going further

This is meant to be an inspirational post and is about taking your craft and trying to do it better. This is also not safe for mobile (NSFM) as it has lots of images. The animal theme is accidental, but I liked how it fit.
Have you ever had a client ask you to go further with an idea?
Have you ever struggled to take a small idea and make it “bigger” without a clear way to do that?
The simple solution just may be to keep doing the same thing, only more of it. Take your idea as far as you can take it. Then take that and keep going. The boundaries you hit may not be real boundaries but instead just a resting place before you climb your next hill.
Does this story resonate? Let’s say you were tasked with creating some art with finger-paint for a client. On your first attempt you get this:
Sure, it’s pretty, has lots of colors, but the client wants more structure, so you come back with this:


The client likes it but wants more detail, so, after some hard work and exploration, you come up with this:
Which was WAY realistic except that now the client wants something less real and more abstract, so you think hard and draw this:
And now the client thinks it’s too busy, too much stuff going on. So, frustrated and upset, you go back to basics. Black paint on white paper. But instead of adding in things, you just keep going. Your first attempts don’t take you anywhere interesting:
But you have faith in your abilities, you take a breath and get back up and keep going:
And going:
And finally get to somewhere you could not have gotten to otherwise.
And that place is somewhere incredible, valuable and special. Not everyone can get there because it’s hard and because lots of people confuse frustration and breathing with failure and stopping. Frustration is good, it’s a birthplace of creativity (ask me for some other example
s). Breathing and faith allow you to persevere and keep going further.
Sometimes we need to get back to basics, remove the feature creep and go further with a simple, core idea. We can look at the struggles we face when trying to make an idea bigger as a good thing. We’re going further than most to get to a place most people never can.
Incredible Finger Paintings by Judith Braun
– Randall Noval

Philips "invents" a new "augmented reality" "technology"

It was a difficult problem, how do you sell facial hair grooming products to clean-shaven men who don’t like any facial hair? I’m actually going to suggest skipping the article and just watching the 2 min video. Very smart!

Philips Promotes Shaving Products With Hilarious ‘AR’ Campaign

– Randall Noval

The Worst Meatball Sandwich

Here’s a little fun to start your week off right. This restaurant (JoeDough) in the east village had a bad review on Yelp and decided to have a little fun with it. I didn’t take the picture, but I if I were walking by there, I’d probably at least step in and take a look. I like that they kept the comment context and tried to put a spin on it the put them in a positive light.

Everyone loves a really bad meatball sandwich!


– Randall Noval

Is 70 degrees just annoying enough?

Potentially, 70 degrees is an important number when it comes to laptop screens. Apple places screens at exactly 70 degrees every morning so that people will come in and adjust them. This gets people to touch the product and Apple wants people to see the display and experiment with apps and web sites. This is another aspect of how people engage with brands that we can steal from a brand that does it very well.

Below are two related articles that I highly recommend reading (watch the video too). How can we turn our digital interactions into multi-sensory experiences? Maybe building in a barcode reader to a website that uses a webcam to scan product barcodes and give an enhanced experience. Maybe treating interactions on a website as a conversation with a start, middle and end instead of just consumption like a book. With that, we can close a conversation and invite users to come back for another experience / interaction. These are not the greatest examples, but I hope they inspire some additional thought on how brands can interact with people and provide value beyond just the sale of a product.

How Apple Store Seduces You With the Tilt of Its Laptops


Multisensory experiences build a sense of ownership.

Our brains love multisensory experiences. The more you engage your customers’ senses, the more likely it is that they will engage with your product on an emotional level and reward you with their loyalty…

Apple Store’s Secret Sauce: 5 Steps of Service


Think of APPLE as an acronym. Each letter corresponds to a step.

  • Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome…
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs…
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today. Apple likes to remind its store employees that they are not in the business of selling computers. They are in the business of “enriching lives.”…
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns…
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return…

Customers will reward you with their wallet and their loyalty if you make them feel appreciated, confident, and happy…

– Randall Noval

People Will Do Crazy Stuff

If you write it down on a card where they can find it. Check out this fun little experiment involving Truth or Dare in Washington Square park (the video at the end of the post is awesome!). What can you bring to your next ideation session that encourages people to have fun, play and engage with other people in a positive way?

Truth or Dare

New Yorkers are pretty closed off. It’s hard to make eye contact, let alone introduce yourself to someone new. So to make New York a little more friendly I took the middle school approach and organized a massive game of truth or dare. I wrote up 300 cards and put them around Washington Square Park on June 9th for the public to play with.

Making something simple and engaging and awesome can get great press too.

Watch New Yorkers Play an Epic Game of Truth or Dare

Truth or dare – two ways of bringing New York together

Video: Watch New Yorkers Stumble Upon Random Game Of Truth Or Dare

Giant Truth or Dare game turns New York into a middle-school party

Truth or Dare of the Day

– Randall Noval

Twitter Tailored Trends Tweaked

FYI, on Tuesday, Twitter updated their algorithm to personalize the Trends list by State & regions of the world.

Twitter Changes Algorithms To Tailor Trends [Updates]

With the new algorithm, trends will be listed by default based on your location and the people you follow. If the trends are not tailored to what you’re looking for, you can switch from your local list to worldwide, or one of 150 other locations, including 36 different countries.

Tailored Trends bring you closer

Trends help you discover the emerging topics people are talking about on Twitter. You can see these topics as a worldwide list, or select one of more than 150 locations. In order to show emerging topics that matter more to you, today we’re improving our algorithms to tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow on Twitter.

These Trends lists are tailored for you by default on twitter.com and mobile apps like Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android. If you don’t wish to see tailored Trends, but instead want to see a more general list of Trends, just change your location on twitter.com. Of course, anytime you want a glimpse into the conversations that are happening on Twitter around the world, you can always select individual countries and cities to see Trends in those locations. Look out for tailored Trends as they roll out gradually starting today.

– Sara Mauskopf, Product Manager (@sm)

– Randall Noval

It’s not Social Media vs TV

I think this article does a great job of illustrating that there are no longer communication channels, that an “integrated marketing mix” is a red-herring. I think there is just the brand and the consumers’ relationship with it in every communication channel (including all the ones that haven’t been invented yet).

How Social Media Will Save – Not Kill – the Television Ad

David Griner doesn’t think television advertising needs to be saved from the Internet and social media. On the contrary, Griner says television ads need to be saved from themselves.

“I personally find that most television ads are gutless and self-obsessed,” said Griner, director of digital content for the ad agency Luckie and a regular contributor to AdWeek’s AdFreaks blog. “They don’t take risks because television doesn’t reward risk taking. TV rewards pretty mediocre advertising.”

“Advertising is in a transitional state,” Griner said. “Digital has depth, and the merger is inevitable. It’s already happening.”

A RIght Way…

Griner said the most successful ad campaigns focused on engagement instead of reach. He pointed to Audi’s “Progress Is” campaign, which launched in the 2011 Super Bowl but ended up generating a yearlong dialogue using the #ProgressIs hash tag on Twitter.

“For us, it was never a discussion, it was always a hashtag,” Andy White, Senior Social Media Manager for Audi, told Griner. “The Super Bowl is conversation.”

“Most of them are funny and are very sharable,” he said. “They’re the digital water cooler fodder.

“And they are, with a few exceptions, still overwhelmingly watched on TV.”

… And A Wrong Way

But not every attempt to tie TV advertising to the social world has worked as hoped. McDonald’s has been trying to actively reach out to bloggers and social media influencers as part of its new advertising campaigns. It has tried to foster online discussions with Twitter hashtags. In other words, the company has been doing everything social media marketing experts say the company should be doing – and yet it still had a campaign blow up in its face.

“The hashtag,” Griner said, “was too vague and too detached from the point of the ads.”

“I’m not going to totally bash this yet because they could end up doing something really cool with this,” Griner said. “But right now, it seems chaotic to me.”


– Randall Noval

Twitter’s Got A Brand New Bird

Taking flight: #Twitterbird

Over the past six years, the world has become familiar with a little blue bird. The bird is everywhere, constantly associated with Twitter the service, and Twitter the company.

Starting today you’ll begin to notice a simplified Twitter bird. From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter. (Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.) There’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase “t” to represent Twitter. [Ed: emphasis mine]

Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.

To learn more about our new trademark, visit the Twitter brand resources page. You’ll find updated guidelines, new image downloads — everything you need to start using it immediately.

Thank you for flying with us.

Doug Bowman, Creative Director (@stop)

Their brand guidelines gives you all the direction you need to know.



– Randall Noval

Layar’s Print Media Guerilla Attack

With their new Layar Creator app, attach online content to ANY printed medium.

Layar taps print media with new web app

How to Use the Layar Creator

  1. Upload digital versions of your offline / print pages to the Layar creator
  2. Add the digital content you want to show
  3. Save and publish campaign through Layar
  4. View offline page with Layar app
  5. See statistics and analytics

More from Layar:

Actually, I’m just assuming the any part thinking that someone less scrupulous could take an old issue of People magazine, scan it and replace Tara Reid with a picture of Ms. Pac-Man or the Lehman Brothers logo with a Loser Brothers logo in Money magazine. Not that we would do that.


– Randall Noval

Brand Responses are A Good Thing ™

Just a fun post.

First, the Onion posts this gem “taking the piss” on all social type campaigns on Tue, May 29.

Hey, Everybody! This Cool New Tide Detergent Video Is Blowing Up All Over The Internet!

(worth reading if you haven’t already)

4 days later, on Fri, June 1, Tide posts a video response, also “taking the piss”.

Cool New Tide Detergent Video

The Onion had some fun with Tide this week http://www.theonion.com/articles/hey-everybody-this-cool-new-tide-detergent-v… Now it’s our turn. Watch the cool new viral Tide Detergent video with cute, funny talking animals, an indie rock song, and an 80s-inspired rock star.

Being (not acting) like a real person is critical if you’re going to participate in a conversation with other people.


– Randall Noval

P.S. Thank you to Agency Spy for catching this: http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy/tide-responds-to-onion-article_b34229

P.P.S. For bonus fun points, what real titles have you seen that are more bloviated than the one from the Onion article?



Brands Doing Good Things

Post on how other companies are using social media to connect people and enable people to do good. Sponsored by Intel. I think this has some interesting implications and there are some great insights on how to “gamily” people’s behavior to accomplish a common (good) goal.

5 Companies Using Social Media for the Better

This content was produced by GOOD with the support of Intel

Thanks to the internet, it’s not roads that connect our community, it’s our interests. And through the power of social media, we’re able to connect people from around the world with important causes, mobilize to crowdsource ideas, and sync our digital social behaviors with real world ones. There are many approaches to community building, whether it’s building up your community of followers on Twitter or helping people on Found It!, a digital lost-and-found that reunites users with lost items. Here’s some companies we think are building communities and doing good, all while using social media.

  1. When your community hits the road (waze)
  2. Dinner with friends (foursquare)
  3. What’s cooking (livebelowtheline)
  4. Water for All (charity:water)
  5. From Trash to Treasure (Freecycle)


– Randall Noval


Yet Another Internet Trends Report (YAITR)

Yes, the internets are here to stay and now include mobile! Find all your favorite numbers including 3, 5 and 208 in this Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers report from the D10 Conference (http://allthingsd.com/category/d10/). This special edition includes great words like monetization, addressable, fire hoses, and ‘talent’.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012

KPCB’s Mary Meeker & Liang Wu:

  1. Review Internet stats and notes that Internet growth remains robust and rapid mobile adoption is still in early stages;
  2. Run through a number of examples of business models that are being re-imagined and re-invented thanks to mobile and social;
  3. Highlight mixed economic trends
  4. Observe that while there’s a lot to excited about in technology, there are things to be worried about regarding America’s financial situation.


  1. Basic Stats – Internet Growth Remains Robust, Rapid Mobile Adoption Still in Early Stages
  2. Re-Imagination – of Nearly Everything
  3. Economy – Mixed Trends, With Negative Bias
  4. ‘USA, Inc.’ – A Lot to be Excited About in Tech, A Lot to be Worried about in Other Areas
  5. Bubble – or Not?


– Randall Noval

P.S. The report is downloadable from the link.

P.P.S. My personal key takeaway is slide 110: THIS CYCLE OF TECH DISRUPTION IS MATERIALLY FASTER & BROADER THAN PRIOR CYCLES. It’s not about predicting the future, it’s about learning to surf the change wave. Lots of big stuff has happened very quickly and even bigger things will be coming even faster. We’ve only just begun.


More Mobile Madness

Here’s a nice infographic on the Mighty Mobile.

Mighty Mobile – Infographic

Some key takeaways from the infographic:

  • 87% of the world’s population has a mobile phone
  • 98% of people use their mobiles at home, which is about the 89% that say they use them on the go.
  • There are 1.2 billion mobile web uses worldwide – 17% of the global population
  • In January 2012, 8.5% of all website visits came from mobiles – double the previous year
  • M-Commerce will witness a 99 fold increase in just 6 years
  • and 79% of large online retailers still don’t have a mobile website!

    And, as a second mobile tidbit, location based services are HUGE on those small devices… 🙂 See the full Pew Research report below.

    3/4 Of Smartphone Owners Regularly Use Location-Based Services

    A new report from Pew Research has found that almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of U.S. smartphone users surveyed get real-time location-based information on their phones as of February 2012, an increase from May 2011 where it was 55 per cent. This increase coincides with a rise in smartphone ownership overall from 35 per cent of adults in 2011 to 46 per cent in 2012. It also means that the overall number of U.S. adults who access location-based information has almost doubled over that time from 23 per cent in May 2011 to 41 per cent in February 2012.


    – Randall Noval


    Improv Everywhere creates the definition of "surprise and delight"

    With their “Instant Date”.

    Instant Date

    For our latest mission, we surprised a random couple sitting on a bench in Central Park with a fancy dinner and a private concert by a wind quintet.

    Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report below.



    – Randall Noval