People: Steven Grasse

Steven Grasse Does His Own Thing, or at least that’s what Piers thinks. At the recent PSFK New York Conference, (self described) “maverick creator-entrepreneur” Steven Grasse closed out the day’s discussions with a spirited talk about his journey from “disgruntled ad man to revolutionary businessman”. He spoke candidly about his inspirations, trials and tribulations, and his passion for living a life driven by art, authenticity, and conscience.

I have been an admirer of Mr Grasse’s work for some time, since seeing him and his team (from Giro as it used to be called) present credentials to my then-client Virgin Mobile. I had been particularly impressed with their Camel Lounges and work with Sailor Jerry. I later learned he invented one of my favorite drinks (Hendricks Gin). Such is the esteem in which I hold Mr Grasse I can (almost) forgive his rather strange views on English people…

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Overcoming Creative Blocks, Keeping Innovation Alive

Scott Hansen has compiled a great list of tips and ideas to break out of the dreaded creative blocks we all encounter at one time or another. 25 different creative professionals all give their take on how to get back into the groove when faced with creative obstructions.

How to Kill Innovation: Keep Asking Questions
Sharing his thoughts in the Harvard Business Review, author Scott Anthony believes that content questioning is the real enemy of innovation. Anthony says that “What About…” questions – the ones which endlessly ponder every possible scenario and variable surrounding an idea or plan are what stops real innovation in its tracks.

And what’s the solution? Action.

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Advertising “Will Change Forever”, Creativity Makes Still The Difference

flickr madmen

Advertising Will Change Forever
Digital, which will be about 12% of overall advertising spend in 2009, is likely to grow to about 21% in five years. Along the way overall advertising budgets won’t grow much.

The Wicked Sick Project – by the creative team at George Patterson Y&R. Does creativity make a difference? I guess. These guys bought a BMX on ebay and relisted it with some creativity and it sold for 5 times the purchase price.
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Recession: Inspires Creativity, Doesn’t…

Advertisers are starting to squeeze their agencies hard. And it’s raising some fundamental questions about the shape of the entire business. Where does a creative industry go when its work is seen as something that can be traded like a commodity, negotiated upon retrospectively, reduced to a numbers game? The answer seems to be to use your creative skills more creatively, to generate revenue streams beyond the traditional advertising model. Which is exactly why the companies that were last week officially anointed adland’s best in class for 2008 are challenging the definitions of what an advertising agency actually is. Take Mother, unveiled last week as Campaign’s Ad Agency of the Year. Mother produced a movie, wrote a play, published a comic and made some great standout advertising.
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker wrote an interesting post about the decline of good advertising on television. It’s been quite noticeable lately (in New York at least) how many prime-time advertising spots have been bought by what seems to be infomercial and low-production-value spots. The glitzy Lexus ads have been replaced with advertisements for smock-like blankets with long-sleeves, Amish-made faux-fireplace heaters and strange, mouth-aligned goatee trimmers.

2008: The “Best Of” Begins …

The end of year retrospectives are pouring in. AdAge have started the ball rolling with a slew of “Best Ofs” … here is my pick of their picks…

I maybe a mainly digital guy these days (hey, who ain’t?) but I still love magazines. Here are Adage’s cover picks for 2008.

“Nonvideo Ad Efforts”
Ah yes. Who doesn’t love a good “Nonvideo Ad Effort”. Disappointing that Creativity doesn’t know what to call these things … I am finding myself much more “jazzed” (did I say that aloud?) by the so called “non video” efforts than by the spots…

dexter billboard

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Pixar’s Creativity, Crispin’s SNAFU, Dunhill’s Club, Undead Print

How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
Behind Pixar’s string of hit movies, says the studio’s president, is a peer-driven process for solving problems.
(tags: pixar creativity process design digital)

Evidently some of the “I’m a PC” were ads made on a Mac. Oh dear.
Yet another mis-step by Crispin Porter & Allthumbs. Someone got hold of the news that some of the recent “I’m a PC” ads were made on a Mac. A big deal? Possibly not. An avoidable screw-up? Absolutely.
(tags: microsoft pc mac advertising crispinporter crispinporterbogusky bogusky snafu apple)

The brand’s latest location is the Bourdon House in Mayfair, the former residence of the Duke of Westminster, which had been an industrial workshop. What emerged from the rebuild is partially a store and partially a lifestyle experience: Amenities include a barber shop, a spa with heated marble floors, and a 12-seat soundproof theater. There’s also a walk-in humidor, which sports a collection of cigars that run up in price to £50; if you want to smoke, you have to do so in the courtyard outside, but there are a selection of vintage scotches and rums to accompany you. “We want to make men’s lives easier, give them a home away from home,” says Dunhill CEO Chris Colfer Attached to the store is Alfred’s, a private club housed in the Duke’s fully restored former quarters. Modeled after the notorious Hellfire clubs of the 18th century, Alfred’s is only accessible by members. In order to become one, you have to be invited to join—and no, they don’t just let anyone in.

If Print is dead, this makes a beautiful corpse
What’s the perfect accessory for the designer bag you somewhat insanely splurged on? Not The Last Magazine, that’s for sure. This beautiful piece of printed matter, designed by Magnus Berger, a graphic designer from Baron & Baron, does make its readers look elegant and up-to-the-moment, with stories about various rising talents. But it’s huge — 15 inches by 21 inches. Consider it the coffee table book of fashion glossies. Since it appears only once every two years, you get a while to digest this supersize $10 portion of glamour, coming soon to newsstands. So you’ll have time to choose just the right coffee table for it.
(tags: print magazines digital future photography design popculture)