Friday, November 27, 2009

Audio-induced creativity.

When you've exhausted the benefits of caffeine and hit the inevitably large creative wall, but you have to push through – try music.

"The use of music as a creativity endorphin is like a sonic caffeine" – says Don Campbell, classical musician and author. "Music can be used to activate, stimulate and relax the mind and body," Campbell adds. "More and more businesses are recognizing the importance of music in a work environment."
Music can affect your mood, transport you to a connected memory or era, propel you into a new perspective, allow your mind to focus, and even set a tone for your work (whether you realize it or not). Most importantly, music influences us on subconscious levels. Choosing a project or audience-inspired soundtrack can help facilitate intuitive connections, aka lateral thinking.

People define themselves through music. Finding new music that inspires me in some way is an ongoing journey. I'm drawn to a wide variety, but prefer complex, indie, and atmospheric music. My long-term favorite albums are the ones that seem to have a '3 listen minimum' before I truly appreciate them. In fact, sometimes I can't stand it on the first listen. Apparently, the third listen is when the new or uncomfortable becomes comfortable. Either that or the album gets left for dead and never gets a fourth play.


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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Ordinary goes unnoticed. Safe, but unremarkable. It seamlessly blends into our daily routines. Quiet. Careful not to distinguish itself. Ordinary promises acceptance and believability, but delivers mediocrity. If ordinary doesn't get challenged every now and then, society remains stagnant.

Things that are new and different make people uncomfortable. Trends are basically newly accepted ordinary things. If you follow trends, you're always behind. The idea is to take the lead and create a new thing above the trends. The trick is to get your clients past the initial uncomfortable factor. Cue the patience, trust, and insert killer pitch.

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Alex Bogusky and Colin Drummond gave a great overview of culture and planning on fearless q&a last week. How even people that see themselves as 'unique' long to be part of a like-minded subculture. Drummond mentioned an amazing photographic study on this subject. We pursue individuality and originality, but our basic human instinct to belong contradicts these ambitions.

I know I personally strive to be un-ordinary. Ironically, this includes all of the cliched agency creative traits: Reject the mainstream. Purposely seek things off the beaten path. Extreme confidence offset by moments of self doubt. Biggest fear? Being uninteresting and fading into the background of the ordinary.


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Naked viral from Zappos – no brand lines showing.

400 nude-speed records later, Agent 16 and Zappos have reached the epitome of viral success with their "world's fastest nudist campaign". Landing on CNN – incognito and completely brand naked, Zappos quietly drove people to connect the dots. In sheer viral form, the ridiculousness spans over YouTube, alludes to an upcoming documentary, and you can keep track of the happenings through The Daily Nude, Twitter, etc.

As the New York Times points out, Agent 16 somehow convinced Zappos that the best way to advertise selling shoes AND clothing is by getting behind a guy not wearing any.


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