25Feb/110

Domo Arigato, Mr. Jones

Posted by Emily

Actors and actresses often get their first “big break” doing commercial spots, but you would think that once they slipped their fingers around that first glimmer of fame they would scoff at the idea of appearing in an ad for American Express or Groupon.  Although this is the case for several stars and starlets, some A-list celebs continue to do commercial work even after achieving Oscar-worthy success. Take a look at these 50 ads, all featuring Academy Award winners, both before and after they reached the pinnacles of their fame. Nicole Kidman’s ad for Chanel may not come as much of a surprise, but Tommy Lee Jones in an ad for a Japanese energy drink?

21Feb/110

The Khan Academy – Free Classroom for the World

Posted by Emily

At the Aspen Ideas Festival this past summer, Bill Gates described KhanAcademy.org as an incredible resource that he uses regularly with his own kids. The not-for-profit site was created by Sal Khan, a former hedge-fund trader, because he wanted to create a free online university and K-12 “school.” The site has more than 1,600 tutorial YouTube videos on topics ranging from the American Revolution and a 15-part series on the economic bailout to basic algebra and biology. The videos are created by Khan, who believes it's easier for students to learn from multimedia than from textbooks. “With the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere,” the Khan Academy is a great outlet for people of all ages, from every walk of life, and perhaps a signifier of where education could be headed in the future.

18Feb/110

Google it, Oscar

Posted by Cheryl

For the past three years, the Best Picture winners have all shown a noticeable spike in Google searches for the few weeks preceding the Oscars, with especially high interest in the New York region. If this pattern holds true, The Social Network is most likely to walk away with the Oscar for Best Picture.

Niv Efron, of Google’s Insights for Search, said, “We can’t say for sure what will happen this year, since searches can only reflect what people are interested in, but it’s fun to look for patterns.”

With Google’s Oscar Search Trends, which provides data for every nominee, you can make your own predictions in every category. Using this technology in the past, Google has successfully predicted flu outbreaks and even economic forecasts, so perhaps the folks at Googleplex are onto something…

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16Feb/110

Video Killed the Radio Star

Posted by Roger

Change comes faster than ever. It not only effects branding, marketing and advertising, but it strikes the heart of a business model.

Before the iPod, I would enjoy a Saturday morning shopping for music CDs, magazines and books. First the music section went away, then for me, magazines like my European cycling publications became available online. Finally came my iPad and Nook.

Now I carry, not only a good read, but my library with me.

Never has it been more important to be aware of fundamental shifts in lifestyle and buying habits impacted by the net and technology. Evolution in the business community does exist. From glory to bankruptcy now happens almost overnight. But for every business that faces demise, a new opportunity rises.

15Feb/110

Creative Packaging

Posted by Emily

Chances are you have purchased something based solely on its unique and eye-catching packaging – perhaps you chose one soft drink over another for your Super Bowl party because one bottle was shaped like a football or bought Kleenex instead of the off-brand because the Kleenex box featured more attractive designs.

Packaging is a key element in marketing, because it’s the packaging that makes one product stand out from the rest when a consumer is standing in the aisle of a grocery store trying to decide which type of bottled water they should buy.

YoutheDesginer.com has picked out 30 of the most bizarre and creative packaging designs that would entice most people to purchase their products…it would be pretty difficult to pass up this carton of milk, right?

11Feb/110

The GOP Loves Ya, Baby

Posted by Jennifer

Looking for the perfect way to say "I love you" to that special someone in your life? Just let Nancy, Keith, John and Barack handle it for you.

The GOP recently released these e-Valentines for you to send your sweetheart. There are 18 different options to help you celebrate the national day of love.

While these definitely aren't going to get you any points in the romance department, they're a great way to chuckle your way through VDay.

9Feb/110

Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one. ~ Mary Kay Ash

7Feb/110

Super Bowl Super Stars

Posted by Roger

Ok, we all know half the fun of watching the Super Bowl (at least for us advertising-type people) is the ads. Who's going to have the best ad? How much did it cost? Was it funny? Edgy? Did they go too far? It's really fun as a Creative Director to watch commercials made to be clever and be the star.

The Volkswagen Darth Vader spot was great, as was the Bridgestone Tire spot. My personal favorite was Audi. People imprisoned in old school luxury. Too funny. I think it was on target with the luxury car buyer demo, clever and well produced.

Too many of the spots tried too hard to be funny. The Etrade baby has apparently aged out of his highchair and looked like a second grader. It also seems that the prevailing notion is that the viewers are all young, horny, men with no taste or manners who view women chest high.

Here are some of our favorites from last night's game.

Audi's Release the Hounds

Volkswagen's The Force

Sealy's After Glow

Budweiser's Wild West

When you have the "best" ads, you also have the worst. Here is our pick. What's yours?

LivingSocial's LivingSocial Changed My Life

3Feb/110

The Art Project

Posted by Emily

Google and 17 of the world’s great museums announced a new initiative called The Art Project.  This project takes Google’s Street View technology and brings it within the walls of the world’s paramount art museums.

The Art Project lets you take a virtual stroll through the rooms and halls of museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Uffizi in Florence. Although many museums have offered virtual tours and enlargements on their websites for some time now, Google has made the experience more seamless and elegant than ever before.

Now, not only can you virtually magnify van Gogh’s Starry Night, you can zoom in, and in, and in until you see each track of hair in the painter’s brush strokes and the tiny cracks in the aged paint.

Visiting a museum in the flesh and standing inches away from great works of art is irreplaceable, but The Art Project offers a useful and engaging tool that is sure to be utilized by art lovers and art professors the world over.

2Feb/110

Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ~Jack London

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