ) 

Unfortunately many of these products are found in the expensive food isles, making them unavailable for those who would have needed them most. And some are so specialized that you by social demographics already have excluded 75 % of the population as potential buyers. 

What we need is manufacturers producing and selling products to the mass food markets that are brave enough to be a little progressive when it comes to packaging too. A prediction is that some of those who dare to step up to this challenge might be winners in the long run. What we have started to see these days of campaigns and effort to fight obesity and make America healthy again is just a beginning. What before have been healthy fashion and exercise trends belonging to minor high education/income segments of the population has and will continue to go mainstream. The reality series "The biggest looser" is a good example of that.

It's not only about packaging but also the concept of food and how we think and feel about it. These are social related factors, habits and values that goes beyond the packaging and can take a bit longer to change. But the future is promising with a first lady now reaching the 1 year anniversary for her initiative "Let's Move", to fight obesity and improve the health of children. But it surely doesn't hurt to have new thinking companies around either. "Editable Arrangements" is a good example on how a company can change our view on a food concept, by making fruit just as tempting like any box of chocolate. 

The inspiration for this blogpost is an article written by Alexandra Lange: What should food look like? 

February 8, 2011

Egyptian Blue

This could certainly have been a title of a sad blues song these days. As mentioned in the blogpost Have a colorful new year! I am trying to squeeze in some time  dedicated to a  project about colors. Ironically, before and during the early days of the riots in Egypt research lead me to Egyptian blue.

Some may have been be astonished, even shocked  to see how rocks, slings and primitive tools have been used in this war of freedom. I think it is important to remember that we are talking about a civilization that in prior times have been one of the most advanced in its time. What is truly fascinating is to understand how modern the ancient Egyptians were in their thinking and in their perception of the world. If you're not so into the history of colors here are some simple facts you need to know:  In the beginning all colors were developed, processed and extracted from plants and minerals all over the world and colors were an  important source for wealth and power - a big business commodity that in our days would have been traded on Wall Street! These were times were colors could have enormous power. As an example, the color purple was so sacred in some regions of the world that in our times it would have led to tickets and jail sentences if you wore too much of it not being a priest or a "holy" man.

Egyptians loved their blues and used many variations in a vast production of arts & crafts. Egyptian blue is made of silica, lime, copper and alkali and considered to be the first synthetic pigment invented and developed by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. An alternative to the much more expensive  mineral (stone) Lapis Lazuli. What really is astonishing, this accomplishment were a result of Egypt as a settled agricultural society far ahead of most countries. A civilization looking into the future encouraging growth of a non-labor workforce (like clerics) and advancement in science and the arts. It's time to look into the future again. Continued growth and expansion have better chances through a democracy giving the people, especially the young hope and strength and to avoid isolation in a globalized world.

February 5, 2011


And here's some slammin', jammin' groovy feelgood music:

Logo episode III

This article focuses on the risky business of a logo change and refers to last years Gap logo and the more recent change of the Starbuck's logo as examples of a failed attempt and a successful change. So far nothing new under the sun and it pretty much sums up previous blog posts about the subject. 

What is interesting is that the article points to how social media in our days plays  the role as a feedback meeter to any logo change. It refers to the rather drastic changes of the Pepsi logo through several generations. If we could go back in time, for example to the 1950's or 70's; not many had a chance to say much about a logo change except from of course the buying client and the ad agency staff. Somehow the biggest fear and challenge were probably how well received or criticized the logo would be by the professional community and other competing ad agencies. 

In those days the direct communication between a brand and the consumer may have been through some random market research and questionnaires that even with correct statistical data could only give a reflection of the market. If a consumer wanted to comment on a design, options were limited to either contacting the company office directly (and if you did, do you really  think anyone listened  much to John Doe's complaint about  the logo colors?) or you could send a readers comment to the local newspaper. If you were lucky it may be accepted and printed.

This is the thrill and scare of our time where social media give all brands the opportunity of  a direct and massive input of opinions about their branding and branding choices. Still professional marketers and designers need to make the last judgment call, but it is increasingly important to listen to the rumble of the ground, which really isn't a new thing. Just think about how the native Indians did just that to time and plan their strategy for their buffalo hunting.

To read article about logo changes: Taking a risk on a Logo

Previous blog post about the Starbuck logo: The mermaid of Seattle 

Previous blog post about the Gap logo: Filling the Gap

February 4, 2011

Love of an elevator

 Here's an article about art literally finding new spaces to fill in New York city and I think it is a great idea! As it sometimes happens with this blogger I got this allegory to this music video from 1989:

To read the article: In New York, an Elevator is an Art Gallery

My cart belongs to daddy ?

For years gender differences has played an important role for any marketer trying to map out a strategy for a specific target group. The classic, old school and predictable trend have been the awareness of women as a strong, sometimes "invisible" influence behind purchasing decisions. Another, the fact that women for generations has dominated the cart-strolling in most stores and what has landed into them. 

This article focus on what might be significant new changes in consumer habits and shopping trends between men and women. Not only as a result of new trends and shopping habits the last decade, but influenced by important demographic changes. 

One caution: The article does not disclose any information in regards to how the research was conducted. As with all quantitative market research the formulation of questions can have significant impact on the results, especially when you deal with psychological issues. Gender roles and peoples personal perception about them are still among issues that can be case sensitive. A "weakness" in this report is the age segment from 18-64 years which is too general. The results should have been broken down into several age groups which I believe would have given significant different and interesting results.

As the demographic gets more fragmented so does the shopping habits and trends. Obviously the growth and impact of internet shopping the last decade has led men to more frequently stroll the electronic shopping carts. New generations of women are steadily increasing their impact on the household economy and younger men have a different and more open approach towards being part of the household logistics. But as  the article mention, the results may be influenced by the wish to be perceived and/or self perception of being the main provider and a strong contributor to the household.

No matter what, it is interesting results that eventually will have impact not only on future advertising in all media channels, but also packaging design and other commercial design. In the meantime I enjoy the ride watching the attempts of adjustments whether it is Old Spice commercials for women (which proved very successful) or men portrayed with a soft backdrop of the bakery section of a Publix store. It's going to be interesting to see the changes towards more masculine household product commercials versus more feminine high tech commercials for products like for example 3D TV and cable ads and what about more feminine beer commercials ? (I love a good beer but I never drink "Dos Equis") I also believe we can expect much stronger social media reactions from men in regards to campaigns failing to pick up on changing trends, like the mentioned "Behind Every Olympic Athlete is an Olympic Mom".