Archive for the ‘Pixar’ tag
Perhaps you’re like the seagulls in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, screeching “mine, mine, mine.” Or maybe you have ultra-top-secret data on your internal network, such as grandma’s Never-Better Peanut Chocolate Chip cookies.
In either case, the French are developing a wallpaper for you.
By embedding silver ink and metallic fibers into the wallpaper, researchers have discovered a way to block WIFI and mobile phone signals from both entering and leaving a room. As the French put it, somewhat excitedly “Si vous voulez isoler votre domicile des ondes GSM et WIFI, il existe une solution !!”
Translated roughly, if my high-school French stands up: “if you want to insulate your home from GSM and WIFI signals, there exists a solution!!”
The researchers suggest the technology, called “metapapier” or Metapaper, could be used to protect public spaces such as hospitals, restaurants, and theaters from outside interference, or even a child’s room. The wallpaper is specifically created to block GSM signals at 0.9, 1.8 and 2.1 gigahertz frequencies, which are used for mobile phones, and WIFI signals at 2.45 and 5.5 gigahertz.
FM or TV signals, however, pass through unimpeded, thankfully, which means you can still watch Twilight Zone reruns.
The substance can also be embedded in other wall or floor coverings, such as gypsum board or drywall, which you would actually need to do if you were looking for a more complete security solution.
Researchers claim that Metapaper is cheaper than other solutions used for similar security and privacy purposes. I’m sure the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other three-letter agencies would be interested.
Personally, I allow anyone to use my WIFI.
But, as the French say: À chacun son goût.
A tweak on leaving the world in a better place than you found it I learned from my mother.
(Note: I’m sure this is an idea many have had over the centuries. My mother owns the example she set by living her life in a manner consistent with her beliefs and thus transmitting this as tangible teaching to me.)
“Interesting” leads to a process of discovery where curiosity and ingenuity shake hands with knowledge and deliver new experiences for all involved.
Two examples of design of interesting in the world of cinema
The Name’s Bond, James Bond
And so is the grooming.
The care taken with the sets, technology, and style in the movies depicting the adventures of the famous British Secret Service agent have established a strong following and created a lasting franchise for the Ian Fleming character.
Starting today and through the summer, the Barbican in London has dedicated an interactive experience to showcase the process of creation and development of the Bond Style.
The Bond movies contain all the elements of a good story: the good guy, the bad guy(s), protocol, honor, transgressions, the rescue(s), the romance(s). Yes, many possibilities, and all quite imaginative, some less credible than others, but certainly made believable for the purposes of our hero saving the day.
Wearing what Bond wears has long held appeal. It’s a bit like being him, borrowing his qualities.
The video interview that follows is focused on fashion and specifically the sartorial consideration for the various actors who portrayed Bond over the years.
A trend I’m seeing in more places. It goes beyond the basic idea of product placement to design of experience leaping from a show to real life. Think Banana Republic and the Mad Men collection, and I was just reading about a show in Australia where the main character dresses so well that they started a blog with updates on where to find similar clothing and accessories.
The Barbican will all be showcasing the work of Hollywood costume designers as well as major fashion names.
In case you were wondering, some numbers on the 007 franchise from 2008.
“Can Do” Attitude
There’s a great line in Disney Pixar Toy Story I, when Buzz Light leaps “to infinity and beyond” and by the grace of things finds his way around the room and back. As he lands back on his feet, Buzz Light says to the incredulous cowboy: “can”!
Pixar tried to be many different things before becoming a successful film company. Their imagination was lit up by the fire of persistence.
Persistence means that you are willing to try many different things with an eye to an end goal. It spells the unwavering belief that you will prevail.
One of the lesser known facts about the company is that it was Pixar, and not Apple, that made Steve Jobs a billionaire. Jobs bought Pixar in 1986 from Lucasfilm for $5 million. In 1995, the week after the release of Toy Story, Pixar went public and Jobs’s stock was worth $1.1 billion.
Think about meet Wall-E, the robot with a personality. He is curious about life and has a desire to connect to it. He is not willing to give up, he is going to persevere through it, ever the optimist. Watch this clip for a creative twist.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
Having a great story, believing in it, and connecting with people that way is part of leaving the world in a more interesting place.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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When it comes to your business’ branding strategy, establishing your company’s logo is one of the most critical tasks. Your logo will be pervasive throughout all of your marketing campaigns, and it’s one of the most prominent branding elements that people will think of when someone mentions your company. Your brand’s logo should be memorable, versatile, and consistent, all the while giving your audience a sense of what your brand is all about. Unfortunately, many companies haven’t exactly done a great job of keeping those goals in mind when establishing their logo, learning the hard way what it takes to create a positive brand experience through their logo.
Not sure what it takes to create a killer brand logo? To give you a better idea, here are 10 companies that have either failed or flourished in the logo department.
KFC’s Unique Logo Redesign & Launch
In 2006, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) launched a new logo, changing the Colonel’s appearance so he was pictured with a new, red apron. This was a big deal for the company, as its logo hadn’t been changed in over a decade. So why did they make the decision to revamp their logo? They wanted the image of the Colonel to be clearer and more energizing. The new, rejuvenated logo demonstrated an excitement and readiness to cook and serve.
Even better, KFC launched its new logo with the help of a HubSpot customer, Synergy Events, who constructed the logo from 65,000 1-foot-square tiles laid out in the Mojave desert, which can be seen from space.
Marketers should take a lesson from KFC. They took a beloved icon, made it more lovable, and gave even more meaning to a symbol. Instead of just an image of a Colonel, the logo became an image of someone welcoming you into the restaurant, ready to serve you great food.
Gap’s Logo Redesign Disaster
In 2010, Gap decided it wanted to change its logo into a more modern version and abruptly announced a new logo. The clothing company was greeted by backlash from thousands of angry customers in social media, who were attached to the recognizable blue box with ‘GAP’ written in the center. For Gap, the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” would’ve been sound advice. Its customers were already loyal to the original logo.
As marketers, it’s important to include your customers in important decisions like changing your logo. Setting up a focus group can help companies view things from their customers; perspective and make more educated decisions. If Gap had taken some of these steps, they might have avoided the social media backlash.
Apple’s Perfect Logo Rebrand
Today, we think of the Apple logo as a simple but sleek design, representative of the Apple brand. But it wasn’t always that way. The logo originally had a picture of Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. Eventually, it was changed into a rainbow picture of an apple. And finally, it changed into the logo we know and love today.
Apple is often the model for a great brand experience. The logo demonstrates something that every company wants to convey: simple, inviting, and beautiful. All of the Apple products focus on giving its customers a great experience through a sleek interface.
Google’s Successful Rebellion Against Logo Design Best Practices
Surprisingly, the Google logo actually goes against a few standard branding rules. It uses colors that seem to clash with each other. There is a slight drop shadow, which is something logos aren’t supposed to have. It even uses a serif font, which is hardly unique, and very rare for a logo to have.
That being said, the rest of Google’s applications have fantastic branding, and they really demonstrate what each different Google product means. Furthermore, the different logos closely resemble each other, so it is recognizable that they are all part of the same company:
PIXAR’s “Out of the Box” Brand Alignment
The 1986 short film Luxo, Jr. inspired the new Pixar logo, which shows the lamp (Luxo, Jr.) as the “I” of Pixar. The animated version of the logo appears at the beginning and end of most the Pixar movies and has become adored by Pixar fans. There is also almost always an animated short at the beginning of Pixar films, another signature experience of the brand.
Marketers can take an important lesson away from the Pixar logo. If you create something that people love and admire, it’s memorable. Moreover, Pixar made its logo an experience for its audience by incorporating bonus animated shorts before its expected movie screenings.
Starbucks’ Confusing Logo
The Starbucks logo has always had the text “Starbucks Coffee” surrounding an image of a twin-tailed mermaid, also known as a siren in Greek mythology, which is indicative of the company’s heritage from the Pacific Northwest. For those who are unfamiliar with the Starbucks logo, the addition of these words has always helped to explain what the logo represents. However, in 2011, Starbucks updated its logo to get rid of the words and leave the mermaid, in hopes that they had enough brand recognition.
Marketers should remember that, no matter how big their company gets, there will still always be people who don’t recognize your brand or understand the brand sentiment they’re supposed to feel. Even though most people know the Starbucks brand, they do not always understand what separates it from other coffee companies. Having an image of a mermaid depict the brand is not enough to demonstrate what sets Starbucks apart. Before you read this post, did you wonder why the mermaid is Starbucks’ logo? Our point exactly.
FedEx’s Fantastic Double Meaning
The FedEx logo is genius, but many people don’t realize why. In fact, the FedEx logo says much more than the company’s name in purple and orange text. There is also a hidden arrow inside the logo that symbolizes the speed and reliability of the courier service.
Did we just blow your mind? FedEx’s logo is a great example of a simple, easy to remember logo that also expresses the mission of its brand. By creating a logo that has a dual meaning, such as the FedEx logo, it is a great way for your company to stand out against the competition and emphasize your value proposition.
Pepsi’s Boring Logo
Over the years, there have been quite a few changes to the Pepsi logo. Most recently, Pepsi removed the company name altogether and left the image of the ball.
As a result, the company received a lot of backlash for the new logo, which was said to look like a fat belly more than anything else. And truthfully, as Pepsi competes against other, healthier beverages, it needs to get away from that image.
As a marketer, look at your competitors’ logos as inspiration. Pepsi has also received a lot of backlash because Coca-Cola has an elegant logo, whereas its logo doesn’t have as nice an appeal. Listen to your audience and see what they are loking for from your brand. Then use that inspiration to design your logo.
Amazon.com’s Interesting Hidden Meaning
Amazon.com has created such a recognizable brand that, when anyone needs to purchase something, they will often go to Amazon first. Although they have strong brand recognition, they also have a logo that reiterates just how much Amazon sells. The arrow in the logo points from the “A” in Amazon to the “Z,” symbolizing that they sell everything from A to Z. It also looks like a smile!
Amazon follows two great rules of logo design. First, it has a hidden meaning that reiterates its mission: “to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Second, it’s simple and doesn’t confuse customers with its message. Those two rules are a great model that marketers should consider when creating their brand logo.
Animal Planet’s Poor Redesign
Animal Planet is known as the go-to place to learn about animals. But its redesigned logo doesn’t imply that at all. Animal Planet’s new logo gets rid of the elephant and uses only text, with the letter “M” in animal oddly positioned on its side. Not only does this take away the important image of the elephant, but the new positioning of the “M” also looks awkward.
Animal Planet had a recognizable logo that was fun and playful, like the channel, but also made people understand that the shows on this particular channel would be about animals around the world. If you have a good logo that people understand and appreciate, leave it as is. The older logo was a simple explanation of a beloved brand. As talked about with Gap, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What are some other examples of fantastic — or failed — logos?
These days, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion. If you’ve got a popular web series and want to do something more ambitious (i.e., costly), but you’re probably not going to get funding from the Hollywood studios, where do you turn? Kickstarter, of course.
The series in question is Dick Figures, which has received a total of 125 million views across 40 episodes since launching in November 2010. Dick Figures and its stick-figure stars Red and Blue are the creation of Ed Skudder and Zack Keller, and the show is produced by Los Angeles animation studio Six Point Harness, with distribution by Mondo Media.
Here are the first five minutes of the proposed movie, which should give you a taste of its sense of humor:
Skudder and Keller tell me that one of the most common requests from the fans has been, “What about a movie?” Personally, I wouldn’t think that a feature-length film is the obvious next step for a show that has consisted of funny segments lasting only a few minutes. However, Skudder says they had “always wanted to make a film” — the pair both attended film school at the University of Southern California, and Keller also worked at Pixar for several years, where he was as a story editor on Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up (which are, objectively, the best Pixar movies).
The pair was also aware that a movie called Dick Figures, with stick-figure characters, wasn’t likely to attract Hollywood backing, at least not without some serious compromises, so (inspired by successful efforts like game studio Double Fine’s) they turned to Kickstarter instead. If Dick Figures fans contribute enough money for a full movie, Skudder says this will probably be the first time Kickstarter has funded a feature-length animated film. (And I couldn’t find any examples to contradict him.)
The pair has laid out several fundraising milestones that will determine what they actually make. If they raise the bare minimum of $250,000, they’ll make a 30-minute special. If they raise $500,000, they’ll make a 60-minute movie. And if they get $700,000, they’ll go for a full-length feature film.
So far, Dick Figures has raised about $183,000, and the fundraiser still has nearly two weeks to go. Skudder says raising that money has involved a much more serious effort on Facebook and Twitter — the show had accounts on both services before, but “we never really put our backs into them.” He also says that they had to convince some skepticals fans (who probably thought the show was “just made by Zack and I in a basement”) that the movie, like the show, requires real animators and real money, as explained in the video below.
#6 What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#18 You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#22 What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
“Another problem with our reluctance to think about or analyse failure – whether our own or other people’s – is that it leads to an utterly distorted picture of the causes of success. Bookshops are stuffed with autobiographical volumes such as the one released in 2006 by the multimillionaire publisher Felix Dennis, entitled How To Get Rich: The Distilled Wisdom Of One Of Britain’s Wealthiest Self-Made Entrepreneurs. It’s an entertaining read, conveying a similar message to many of the others: that to make a fortune what you need is stubbornness and a willingness to take risks. But research by the Oxford management theorist Jerker Denrell suggests that these are just as likely to be the characteristics of extremely unsuccessful people, too. It’s just that the failures don’t write books. You rarely see autobiographies of people who took risks that then didn’t work out.”
“The lesson here is that whether on Wall Street or the strip in Las Vegas, it’s easy to confuse increasing the chances of winning with shifting risk. Increasing the chances of winning improves the amount you should expect as payout. Shifting the risk makes it so that most of the time you get a good payout, but every once and a while you lose catastrophically. As a culture, we should be trying to ensure that the people making financial decisions are looking to do more of the former and less of the latter, especially given the systemic consequences of recent catastrophic market collapses.”
“Dorsey is trying to create magic in an industry where people have not previously sought wonder and delight. In short, he hopes to pull an Apple on the entire financial world.”
“Insights as opposed to ideas. There’s a difference. Ideas, valuable though they may be are a dime a dozen in business. That’s certainly the case at ad agencies where ideas are the currency of the realm and even the mailroom people spit out ideas as if they were candy from a PEZ dispenser. Insight is much rarer – and therefore much more precious. In advertising a good idea can inspire a great commercial. But a good insight can fuel a thousand ideas, a thousand commercials…more than anything else, an insight states a truth that alters how you see the world.”
- 105 Facebook Advertising Case Studies
A more than thorough list…
- MediaPost Publications Twitter Updates May Help Brands Monetize Content 06/18/2012
But expanded Tweets also have the advantage for Twitter of keeping people on the site longer if they don’t click through to a linked site or landing page. “Some brands may be reluctant to take part and allow people to consume media entirely within Twitter rather than at their own sites, where such interactions can be better monetized,” noted David Berkowitz, VP, emerging media at digital agency 360i.
- The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar
Despite the fact that almost nothing happens but running, turning, jumping and sliding, Temple Run is one of the most popular games on mobile. In fact, in just a month on the platform the Android version of the game saw 10 million downloads. But there’s gotta be more to life than jumping over overgrown tree roots and sliding under bridges, which is why a new version of the game has been brought to life within the App Store and Google Play.
It’s a collaborative project between Imangi Studios, makers of the original Temple Run, and Disney/Pixar, which has a big new movie coming out soon titled Brave.
The game is pretty much the same in terms of features, save for a new feature called Archery which will net you points should you hit the target. Graphics have also been much improved to offer a more three-dimensional experience.
The Brave new world also happens to be much greener than in the original, gold and brown Temple Run, with our fearless runner being replaced by the little girl from the movie, complete with blue dress.
It was only a year or so ago that Rovio teamed up with Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Skies Studio to build an Angry Birds Rio version of their ever-popular game to coincide with the launch of Rio, the movie. That turned out to be quite the success, as Angry Birds Rio saw 10 million downloads in its first ten days on the market.
Perhaps the same growth spurt will occur with Temple Run: Brave. In the meantime, check out the Temple Run: Brave trailer:
It may function as a 3D version of a FarmVille game, but theBlu‘s creators had Pixar films in mind when they designed the Web application that shows marine life in ocean habitats around the world.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Customer evangelism works because business is about people.
In their book Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force (Amazon affiliate link), Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba outlined how you can go about creating evangelists.
Understanding the love (listening), giving to receive, spreading the word, bringing customers together, going from sampling to evangelism, and creating a cause — these are some of the action steps.
There are known brands that have passionate evangelists.
ABC: How Apple Builds Community
With this presentation, Steve Jobs demonstrates he is a member of that community and throughout he shows respect and humility.
He has anticipated most questions content-wise, and makes everyone in the room at ease in the conversation.
The power of persuasion comes from a mix of pragmatic realism, and firm vision borne out of the commitment he personally, and Apple, has made to the community in Cupertino.
Tribal Marketing: Ducati
Knowing that a mass marketing approach would have been too expensive for the niche brand, Ducati engaged word of mouth from tribe members.
The company organizes events — Ducati Weekends and the World Ducati Week — with a real tribe of 200,000 Ducati owners and a virtual tribe of 12 MM visitors yearly to the site Ducati.com.
Apple and Brand Evangelists
One thing that comes across in the first iPad product presentation is the total commitment the company has to its products — and its profitability.
Does it control every aspect of the brand, including its messages? You bet. Completely.
Yet, the company has plenty of customer evangelists. Apple knows how to create a product it believes in and build the platform for a conversation about its performance.
Do you Have the Pixar Touch?
Having a great story and believing in it is only one part of the equation. How does the story perform in the marketplace?
Are we effective? Not just as in having special effects, but how do events bounce off us, what is the experience of us?
When you start looking into it, you may discover your brand aready has passionate evangelists. You just had not seen/found them.
Looking for motivation to connect your purpose and values with forward movement? Contact me today.
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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?
My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".
Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:
- The mystery of La Contessa – San Francisco Bay Guardian. "I’m on the West Coast this week, and seeing many of my Burner friends again for the first time in a while. As the summer kicks off, a certain kind of scruffy Bay Area hipster–what happens when goths meet dust–starts planning for their final summer fling, which happens just North of Reno. Burning Man is an amazing experience, like being a roadie in the middle of a week-long Cirque Du Soleil show. And it’s rife with drama and color. I just learned about the torching of La Contessa, a school bus-turned-Spanish-galleon embroiled in a murky (dusty?) lawsuit. Even the scandals of Black Rock City are weird and fraught with kinks, twist, and smoke." (Alistair for Hugh).
- Secret History of Silicon Valley. "The other big event this summer is Startupfest, an annual conference on entrepreneurship run in Montreal. This year’s theme is Startups That Matter. I’m lucky enough to work with Phil Telio on the content, and we’ve got a number of speakers who were around when it all began, building things like DNS and the spreadsheet. Steve Blank, the Godfather of Eric Ries‘ Lean Startup movement, is a Berkley professor with a long understanding of the patterns that shaped Silicon Valley. In this hour-long (but fascinating and well worth it!) lecture at the Computer History Museum, he reminds us that the Valley wasn’t just silicon – DARPA, the CIA, and others fueled the tech boom with government funds. As NASA engineers watch their budgets shrink, replaced by private contracting, this is a sobering reminder of the role governments play in massive, unlikely undertakings that change the world, and in launching startups that matter." (Alistair for Mitch).
- Mister Rogers Remixed – Garden of Your Mind – PBS Digital Studios. "Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? You can grow ideas, in the garden of your mind." (Hugh for Alistair).
- The Failures of the Facebook Generation in the Arab Spring – The Daily Beast. "Francis Fukayama (End of History) takes a look at the Arab Spring‘s rather tepid results in actually changing things. Along the way he looks at the history of popular uprisings, and notes (Quebec, listen up): ‘Students know how to demonstrate and riot, but they generally can’t organize their way out of a paper bag.’" (Hugh for Mitch).
- What It’s Like To Be The CEO: Revelations and Reflections – On Startups. "This one of the most brutally honest pieces I have ever read about being an entrepreneur. The world sees deals like Instagram being bought by Facebook or leaders like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and think that it’s all smooth sailing, easy and that it happens fast. It ain’t. I’m in year ten of my agency, Twist Image, and it still feels like a startup and we’re still scrappy like it was being run out of our garage (even though it’s two offices now). From this post: ‘Very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don’t mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It means more people are depending on you to turn their investment into 20 times what they gave you. It’s very difficult to ‘turn it off’. But at the same time, television, movies and vacations become so boring to you when your company’s future might be sitting in your inbox or in the results of a new A/B test you decided to run.’ Yup… feels like just another day in paradise to me." (Mitch for Alistair).
- Pixar story rules (one version) – The Pixar Touch. "Telling a great story is something all of us need to do a whole lot better, but it’s way more art than science. The people at Pixar know how to tell great stories. This short and snappy post has a ton of illuminating concepts in it. Some of them are obvious but mostly ignored by the masses. It’s a great reminder that in order to sell anything, we need to be able to tell a better and more unique story… and this has some great starting points." (Mitch for Hugh).
Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.