Mar 16, 2012

J460. The Nike+ FuelBand Launch. Well Played.

Over winter break I met up with Stefan Olander, the VP of Nike Digital Sport, and he told me he was working on something big. That's all he said. As I've watched the launch of the Nike+ FuelBand unfold, all I can think is, "No shit!" Nike's unveiling of the FuelBand has been exceptional in reaching mass audiences and selling a product that turns working out into a game that can be shared across platforms. The band works to gauge how many calories you've burned and allows you to set a goal of how many you want to burn by the end of the day. You can watch your progress on your wrist or on your iPhone.

I want one. 

Its capabilities are fascinating. Mashable reported that at SXSW, "Nike will unleash the application programming interface (API) for NikeFuel... [which] will allow third-party music developers to infuse NikeFuel features into their apps or platforms."

Here's an idea of how the launch went down at SXSW:
And in NYC:

Here's how Stefan Olander explains the capabilities of the FuelBand:

If you still don't quite understand what the FuelBand does, Nike invited Casey Neistat, an artist and film maker from NYC, to attend the launch and make a movie about the experience. Basically, Nike told him about the band and strapped one on him for six hours of awesome:
Here's another one by Casey about the band. This one's my favorite. I like the Skittles. Nice touch.
As a side note, I'm kind of in love with Casey Neistat. My goal is that he will read tid bits of my blog and will one day want to collaborate on a short film with me. Lofty goals, I know. He also dresses pretty cool.

To sum up, I love the FuelBand. I love Casey Neistat. I love Nike. I love Stefan Olander. 

Mar 14, 2012

J460. A Culture of Apps.

For my final project I created this short video that shows what apps people love and hate, why they download apps and how they feel about brand's apps. I produced this to show people's reactions to brand's apps (and apps in general) in the hope that brands will design and create apps that are useful (and beautiful) for their consumers. Enjoy!

Mar 11, 2012

J460. A Thought On How We Learn. A Disruptive Eduction.

Recently I was assigned to read Luke William's book, "Disrupt. Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business." The book encourages people to think in disruptive ways - not the kind of disruptive that breaks cars, rather the kind that fixes things that are broken. In the below video he explains that disruptive thinking is"a way of thinking that basically turns consumer assumptions and expectations upside down and can take an entire industry into its next generation." 

For those of you who don't enjoy watching videos and/or procrastinating, here's what you missed:

We're talking about taking an industry in an entirely new direction. When competitors catch up, run in the other direction and break out of any conventional habits/patterns. I never realized there were so many because I always just accepted that that is just what works. To put this in a business perspective, think about soda: it's cheap, advertised as aspirational, and tastes good. Then think about Red Bull: it's expensive, advertised as functional, and tastes horrible. It was a raging success because it didn't follow any patterns of typical soda. Red Bull became the leader in the energy drink category and soon many companies tried to emulate the drink and its profitable success.

Now think about Zipcar. It did the same thing. Conventional car rental rules: rent car by the day, lots of paperwork, speak to salesperson. These habits were flipped on their head by the new industry leader and a gap was filled: rent car by the hour, no paperwork, don't see the customer. Boom! Reinvented industry.

Sienfeld did the same thing. Suddenly there was a sitcom where people didn't hug it out at the end of each episode and learn some great new moral value. I've seen every episode multiple times. I'd call that a success. 

To be the next Zipcar or Red Bull, someone must find a gap in an industry that has been functioning the same since you could remember and experiment with filling the gap. Disrupting for disrupting sake is annoying so Williams concludes that "it needs to be disruptive in ways that creates value for consumers."

So now we'll think about education, which I know a lot about considering I'm in my third year of college. I'm in the midst of higher ed and have been aware for quite some time that from the time we enter school around age 6 to the time we leave college around age 21, we are taught in the same way. 

The rules: 
go to class because you will be docked if you're not there 
no laptops or cell phones 
class is held multiple times per week 
during the day 
one (maybe two) hours long 
regular quizzes and homework 

OK - NOW LETS DISRUPT IT! The class I read Williams' book for did. It's taught by the wonderful Dave Allen, the Director of Insight and Digital Media at the ad agency, North, in Portland. His British accent makes us smile and giggle while his ongoing talks (and by talks, I mean rants) about the misuse of digital media for marketing keeps us awake.  

Just so ya know what he looks like and so you can spot him at a local Portland pub or at his SXSW panel (too cool), here's what he looks like:
Hint: usually, he doesn't wear a parka, he does wear custom black leather chucks (everywhere, they may be his only shoes), and he does have some awesome/intense arm tattoos. Keep your eyes out.

New rules:
go to class because you want to be there
open use of laptops and cell phones is welcome
class is once a week
during the evening 
three hours long (6-9pm)
no quizzes, no regular homework

This classroom situation works to promote learning, not because we're forced to and won't remember the info longer then the next quiz, but rather because we want to learn and we'll retain the info better and longer. As students, we take what we want from the class. For some, that's not much because it's easy to spend that time learning about friends of friends on Facebook, tweeting, or doing homework for other classes if you bring a computer. Or you can simply decide to not waste your or the teachers time if you're not going to stay focused and not come (I would prefer that, seeing as I wouldn't have to watch you scroll through Facebook photos of people I don't know).

Those students are only cheating themselves (God... I sound like my dad). They're paying a high price for a four credit class to learn insights from a leader in the world of advertising. Why the fuck wouldn't you listen?!?!

There are other students who are there to learn and who will take away as much as they can from the class. They will form a lasting relationship with Dave who may one day be able to give them a job or introduce them to someone who can. They will also not be wasting thousands of dollars on college classes.

It's a disruptive way of teaching, and in my opinion, it works. The people who come to class are generally the people who want to be there and they can only gain from it. The people who aren't there, clearly don't want to be and it isn't the teacher's responsibility to kick them out or penalize them (except with a poor grade). Computers and cell phones can be used in a positive way in a classroom setting. For us journalism (advertising) majors, it can't hurt to tweet about the wisdom that's being dished out.

Thanks Dave, 
For disrupting the habits of education. 
It was much needed and much appreciated!

Mar 4, 2012

J460. Brandon Pierce x Nike. Writing Pop Culture.

I met Brandon Drew Jordan Pierce at Wieden + Kennedy about five years ago while I was competing for an internship there. Back then, he was fresh to WK after time at Y&R New York and before that he was prepped and primed at The Creative Circus (from here on out, we will be going in chronological order, I promise).

This is Brandon (then):
This is Brandon (now):

...Standing next to Kanye. Basically, I know cool people who know cool people.

Currently, Brandon works at Wieden as a Senior Copywriter, mostly on the Nike account, but is willing to help out wherever he's needed. He lives and breathes Nike and is a full on sneaker head. When I asked him what he collected, he carried his computer over to the corner to show me: 

Then he brought over his favorite pair that he is waiting to wear when he opens a concert (we'll talk about his love of music later) for Kanye (hopefully):
They have glow-in-the-dark soles. Too cool. 

It's easy for him to write ads for Nike because he has an appreciation for the athlete and he is able to understand the athlete's mindset. He told me that a Nike spot should feel like a piece of pop culture, not an ad, making them timeless and beautiful. He's not selling shoes, he's selling a mindset and an experience. He explained that "there's nothing better, as a 15 year-old boy, then feeling like a company understands you," and that's what Nike's commercials try to achieve.

Here are some examples of how Brandon's helping Nike Basketball achieve that goal:

(Nike x Foot Locker)

To write the ads, he keeps an ear to the street and is inspired by music, TV, movies, life, eavesdropping, creative briefs, and even his dreams. He believes that ideas can come from anywhere if you just relax and open your mind. Brandon wants us to pay attention to what's going on in the world of fashion, music, art... basically, stay tuned and good things will happen. 

Why we love him:
1. He loves his job because he sees it as an opportunity to expose people to something they wouldn't have seen otherwise.
2. When he sees other ads it's like listening to a joke that he wasn't in on (he knows the process well).
3. His sneaker collection (I think it's grown since he took that photo).
4. He's met Tyler, The Creator.
5. His day job is advertising, his night job is music. He's currently working on an album but you can hear what he's been up to at
Here's one of his videos (which he co-directed. It's old school, made from a VHS):

His advice to us:
Go where the people that make good work are.
Don't get watered down.
Pay attention.
Don't be afraid to hit up a lot of places when we start looking for jobs.
Tell people what you want and be confident when doing so.

Places he thinks are worth a look:

Thanks Brandon!