Facebook: The Movie

  • Aaron Sorkin, who co-created The West Wing and films like Charlie Wilson’s War, has agreed to produce a screenplay about the birth of Facebook. To facilitate the project — and hopefully draw feedback from the site’s vocal userbase — Sorkin’s researcher Ian Reichbach started a Facebook group called Aaron Sorkin & the Facebook Movie. In the group’s description, Sorkin writes:”I’ve just agreed to write a movie for Sony and producer Scott Rudin about how Facebook was invented. I figured a good first step in my preparation would be finding out what Facebook is, so I’ve started this page.” Sorkin’s kids. meantime, are mortified…
  • facebook movie

Unsnobbycoffee, Moss Art

  • While Starbucks has cut jobs and stores this year, McDonald’s has been launching regional marketing to roll out its new specialty coffee drinks. In Seattle, the chain zeros in on coffee aficionados with its website, unsnobbycoffee.com. There, users can stage an intervention for friends who are “addicted to snobby iced espresso.” As Ad Age food reporter Emily Bryson York explains, it might take more than savings for McDonald’s to convert Seattle’s java elite.
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  • It’s Nice That points us to a lovely bit of public art that just went up yesterday in London: The Mossberger Project by Anna Garforth uses moss as a tactile typeface, a sort of eco-grafitti that can be placed on walls, floors and other public spaces. Mossberger illustrates a verse from an Eleanor Stevens poem on a brick wall near Clissold Park in London. The project is part of YCN LIVE, a two-week long public and participatory art initiative currently underway in London. From the artist’s website: “Being interested in public art and ecology, it led me to thinking about sustainable grafitti. I collected a common moss that grows well on brick walls and glued it to the wall using a mixture of natural (bio active) yoghurt and sugar.” Mossberger will be on view until September 5th and continues on throughout London until September 7th.
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Fake Followings: Apple Orange Rentacrowd, Friend Feed

Newswires have been buzzing with reports that Apple’s 3G iPhones might not be selling as briskly in Poland as they are in the U.S., noting that the company’s telecom partner in the country, Orange, has hired people to stand outside stores and create phony lines. A juicy story, except for one thing: Orange says it isn’t true. The minor media storm over Orange’s alleged marketing methods began after the 3G iPhones went on sale in Poland last Friday. After a newswire report quoted a spokesperson from the European mobile telecom provider saying that it was paying people to stand outside and create the queues, the story was repeated across the internet and bounced around the blogosphere.

apple orange rentacrowd

Social media aggregator Friend Feed has released what has been called “the most important feature in the history of social networks”. Called “Fake follow”, it allows you to be listed as following someone, but not actually receive any of their updates. Interesting idea. This is useful if you want to signify your connection with someone, but not get inundated with every little thing the other person does online.

Microsoft’s New Ads (About Nothing?), Pizza Crop Circles, Tumblr Across The USA, 1970s

  • Ah, Microsoft. Just as the Mac is releasing a set of ads that focus on the fact that they can transfer files from a PC to a Mac free of charge (”just like that”), Microsoft has decided to carry out one of their biggest advertising campaigns in recent times, and has roped in comedian Jerry Seinfeld to hold their flag high. At a cost of $300 million for the campaign and $10 million just for Seinfeld, we’re going to pay close attention to how successful it is going to be (or not). Tech magazine Crave has actually crowd-sourced the whole topic. Their readers have smartly pointed out that Seinfeld actually used a Mac in the sitcom, and have a whole range of suggestions for alternatives that Microsoft should have considered.
  • To advertise its 100 percent whole-wheat pizzas, Papa John’s flattened about six acres’ worth. (Wheat, geddit? The delectable crop circle was created in a wheat field in Commerce City, so in- and outbound Denver International passengers can get a nice big eyeful of pie in the sky. For those that may find this particularly inspirational, a company called Circlemakers specializes in producing crop circles for brand names. Clients have included Microsoft, Nike, Greenpeace (nothin’ like a single serving of in-flight guilt), Hello Kitty, BP, and The History Channel. Oh yeah, and there’s also Ad-Air, a gigantorama billboard maker that’s infinitely less creative than a crop circle, but it could probably cover up a bad wheat-shaving nick with ease.
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  • David Karp’s Tumblr, the New York-based blogging startup, rolled out a site redesign yesterday. One of the new features is a Google Map showing where Tumblr users are located. We weren’t surprised to see the highest Tumblr densities are in Brooklyn and San Francisco — “sisters in idiosyncracy” dubbed <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/fashion/30sanfrooklyn.html&gt; Sanfrooklyn by the New York Times. We were shocked, however, to learn that there are actual Tumblr users in the rest of America — like say Kalamazoo, Michigan, for example. The cartographic evidence:
  • There’s an impressive collection of packaging imagery from the 1970s over on Flickr.

Instore RFID … Just Like Identity Report (Blah Blah Blah)

The WSJ has a piece about how “Identity Report” style shopper recognition may soon be a reality … (I am feigning jaded-ness, but I confess I am a closet PoP nerd … and recognize the power of the “final yard” (I just hope it doesn’t get too intrusive/ interruptive…)

With help from marketing technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID), in-store ads can be served to customers based on items they’ve recently purchased. Physical appearance will increasingly also determine what ads they see, the Wall Street Journal reports. RFID tags are already included in many retail purchases to help retailers keep track of inventory. As of January 2006, Wal-Mart’s top 200 suppliers were required to add RFID tags to packing crates and pallets. Dunkin’ Donuts began testing dynamic ad-serving technology in two Buffalo, NY stores. Ads at the cash register promote breakfast items to people ordering coffee in the morning. When they pick up their food, different ads prompt them to return for an afternoon coffee break or try an oven-toasted pizza.

Bogusky’s Hypocrisy?

I will come right out and admit that I am a fan of Alex Bogusky. I practically had a shrine to him in my office at Chiat after the MINI launch – as someone who was out there actually “doing it”. Is his new book (though laudable) a bit of a Dove v Axe move though? On the one hand espousing dieting, on the other hard-selling high fat and zillion-calorie meals?

alex bogusky

‘Meatnormous’ Master Pens Diet Book (Ad Age’s Take)
Alex Bogusky, one of the chief architects of Burger King’s audacious, effective but often gluttony-embracing advertising, has written a tome titled “The 9-Inch Diet,” focusing on the need for portion control and the damage done by Americans’ lack of discipline in that regard (complete with diagrams of large plates leading to large butts). The book, published by Brooklyn’s PowerHouse Books, is already preselling on Amazon, and was written “with a little help from” Chuck Porter, the other name above the door at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which also handles marketing for pizza giant Domino’s. It’s hard to think of a more apparently dissonant moment in the annals of adland. As Ad Age sibling Creativity mused when it broke the story on creativity-online.com, it’s hard to imagine Martin Puris, author of “Ultimate Driving Machine,” suggesting we should drive less. I wish Bogusy would out his money where his mouth is and persuade his clients to re-think their offerings.

    Haagen Dazs Bees, Uncommon Knowledge, Virtual Goods, Penguin Dating

    • Associating environmental, social, or political causes with brands isn’t just a cheap trend. Done properly, it is also effective: studies say 7 in 10 consumers have purchased a product or service because it supports a cause they believe in.. American Express demonstrated this when it witnessed a 45% increase in credit card applications during its Statue of Liberty restoration campaign. Haagen Dazs chose Bees. Honey bees began dying mysteriously about two years ago. The reason for this hasn’t yet been discovered, but scientists’ failure to correct the situation may yield potentially catastrophic repercussions on the human food supply. Since 30 of its 73 flavors use ingredients that depend on bees for pollination (e.g., almonds, blueberries, peaches), it was considered a highly relevant issue to Häagen Dazs. The firm launched a multi-platform campaign that included TV ads, print ads that flower when planted, a microsite, and philanthropic sponsorships.
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    • From Ace Jet 170: “Designing is basically the practice of combining stuff; ideally in ways that haven’t been seen before. So the more stuff you know (about everything), the greater the chance you’ll find a relevant and distinctive, and therefore effective (and original) combination. The combinations thing goes for everything we do: On one level we combine colours with shapes and typefaces and words, and end up with logos. On another level we take an airmail letter and the idea of love songs and think about love letters, and end up with things like this, despite who the client is.”
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    • In a game like World of Warcraft, some non-devout players often can’t be bothered to put the time & effort into gameplay to gain better weapons and armor for their avatars. So they’ll outsource gameplay to “gold-farmers” to play & advance their avatar. BBC reports that at least 400,000 people in China earn an average of £77 per month selling these virtual goods to players.
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    • PenguinDating.com is a new site by Penguin UK that aims to – you guessed it – help bookworms find love. In partnership with Match.com, Penguin launched the site to introduce a little literary twist to the online dating scene. While sites like GoodReads provide a virtual community for avid book readers, PenguinDating focuses more primarily on dating. Members of the site can search through Match.com’s member profiles to find people who share their literary tastes, as well as find members on PenguinDating through members’ mini-book reports on the latest books they read.
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    Virtual or Actual: What’s Your Reality?

    “Uncanny valley theory” refers to a gap in emotional response to humanoid robots and CGI characters. There’s a point where people feel creeped out by near-realistic human fakes when they take on an almost real but not-quite-right look. Think corpses, or zombies.That valley may have been crossed by computer graphics company Image Metrics. They’ve recently released a mind blowing video sample that demonstrates their new facial animation technology. In a nutshell, they record movements of a human actor, and can replicate and control facial micro-movements down to the pixel.
    This Kidnapping Is For Real
    A North Carolina woman is facing attempted kidnapping charges for driving to Delaware and trying to take her former Second Life companion at gunpoint. Kimberly Jernigan met her internet significant other in person a few months ago, after which the “victim” in this situation ended their relationship. Apparently, this sent poor Jernigan into a downward spiral, and after her first kidnapping at gunpoint attempt was laughed at, she posed as a US Postal worker to get his new address, broke into his home, bound and gagged his dog in the bathroom, and greeted him at the front door with a laser-sighted BB gun. After seeing the red dot appear on his chest when he walked inside, the victim immediately fled and called the police. His dog was unharmed, and the cops picked up Jernigan on the freeway sometime later. She is currently facing charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary, and aggravated menacing.

    Red Bull Cola, Creativity, Chico’s Mrs Phelps,

    • From the makers of one of the original energy drinks comes Red Bull Cola, a new cola with a twist. It’s the first major brand extension for the company and they’re setting it apart from other similar soft drinks and from Red Bull itself by taking pride in being “strong and natural.” We were pleasantly surprised by just how different from its cousin it is.

      Without taurine or any other secret formula, Red Bull Cola is more about taste than it is about partying all night long. Using all-natural ingredients (the caffeine is even extracted from coffee beans) and plant extracts — including kola nut, cacao, ginger, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon, lime and coca leaf to name a few — it has a complex spiced flavor with that classic cola taste.

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    • Merlin Mann at 43 Folders has done an interesting analysis of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas of how creativity works. The theory is that creative work gets done best in a seemingly paradoxical cycle of laser focused activity, and lazy idea gathering, idling and re-charging. In essence, creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. “Most all makers with longevity talk about a process that involves regular, scheduled work periods that allow generous time for warmups and getting into what Csikszentmihalyi himself has called, “Flow.” For as long as he or she can stay in that Flow state, a good artist is capable of synthesizing unbelievably disparate material and ideas in a way that’s often satisfying and productive. For those who cannot, it means another morning of video games, Facebook, and binge eating.”
      (tags: creativity art)
    • Michael Phelps’ sponsors, such as Speedo and Visa, have gotten their money’s worth in rub-off glory from his record eight gold medals. But an unexpected brand, not a paid sponsor, also has gotten buoyancy from his performance in Beijing: women’s clothing retailer Chico’s.That’s because Phelps’ mother, Debbie — a loyal Chico’s customer, but not an official endorser — has worn its garb throughout the Games. Every time she’s been seen in print, online and TV coverage in her Chico’s attire, the chain has gotten free exposure.