Affleck in the Congo: WTF

Look, i get it, Ben Affleck. You're a serious guy, trying to understand a deathly, sad, serious issue. But, do you realize that those camera's following you around are there to follow you, not the crisis? I get that you're trying to raise awareness, and that your presence there may make someone learn about the crisis and spur some action. But, what's happening there is incredibly sad and somehow, seeing pictures of a doofy actor plodding around in a $300 rain jacket makes the pictures seem somehow less real. I worry that people will see a PR stunt, and not see the urgency of the crisis. 

On the other hand, the Boston Globe's Big Picture post on the crisis will devastate you if you take the time to look deeply at the pictures. It's another demonstration of the power of pictures over words. 

The DB’s – Not Quite a Hit, But no Flop

Anatomy of a Flop – Measure for Measure Blog – NYTimes.com.When i was 16, right after i got my drivers license, i would drive to downtown Green Bay, to the really, really rundown part, with my buddy Peter and he and i would go to a little store that rented out records. Can you believe that? Rented. Records. Good old vinyl for rent. With a wink and a nod, Stan (i can't believe i remember his name) would let me walk out the door with a clutch of discs and a smile to speed home, tape the things onto cassette, and then return the rental. Sometimes i'd round trip it in the same day and grab another record to tape. This was, very obviously – and even to a dumb-ass 16 year old – illegal. But, for the four or five months that it lasted, i got a bunch of good music.

This album by the DB's (Like This) is one of them that i loved the most. I don't remember all the songs anymore, but i bet i could sing most of them now, word for word. So, i was really glad to stumble across the link above, from the New York Times, written by Peter Holsapple. He may be better known to most of you as the trusty sideman for REM, but i'll always know him as the DB's guy.

(If you want a beautifully written, well performed, and incredibly well produced album, please do check out "Mavericks", by Holsapple and Chris Stamey. "She was the One" is the best song on there, "Angels" the hit. )

If you like this story from Holsapple, you should probably also check out Suzanne Vega's story about Tom's Diner and how she helped create the MP3 file format. Excellent writing…

An Excellent “corporate” blog: LARABAR BLOG

LARABAR BLOG.It’s not really a “corporate” blog at all, but it does come from a company. The larabar blog is a great example of how to do it right.

  • Really well written, with a clear discernable authorial voice. There’s a real personality behind the blog, and his “voice” comes through clearly.
  • Balance “news” and “non-news” – Some of the posts are about Larabar, most of the posts are’nt necessarily about Larabar.
  • Flow – I like the way Lewis shares the spotlight with others. Good blogs send a lot of “flow” from their blogs to others. 

Nice job, Larabar!

Ad Agencies: Take Notice – Bike Hero

YouTube – Bike Hero Is just plain fantastic. Not just because i love biking more than anything. And i love guitar hero. The best part is about 3:20 in, when the road actually flames up.

This has got to be some commercially done viral thing, because it just looks super complicated and its hard to imagine anyone would have the sustained interest required if this were a fun, gag-like thing to do.

I work with a lot of ad folks, and they need to pay attention to these. This is as much a commercial for Guitar Hero as it is for “funny” or “cool”. This was done with love, with humor, with a wink and a nod to the people how love guitar hero.

This is, in some very important ways (that i’ll eventually espouse here) the future of advertising. Content that strikes the perfect note with a core group of passionate people, something that is so good it gets shared. Thats the way to break through the clutter: be honest, be inspiring, be true. And, of course, be good.