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Creative Musings

17 Jan

A recent article in FastCompany (have I mentioned I’m obsessed with this magazine) caught my eye and sparked a little creative thinking:

Inside Xtranormal‘s Budding Do-It-Yourself Movie Empire:

‘Xtranormal puts simple tools at the disposal of regular people. Choose from a selection of several dozen characters. Enter text (profane or otherwise) for your characters (bears or otherwise) to act out. Set your camera angle. Sprinkle in sound effects. Presto! You have your own mini-movie, ready for its online premiere… the company’s original goal was to produce an application to give film studios a storyboarding tool during preproduction. Hollywood loved the idea, but the animation and controls were too basic. Not true for the do-it-yourself crowd… revenue now comes from selling special characters and sets to users. While the company has yet to make a profit, [Xtranormal] anticipates getting into the black during the first half of 2011. With plans to go mobile and allow for collaboration over social networks, the challenge for [Xtranorma] will be to keep things simple while giving Joe Public more options to unleash his inner Tarantino.’

Read the full FastCompany article here.

And Spark!: my creative juices start flowing and the ‘what ifs’ just won’t stop…

What if… a cable channel used this ‘make your own movie’ site for a viewer ‘create your own promo’ contest?  The cable channel would invite viewers to create their own promo for a popular show with Xtranormal’s tools, and then the cable channel would pick the best promo (or few) to run on air.  Xtranormal’s revenue ‘now comes from selling special characters and sets to users’ (FastCompany)– so what if revenue came from creating customized characters/sets/sounds/actions/etc for the cable channel’s promotion?

Brainstorming this idea:

Situation: A cable channel is set to premiere a new season of a popular show (or a high profile special) and wants the  show/special’s promotional mix to include social media.  The channel thinks leveraging fans through social media would be a good way to connect with viewers and to spread the word about the show.  The channel has seen competitors embrace social networks to increase viewer engagement and knows it needs to amp up previous efforts in order to really make a splash with this new show/special.  They’ve been looking at some recent examples of how other cable channels are engaging viewers (just 2 among many, many others):

1. Bravo’s championship of Twitter and it’s creation of @BravoTV, ‘a real-time social media experience and interactive site where fans can engage with each other 24/7 about their favorite Bravo shows and Bravolebrities.’ (via FutonCritic)

2. Starz launch of the Facebook game ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ to the first 10,000 fans to sign up, a few weeks earlier than the show’s linear premiere to ramp up interest in the new show and to ‘[c]ater to fans’ growing belief that a TV show should live on in other forms of media’ (via Mashable)

The cable channel starts to see a trend: let the viewer be in control of  their own ‘viewing’ experience, (viewing in quotations because they know watching TV is no longer a passive viewing experience by traditional definition, but an interactive experience that spans platforms and senses) yet keep the TV show as the center of the conversation.

But what to do to make their own interaction with viewers unique? Hmm…

And then, a crafty researcher picks up her latest issue of FastCompany and reads the article about Xtranormal. Shazam!  The lightbulb goes off–

Solution: The cable channel lets it’s fans create the promos for the upcoming show/special.  Winning promos will run just like normal promos, giving the lucky winner (or winners) his/her 15 minutes of fame.

How the contest would work: The cable channel would promote the contest on air/off air/through social networks/on its website.  Promotions would drive viewers to the channel’s website, where the microsite for the contest would have videos about the upcoming show/series, contest guidelines, etc.  so viewers could learn about the show they are going to be creating a promo for.  And of course- the most important aspect of the microsite would be the embedded Xtranormal technology, allowing the viewer to create his/her promo directly on the channel’s website.  Viewers would only be able to use the custom characters, voices, sounds, actions, settings, etc. that Xtranormal would have created for the cable channel (back to the FastCompany article- the company is hinging making a profit on customization).  If each viewer has to work with the same customized elements, then it’s the dialogue/action/overall creativity they choose that will make the promos unique and entertaining but at the same time still ‘on-brand’ for the channel.

And talk about easy…viewers would simply have to create the promo with the customized elements and hit upload.  And the social networking aspect? A viewer would have to share the video on at least one other social site when they submit the video to the channel’s website. (think of the ubiquitous ‘share now’ buttons that link to twitter, facebook, digg, stumbleupon, etc. ) The ripple effect from sharing could be, in my humble opinion, huge.  (People love to share weird/interesting/unique things with friends, especially when incentivized)

Why I think this contest could be a big success: All three parties involved- the cable channel, Xtranormal, and viewers would benefit.  And it’s pretty simple.

1. Cable channel benefits: What better way to ensure that promos resonate with viewers than if the viewers create them themselves? And the cable channel would also benefit from letting viewers do a lion share of the promotion for the show through sharing videos through social networks… ah the ripple effect.

2. Xtranormal benefits: Perhaps help them turn a profit?  From the FastCompany article: ‘revenue now comes from selling special characters and sets to users.’  Creating custom elements for a cable channel would increase revenue by a larger scale than just selling special characters/sets to individual users.  Also, lots of added promotion for Xtranormal through the cable channel’s use of the technology (assuming the cable channel would either keep the Xtranormal tag on the video or at least link to the Xtranormal website)

3.  Viewer benefits: Chance for your creative work to be on TV? Not too shabby… and the chance to feel like your thoughts matter/can influence a cable channel? Also, not too shabby– I’ve written about it before, but I think the more viewers/consumers feel involved with your brand, the better– for all parties involved (past post here)

Now all I need is a cable channel and Xtranormal to buy into my idea… but I do think the idea of uploading video as a way to engage viewers is a very simple and workable idea… so hopefully this idea is a real possibility!

I haven’t done much research on as to what demographics best fit this idea, but judging from the stats and demo information from YouTube and Twitter/Facebook, I’d say video upload/watching attracts a broad audience:

‘People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube…Our user base is broad in age range, 18-55, evenly divided between males and females, and spanning all geographies. Fifty-one percent of our users go to YouTube weekly or more often, and 52 percent of 18-34 year-olds share videos often with friends and colleagues. With such a large and diverse user base, YouTube offers something for everyone.’ (via YouTube factsheet).

Gender is also relatively equally split on facebook/twitter, and the 18-44 age break accounts for 70% of users for both facebook and twitter. (information via this infographic)

Given this small amount of research, (my data lovin’ self is begging for more, but you probably aren’t) and the findings that both YouTube and Facebook/Twitter’s sweet spot in terms of age looks to be 18-44, (taking into account that 18-34 year olds mentioned as the ones who share videos instead of the 18-55 age group for Youtube and the 18-44 age break for the social networks) a younger skewing cable channel would probably benefit most from this type of promotion.  I would also assume that a channel with an already strong online ‘fanbase’ would most greatly benefit from this type of promotion, as the cable channel would have to leverage these core fans to be the first guinea pigs (or referencing The Tipping Point, the influencers who will spread the word about the project).

And why do I call the idea simple? The idea of uploading video isn’t earth shattering- or hard- and Xtranormal touts itself as a simple, easy to use platform.  From their info page on facebook: ‘ If you can type, you can make movies. The characters in the movie speak the dialogue in the script, and react to performance triggers—icons that are dropped directly into the script, just like smileys in IM/chat. Movies can be shared through e-mail, blogs and online video sharing and social networking sites such as YouTube™, MySpace™ and Facebook.™ And a cable channel running a contest?  Not exactly earth shattering, either. 

Simply, this idea embraces social networking, advances in technology, and the changing ways in which viewers consume television to, hopefully, successfully promote a television show/special & engage viewers.

So what do you think? Feasible? Silly? Boring? Willing to try it out?

At the very least- am I showing you that maybe, just maybe, researchers can be creative thinkers?

And just for some giggles, the video I made on Xtranormal… in about 5 min… just to show how easy it is:


Spiderman: Turn Off the [Tech]

28 Dec

What do Spiderman: Turn off the Dark and the Apple Newton have in common?

I’m sure the new broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark will be pretty spectacular… uh, if it ever gets off the ground.  The show ‘is expected to involve more flying and special effects than any Broadway show in history [38], with actors and dancers swinging over the heads of audience members.’  (from NYTBut are these 38 stunts too ambitious?  Are they really necessary to wow the audience?

The show has been plagued by money woes, technical issues, and injuries; ‘production shut down for months in 2009 after the original set of producers could not raise the money to capitalize the show, which at the time was estimated to cost around $40 million’- now up to $65 million, making it the most expensive show in Broadway history. (from NYT) Technical delays and multiple injuries have pushed back the start date of the show nearly a year after its originally scheduled February 2010 date.

Ok, so a few problems, but if it’s stunning and new and will be great, that makes up for all the problems, right?  Ehhh… enter another worry, the reviews haven’t been great either.

Richard Lawson wrote for the Gawker:

“I’m inspired to write this because people keep getting hurt trying to make this thing work, and people keep buying tickets and then, when they are upset about the embarrassingly low quality of the show, they are being told in bitchy theater tones “It’s previews, give them time.” Well, I’m sorry, but they’ve had time. And they still can’t get their shit together. People are injuring themselves, tech is a mess, and while they struggle to figure all that out, they’re trotting out a dying turkey of a book and score and hoping that’ll suffice. They shouldn’t be charging money for tickets at this point. This thing is baaaad, guys. Really, really bad. And before you say it, this is not me trashing some ambitious can-do theater folks simply for their ambition. These are people spending tens of millions of dollars — you could do ten good, expensive shows with the money they’re spending — to create a commercial product that’s so cynical it seems to operate under the assumption that a good story is unnecessary so long as there’s neat-o flying. ” (full review here)

And Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg News wrote:

“It wasn’t Gotterdammerung, but it was a thrill not unlike riding the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island: An hour of anticipation for about 90 seconds of exhilaration. At least we didn’t have to stand in line. The many longueurs were significantly offset by two key elements — the visual design that includes George Tsypin’s inventive, perspective-skewing sets and Donald Holder’s fantastically variegated lighting, and the ferociously athletic choreography of Daniel Ezralow… [w]hat the team, which includes Glen Berger, co-author with Taymor of the book, has put together so far is hardly the worst show of all time. It is, however, an unfocused hodge-podge of story-telling, myth-making and spectacle that comes up short in every department.” (full review here)

Ouch.  Not exactly the type of reviews you want to hear after spending 9 years on development and $65 million dollars.  Which brings me to ask a truly audacious question: Is it really worth it?  Is the technicality of the show, costing so much money and causing so many injuries, detracting from the story (hmm…the 2nd act is reportedly not even finished) or even what the audience wants?  Not to step on creative toes- because I think the ambition and ideas are wonderful- but I think the technical elements of this show are ahead of current consumer demands.

Could Spiderman have pushed the ‘wow factor’ without pushing it this far- what would 25 stunts have done for the audience? Or even one or two really awe inspiring flying moments over the audience-  Spiderman would still have been the ‘first’ to bring this feature to Broadway!  Would more attention to the overall show-  the storyline , music, costumes, set, and technicality- have made for a better effort to ‘wow’ the audience?  Does the audience really care about the extra technicality- or do they care about the overall show?  I’ll all for pushing the envelope with ‘crazy’ and ‘new’ ideas- ask the big bossman in DC, who gets at least one ‘I was just thinking… or I had this really weird thought…’ email/phone call from me a week.  But I’m also all about trying to really understand what these ideas will do for our consumers- and how we can implement them giving current and emerging assets. I’m not saying that every idea I pitch to the big bossman is feasible- trust me, most are insane- but I’m not sure if the team behind Spiderman ever went through the  ‘we think this is a great idea, now how do we implement it to best serve our consumers’ gut check.  An idea can’t be truly great if it doesn’t meet consumer demand- and I think in Spiderman’s case, the technical elements have outpaced consumer demand, making a very ambitious, almost great, idea fall flat.

So how does Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark relate to the Apple Newton?  The Newton is another example of a very ambitious technology that wasn’t exactly an astounding success.  The Newton was  introduced in 1993 and was among the first PDAs, ‘[b]ut [d]espite its groundbreaking design, touchscreen with handwriting recognition, and internal modem add-on, the Newton’s $700 price tag and notoriously buggy software led to years of slow sales …Steve Jobs eventually axed the project after returning in 1997.’ (from Time, full article here)

Hmm, sound similar to Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark? Groundbreaking, pricey, and buggy.  But even though the technology wasn’t quite up to snuff at the time of its launch, and ahead of its time in terms of consumer demand, it did pave the way for oh, you know, those little devices called iPad/iPhone?  Apple smartly revisited the failed PDA- I’m assuming after lots of research about what consumers really wanted from a PDA and reintroduced an improved PDA along with the birth of the Internet- and bam! a success. (and since we all know what assumptions make out of you and me, please correct me if I’m wrong)  Consumer demand and technology were more equally matched, unlike when the Newton was first introduced, when consumer demand and the new technology weren’t quite in sync with each other.

I think we need to apply this filter to our thinking- with so many innovative, groundbreaking, and creative new technologies bursting onto the scene, it would be a shame if they were to fall flat because we haven’t done our research (oh gosh, that awful word again!) and ensured that consumer demand and need actually meets these great innovations in technology.  Because these technologies can be great- evidenced by Apple’s eventual success with PDAs- but only when consumers are ready for the advancements in technology.  Being ‘geeked’ by technology is certainly great for creativity and innovation, but on the revenue side, not so much.  Tech enthusiasts can’t just push these new technologies through the market, consumers need to be able to realize the full benefits of the new technology for a true success.

What are other examples of technological innovations that have been/are currently on the market but are perhaps not completely ready for consumer demand?  My thoughts immediately turn to 3D TV… what are your thoughts?


7 Dec

: a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. (thanks Twitter about us page!)

I have a bit of an odd relationship with technology.  On one hand, I’m quite the laggard.  Oh I’m geeked out by the latest and greatest, but I’ll never own the newest and greatest gadget (my current computer is going on it’s 5th year).  And on the other hand, I’m completely fascinated by technology, and couldn’t be a bigger tech-evangelist WHEN it comes to seeing how the intersection of the traditional/’old school’ and technology helps to move various industries forward.  (Recent examples I’m just blown away by: Art more readily available to everyone via the iPad, professors using twitter in classroom discussion to enhance the learning experience, and Animal Planet’s charity drive with donations directly linked to program viewership).  I guess you could say I’m not going to be impressed by technology just for technology’s sake– it’s gotta be cool and beneficial for me to be really interested.

Think of technology as cool vs. beneficial as a traditional cost/benefit analysis (remember, I’m a total research nerd).  And technology for technology’s sake just isn’t cut it in a cost/benefit analysis.   Sure, I’d love a new computer or iPad (or just a new powercord at this point), but I can’t justify the purchase.  Why?  The expense far outweighs the practical benefits.  The functions I need a computer for- Excel, Powerpoint, Internet Browsing- can all be done relatively well on my old clunker.  I just don’t need a better one.  Besides looking great and perhaps not catching on fire (true story, my current computer has caught on fire and is somehow still fully functional), the cost would far outweigh the practical benefits for me at this point in my life.  A new computer wouldn’t move me forward in any way other than ‘cool’ factor.  Of course, if I decide to become, say, a graphic designer, the cost/benefit ratio will change and I will need more functionality.  That shiny new computer and new technology capabilities changes from just being ‘cool’ to ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial’— the technology jackpot in my opinion.

So what technology is topping my list as ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial?’  TWITTER.  And in the larger scheme of things, SOCIAL MEDIA.

Why I think Twitter is ‘cool:’

1.  It’s Easy and Convenient. Say something in 140 characters? Done in the blink of an eye.  Create lists so I can follow all the headlines I want in one place? Done in an instant.  Want to tweet from your computer? Your phone? Your iPad? Shoot, you could even tweet from the bathroom! Twitter is just so easy to use, it’s hard not to be impressed.

2.  It’s Free. Yep, in the world of overpriced gadgets and gizmos, Twitter is 100% free.  Even if you don’t own a computer or a cell phone, there’s always a public library/work computer to use.  I have access to all this great information for absolutely nothing.

3.  It Allows for Tremendous Access and for Network Expansion. On what other platform can I communicate directly and as easily with a top marketing exec or with someone from a different country? And for free? And in real time? And here’s the shocker– the response rate is great and Twitter actually allows for a true two-way real time conversation.  There’s no way that I would meet even half of the people I follow in mere months if I was trying to track them down in person or by phone, email, etc.  And going back to the ease point– it’s easy for someone to shoot off a quick 140 character response.  It’s harder to find an extra 15 min in the day to talk to someone.

So there’s the ‘cool’ factor recapped.  But how can this ‘coolness’ benefit the advertising industry (personally I think Twitter has huge potential for almost every industry, but just for modeling purposes lets stick to advertising)?  Let’s wrap all the ‘coolness‘ factors together–Twitter is easy, convenient, free, and a ‘networking’ tool… hmm networking you say?

Why I think Twitter/social media can be beneficial to the advertising industry:

Networking is the key to why I think Twitter/social media is beneficial to the advertising industry.  Twitter’s networking capability is an example of how the intersection of the traditional (networking, ie people connecting with people) with technology (Internet) can move the advertising industry forward.  We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly busier/faster/more cluttered, which in turn is making it harder and harder for advertisers to really connect with consumers– and for consumers to feel like a part of the conversation.  But Twitter is a ‘cool‘ and ‘beneficial‘ technology that provides advertisers with an easy, convenient, and real time network to (re)connect with consumers–

–So why are advertisers so resistant to including Twitter and social media as a viable and valuable advertising tool?  Isn’t the idea of advertising to engage and connect with consumers?  Here’s a great platform that gives advertisers the opportunity to have a one-on-one, two way conversation with their consumers, coupled with the fact that Twitter is easy to use, convenient, and free.  And the ironic part of it all? Twitter (and modeled to social media) broken down to the basics, taken from the about us section of Twitter: a real-time information network that connects you (whether it be on the advertiser end or the consumer end) to [information/people/the world around you]. That’s actually a really old, traditional concept- people connecting with other people.  So really, the joke’s on the advertiser if they continue to resist the change- since Twitter and social media is just the intersection of the traditional with technology.  The benefits of Twitter/social media far outweigh the costs- why not??

Your thoughts- what else can advertisers do with the intersection of the traditional with technology?  What other technologies are ”cool’ and ‘beneficial’ that could move the advertising industry forward?

Update: This nerd just can’t get enough– an example of an advertiser that GETS IT: Gatorade –> ‘The company recently created the Gatorade Mission Control Center inside of its Chicago headquarters, a room that sits in the middle of the marketing department and could best be thought of as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.’ (from mashable, full article here)

Let’s get digital, digital

1 Dec

(Best read to the tune of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’)

The One Community recently named the 10 winners of ‘The Best of the Digital Decade: Digital Advertising that Defined an Era, 2000-2010′ and I am in AWE of the campaigns.  Let me repeat, in jaw dropping, let me wipe my chin off the floor, did they really just do that…AWE.

The winners:

1. SUBSERVIENT CHICKEN, 2004, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky

2. THE HIRE (aka BMW Films), 2001-2, for BMW, by Fallon Worldwide

3.  NIKE PLUS, 2006, for Nike, by R/GA

4. UNIQLOCK, 2007, for Uniqlo, by Projector

5. WHOPPER SACRIFICE, 2009, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky

6. CHALKBOT, 2009, for the Livestrong Foundation and Nike, by Wieden & Kennedy

7. DREAM KITCHENS, 2005, for Ikea, by Forsman & Bodenfors

8. ECO DRIVE, 2008, for Fiat, by AKQA

9. HBO VOYEUR, 2007, for HBO, by two agencies, the BBDO New York division of the Omnicon Group and Big Spaceship

10. DOVE EVOLUTION, 2006, for the Dove brand, by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

(videos and descriptions of the top 10 here)

If those 10 campaigns don’t impress you, I’m not quite sure what will.  The campaigns ooze creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and pizazz (excuse me if my breathless adoration of these campaigns affects my writing skills and use of adjectives).  And most importantly, these campaigns make me EXCITED.  Yes it’s nerdy but true, but they make me EXCITED about what great advertising can be (and that’s all advertising, not just digital advertising!) and EXCITED about what’s to come as technology and ideas continue to develop.  And hey, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll just have a bright, shiny idea to add to the conversation!

Taking some deep breaths and calming down, I made a few observations about why I thought these campaigns were just brilliant:

1.  It’s not about ‘talking to’  consumers, it’s about talking ‘with’ consumers.  And it’s about giving the consumer more control than the advertiser. The campaigns engage consumers as if the consumer and advertiser were in a two-way, mutual, and friendly conversation.  The campaigns invite the consumer to build their own personal experience with the campaign, making the campaign engaging and relevant.

(ie, viewers tell the subservient chicken exactly what to do, those affected by cancer/supportive of the livestrong community are the ones controlling the tweets of the chalkbot, viewers control their sensory experiences with the HBO Voyeur campaign and IKEA kitchens…)

2.  It’s OK to take risks and break boundaries.  Controversy and backlash can be a good thing and can create buzz.  And it’s about being transparent so consumers can trust your brand. The campaigns made a splash because they were different- whether it be mainly to creativity that broke through the clutter, or honesty that made consumers do a doubletake, or backlash from a campaign that actually gained more impressions than the campaign itself.

(ie, Dove, a beauty products company exposing the industry’s way to create glamorous beauty photo shoots, Fiat widget allowing drivers to see exactly how their driving affects the environment, expanding the mission of the livestrong community/cancer awareness with personal sentiments on the world stage, IKEA giving consumers a 360 view of what their kitchens could look like, Burger King using Facebook for the opposite of Facebook’s purpose– by deleting friends for a Whopper…)

3.  It’s not about completely new technology/invention, it’s more about re purposing existing technology. The campaigns and the teams behind the campaigns were able to see the world through a different lens and incorporate existing technology/concepts with new technology to create the ‘wow’ factor in the campaigns.  Consumers need to be able to relate to the campaign, and if everything is new, that may be hard to get that connection.  Most of the campaigns didn’t reinvent the wheel, just took apart the wheel and re purposed it to better reach their consumers.   You have to understand where technology is now and what consumers want now in order to be able to create the successful ‘next best thing.’

(ie, Winning creative combos: Running+Music+network= Nike Plus; Chalk+Robot+network= Chalkbot; Friends+Fast Food+Facebook=Whopper Sacrifice; Music+Storyboard+network=HBO Voyeur; Chicken Suit+Fearless individual+webcam/network= Subservient Chicken)

4.  It’s about ideas being (seemingly) absolutely ridiculous… but actually not at all. All of the campaigns were probably laughed at when first introduced and dismissed as ludicrious, impossible, or insane.  But then some pushy creatives/teams got the head honchos to pay attention, and THEN.IT.WORKED.  Tradition was thrown to the wind and the companies allowed their ad campaigns to step out on a limb.  (probably with a little good market research first 🙂 )  You can’t be afraid to fail, you just have to take a deep breath and move forward.

(ie, Scenario One: ‘You want me to advertise Burger King by having some guy dress up in a chicken costume? How exactly does a chicken looking like a fool relate to selling Burger King?’ Scenario Two: ‘But I don’t understand- a robot that’s connected to a network? And how exactly do you plan to just go out there and write on roads- surely there’s a law against that.’ And Scenario Three: ‘We’re a beauty company.  Our products make people beautiful, and you want to expose what really happens at photo shoots… and that by using our products chances are you aren’t really going to look like that?’)

Innovation, engagement, a little bit of foolishness, and lots of creativity and determination- not a bad way to approach an ad campaign! (Or for that matter, life!) These are the type of campaigns that are moving the industry forward- and why a campaign like Subservient Chicken is still in the top 10 of the decade list even though it burst onto the scene in 2004.  The digital sphere is far more developed now (hello social media?) than it was in 2004, but advertisers still haven’t fully embraced the idea– it’s time to get digital! (digital)

Inspired by the ads and my learnings, I challenged myself to take the principles and think of the next great (digital) ad campaign.  And drumroll, please…

A campaign to raise money for public arts education.

The concept:

– Student art displayed and on sale in ‘galleries.’ Only these galleries aren’t in a museum or office building or school, they’re on the streets.  And the ‘galleries’ are white ‘canvases’ (actually screens) strategically placed around various cities, digitally showcasing students’ work.  The bottom of each screen reads like a typical PSA: ‘Donate to public arts education.  Buy this piece of artwork by texting xxx-xxx-xxxx and you’re helping ensure our children are getting a quality arts education.’ (ahem, not a copywriter but you get the point) The message is accompanied by a price tag for the art (nominal) and a phone number- the viewer just has to text the number to purchase the art (similar to texting campaigns for relief funds, billed right to your next cell phone bill.  And the artwork would be shipped to the address on the cell phone bill)

– The digital aspect: Students would create art in their classrooms and upload their work (through scanners, etc) to a central website.  The website would then digitally transmit the images to the various screens around the country, rotating them out once bought.

– Challenges: To work the program would probably have to be coupled with a major art event– free museum night in NY, a major art auction at Sothebys/Christies, outside of a huge art fair (Armory Show, Basel, etc)… and may only work in major cities with major arts outlets.  ‘Canvases’ would need to have some sort of electrical outlet since they are screens connected to a network, and there would have to be a traditional PR campaign so students would know to submit artwork.

Lots of challenges, but it’s- innovative, engaging, creative and a little foolish so it might just work!

Maybe my favorite deeplocal (creators of Chalkbot) can help me figure it out!

Just my luck…

5 Nov

So as luck would have it, the day after I decide to take the plunge and start this little blog, my powercord caught on fire.

Now I’ll admit- I have the flair for the dramatic, but my powercord really was flaming and smoking. How in the world does that happen? Well let’s start at the beginning…

My alma mater, Wake Forest University, ‘gives’ (read: included in tuition) each student a laptop- one as a freshman and one as a junior. Since the university is so generously ‘giving’ out these computers, they aren’t top of the line, snazzy, or beautiful machines. Just your basic computer with all the functions a college kid would need. The computer you receive junior year is yours to keep- a novel idea from the university- but the long and the short of it is, these computers don’t tend to last very long after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, most of the computers still work- maybe with a cracked screen or with a few missing keys- but virtually everyone I know quickly opted to upgrade for a newer, fancier version.

But not me. My 2007 computer is still with me, and will be until it flat out dies. I just honestly can’t justify buying a new computer. When I think of what I use my computer for, this old clunker is just as good as a snazzy new one.

My typical daily activities include:
1. Check email (hopefully not work)
2. Work in excel/powerpoint (oops checked work email)
3. Update twitter/browse facebook
4. Read NY magazine for restaurant suggestions, browse the newest collections in Anthropologie, keep up to date with NY Times/CNN/Wall Street Journal

Do I need some fancy machine to do this? No. And when I think about it, I can do almost everything I can on my computer on my smartphone (still working on the excel/powerpoint part). With my overly capable smartphone and my old (but still functioning) clunker of a computer, I just can’t justify shelling out for a fancy new laptop.

Which leads us back to the powercord incident. My computer has been through quite a bit since 2007, and it’s beginning to show its age. It overheats, emits a weird grinding noise from the clogged fan, and can only live on battery life for a mere 20 minutes.

And then the whammy, a flaming powercord. To be honest, I should have seen it coming. I’m no electrical engineer, but when a wire became exposed a year ago I decided to fix it myself rather than pay for a new cord. Having no electrical tape on hand, (what go out and pay for something???) I wrapped the cord with scotch tape, which surprisingly held up for quite some time.  But then that little engineering feat failed to charge my computer so a friend generously gave me her powercord… which she had also scotched tape (hmm maybe Wake Forest should offer some engineering courses).  Well it was bound to fail at some point, I just didn’t quite realize it would go out with such flair…

I’m beginning to lose my battle with this computer, having given in and purchased a brand new powercord today. But I’m not giving in yet- my goal is to make it to my 5 yr reunion with this same clunker!

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