Big Ideas from a Small World

Marketers who have got it right: TV and Film

Posted in Change Something by Ryan Thomas on July 28, 2009

I have been amazed recently.

Not by the combination of witty picture with funny headline that your average Creative Director wants to see from young creatives book but by the zany consumer first schemes of the movie and television industry.

Seriously. We talk a good game about putting the consumer first but I can’t wait till every product is as daring and as strategic as those of our film and movie marketing brothers.

Right now, this very second the internet is awash in the creation of content to fuel the consumption of content.

Wrap your head around that.

Creating content in a verity of media and public spaces to encourage the consumption of revenue generating content.

Welcome to Hype Machine 2.0

The hit television show Lost brought commercials to a comic con. An event awash in marketing messages. This backwards strategy has payed off large and might never show up at Cannes.

Meanwhile at the San Diego Comic Con Disney created a fully interactive world and photo experience for guests.


Locally an abandoned Queen Street store front has been converted into a Harry Potter Set for the upcoming film.

These brave souls are rewarding their consumers and honestly making them apart of the experince.

I’ll even admit that I never watched a potter film, or Lost, but both of these experences caught my eye. I’ll consider them in the future.

For to long marketers have acted like the guy with a gutiar at a house party. Demanding the attention of the room and making it impossible to have a conversation. I hate those guys. It’s really hard to charm someone when your fighting with Under the Bridge for the 100th time.

Sometimes when I see great work on the internet, I still can’t shake the feeling that some CD’s are still bringing their gutiar to the party. Sure sometimes it works and you get a sing along most of the time you just still look like a wanker.

If we are commited to social spaces, we need to be commited to the people that make up those social spaces. Put down the gutair and hire an event planner or two – then get really crazy and let them into the creative breif.


Mad Men Gets With The Times.

Posted in Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on April 2, 2009


Consumer and Brand in two way dialogue, that’s so now.

Seems AMC is in talks with a talented fan of the show, in order to create posters and teasers for the third season. via.




Tagged with: , ,

Another job lost to a robot.

Posted in Global Outlook by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009

One of the major problems I have found with a lot of social media is the need to sift though garbage to find the gems.

Here is a great little app for tracking what’s hot and how big a video is getting. Anthony Kalamut likens it to the old school chum top 40. Me personally, I’m waiting till the Mac Talk version of Casey Casum is hosting them.

Click Image, Bookmark.

Click Image, Bookmark.

This has been showing up everywhere: The Periodic Table of Typefaces

Posted in Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on March 24, 2009

I’m sure you have seen this by now, but in case you haven’t:


No idea on the credits, the who’s or the whys, I just thought I would share.


Ryan Bannon an art director here in Toronto wanted you to know, there is a mole skin collectors edition of Helvetica:

The why’s are simple, in the typography community particularly the Type Design community she who is the dorkiest (and I mean this in the manic genius kind of way) wins. If that means owning the special edition blu-ray disc of Helvetica or even more importantly the limited edition commemorative moleskine you win. Plain and simple. So, if you missed out on your opportunity to get your grubby paws on either what are you forced to do? Take the two dorkiest things possible, (an obsession with type and the periodic table of the elements) fuse them together in to one monolithic ode to your geekdom and claim your prize.

Blackberry Controling F1 Car!

Posted in Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on March 15, 2009

Oh consumers, what won’t you do. Smoke Smarties? Nope, you already did that, caused an innocent company a major PR train wreck but you did it.

How about wiring an F1 car to a Blackberry Storm? Oh no, you did that too.

Only difference is this is awesome. Another instance of “is your agency jumping on opportunity” for you?

Mmmm opportunity you couldn’t plan. Sorta like this:

(It’s fake, in case you have been under a rock.)

Reactive Marketing With Passionate Consumers

Posted in Change Something by Ryan Thomas on March 14, 2009

Call it – a reason to have a discretionary budget with your ad agency.  There are small passionate groups of consumers doing great things all over the place, and you’ll never know where your brand has an opportunity to add value and earn engagement with a community.

Below are some quick examples, all of them would take a talented art director no time at all and continue to expand your brand into interesting new areas.

First Up: Paper Craft – is the art of printing, folding, and gluing tiny little characters. If you have a mascot, or great campaign that is already running, can you pop out a few high engagement paper crafts.

Make Dr. Manhattan At The Office Today!

Make Dr. Manhattan At The Office Today!

Or how about a peice of history for your desk?

Or how about a piece of history for your desk?

The important thing to remember is that your brand does not even have to be as big as Barack Obama to generate interest. Indy comic book publisher ONI has created a series of Scott Pilgrim figures, the proximity of this set might be enough to help build brand equity. Conversely, a built paper craft here and there could get people around the office talking about Scott Pilgrim’s Wonder Life with passionate brand advocates.

Universal has optioned the rights to the film!

Universal has optioned the rights to the film!

The Scott Pilgrim series has been optioned by Universal. They plan to make a movie version called Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. It will be live-action (not animated). Edgar Wright will direct. He and Michael Bacall are writing it, based on the entire series. Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead will star. The first day of principle photography is March 30th, 2009.

In addition (and as much as I personally hate them) tagging your friends on Facebook with collages of famous characters has become a recent phenomenon. If your product range is big enough, if there is enough brand equity, maybe you can get away with something like this:

It's a meme, flash in the pan... but... could it fit your brand?

It's a meme, flash in the pan... but... could it fit your brand?

Finally if you ever find yourself with a group of consumers as passionate as the posters on the forum: Something Awful. Do something about it.

After word got out that talented artist Olly Moss was creating retro video game covers to look like Penguins Classics series of paperback books, the SA community has been rallying the troops to make their own Penguin Classic covers.

Olly Moss' kicked it off with these designs.

Olly Moss' kicked it off with these designs.

There have been over 35 pages of submissions for classing up classic game covers.

Mirrors Edge

Mirror's Edge



Mario Kart

Mario Kart

Soul Calibur

Soul Calibur

These are only a few of the many many submissions from an active and engaged audience. Many brands are at work here. If you see something like this, call your PR head, ask if she has heard of it, ask if she’s got an outreach plan, in not – fire her.

Everyone of these examples requires an active audience, they require a community and above all, every one of these groups would love to know that their favourite brands are engaged.

UPDATE: A Goon (Something Awful Member) from Toronto, Adam Josef, wanted to make sure you knew:

A whole bunch of the game covers were featured in two Photoshop Phridays

Tagged with: , ,

Youtube Users as Critics

Posted in From Canada by Ryan Thomas on March 7, 2009

Canadian film One Week has used youtube user comments as its own personal hype machine for its cinema ads.

Do you trust your peers?

Do you trust your peers?

The only question now is, how much do you trust your peers? Famous reviewers are almost a thing of the past but originally the idea was that you began to trust their reviews, they were a brand onto themselves.

I appreciate the idea of user generated reviews, but not unlike reviews from newspapers you have never heard of, these youtube critics have no equity or authority for me personally. Their quotes look for all intents and purposes like art director window dressing.

Did these youtube critics also like “Anvil! The Story of Anvil!” or did they see it as another attempt to recreate the magic of “This is Spinal Tap”? Do they love everything Pixar does or are they waiting for “Up” to recapture some magic for the studio?

If you don’t know a reviewer, how do you know you’ll agree? Great idea, I just don’t think it’s going to be all that perssuasive.

Convergence in Action!

Posted in From Canada by Ryan Thomas on March 4, 2009

The ONE show now has a green pencil I posted about 2 days ago. Then I was reminded about a great Canadian piece of work for the WWF by Chris Taciuk of DraftFCB, which honestly deserves a green pencil:

Then today I get linked this:

What can you do with recycled content?

What can you do with recycled content?

ThruYOU is a project by Kutiman where he takes clips from other videos and remixes them into new music. I must say it’s a brilliant use of creative commons and user generated content.

I love the idea of hacking old and user-gen content to make something new. If you see something hacked and new do let me know.

I’m procrastinating – CP+B’s new work and an oldie but goodie.

Posted in Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on March 4, 2009

I was reading the Adhocracy blog on the Globe and Mail, and a commenter was upset because Paul Nagy, creative director at Clemenger BBDO in Wellington, New Zealand declared that the new CP+B campaign This is Reality “takes the piss out of phrases like ‘clean coal,’ greenwashing and advertising in general.”

This copywriter/commenter was broken hearted that a CD could not find a better turn of phrase than “Takes the Piss”.

It’s worth noting that New Zealand and Australia have totally different cultures than North America. I remind you this is a country that gave us the viral production company hit “Punches”.

I’m just saying it’s worth paying attention to the local culture, you’d be shocked by how brash some advertising industries are.

Beyond the copywriting 101 lesson, speak like your audience, CP+B put signs in dog poop and dumped body bags in the street –  this is some of their often cited best work.

Poop-vertising, an instant classic.

Poop-vertising, an instant classic.

Funny how one silly comment gets the brain rolling, thanks random blog poster!

UPDATE – Please Hire Sean.

Posted in Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on March 3, 2009

Sean returned my e-mail about his video. He’s shocked that it caught on and promised to drop a message if anything comes of it.

Previously on Big Ideas – Please Hire Sean!

Tagged with: ,