Friday, March 30, 2007


I snapped this amazing billboard today walking past Yonge & Bloor. I'm so excited to see Grindhouse. Everything about this release oozes cool. Plus, any collaboration between Tarrantino and Rodriguez is guaranteed solid gold!

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Get ready for this video to explode across the web. It's only been up for 1 week and has already received 300,000 views. I really can't decide how I feel about this but the little green guy is in good company with this cover.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dude Blogs Like a Lady

Here is a nifty little tool that uses a simple algorithm to predict an author's gender. I tested it on my last two posts of some length: the results of this post came out male while this post female. I guess that explains a lot... Thanks for the link Tara!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Link Shot for 03.28.07

In yesterday's Link Cocktail, I mentioned a really cool app called StumbleUpon. I'm now on day two of experimentation and I am completely in love with it. I have found so many wonderfully random things with it and still haven't fully utilized the community functionality yet. Just when I thought I couldn't get any more excited about StumbleUpon, I discovered StumbleVideo. What a fantastic addition! Although you must view videos embedded within their site, the interface is very easy to use and extremely slick. Not only that but is compatible with YouTube, Google Video, and MySpace AND operates with the same community based model as StumbleUpon. This by no means is going to revolutionize the Internet but it is a lot of fun!

Today's link is a video I found with StumbleVideo:

Bohemia 2.0

I apologize for the increasingly agonising '2.0' reference in the title of this post but I couldn't resist. I had an excellent time last night hanging out with fellow TorCampers at C'est What? for dinner and drinks with Tod Maffin. Thanks to Mark Kuznicki for introducing me to the swarm!

While heading home on the subway at close to midnight, I realized that there is something truly remarkable happening within the online community. I was reminded of the Bohemian movement of the early 19th century. There are networks of artists, innovators, and big thinkers uniting to truly revolutionize the way we view community. This is indeed the age of collaboration. Although fueled by the rapid growth of the Internet and ease of access to technology, this is by no means an exclusively online phenomena. There are hundreds of ways to apply this shift in mentality to the offline world.

There is no doubt I am inspired and excited by this movement; however, it has forced me to reexamine my entire thought process. Having been educated in mass marketing, it is difficult for me to give up the traditional model. How do I make this shift while working in a massive global media agency and how do I convince my clients and colleagues to follow me? This is a big question that I have yet to draw any conclusions from. All I know is that it will be a daily battle and I hope I'm ready.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Link Cocktail for 03.27.07

I've been messing around with Stumble! today and other than making a further mess of my Firefox toolbar (above), it's a pretty cool app. The basic concept is discovering sites that you may not have "stumbled" upon otherwise. It also includes a social media component so you can make/add friends based on similar tastes in web content. It eventually learns your likes and dislikes by asking a series of questions and by asking you to rate each site you visit. It's actually a lot of fun - perfect for the moments when you just need something fresh to check out. So, today's Link Cocktail comes courtesy of Stumble!

Fun Forever - Great collection of some very clever offline advertising executions.

Mug Shot - Could be an interesting way to combine your news feeds, blog posts, status updates, and social networks... Haven't tried it yet but stay tuned for a review.

Call the Future - Fun little app to set-up future calls through mobile.

Don't Click It - Interesting experiment to change the way we surf. I personally found it very disorienting.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Net Neutrality in Canada

There's been a lot of chatter around the blogosphere of late regarding Net Neutrality in Canada. If you are unfamiliar with the term, this video is a good place to start.

There's not much I can say about Net Neutrality that hasn't already been said except that it is a very real and immediate concern that must be addressed NOW. Check out Will Pate's blog for lots of great links on the topic and three things that you can do to support the cause. This is not just a topic of debate between web geeks, telecoms, and politicians; it effects each and every one of us and could mean the end of the Internet as we know (and love) it. Please take the time to educate yourself.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Note From a Cranky Marketer....

It's 12:41 am and I was really hoping to make a highly engaging and thought provoking post before going to bed... But I have nothing ... Truly. For the life of me, I cannot come up with a single topic of interest to over analyze, deconstruct, contemplate, praise, or even mock. Hell, I can't even find an ironic photo to post that would showcase my keen sense of humor and cunning wit. What's going on here? Maybe I had one too many glasses of wine with dinner or just maybe it could be the fact that I just spend 2 hours catching up on my RSS feeds. I feel so completely overwhelmed by other people's thoughts, feelings, and opinions that I can't even stomach the prospect of expressing my own. I guess you could call it perspective overload.

Now don't get me wrong. I take great interest and am inspired on a daily basis by the blogosphere but really, how much is enough? I've become so obsessed with staying on top of things that my Google Reader is starting to look like the Encyclopedia Britannica. I completely respect the fact that everyone has an opinion but I need a filter to prevent from being inundated by the same commentary on the same topics from twenty different sources. I thought about purging my daily reading to include only those that I highly respect and trust to offer only the most topical and engaging of information but out of fear of missing the "next big thing", I can't bring myself to do it. I am being gang banged by information and frankly, I don't like it. Something serious needs to be done to streamline this flow before we collectively close our browser windows and go back to our televisions.

Given this current environment, brands need to be more careful than ever with their marketing communications. As more and more marketers get involved in branded entertainment, sponsored content, and advertorials (for lack of a better term), we as a community, need to stop and ask ourselves one very simple question: "what value does this offer the consumer?" I would argue that 9 times out of 10 the answer is none. It's time to give up our "if you build it, they will come" mentality and truly innovate. It's no longer enough to just be in the market. Not only are we wasting our time and our client's budgets but we have gotten just plain lazy. If you can't come up with an effective execution, don't even bother. There are countless brands that enter into multi-year, multimillion dollar sponsorships for the simple fact of stopping their competitors from sponsoring the same thing and never give a thought to activation.

I realize that my disjointed ranting has gotten me a bit off track but my point is simply this: if you don't have anything nice relevant to say, don't say anything at all.

And yes, I am as guilty of this as anyone else.

... But I Don't Understand Your Confusion

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Credit Where Credit is Due

After close to a year since the (soft?)launch of Coca-Cola Zero, the soft drink giant introduced a new campaign supported with this fairly clever microsite. Without reinventing the wheel, Coca-Cola has managed to take aspects of other successful viral online campaigns, and created a surprisingly entertaining experience.

Much like the infamous SOAP "phone a friend" gag, the Zero site includes a "sue-a-friend" feature that generates legal documents you can send to the friends that have stolen aspects of your personal style. There is also a interactive video, much like Burger King's subversive chicken, that allows you to annoy Coca-Cola's attorney and watch his wonderfully odd reactions. Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the site is the collection of videos featuring awkward looking executives trying to convince "real" attorney's that they have a case for suing themselves (note: the site claims that 3 of the attorney's are NOT actors... I pray for their sake that this is indeed the case).

I'll admit that there are some weaknesses to this execution and it does still seem a tad contrived at times but bravo for Coca-Cola for taking a risk here. It is rare for a global brand this huge to take a step back and make fun of themselves. Kudos to the agency/marketing team that managed to sell this one through. This also reinforces a point I just read today in The Big Moo in regards to innovative thinking:

"The hard truth is, there aren't any new ideas. There are only new applications and smart twists on old ones. So if you want to be in the great-idea business, one way to increase your flow of ideas is to steal them."

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wicked Widgets

I'm completely obsessed with widgets right now. Not only are they super cool but they can help shave hours from your day if used appropriately. Here's a short list of my favs:

Google Toolbar for Firefox
Link to download
Best Features:
- Spell Check
- Quick links to all your favourite Google apps
- Highly customizable

LinkedIn Companion for Firefox
Link to download
Best Features:
- Integration into bookmarks toolbar
- Automatically searches LinkedIn for sender's profile in gmail and other web-based e-mail applications
- Option to include in Firefox search box

Facebook Toolbar for Firefox
Link to download
Best Features:
- Quick search and links embedded in toolbar
- Quick link to "share" web content with facebook friends
- Sidebar for friend's status updates
- Notification of friend/event/group requests
- Fairly customizable

Google Blog Comments for Firefox
Link to download
Best Features:
- Searches blogs for comments/posts related to any site you visit
- Unobtrusive alerts appear in bottom left corner of browser window (with option to turn off)
- Comment/Blog without having to leave the website

Link to download
Best Features:
- Send twitter updates from your desktop
- Quick links to user profiles
- Stay up-to-date without having to go to website

Google Reader
Link to download
Best Features:
- This one is fairly obvious. Google is my personal favourite but there are lots of good RSS readers out there. Save yourself from visiting hundreds of different websites/blogs/etc.. by aggregating updates into one simple feed

There are hundreds of other widgets, toolbars, addons, and hacks out there. Please share your favourites in the comments section. Sorry Mac users, this is a PC-centric list.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Link Cocktail for 03.07.07

MTV Networks embraces Web chaos to regain viewers

Computer glitch halts online tax return service

Viacom, Google Battle Over YouTube Effectiveness

Controversial YouTube Videos Prompt Turkish Court Ban

Corporations Seek to Curb Online Rumors

The Machine is Us/ing Us

As much as I hate the term, here is a cool little video that does a good job putting the whole "web 2.0" phenomena into perspective. Pass this along to your colleagues that don't quite understand the significance of the new web.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Because the Audience is More Intelligent Than the Speaker...

There is a very cool project happening right now in the form of a book. Not just any book, but the first book dedicated to the unconference. Not only that, but the first (as far as I'm aware) book authored completely via a wiki. Here is the official description of the project:

This book is a collaborative project. It aims to pick the best minds around the word from people who have helped organize unconferences or attended one. It's a book entirely authored on a wiki.

The book welcomes your participation. Think of this book like a bee hive. Thousands of bees buzz around to make a bee hive. So is this book. The end result will be a rich, finely distilled book on unconferences.

Although I have never organized an unconference, I will still be contributing from a participant's point-of-view. If you have attended and/or organized a CaseCamp, BarCamp, DemoCamp, TransitCamp, PodCamp, etc... , I urge you to do the same. At this point, chapter suggestions are being collected and narrowed down. It's still early enough in the process for you to make a real impact on this project. For more information, click here.

Охладите российские Эмблемы "Cool Russian Posters"

Check out this great gallery of Russian Posters.

Courtesy of the New Yorker.

John Edwards Gets Pwned

The silliest story circulating the net this morning has got to be the vandalism of John Edwards' Second Life campaign headquarters. Apparently a group of self proclaimed "e-terrorists" called "Patriotic Nigras" are responsible for the attack and did it simply for laughs. Other than proving that Democrats are just as humorless as Republicans, this story also raises some interesting questions:

How much and what aspects of our online presence should be considered our own personal property?

Is there a difference between our virtual property and our "real world" property?

Who is responsible for protecting our online identity/property?

I hate to even bring this up but has the time come to create a governing body to watch over our virtual lives? Or maybe the solution is the creation of eGod? (sorry Bill, you don't qualify for the position.) As we become increasingly tangled, indexed, and sorted into the web, it is harder to track, control, and protect our online selves.

Monday, March 5, 2007


I apologize for the lack of posts of late but February was a very hectic month. With a roommate moving out and a new roommate moving in, a 2 week hiatus, and a new job, I haven't had much time for blog updates. However, now that I am back in a routine, you can expect to see updates on a more regular basis.

That being said, let's start things back up with some light reading from Robin Marantz Henig courtesy of the NY Times. Here's an excerpt:

"Which is the better biological explanation for a belief in God — evolutionary adaptation or neurological accident? Is there something about the cognitive functioning of humans that makes us receptive to belief in a supernatural deity? And if scientists are able to explain God, what then? Is explaining religion the same thing as explaining it away? Are the nonbelievers right, and is religion at its core an empty undertaking, a misdirection, a vestigial artifact of a primitive mind? Or are the believers right, and does the fact that we have the mental capacities for discerning God suggest that it was God who put them there?"

To read "Evolution and Religion - Darwin's God" in its entirety, click here.