Renegade Air gardening in NYC

I came across this interesting extension of the “Guerilla Gardening” phenomenon. Any of us who live in NYC know its not always the ‘greenest’ place – at least when it comes to flora and fauna. Thats why I was intrigued by TODO Design’s proposal to take over New York City billboards and greenify them with living “air gardens”.

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Billboards (contend Inhabitat) are “designed as monological messages aimed at a target audience zipping past in cars in a defined direction, such as a one way street. As the flip sides of the billboards are not designed to market to a pedestrian or community scaled audience, often appearing as blight on the landscape. Garden Spots proposes to exploit them to provide gardens in the sky, a place for nature to take root and to provide relief to the community”. (Interestingly, New York is also notable for its spectacular billboards aimed equally at a pedestrian audience).

I think it is an excellent idea to use billboards as a way of reducing a City’s carbon footprint and beautifying it at the same time. I have suggested green billboards to clients on several occasions (notably Planet Green) so far without success!

Apparently these air gardens are designed around self-sustaining technologies with photovoltaic panels powering the automated drip irrigation system fed from the base of the billboard towers. As such, the gardens will require limited management once established and can be monitored in clusters from a centralized location via wireless technology.

I just hope they use drought-resistant plants …

Post Scriptum: Actually this reminds me of Leo Burnett’s growing lettuce billboard promoting McDonald’s venture into fresh salad meals. Having just won Gold at New York Festivals’ Innovative Advertising Awards, the billboard was carefully constructed with a horticulturalist/landscape architect, allowing the lettuce buds to bloom over time, gradually filling up the sign with beautiful, edible leaves.

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Adidas v Walmart, Capitalism, Naive New Beaters, Foot Electric, Amsterdam Worldwide, BMW Rampenfest, Viral e-commerce, Campaign Cola, YouTube Film, Influential Brands

Fight the Smears, British Tea, Cranky Americans, Bookrabbit, Diesel’s Pinkpop, Zune Arts, Kor One

Goodbye To The Normals

I sense I am somewhat late in the game, but the viral/ trailer for Goodbye To the Normals is excellent. 411,000 views on YouTube so far, and I received it on my Facebook wall (via google video) this morning.

A spot of light googling tells me that “Goodbye to the Normals” is a British short film, approximately 4 mins long, which follows a fictional story about a small boy running away from home. The film was originally broadcast in the UK by Channel 4. It is currently touring the film festival circuit, either on its own or as part of the British Council Festival Submission Scheme.

“Goodbye to the Normals” was commissioned by Robbie Williams and his management company, The In Good Company Ltd, as one of several short films commissioned to accompany the release of his latest album “Rudebox”.

I guess the fact that I came across this so late means I am part of the Long Tail?

Improv Everywhere, Internet $, HBO Voyeur, BMW Touches Cloth

  • A bit of good-humored adaptation is part of the point of Improv Everywhere. They’ve staged more than 70 “missions,” including “No-Pants subway ride” that last year attracted 900 people, the “Food Court Musical”, and “Frozen Grand Central”.
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  • “While spending on Internet marketing has been growing dramatically over the past decade, the top 50 brand marketers are very much underrepresented. So far, the online industry has been “growing by grabbing the low-hanging fruit.” says Randall Rothenberg. The nation’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, which spends nearly $5 billion a year on advertising, devoted less than 2 percent of its measured ad spending online, according to figures from the 2007 Advertising Age list of leading national advertisers. The company spent most of its vast ad budget on television.
  • Voyeur first appeared on the side of a building in NY, lending the impression that passers-by could see what was happening inside. View part of the storyline. Bystanders were also given cards, which they could hold up to their eyes to see hidden details.
  • BMW unveiled the GINA Light Visionary Model, a concept set to transform the boundaries of traditional car design. ‘GINA’, has a seamless outer skin made entirely from a textile fabric pulled taut around a moveable frame of metal and carbon fiber wires

Tidal TV Beta

Tidal TV, a startup trying to compete with Hulu and Joost launched in beta last week. TidalTV offers both branded entertainment and news from the likes of Vogue, Ford Models, Dow Jones and Sports Illustrated and regular TV shows from channels such as CBS, National Geographic, NBC News, and Food Network. Interestingly, its CEO, Mollie Spilman, stepped down a couple of days after launch, for reasons that are not entirely clear.

Tidal TV

Its USP? The NewTeeVee blog has an interview with TidalTV’s CEO Scott Ferber where he opines “that Tidal TV’s edge over the competition is his track record in making money through advertising online, which he believes will help convince media companies to give the company their content”.

Cool In-Game Ads, Social Media Toolkit, Flogos, Twittering Ted, IKEA Pop Ups, JetVegas

  • The vast majority of gamers are apparently “fine” with seeing ads placed within video games, and those ads “pack more wallop” for brands than ads appearing in traditional media. This is according to a comprehensive new study released by top in-game ad vendor, IGA Worldwide. No agenda there, then!
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  • There are countless ways to get into the game with Social Media, but here are a few sample tools and what they can be used for, and from there, maybe some new ideas will spread.
  • A combination of water, air, a “soapy agent” and helium formulate the “environmentally safe” white foam. Each flogo can travel as far as 30 mi. and as high as 20,000 ft. Flogo machines rent for about $3,500 per day.
  • Twittering Teddy, made by by My Home 2.0 Techno-Gurus, is an animatronic teddy bear that speaks people’s Twitter streams through a live Ustream feed. You can friend Teddy on Twitter and here him speak your tweets as well as the tweets of your friends.
  • Prior to the launch of the new Brooklyn location of Ikea is dropping popup apartments at various locations around the city, including Union Square. On hand were lots of Ikea associates talking about the opening and handing out grand opening sale flyers.
  • Thrillist and Jetblue joined forces to create “JetVegas”. It was a sponsor-laden 36-hour boondoggle from New York to Vegas and back, enjoyed by 150 media-types.

George Bush: Damage To The “Special Relationship” (This isn’t a political blog, but…)

I don’t often write about politics on this blog, but a couple of articles in the UK press caught my eye. In an interview with the (London) Times at the outset of his trip to the UK, President Bush admitted “that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq,” expressing “regret at the bitter divisions over the war.” The Times reported that Bush now aims “to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.”

Yet Bush’s attempt to heal old wounds seemed to fall on deaf ears.
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The (London) Independent also issued a scathing editorial today reflecting on Bush’s visit and his presidency: “[P]erhaps Mr. Bush’s most significant legacy, as far as Britain is concerned, will be the destruction of the instinctive trust of America and its leaders that once prevailed here. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Bush has done more damage to relations between our two nations than any president in living memory. This rupture is not an accident of circumstance; there are no impersonal forces of history to blame. This sorry state of affairs is the consequence of the actions of a single leader and his small coterie of advisers. … And whatever the future holds for transatlantic relations, there will be very few in this country who watched President Bush’s plane depart yesterday without a feeling of profound relief that the end of this disastrous presidency is finally in sight.”

Andy McNab, Agency Overhaul, Segway, MySpace Redesign

  • Andy McNab fans are being offered the chance to have the villain in his next book named after them. The SAS author will auction off the character’s naming rights next week in support of a new charity in memory of legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
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  • MindShare is one of several big media shops to reorganize or reposition its service as one designed to offer broader marketing solutions. (Kudos to Nick Emery and Marco Rimini on that one!) In 2007, Carat and Zenith Media both implemented major restructurings. around client teams and digital.
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  • The Segway, which critics panned as a toy for geeks and the rich after it debuted in 2001, is finally gaining traction as gas prices soar. The $5,000, two-wheeled scooter plugs into a standard electrical outlet and can get 25 miles per charge.
  • MySpace is redesigning its site, partly to make it more ad-friendly. MIt also plans to improve nav, music and internal search, MySpaceTV (expect better embed/sharing options) and profile editing (kinda nifty).

Sun’s Virtual World

  • It’s called Project Wonderland and it’s a prototype for a virtual environment where business teams can meet and interact, but the enviroments so far lack polish and are graphically sparse. The screenshot they provide looks like a very rudimentary Second Life. I have had a couple of meetings in the Metaverse in the past few years, either with a Skype or phone conference attached … I have to say that the cartoony figures on the screen in front of me didn’t particularly enhance the experience.

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