Monthly Archives: June 2009

Philadelphia Fiesta

Cheesesteak Menu Score CardHave you ever slept so heavily that you found yourself pulling the side of your face from a chilled, unusually large puddle of drool? Don’t be embarrassed. Just by my saying that it proves you’re not alone. It also serves as the perfect metaphor for the way I drool over cheesesteak.

It was one of those magic moments the first time I had one–cheese and steak nestled harmoniously throughout the doughy in-betweens of a hero roll. There’s something unforgettable about that combination. So when Ford told me that my first monthly mission was to take three friends on a road trip to anywhere I said we had to go to Philly to taste the best that cheesesteak had to offer.

Philly Fiesta 008Before the trip even started we had to get the Fiesta camera ready; in regular spring time fashion, the trees in my neighborhood dumped pollen onto every inch of its hot magenta exterior–not a good look. After a quick scrub-a-dub session we started our trip down to Philadelphia.

The car handled great on the way down and the ride was really pleasant. At one red light we spotted a well-dressed gentleman eyeing the car from the next lane over. We rolled down our  respective windows and just when I thought he was about to pass the Grey Poupon, he started gushing over the Fiesta. Unfortunately, the cameras weren’t prepared to capture his enthusiasm. I’ve never heard so many questions asked in the short-time frame of that red light–if it was a test, I think I would’ve scored a 97% (minus 3% for lack of video documentation and number 2 pencil). The trip quickly carried on!

Crossing the bridge into Philly was like crossing my heart and hoping to die in cheesesteak heaven; we were so close we could taste it; and we would. It was an ambitious list to say the least: twelve cheesesteak shops compiled from recommendations across twitter, facebook, and travel forums.

From the beginning our biggest enemy was time. The first spot, John’s Roast Pork, was closed on Saturdays. Tony Luke’s, Jim’s Steaks, Pats, and Genos: all of them took around 45 minutes to an hour waiting on line–but were they ever worth the wait. Cheese Whiz seemed to be the cheese of choice in Philly–every shop recommended it for the “true experience.” We were full and it was getting late, unfortunately we knew we couldn’t complete the list so we decided to take in as much of Philly as we had time left.

"Eh-yo Adrienne"Thanks to a recently purchased GPS, the Fiesta made quick work navigating the city and brought us just outside the art museum and the famous Rocky Steps. The funny thing is, even though I was full of cheese, meat, and bread, the steps were surprisingly easy to run up. No body doubles needed for that scene I suppose.

After we had finished the Rocky steps ritual performed by millions before us, and actually, three others while we were there, we made route to one last location: Elfreth’s Alley. It’s known as the oldest and possibly narrowest street in the US.

This place was as quaint as a Hallmark card. We explored the little alcoves and length of the street to the sight of some interesting architecture. However, the sun was fading fast and with it our time to head back north. Before we left we christened the oldest street in the US with its first (and equally compact) Ford Fiesta.

Check out the video below and be sure to explore the channel for some other fun clips from the trip. June’s mission theme is technology and we’re looking forward to it.

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Boone for Business

BooneThanks to a tweet via @saman325 I came across the new site for North Carolina Ad Agency, Boone Oakley. When you click on the link you immediately notice something different about it. Mostly for the fact that the entire website consists solely of YouTube videos with interactive links.

As the introduction states, “We figured the best way to tell our story is to make our website one.”

I found the story-telling to be clever from the minor elements like their “loading bar” to the overarching presentation of their work and people. Above all else this concept of a website shows what the story is ultimately trying to say–“they’re a full-service ad agency for those who dare to daring work.” In this case, daring work includes the daring way they chose to display said work.

The only BooneOakley work I had been familiar with prior to the site were their GOBAMA Decals. As a testament to their website, I was engaged enough to explore the rest of the work they do–it’s always a good sign when looking through someone’s work doesn’t feel like work.

My gears immediately started turning. I thought it would be interesting to apply to the agency by making a YouTube video with a similar style, however while writing this blog post I found that my quick-witted and overall awesome ad friend Jason Rapport had beat me to the punch.

Jason’s video is great and I have no job to gain by saying that. He mirrored their tone perfectly while still making it his own–perhaps it came easily since I know for a fact his personality would be a perfect fit for their agency.

Please, support Jason by watching his video, commenting, and rating it. His attempt was just as daring as the website and like the website, should be rewarded by more than a blog post written by me.

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Phone Alone

London CallingThis thought occurred to me while I was out on a run: It’s a common happening that my friends will reach out to me while my phone is nowhere by my side. Usually I know this will happen in advance. That said, why not follow the lead of what AIM did with away messages and use them on our cell phones?

Picture this:

I set my phone’s Away Message as, “Out for a Run. Be back at 4:30pm.” This is now activated. While I’m away from my phone anyone that calls it or texts it will receive a bounce back message detailing that I’m, “Out for a run. Be back at 4:30pm.”

With that message I’m informing the sender that multiple calls/texts won’t reach me and I won’t be available to return their message at least until that time prescribed. I don’t waste their time and I don’t have to explain myself.

What are your thoughts? Would you find something like that useful in your life or am I the only one who steps away from his phone?

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As the World Keeps Turning

EHOn Saturday, March 28th, 2009 there was a moment of solidarity that requested change for the world (and, for all kids afraid of the dark, a change of underpants). Earth Hour 2009 asked everyone on the planet interested in action against climate change to make a unified statement by shutting off their lights for 1 hour, 8:30 PM-9:30 PM.

The photos, videos, tweets, and scale of people involved was meant to serve as a wake up call in Copenhagen during the Global Climate Change Conference in December 2009. At that time, world leaders will be meeting to determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. Earth Hour planned to make everyone’s voice heard at this meeting. It’s the equivalent of going around your neighborhood to collect signatures on a petition for the mayor (1,000 people desire this) but a much larger scale (100 million people desire this).

Before Earth Hour had produced any collateral I tried to do my part this year by creating my own collateral and coming up with a few ideas that could help gain participants on the hour of the day.

Collateral Suggestions:

NYC-Focused Collateral. One notable downfall to Earth Hour’s organization was a lack of basic templates that could tap into the power of participant’s creativity. This could have generated a greater sense of ownership over the change they were making and produce collateral more specific, and, possibly more effective, to their given area.

NewYork3

 

Poster Image. The visual idea here gave a typographical twist that made the 8:30 time slot more memorable than just saying it.

EARTHHOUR

 

Twitter

In an effort to draw my followers attention to the Earth Hour hashtag (#earthhour), I wrote an original poem with stanzas measuring 140 characters or less. By the end of it there were seven stanzas in all. You can read it here starting from the bottom going upwards. The title? How about: How far that good night can go.

Earth Hour Twitter Poem

iphone_homeiPhone

I wanted to see more interaction with new media to gain US involvement. As of last November the iPhone was ranked the most popular phone in the US. That’s not an opportunity to ignore. So what was the idea?

Create an iPhone Earth Hour App which functions on two levels.

  1. A functional utility. The app analyzes your phone’s settings and helps you conserve battery life by restricting its energy output for only what’s used at the given moment on the phone.
  2. A reminder. The app generates a message on the morning of the day of the event (March 28th). “Today is Earth Hour. Remember to shut off the lights at 8:30PM. Through out the day your iPhone screen dims darker as the final hour approaches. Just before the screen would turn completely black a final reminder sounds as the phone shuts itself off for that one hour, turning back on with a thank you message upon completion.

Every app that is downloaded and utilized would count as a voice added to the cause. This data would be collected by Earth Hour for their purposes. As for the user–they would be given a unique badge for their phone designating that they made their voice heard (this can also be placed on their website/blog/e-mail signature, etc).

The idea would have taken a bit more planning, likely months in advance of the event, but it also would have functioned as a memorable utility that pulled iPhone users into the cause.

Candle Lit Dining and True Blind Wine Tastings
These two concepts came to mind as alternative activities to draw people into the spirit of this event. Rather than telling people to sit in the dark, let’s give them something fun to do.

Candle Lit Dining
The idea behind Candle Lit Dining was to organize a majority of restaurants in NYC to host a special pre-fixe dinner during Earth Hour, March 28th, 8:30-9:30PM. The meal and reservations would be prepared in advance as the restaurant shuts down all electricity and allows the entire meal to be served and eaten by candle light.

Unfortunately for this idea, but fortunately for the thirsty of Africa, Droga5’s Tap Project was already organizing with restaurants for its third year of participation asking restaurant goers to pay $1 for the tap water they normally drink for free. I don’t know how many causes one restaurant is willing to sign onto.

Blind Wine Tastings
There are so many restaurants, bars, and shops which sell wine. If you don’t believe me you can look at one local blogger’s map of them. This is for wine bars and this is for shops. That’s a lot! Not only that, but there’s a vibrant online community of wine bloggers/twitterers. Why not combine the passion for wine with the passion for climate change? Campaign a true blind wine tasting at area shops and online. People can reserve spots in advance and sample wines in the dark with friends. No distractions, no blaring lights–every sense involved except sight.

Earth Hour 2010
The hour has come and passed, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. I would love to see some of these suggestions implemented in the city for next year. I invite anyone who reads this and is interested to mobilize these ideas to lend a hand. The sooner the planning starts, the more we can involve NYC like it has never been involved before–we can do more than have Coke shut down one billboard in Times Square.

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Childhood Relic

Below is likely the first commercial I ever wrote (read to the end and you’ll see why). It’s from an assignment I vaguely remember us having in 3rd grade. The teacher wanted us to pick an item we really enjoyed and write a commercial about it. It’s an interesting look at my writing style then.

My First Commercial

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Swine Flu Equals X

Swine Flu Equals X

 

WHO‘s gonna solve for X? Hopefully. I just did this for fun. Thought it would be interesting to design a visual message requesting the vaccine for swine flu. Feel free to repost this or make something else cooler out of the idea. Just give credit, please. k thx bye.

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Pecha Kucha

No, I’m not cursing at you in another language. Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “the sound of conversation,” or, as we say in English, “the sound of conversation.” 

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Pecha Kucha event by @sohojohn and was told it would consist of “a bunch of creative leaders, varied across industry, giving presentations.” Sounds awesome, but what’s so Pecha Kucha-ey about this? I later found out that it’s a distinct style of presentation where the speaker is only allowed to use 20 images and is limited to 20 seconds per slide/image. As for the topic of the presentation? It can be anything the presenter wants. The presentation is on a timer, so once a speaker begins it forces them to stick to the rules. This formula keeps presentations short and allows for great range as topics flow from presenter to presenter. 

I didn’t know what to expect, but, since the event, I’ve become a Pecha Kucha believer. Everything held my interest and was interesting. Every topic was a surprise and the evening left me feeling inspired. If you feel like your brain needs a kick in the cortex, come to this event when it moves to your town.

To give you an idea of the range of topics that evening, I’ve included three of my favorites from the night (compliments of @perangel):

Appropriating Everyday Objects

 

Whaling In Alaska

 

SwissMiss Design

 

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