A Box of Free Matter

Matter is a box of free samples sent to the willing, but much better executed than, say, this experience.  Love the idea of book samplers -- first chapters that look like the real thing, with covers and everything.  The project was powered by an idea that will only get stronger with time: "I've long believed that printed matter will gain new value in a digital world as everyone begins to crave the more physical / tactile / emotional nature of printed stuff" (source).  Reminds me of the Gum Magazine, that used to come packed with a bunch of stuff you could touch and play with.  

Dewey Defeats Truman

On Google Finance minutes ago. The graph shows major indexes up, while the left-hand side displays a newspaper reprint of a Bloomberg story from earlier today.

Graph: Credibility of Popular Business Theories Over Time

- via Chris Anderson's

Font Based on Obama's Handwriting

From requesting a date with the Obama girl to signing your own bailout -- this personality-cultish $16 font designed after the President's own leftie handwriting opens a world of creative opportunities.
-- via

Workout Routine from Cirque De Soleil

Why should pro athletes be the only endorsers of fitness products?  Are there other occupations that put certain demands on human bodies?   Are any of these occupations aspirational? (Garbage removal is straining but hardly inspiring).  

This partnership between Reebok and Cirque De Soleil (news release) is brilliant in how well it fits together and how not obvious it must have been until the duh moment:

"JUKARI Fit to Fly makes fitness fun again by introducing a new way to move in a gym workout and is accessible to all women, regardless of fitness levels. The hour-long workout has been created on a specially-designed piece of equipment called the FlySet. The result is a workout that gives the sensation of flying while strengthening and lengthening the body through cardio, strength, balance and core training."

So simple. 

Quote of the Day

"They collect followers on Twitter as proof of how brilliant they are at social media marketing, without realizing the irony that they are just turning their Twitter feed into a broadcast medium that reaches more people than they could possibly hope to have a "relationship" with."
- Kevin Rothermel

Branded Ailments

PlayStation palmar hidradenitis - recently discovered and described lesions that will appear on your  palms after you've played too much PlayStation. Sounds scarier than Nintendo thumb.

Instant Call Back Manager from F9 Group [ad]

A message for direct marketers from our sponsor F9 Group that offers a range of products for phone lead management:

"With a bit of new technology called ICBM (Internet Call Back Manager), a company buying a lead can have that lead flow through our system first. Within 7 seconds of your lead vendors sending the lead, the customer will be called, pre-qualified and transferred to your sales agent. You will get to the customer on average 2-24 hours before anyone else if you are buying non exclusive leads or the customer is online shopping around.

Most companies are either unable to get a hold of a lead customer or the customer was already contacted by another company before you called them back. Odds are that other company that called them back was using our technology."

Reactrix Dead

Just learned that Reactrix has folded last December. Reactrix made devices that created interactive floor projections and was among the coolest ad technologies I've seen on the job. They tried to create a media network of their devices; I always thought they should've been in business of equipment rental.  Catchyoo is a surviving competitor.

Job: Emerging Technology Analyst

A friend who works at this agency is looking for someone who can bridge the gap between geekdom and advertising (tm) and he thinks it just might be an AdLab reader:

"This position is focused on the "what's next" and helps to determine the strategic technology direction for the agency. The role is a mix of research, software and vendor evaluation and strategic planning. If you love social media, digital advertising and mobile technologies and feel like you have great ideas about how to use them and can communicate these ideas to the executive level, you should consider applying for this position. This position reports to the VP Director of Contributions."

In a nutshell, you'll be monitoring and reporting on all this new tech and figuring out how to use it to sell more of clients' stuff.  Eclectic skills required.  For more -- go to the source

Agency Site With a Chat Bot

McKinney has built a Pandorabot-based chat bot (aka "conversation engine") into its brand new site with a somewhat trippy interface. See if you can catch answers that were pre-scripted to make the machine sound particularly intelligent as opposed to the generic chat bot cop-outs like "Say what?" or "Come again".
-- thank you, Michelle

The Science Behind New Pepsi Logo

"Establishment of a gravitational pull to shift from a “transactional” experience to an “invitational” expression."

On my knees marveling in awe at the Pepsi brand document (pdf, back-up) attributed to Arnell Group. Genius, spoof or not (and I hear not), and entirely worth the $1 million and five-month wait.

-- source, via

Update [Feb 11 '09] -- This video posted a few months ago on YouTube references some of the geometry stuff from the document:

Ad-Skip This: TV in Contact Lenses

"Televisions could be fitted into contact lenses within ten years, according to analysts. The sets would be powered by the viewer's body heat, according to Ian Pearson, a so-called "futurologist" who has advised leading companies including BT on new technologies." -- Telegraph

Why the paper is referring to Mr. Pearson as analysts (in plural) is not clear, but the guy was writing about this stuff back as early as 1991: "Imagine that as you walk past a shop, some images tell you there is a sale on that camera you were dreaming of. Then as you approach someone, you see Robocop style information all about them, relayed back from the network based on the images being captured by the video circuitry in the lens. Imagine the social embarrassment you could avoid when the person says Hi John and you’ve no idea who they are. Now the information is all there in front of you."

He also predicted oil at $30 by 2030 -- back in September 2008, when barrel went for $96.

Working on an Anti-Smoking Campaign?

I'm looking at a bunch of anti-smoking creative -- from cutting-edgiest to decades-old -- and am wondering why just about all of the ads use fear to get people to quit (if that was the actual goal, that is).

Is it because fear ads are high on recall? But how many of those who remember that smoking kills (probably just about every smoker) actually take the step?

People subjected to fear ads may show higher intent to quit -- and that's how this creative is probably focus-grouped -- but do they manage to stay away?

Buyology's author Martin Lindstrom writes about fMRI scans of smokers' brains: "The warning labels backfired: they stimulated the nucleus accumbens, sometimes called the “craving spot,” which lights up on f.M.R.I. whenever a person craves something, whether it’s alcohol, drugs, tobacco or gambling."

[A piece of history trivia: ads sponsored by Big Tobacco that were designed to prevent teen smoking achieved the opposite effect (here's why).]

If you are working on an anti-smoking assignment, take a look at Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, a self-help book that has been more successful in getting people to quit than many other methods. Instead of nagging the smokers or scaring the bejesus out of them, he calmly -- and at times cheesily -- explains how smoking doesn't have any of the positive effects that smokers count on, such as controlling anxieties or relieving stress. It also explains how quitting doesn't bring about the withdrawal pangs smokers dread.

A campaign based on this platform would be a breath of fresh air.

On a related note, this Halo-themed anti-smoking machinima spot is lovely:

Half of Americans Have Poor Eyesight


Had some eyedrops today that made the computer screen and everything else up close really hard to see for a few hours, which gave me time to think about people whose eyesight is not the perfect 20/20. It turns out, there are plenty of those -- half of the American population over 19: "More than 33 percent were nearsighted and 36 percent had astigmatism, which causes fuzzy vision, the [research] team reported. Another 3.6 percent were farsighted, meaning they can see at a distance but not up close." (- Reuters, and here's the actual study)

Which means those who are in this half and are not wearing lenses or glasses have trouble reading whatever it is we are writing.

Why People Dislike Spam

I think the reason people dislike spam on Twitter (and email, too) is not so much because it clutters their info closet with useless junk as because they feel their hopes have been crushed a little each time they click on the username of a new follower expecting someone intelligent, entertaining. flattering or useful and are hit instead with self-indulgent promo crap. This makes people feel like that boy who thought he was getting a new Xbox for Christmas.