Loading Haiku

LoadingHaiku.com

I’ve just finished a new website. The joys of early morning rising through jetlag :-)

http://loadinghaiku.tumblr.com

Basically it’s a collection of Haiku that I started writing whilst waiting for heavy websites to download (and there’s been a few recently). Then I figured I’d release them all under a Creative Commons License so that people can take them and re-incorporate them into their loading sequences.

If you’d like to submit a Loading Haiku to the site there’s a link in the ‘more info’ box at the bottom.

I’m afraid the site suffers from my dodgy grasp of CSS. And I’m especially sorry to users of Microsoft Internet Explorer who won’t be able to view the site properly. I tried for ages to get the site to work properly but it was just screwed – and I don’t have enough time, or more importantly skill, to fix it.

I did however write a poem especially for IE visitors , if you try to visit the site you’ll get to see it. If you don’t have IE and you’d like to, you can read the special IE poem here.

It’s a viral that’s viral that’s made by the Viral Factory

Earlier on the bus I’m sitting next to Flo from Dare. And he says to me that if something isn’t in his inbox it’s not viral.

A couple of hours later. I’m sitting next to Ed from the Viral Factory. And he shows me this video they’ve made of LED Sheep that’s on YouTube.

About an hour later Asi sends me this link: http://is.gd/nHjt just with the subject Get That. So I click it. And guess what it’s the video. In my blinkin’ inbox.

It’s like the viral circle of life. A beautiful moment I shall treasure forever.

I like the video quite a lot by the way. I think it’s got a lot going for it. I especially like the ‘Oh Go On’ bit at the end. That’s how it ought to be.

9 Reasons Japanese Interactive Work Is Awesome

Dentsu Online

In my continued judging of the One Show Interactive awards there’s one thing that’s really starting to stand out. Japanese agencies are doing some outstanding work right now.

Every year that I’ve been fortunate enough to judge international awards there’s always a couple of great examples of Japanese work. But the majority of the work that I’m painfully jealous of this year comes from Japan. Of course there’s great US, Swedish, British and Brazilian stuff – as usual. But there’s something noticeably special and standout about some of the Japanese stuff.

And here’s why I think that is…

Disclaimer: I’m making a bunch of assumptions and cultural generalisations here, sorry for any that are crude and inaccurate.

1. The work is polite

- Japanese stuff doesn’t shove itself on the Internet going: POW. LOOK AT ME. I AM THE BEST THING EVER! Culturally it’s subtle. It’s reserved. It’s aware of status and hierarchy. But at the same time it’s not all about the big ‘i am’.I’m sure I’ve whanged on about it before. But in a networked environment where we all have the same access to pixels and characters assuming that yours are somehow better than others’ is wrong wrong wrong. Your stuff has to earn its place in peoples eye-holes. It doesn’t have a god given right to be there. It feels like a lot of the Japanese work I love gets this.

2. The work isn’t driven by TV advertising

I’m not sure why. Hopefully someone can fill me in on this. But almost none of the great work feels like it’s tied in with TV campaigns. The awesome stuff has been considered digital-out. Rather than TV-in.That’s not to say that you can’t get awesome stuff starting with TV. It’s just that when the digital stuff feels like a follow-on rather than a lead there’s a quality about it you can really feel.

3. The work draws from a culture of games, comics and technology

Rather than drawing on cues from TV advertising it feels like Japanese designers are pulling from their really advanced cultures of:

  • Gaming – which gives the work a sense of fun, progressive engagement, hookiness, atmosphere, character development (and importantly not necessarily of human characters).
  • Comics – which drives oddness, playfulness and escape from reality.
  • Technology – obviously having a culture that’s proud of and excited by technology is going to put you in an interesting place when you’re developing for the digital space. Certainly it’s going to lead to more advanced stuff than a culture of basket-weavers. I think tied in with this is their ability to code amazing sites. Sites that are driven by technological wizardry but without feeling overly geeky. Or sometimes that do feel very geeky.

4. Advanced mobile and blogging cultures

It’s hard to pin down the exact numbers and percentages (I had a go but my researching skills are weak), but Japan undoubtedly has a hugely vibrant blogging scene with some surveys suggesting that there are more Japanese language blogs than English ones. And it’s always had a particularly strong mobile Internet for lots of reasons.

Both of these things have led to a particularly strong sense of personal media space. Something which I think a lot of agencies struggle with. They’re not thinking about peoples spaces they’re thinking about their sites, or media owners sites. And the rules are quite different.

5. Distribution

Probably connected to point 4. But the notion of widgets (or blog parts as they’re called in Japan) is really strong and central to lots of the work. Many of the campaigns don’t feel like they have a big heavy base, they exist in lots of places that all connect together in a logical way. Which makes things feel progressive and smart as the world stands today.

6. Craft

There’s an attention to detail and a crispness about the digital craft that shines through in a lot of the work. I think this might be massively linked into (2) – so rather than trying to make everything look like TV ads it can look like brilliant and interesting digital stuff instead. I don’t think it’s a co-incidence that the incidence of bad green screen presenters is low…

7. Some of it is a bit strange

Often this makes it feel really fresh and it makes you work a bit harder, in a good way. The sense that there’s a little something that you don’t quite ‘get’ is something that I think has a peculiar attraction. A bit of Especially for geeks.

8. Japaneseness

this is just cheating really. But it is something that I think helps Japanese work to win awards. It’s a strange combo of being slightly culturally exotic and the fact that their character set looks slightly exotic (and to a lot of peoples’ eyes quite beautiful). But this is only a supporting factor in the whole picture – otherwise the Chinese / Korean / Malaysian work would be shining through in the same way. And this year it isn’t.

9. They’re having fun with it

Simple as that. It feels like there’s a love for the work that’s going on. Like people are enjoying doing awesome stuff. And there’s no way you can fake that.

What’s the downside?

Their stuff can take a very long time to load outside of Japan.

Here’s some links to some of my favourite campaigns (again not saying that any of this is going to win – it’s just some incredible Japanese stuff that I’ve liked along the way)…


Some Standout Work From Japan

Here’s some stuff that illustrates some of the points above. Most of these links are to awards entry pages where you’ll get a bit of an introduction to the campaigns (although some of them are very much in Engrish)…

Love Distance

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An amazing campaign where 2 lovers from opposite ends of Japan run to each other. So many facets to it. Including a boy site and a girl site that keeps the audiences separate until the end. It almost made me cry. It’s for condoms by the way. That’s why they end up 0.02mm apart.

Gassaku for Intel

GASSAKU

It’s a really deep and multi layered campaign that involves getting people creating things. I’m not sure I quite get all of it. But there’s something very cool about chunks of it.

Axe Chocoman Hunter

AXE CHOCOMAN HUNTER

Axe Chocoman hunter. Takes the chocoman that we know from the ads and ramps it up into a massive promotion involving a character that travels from phone to phone. With a contest where the winner gets 1% of all Axe profits. It’s bonkers.

Tokyu Hands Mushi Battle

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A kind of creative beetle battle for a craft / department store called Tokyu Hands. It’s not as crazily engaging as some of the other things it just feels very very cool.

Honda EditSCREEN

Honda | 30AF30EB30DE | 30A830C730A330C330AF30B9 | Edit SCREEN

Honda Edit Screen. This culminates in a screensaver – which I know is listed as one of my old 7 Deadly Sins of Digital. But I don’t care. This site is just super-cute and shows the extreme craft skills of some of the Japanese agencies. Even though most of the site is in a language I don’t understand the interface is straightforward, slick and amazing. It’s basically a massive multi-user artwork generator.

The Last Guy

It’s a campaign a bit like the Balloon Race we did for Orange, but it’s for a Playstation Game and it’s got Zombies in it roaming over the web. It’s kind of different because a lot of the interaction with the individual sites is done using screen grabs. But even so it knows how to lay out the game-space so the right bits of the page are walls, etc.

Click the switch below to turn Crackunit into a zombie game. Go on. Go on. I dare you…

Because of the big header graphic playing it here isn’t the best experience. But the game has had 6.6m plays. Which is totally insane.

Adidas Hello! Runners Map

HELLO! RUNNERS MAP

And I think my favourite of all is this campaign for Adidas Running. They’ve got a tough challenge given the Nike+ thing that’s gone down. But they’ve pulled something amazing out of the bag. You create your running maps, so far so good. Then it uses Google Street View to show your run inside a widget which is FANTASTIC. Also what they’ve done with the whole mapping interface and Flash is a joy to behold.

So that’s some of the stuff that’s been making me excited about the scene in Japan. I hope you like some of it too.

Is This the Best Customer Service Email Ever?

From Southern Trains.

It’s totally fantastic. It’s like someone’s got totally shitfaced on logistics-booze and then sat down and written an email.

Dear Mr Tait

Thank you for your email.

I would advise you to reply to the consultation document by the deadline to influence the outcome http://southernrailway.com/content/doc/cms/0637_London_Bridge_Proposals.pdf
The consultation does not claim to be increasing capacity. There is no extra capacity available. It is about re-instating a direct train between Brighton and London Bridge which is moving capacity.
The loads are expected to be similar to before the timetable change i.e. Brighton predicted to on average load with 193 passengers in 223 seats, that means passengers have to use the middle seats of the 3 x 2 seating or people will stand and the Littlehampton portion is predicted to have an average load of 444 in 446 from Wivelsfield, which with the uneven loading of trains means inevitable standing.
From Haywards Heath it is predicted to have an average load of 729 in 669 seats, which is substantial standing.
The consultation document does not hide any of that. It is an open and honest evaluation of the implications to implement the request from passengers to reinstate a direct Brighton to London Bridge train where there is no spare capacity squeezed between the Brighton Victoria Gatwick Express trains required by the DFT specification after their consultation.
Having said that, further to the above I understand that from 23 March there will be a train departing Brighton at 0637 which will run fast to Haywards Heath and connect with the 0557 train from Littlehampton arriving London Bridge at 0744.
I am sure there will be a lot of passengers from Brighton who will be pleased to see a train at this time reinstated to London Bridge.

Regards
xxxxx xxxxx

I’ve not messed with the spacing either, it arrived like a lunatic’s stream of conciousness.

I’m still not sure if I can ever get to work again though.

You Can Keep Your Guitar Hero

I never wanted to be a Rock God much.

It’d much rather be a God of Psychedelic Electro-Pong, so Bit.Trip Beat is the game for me.

Coming soon on the Wii (via Wiiware platform)

As the Bit.Trip Beat site says:

Everything comes from something.
We were before we became. From life comes rhythm, and from rhythm comes life.
We are beings of information.
Everything is a conduit for learning.
We communicate in bits and bytes.
And we will return to something once we become nothing.
After our BIT.TRIP is complete.

Deep. Very deep.

Thanks to Jason for the tip off.

Boring Laptop DJs?

Dude’s broken out all the toys: Wiimotes, VR gloves, gestural controllers, drum pads, etc. No one could accuse him of looking like he’s sending an email. But you could accuse him of looking a little like a techno Jean Michelle Jarre.

Bits of it I love. Bits of it I hate.

Thanks Vasco for the link.

One Show Interactive Judging First Thoughts

This year I’m judging the One Show Interactive Awards. I’ve done it once before and they’re a really good summary of what’s going on in the advertising and comms world when it comes to digital stuff.

This year they’ve asked if we’ll blog about our experiences. Initially I was a bit sceptical as I’m just as likely to want to shout about how much I hate something as am I to cheer about things I love. Which isn’t really in the spirit of things like One Show. Equally it’s not fair to blog about individual bits of work, certainly before the results have been announced. So as I was trawling through the 180 or so first round pieces of work I kept wondering what I could say. And after about seeing 20 things I realised that there were a few trends in the work and also trends in the way that I could feel myself reacting to the work.

So I captured them in an ‘in and out’ list. This may not reflect the marks that things got or what the final results might be. They’re just observations on the things that felt fresh and interesting vs the things that felt a bit tired and slightly out-of-touch.

Here’s my list.

RIMG0002

I’m sure some of my feelings are to do with the wider context that we all find ourselves in. Moments of joy and niceness just felt so much more enticing right now.

But given that a lot of the work is from a pre-crisis time maybe some of it’s had an unlucky bounce? Or maybe we’d just reached a time to wave a sad goodbye to the glut of mega reflective full screen cyber-futuristik experiences of yore..?

My New Tshirt

From the lovely guys at flyingrumor.com (damn it’s hard to type that without the u). It’s like a sheet of A4 paper. And it’s a super quality tee.

And here’s the envelope it came in (I’m happy about the re-use of packaging)…

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And it came with nice labels and a hand written note and photo (which I’m also happy about).

Flyingrumour Package Contents