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Work / While you were off

May 12, 2012

While You Were Off is a venture into developing a mobile specific web application. It was created to learn more about the staged process of creating such an app in an MVP-minded way. It’s especially important because more and more often, applications are running free of the device and powered by cloud services. While You Were Off (#WYWO) embraces this idea as it serves you the content you missed while your phone was offline. It features two feeds: 1) a World Wide Web (WWW) feed that taps into a curated list of APIs that we feel best represent “internet culture” and 2) a personalized Your Wide Web (YWW) feed that runs the same algorithm to display the “most interesting” content from your specific social networks.

Determining the need…
A common feeling most of you are familiar with is the pseudo-anxiety one feels awakening your dormant mobile device after it’s been offline. It’s that “post Airplane Mode tingle” we’ve admitted to one another while traveling together. We all scramble to quickly catch up immediately on email, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We felt a need for a mobile tool to quickly reconnect and get back up to speed with the internet with one click of the WYWO icon.

A model to vet native app development…
Native application development can be a costly risk. Although we have no revenue or brand expectations, we see this as an opportunity to explore a model a client may find useful. Thee was an opportunity to use modern web application development as a way of vetting an application’s value by putting it in the audience’s hands first. This method allows us to test in the wild.

Once live as a minimal viable product (MVP) it can be optimized based on consumer behavior and use that data to inform a future build, be it further web app development (including an Android version), or an eventual native app. We’ve focused on building this simple application in a way that lets us easily track performance and usage to bring about the natural parallel behaviors between web & native apps.

We also crafted short narratives (embedded above) that extended the comedic tone of the application, and helped explain the usefulness of While You Were Off through a series of possible situations may have kept you offline and away from the glorious Internet. Watch them all on our Youtube Channel.

Pull out your iPhone and point it to to give it a whirl.

May 1st 2012 – Mobile Website of the Day FWA

Work / Homeless Hotspots

March 8, 2012

Homeless Hotspots is a charitable experiment that is launching at SXSWi this year. Last year, while at JWT, I helped to bring free BBQ to the visiting advertising masses, this year it felt more fitting to give back to the permanent residents of Austin.

This program’s intent is to modernize the Street Newspaper programs that have in the past few decades proved to be a successful model. The issue however, is that like any print publication, these newspapers are under duress from the proliferation of digital media. How often do you see someone “buy” a paper, only to let the homeless individual keep it? This not only prevents the paper from serving as a tool for the individual to avoid begging, but it proves how little value people actually place on the publication itself. Yet the model isn’t inherently broken. It’s simply the output that’s archaic in the smartphone age.

This year in Austin, as you wonder between locations murmuring to your coworker about how your connection sucks and you can’t download/stream/tweet/instagram/check-in, you’ll notice strategically positioned individuals wearing #HomelessHotspot t-shirts. These are homeless individuals in the Case Management program at Front Steps Shelter. They’re carrying MiFi devices. Introduce yourself, then log on to their 4G network via your phone or tablet for a quick high-quality connection. You pay what you want (ideally via the PayPal link on the site so we can track finances), and whatever you give goes directly to the person that just sold you access. We’re believers that providing a digital service will earn these individuals more money than a print commodity.

We’re using SXSW as our beta test. Hopefully you can help us optimize and validate this platform, which we hope to see adopted on a broader scale. Any and all support is appreciated (including donations from afar).

Addition: As of the second day there have been hundreds of thousands of media impressions, over 78,000,000 Google Search Results, and  has reached 13,736,154 people as of March 14th, 2012. This issue  has by far has become the most spoken about topic to come out of #SXSW since Foursquare.

Work / Straight Thug App.

March 3, 2012

Straight Thug is an iPhone app that lets you thug out your photo into an animated GIF hip-hop album cover. Share the GIF on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Check out the thugs in action. Available in the App Store. In case you didn’t know, Universalscene is Tim Nolan and Jen Lu, and this is just one of our play things.

Created by: Universalscene
Developed by: Illuminati Creative
View on iTunes: Straight Thug

Industry / How to win at #Superbowl

February 6, 2012

With one simple gesture to the camera, during the Halftime show at the Superbowl M.I.A will generate more Internet buzz than any brand. Flipping of the camera during her verse in the Madonna song M.I.A. will create tons of press, blog posts, and discussion. The timing is great as she has a new video up on youtube, and a new album dropping. This is so much smarter, and so much better planned than a wardrobe malfunction.  Well played lady, well played. Go M.I.A!

Industry / Social Media Week NY Panel

January 15, 2012

Should agencies think like startups? Thought leaders have debated this topic for the last year or so, and now some agencies are putting those thoughts into action. The result is a new generation of agency products that harness the energy and attitude of social and digital media.

Most agencies share key ingredients of agile software companies, like designers, programmers and project managers. But do they have they essential patience to iterate and persist throughout a profitable product’s lifespan? And is coding products in-house just a great exercise, or is a viable new business model emerging?

Brian Morrissey, Editor in Chief of Digiday, will moderate a panel of agency innovators that have experimented with the open social graph and worked to develop their own in-house tools, toys and applications. Register here.


Agency Panelists Include:

Nathan Martin / CEO Deep Local
Matt Britton / Founder & CEO – Mr. Youth
Andrew Zolty / Founder & Creative Director – Breakfast
Tim Nolan / Creative Director – BBH Labs

Work / The Magic of Online 2011

December 21, 2011

This was awesome to stumble on to today. My work for Zyrtec’s Parks Unleashed was listed by Mashable as one of the top 10 ads that harnessed the magic of online last year.

Industry / Post 100

November 14, 2011

It seems fitting that my 100th post on this weblog is about change. The essence of a weblog is that it is a dynamic, living document that reflects the author’s thoughts and narrative on an ongoing basis. I began this blog in February of 2005 to serve a few purposes:

  • A place to archive my work, and my ever changing roles in these past projects
  • A platform to comment and or rant about the advertising, creative, and marketing industries
  • A reason to use WordPress and increase my meta data over the Internet.

Back to my initial point. Today marks my first day at BBH Labs. I will be working as the Creative Director of Labs with the ever innovative Saneel Radia (follow him here @Saneel). Labs is BBH’s global innovation unit. It has been tasked with pioneering new outputs and approaches: exploring emerging platforms and behaviours on behalf of brands, and developing new agency models along the way.

This opportunity excites me for many reasons, the first of which is that it brings me back to the very first days of what drew me to the web. Exploration, innovation, an the sense of being on the brink of something new. Technology and culture, now more than ever moves at the speed of light (quite literally, in some cases) and with this Moore’s Law lifestyle comes the challenge of being one step ahead. I welcome the challenge.

Issues. Culture. Bugs. this was one of the randomized taglines that ran on back in 1997, and it totally rings true today. Future forward!