Archive for the ‘graphic novel’ tag
Post-advertising is based on brands genuinely adding value to consumers’ lives by generously giving them valuable content. By providing rewarding experiences, brands earn the right to expose consumers to their products and services. At its core, post-advertising is about creating an audience around relevant content and then migrating that audience to relevant products and services.
Microsoft’s crowd-sourced, animated graphic novel, Brandon Generator, a stylish, Sin City type animation in which the audience helps shape the protagonist’s world, would seem to meet this definition. Marketed like a Hollywood film, the above-the-line advertising depicts a Philip Marlowe-esque character and the line “The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator.” Closer inspection reveals that it’s a “Production of Internet Explorer.” Sure enough, upon visiting www.brandongenerator.com, it becomes apparent that the animation is only viewable on Internet Explorer 9 and the would-be viewer is invited to install it. Those that do make the effort are rewarded with an ambitious experiment in interactive storytelling.
Of course, this is not the first time a browser has tried this trick, Google enlisted the help of Arcade Fire, Chris Milk and B-Reel to create the truly inspirational “The Wilderness Downtown”, an interactive video optimised for their new browser Google Chrome.
Is it Post-Advertising?
Both appear to be post-advertising poster-children but looks can be deceiving. In fact, they display much of the arrogance of traditional advertising. Their flaw is that they expect to convert people after a single point of contact. Post-advertising is not as presumptuous. It progressively guides audiences across multiple touchpoints, with increasing depth of involvement at each. These repeated acts of generosity allow the consumer to find out more about the brand and the brand to find out more about the consumer, building trust and aligning the right customer with the right product. At no point is the consumer forced to do anything. They choose to pursue the narrative because it is rewarding in its own right. This creates a tight bond between brand and customer – a bond that traditional advertising can’t buy.
Brandon Generator and The Wilderness Downtown are both great examples of experimental marketing and interactive advertising, but they have more in common with Wieden & Kennedy’s brilliant ad for Old Spice than they do with post-advertising examples such as AKQA’s branded utility for Fiat (Fiat Eco:Drive) or our own success with WGN America. The brands that don’t just survive but thrive in the post-advertising era will be the ones that not only create interesting content for their audiences but those that are truly interested in their audiences. This is where traditional advertising, even if it is great advertising, falls down.
Do you think it’s post-advertising, or just traditional advertising well packaged?
Remember that Steve Jobs comic book? Welp, we got more where that came from.
Bluewater Productions, the team behind Steve Jobs: Co-founder of Apple has just sent us word about a new trio of graphic novels about tech founders. Think of it as fanfic with (probably) less S&M.
The new titles cover the thrilling coming-of-wealth-and-power stories of Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who cooked up Google in their spare time lo these many years ago. Also coming out at the end of the year is a graphic novel about Jack Dorsey and his role in Twitter’s founding and early years.
The publisher’s comic book on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sold out last year and is being re-released this summer as a graphic novel, as well.
While the more jaded among us might snicker at the likes of super-serious Dorsey et al. being caricatured in a comic, the biographies are actually drawn from fact and can be instructive for younger readers in particular.
In addition to its meta-nerdery on tech founders, Bluewater also works with folks like William Shatner of Star Trek fame and Vincent Price, a reference all the older goths out there should appreciate.
Bill Gates: The Co-Founder of Microsoft will run you $5.99 for a Kindle version or $7.99 for a hard copy; pricing is the same for “Google” Boys: a Biography.
Here’s a gallery of all five covers and some interior spreads.
Filed under: media
No frontier is final for Kevin Kelly, the digital culture expert best known for co-founding the tech magazine Wired in 1993. For his latest project, the Silver Cord, Kelly solicited the talents of several artists and storytellers, many of whom attend his church in San Francisco, to create a graphic novel in which technology meets the afterlife. Now the author needs help raising money to get it published.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Before heading off to Cannes, I thought I’d take a stab at some of the trends we may see coming out this year — mainly focusing on cyber & integrated. So here goes….
1. POST DIGITAL
The division between online and offline is getting more and more blurred. It’s now hard to think of a digital campaign without real world impact and vice versa. The coke campaign from Google project re:brief is a good example of this trend. ”Buy the world a coke” was literally brought to life and made tangible through digital.
2. CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY
I think we will see plenty of great ideas fueled by clever creative technology. From being able to order a pizza from your fridge magnet to camouflaging a zero emmission car.
3. THE TROPICANA EFFECT
There are more and more stunts filmed with YouTube diffusion in mind. We first saw this appearing 2 years ago with the Fun Theory and since Tropicana’s success last year it seems that brands and agencies are looking towards this model more and more.
The intel ultrabook campaign adds a programming logic over time & markets to this approach.
4. REAL-TIME AND REACTIVE
Following on from last year (old spice response, skittles rainbow updater and VW winter adjusted offer) coke takes things a step further with their super bowl campaign — giving real time advertising new meaning and embracing second screen viewing.
The Axe Anarchy graphic novel is more reactive than real time but it’s interesting to see how brands can bring a new urgency to brand content by being more reactive (in this case the fans literally became part of the story).
Little Marina is another example of real-time reactivity.
5. PROGRAMME NOT CAMPAIGN
Campaigns are becoming more sustainable year in and year out. We are seeing more and more brands come back with the second or third year of a campaign instead of a one shot logic. American Express is back again with the second year of Small Business Saturday.
6. PRODUCT INNOVATION & SERVICE DESIGN
You could put Nike Fuel under many of the above trends. Interestingly, it’s hard to tell what’s product and what’s campaign which is a true sign of success.
This year, American Express partnered with Twitter to create a new service for cardmembers (and in doing so, a new business model for merchants).
So there it is – a first stab at locking down some of the trends we may see coming out of this year’s festival.
James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.
As part of Social Media Week Toronto last month, SMG hosted Social Media Group Spark, during which five colleagues and I were each given 5 minutes to inspire our audience on a social media topic of our choice.
I took the opportunity to talk about the emerging trend of “transmedia storytelling”.
What is transmedia storytelling?
Also known as “multiplatform storytelling”, it’s storytelling across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies. It’s not to be confused with “multimedia”, which is content presented in a combination of different media forms. Transmedia storytelling focuses on the narrative and the experience. Whereas, multimedia, puts emphasis on the technology and the content.
The Matrix franchise is a classic example of transmedia storytelling. It’s fictional storyworld is constructed across films, animation, video games, a massively multi-player online role playing game (MMPORG), a graphic novel and a series of comics. Each platform enriches and adds nuances to the over arching storyline.
So what? Why does transmedia storytelling matter?
It matters because, as humans, we love stories. We love to tell stories. We love to hear stories. We love the experience that is created by a really great story. Marketers have an opportunity to immerse their audience in a brand experience that follows a story and engages the audience across multiple media platforms.
I recently encountered a great example of transmedia stortelling on History Television. Battle Castle, a new show which premieres on March 15, “brings to life mighty medieval fortifications and the sieges they resist: clashes that defy the limits of military technology and turn empires to dust.”
The Battle Castle “action documentary” — which is a collaboration between New York-based Starlight Runner and two Canadian companies, Parallax Film Productions and Agentic Communications — is enriched across web games, virtual castle tours, social media channels, and 3D-ready content both online and for broadcast TV. Each of these platforms creates a unique entry point into the medieval world that is Battle Castle.
Unlike billion-dollar transmedia franchises, such as The Matrix, Harry Potter and Star Wars, which create fictional universes, Battle Castle’s documentary format is largely based on historically accurate information. I think this sets an example for other transmedia storytellers who wish to explore the realm of non-fiction.
Now what? What should marketers do with transmedia storytelling?
We’re living in an age of blurring lines between media. As this happens, it’s becoming less a question of whether or not marketers should consider using transmedia storytelling and more a question of when they should act on it.
As we’ve seen, there are many examples of transmedia’s natural fit in the entertainment industry. There are also many examples of transmedia use in the extended B2C market, such as Coke’s Happiness Factory, Mattel’s “Should Barbie take Ken back?” and Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World”. But does transmedia work in B2B?
I think it’s safe to assume that most B2B marketers would consider the thought of creating a fictional storyworld around their brand — full of faeries and other mystical beings — to be brand suicide. But, if there’s a lesson to be learned from Battle Castle, it’s that transmedia is not strictly for fictional storytelling. In some B2B industries, marketers may have an exciting opportunity to approach transmedia storytelling as documentarians.
What do you think? Does transmedia storytelling have the potential to become the status quo? Does it apply to B2B or is it only suitable for B2C marketing?
Watch the full video of my talk:
The work of Chip Kidd spans design, writing and, most recently, rock ’n’ roll. He definitely has the charisma to get ahead in that third field. He is best known for his unconventional book jackets, but he has published two novels of his own: The Learners and The Cheese Monkeys. Uninterested in design trends and fashions, he often draws inspiration from collectibles and memorabilia.
Kidd is now busy creating his masterpiece, a graphic novel born from his lifelong fascination with Batman (he regards himself as Batman’s number-one fan). He has teamed up with comic-book artist Dave Taylor to illustrate the story in an astonishing way, conjuring a Fritz Lang aesthetic with a healthy dose of Kidd’s own sensibility. Batman: Death By Design is set to be released in spring 2012 through DC Comics.
Until then, here’s an interview with Chip Kidd, previously unpublished in English, that will get you into the mind of one of design’s most original and charismatic practitioners.
Q: How did you get into the business of jacket design?
Chip Kidd: It happened to be the first job that I was offered. I studied graphic design in Pennsylvania, where I grew up, but I knew that when I graduated I would go to New York. So, I did. I just went to every graphic design place that would see me, but eventually ended up at Random House. And it was an entry-level job, as assistant to the art director. Well, it wasn’t really what I had in mind, but I tried it for a while. It gave me a start, and it’s 24 years in October.
One of Kidd’s most recognizable covers. His artwork was adapted for a $1.9 billion movie series that you might have seen.
Q: How did your persona in the design world emerge?
Kidd: The thing about book covers, I think probably in most parts of the world, is that the designer gets credit on the jacket for what they’ve done. For most graphic designers, that’s not the case, in terms of how it works in print or TV commercials; you don’t see who made something on the piece itself. But in graphic design, you do. What was getting out there was the work itself. Over time that built up, to the point where people started to recognize my name.
Q: Did it take you a long time?
Kidd: It seemed long at the time, but it probably took two or three years, which in retrospect isn’t that long at all.
Q: Was that in the beginning of your career?
Kidd: Well, I started in 1986. I started working right away. I wasn’t doing a lot of designing at first — it was more doing the assistant stuff. But I started actually designing after six months or something like that. It seemed, in retrospect, to happen quickly or right away.
For David Sedaris’ Naked, Kidd designed a wraparound featuring boxer shorts that, when removed, reveals an X-ray of a pelvis.
Q: What about the chain of command? In your talk at Typo Berlin 2009, you joked about issues with editors, editors in chief, authors, marketing people. Do you find that challenging or frustrating? Or do you expect people to just listen to you?
Kidd: I think it’s good that I am being constantly challenged. I think that’s important for doing good work. If people liked everything I did just because I did it, as opposed to whether it was actually good or not, that would be a problem — both for me and for them. What I don’t like, and I don’t know any designer who does, is when you feel that you’ve done the right work and then it gets rejected, for whatever reason. And then you have to go back and redo it, and you think you’ve done it well, and that gets rejected, too.
So that, I think, is a kind of challenge I don’t like, frankly because it doesn’t always seem to be about whether it’s the right design or not — it’s about some sort of political situation within the job; for example, everybody likes it, but the author doesn’t.
Q: So, marketing people and clients often make your life hard. Does it get better as you go on?
Kidd: It doesn’t seem to. [Laughs] On the one hand, yes, it gets better because I’ve gotten a reputation as someone who knows what they’re doing, and so a lot of authors will go along with that. Then you build up trust with an author if you’ve worked on their books for a long time. That part of it is fine. But then there’s this other area where things get rejected by publishers for various reasons that I either understand or don’t. Or I deal with people rejecting me directly, which is very frustrating. That part, for me, hasn’t gotten easier.
Books are very… Each book is in its own way unique. It has its own set of problems, own set of circumstances, and that doesn’t seem to change. So, there will always be an idiosyncratic nature to the work.
Kidd’s own literary debut was a novel set in a design department at a university in the 1950s. He saw the cover as an opportunity to use graphic devices that he wasn’t able to get away with when working on other people’s books.
Q: Speaking of marketing, people will often want books to be, say, red in order to sell more. Browsing your website, I realize you don’t seem to believe the cover sells the book. Do you see the cover as part of the book?
Kidd: It is a part of the book. It’s literally your first impression — it’s the book’s face. Regardless of what kind of book it is, this is the way you’re going to visually preserve it first before you open it. But this doesn’t have much to do with someone buying it. People tell me they buy books for their covers. But it’s not a sales tool in the sense of you’re going to buy it because you like that cover. Really, what the cover should do is get you to open the book and start to read it and investigate it. And at that point, the book is going to sell itself to you, or not.
I very much try to downplay the jacket as a sales tool, because I think that publishers invest too much intellectually in this concept, and they can actually make my work much, much harder than it needs to be. And certainly with the advent of buying books on the Web, you’re not going to buy a book from Amazon because of the way it looks. It’s just not the nature of how that works. The problem arises when you get a bunch of people in a room looking at a jacket and determining the fate of the design based on preconceptions of how the book will sell, about how this design will help the book to sell.
Q: Does this lead to a battle with marketing, whose job it is to sell books?
Kidd: Yes, it can — and I think often needlessly so. You know the idea: men will buy a book with a woman on it.
For his first monograph of book cover designs, Kidd did the unexpected and featured an open book on the cover.
Q: Do you try to solve such problems diplomatically?
Kidd: Diplomacy is always the best way to go, in almost any situation in life I think. But usually, I am working through an art director, who is dealing with the marketing people directly. And then the marketing people will talk to our editor in chief, who will then talk to us. It’s rare that I deal with them directly.
Q: What about typography? What’s your view on modernist book jackets (the kind you see from Switzerland) and typographically rich covers.
Kidd: It’s hard to talk about these things in general. Personally, in terms of my typography, I think it’s pretty conservative and not very adventurous, because I worry about something looking trendy. Most of the books I do are hardcover books that are meant to be kept for a long time. I’m always thinking, what will this look like in a year? What will it look like in five to ten years? And of course, it’s impossible to know, but you have to try and envision that.
Which is not to say everything should be boring and predictable — there are ways to be creative with it. Personally, I’m much more inventive with the imagery than with the typography. An image will be more powerful than the words or the title. Or if you play around, you can create a tension, an interesting puzzle for the reader to solve. And that’s much more about the imagery than the type.
Kidd got a chance to indulge his obsession with Batman, working here with photographer Geoff Spear to showcase a wide range of collectibles celebrating the Caped Crusader.
Q: Do you try to avoid fashions?
Kidd: In a way, yes. Personally, I feel I never know what’s fashionable anyway. I see what people are doing, and sometimes I see typography that I think is really interesting, and I think I wouldn’t be able to do that even if I wanted to. Which isn’t a criticism, just an observation. My skills with type are extremely limited. In terms of fashion, I don’t know what it means from one minute to the next.
Q: How do you manage living in a big city and resisting the fashionable influences around you?
Kidd: I don’t take myself out of it. I just observe what people are doing, and I do something else. I go against it. This is one of the things one of my teachers at school told me: find out what everyone in the class is doing, and then do something completely different. And that has always made perfect sense to me.
Kidd is a master of letting photography do the heavy lifting. While working on a book with Geoff Spear, he discovered an image of a scuffed bird shot with a macro lens. It came in handy when Kidd later designed Haruki Murakami’s novel, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.
Q: What’s your favorite form of expression (not necessarily design-related)?
Kidd: I’ve written two novels. Those to me are much more personal than me doing a book cover for somebody else. I don’t see somebody else’s book cover as a very personal form of expression. If it was, I would be taking advantage of the writer, I think unfairly. And it is perceived that way — “Oh, this is your art!” — like somebody else’s book cover is my art. Which technically may be true, but it shouldn’t come out that way. It should come out as me trying to serve their art, as opposed to me trying to serve myself.
Q: Sounds similar to the differences between the artist and the designer.
Kidd: I’ve always seen a strict division between the two. Somebody will ask me what I do, and then say, “Oh, you’re an artist.” And I say, “No, I’m a designer.”
For a novel about parents breeding children in order to maintain a carnival sideshow, Kidd used striking typography with a vibrant orange.
Q: What’s your view on ugliness?
Kidd: The same as my views on beauty. They’re extremely subjective. It’s very hard to say. Something that I find very ugly others find very beautiful, and the opposite. It’s very hard to articulate that.
Q: What’s so fascinating to you about memorabilia, comics and other collectibles?
Kidd: I appreciate them as aesthetic objects. But there’s also a nostalgic value to them — certain things I had as a child that I really enjoyed that I lost or broke. Then you become an adult and try to reclaim that. Now eBay makes that more accessible than ever. But I genuinely do get an aesthetic pleasure out of these objects, which is [expressed through] the Batman collected book that I put together, which has Batman toys from 40 years ago.
Q: So, you’re a collector?
Kidd: Oh, yes.
One of Kidd’s most striking covers, designed for the fourth installment of Osamu Tezuka’s award-winning Buddha series.
Q: What other forms of art you enjoy? I’ve spotted elements of popular art in your work. Do you identify with what was going on in New York City in the ’50s and ’60s?
Kidd: I’m definitely affected by it. But I have very strong opinions about it, in that I think somebody like Roy Liechtenstein basically is a fraud who got everybody to buy into what he was doing. And paintings about comics became far more important to critics than the comics themselves. I’m much more interested in the comics themselves. I couldn’t give a shit about a decontextualized panel that was stylized by this person. But everybody bought into it, amazingly.
Similarly, do I think Warhol was a great artist? Yes. But should he have given half the money to the guy who actually designed the canvases or the Brillo box or any of that other stuff that he totally appropriated? It’s based on something that somebody else made — that person should get credit, too. And they didn’t. I’m very much against that. It’s an abuse of the original designer.
Q: What would you do if the book format dies?
Kidd: I know, that’s an increasingly vital question. I can’t really say. I don’t know. If that’s eventually what happens, I’ll figure it out once I get there. I don’t believe that people want to read books on the screen. I think some people are… I just don’t think it’s going to go the way the music LP and CD went. It doesn’t have that function in the culture. But even eBooks — they have some kind of visual thing for their cover, so who knows? Maybe that’s what I’ll be doing. If I haven’t killed myself by then.
(From Typo Berlin 2009)
A special Thank You to our Typography editor, Alexander Charchar, for making this interview possible.
Proofreaders: (al) (il)
© Spyros Zevelakis for Smashing Magazine, 2012.
Anarchy is coming to Axe, the newest ad campaign for AXE/LYNX. They have also introduced a Graphic Novel that is going to be written by you.
Forbes Magazine is publishing a comic book about Steve Jobs, with the help of JESS3. The graphic novel focuses on Steve’s travels to Japan, and his learning of Buddhism. It is appropriately called “The Zen of Steve Jobs.”
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Digitale technologieën bieden volop nieuwe mogelijkheden om verhalen te vertellen en geven ruimte om te experimenteren met genres. Bruno Felix liet afgelopen zaterdag tijdens het Beeldenstorm-event Free Your Screen! een aantal door transmedia-lab Submarine Channel ontwikkelde, innovatieve projecten zien. De recente samenwerking met onder andere documentairemaker Marjoleine Boonstra en regisseur Paula van der Oest heeft pareltjes voortgebracht die nieuwe vertelvormen en genres niet schuwen, maar ook niet overdrijven. Het experiment wordt opgezocht, maar alleen waar het ook echt iets toevoegt.
The Art of Pho dat over een maand online gaat, is daar een goed voorbeeld van. Animatieregisseurs, scriptschrijvers, interactiedesigners en animatoren hebben de graphic novel The Art of Pho, het debuut van Julian Hanshaw, getransformeerd naar een zogenaamde motion comic, in de vorm van een interactieve website. In transmedia-wereld roept dit al snel de verwachting op dat deze interactie tot een multilineair verhaal leidt. Bruno Felix benadrukt echter dat een mooi, goed verhaal als The Art of Pho dit niet perse nodig heeft.
Aan The Art of Pho is vooral ‘triviale’ interactie toegevoegd, een ‘doe-ervaring’ van het verhaal. Daarnaast wordt de interactie ook ingezet als tool om empathie te creëren, door de kijker het hoofdpersonage te laten helpen. Het is de bedoeling om een verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel voor het personage bij de kijker te laten ontstaan. Interactiviteit past volgens Felix beter bij de intrinsieke eigenschappen van websites. Met andere woorden: de verwachtingen of gewoonten van de gebruikers. De keuze voor een website was bij Art of Pho deels een productietechnische. Een iPad versie bleek niet haalbaar, maar had volgens Felix een iets intiemere beleving kunnen…