Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fresh Space Monkey: meet Amber Philips.

Meet Amber Phillips, Able & Baker's newest arrival. Before arriving at the aesthetically pleasing yet uneven parquetry at Chapel St, Amber was General Manager at Big Red.

Her job title here is 'Control Freak', which might come as a pleasant surprise to those who've been hitherto engaged with our inverted management structure and frankly unenthusiastic administrative arm.

As well as actually knowing what to do after clicking the PowerPoint and Excel buttons on the computer, Amber has earned her chops on the suity and plannery side of things.

In her own words;

'I've now worked in agency world for seventeen years, at five agencies (Clemenger Sydney, George Patterson & Partners Melbourne, Young & Rubicam Melbourne, cummins&partners nationally; and Big Red for clients like Virgin Blue, Jetstar, Ansett, Nestle, Cadbury Schweppes, Victoria Bitter and Kraft, to name just a few.

I have extensive experience when it comes to creating fully integrated solutions that not only get results, but inspire loyalty amongst consumers. Some of the memorable campaigns I have led include Virgin Blue ‘If only you got Virgin Blue service everywhere’, launching Virgin Blue’s loyalty program – Velocity; Tourism Whitsurdays- '74 Islands out of the blue' repositioning; Picnic ‘Deliciously Ugly’ and managing a unique and award winning loyalty program for Victoria Bitter.'

We like Amber because she loves brands and she loves ideas. If she dressed more badly and kept more erratic working hours, she'd make a fine creative.

We love her. You will too.

Sport; the killer app

There's a fantastic feature in the online Economist about the future of television. The article documents the passage from the 60s, where the conventional wisdom to ratings success was to air 'the least objectionable shows possible', to today, where it seems the media behemoth is under attack from all sides.
Or is it?
The Economist argues that the proliferation of choice has simply cut out the mediocrity in television. And what we are left with is The Niche ('Bass Masters' anyone?), The Great (The Sopranos, The Wire) and The Live. The Live includes such things as the various nationalities of Idol, simultaneous broadcasts of the final episode of Lost and, of course, sport.
Sport is, the the words of the Economist, television's killer app.
It's live, so people can't record and skip the ads.
It's currency; men apparently talk more about sport than women or sex.
And it's mass. Which is why Nike would have spent the equivalent of the Mining Super Profits Tax on this wonderful spot.

Seen on St Kilda Junction....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Moments pass, so catch them while you can.

I don't know too much about Sean Stiegemeier, but when the Icelandic volcano (or Eyjafjallajökull if you are feeling adventurous) erupted he tried to get there to film it. In his own words;

"So I saw all of these mediocre pictures of that volcano in Iceland nobody can pronounce the name of, so I figured I should go and do better. But the flights to get over took forever as expected (somewhat). 4 days after leaving I finally made it, but the weather was terrible for another 4. Just before leaving it got pretty good for about a day and a half and this is what I managed to get.

Wish I had more time. I missed all the cool Lightning and the Lava of the first eruption. But I figure this will just be a trial run for another day."

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

It's pretty amazing. What resonates for me is that he just went out and did it. Didn't wait for a sponsor, or for a better time. He went and captured a moment.

In our line of work we spend too much time deliberating and not enough time doing. And as a result, sometimes the moment passes.

Sean is apparently trying to raise sponsorship to go back, if you've got a few spare pennies.

(Found this originally through brainpicker, probably the most awesomest thing on the internet.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Much more cleverer

Advertising has always been an industry with big egos. When all you have to sell is your opinion, you have to hold your ideas in some value. But wandering through the halls and corridors of St Vincent's Institute, longtime Able & Baker client and serious medical research heavy hitter, you can meet some incredible people who'll make you feel quite small indeed.

While we're worrying about the size of a typeface or the nuances of an edit, these guys are quite literally solving cancer. And diabetes. And heart disease. And childhood obesity. And a dozen other things besides. SVI has long been a pioneer in the field of protein crystallography, a process by which biological processes are broken down into their most essential elements so that they might be examined in 3D. It's essential in the development of 'smart drugs'.

Researchers travel from across the world for the opportunity to work with SVI's director, Professor Tom Kay. People don't travel quite so far to work with foundation CEO Robin Berry, but he's a convivial fellow, sharp mind and excellent luncheon companion.

If you have any interest in the field, Robin or Tom regularly take tours through the institiute. They also run a series of high-profile and excellent dinners throughout the year (David Parkin, Daryl Jackson and Kevin Rudd being notable speakers). And of course, the researchers on the ground are always looking for funding, so donations are always, always welcome.
Oh, and they're nice enough to let us do their annual report for them each year. Photography by Andrew Wuttke. Special mention to the immensely patient Dr Anne Johnston.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

WIRED magazine and a possible publishing future.

As advertising creatives, we're caught.
We know that what we do is changing, and that the iPad, TIVO and such are changing the fundamentals of our interruption-based trade. Yet the cheese still plops out from the same hole in the Skinner Box, and the briefs for TVCs, outdoor and magazine ads still vastly outnumber (and out-budget) those for the digital stuff.
Our clients aren't leading us, so should we be leading them?
And if we should, where to?
Even Rupert can't work out a paid-online model for us to advertise on/in/within/however.
But maybe WIRED is heading in the right direction. Watch this. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Writing better briefs

As a creative, I've read literally hundreds of briefs. Nearly all of them were rubbish. If you are a planner or a suit, here's the best explanation of how to do it, by some chap called Nick Emmel.


We did this for the Sydney Olympics. It never ran (as far as I know) but I still like it. Directed by Steve Rogers of Revolver.

New TVC for Mazda 2

Mazda has been killing it this year. Hopefully with this ad, guided by the lovely Mike O'Hare and Georgine Toole's parting gift to CHE before moving on to DDB, that will continue. There's some print too, which we'll post later.

What happens if you don't allow for a real model in your photography budget.

You get the Creative Director in there instead. For an upcoming annual report cover for St Vincent's Institute.

Real photographer (not the monkey with the iphone) Andrew Wuttke.