The 20 most shared video ads.

It’s Friday. Spring is technically here. Let’s “use” some time watching last year’s 20 most shared video ads. I’m pretty sure this counts as “research.” (more…)


The power of words in marketing.

A wonderful friend sent me this short video, which impacted me at several different levels.

The original intention of the director, Seth Gardner, was “to illustrate the power of words to radically change a message and its effect upon the world.” It can be seen as a clever marketing piece or a bittersweet personal story.

For some reason, the video reminded me of the Washington Post’s experiment about 5 years ago, when Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinist in the world, played for free, for 45 minutes, on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station in D.C. Over a thousand people passed by Bell, only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person recognized him. He collected $32.17. A few nights before he was playing a sold out theater in Boston with an average ticket of $100.

The first video inspired me to rethink how we market our company and communicate with our clients, and the second one remind to “stop and smell the roses” or at least listen to the music more often.


Learning from Kodak’s failures.

graphic design - kodak logo

Kodak, which was founded by George Eastman in 1889, had in 1976 a market share of 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the United States. The company hasn’t made a profit since 2007, and it declared bankruptcy in January 2012.

The letter “K” was Eastman’s favorite letter, and the name “Kodak” followed his three main branding principles: the name should be short, simple enough so as not to be mispronounced, and it could not resemble anything or be associated with anything else.

Now Kodak is completely exiting the consumer photo and camera business, while trying to unload an extremely profitable chunk of its massive patent library with hopes of obtaining a financial boost from any settlement payoffs over patent infringement lawsuits against Apple and Research in Motion. If all of this works out, the company will most likely focus exclusively on digital printing as a business-to-business company, competing directly with Hewlett-Packard, Canon, and Lexmark, among others.

Kodak’s story is not unique, and it will be certainly followed by other companies who fail to react and adapt to market changes. Kodak’s failure is really a life lesson: define the essence of who you are and what you do (tell visual stories, for example), and not what you sell (film or 5×7 prints); don’t get too comfortable with what you know and do well; never settle, constantly push your comfort zone, and challenge yourself. Remember to talk to people who disagree with you, and listen to their reasoning. And most important, be open to new experiences and opportunities.

The glass is always half full AND half empty. It’s up to you to decide how to look at it.


Anatomy of a Title Sequence. Interview.

Peter Crandall, a great friend and fantastic artist, designed the new opening title sequences (see below) for all of our videos. After proudly sharing them with other people, we realized that we wanted to know more about the whole process, so here is a recent conversation.

Tell us a little bit about where you are with your career.
I’ve been freelancing as a motion designer in Los Angeles for the past eight years. The majority of my experience and projects in motion design have been in the entertainment industry, which has entailed designing motion graphics for television shows/networks, opening title sequences to film, TV promos, commercials, and web videos.

Apple Inc. contacted me last fall (2011) to work at their Cupertino office to help out with some projects in their marketing department. In short, I’ve recently relocated to Silicon Valley and I’m now working more regularly with Apple. The relationships I have with the LA studios are still very important to me so I do my best to continue working with those studios when they contact me.

I understand you worked on Apple’s new iPhone campaign, can you tell us a bit more about that experience?
Working at Apple for a few months in preparation for the iPhone 4S launch was exciting and unique in a few ways for me. First, the focus is not on any celebrity, television show or other consumer media, but on a product; in this case the iPhone 4S. Second, Apple has a very established and successful marketing brand. Since the overall visual language of Apple is very simple and clean, the designing doesn’t lend itself exploring a wide spectrum of creativity like other brands in the entertainment industry I’ve worked with. Overall, the experience of working with the very talented team during the launch of the iPhone 4S was simply amazing.

Could you take us through the design process of “” from the early concepts, to the development stage and final execution? We are especially curious about how you decide on specific design elements like color scheme, typography, audio, and even the length.
Just like any project I start, the first thing I did in the design process for creating the intro animations of “” was to talk with Mr. Angel about his company and the context in which the intro sequence would exist.

The key concept I came away with from talking with Mr. Angel in developing the intro animation was the importance of the content itself. The web site covers many topics, so I thought about how they could be conveyed and ultimately turned keywords from the “tag cloud” on the site into a slot-machine style animation based on the keywords.

Having many different words whiz by helps give a sense of volume to the content, but at the same time help it remain playful. Since the function of the animation is an opening sequence to video content, I wanted the length of the animation to be informative and concise. After doing some tests and getting a good “feel” for the animation I started to explore some sound effects that would compliment the motion and reinforce the professional and friendly qualities of the web site as a whole.



Visual Serendipity.

Serendip­ity: noun; the occur­rence and devel­op­ment of events by chance in a happy or ben­e­fi­cial way.

Misspelled ad

When I saw this “ad” it immediately reminded me of “Biutiful” the film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, shot by Rodrigo Prieto, and starring Javier Bardem. The movie’s title refers to the orthographical spelling in Spanish of the English word beautiful as it would sound to native Spanish speakers.

Interesting facts: Iñárritu spent 14 months editing the film, and it is the first time that a performance (by Javier Bardem) entirely in the Spanish Language has been nominated for an Academy Award Best Actor Oscar.

Going back to my picture, I am still trying to decide if the person who wrote this did it as a joke or even as a reference to the movie, or if the missing U in “beautiful”, the flipped N on “antique”, and the patched R on “mirrors” are real mistakes. What’s your take?