Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Long Working Hours Linked To High Blood Pressure

More proof!

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- Workers who clocked more than 51 hours at the office each week were 29 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than those who worked 39 hours or less, a new study from California has found.

Nearly all past research linking long work hours and high blood pressure has been done among Asian workers, Dr. Haiou Yang of the University of California in Irvine and colleagues note in their report in the journal Hypertension.

Interest in the topic began in Japan, they add, where a notoriously high-pressure work culture has given rise to a phenomenon known as Karoshi, or "sudden death from overwork." Today, Americans work longer hours than do Japanese, the researchers add.

To investigate whether more time on the job could drive up hypertension risk among Westerners, the researchers looked at a representative sample of 24,305 California adults who worked 11 hours or more each week.

The likelihood of having high blood pressure rose steadily with the number of hours worked, the researchers found, and persisted even after adjusting for factors such as socioeconomic status and body weight.

Those who worked 40 hours per week were 14 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than people who worked 39 hours or less. Hypertension risk was 17 percent greater in those working 41 to 50 hours weekly, and 29 percent higher in those working 51 hours or more.

The researchers also found that hypertension was more common among clerical and unskilled workers than among professionals. This "suggests that occupations requiring more challenging and mentally active work may have a protective effect against hypertension," Yang and his colleagues write.

And one of the most surprising facts of all:

Almost all of the developed world has legislation limiting work hours, except for the United States, the researchers note.

Super Power Schmooper Power... Where's my koozie?

That's Right!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Toshiba is fixin' to launch a new line of USB flash drives called TransMemory.

The gigantic 16GB limited edition hits late December and you can only get it from Toshiba's online store.

That's Right!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Bonfire of the Brands

I found this story about a guy that's finally discovered the difference between branding and brainwashing...

We are surrounded by myriad brands, flashing neon signs, billboards, labels on our heads, feet and bodies, and the objects we hold in our hands. But what happens when one man tries to live without them?
I am addicted to brands. For as long as I can remember, they have occupied my thoughts during the waking day. What they look like, what they do, what they mean.

The majority of my modest income has been spent on them and I've gone to great lengths to acquire and be around them. I am a music promoter and style magazine editor by trade. In the first case that means putting on events that are often sponsored by brands. In the second it means understanding, keeping up with and talking about brands. Constantly.

As a young teenager, all I ever wanted to do was to work with my favourite brands - Adidas, Technics, Budweiser, Sony - the names that were plastered over the things I craved to own.

Where some boys had posters of footballers or movie stars on their walls, I had images of trainers and turntables - to be surrounded by these names made me feel better about myself, transforming me from my humdrum middle class life in south London suburbia.

But in less than a month's time, I am going to burn every branded thing in my possession. Gucci shoes, Habitat chairs, even Simple soap. I have reached the point in my life where I can no longer be around these things, no matter how special they make me feel. Yes, it is going to be a terrible waste, yes I'll no doubt feel lost when they're gone, but at this moment in time, it seems the only thing I can do.

Brands are all around us. In our homes, on our way to work, in the places we socialise and plastered over the things that entertain us.

Some brands are causes for celebration, being symbols of status or objects of beauty (BMW). Others are the subject of ridicule, somehow signifying a state in life which we cannot slip below (Skoda). In both cases, we take for granted that brands and their messages (advertising) are ever-present in our lives. This is what has come to worry me.

I belong to a generation that has been continually sold-to, almost from birth. If someone had taken the time to videotape my life, in a Truman Show type of way, there would be less than a few hours of tape in which there were no brands on the screen. On my food, on my clothes, on the telly and in my brain.

It is estimated that the average Briton receives over 3,000 advertising messages a day, and my brain's full of them: Mr Muscle loves the jobs you hate; Burger King flame grilled whopper for only £2.99; new Elvive anti-breakage shampoo from L'Oreal Paris; Oral B pulsar, changing the way you brush forever... and on it goes.

From an early age, I have been taught that to be accepted, to be loveable, to be cool, one must have the right stuff. At junior school, I tried to make friends with the popular kids, only to be ridiculed for the lack of stripes on my trainers.

Once I had nagged my parents to the point of buying me the shoes I was duly accepted at school, and I became much happier as a result. As long as my parents continued to buy me the brands, life was more fun. Now, at the age of 31, I still behave according to playground law.

I have been topping up my self-esteem and my social status by buying the right branded things, so that I feel good about myself, so that people can know who I am. In my world, the implications of wearing a crocodile as opposed to a polo player on the breast of one's shirt are of crucial importance. Understanding the differences between Dualit and Dyson, and what they say about their owners is reflection of style and good taste.

By now you're thinking that I am a particularly shallow individual, and to a certain extent, you'd be right. But I think that in small ways, we all behave like this in our daily lives. A stranger waves as they drive past in the same model car as our own. Snap judgments are made on youths dressed in white Reeboks and hoodies. That little bit extra spent on our favourite name brands in the supermarket is a small price to pay because we're worth it.

The manner in which we spend our money defines who we are. This theory isn't exactly new. Thorstein Veblen conjured the phrase "conspicuous consumption" back in 1899 in his book the Theory of the Leisure Class. In this secular society of ours, where family and church once gave us a sense of belonging, identity and meaning, there is now Apple, Mercedes and Coke.

These brands offer us a set of beliefs and goals which we can aspire to. Is this sounding far fetched? Don't take it from me, here's Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.

"For great brands to survive, they must create loyalty beyond reason. The secret is the use of mystery, sensuality and intimacy... the power to create long term emotional connections with consumers."

Being the gullible fool that I am, I believed in the promises that these brands made to me; that I would be more attractive, more successful, more happy for buying their stuff. However, the highs of consumerism have been accompanied by a continual, dull ache, growing slowly as the years have gone by; a melancholy that until recently I could not understand.

I now realise that it's these damn brands that are the source of the pain. For every new status symbol I acquire, for every new extension to my identity that I buy, I lose a piece of myself to the brands. I placed my trust, even some love with these companies, and what have I had in return for my loyalty and my faith? Absolutely nothing. How could they, they're just brands.

So, this is why I am burning all my stuff. To find real happiness, to find the real me, I must get rid of it all and start again, a brand-free life, if that is indeed possible. Perhaps if I consume on the basis of need instead of want, on utility instead of status, I might start to value material things for the right reasons. For the time being, I can only hope.

That's Right!


Thanks to Neil Boorman at the BBC

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Go Full Contact

Recommended listening for this entry:

Well, it's official. After 19+ years of kicking ass and working for the man, my buddy Tim Foley and 3 of his amazingly talented ad pals have opened up their own agency with offices in Boston and New York:

Congratulations and best of luck to Tim Foley, John Young, Marty Donohue and Christopher Keefe.

Wonder how long it'll be before there's a Texas office...

That's Right!


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Branding 2006

Here are a couple interesting takes on the state of Branding 2006.5

Not my usual Saturday morning read, somewhat lenghty and dry, but hey, some really good stuff here. The Business Week take (Quick Take) is based on Interbrand's research (Deep Take).

INTERBRAND takes lots of ingredients into account when ranking the world's most valuable brands. To even qualify for the list, each brand must derive about a third of its earnings outside its home country, be recognizable outside of its base of customers, and have publicly available marketing and financial data.

BUSINESSWEEK chose Interbrand's methodology because it evaluates brands much the way analysts value other assets: on the basis of how much they're likely to earn in the future. The projected profits are then discounted to a present value, taking into account the likelihood that those earnings will actually materialize.

That's Right,


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto Demoted To A Dwarf

From hero to zero?

Pluto was demoted to "dwarf" status when astronomers meeting in the Czech capital voted on a formal definition for the term "planet".

Experts have been divided over whether Pluto - further away and considerably smaller than the eight other planets in our Solar System - deserves the title.

Since the early 1990s, astronomers have found several other objects of comparable size to Pluto in an outer region of the Solar System called the Kuiper Belt.

Some astronomers believe Pluto belongs with this population of small, icy "Trans-Neptunians", not with the objects we call planets.

Allowances were once made for Pluto on account of its size. At just 2,360km (1,467 miles) across, Pluto is significantly smaller than the other planets. But until recently, it was still the biggest known object in the Kuiper Belt.

The big question now is which Dwarf will he be - Sneezy, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Doc, or Bashful.

That's Right!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Genius Earthquake Awareness Ad

Click Here To Enlarge

Agency: Jentera Intermedia, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Art Director: AancooL
Copywriter: AancooL

Sunday, August 20, 2006

How To #09

Recommended listening for this entry:

I found this on the Wieden+Kennedy site. It reminded me of a t-shirt I saw on a guy at Liberty Lunch in Austin that said:

Jesus Is Coming - Look Busy!

How to Do Nothing at Work, and Get Away With It

1. Look Busy: Having papers spead all over your desk helps, as do pencils which are widdled down to the eraser. If you have to walk somewhere, keep your head down, and walk quickly (this also works if youre trying to avoid being called over to do work. NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT!). Carrying clipboard with you while moving around also helps.

2. Look Stressed: If you look completely stressed out, co-workers and your boss will be more likely to leave you alone, since you must have other pressing matters on your mind. To look stressed leave your eyes unfocused, move from place to place quickly while quietly talking to yourself, and if someone asks you a question, stare off into the distance for a moment, give a big sigh, and answer them with an irritated tone.

3. Speak Quickly: If they cant figure out what you said, theyll assume you dont have the time to explain it.

4. Hide: Find a good hiding place. A couple good examples are under a desk, in the air vents, or a janitors closet.

5. Break a Limb: Obviously this method only works when you work at a job that requires physical labour or typing. How you break the limb is up to you, though I recommend something spectacular (ie. snowboarding on the Alps).

6. Make Excuses: Theres nothing like having a good list of excuses on hand (Memorized, that is. A list on paper is suspicious). Ones like I would stay late, but I have to babysit my mothers aunts friends sisters goldfish, may work. Of course, ymmv.

7. Never Leave Your Office/Room: If you dont leave your office, you are less likely to be bothered. Remember: out of sight, out of mind. Of course, you will need to ensure that you have an ample supply of rations so that you can survive until its time to head home. Bathroom breaks, Im still working on.

8. What they cant see Rearrange your office so that your computer monitor faces away from any windows or doors that your boss may be able to see through. This will ensure that you have ample time to hit the Boss Key in any game youre playing, or open a Word document to hide the porn youre surfing, should your boss happen to wander into your

9. Fool their eyes: If you cant rearrange your office, perhaps employ a service like WorkFRIENDLY which acts as a proxy to mask any website that you visit. You can mask the sites to look like a Word Document and at a quick glance, they look like any other document. If the boss gets too close, click the Boss Key and WordFriendly will hide the website with pseudo-word document.

10. Choose a profession people dont understand: Im a web developer. Most people dont REALLY understand what you need to do to be a web developer, so I might be doing a blog post, but theyre thinking Im working. Golden!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Michael MacKenzie + Fonts Gratis + more

Congratulations! You made it through another work week!

Reward yourself by checking out:

My amazingly talented bud Mr. X. If you watch TV, you've seen his work. Now dig his awesome reel: Michael MacKenzie Design + Art Direction

Da Font. A nice little free font site with a pretty useful interface.

And if you're into old movie stills, you'll enjoy Steven Hill's Movie Title Screens.

And as always, if you like music or need something to listen to while you're waiting for Beer:30, you might like some of my other stuff... Necessito La Music and the official site of I.F.: Irregular Frequency, my podcast thang over at

Have a great weekend.

That's Right!


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Viva Helvetica!

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.

Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day.

The film was shot in high-definition on location in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium. It is currently in post-production and is slated to begin screening at film festivals worldwide starting in early 2007.

More About The Film

That's Right!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Muy Caliente!

Todays Forecast

That's Right,


The Fiction That Anticipates The Fact

Authenticity: A User's Guide by Michael Bierut

I've always considered radio the most verite of news sources, but a recent piece on the weekly National Public Radio show On The Media, "Pulling Back the Curtain", exposed how much work goes into making NPR's reporting sound so, well, real. "The public is far less aware of editing on radio than on television or in print," said reporter John Solomon. "For example, to eliminate words, a TV producer has to use more visible means, such as a cutaway shot or jump cut. Newspaper reporters by form must put a break between non-consecutive quotations, among other constraints." Solomon then demonstrated how a radio producer, in contrast, could digitally alter a recording to tighten awkward pauses, eliminate words, restructure sentences, all to create a new, improved, seamless and utterly convincing version of reality.

The show's host, Brooke Gladstone, suggested in her introduction to the piece that some listeners might be shocked by these revelations. And perhaps some were. But I found it absolutely familiar. Faking it? It's what we designers do all the time.

No one loves authenticity like a graphic designer. And no one is quite as good at simulating it. Recently on Speak Up, Marian Bantjes described the professional pride she took in forging a parking permit for a friend. "And I have to say," she admitted, "that it is one of the most satisfying design tasks I have ever undertaken." This provoked an outpouring of confessions from other designers who gleefully described concocting driver's licenses, report cards, concert tickets and even currency.

Every piece of graphic design is, in part or in whole, a forgery. I remember the first time I assembled a prototype for presentation to a client: a two-color business card, 10-point PMS Warm Red Univers on ivory Mohawk Superfine. The half-day process involved would be incomprehensible to a young designer working in a modern studio today; with its cutting, pasting, spraying, stirring and rubbing, it was more like making a pineapple upside-down cake from scratch. But what satisfaction I took in the final result. It was like magic: it looked real. No wonder my favorite character in The Great Escape wasn't the incredibly cool Steve McQueen, but the bewhiskered and bespeckled Donald Pleasence, who couldn't ride a stolen motorcycle behind enemy lines, but could make an imitation German passport capable of fooling the sharpest eyes in the Gestapo.

And the illusion works on yet another level. Consider: that business card was for a start-up business that until that moment had no existence outside of a three-page business plan and the rich fantasy life of its would-be founder. My prototype business card brought those fantasies to life. And reproduced en masse and handed with confidence to potential investors, it ultimately helped make the fantasy a reality. Graphic design is the fiction that anticipates the fact.

At Disney World, where as one might expect the artifice is raised to Wagnerian levels, the designer in me has always preferred the ingenuity of a motion simulation ride like Star Tours (where you seem to be flying through space but you're actually sitting in a tilting chair) to Space Mountain (where you seem to be going up and down steep hills and, um, you actually are going up and down steep hills.) On another level of design experience, I remember arriving with a colleague for a stay at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, a staggeringly detailed evocation of the classic hotels built in the National Parks one hundred years ago by the Great Northern Railway, complete with pine trees, massive rock outcroppings, and piped-in wood smoke, all courtesy of modern-day Denver architect Peter Dominick. "To build something like this in the Rocky Mountains is nothing," said my friend. "But in the middle of a swamp in the center of Florida? That takes genius."

Designers have a love-hate relationship with our addiction to simulation. In the case of the late Tibor Kalman, it was mostly the latter. "What's going on here? Theft? Cheap shots?" he asked in a footnote to his legendary 1990 jeremiad "Good History/Bad History." "Parody? Appropriation? Why do designers do this? Is it because the designers don't have new ideas? Is it glorification of the good old days of design? Is it a way to create a sense of old-time quality in a new-fangled product? Are the designers being lazy, just ripping off an idea to save time and make for an easier client sell?"

Maybe all of the above. Maybe we just can't resist. And maybe familiar cues are simply the means by which people navigate through a confusing world. Tibor was obsessed with, among other things, spaghetti sauce packaging. In the eighties, Joe Duffy's elegant work for Classico particularly irritated him. I found the packages not only beautiful but useful (in their original incarnation, the sturdy jars were great to reuse) but Tibor was bugged by their seductive beauty, the way they conjured a siren song of ersatz Venetian landscapes and rustic Tuscan hills. But what would the alternative be? What would a jar of pasta sauce look like if it were entirely original? Would you know what it was if you saw it on the grocery store shelf? Would you trust it enough to put its contents on your spaghetti? Is that level of originality even possible?

One might consider the advice of another extremely quotable designer, Charles Eames: "Innovate as a last resort." Simulation, evocation, contextualism: call it what you will, but this thing that we designers are so good at seems to serve a basic human need. Although we hunger for authenticity, it's a hard thing to invent overnight. But that doesn't stop us from trying.

Thanks to Michael Bierut

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Check out this awesome Pulp site - and start with the trippy collection of Octopus Covers!

And if you really want to enhance the mood while you're looking at all the cool covers, try listening to Yo La Tengo's The Love Life of the Octopus off of their The Sounds of the Sounds of Science.

That's Right!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Eye Yi Yi!

Everything you've always wanted to know about B-movies, sci-fi/horror classics, fantasy and cult films of yesteryear with a specialty slant toward the 1950s.

Grab yourself a cold beverage and plan on spending a little time when you visit Exclamation Mark's Vintage SciFi/Horror Review

That's Right!


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

37% of All Advertising Is Wasted

The findings of 'What Sticks' are the result of five years of research on campaigns from 36 of the nation's top advertisers.

Five-Year Research Project Tracked $1 Billion in Spending by 36 Major Marketers

$1 billion tracked
While that's hardly good news, given that it still amounts to tens of billions of marketing dollars, a book that traces $1 billion in spending finds that it is at least possible to find out exactly what's wasted -- and how to get better performance from the other 62.7%, offering hope that battered business can rise from the mat.

The bold proclamations in "What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds," to be released next month by Kaplan Publishing, are the result of five years of research on campaigns from 36 of the nation's top advertisers. The book, penned by Rex Briggs, a veteran market researcher and founder of the firm Marketing Evolution, and Greg Stuart, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, may well be the most important advertising research since the "How Advertising Works" study of the early 1990s.

Marketing giants
Although its conclusions are based on number-crunching done with such marketing titans as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Kraft Foods and McDonald's, the book is written accessibly enough to find an audience among all marketers and creatives. And it comes copiously praised in a foreword by Steven D. Levitt, author of the pop economics hit "Freakonomics."

The title reference to marketing's age-old scatological adage provides a flavor of what's inside. Sometimes-surprising findings from research conducted across a wide range of brands, industries and media are punctuated by shocking anecdotes and confessions illustrating how broken and dysfunctional the marketing industry truly is.
"I spent the first decade of my career as an agency media guy," Mr. Stuart said in an interview. "I felt like a charlatan the entire time. ... I knew in my heart of hearts that we collectively, not just Greg Stuart, did not know what we were doing in spending clients' money."

An ad exec's apology
The book is something of a marketing 12-step program for Mr. Stuart, who in a footnote actually apologizes to each of his clients from that era by corporate name, including American Express, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay, Apple and Sears.

Contained in the book's initial chapters are some remarkable revelations, including the allegation that two of the Big Three automakers used to base their annual media budgets on one another's prior-year measured-media spending. The authors discovered that many longstanding axioms of media planning were based on nothing more than hunch and legend. They reveal how frequently marketers disregard research when it doesn't jibe with their own opinions -- or seek out research that does.

When the authors presented their findings to one automaker's marketing team, according to the book, the company's research people said: "We don't believe anything our agency brings to us, this study included."

Unable to define success
Ad agencies, the target of nearly nonstop flagellation both self-inflicted and otherwise in the past decade, may find some solace in the book. It pins much of the blame for marketing's woes on marketers and their failure to even define success for campaigns at the outset -- much less measure it properly on the back end. Of the 36 marketers the authors researched, only two -- P&G and Cingular -- had a clear definition of success for each marketing effort at the outset, Mr. Briggs said in an interview.

The book actually comes across as remarkably hopeful amid a growing genre of "advertising is dying, and we're all going to get fired" literature. TV advertising clearly works, according to numerous studies reported in the book. It just may not deliver returns as good as those provided by other media overlooked because of organizational inertia or a lack of rigorous, ongoing

ROI tracking.
"No one ever got fired for using television," the book says, citing an internal J&J adage -- one that appears to have become outmoded of late as the company, since its work with Marketing Evolution, has increasingly branched into new media and creative approaches, not to mention that J&J sat out this year's upfront.

Fear of failure
The authors cite fear of failure -- and firing -- as possibly the biggest problem for marketers seeking to improve ROI. The core of the book is a description of and entreaty for a "commercial optimization process" covering messaging strategy, creative and media planning -- a sort of Six Sigma for marketing. But like any continuous improvement program, it requires analysis of failure, which has become almost impossible for some to admit for fear they'll be fired.

Mr. Briggs said the 36 marketers ranged from the highly analytical P&G and J&J to the highly instinct-driven Target, where he said Chairman-CEO Robert J. Ulrich makes snap judgments on creative executions displayed in the corporate lobby. Both approaches work, he said. "But what's been a common theme is that as the world becomes increasingly complex with media choices, it's harder and harder to do what Target's CEO does ... to use their gut that effectively."

That's Right!


Thanks to Jack Neff at Ad Age

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fast Talk: Clean Sheets

The master bed at the Flag Creek Inn, Fredericksburg, Texas.

Boutiques such as the W made hotels sexy. Now the concept's getting stale. Five next-generation innkeepers take the experience way beyond a mint on your pillow.

Adam Frank
Trevor Pearlman
Reagan Silber
Principals, Edge Group
Las Vegas, Nevada

Frank and company have a challenge: translating the W, the boutique-hotel world's gold standard, into a 3,000-unit hotel/residence and a 75,000-square-foot casino, slated to open on this spot in 2008.

"We're new to Vegas, where there's always a little luck involved. We knew we wanted to work with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, but it had been searching for a Vegas partner for six years. Only after we were able to buy our current plot of land at the entryway of what's known as the Harmon Corridor, the next frontier in Vegas, did we have the leverage to go back to Starwood and seal the deal.

The W won't open for a couple of years, so we have to try to predict where the Vegas hotel market is going and at the same time try to lead it there. Vegas has become the Hamptons of L.A. People now want to own a piece of Vegas, so we're offering a W condo. We also know that Vegas is becoming a popular business destination, so we've stressed the importance of spacious meeting areas and relaxing lounges.

Personal attention is the secret ingredient. Right now, we're working on a 'hotel within a hotel' concept at the W, where we'll be able to treat people as individuals even with our size. We have to think of ourselves not as businessmen but as producers. We're casting people from the hotel, casino, entertainment, and technology industries to keep our vision different, creative, and progressive. We've recruited Kevin Stuessi, who brought big-time chefs such as Todd English to the Bellagio and the Wynn. We also brought in Amanda Scheer Demme from Los Angeles, who's best known as the music supervisor for such films as Erin Brockovich and Mean Girls, to inspire our social scene. In terms of shopping, we're steering clear of the usual strip mall (no pun intended) and instead are going to offer up-and-coming designers the chance to open boutiques. If Steve Wynn's Wynn Las Vegas is Broadway, we want the W to be the Meatpacking District."

Vikram Chatwal
Owner, Dream hotel
New York, New York

Chatwal, 33, opened Dream with Preferred Hotels in 2004. Its hip, imaginative atmosphere has made the hotel a magnet for a mixed business, tourist, and artistic crowd.

"Dreams take you beyond what you think you can do in life. This idea is the basis of my Dream hotel. Early in my investment-banking career, I realized I was on a path that others had set out for me. This hotel opened a new business world to me--a world where my work and my personal interests combined. My Indian heritage plays a part because my culture is known for its hospitality, so in training the staff I took this reflection of kindness and care into account. Another passion I have is acting, which relates to my managerial style because when you're put under pressure, you have to perform.

Aesthetically, Dream speaks to my cultural and artistic background because it is very spiritual and surreal. The ethereal interior and neoclassical architecture are based on some of my own dreams, like the fish-tank column or the statues of Catherine the Great and Poseidon. People walk in and wonder about the thrift-store objects sitting on our coffee tables and why the lower level of my lobby seems like nighttime. There is no one answer. The point is, it makes you think. People are asking questions; they're interested.

As the Dream expands, the idea should constantly evolve as dreams always do. In Bangkok's Times Square, Dream will have a modern Asian surrealist feel mixed with the exciting temperament of that specific spot in the city. In London, Dream will be on the outskirts of the city, so I will give it a calmer temperament--more of a destination rather than an overnight spot."

Henriette Kibsgaard
Sales and marketing manager
Hotel Fox
Copenhagen, Denmark

"Our goal has been to create a hotel for the hotel guests of tomorrow. We asked a different artist to design and create each room in the hotel. Out of 3,000 applicants, 21 artist groups were chosen from 11 countries and 3 continents. At first we worried about targeting 18- to 25-year-olds. But we realized that we could attract people who wanted to experience something new and not just stay at a hotel--people young in mind and open in heart. Their accommodations could be a part of their Copenhagen experience.

To that end, when guests get here, we tell them about the artists and the creative inspiration behind each room, and give them a virtual tour on the computer. Then they pick and choose where they want to stay. It's the same with the amenities. When guests check in, we present them with a minibar bag that they customize. We have predefined lovers' bags, hangover bags, and movie bags, but we let them determine what's inside. We all prefer different things to eat, drink, or do; we all want to be treated as individuals. And what I want today may not be what I want tomorrow. Hotel Fox is the same way. Here, you have something to get inspired by.

This draws a diverse crowd: traveling students, chic couples from Milan or Barcelona, people with blue hair--and interestingly, we get a lot of businesspeople here. If they wake up in a corporate hotel every morning, they don't know if they're in Sydney, Berlin, or London. But when they wake up at Hotel Fox, they know exactly where they are."

Liz Lambert
Owner, Hotel San José
Austin, Texas

With her paradoxical loves--minimalism and color, serenity and excitement--Lambert, 42, has made the San José, below, an unassuming Texas-meets-Zen oasis.

"When I bought the San José, the neighborhood was full of $30-a-night joints for junkies and hookers. People thought I was crazy. Fact is, I had no idea what I was doing, but in the end that was probably a good thing. We made it up as we went. I never wanted to force the hotel into something that it wasn't, so I let it organically grow into itself. For example, when we opened, we didn't have art for the rooms. I pulled poetry from used paperbacks and tacked it up in the bathrooms. I didn't realize that it would turn into a signature until people would take what I had put up and leave something else.

My lack of experience also helped us think of a new way to do service. People love our staff because we don't pick cookie-cutter, polite peons. We pick people with other passions, from band members to former Peace Corps workers. You should feel like you're among friends.

This helps us attract a lot of great visitors, but I especially love how many people we get from Austin. It's because we're a part of the community. We have an elite cycling team, we hold free concerts in our parking lot, and we work with the area's disadvantaged youths. We're also dog friendly, which usually works out until some Fido starts swimming in the pool. But hey, you can't be all things to all people."

Stephen Westman
Vibe manager, Hard Rock Hotel
Chicago, Illinois

Westman, 27, is in charge of creating Hard Rock Chicago's atmosphere using music, infusing an upscale hotel with the irreverence of rock 'n' roll.

"Yes, 'vibe manager' is my actual job title. Here's the story. Music is our key differentiation. It's normal for a record store or radio promotional company to be on top of the music industry, but for a hotel, it's hot. So we have to do things that are cool and unique to offer something the other hotels can't. When I started, there would be a melodic folk rocker playing in the lounge, but before his performance, the music spinning in our public spaces was new-metal acts. The transition to this folksy rock didn't make sense, making what I considered a pretty lame vibe. So I identified our performances and preprogrammed the music in our public spaces to avoid this kind of awkward transition of music styles.

I have to be on top of what artists are hitting next, what genres of music are about to be popular. You see a lot of hotels selling their lobby tunes on a CD. Well, if that's the average, then I'm going to get one of those hard-drive sticks, have them preprogrammed, and put those in the guest rooms. I also look for promotional opportunities we can do to create unique experiences. Like this week, I'm working on a CD-release party with Warner Bros. for the new Madonna album, Confessions on a Dance Floor. This is a vibe experience because it gives the media a cool perception of the Hard Rock, and if you think about it, an album-release event has nothing to do with a hotel.

Music is a common thread through life. It's my job to make sense of this place day to day based on who's staying here. We want people to walk through the door and say, 'This is truly cool, and I am definitely coming back.' "

Thanks to Fast Company: Issue 102 | January 2006 | Page 21 | By: Stirling Kelso

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wash Your Hands!

Click To Enlarge

Nice idea here from JWT Toronto for hand sanitizer Purell. The agency created warning stickers for magazines in doctors’ offices. The issue dates, often well in the past, are visible through holes in the stickers, creating lines like, “Thumbed through by sick people since September 2005.” The stickers point to, which links to the Pfizer brand’s site.

After you check out this Purell TV Spot, part of the same campaign,
go Wash Your Hands!

That's Right,


Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Message Of Hope

In these difficult and mean-spirited times in which we live there needs to be a message of hope. 

A single image that speaks to us of love, harmony, peace and joy. 

An image that suggests the universal brotherhood of man.

I have found that image, and I ask that all of you take a moment to be inspired by it.

Click To Enlarge

Thanks Jane!

That's Right!



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I'm Certified!

Official PayPal SealI'm PayPal Verified

Cool. So now if you want to send me money you can be sure everything regarding both the transaction and your identity totally secure.

Simply pay

That's Right,


National Geographic Bus Ad

Agency: Amsterdam Advertising

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