vcu brandcenter identity

Editorial copy from next weeks creativity:

“VCU, One of the most esteemed educational institutions connected to this business of ours, a school charged with grooming the next generation of creative marketing torch bearers, is no longer an Adcenter. School steward and MD Rick Boyko recently announced the school would now go by the handle VCU Brandcenter. (see p. 6)

Aside form provoking relief that the school’s deciders didn’t go with something more oblique and annoying (or something with “Idea” in it) the name change seems apt. Boyko has spent his tenure at VCU retooling the center’s program to mint minds for the new era, expanding the scope of the school’s teachings with the goal of creating graduates that aren’t merely carriers of attractive portfolios and makers of attractive ads but creative thinkers and marketing problem solvers. In addition of a Masters in Creative Brand Management in 2005, to help spawn a new breed of creatively enlightened marketer and account person, and last year, the Advanced Management Training program for creative directors.

So if the Adcenter isn’t an ad center anymore, is the industry into which its students will graduate still an ad industry? Are you people still ad men and women? The head of our agency of the year David Droga called himself “absolutely an advertising man” in our last issue and yet we recognized his agency’s work in part for its non-advertisingness. Is the distinction important? We’ve talked at length in Creativity about name calling–if it’s not advertising then what? –as have others. TBWA’s Lee Clow has famously pursued a vision of a “media arts company” as the evolution of an ad agency and has told us in the past: “Brands today cannot be sustained by what in the past has been called advertising…everything a brand does that connects to the consumer is media, is brand communication. If orchestrating the art of all those media conversations isn’t advertising, then perhaps the creativity of what we’ll do in the future needs a new name.”

-Teressa Iezzi, Editor – Creativity

Its great to be at the Brandcenter in 08′.   Pictures of the new space to come soon …


Mute Math + Sony Bravia

check out this new video from mute math for paper darren. i have some experience with stop motion animation. but this takes it to a whole new level…this is fantastic.

My love for stop-motion has seen a lot more action in the industry of late. It seems there has been a huge surge in stop motion throughout advertising as well as branded entertainment. Directors are playing more and more with the technique and coming up with interesting new ways to apply stop motion in their advertising. It’s a more relevant perspective than ever before.

The new spot for Sony Bravia in their ‘Colour Like No Other’ series uses play-doh rabbits in New York, and She’s a Rainbow, a relatively unknown Brian Jones era Rolling Stones song, as the soundtrack. 2.5 tons of plasticine (fancy Play-Doh) was used stop-motion animate hundreds of bunnies and blobs on the streets of New York City. Billed as “the most ambitious piece of stop-motion animation ever undertaken”, the commercial employed 40 animators and took about three weeks to shoot.


Experimental music videos, artists and even regular folks are picking up the trend and producing some really innovative videos too. Check out ‘D.A.N.C.E’ by Justice and ‘They Made Frogs Smoke ‘til They Exploded’ by Mum. The t-shirt flip book style spot is also a pretty inspiring way to tell a story, as is the straight up flip book by Robot Fight.

Smart Music



Radiohead, which offered its latest album as free downloads last week, has seen 1.2 million downloads of “In Rainbows.” With no label, no promotions, and direct access to fans, Radiohead gave up its music for free and asked for donations, whatever fans deemed reasonable, in return. What the band got was an average of $8 per album sold, bringing estimates of profit to about $10 million. Not too shabby for one week. The number of albums sold in the past week exceeded the launch week sales of its three previous albums combined.

So what’s the takeaway? Artists that are big enough to have this kind of pull can more easily leverage this model. It illustrates the way in which the music industry is changing, and artists are practicing in a new marketplace where production costs are low, the middleman is less important, the Internet is ideal for distribution, and the supply is meeting the demand in a nearly perfect match. Other artists are beginning to take this approach as well, even those with smaller labels and less recognition (we all know that the true longtail of music artists has no choice to to use this model of Internet marketing and distribution).

But then again, it’s not the albums that artists make money on–it’s the tours, the t-shirts, and everything else surrounding the actual music, middleman or not.



Whether or not you like the campaign, got me thinking that, despite how much quirky characters can win attention from the masses, it can be a dangerous trap to fall into. Seeing it as an end (ie creating a TV show just because people “like” your characters) and not a means to an end. Attention is great, but if it doesn’t translate into results, all is lost.

I haven’t seen the show yet, so I’m talking out of turn, but here are two thoughts…

Seems to me that the show is about the characters and not Geico. I’m frightened by the prospect of Geico being written into the plotline, so I’ll assume it won’t be (unless Geico ads claiming “…so easy a Caveman could do it” are woven throughout as a way of setting off the characters — which is the only way the brand made it into the body of the spots).

This makes me wonder if Geico is paying for anything more than spot inventory and a cross-your-fingers brand association, or if they’re even paying at all? Maybe they own the Caveman characters (along with Martin) and they’re GETTING paid. Wouldn’t THAT be modern.

Secondly, Geico is able to make this move with one of their campaigns because they have so many campaigns running concurrently. If Cavemen was their only bit and it was highly popular and they risked all of it by turning the whole thing into a potentially-sucky TV show, then that would be a big risk.

But Geico has at least three other campaigns going, so they could culturally afford to break this one off. I’ve always been intrigued by their choice of offering so many different brand “voices” at one time.

Personally, I’d prefer a show about the Gecko.

Green + Green = Red?

Attended the Green Conference in Washington D.C. Saturday with B Brown. We drove up early that morning and returned before sundown (Don Just beckoned).

Very interesting compilation of green capitalism. Its funny how so many of the attendees and participants are so passionate about socialist causes and are, in many respects, anti-capitalistic. But there we were, driving our cars and consuming and advertising and marketing and promoting. Ironic.

Did we just create our own capitalistic model. adaptive or hypocritical?

The other irony was the volume of literature and paper distributed. Each booth had tons of literature (booklets, magazines, brochures, etc.) Each communication should have been driven to the web. Give passer-bys a 100% recycled business card with the business website. End of story. Why are there even “green” centric magazines? If we were really green-minded we would disseminate all information on the web. Right?

I don’t want black hat the whole event. Just seeing the “green” trend unfold infront of my eyes was pretty incredible. And a testiment to the power of popular culture and tribal communication. Its my guess that half of the attendees were there just to jump on the bandwagon. Because regular 60 watt bulbs are so last year. Where are my LEDs?



russian pride

Howard Southern, Stolichnaya Brand Organization’s vice president of marketing, said research bore out two significant findings related to the brand’s development: that the story of Stoli’s history had not been adequately communicated and that authenticity is a key purchasing factor among the young LDA (legal drinking age) consumers with whom it seeks to connect. Correspondingly, one of the first ads’ headlines reads “The Mother of All Vodkas, from the Motherland of Vodka.”


Creating a good campaign for a bank/financial services, to me, is a challange. There is hardly any product/service differentiation. They all provide similar, if not the same, services. While on my trip to scandinavia. I saw several spots from a campaign from Danske bank (a big finance company from Denmark). Here is one…

essentially the big idea is about modern collaboration between the classic and contemporary. other spots feature musical collaboration between a hip hop artist and a harpist, etc. in the end the musical collaboration is pretty genius. you can download the songs to ringtones on

this has legs.