Nice visual for Food Chains. 


Don’t let the fear of risk overwhelm you. It may feel like you’re risking a lot when starting a company, but the only truly non-renewable resource is your own time.

- Evan Doll

Great April Fools Joke from upscale food delivery brand, FreshDirect.

They have lots of fancy, provenance type products. Everything is sustainably or thoughtfully made, so this April Fools email is just pretentious enough to be plausible.



It has never been more important for brands to appear to be a part of the day-to-day realities of our lives. Being contextually relevant is a brand strategy that the best brands today take seriously and succeed with.

It drives brand affinity and keeps brands top of mind. Its makes us feel that this brand understands me, and what’s going on in the world around me. They are here, now, with us on this journey. 

While deliberately trying to be part of culture is nothing new for brands, doing it relentlessly and with imagination in a multitude of small ways, is.  That is the result of the Internet, media fragmentation, and the huge expansion of multi-channel, multi- device usage behaviors among people. 

360i (my agency) like many others does a great job of helping brands to be current, even to be real time, either way the aim is to help brands be (contextually) relevant.

I think some marketers think this is a one-time thing. But it is not. It’s a new mode. It is a strategy that needs to be committed to and stuck with. And it means test and learns, it means taking smart risks with new platforms, partners and activities.

But when you can get into that mode, it brings huge opportunities to reach new audiences and redefine how brands can engage consumers. And in doing so make even the most everyday brands feel super relevant.

Here’s an example for Miracle Grow doing just that for the start of spring. 

"Sensory fiction": MIT scientists have created a ‘wearable’ book using temperature and lighting to mimic the experiences of a book’s protagonist

"Sensory fiction is about new ways of experiencing and creating storie. Traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images. By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the sensory fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination. These tools can be wielded to create an immersive storytelling experience tailored to the reader"

Basically books that really make you feel something. I think this could be a very interesting technology for movie theaters, Kindle readers, and for kids books. 

One day, we will look back at Conference calls and say “why did we do that?”

Conference calls are part of my daily routine. Especially with clients and colleagues spread all over the US.

No matter how slick the system, or how organized you are about the whole thing, they are just plain awkward. Even with people you know well. 

This video captures the weirdness of it so well. 

Roll on the day when we have 3D holographic meetings or Elon Musk actually gets to build his Hyperloop. 

The Levitating Dunk: New Vine video from Oreo Cookie

How much force does it take to dunk a cookie? 

Design is a natural human behavior.

The Guardian, 2014

This outdoor ad from the UK caught my eye. Perhaps it’s because I deal with traditional media so infrequently now but I really loved the simplicity and effectiveness of this - no matter who you are, you’ll get this message. 

Love this book cover from thepenguinclassics for a A Clockwork Orange

Hello ‘Instagram Direct’. Goodbye Snapchat.

The idea: all the power of Instagram, but with the ability to share certain moments with a smaller group of people or person. That’s what Instagram Direct is all about. 

Private photo messaging between friends? Sounds familiar? Yes Snapchat is broadly the same idea. My sense is that the genius of Snapchat is actually replicable. And that the millennials who use it are somewhat fickle and will migrate to different platforms if it’s convenient and enough of their friends are using it. Which with Instagram is probably the case.

Instagram is still picking up momentum. Here are some huge numbers to illustrate:  

150 mm active users

16 bn Photos shared

1.2 bn daily ‘likes’ of photos

43% of 18-29 yr olds (with cell phones) use it

18% of 30-49 yr olds (with cell phones) use it

6% of 50+ yr olds (with cell phones) use it

[Source: Pew Research & Time Magazine 2013]

So despite Instagram Direct technically different as a platform to Snapchat- in that it’s not so time bound. It does have huge scale, great UX and has real momentum. 

My sense is that Snapchat should have sold when Facebook offered them $3bn earlier this year

It’s been a busy few weeks of work travel as FourSquare helpfully / unhelpfully reminded me at 6am!

Rebrand of Arboga Beer 

I have been a bit quiet on the blog front over the last month, due to travel commitments. Part of our Euro tour was 4 days in Sweden.

In general I love Sweden (and Denmark) for their innate appreciation of design. Well designed stuff is everywhere and its a joy to be around, particularly the many excellent identity systems.  

I saw this rebrand of everyday beer brand- Arboga - and thought it was interesting. This is no minor brand ‘tweak’, this is a huge leap towards the hip and relevant. It feels very millennial. Very digital. It simplifies and it clarifies.

And I suspect would have tremendous standout in bars and the state run liquor stores - Systembolaget - which is a surprisingly good store considering it is a state run monopoly.

Yes a monopoly.

As we found out, in Sweden you can only buy wine and beer from Systembolaget, a government run store. A legacy of days when alcoholism was a huge problem in Sweden and the solution was to regulate it.

Oddly, this idea appalls me (as a Brit, living in NY) and yet many Swedes, including our great friends are happy with the system. 

By buying in huge volume the Systembolaget is able to get great prices and offer a good range of wine / beer. And if there is something in particular you want, say a particular Napa wine, you can ask them to order it. 

So kudos and cheers! to the designer Gustav Karlsson, who has created something genuinely differentiated in a country where attitudes to alcohol are complex and the promotion of alcohol is not as free flowing as else where in the world. 

Trident launched the first 6 second ad made with Vine

The implications for brands are quiet big.  Short form videos, like Vines or Instagram Videos offer advertisers the opportunity to test content in social media, cost effectively and low risk, before launching in traditional channels. 

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