"We gather knowledge faster than we gather wisdom." - William Bell

Friday Fun: Models & Bottles

Posted: May 30th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

It’s Friday. Someone may have been on the patio of The Madison a little late last night exploring the “drunk” part of Idea Drunk, so this is a quick post. The following ad combines two of my favourite things: Heineken and Zoolander.

The movie was released in 2001. Is that too soon to be retro? If you have the appetite for some more throwback ads, check out Way Back Play Back.

- Christian


A Grain of Sand (Or Salt?)

Posted: May 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | No Comments »

The internet. Apparently, it’s available on computers. I read a recent interview from Wired Magazine with Brian Eno, where he discussed the impact that the interweb has on creativity.

Let me tell you who Brian Eno is. He’s a creative genius. First off, he’s a music producer. He’s produced/written for David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2, and Coldplay. Oh yeah, and he also composed the “Windows chime”. You know … the sound that rings out when you startup your computer.

He also rocks out as a visual artist. His current exhibit is called 77 Million Paintings. Software randomly overlays more than 300 of his own hand-drawn images, constantly producing millions of possible combinations. And it’s beautiful to behold.

To him, the greatest thing about the internet is it’s ability to share raw ideas. So often on the web, we are privy to peering behind the magic curtain and seeing ideas germinating in their naked form. No polish. No explanations. Just ideas. And since all of these facts and ideas are out there, we have an opportunity to collaborate and build on them. The internet provides the single greatest pool of creative inspiration.

Eno also mentioned the enormous quantity of ideas permeating through the internet. And the best thing is that you never know which is going to be the next big idea to take off. You can have a million grains of sand, but not know which one is going to cause an avalanche.

I want to be an avalanche-causing grain of sand. It sounds like fun.

- Christian


The Kobe Brand

Posted: May 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

How do you know that you’re the best? When you do something impossible and everyone believes that it’s real. That’s when you know that your brand is doing alright. When people love you so much that they suspend the feelings of disbelief.

Check out Kobe’s latest Nike commercial. He jumps over an Aston Martin in promotion of his new HyperDunk shoe.

I mean, everyone knows that those shoes aren’t going to make me play like an NBA all-star. But what Nike does accomplish is co-branded itself to the cool that is Kobe Bryant. (We’ll ignore the fact that the Lakers lost by a landslide on the weekend.)

Update on May 29, 2008:

Thanks to Jho for providing the link to the next iteration in the series: Kobe Jumps over a pool of live snakes.

- Christian


Why It's Okay That I Can't Draw

Posted: May 22nd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration, On Ideation | No Comments »

I had a revelation. You don’t have to be good at drawing to be an artist. All you need is creativity. Hugh Macleod has made a career as a cartoonist, but his visual art could be described as doodles at best. He doesn’t need elaborate artistic depictions to tell his stories.

From “Gaping Void” by Hugh Macleod

David Shrigely, an artist from the UK that has been compared to Matt Groening, can’t draw either. He even keeps his “mistakes” as part of his art. He just crosses stuff out and moves on. He doesn’t draft! He only creates final pieces. The beauty of it is that it adds personality to his humour and storytelling.

From “Evil Thoughts” by David Shrigley

What does this mean?
It means that anyone can create art. No skills are required. All you need is a brain! The only barriers to entry for creativity and art is thinking that you can’t do it.

1. It’s not the presentation, but the content.
2. It’s not how pretty it looks, but what it says.
3. Creativity trumps talent.

So why not try it? Get a piece of paper and draw whatever comes to mind. If you can’t think of anything to draw, focus on telling a story. Draw your favourite childhood memory. Draw the funniest thing that happened to you this weekend. Draw what you wanted to be when you grew up. It will look awful on the first attempt. Who cares? You’re being creative.

- Christian


Susceptible to Advertising

Posted: May 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration | No Comments »

Good marketing connects with you. Sometimes its because of an awesome in-store experience (Genius bars at Apple stores), sometimes it’s because it makes you feel good about your impact on the world (Method cleaning products), and sometimes it’s because it kicks your lazy ass off of the couch.

Over this long weekend, this ad is directly responsible for getting my lazy bum off out of my apartment. It made me run stadium steps, do sprint training and suicide intervals. It’s that good. I love it because it made me feel like Nike was kicking my ass into gear and motivating me to become a better athlete.

The follow-up ad gave me a lot of cocky things to say to people when the Nike-inspired training kicks in:

- Christian


Think About It

Posted: May 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Thought Starters | No Comments »

Here are some statistics that will blow your mind:

1. Nike launches a new sneaker every seven hours.

2. Coke puts out a new product every 21 days in Japan alone.

3. Grand Theft Auto IV took in $500 million globally in its first week.

4. Hillary Clinton has spent $157,384,855 in an attempt to become president.

The scale of everything is growing exponentially.

- Christian


The Benefits of Free

Posted: May 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Cool Ideas | No Comments »

People like getting free stuff. Especially if it’s unexpected. It promotes loyalty. It makes customers feel valued. It makes employees feel empowered to develop relationships with their customers. In an era where people are getting fired for giving away a Timbit (a tasty Canadian donut treat), it’s nice to see some companies can do it right.

At the Drake Hotel, a Toronto bar-lounge, employees are given $40 during their shifts to purchase on-the-house coffee or drinks for regulars or people from the neighbourhood. “We give them a budget amount and trust them to make the right call,” said general manager Bill Simpson. “We kind of empower them to promote hospitality.”

Very cool.

- Christian


David Usher, I Have An Answer

Posted: May 7th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: On Ideation | No Comments »

I began reading David Usher’s non-music blog, after stumbling on a link from Mitch Joel’s site. It’s different from a typical “I’m a real person who wants to connect with my fans and sell you shit” blog because it talks about art, creativity and technology. And it’s actually written by him (no offense Kanye).

In this recent post, he asks “Does the web make you more creative or is it all just noise?” Here’s my answer:

Access to the web makes you more creative. It provides you with an infinite access to information and inspiration. The more you know, the more you learn and the more you see, the greater the pool that you have to draw from to form ideas.

Granted, one might argue that there is a lot of crap out here on the interweb. But you’re in control. If you don’t like an article after reading the first two sentences, you can put it down. If you think a movie sucks after the first 15 minutes, you can turn it off. Just because there is an infinite flow of information out there, doesn’t meant that you have to look at it all. Pick and choose. And some of the best resources do that for you. Like the front page of Digg and the “Most Interesting” feed on Flickr.

The key benefit of the web is that it provides you with infinite inspiration, whether it be a funny YouTube video, a conversation with someone overseas or even looking at someone’s Facebook photos. And with more inspiration, the more creative you will become.

- Christian


A Burger Fit For A Superhero

Posted: May 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Random | No Comments »

Product placement works. When it’s done correctly, it can work astoundingly well. I will give you an example. This weekend, I went to see the much-hyped Iron Man movie. It was an excellent film with a good storyline that was extremely well-acted (which is a lot to say for a comic book movie).

The producers did a good job of integrated two brands into the storyline: Audi and Burger King. The integration of Audi was seamless. They featured a sexy new Audi R8, which fit with the main character’s persona so well. It made it seem like it was the type of car that a billionaire would drive, which is exactly what Audi wanted. They also had an Audi mini-van in it with a soccer mom that “brakes” just before hitting a giant robot. I thought that that was a little lame, but maybe it’s because I would much rather related to a fast sexy car than a safe mom-mobile.

And now for the Burger King. The product placement was humorous and delicious. I’m serious. When I saw the main character scarfing down a Whopper after a stint of being held hostage in Afghanistan, I wanted one. So much so, that it panged my stomach for the next 24 hours until I actually went to Burger King to eat one. (It was delicious).

The key to the effective product placement is that it has to be written into the script. The writing provides context for the product to be featured. In other movies, it seems like they just show a gratuitous product shot that does not relate to the story. By having the product actually written into the script, it prevents the brand association from seeming forced. When product placement is done correctly, it can influence even the most wary of consumers. When I was watching the movie, I knew exactly what was happening with the Burger King product placement. But I still got a Whopper.

- Christian


Brainstorming On The Bus

Posted: May 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brainstorming Techniques | No Comments »

The awesome thing about public transit is that it’s one of the easiest ways to get a ton of random stimulus. All you have to do is get on a bus and open up your senses.

Why It’s Good
Cities have so much to see that we are largely blind to. We spend so much time focused on our destination that we rarely observe our surroundings on our journeys. If you’re driving through the city, you never have a chance to soak in what’s going on around you because you’re concentrating on the road.

The people, the traffic, the buildings, the interactions. Brainstorming on the Bus allows you to see everything from a different angle.

How To Do It
Buy a ticket, get on the bus, go to the back and soak it up. Doodling on a big pad of paper helps me bounce into ideas. There are three steps to brainstorming on the bus that will help you succeed:

1. Explore what grabs your attention
2. Apply it back to your issue
3. Come up with ideas

- Christian

Adapted from “How To Have Kick Ass Ideas”