the changing face of social media

Love it when great ideas are extended into different touch points. In case you haven’t seen it, Weiden+Kennedy has successfully translated a television personality into a viral media success using everyday social media tools such as YouTube and Twitter to create a larger brand presence for Old Spice.

Check out the YouTube videos for OldSpice.

Visit FastCompany online to read Iain Tait’s interview with mark Borden of FastCompany on their ground breaking project with Old Spice.


Love the fact that Adam Quirk was able to raise funds via Kickstarter to send a clear message to BP.

Watch the whole segment on CNN.

postcards from hell

Beautiful photo essay on the state of the world outside of our own narrow periphery. Below are 6 out of the 61 stories and photos. Visit Foreign Policy to view the entire photo essay.

“For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicatorsto determine how stable — or unstable — a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it.”

Chad’s troubles are often written off as spillover from the conflict taking place in next-door Darfur, Sudan. But this central African country has plenty of problems of its own. An indigenous conflict has displaced approximately 200,000, and life under the paranoid rule of Chadian President Idriss Déby is increasingly miserable. Déby has arrested opposition figures and redirected humanitarian funding to the military in recent years. Matters might soon get worse as the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country’s east, where the bulk of the refugees reside, begins to depart on July 15. Pictured here, local Chadians in the village of Dankouche struggle to share scarce resources such as firewood with a nearby Sudanese refugee camp.

Life in Zimbabwe has undoubtedly gotten better since a power-sharing agreement between Robert Mugabe, who has ruled this southern African country since 1980, and Morgan Tsvangirai, his most prominent opponent and the current prime minister, entered into force in February 2009. Inflation is down from 230 million percent, goods are back on the shelves, NGOs are able to work again (though they are often still harassed), and the country is able to tap into foreign credit lines from regional banks and China. The bad news is that Mugabe has kept up his dictatorial rule as if nothing had changed; for example, he celebrated his 30th anniversary in office to the spectacular fanfare seen here, where children display militant loyalty to the ruling party. Mugabe and Tsvangirai operate autonomously, holding occasional talks to resolve disputes over cabinet appointments, land expropriation, opposition arrests, and media freedom — among other things. With little sign of progress for months, both leaders are now looking forward to fresh elections as the “only way out” of the political stalemate, as Tsvangirai has put it.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the epitome of a country cursed by its resources. Blessed with perhaps the world’s single most abundant, diverse, and extractable supply of minerals, Congo has been exploited from the moment its riches were known — first by Belgian colonialists, then by miserable kleptocrats, and today by the Army and various rebel groups and militias. Meanwhile, miners, such as those seen here, work for meager wages. For all the country’s mineral wealth, today it has little to show for it save one of the world’s most desperate humanitarian situations. Although the International Rescue Committee’s estimated death toll of 5.4 million since 1998 has been contested, no one doubts that hundreds of thousands, if not more, have died — not from fighting but from disease.

Trash overwhelms the eyes and nostrils upon arrival in Freetown, a capital city that expanded rapidly with refugees during and after Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war. Few of those safety-seekers have returned home, remaining instead in shantytowns on the city’s outskirts and in the seaside capital’s many flood plains. Public health is correspondingly poor in urban areas, with the fate of mothers particularly grim. One in eight dies in pregnancy and 43,000 children under the age of 5 perish every year. And what of the country’s blood diamonds, now out of rebel control? They were enough to feed and arm a brutal rebel movement but are far from enough to fund a country, bringing in just $35 million in the first five months of this year.

And this one hits home a little closer than the others since this is a photo from the Phillippines.
Democratic elections will see power transfer from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to her successor, Benigno S. Aquino III, at the end of June. Despite booming foreign investment, poverty is the dominant reality for the country’s population. Here, a child walks between shantytown blocks built on tombs.

the pleasure of tiny things

Absolutely gorgeous from Diem Chau. This is work that she did for Wieden + Kennedy which ultimately was for Nike. A total of 11 kits were created, I wish I got one!

the swagger wagon

This is pretty kick-ass for Toyota. Smart advertising. Check out the video on YouTube.

homeless man on billboard?

via, a homeless man is enlisted to live on a billboard platform to raise awareness for poverty.

Watch the video.

when life give you lemons, make a movie

Pretty good trailer about 16 advertising folks who lost their job. Here’s a synopsis of the story.

“What do people who were once paid to be creative for a living do when they’re laid off? They get creative with their own lives. Lemonade is an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling, encouraging people to listen to that little voice inside their head that asks, ‘What if?’

All resources for Lemonade were donated. From cameras to lights to flights, this is a project by and for those who have been affected by unemployment.”

You can see the trailer here.

now that’s more like it

Now that’s more like it. Finally a program that taps into and makes good use of unpaid workers.

(originally posted in the New York Times by Diane Cardwell)

From left, Layla Malavet, Micah Gibbens and Arvin Temkar at the office of Common Cents, a New York service organization.Ángel Franco/The New York Times

Since April, they have spruced up a dozen city blocks, helped give 164,000 flu vaccinations and installed 178,000 compact fluorescent bulbs in public housing. They are volunteers, part of an ambitious New York effort to tap unpaid workers as a permanent, strategic element in solving city problems.

The program, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s response to President Obama’s call to increase civic service, began in April and includes nearly 200AmeriCorps Vista volunteers who have fanned out across the city as a kind of consulting force, helping nonprofit agencies fine-tune their programs and recruit and deploy even more volunteers. Their work, city officials say, has resulted in 18,000 new volunteers serving 67,000 New Yorkers.

Now, that effort is going national. In Chicago on Monday, Mr. Bloomberg, Mayor Richard M. Daley and a coalition of mayors plan to announce 10 cities — Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Newark, Omaha, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Seattle and Savannah, Ga. — that will receive grants to finance programs of their own design.

“We see this as an urban innovation,” said Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which is providing the grants. “It really brings the mayors and the city leadership together with the volunteers in a much more organized way that, we think, has the opportunity for much greater leverage and much greater impact.”

Conceived as a way to address the country’s most pressing needs during an economic downturn, as those needs grow and public money dwindles, the focus on volunteers has been received enthusiastically by cities across the country. The coalition, called Cities of Service, is modeled on the gun control group Mr. Bloomberg started in 2006, and it already has 80 members working together to develop programs, share information and promote their ideas.

It is too early to know, though, if all the enthusiasm will improve government’s ability to solve urban problems. There have been many similar campaigns in the past, said Thomas H. Pollak of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, a research group.

“The challenge has been to break through the widespread cynicism that it’s not just some politician’s or some organization’s P.R. effort,” he said. “Offhand I can’t think of any of these sorts of initiatives that clearly reached a tipping point where they’re self-sustaining and transforming people’s sense that they can be involved.”

Surveys suggest that Americans are highly willing to volunteer from time to time, he said, adding, “Can you get not just a person who will come out for 8 or 10 hours once a year, or once a quarter, but can you really match up the needs of a community with the needs of the volunteers?”

But those involved in the program say it is intended to do precisely that by creating a centralized office within government to coordinate and manage volunteer activities at city agencies and nonprofit organizations.

“I think what Mayor Bloomberg recognized was that there are a lot of New Yorkers and literally people across this country who want to participate and want to give, and there’s a lot of great nonprofits already doing that, but let’s have a coordinated strategy and let’s focus on some real results,” said Alan Khazei, a nationally known proponent of community service who helped design the New York program and suggested that Mr. Bloomberg form the coalition.

Mr. Khazei, whose recent failed bid for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s seat drew support from Mr. Bloomberg, added: “And what this challenge grant process has done is led other mayors to say, ‘You know what, I want to do that too.’ It was already happening, but now it’s stepping up.”

The grants will provide $200,000 to each city over two years to pay for a “chief service officer” to run the volunteer programs. As part of their applications, cities had to identify at least two focus areas; all 10 chosen from the 50 applicants selected something related to education or youth, with public safety and the environment among the more popular other choices.

In New York, the program sweeps across several areas — strengthening neighborhoods, education, health, emergency preparedness and the environment — and seeks to make it easier for volunteers to find their way to the right organization, and to make sure the organization can efficiently use the volunteers. The emphasis has been on developing programs to advance the city’s most important policy agendas, a task made more urgent by the recession.

Thus far, the program appears to be meeting with some success, especially among the organizations using the AmeriCorps workers. New York Cares has been able to expand its programs by 20 percent, said Gary Bagley, the executive director, including its tax assistance program for low-income people. And Common Cents, which runs a youth fund-raising program called Penny Harvest, has been able to take on nearly 1,500 new volunteers, city officials said.

“These challenges aren’t going away, and we don’t necessarily have the money right now to weather this economic downturn without the help of volunteerism,” said Diahann Billings-Burford, the city’s chief service officer. “We are trying to build an ethic of service that will last infinitely.”

11-year old

(originally published on Gizmodo by Sean Fallon)
11-Year Old Writes iPhone Drawing App and Donates Proceeds To Children’s Hospital

He isn’t the youngest kid to write an iPhone app, but 11-year old Cameron is wise beyond his years. He is donating a substantial part of the proceeds from his drawing app iSketch to the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

Writing to Crunchgear, Cameron’s father explains the situation:

My son Cameron is 11 years old and, last year, he had a medical problem that prevented him from participating in the physical activities he otherwise enjoys. (He is nearly fully recovered.) During that time, Cameron became interested in computers, and he began to read anything he could get his hands on. He watched Stanford University professors on iTunes, scoured the web for articles on programming and taught himself several different programming languages. (Neither my wife nor I have any idea how to program.) Cameron began to focus on the iPhone and iPod touch devices as the “apps” offered for sale for use on those devices seemed really cool to him. He began to work on a few different apps. After completing some summer camps on programming and continuing to read and learn, Cameron finalized an app, which he calls iSketch, and submit it to Apple. The app, which is a painting/drawing program, was approved by Apple for sale on its App Store in December. (He has since updated it several times..)

Inspired by the care he received at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, Cameron has dedicated a substantial portion of the proceeds from his sales to purchase entertainment and electronic items for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA’s Child Life/Child Development programs in Westwood and Santa Monica so that pre-teens and teens will have additional age-appropriate options available to them during their Hospital stays. Cameron’s sales so far have been good, but he hopes to accelerate them so that he can donate even more to the Hospital.

Damn, that is humbling.

Despite Cameron’s age, iSketch looks like one of the better drawing apps in the App Store. Even if you aren’t interested in drawing on your phone, the 99 cent price tag is going to be worth every penny. [iTunes and iSketch via Crunchgear]


I received this email promoting to see if there’s a career for me in design. It’s sad to see that this is the state of how people see designers. Art director’s concept, copywriter’s input, photographer’s idea + the client’s input; are they implying that a designer is nothing but a pair of hands?

You’re given the art director’s concept sketches and the copywriter’s input for text for the campaign’s headlines and body. Next comes the photographer’s ideas about what looks right for the campaign. And don’t forget…the client’s opinion overrides all of these ideas. Your job is to pull together all of these elements and marry them in a way that should inspire the client’s audience to react to the message in a positive manner. It can be a daunting task, however the rewards of this type of work are great. Working with a group of creative professionals, getting the to chance to express your ideas, and especially seeing your finished work makes you realize how much fun you had with the planning, creation, and execution of the project.

The following links will lead you to more topics on the field of graphic design and help you learn if an education and career in this field are right for you