Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Cate.

Able & Baker have been working with our good friends at Al Gore's Climate Project and the Australian Conservation Fourndation to create the Connectors. It's a national social network of over 800 Climate Project Connectors, each of whom will instigate a locally based project to help reduce the impact of Climate change. We're working to have more than a thousand of these projects up and running by the beginning of the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December next year. This'll not only do it's bit for carbon emissions, but also build a bank of good behaviour-chaning ideas that can be accessed by the rest of the country and the world. The Connectors program was kicked off with a national series of screenings of the documentary Telling The Truth, hosted by Able & Baker's favourite Bob Dylan, Cate Balnchett.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two monkeys and an old jam jar.

Able and Baker fancied a latte yesterday, and swung down from their plush Flinders Lane digs to Federation square to check out The Greenhouse. Built in just a couple of weeks by Melbourne flower artist Joost, the idea was to help us understand the unsustainability of many of the things we consume by providing sustainable alternatives.

The building itself is made of old strawbales and recyclable steel, coffee is served in old jam jars and the seats that become stools that become coffee tables are to build from discarded shipping crates.

The rooftop is covered in vegies grown in old milk crates which go straight to the kitchen. The outdoor furniture appears to be made of old billboard skins and road signs.

The Greenhouse won't single-handedly save the planet. But at the table next to Able & Baker's, a gaggle of ladies in their 60s teased their friend for refusing to drink out of a jam jar. They were talking about sustainability, recyclability and the life-cycle of objects. Which they would not have done had they been sitting in Gloria Jean's.

A special space-monkey clap for Joost and his chums at bttb (Bigger Than Ten Bears).

At the end of January, The Greenhouse will be dissembled, apparently leaving not a single trace of waste. Rumour has it that it will resurface somewhere else, possibly next year’s Milan Furniture Fair

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tata to Commodore and Falcon?

Earlier this year, an Indian manufacturer launched the Tata Nano at the New Delhi Auto Expo.

The Nano is the cheapest production car in the world, selling for about US$2300.

It makes car ownership available to people who could never before dream of such a thing.

The Nano will grow the Indian car market by an estimated 65%. Cars can be shipped in parts and assembled by local entrepreneurs, creating a whole new class of business-owners and bypassing the traditional dealer network.

And the same time, Able and Baker's colleagues in multinational ad agencies up and down St Kilda Road are scratching their heads on how to sell Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons that fewer and fewer Australians want.

Sales in this segment fell 21% in November alone.

Australian car dealers are now dependent on government handouts to stay open.

One car creates a market for itself. The other two fight over one that is dying.

Perhaps our creative friends will pull something out of their hats and create a compelling case for Ford and Holden. But you can be certain the Nano will sell itself.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Serendipity and the effect of girls.

Able was out on the front lawn this evening, enjoying a glass of Mt Difficulty pinot noir, and happened upon his neighbour.

His neighbour is about to be married, and her sister was over from Oregon for the occassion. Able got chatting, only to find that said neighbour's sister worked for the Nike Foundation and worked on The Girl Effect.

Able clapped his little rhesus monkey hands, as it one of he and Baker's all-time favourite ideas.

What's nice about it is the appropriate invisibility of Nike. Their sweaty pawprints aren't all over the spot or the program. The Nikeness is only there if you look for it.
Or if someone tells you. Which Able thinks is really nice.

Unlike Starbucks, who ripped of the idea shamelessly but got all heavy-handedly focus groupy ROI on it.