Tuesday, September 30, 2008

October's hot trends

ok, so what's going to be hot in October? What is going to move from mere fanboy favourite to full on hot cultural acceptance? Here are the October's hot trends, October's hot people, and October's hot issues...for the month of October.

October’s Hot Watch List

Hot Show:
True Blood

It’s already been green-lighted for the rest of the first season and HBO has renewed it for season two. Expect this to reach Dexter-like cult status in the first year, then lose it and become mainstream in the second. Awesome show though.

Hot cultural thing:
Being Jewish

After nearly 6,000 years, Judaism is finally in. Expect Yom Kippur to stoke a lot of interest among gentiles in the sacred and profane. Expect lots of interest in Montreal smoked meat sandwiches,

Hot celebrity:
Dakota Fanning

She’s actually talented and is not being adolescently sexualized. Kudos to her parents for being so level-headed. Expect to see a renaissance of this young actress who reminds me of a tiny Jodie Foster.

Hot marketing:
Bad advertising

Large out-of-home advertising that desperately misses the mark with its target audience and fails to convey anything differentiating about the brand

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

Hot issue:
Watercooler macroeconomics

Suddenly everyone cares about the economy. Expect to hear a lot more about why/why not the bailout plan should pass through Congress, the role that the credit markets play in our everyday lives, and bizarre hypotheses about the future of American foreign trade and investment. Note, none of these will make any economic sense.

Hot fashion statement:
Kawasaki 407 glasses

Palin’s glasses are a hit with pregnant small town hockey moms

Hot artist:
Primary 1

Electro-dance dj from the UK. Pretty fun and peppy. Can wait for him to get larger over here.

Hot brand:

It’s never been hipper to shop at Dominion, A&P, or Food Basics. Their
Irresistible line of products is actually pretty good. Expect to see a resurgence of interest with fresher stores, better signage, and a clean, improved look. Let’s hope that they maintain the focus on the food though…

Hot event:
Nuit blanche

It’s never been so cool to stumble around wasted in avant-garde art exhibitions downtown and pretend that you’re one of the glitterati.

Hot course:
Personal financial management

Suddenly investment banking doesn’t seem so appealing. Maybe you should realize that the free market you’re still not living in the free market economy of 1984.

Hot colour:

“Apparently girls like leggings and long sweaters that cover their bum” (Cherie). Every year there are fall colours but this year seems a little more sombre, “maybe it’s the financial crisis” (Cherie).

Hot technology:
the G-Phone

The T-Mobile G1 running the Google Android OS. Expect to see a lot of comparison between this and the iPhone. And where was Microsoft???

So that's October's hot list. Fortunately I already eat plenty of smoked meat sandwiches.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Understanding project strategy

I’m not quite sure what we’ve gotten ourselves into. B!G has seven projects this semester for six different clients. It’s rather daunting and the scope of organization needed to complete these projects is larger than we’ve ever had in the past.

I met with a B!G project team today working on one of our more technical research projects and I was thrilled by their enthusiasm and professionalism given how ambiguous and open-ended the client objectives are.

After listening in to their status meeting and giving a few words on the client, I asked, "is anyone confused?

No no, everything’s fine”, they replied.

Really? Cause I’m absolutely baffled by this project!

I can only begin to understand our role in it by stepping back and understanding the project as a single objective – not an amalgam of separate, interrelated objectives. In fact, this is how I approach most of what we’re working on, including our own organizational strategies. It’s easy to parse things and chunk out work into chewable deliverables, but it’s infinitely more clarifying to take the harder route and elevate the scope to see how each project, each person, each client fits into overall business strategy.

I find that forming mental maps before really digging into the work and involving yourself in the hard facts of the project acts as a north star. It allows you to see how your work, no matter how trivial or irrelevant it may seem, fits into the larger picture. Knowing this positively affects personal motivation and keeps the research insights aligned to a single tone.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The weekend links

Hi all, the links are back with the latest fresh marketing news and juicy web cultural content. Enjoy!

Sarah Palin got skewered again on SNL last night. What's really funny is that a lot of the dialogue is word for word what was said in the actual interview!

The Microsoft "I'm a PC" ads were actually created on a Mac. No surprise here!

I really miss working in an office. Hilarious office pranks and postit noting the boss' car.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn is gritty and gorgeous. Post-modern urbanism at its finest.

Find out what your name would be if Sarah Palin was your mom! Apparently I am Still Hardrock Palin!

Stairporn gets me so hot.

Are technologies, apps, and sites being used by our Web 2.0 elite becoming even more remote? I have no evidence or experience to believe that a gap between early adopters and mainstream users is expanding, but this article has implications for the general development of consumer products and services. Good read and highly recommended for B!G Associates.

The Japanese approach to lunch is wild. I want that monkey bento.

Sally, thank you for the toilet, rubber bands, and Viagra. Wait, just thanks for the toilet and rubber bands! These and other inventions for which we thank the British.

How to recognize when I am lying. If you still think I'm telling the truth then i've got a bridge in Alaska to sell you!

I'm really upset that the Quad-shot grande wet cappucino I dosed up on from Starbucks this weekend didn't make the list of the ten best hot drinks in Toronto.

Great photo albums from Christopher Wilson, my new favourite photographer.

Here's why Dexter would succeed in business. Looking at the students in the MBA program, I'd say we have covered all of these traits except loyalty! I like this post, really creative!

Finally, new music from Kings of Leon, 'Crawl':

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Search engine rap battle

This is exactly the kind of wise, crazy content I love to throw up on the blog.

Thanks Michelle, great reco!

Google vs. MSN

MSN vs. Yahoo

Google vs. Yahoo

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Consumerfying 90s music

In a mashup of Juliette Lewis, schizophrenic proportions, here’s how seminal rock albums of the 90s compare to modern consumer culture – keep with me on this!

Blog traffic is way up from that Sarah Palin article I posted from Rolling Stone. My concerns now are how to sustain it and how to keep things interesting!

This is an article I’ve been thinking about writing for a while. The 90s meant a lot to me cause I think that’s when the last good rock music died. Bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, Foo Fighters, were high on this wave of emotion from 20-something Gen Xers who were the first generation taught that that it was ok to feel apathetic about life. Although I was years younger and only beginning to understand my own teenage angst, the music left an impression.

Here are awesome 1990s rock bands and the consumers they now represent:

Ten (1991) - Pearl Jam

If this album was a consumer: the thrifty Value Village shopper
Why: anti-establishment and messy, slapdash and not neatly folded or colour-coordinated. It’s recycled, thrown together, and somehow still makes a unique outfit.
Best tracks: Black’, ‘Porch’, ‘Release

Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) – Red Hot Chili Peppers

If this album was a consumer: the douchy Holli-Crombie-Fitch collegiate
Why: Big chunky beats and tremendous drug-enhanced guitar work from John Frusciante, this album screams mainstream with an extroverted, sexual edge.
Best tracks: I Could Have Lied’, ‘Under The Bridge’, ‘Give It Away

To be seen soon at Hollister:

Tragic Kingdom (1995) – No Doubt

If this album was a consumer:
the Tween
Why: this is such an unapologetically saccharine, feel-good album. Loud, fun, funky sound that was new and that one could chew on for the entire summer. It’s a tween because everyone had it, everyone wanted it, and everyone either wanted or wanted to identify with Gwen Stefani.
Best tracks: Don’t Speak’, ‘Sunday Morning

Ritual de lo Habitual (1990) - Jane’s Addiction

If this album was a consumer: the spiritual skeptic
Why: cause this is a WEIRD album…weird messages and strange that make me feel like I’ve been transported to MDMA-fueled midnight beach rave in Goa. It’s difficult to understand, but really rich with mysticism and imagination.
Best tracks: Three Days’, ‘Stop

Garbage (1995) - Garbage

If this album was a consumer: the conforming non-conformist
Why: Butch Vig says that the name ‘garbage’ comes from the band’s approach to making music – taking the sonic remnants and piecing them together again. Garbage and goth will always be intertwined in my mind because of the gorgeous, sad, creepiness of the band and their caricatured adoption into fledgling emo subsculture.
Best tracks: Milk’, ‘Stupid Girl’, ‘Only Happy When It Rains

Jagged Little Pill (1995) – Alanis Morissette

If this album was a consumer: the mid-life crisis married male
Why: this consumer is awash with disposable income and looking to shock and awe. Sure female aggression was nothing new (Patti Smith, 4 Non Blondes, Courtney Love), but this edgy yet still radio-friendly album made feeling bitter and uncaring kinda cool.
Best tracks: Ironic’, ‘All I Really Want’, ‘You Learn

Siamese Dream (1993) – The Smashing Pumpkins

If this album was a consumer: the middle-class working mom
Why: It’s uplifting, peaceful, and incredibly aspirational. Powerful chord structure punctuated by soaring Billy Corgan guitarwork sets a singular positive foundation of the album with compassionate lyrics that suggest a consumer who is conscientious, caring, and affectionate.
Best tracks: Rocket’, Today’, ‘Mayonnaise’, ‘Geek USA

The Bends (1995) - Radiohead

If this album was a consumer: the savvy agoraphobe
Why: it’s not stupid music, it’s just misunderstood. The Bends still captured the experimentalism Radiohead was known for and brought the band’s music to a larger audience. The awkwardness and insecurity of the album’s tone resonates with outcasts who'd rather correct my speling than go play ultimate frisbee.
Best tracks: Just’, ‘Fake Plastic Trees

Purple (1994) – Stone Temple Pilots

If this album was a consumer: the workaholic microbrew-tippler
Why: 'Purple' is a pounding, ethereal album that set a hazy foundation for dreamers, druggies, and early dotcom-ers. In a bizarre smoothie of the three you get a yuppie urbanite of the three who’s introspective with a love for cultural idiosyncracies and pushing their limits.
Best tracks: Interstate Love Song’, ‘Big Empty’, ‘Lounge Fly

Dookie (1994) – Green Day

If this album was a consumer: the weekend mallrat
Why: The weekend mallrat loves brands, loves celebrities, loves their friends, and loves killing time. They rarely buy things but when they do they make rewarding purchases based as much on peer pressure as information and specs. Dookie made it ok to feel lazy and fucked up.
Best tracks: When I Come Around’, ‘Longview

The Battle of Los Angeles (1999) – Rage Against the Machine

If this album was a consumer: the urban Green
Why: Despite the anti-consumerist, anarchistic tone of the band, fans of the band were hardly as socially conscious as they’d like to believe. Having grown up and started earning incomes, they choose sustainable products but don’t know what it means to offset their carbon when they take business trips to Chicago.
Best tracks: Sleep Now in the Fire’, ‘Testify’, ‘Guerrilla Radio

Odelay (1996) – Beck

If this album was a consumer: the informed and cultured Wal-Mart shopper
Why: they’re rare but balk the trend by living a suburban life of leisure while still reading the newspaper, participating in online communities, and going to concerts. Odelay’s carefree, scratchy-mixed, major-keyed, melodic tone personified this attitude.
Best tracks: The New Pollution’, ‘High 5

"Which way to the paper towels?"

The Downward Spiral (1994) – Nine Inch Nails

If this album was a consumer: the pseudo-nihilist, suburban emo teen
Why: the album was commercial as much as it was some gothic expression through sonic electronic disfigurement. The album felt bad for itself and felt heavy throughout. It wasn’t black so much as completely lacking in any colour. As a consumer, its emo because despite the pity, sickness, and smut it wanted to be recognized and treated like an outlet for society’s abuse. It’s industrial to its core.
Best tracks: Piggy’, ‘Hurt’, ‘Closer

Use Your Illusion I & II (1991) – Guns n’ Roses

If this album was a consumer: the jingoistic slob
Why: Cause the album is like a sloppy drunk who has soiled themselves. Guns N’ Roses was that uncompromisingly American rock band that elevated the final notes of loud metal rock to elegant heights before finally imploding.
Best tracks: Don’t Cry’, ‘Estranged’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Knockin on Heaven’s Door’, ‘November Rain


Weezer (1994) – Weezer

If this album was a consumer: the nullified boyfriend
Why: Weezer rocks, but the album was a follower and although it set a precedent for whiny frat rock, it didn’t challenge musical paradigms or come across as being too offensive. Perfect for that pallid tag-along boyfriend who’d shops where his girlfriend tells him to.
Best tracks: No One Else’, 'Say It Ain’t So’, ‘Undone – the Sweater Song

Antichrist Superstar (1996) – Marilyn Manson

If this album was a consumer: the moneyed, educated professional woman who people misperceive to be a real bitch
Why: it’s a pretty smart album with an intriguing story arc that allows listeners to draw their own conclusions. On first glance it’s scary and obscene, for the same reasons as Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album, but those who take time to get into it and put aside preconceptions will be rewarded by what they find.
Best tracks: Antichrist Superstar’, ‘The Beautiful People’, ‘Little Horn

(What’s the story?) Morning Glory (1995) – Oasis

If this album was a consumer: the foreign tourist
Why: it came on the scene kinda unannounced and made a massive impression, paving the way for other sparkly, chewy Brit pop acts. Oasis really didn’t offend anyone but they were really noticeable. Thematically, the album seems like it’s an indulgent shopper on vacation who isn’t worried about the credit card bill when they return from holiday.
Best tracks: Some Might Say’, ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, ‘Morning Glory

"More sunglasses please"

Nevermind (1991) – Nirvana

If this album was a consumer: the conspicuous spender
Why: the album failed Nirvana’s grunge roots through its flashy, dirty excessiveness. It’s loud and obscene and over the top. If this was a consumer it would be the guy riding top-down through the financial district in his Lambo. (BTW, don’t get me wrong, I loved this album)
Best tracks: Lithium’, ‘Breed’, ‘Come As You Are’, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit

In the world of blogging, content is good, content is God!